A second excerpt from Decease and Desist, coming in October:
It took him all the way to the sidewalk in front of the building, but Fallis finally asked me why I wanted to know about keys. I’d just opened my mouth to evade the question when I registered a black SUV illegally parked across the street in front of the Performance Center. There appeared to be three men inside, staring at us through rolled-down windows. Whitehall must have seen a split second faster than I did that two of them had automatic weapons.
“Gun!” he screamed as he dived for the protection of his sedan.
The intersection exploded with rapid fire as I followed him. I would swear to this day that I felt a bullet touch the hair on the back of my head as I went down. The chaos lasted only three or four seconds, though of course it seemed much longer. The rat-a-tat of the two weapons was matched by the squeal of tires and the dull thuds of brick exploding under the impact of the bullets. I registered an additional sound, a groan, and looked back over my shoulder from where I crouched behind the sedan. Fallis was slumped against the building, eyes bulging, hands trying to hold in the blood that was pouring from his chest.
Mike and I scrambled to our feet as we heard the roaring car engine moving away. We both had our guns drawn but we couldn’t fire in the midst of crowded downtown Portland at a vehicle that was already a block away. I punched his arm and pointed back at Fallis. Mike muttered an expletive and jerked open the sedan’s door. He grabbed the radio and thumbed it on.
“Officer down! Officer down! Shots fired, Broadway and Market! Suspect vehicle is black late model Ford Explorer, partial Oregon plate Alpha Charlie George. Going south on Broadway. We need medics now!”
Meanwhile I had scrambled to Fallis’ side, easing him down onto his back and adding the pressure of my hands to his on the two chest wounds. He was semi-conscious, trying to speak, and clearly very frightened. “The medics are on the way,” I whispered. “You’ll be okay, Harv. Just keep breathing.” I could already hear sirens approaching and we both held on as best we could.