|Over The Bridge
Author: Killash PM
Joey faces his worst adversary... himself. And it looks like he's losing. Completed.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama - Words: 4,063 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 2 - Published: 05-10-02 - Status: Complete - id: 769388
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Houston Knights Fan
Fiction by Killash
Disclaimers: I don't own any of the characters, the names or the City of Houston. I'd love to own Michael Paré but well, what can one do? They belong to Jay Bernstein and their other producers and so on and so on... However, the story itself IS mine and the stories by other authors are theirs. © Copyrighted in 1999-2002 (despite groaners) by Keren Killash. No infrigment intended, no purchase nesessary, I write for Love, not for money. Please don't sue the poor.
Go here to find out some dark secrets about the author. http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Atlantis/1366/auth_killa.html
Over The Bridge
Another night, another murder.
All the police personnel that had gathered at the silent, dark, blood-stained alley, finished with their different tasks as sunset fell upon the great city of Houston. Slowly, they went to their cars and left, on to more of their duties or home to rest. Silence fell over the crime scene.
Sergeant Joe La Fiamma suddenly
became aware of his surroundings, he'd been lost in thought for the past half
hour. Tonight's events had turned into another dead end and, as usual, had left
another dead body. Police work was an endless journey. The young man looked around
the alley and found that he was alone, again.
No witnesses, no company, nor friend or enemy in front of or behind him.
Night was making his entrance only to find Joey La Fiamma all alone one more time.
He sighed, thinking back. Back to his old life in Chicago. He didn't know exactly how it had happened. Somehow, somewhere along the way, that constant feeling of isolation had settled in and become a part of him. At first, Joey had tried to shove it off, block it, forget it, Hell! Even attempted to drown it. No luck.
*The feeling* was setting camp inside his soul and planned to stick around for a long time.
Loneliness had intruded his life long before he'd been transferred to the place he irreverently called 'this God Forsaken Town At The Very End Of The Civilized World'. Way back when Joe started losing his family, when people he cared about left or died. When his own sense of belonging got torn up in the struggle between doing his duty as a cop and staying true to the family name. When even his best friends stopped understanding, when the first woman he'd loved ran off to someone else's arms because his weren't strong enough. When his partner died. When he was shaken, stirred and finally cast off like an empty glass.
*the feeling* came.
That's when it all started to end.
And then, sometime after
Joe had innocently thought he'd been through the worst, he was again cut off.
His uncle Mickey, whom he loved like a father and a friend, one day decided to
just break the ties and leave him there, helpless as a child. The Chicagoan mobster
never knew how deep that final blow had been. Joe didn't need his uncle as a protector
or as his own private source of underground information, nor as the wild card
under his sleeve. He needed him as the man he was. Not the Mafia boss, not the
powerful hand, but the simple Italian guy who taught little Joey how to fight
the bullies at school, how to drive, how to talk to girls, how to earn his first
dollar... How to stand up straight and say his name with pride.
How to be a man.
Now the man was lonely and the child inside him too.
Joe La Fiamma closed his eyes and saw the tired, sad face in the young dead body they'd just tagged, bagged and shipped to the city morgue. A young man about his age, about his size, good looking, well dressed, newcomer to the city, no family in town, no one to notify. Hell! It could have been him!
All of a sudden, life itself was too heavy. So much that it threatened to crush him under a force that was cold as steel. Joe closed his eyes and tried to focus on trivialities. He often did this when *the feeling* got too strong. He thought about his car, it needed an oil change. He thought about the new pair of shoes he'd just bought. They were a little tight on the instep. Maybe he should go and return them. God knows he was always short on cash.
Trivialities, always a good branch to hold on to when you're sinking in the quicksand.
Unimportant stuff. Something to take his mind
off his hard reality.
But sometimes, even the trivialities didn't work.
Joey sighed again, tired of fighting *the feeling*.
' When did I become the lonesome cowboy?' Joe asked himself walking toward his car. He laughed. The very idea of Joe La Fiamma in a cowboy suit was preposterous. He shook his head. Lundy came into his mind.
Lundy, his partner.
' The proverbial cowboy, I might add.'
Now Lundy, he had problems. The man listened to that thing he called music all day long. Ate enough chili peppers and greasy Barbecue ribs to ensure anyone a very nasty heart attack. Rode along in that monster truck he called a car with a smiley face and a relaxed manner, saluting with a tip to the hat, saying 'Much obliged' and 'Y'all know my par'ner La Fiiaaama' to everybody he knew or met. The guy was so laid back he could annoy the hell out of Mr. Ed. The man was a pain in the neck.
The man was his best friend.
had saved his life more than once. He'd been there for Joe and helped through
the roughest of times, even if the cowboy himself never knew it. He'd hung around
when Joe needed him and left him be when he required peace and solitude. He'd
kept up with him in silly arguments that had a way of lasting all day long. Of
course, Joey lived to quarrel, it kept him on his toes, gave his mind its daily
exercise... and, in its own way, it kept him from succumbing to *the feeling*.
It was a strange thing. Somehow, constantly fighting with his partner kept him
' Well, what do you know?' Joey thought as he turned on the engine of his perfectly tuned car. ' Who'd say that those who fight and don't run away, live to fight another day?' He smiled again at the thought, but it didn't help. That sinking in his heart just wouldn't subside.
Why did life have to be so complicated?
Because the man that was his best friend was as closed off as a night club on Monday morning.
As much as Joe and Levon loved to argue, yell, scream and tease, they never really talked. Through the couple of years they'd worked together, Joey had come to know most of his friend's thoughts and he was sure about the man's feelings. Levon was a hell of a partner, sometimes it seemed like he could...no, 'they both' could read each other's minds. Even if they were different as night and day, the two men had many things in common. Things like their convictions and a few fears but, unfortunately, they never spoke about them. Neither of them did. It was kind of a silent agreement, a pact, an oath. No opening up. No mushy stuff between them. Life was tough enough as it was.
Unfortunately, the policy applied even when talking
And tonight, Joe needed it badly.
The young man from 'The Windy City' lowered his head and finally gave up. *The feeling* had won.
He drove. The night air cooling his skin made a nice difference to the humid heat that translated into Houston's every day. Joey breathed deeply trying to fill his lungs with hope... he accelerated in a desperate attempt to leave some of *the feeling* behind, to lift his spirit with adrenaline as the speedometer kept going up. He drove away from his problems, from his fears, from everything he knew.
Life was tough enough........
' What if you never came back?' The question
echoed in his mind like a gunshot inside a cavern. "How many days would it
take the assassins in Chicago to get to you if you decided to go back home?"
Joey slowed down, thinking as fewer and fewer cars filled the dark streets. "How long would it take the cops to figure it out?"
Joe La Fiamma felt a surge of
sadness and immense despair. Reality haunted him without mercy. His thoughts went
back to the dead man he'd left behind. ' How long, Joey?... How long before
you end up as a statistic dumped in a dark alley?'
His mind worked feverishly now, feeding on his anxiety. *The feeling* got stronger.
' How long before the whole world abandons you?'
Enveloped in a strange and powerful
grief, all of his senses seemed to fail at once. The young cop saw himself falling
into a bottomless pit, he knew it was wrong, but he was unable to do anything
about it. The endless stupid questions kept coming to his mind. ' What if you
call it quits right now?' his own little voice continued asking. ' How
long would it take people to forget you?'
' Who would know?'
' Who would care?'
The road was almost empty now as Joey's car passed the city limits and continued along the highway. His eyes were narrow, his heart ached like never before, the grip around his soul tightened and he felt out of breath. He couldn't continue driving. He had to stop.
did. Just as he crossed a bridge. Right in the middle of it.
' Perfect!' said the little voice. ' Wouldn't have been so convenient if you'd planned it! '
Joe got out of the car, trying to catch his breath, unable to stop *the feeling* from taking over completely. His legs got weaker, his pulse got faster and cold sweat invited chills along his spine. He closed his eyes and tried to focus. No luck.
' Who would care?'
fact is, Mr. La Fiamma, no one would care.' The words kept flowing on their
own. Lundy would miss him of course, for a while. No one to quarrel with, having
to change the routine, no one to taunt. But it would pass. Maybe even faster that
Joe thought. And then?
' Who would miss you?'
' Who would ask about you?'
' Who would care?'
' Nobody.' The one word. Shot and killed. The final blow.
Joey felt his knees bend as his strength finally left him. He hit the ground along with all his remaining dreams and found himself dying inside by the side of the road.
If someone had seen him they might have thought he was praying.
No need to bring God into this. He'd only get mad at Joey for being so weak. If
you start thinking about Heaven and hell you invite guilt to join the party.
Loneliness and guilt. Those two paired up could kill a man.
And as this thought passed
through his weary mind the truth struck him with great force.
He was about to die.
He wanted to die.
His life became meaningless in seconds as the question kept ringing in his ears.
' Who would care?'
Joe La Fiamma knelt atop
of a bridge, heartless, hopeless. Defeated. Nothing mattered anymore.
He knew he had to stand up and walk in order to die but even that sounded too difficult right now. He thought about his gun, tucked away under his arm, but even that seemed too tough. He just didn't have the energy to do it.
If he waited, maybe death would come to find him.
"Who would care?" He spoke out loud, tired of the silence that ate at him.
A soft, distinctive voice behind him came to his ears like a blessing. He held on to it just as he would to one of the trivialities.
The owner of the voice probably wasn't even there, but right now it was all he had.
Joe took a long breath and tried to pull himself out of the quicksand.
"La Fiamma" The voice called again. A glint of worry filled the air.
Joe tried to even his breathing, his eyes were still closed.
"La Fiamma" The voice called again, truly concerned this time. "You okay, man?" Joe felt a pair of hands strongly grabbing his shoulders. "Joe!" The voice said again.
Joe kept his breathing going but it took all of his effort to do so. His mind still clinging to the sound of Lundy's voice, his heart begging to believe his friend was really there. He felt tired. The strong hands held him tight and didn't let him fall. He tried to calm down but, somehow, the way to do it eluded him.
"Joe!" Levon asked again, one knee down beside his friend. What the hell was wrong? The Texan scanned the area in a futile attempt to find an answer. No one was around, they were alone and his partner was in pain. He didn't know what to do.
"Please, Joe" He called again. "What's wrong, pal? Talk to me, come on!" Levon held the man's shoulders more tightly and shook his friend. "Come on!" He said louder.
The voice sounded so close now. Joe tried to regain his balance, scared to open his eyes to find himself alone again. He spoke softly with his head still down.
Levon felt a little relief. "Yeah man, its me!"
"What are you... why are you here?" Joe was afraid of the answer, he didn't have a clue what it could be.
"I followed you, man. Trust me, it ain't easy keepin' up with that Batmobile of yours, even in my Jimmy, but I had to. You seemed so weary when you left. I thought maybe.... well, I know how you felt."
Joe laughed sadly. It definitely was an illusion. Levon wasn't there when he left, no one was, and there was NO WAY the Texan could know how Joe felt. He couldn't possibly know about *the feeling*.
"Right!" He said.
His voice weak yet full of mistrust. "And how come you know that?"
This might be an illusion but Joe La Fiamma never made things easy. The voice was going to have a tough time proving itself true.
"Joe, man, look at me!" Lundy was seriously worried now.
Trying to change the subject? No way! "How did I feel?" The young man asked again dryly.
Levon took a second to examine his friend. He was really shaken up and just wouldn't open his eyes. 'I won't let go of him or he's gonna fall for sure,' he told himself. "You were lonely, La Fiamma." Levon used his kindest tone to soothe his friend's mind. "You felt like the world was closin' up on you because you saw your own face in that dead body we got. You saw him as yourself and all your trials and tribulations came to haunt you, all at once." The man put his other knee on the ground for balance and shook his partner a little more. Joey still wouldn't look at him.
Nothing seemed to work. Levon felt a chill of fear inside his heart. Maybe there was something more... What could be so wrong to have hit the man so hard?
frowned as his brain took in all of the information. The illusion had failed.
It was too accurate. Bitterness was added to the turmoil that seemed to steal
"You," he finally whispered. "Don't know a thing, Lundy." He sounded so weak Levon thought his friend was going to faint any second. "Why don't you just... let me go?"
What was that? Levon shook his head. "What the hell are you talkin' about, La Fiamma?" He said with an irritated but still very worried tone. "Let you go, where? Man, you're scarin' me here!"
'Well,' Joe had to admit
it. 'It sounds like him, at least.'
Lundy called again, this time like a father trying to get to a distraught teenage
son. "Joe, I know its hard. We all do. All of us who live around you, man, we
know it can't be easy leavin' home... Leavin' it all behind to come over here
and still pretend that everything's cool. That you can handle it. But, God, you
try too hard!" Levon looked around for the right words. "You always... stop everything
from coming out... You get angry instead... La Fiamma, you ain't Superman... One
of these days you're gonna kill yourself if you keep hiding all that stuff inside."
That was exactly what was happening,
Joe thought. His eyes closed even tighter. The illusion was right. But who was
little Joey to tell? Who would listen to the heartaches of a leftover, lost, burned-out
cop from Chicago? How to open up when *the feeling* was always there, lurking,
waiting. He'd never had a chance.
never wanted to say it, I never could, but I'm gonna die anyway. Who's gonna care?'
Joey lowered his head a little more in anguish as the dreaded words came out.
"I'm so... alone." He whispered, feeling physical pain with the effort of finally speaking from the heart. "I'm so damn alone!"
Levon felt his own heart break at the
sound of the confession. He could hear and feel all the hurt behind the words.
It wasn't fair. Joey was a good man, he didn't deserve it. But at last Lundy knew what the man in front of him needed to hear.
"I'm with you, Joe." He assured his buddy. "You ain't alone as long as I'm with you, and I ain't never gonna leave you, man, you got that?"
Joe fell silent.
"You got that?" Lundy asked again, feverishly going trough his mind for something better to say. Some time ago, the psychiatrist at the office had noticed the signs of depression in Joe and warned Levon about this behavior. Still, as much as he had already expected this day to come, when the moment arrived the Texan didn't really know what to do. One wrong word and Levon could destroy Joey's spirit. He knew that... he was scared to death of that....
The Texan was lost. He said no more. An old forgotten prayer came to his mind....
finally, the rush seemed to quiet down.
Slowly, tiredly, Joey opened his eyes and stared at Levon in shock.
"Joe?" The Texan still held his friend tightly.
"Oh God!" Joey managed to whisper.
"What?" Levon was struck by fear again. 'I blew it' he thought.
"You're..." Joe started shaking in disbelief.
"What, Joe?" Lundy didn't know what to feel now. Everything was so strange.
"You're really here!" La Fiamma finally exclaimed.
Levon felt relief. He couldn't hide the smile that took over his face, fully understanding what his 'I'm-too-cool-to-talk-about-it' stubborn friend had been going through. "Of course I am here, you idiot! Who do you think you've been talkin' to?" His voice was soft now, almost tender.
Joe didn't move. He felt dizzy. All of a sudden his heart had started beating without help as the great weight lifted. He breathed deeply again and felt, rather than saw, the concern in his friend's eyes. Lundy would care. He WOULD care. He was here, wasn't he? ' What is he doing here?' Right in the middle of nowhere, sitting by the highway at night.... saving his partner's life once again. And he didn't even know it.
Life came back to him. He was released.
*The feeling*... subsided and finally fell back. He'd defeated it... this time. With a little help from his friend.
still held him tight by the arms, afraid that his pale friend would drop dead
on him. Yet, Levon was still smiling and Joey could feel his partner's relief
as color came back to his own face.
Joe La Fiamma wasn't gonna die tonight.
Levon." He said softly, taking a deep breath as he stroked his partner's arms.
"You don't know...." Suddenly he felt awkward. Things like these never happened
to Joe; what was the right way to thank someone for keeping you from dying?
Especially when that someone didn't have a clue....
"Hey, La Fiamma,... it's fine..."
So the Texan felt the same way, huh?
Joey stood up and had to hold on to his friend again. He had forgotten how weak he was. Lundy held him tight until the young man steadied. "Easy, partner." He said with that Texas smile again. "Take it easy!"
Joe stood straight. He still didn't know what to say. Then a thought flashed in his mind, a grin crossed his face. He was going to enjoy this.
Joey looked at the gentle Texan eyes, "Hey, man..." He started. "Thanks!" And without any warning he stepped up to his partner and gave him a big, strong, heartfelt Italian hug.
Lundy stood there in shock
for a moment, perplexed, then he frowned and hugged his best friend back. If the
man needed a hug, well...
short time passed before they broke the embrace and looked at each other, reading
each other's thoughts again. They saw their friendship floating between them as
the night's happenings settled in their minds. Joe leaned tiredly on his car and
Levon crossed his arms and stared at his partner's mischievous blue eyes...
Words were useless at that moment. They both shared the same thought.
The two friends stood silently atop of a bridge in the middle of the night.
they couldn't take it anymore and... both of them bursted out laughing.
Everything fell into place. A long awaited helping hand had been offered to an aching young heart. He took it gratefully and gave the purest friendship in return.
blue eyes looked up at the stars in the Houston night sky... and smiled.
*Now you have to go and listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers singing 'Under the Bridge' through the credits.
courtesy of Butterfingers INC.
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