Chapter 24Simultaneously, back at One PP
"My mom must be wondering where I am," Lewis said to Bobby, as Ross turned and left the room. "I was supposed go over for dinner."
Bobby grabbed his cell phone from his pocket and tossed it to his friend. "You better give her a call. Knowing her, she's keeping it warm in the over for you," Bobby teased, although his comment rang true.
Lewis flipped the phone open and began dialing.Meanwhile, at the Kyzinski House
Lewis' mother sat at one of the kitchen chairs, hands and feet bound. Puglisi was just about to place duct tape over her mouth when the phone rang.
The shrill ring startled him –placing him more on edge. His eyes quickly darted at the front and back doors as his paranoia grew. He debated whether or not to have her answer, then finally said, "You get rid of whoever it is –quick. And no funny stuff."
He lifted the receiver from the wall phone and placed it by Mrs. Kyzinski's ear.
"Hello," she answered, trying to sound as normal as possible.
….While Simultaneously on the front porch. . .
"You hear that?" Mike whispered.
"Mmmm, could be Bobby or Lewis calling."
Mike was taking a risk, peering through a small pane of glass in the front door.
"See anything?" Alex asked.
"No people, but the phone cord is stretched across the kitchen. He has her in the kitchen."
"Holding her at knifepoint maybe?" Alex took a guess.
"That phone call might be good distraction. He'll be busy keeping an eye on her –monitoring what she's saying," Mike surmised.Back Inside the Kitchen
"I'm fine. Just a little tired I guess," her voice nervously shook.
"No, honey. I didn't bother keeping it warm. I thought when you didn't show up that you'd forgotten."
Puglisi glared at her, holding the butcher knife closer to her throat, silently urging and warning her to cut the call short.
"I'm sorry, honey. I have to go. I just heard the washer go off," she lied.
As Puglisi started moving the phone away from her ear, she quickly said, "I love you." At the very least, she wanted her son to have the memory of her final words to him.Back at One PP
Lewis bolted out of his chair as he flipped the phone closed. "They've got her! They've got my mom!" he shouted in a panic.
"Stay calm, Lewis. What did she say?"
"Sh-she said that she didn't keep my dinner warm. She thought I forgot." Lewis said as he nervously shifted from foot to foot. "You know that's not like her…you said it yourself."
"I know, I know," Bobby assured.
"She said she had to go 'cause the washer went off," Lewis explained. "Her washer's broken, Bobby. The repairman isn't coming until next Wednesday."
Bobby's frown grew with the realization that Lewis' mom was, in fact, relaying hints that everything definitely was not all right.
"What's the commotion in here now?" Ross asked, reappearing in the doorway.
"We think Puglisi has Lewis' mom," Bobby replied.
Ross yelled over his shoulder, "I want two units to. . ."
"282 Elm, Long Island City," Bobby shouted out to the detectives in the bullpen.
Ross repeated the address with a bark. "Now!"
Lewis paced nervously, mumbling, "My mom…not my mom."
Bobby put his arm around his friend and urged him to sit. "They'll be there soon. She'll be all right," he tried to reassure Lewis and himself.
Simultaneously back at the house. . .
"Damn it!" Mike exclaimed as he watched the man cross the kitchen doorway to hang up the phone.
Mike inched back from the door and whispered to Alex. "The phone call's over. We lost that diversion."
"We have to get in there, Mike, before he has a chance to do anything," Alex quickly whispered back.
Mike nodded in agreement. "You stay here. Gimme thirty seconds to get around to the back door, then ring the doorbell."
Alex understood his plan. While the doorbell would distract Puglisi, Mike would kick in the back door, placing him in the kitchen with Mrs. Kyzinski –enabling him to protect her up close.
"Get as far into the kitchen as you can. If he starts coming towards the front door…well, just stay outta my line of fire," Alex warned.
Mike nodded, heeding her warning. He knew for a fact that in the Goren/Eames partnership, Alex was the one with the quick trigger.
X X X
Puglisi ripped a strip of the duct tape from the roll and slapped it, roughly, against Mrs. Kyzinski's mouth.
She squirmed in protest against her restraints; her pleas muffled and incoherent against the tape.
Her abductor and would-be executioner stood in front of her, bending forward so they were face to face. As he saw the panic and desperation in her eyes, his own level of excitement grew. He loved the "rush" of the kill.
He held the photo stolen from Lewis' office in front of her face. The stench of his sweat and cigarette-fouled breath invaded her nose. "Say good-bye," he taunted her in a singsong voice and laughed when he saw tears fill her eyes.
"Don't worry…they'll be meeting up in hell with you soon enough," he laughed sadistically.The chime of the doorbell rang
Panic overcame Puglisi's face. He bolted upright, his eyes darting back and forth, undecided if he should answer the door and abduct and kill whoever it might be, or make his getaway out the back door, leaving the job unfinished.
"No, I've gotta finish the job," he quickly decided. "The boss will kill me if this doesn't get done."
He headed down the hallway to the front door, hiding the butcher knife behind his back.
Mike peered through the window, waiting until Puglisi unlocked the front door.
The instant he saw him unlock the door to answer it, he kicked the kitchen door open. It was an ear-shattering bang, sending splinters of wood and pieces of broken glass flying in every direction.
Puglisi turned to the kitchen, startled and panicked. Then he heard the front door open and Alex's command: "Police! Freeze!"
Puglisi shot a glimpse over his right shoulder. "Hmpf, a woman cop," he muttered to himself, then charged towards the kitchen.
Mike had removed the duct tape from Mrs. Kyzinski's mouth, but didn't have time to start working on her hand and foot bindings. He stood in front of her, blocking and protecting her from Puglisi.
"You're not gonna stop me! I'll stick it through you and her!" he screamed. His eyes were glazed with anger and fear; his face twisted in a sinister sneer.
Alex was at the kitchen doorway in a split second. "Freeze!" she ordered again. "Drop it!"
Puglisi ignored her and charged across the kitchen table towards Mike, the giant knife raised about his head, ready to strike.Simultaneously, at One PP
"Didn't the cops get there yet?" Louis asked anxiously. Bobby had never seen his friend so worried and scared.
"Units are almost there; four blocks away at last check," Ross answered.
"Captain! Reports of shots fired!" Detective Suarez shouted from the bullpen.
Lewis, Bobby and Ross exchanged worried, grim glances. Lewis' eyes were glassy with tears.
C'mon, c'mon…please God, Bobby silently prayed. "I lost one mother this year…I can't lose my other."End. Chapt. 24