"An Unknown Enemy"
Ray Taylor walked into the gas station and picked up a newspaper. It had been four years since he could walk the streets freely. After paying for the newspaper he sat at the bus stop and opened his paper. Immediately Ray's eyes were drawn to an article about the CHP. Reading on Ray realized who the CHP officer was. "Well, well. Officer Jon Baker, you may have saved that runaway bus, but who will save you," he muttered under his breath as the bus pulled up.
"Okay fellows, lets hit the beat," Joe Getraer said as he dismissed his officers from briefing. "Oh, Baker Poncherello I want to talk to you two before you leave."
Jon Baker and Frank Poncherello slowly made their way to the front of the room. "Sarge, whatever it is I did I promise I didn't mean to do it, "Ponch said as he approached Joe.
"Take it easy Frank, I just wanted to reinforce what I said about your beat. Things are just out of control out there."
Jon Baker sighed. "Sure Sarge. We'll be extra careful out there today," he said flashing a smile.
"Just watch it out there."
Ray watched as Jon and Ponch entered onto the freeway. He fell into traffic behind them Ray said to himself "It's just a matter of time Baker. You cops have been messing up my life ever since I can remember. Now your gonna to pay for it."
"So, what are you doing this weekend," Ponch asked over the noise of the freeway.
"I don't know. I thought about going to visit my horse. I haven't had any time to get him out and exercise him in a while. Why?"
Before Ponch could answer Ray, in a black truck, pulled out in front of the two officers and began to speed away. I hope Baker takes the lead, he thought. He will, he's that kind of a guy. Not wanting his partner to be in danger's way.
Just as Ray thought, Jon took the lead and pulled up beside the truck. "Pull it over," Jon yelled. Instead of pulling to the shoulder, Ray jerked the wheel of the truck to the right causing the truck to cram into Jon.
Ponch watched as Jon lost control of his motor. Both officer and bike fell and skidded along the freeway. Cars all around immediately stopped. Fortunately none of them crashed into each other. "LA 15 Mary-4 we have an 11-99. Mary-3 is down, I repeat Mary-3 is down," Ponch yelled into the mic. He cursed his bike as the kickstand stuck. "Jon? Jon can you hear me?" Ponch looked at his partner lying on his stomach a few feet in front of him. He slowly turned Jon over and heard a groan. "Come on Jon, talk to me."
"I'm okay Ponch. Just help me up."
"No, I don't think you should be moved. Just wait until help arrives."
"Ponch please. I don't want to lie in the middle of the freeway. Please help me over to the shoulder."
Ponch could not resist the look in Jon's eyes. "Okay, take it easy." He helped Jon up and over the side of the road. Ponch could not help but notice Jon's uniform was a mess. The left sleeve was torn, the sleeve to his white undershirt was also torn, and bits of rock and was embedded into Jon's bicep, all a result of sliding on the freeway. "Partner you're a mess," Ponch commented as he tried to stop some of the bleeding in Jon's arm.
Sirens interrupted Jon and Ponch's conversation. " Oh good the calvary is here," Jon commented as the stood up, with the help of Ponch. A paramedic started looking at Jon's arm and suggested that he go the hospital. " I'm not going to go to the hospital in an ambulance. There is just no need for it," Jon said in annoyance.
Joe drove up and saw Jon arguing with one of the paramedics. I bet they want him to go to the hospital, Joe thought in amusement.
Reluctantly Jon went to the hospital, after being order to by Joe. He only had to have a couple of stitches, but by the time all the paper work was done Jon's shift was over. Jon had driven his truck to work that day because Harlan was going to tune his motor before Jon's shift started.
Jon figured the drive home from work would be uneventful, but Ray had other ideas. Ray followed Jon all the way from the station. When they reached an unoccupied section of the city Ray made his move. Jon noticed the light green van had been following him for some time, but being caught up in his own thoughts he didn't give it much thought. It was only when the van pulled up beside him that Jon started to worry about it. Before Jon knew it the van swerved and hit the side of his truck. Jon lost the fight to stay on the road and began to spin. The truck's passenger side connected with a telephone pole and stopped.
Ray cursed himself as he looked in his rearview mirror and saw Jon get out of the truck. Man, what am I going to have to do to get ride of you Baker, Ray thought driving away towards his own home.
With luck on his side, Jon started up his truck and drove home. Once inside he called Ponch.
Ponch was just about to leave to check on Jon when the telephone rang. "Hello. Jon? What happened? You sound all shaky."
"I just had run in with a van. I think it was the same guy Ponch."
"Are you hurt?"
"No, my truck needs some work, but I'm okay."
"Great. You stay put. I'll be over there in a few minutes."
Ponch hung up with Jon and decided to call Joe and tell him to meet at Jon's.
By the time Joe and Ponch arrived Jon had changed into his Wranglers and a T-shirt. At least if someone comes in to shot me I'll be comfortable, Jon grimly thought. Just then Ponch knocked on the door. Jon stood there, reluctant to answer. "Jon, it's me, Ponch. Open the door."
Jon opened the door and Ponch and Joe walked in. "Hey Partner I brought reinforcements," Ponch said pointing at Joe.
"Hey Sarge, Ponch. I'm glad you guys came."
"Well, Frank told me what you said. I figured you would want a little company for a while. You've had quite a day."
"Yeah," Jon said quietly.
" Jon what's wrong," Joe asked. "You've had guys try to take a swipe at you and Frank before."
"That's just it Joe. It's always been the both of us. It's me they want now. Not Ponch, me. I don't care to admit it, I'm terrified right now. I came into my apartment and immediately checked all the rooms to make sure no one was hiding in the closet to get me. I just don't know what to do." Jon sat on the couch and put his head in his hands. He felt defeated.
"Jon, we're going to find this guy," Joe said trying to give his friend some hope. He knew this was really getting to Jon.
"Hey Partner, I brought my stuff. After you called I figured I would stay here tonight..and, you know, make sure nothing happens," Ponch explained.
Jon looked up at his friend and partner. The three of them had been to hell and back together. "Thanks guys, for everything."
"Jon I've been thinking," Joe said interrupting the awkward moment. "We can't have this guy know that he's gotten to you. So, tomorrow I want you to just go on your normal beat like always, but you are to stay with someone at all times."
"Got it Joe," Jon said feeling much better now that they had a plan.
"You two get some rest. I'm going to go home before Betty starts calling around looking for me." Joe left hoping Jon would keep a clear head.
The next day Jon could not shake the feeling that everyone was watching him. Even though they were on their regular beat and nothing big had happened.
Meanwhile Ray was already putting his next plan into action. "Today Baker, you're gonna hurt. You're gonna hurt for every time one of you stinking cops did me wrong," Ray said as he watched the two officers from an overpass.
At midday, Ponch was beginning to think that it was just a normal day. Looking into his mirror he noticed a car weaving in and out of traffic. Before Ponch could comment about the car it swerved in front of Jon and speed off. "Let's get him," Ponch said, glad to have something break up the boredom or the day. They followed the speeding car into an old factory parking lot. The two officers stopped their motorcycles several feet from each other. The driver got out and made a run for the building. Ponch called in their location to dispatch and joined Jon, who was already chasing after the speeder. " Jon we should stay together. Remember what Getraer said." Ponch watched as his partner ignored his shouts.
Jon heard Ponch yelling at him, but he was to involved in trying to get this guy to pay attention to what he had actually said. As he rounded a corner Jon's baton got hung on a conveyor belt and slid out of his belt. Jon couldn't stop to pick it up. He was going to catch this guy.
Ponch tried to follow Jon but there were to many twists and turns. The factory had been closed for years but the machines were still in there collecting dust. When he finally caught up with Jon, Ponch found his partner standing with a disappointed look on his face. "What's wrong Jon?"
"I lost him," Jon said flatly. " He was right in front of me one minute then he was gone."
"We better call it in. Sarge is going to chew you out if he finds out you ran off without someone there with you."
"Yeah, I just had to let some frustration out I guess." The two walked out of the factory, adrenaline still pumping. Climbing onto his motor, Jon realized he did not have his baton. " He Ponch I'm going to go back inside and get my baton, it fell off some how."
"Okay I'll tell dispatch we lost him," Ponch replied.
Jon looked back at Ponch and noticed his partner was using his mic. " You're to lazy to go to your own motor?"
"Hey I have to save my strength for later," he answered with a grin.
Jon was twenty feet from the factory when an explosion ripped through it. Jon tried to turn away from it but it was to late. A piece of the wall hit Jon in the head; Jon stumbled but stayed upright.
Ponch saw Jon stumble and started to run to him when another explosion sent his partner crashing into Ponch's motor. Ponch stomach churned when he heard the sickening thud of Jon's body hit the motorcycle. Part of Jon's pant leg was on fire. Ponch quickly smothered it out with his gloved hands. After checking for a pulse he picked up his mic, praying it worked. "LA 15 Mary 4 we have an 11-99 at the old Magnetek factory. Roll ambulance to this location. Hurry!"
Joe was sitting in his office going over the list of prisoners recently released when he heard Ponch's call go through. Oh no. Not Jon. Not again. He thought. Joe's chest began to tighten as he ran to the parking lot. He was going to straight to the hospital to be with he two officers. Joe wasn't sure which one would need him more.
Ponch looked down at Jon again and began to check all the injuries: cuts covered Jon's face, his uniform was torn and soaked with blood, his breathing was very labored. He also noticed several burns on Jon's arms and his leg. Finally the blessed sound of the ambulance filled the air. The paramedics stabilized Jon and drove off, leaving Ponch to wait for the truck to carry his motor back to Central.
Joe sat in the emergency waiting room waiting for them to bring Jon in when he heard a voice call his name. Turning around he saw Bonnie Clark. "Bonnie, what are you doing here?"
"I was just doing a follow up on a hit and run. Why are you here?"
Joe looked down at the floor and then back up at Bonnie. "It's Jon. There's been an accident. I heard Frank call in an 11-99 and then I came straight over here. I haven't seen Jon or Frank." As if on cue two paramedics came in rolling a gurney. Joe barley caught the sight of Jon's blond hair before they rushed him into the back.
Joe just stood there, unable to move. A few moments later his silence was broken by Bonnie. "Sarge, are you okay?"
"Yeah Bonnie. I'm just a little shaken up that's all. Jon didn't even look that bad when that creep tried to take him and Grossman out a few years ago."
Ponch finally reached the hospital. He had waited forever it seemed for the truck to come and pick up his wreaked motor. The whole way to the hospital Ponch felt uneasy riding Jon's bike. It was unnatural to him. The first thing he noticed when he walked into the hospital was Bonnie and Joe. "Bonnie, Sarge, has Jon come in yet?"
"Yeah Frank they just brought him in. He looks terrible," Joe said regretting his last remark.
"Ponch are you hurt," Bonnie asked noticing the far off look in her friend's eyes.
"No I'm not hurt," Ponch said as he sat down. Exhaustion was catching up with him. Ponch wished nothing more then for this day to end. Joe and Bonnie both saw how tired Ponch was and left him alone.
Ponch sat in the waiting room with his head in his hands when a nurse walked up to him. "Excuse me, sir, your sergeant told me to give these things to you," she said as she handed him a brown paper bag.
Looking inside Ponch realized it was full of Jon's things. Jon's uniform was folded neatly on the bottom. On top of that was his belt and badge. Ponch picked up Jon's wallet and opened it. There was a family portrait from years ago, a picture of Jon and his sister at Christmas time, and last a picture of him, Jon, and Joe at a rodeo Jon had participated in. Sighing Ponch put the wallet back into the bag and picked up Jon's helmet. It was scratch and dented; part of the gold paint had been scraped off. A couple of tears slipped off of Ponch's cheek and splattered on the helmet.
Dr. Tony Richards walked into the waiting room. He was amazed at how few CHP officers were there. Usually when a lawman was injured the rest of there filled up half the waiting area and then some. But this time there was only a handful.
Joe was pacing back and forth when the doctor approached him. "Are you with Jon Baker," Dr. Richards asked.
Joe stopped and straightened up a little and answered," Yes, how is he?"
"Well Officer Baker is very lucky. I have run numerous tests and they all show no spinal damage."
"Great, when can I see him," Ponch asked.
Ignoring the question Dr.Richards continued," Officer baker has many burns on his arms and left leg, three broken ribs, and he has a concussion."
"Yeah but when can I see him," Ponch asked again emphasizing each word.
"You may see him. He's in room 345."
As if instantly Ponch and Joe were on their way to Jon's room. Bonnie had left just before the doctor came in to finish a report. When Ponch reached room 345 he stood outside and took a deep breath, trying to gather his emotions. The first thing he noticed when he saw Jon was how small his partner seemed against all the machinery that surrounded him. Sitting down beside Jon's bed Ponch carefully laid his hand on top of Jon's bandaged right one. "Hey ole buddy. You know you really need to wake up. I'm not very good out there by myself, and we know the Sarge and I are lousy partners." Ponch hung his head down and looked at the white hospital sheets.
The voice was so small Ponch almost missed it, but he heard Jon weekly say," Yeah I know...Joe didn't stop .....complain about you for a month."
After a few more minutes of talking Joe noticed how tired Jon was getting and said," Frank we better go and let Jon rest."
Ponch started to complain but when he saw Jon was sound asleep he agreed," I think you're right. Besides, I think I know who did this." When they got into the hall Ponch continued, " You remember about three or four years ago when Jon wreaked so bad his helmet was dented. Well while I was in the lobby looking at Jon's things it reminded me of that."
"Well do you remember this guy's name?"
"Yeah, I remember. It's Ray Taylor. I'll never forget him."
"Ray Taylor...he just got out on parole for good behavior. Frank I think you have something, " Joe said as they got on their bikes to go back to Central.
The next two days went by quickly. Jon was gaining strength and use of his right hand. "Yeah they tell me if I'm a good boy I'll be able to go home tomorrow or the next day," Jon said as he and Ponch had their daily talk. " I hate hospitals."
Outside Ray was in his van mixing up some liquids. "If this don't finish up Baker nothing will," he said aloud filing a syringe with a blue liquid. "All I have to do is inject this stuff into his IV and BANG, instant heart attack. Now I'll call the hospital and have that stupid partner, Poncherello, paged and out of my way."
Jon was complaining about the upcoming charity rodeo he was going to miss when Ponch was paged. "Hey I'll be right back Jon." Ponch said.
A few minutes later Ray walked in dressed as a RN. " Well Officer Baker how are you feeling today?"
"Fine, but where's Alice? She is my normal nurse at this time.'
"She had a family emergency."
"Oh, well, what are you doing with that stuff," Jon asked pointing to the needle, " I don't need any medication."
"But the doctor said it was time. I have to obey his orders."
"Who are you? What are you doing," Jon asked getting nervous.
"I'm Ray Taylor. You messed up my life, now I'm going to end yours." Ray advanced towards Jon's IV, but paused to look at the look of panic in Jon's eyes.
Jon saw Ray pause and took the opportunity to painfully pull the IV needle out of his hand. Enraged Ray threw Jon out of the bed and onto the floor. Jon yelled in agony as his ribs hit the merciless floor.
Ponch was walking back to Jon's room, wondering who would page him and then hang up, when he heard Jon's pain filled voice. Rushing in he saw Jon curled up in the fetal position on the floor. Ray was holding a needle ready to plunge it into Jon. Quickly Ponch tackled Ray and knocked him out with one swift punch. Only after making sure Ray was securely cuffed did he turn to Jon and ask, " Are you okay Partner?"
"Yeah, I am now," Jon answered, looking at Ray Taylor.
A week later Jon stood in the locker room adjusting his uniform for the fifth time. He was running late but he still wanted to look his best. He had not felt so nervous about briefing since he was a rookie. He slid into the back and sat down. "Okay lets get out there and do what they pay you guys for." Jon thought he was in the clear until Joe added, " Oh, Baker, welcome back."