Part 12 – Helping

Before Grace can get “What the fuck are you doing?!” shouted out of her mouth Huddie is springing through the door of the stolen Trax, he’s damn spry for a 170-year-old fella.  Once out he’s on the run doing some wuxia arm waving accompanying words that sound like an Italian composer discussing his newest composition.  When Huddie’s magic hits them Big Pudge and the Squarehead twins collapse to the ground. 

Unfortunately for everyone the little police woman who looks like she’s in her mid-40s but is actually young doesn’t do any such thing.  She sways slightly like someone bumped into her but she doesn’t go down.  She was pretty freaked out when someone slammed into her cruiser and everyone else collapsing to the ground like puppets with cut strings doesn’t help her to be less freaked out.  Having no idea what’s going on she does exactly what they told her NOT to do in the academy when you don’t know what’s going on – she draws her service weapon.   

Grace waves, casting her malfunction spell as she walks right past the officer to finally get her chance to ask Huddie what the hell he’s doing.  Huddie responds to this query by taking a step in Grace’s direction and then doubling over like he got kicked in the gut, followed by face-planting into the pavement and busting himself open.  He’s left laying slumped in the “inch-worm” position with his ass in the air. 

Grace drags Huddie halfway up off the ground while waving for Andrea to help her help him.  The one remaining conscious law enforcement professional holsters her weapon and radios for back-up with wide eyes. 

Andrea is not in a helping mood, she has had enough.  First Dale won’t give her any more stuff and then Cassie, who’s always causing problems and it not even her real daughter, is outside yelling and then there’s a fireball and then Dale manhandles her and then his friends show up and take her to a coffee house like maybe they’re going to kidnap her or something and then Grace shows up and then then the cops and then his other guy and it’s all just too much.  She just wanted to get high and work on her vision board.  She never wanted any of this.   

So Andrea doesn’t help Grace with Huddie.  What Andrea does is she runs.  She has no plan on where she’s running to but it’s fight or flight time and Andrea has never been a fighter.  Before she met Dale she was in good shape.  She used to run four miles every day before AND after work.  In college she rowed double sculls and she told herself, somewhat smugly and judgily, that she would never be “one of those athletes” that lets themselves go after college.  But was hard to stay motivated to work out once Dale arrived on the scene.  For some reason.   

So Andrea doesn’t make it ten feet before Grace catches her.  Grace tries to grab her by the back of the shirt but she gets a hold of the wedding ring necklace instead – the chain of which  is more or less unbreakable due to the magic involved.  Getting yanked backwards by a tiny metal collar isn’t fun, and even less fun is when Andrea’s legs fly out from under her Looney Toons style and she falls on her ass.   

Grace lets go of the neck chain and shifts to trying to help Andrea up “Oh shit, sorry, I didn’t mean . . . don’t run off on me, we need to . . . oh Jesus fuck!” 

That last bit is when the tiny officer sprays her in the face with mace.   

Grace spins around drunkenly and can’t help but wipe her eyes “Oh you bitch, you dirty bitch!” 

The littlest officer grabs Grace by the wrist, intending to try the old spin and cuff move, which does work in a lot of situations, despite differences in size and strength.  There are tricks to getting control of someone bigger than you (within reason) and cuffing them, you learn that what you need to do is twist and lean, use leverage, not strength.   

Often times this works well because your average person isn’t used to pain.  Or just the experience of being grabbed in earnest.  But as one of the academy instructors whose twice had to put the bracelets on NFL linemen tells cadets, there are exceptions that technique can’t overcome.  Some people are used to getting hit, and they are used to having someone put hands on them.  So used to it that it doesn’t mean shit to them. 

This instructor would relate a story where one of those NFL linemen he placed under arrest moments before was hit in the heat with a piece of rebar and didn’t back off a step.  Which isn’t to say he wasn’t hurt, because he was, but he didn’t care.  In those cases no leverage trick is going to make up the difference.   

Grace breaks the officer’s grip instinctually.  She hates being grabbed.  Her instinctual next move is to get position on her assailant and choke them but she stops this maneuver because she doesn’t want to assault a police officer, who is just doing her job after all.   

“Don’t do that again!” Grace commands blindly in the general direction of where she thinks the officer is. 

Taking a deep breath Grace manages to calm herself enough to dredge up the last of her magical reserves to cast a cleansing spell and remove the burning liquid from her eyes well enough to see.  Although not to see well.  See that the officer is considering going for her baton.   

Grace shakes her head “Don’t do that, just wait for back-up please.” 

The officer darts a glance at her fallen partner and the other two officers “What did you do to them?” 

Grace is annoyed because she didn’t do anything, Huddie did clearly, but she ignores this question and waves for Andrea to help her with Huddie where she dropped him moaning in a heap “Andrea please help me, I don’t want to yell at you but we need to get out of here now.” 

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