T Jefferson Parker


The Renegades

1

Hood got partnered up with Terry Laws that night, another swing shift in the desert, another hundred and fifty miles of motion on asphalt, another Crown Victoria Law Enforcement Interceptor that would feel like home.

They walked to the motor yard without talking. Hood was tall and lanky and Laws had a weight lifter’s body that made his jacket tight across his shoulders. Various sections of the lot were marked by signs bearing the names of fallen deputies, and there were other sections awaiting names.

Hood logged the mileage and checked the tires for pressure and wear while Terry checked the fluid levels. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department patrol fleet was old and worn, so they had to check even the obvious. Two days ago the LASD Lancaster station had lost another prowl car engine, more than 260K miles on it, finally succumbing just half a mile short of the yard with a clanging metallic death rattle. The deputy had pushed it to the curb and called a tow.

Hood drove. He bounced the car from the yard onto the boulevard and felt the comforting sense of motion that connected him with last night’s motion, which connected him with the motion of the night before, and of the week and the months before that. Motion ruled. He believed that it might lead him to what he was looking for. It had to do with a woman who had died, and a piece of something in him, perhaps soul, that had gone missing.

It was windy and getting dark, and the desert cold was sharp and weightless as a razor blade. A tumbleweed skipped across Avenue J. The overhead traffic light at Division Street shivered on its cables. Snow was coming and Hood had not yet seen snow in this desert.

He drove and watched and listened as Terry talked about his young daughters-basketball players, good students. Terry’s friends called him Mr.



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