Title: Running

Author: Lynda D. Mayfield

Notes: This season takes place for me in ‘real time’ meaning: it’s October now and Angela was born in May, so she’s five months old. Each season, I’m out of their lives from May to the end of September, but heck we all need a vacation. I would rate this story PG-13 because I wanted to move some elements of the characters lives into maturity.

Disclaimer: Someone else owns the characters, not me. I put them back the way I found ‘em. Any similarities to any person(s) or circumstance(s), real or fictitious, are completely coincidental.

Dedication and thanks-To Chuck, Clarence, Sheree, Judson, Nia, Noble, and the others. Without you there’d be no show!

 

Episode 4 of WTRVS
Running
Friday Afternoon:

Peter Stoker was seventeen years old and worried. He’d seen some cars pull up with sirens on top…they weren’t county cops…maybe Rangers, but he wasn’t sure. He was upstairs while his brother and the others were talking with their boss.
The small two-level house was their office. It was on the outskirts of northern Dallas. He knew, as he looked out of the front bedroom window upstairs, that he had to run. He grabbed the briefcase off the bed and put out fire escape ladder in the back window. There were no cars out back. As he left with the briefcase, he didn’t bother to see how his brother, Gary, fared.

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The five men who were talking around the card table in the living room were greeted with a cacophony of noise at the door. Texas Rangers were yelling for them to open up.
“Don’t do it,” Gary Stoker said, “We have to hide the stash first.”
“I’ll do it,” George Leonard volunteered.
“Hurry up!” Ronald Casey warned. The four others worked for him, and he didn’t need them getting caught with what would be next week’s profits. George headed into the kitchen.
Before anyone else could speak, the door was broken down by one well-placed kick from one of the Rangers outside. Paul Roberts and Sam Stockton tried to punch their way out of trouble.
Sydney took on Paul, whose first move was to punch at her. She easily blocked him and kicked him in the stomach. He bent over and then reached a hand up to grab her hair and try pulling her to the floor. At the same time he tried to kick her face. She blocked that with one hand and kicked his crotch. Instinctively, Paul cupped his crotch with both hands and doubled over completely, freeing her hair.
Sydney shoved him to the ground and cuffed him.  Sam Stockton tried to drop kick Gage with his first attempt. Gage jump kicked Sam in the face and waited for the man to get up for more punishment if he dared.
Sam dared. He rammed Gage’s stomach with his head, and Gage backpedaled five feet into a wall of the house. Not yet out of tricks, Gage hooked his leg around Sam’s and pulled him off balance, forcing him to fall backwards. With one good punch to the face, Sam was knocked unconscious and Gage cuffed him.
Ronald reached for his gun as his two comrades were taken down, but Walker drew his faster.
“Don’t even think of it,” Walker warned, “Assume the position, against the wall.”
This left Gary by himself. He turned and ran the way George had gone to hide the drugs. Jimmy was on his tail and jumped him, knocking him to the floor of the kitchen. Trivette cuffed him and then went to help the other three clear the house.

Upstairs, in the first bedroom on his right, he found George. The drug dealer was sitting in the corner, hoping not to be noticed. It was a difficult task to accomplish, as the only piece of furniture in the room was a dresser. It was next to that where George sat.
“Let me see your hands,” Jimmy ordered him. George obeyed.
“Get up, and lean against the wall,” Jimmy said, starting with the usual search before cuffing his second suspect.
“Hey guys, come look at this!” Gage called from the second bedroom.
“Stay put,” Trivette ordered George. George nodded in fear.
When all four were in the room, Gage pointed to the open window, “Someone else was here.”
“But who?” Walker asked. They had the five suspects they were looking for. He stared curiously at the muddy boot prints on the ground.
“We’ll have to find out. We don’t want this ring to continue,” Trivette said as the others agreed. Jimmy went to retrieve his prisoner and search the bedroom. He found five one-quart storage bags full of assorted drugs taped to the top drawer of the dresser. Shaking his head, he led George downstairs, taking the drugs down with him.

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Peter didn’t know what he was going to do, but the first thing he could think of was getting into the creek behind the house. If the cops came back with scent hounds, he’d do well to jump in the creek and follow it downstream. He kept the briefcase above the water and waded in the creek for an hour to hide his trail.
The creek water came up to his waste, but it was October, and still warm out. After he got out of the water, he emptied his boots and dried and wrung his pants out as best he could. He tossed his socks away. Wet socks were no use to him now. His boots were going to rub his ankles raw.
Right before he started his trip again, he counted the money that was in the briefcase. When the twenties and tens together totaled over six thousand dollars, he stuffed some of it in his pocket and put the rest away. He would have to keep the briefcase always in his sight.
Gary and his associates formed a small gang of drug dealers who served the wealthy communities nearby. They could get anything the rich kids wanted, and the rich kids were willing to pay big.
It was almost dark when he came across a road sign for Greenville, telling him it was still several miles off. He had been walking on the road for about an hour. The good news was that he was going into a town that had a Wal-Mart, and that meant dry clothes.
After running from the law all day, Peter had built up a significant hunger, so he bought his clothes as quickly as he could manage, then headed to the Denny’s for some food. He even tipped the waitress extra.
He had passed by an old rundown motel as he made his way to Wal-Mart. It was there that he rented a room for the weekend. They didn’t even ask him for ID, as long as he had money, and that it was cash money in advance made the manager grin.

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“Who else was there?” Walker asked again. He was interviewing Gary Stoker.
He already had the answer. George Leonard was a bit of a loud mouth. Ronald Casey had been genuinely surprised to find out that there was someone upstairs.
“Nobody I know of,” Gary shrugged. He secretly hoped Peter was okay.
“Walker, look at this picture we found when we took Gary’s wallet off him,”
Jimmy said, showing Walker a 2X3 of Gary and a younger boy who looked a lot like him.
“That’s probably him,” Walker nodded, “Bet he’s your brother.”
“What do you care?” Gary asked.
“So he WAS at the house?” Jimmy asked.
Gary sighed. He knew he was in a lot of trouble, but if Peter had grabbed the money and run, he knew the boy would be okay. So he nodded affirmatively to Jimmy.
“Who is he?” Walker asked.
“Look,” Gary started slowly, “Peter wasn’t involved in anything. Our mama died last year, and he came to me to take care of him. It was that or foster care, and he and I, we’re blood.”
“What about your father?” Jimmy asked.
“Run off eight years ago. Just as well, too. He drinks like a fish. Went and got him a blonde whore and we ain’t seen him since,” Gary said, anger flashing through his eyes.
“Where would Peter run to then?” Walker asked.
“Don’t know. He won’t go back to the house…he knows better. And he don’t sell drugs or do them. He just lives with me’s all,” Gary tried to defend his brother.
“We have to find him. He can’t just be out there on his own,” Walker said.
Jimmy asked, “Are you sure you don’t have any other relatives we can place him with when we do?”
“Nobody. Just me and him and now he’s lost me, too. Hell, he’s lost it all,” Gary whined.
“Yeah, well, when you’re selling drugs…drugs that people O.D. on and die from, you’re bound to get caught and go to jail,” Jimmy said unsympathetically.
“Hey! I didn’t say I was an angel. I was just trying to earn a living and keep my brother safe and it worked, for a whole year. So if you find him, don’t put him in jail. He didn’t do any of the selling. All the other boys will tell you,” Gary pleaded.
He had seen the light, but it was too late.
“We’ll ask ‘em,” Jimmy said as he and Walker left the interrogation room, “Where to now, Walker?”
“Home. My wife and daughter are waiting for me. Do me a favor though, and put out an A.P.B. on Peter, send it to all the police departments around,” Walker asked.
“Sure thing,” Jimmy said, winking at his partner.

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Friday evening:

Five-month-old Angela Walker gurgled and squealed in her swing as she watched her mother making dinner in the kitchen. Alex had strategically placed the baby for maximum supervision while she made the fajitas she knew Walker was partial to. It was the weekend and she didn’t have a case she had to work on. Walker had called and said he was in the middle of one, but that he’d be home for the night.
Angela squealed with delight again.
“I know, Daddy’s on his way here, and he has to maybe work tomorrow, but we’ve got him for the night,” Alex cooed in reply.
Angela gave a little laugh at that. Alex set the stove on low for a few minutes, just to get that extra thorough cook through and picked up her daughter.
“Have I told you today that I love you?” she asked Angela, “Well, if I didn’t, I do.
We’re at the easy part now, so you want to help?”
Holding her daughter in one arm, Alex skillfully moved food to plates and added some spices. She went into the living room to check the news and wait for her husband to come home.
Exactly five minutes later, Walker came through the door.
“Hi beautiful,” he said.
“Hi yourself,” Alex said as she stood with Angela in her arms.
“I meant the baby,” Walker teased, earning a light slap on his shoulder from his wife, “You know I think you’re beautiful too. How d’you think Angela got here?”
Alex smiled, “I have dinner ready.”
“It smells good, whatever it is,” Walker complimented her.
“Thank you.”

“Y’know, I wouldn’t mind having another one,” Walker said out of the blue as they ate.
“What’s that? Another horse?” Alex asked.
“No, I mean, a playmate for Angela,” Walker said, a smile tugging the corners of his mouth.
“Really?” Alex asked, “I’d been thinking along those same lines recently. Maybe not right away, but not too long from now either.”
Walker grinned at her and continued chowing down on the fajitas. He knew there was a reason he’d married her. And it wasn’t just Alex’s cooking.

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“You’re late for dinner,” Erica greeted Jimmy as he entered her apartment.
“I was doing a favor for Walker. We did a big drug bust earlier,” Jimmy explained.
“Well,” Erica said, “If you were doing a favor for Walker, all is forgiven.”
“Gee thanks,” Jimmy laughed as he kissed her cheek. He pulled her into his embrace and asked, “What’s dinner?”
“It’s a lazy dinner tonight. I went out to Boston Market and got that chicken special,” Erica informed him. He kissed her forehead, then her nose.
“I hope you started dinner without me. I’m sorry I kept you waiting,” Jimmy apologized.
“I waited,” Erica smiled as she wiggled away from him to get a beer from the refrigerator, “You want one too?”
“That’d be great,” Jimmy said. She handed him one, and he popped both bottle caps off.
With a minimum of effort, they sat down to dinner. Erica had been home since six, an hour later than usual because she went out to pick up dinner. But the table had already been set before she left, so all she had to do was serve dinner.
“Jimmy, where do you want to go for our honeymoon?” Erica asked.
“I don’t know…anywhere’s fine,” Jimmy smiled at her. He took a big bite of mashed potatoes to keep his mouth busy.
“How about Hawaii?” Erica asked.
Jimmy’s eyebrows rose, “I don’t make that much money, and neither do you.”
“Well, there’s one place you DON”T want to go. What about Puerto Rico?”  Erica suggested.
“That I could probably do,” Jimmy nodded, “I think that’s a wonderful idea.”
“Good, you plan that, and it’s one less thing I have to do for this wedding.”
“Me? I can’t plan my way out of a paper bag. Erica, really. If you want it done right, get a travel agent. I don’t mind paying for it,” Jimmy bucked at the idea.
“YOU get a travel agent. I will not handle this wedding alone, Trivette! I can’t fly my mother in now to help...she lives in Maine. I can’t afford to put her up here till next May and honestly, it wouldn’t be fair to her,” Erica yelled.
“Okay, Okay, I’m sorry,” Jimmy put his hands up apologetically. He knew he was in trouble when she called him Trivette, “You’re right. I shouldn’t be putting this all on you. I’ll take care of it, I promise.”
Erica still seemed mad, “I mean it Jimmy, if you don’t handle this, I won’t be happy.”
Jimmy stood up and cleared his plate. He’d done it this time. He never fought with Erica over something so simple. The planning for the wedding was really stressing her out. Erica followed him into the kitchen a few minutes later and started loading her dishwasher. Jimmy took her by the shoulders, so she was looking in his eyes.
“Honey, I really am sorry. We’ll go to Puerto Rico, and I’ll take care of it, okay?” he asked, truly sincere.
“Okay,” Erica said. She let him hold her until her frustration subsided.


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Saturday Morning :

Peter woke up in his motel with a start. He couldn’t believe it was only a day since he’d gone on the run. Late on Friday, he’d ordered a pizza in and its remnants were in a box on the floor. He picked up the box and folded it until it fit into the small trashcan in his room.
He decided he’d make another trip to the Wal-Mart to get supplies he would need if he planned to stay in that town for any length of time. He included on his shopping list some more clothes, trash bags, and a video game system.
He reloaded both his wallet and pockets with a couple of twenties and some tens, then headed off to a fast food joint for breakfast.


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Walker headed back to the house first thing the next morning to follow the trail of the boot prints. What he found didn’t surprise him much. The boot prints led to a creek behind the house and didn’t come out on the other side, which meant the kid had gone into the creek. Walker guessed the boy went downstream, based on the fact that downstream was also downhill and the boy would take the path of least resistance.
Walker checked the map in his car to find out where the creek went. There were some major towns, but they were all miles away, and he didn’t think that a young man with no car would get too far. Peter didn’t sound like the type to steal.
Walker placed his bet on a small town between Dallas and Greenville.  Walker pulled out his cell phone and called Jimmy.
“Trivette,” Jimmy said, noting it was Walker’s number on his cell.
“Jimmy, I think I figured out where Peter is. I’ll come pick you up and we can take a look for him,” Walker said.
“That’s fine, I’m at Erica’s. See you in twenty minutes?” Trivette asked.
“Sooner if I can,” Walker said, ending the call.


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Peter liked the little town he had found. No one bothered him much about anything. He could do whatever he wanted, as long as he had money. And he always kept his money with him. Wherever he went, so did the money. He’d bought a backpack so he could dump the cumbersome briefcase.
No one asked him if he was new in town or if he went to school. It was the weekend, so they wouldn’t wonder, but he figured he could lay low between nine and two during the day and no one would even care.  He looked old for his age. Or so he told himself.
Peter slid on his new boots and left the motel to get lunch. He figured Denny’s would be fine, again. He had just closed the door to his room when he saw a GMC Jimmy with sirens on top of the roof coming in from about a quarter mile away. He ducked back into the motel room for an hour. When he came back out, the truck was gone.


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“He’s not here,” Jimmy said, “Can we please forget about this for the weekend?”
“I can’t, Trivette, something’s telling me he’s here,” Walker said, his eyes on the road.
“Well, if he is here, he doesn’t want to be found. We’ve checked all the major restaurants and stores. Can’t we let it rest for today?” Jimmy argued.
“All right, I guess it won’t do us any good to keep driving around town,” Walker gave in.
“Yeah, people will be suspicious of US,” Jimmy said. Walker rolled his eyes at his partner.


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Monday Morning :

Sydney rolled over in her sleep on the double bed in her apartment and ran into Gage’s chest. He was lying on his back. She rolled the other way, into a spoon position. The sun shone on Gage’s eyes, and he rubbed them, opening them slowly to look at Sydney. Then he realized they both had to be at work soon.
“Syd, time to wake up,” Gage urged her.
“Gage, what do you want?” she grumbled back.
“Sun’s up. Better wake up, we have to get to work by nine,” Gage pointed out. Sydney sat up, the sheet falling to her waist, giving Gage a good look at his lover.
After ten seconds, Sydney realized she’d slept nude and why.
After a movie and dinner the last two nights in a row, she’d invited Gage in for more time together. She wanted him to spend the night. She wanted to be his and his alone, and she didn’t want him to leave until morning. She’d told Gage that much Sunday morning, and he was in total agreement.
“Stop gawking Gage,” Sydney said, pulling a T-shirt from the nightstand drawer on her side.
“Sorry,” Gage said, running a hand through tousled hair, “Thank you for this weekend. It’s been incredible.”
“I know,” she smiled, “It sure was. You know, I’m not even running late. I don’t usually get up for another ten minutes.”
“Well, we both have to shower anyway. You want to go first?” Gage offered,
“We have to help Walker with that drug bust from Friday, get our reports in.”
“Why don’t we shower together?” Sydney asked.
“Good idea.”
“Do you think you…and you…can behave?”
“We’ll behave,” Gage laughed.
An hour later, both Rangers were headed out the door to work.

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Peter was pleased with how his weekend had gone. He paid for another three days at the motel on Sunday night. Then he made sure he got up at seven for breakfast so he could hide out till school would be over.
The morning shift manager of the fast food joint, Charles Norton, noticed the kid who was eating there for the second time in three days. His friends had noticed him always walking around with a backpack. Yet when the boy left, he wasn’t headed toward the high school. Charles thought perhaps he should follow the young man, make sure he stayed safe. And make sure he could find him again later.


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Rangers Gage and Cooke entered Company B looking refreshed and both were grinning. Walker and Trivette were used to this behavior, ever since the other two had been reunited as partners.
“What’s up?” Gage asked.
Walker had a map of Dallas and its vicinities open on the desk, “We’re looking for a kid named Peter Stoker. He ran off during our bust last Friday. Trivette and I’ll check for him in Greenville, but I want you two to check this little town here in between.”
“No problem,” Gage said, eyeballing the town’s position.
“Let’s get going then,” Walker said. Trivette folded the map, and the foursome headed out of Company B.


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Monday, Noon:

Walker and Trivette had been in constant contact with Gage and Cooke since they left Ranger HQ at ten that morning. None of them had seen Peter, nor could they find anyone who had.
“I’m getting hungry. We’ve been driving and walking around for a good hour.
You want to grab a bite at that Denny’s up there?”
“Sounds good to me,” Sydney agreed.
Gage parked the car and they both exited it. They heard a cry for help behind them. Turning, they saw a young boy wearing a red T-shirt, blue jeans, and black cowboy boots. He was running full tilt at them, and also carried a backpack.
“Whoa, what’s going on?” Gage inquired. He had the boy by his shoulders.
“Those two might be the problem,” Sydney suggested as two older men came running up to them.
“We’re Texas Rangers…what’s going on here?” Gage asked.
“Um, nothing,” Charles replied as his cohort half-hid behind him.
“You have a reason for chasing this kid?” Sydney asked.
“He’s skipping school,” Charles said quickly.
“More of a matter for the truancy office,” Gage pointed out, “If that’s your only reason, then get going.
Grateful to be out of the hands of the law, Charles and his friend walked away.
“They were going to kill me,” Peter said.
“Why would they do that?” Sydney asked.
“Don’t know. I’m new here,” Peter said.
“Are you Peter Stoker?” Gage asked, “Because we need to talk to you if you are.”
Peter made a move to run, but Gage pegged him to the car.
“I wouldn’t try that again,” Sydney said.
“Check his bag,” Gage said while he held Peter to the car. Sydney unzipped the backpack to find it full of money. She surmised it was the drug money they had searched for in vain the week before.
“Where’ve you been staying?” Sydney asked.
“That motel over there. Room 106. Key’s in my pocket,” Peter admitted. He was glad he still had his life, but not too happy about being with cops, Rangers or otherwise.
“I’m going to have to cuff you and take you in,” Gage informed him as he did so.
“Why?!”
“If you’ve spent any of that money, it’s tampering with evidence. Then there’s evading the police. I’m sure the D.A. can find other charges to go along with that.
Resist me and we’ll add that,” Gage said when Peter started to struggle a little.

“I’ll let Walker and Jimmy know we’ve found him,” Sydney said. Gage nodded, both having forgotten their hunger in the wake of catching their suspect.


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Tuesday evening:
In the office of Company B

Rangers Walker, Trivette, Gage and Cooke were seated at their respective desks when Alex came in with Angela in her arms and a diaper bag on her shoulder, along with her purse.
“Hey, look who’s here!” Trivette said, as he was the first one to look up.
“Hello, Jimmy,” Alex smiled.
“Hi honey,” Walker stood up and greeted his wife, kissing her on the cheek.
“Look how big Angela’s getting,” Sydney said as she and Gage walked over.
“I know,” Alex said.
“I thought I was picking Angela up today,” Walker said, a bit confused.
“We wanted to surprise you,” Alex explained.
“How did everything go in court, with Peter and his brother?” Gage asked.
“Well, Peter got two years probation for spending some of the drug money. He really didn’t know that what he was doing was wrong. He was running scared; afraid the police would kill him. He’ll have to go into a foster home, but he seemed okay with that.
“His brother Gary was sentenced to seven years with parole possible after five years. The others are still awaiting their trials,” Alex said, handing Angela to Walker. Just then Erica walked in.
“Hi,” Jimmy said, giving her a big grin.
“I’m making sure you leave on time tonight,” Erica said in a determined tone of voice.
“Yes ma’am,” Trivette said. He looked at Walker, who gave him the nod to get going. Trivette grabbed his hat off the desk.
“See you tomorrow,” Gage called after him. Jimmy merely waved in response.
“We’ve got to get going, too,” Sydney said, giving Gage a ‘don’t argue’ look. He didn’t argue as they both went to their desk to get their things and leave.
“I guess that leaves just us,” Walker said, kissing Angela’s head.
“No reason for us to stay behind. Let’s go, Cowboy,” Alex smiled. She put her arm around her husband and together they walked out.

The End