Darrel hooked the tow truck to the back of the truck so he could pull it out of the building. As he pulled the truck out, a tire caught a nail from a wall stud and went flat. He shifted the truck away from the street so he could disconnect and reconnect in the front. He popped the hood and looked in. He said, “it could be worse.” Wendy said, “like being caught here worse?” Darrel looked over at Wendy saying, “good point lets get moving and check the damage back home.” He hooked the truck and set the lights on the back as the others got into the van and drove away. Wendy said, “when we get home, we need a meeting.” Scott asked, “what was all that about?” After a long moment of silence, Wendy said, “I don’t know.” Darrel pulled into the drive and parked the truck in the yard. He put a couple of the other cars around the truck hoping to hide it just in case someone came around looking for answers. Next to the truck was an old ice-cream truck and memories of a simpler time long before he picked up a gun.
“Hey mister I want ice-cream,” the small girl chirped out while attempting to toss a five-dollar-bill on the high counter of Dan’s ice-cream truck. Dan smiled and asked, “hey little missy, just what kind will it be today?” The girl smiled and said, “Mickey.” Dan pulled out a Mickey Mouse shaped ice-cream bar and handed it to the girl then went for the change when she said, “keep the change, please.” Dan smiled at the nearly one-hundred percent tip and said, “thank you, my dear.” The little girl cocked her head and said, “I’m not a deer I’m a lady.” Dan watched as she walked back to her waiting smiling mother. He wondered if he was making a mistake. This ice-cream truck was doing well while his other job was going nowhere. Dan Polanski was a private detective and part-time auto mechanic. Neither job paid the bills by themselves, but together he was doing well. His current job had him watching a park known for drug dealers. His first day all he saw were the families, but eventually, he saw the undercurrent of illegality as well as the seedy reality of the unseen world.
A man named David Warren hired him as well as more than a few others to watch the parks, schools, and streets for the dealers. He never said why but when a few of the people Dan watched turned up dead he figured it out, but he didn’t care. Dan watched these kids in the park next to hardcore junkies and armed dealers and didn’t care what happened to those pushers, not at all. Dan had footage of parents buying and using while their diapered children totted around on uncertain legs not knowing that their parent wouldn’t be there if they fell because they were on a slow trip to the bottom. But then there were the ones like little Missy. He didn’t know her name and her mother never came over. She had said, “I’m a big girl, and I know what I want.” A big girl in a pastel pink coat with a magenta colored knit cap with a white band and flower. Her shoes were another shade of pink. She and her mother came every day to buy a Mickey every day. Dan wondered what his children would have looked like. He was once married, and they talked about children, but time slipped by, and one day he found himself in a small studio apartment with divorce papers. She was remarried with three children. He never thought about her as Karen, she was just she. Dan didn’t know then he would leave there and change his name to Darrel, but no one in the park saw what was about to happen.
A pencil-thin man with a nervous twitch walked over to the truck and up to the counter. Dan said, “hey Bean, what do you know? What have you seen?” The man that most call Bean because of just how thin he was as in a string bean was also a usual at the truck. Bean was a junkie. A police officer told Dan, “you can tell by the shake and the smell.” Unlike the little girl, Bean ordered something different every time he comes around. Bean put down a ten-dollar-bill and said, “give me the Globe.” The Globe is a waffle bowl made to look like a half of a globe with a mix of ice-creams from vanilla to tropical passion fruit sorbet with a hard-white-chocolate coating. An order usually shared between two or more people. Bean told Dan to keep the change which amounted to two-dollars; a high amount for someone living on the street. He took two plastic spoons but no napkins and walked over to his on again off again girlfriend another junkie most people call Candy for her rotten teeth. The two sat underneath a tree and started to eat the ice-cream.
About twenty minutes later, the two were at the bottom and covered in cream and various sauces. One of Dan’s cameras beeped needing a fresh battery. He checked the connections and changed the battery where he saw something on the screen. Three men were in the parking lot standing next to an old crew-cab pickup truck. Dan zoomed one of the cameras in on the three men. They were all armed with what looked like Glock-17s and at least one Tec-9. Dan picked up his phone to call the police. In another screen, Dan saw Bean and Candy kiss then pull a pair of small automatics from a bag. “911 how may I assist you,” the operator said on the other side of the call. “My name is Dan Polanski. I have an ice-cream truck in Reagan Park, and there are five people with guns.” Bean and Candy walked over to the three men with their guns out. The operator asked, “Sir, are they carrying or threatening?” Dan hesitated then he said, “two of them are pointing their guns at.” Candy shot one of the men as he went for his own gun. Bean fired and missed. Candy’s round struck the man in his arm above the elbow. The three men ducked behind their truck and returned fire while Bean and Candy went over the hill away from them and toward the stunned park goers. Dan heard the operator, “Sir is that gunfire? There are police on the way stay hidden.” A round struck the side of the truck. Dan looked out and saw everyone scattering. The mother and Little Missy were huddled by a trash can in the path of the running gunfight. Dan heard the operator say, “stay where you are.”
Dan sprinted to the two ladies as Bean and Candy ran in their direction. Candy was bleeding from a couple of wounds and Bean was bleeding from his nose. The man with the Tec-9 fired going full-auto shooting wildly. Dan felt something hot and hard striking his left arm. Dan kicked over the trash can and tossed it at the man with the machine gun. The can struck the man sending his still firing gun arm to the left. Before the gun emptied, he struck one of the other men from the truck. The three men stopped. Dan picked up the girl and ran for the truck with her mother in tow. They made it around the truck just as the gunfire started back. The sounds of tap, tap, tap as rounds bounced off the side of the truck. The mother said, “thank you.” She took her daughter, and they ran away from the truck. This was the last time Dan saw them. Little Missy waved as she was bounced in her mother’s arms. The gunfire stopped, and Dan checked to see what was happening. Bean was face-down with a large hole in the back of his head. Candy was on her last breath looking more like swiss cheese than a person. The man with the Tec-9 and the man who was shot by the Tec-9 was lying on the ground. Dan couldn’t see if they were alive or dead and he didn’t care.