Character development in Farhill Farm- (Click here)

Sean Ferguson, alias Music Man, grew up in Jackson, Michigan, served in the Marines during Desert Storm, and attended Michigan State University upon his separation from the armed services.  He married and had two daughters.  Took a job with the Michigan Treasury in the Fraud Division working on cigarette smuggling cases where he excelled. 

EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 1

           Music Man was Ferguson’s radio handle for any operations requiring radio transmissions.  The radio crackled to life.  “Congrats on your first bust, Red.  Great to have you on board.”  Ferguson grinned at the transmission from Mother Hen, another  tax fraud agent, as he snatched  the microphone from its mooring on the dashboard.  Jessica Cooper, alias Mother Hen, worked the other tax fraud car with Hound Dog in his unit.

            Ferguson pulled a worn compact disc from the visor above his seat and shoved it into the player in the dashboard.  Turning to Kate, he cranked up the volume as the wahoo, wahoo sound intensified before the whump whump sound like a helicopter took over.

            “Sounds like an air raid warning, Uncle Sean.”

            But then the booming bass shook the inside of the car as the singer began.  “I like to dream. Yes, Yes. Right between the ...”  Ferguson sang to the music like the raspy voice on the tape.  About a minute into the rendition, Ferguson turned it down to reasonable levels and picked up the microphone.

            “We are now good to go, team,” Ferguson said.

            The radio crackled.  “Sorry, Red.  Forgot to tell you ‘bout our fearless leader.  Did he play the Steppenwolf tune or the Who’s Pinball Wizard at top volume?”

            Kate grabbed the microphone.  “What’s a Steppenwolf?” 

Ferguson grinned.  “If she doesn’t know Steppenwolf, she’s no relative of mine.”  “Whatever it is, my ears will never be the same.”

            “You tell the man he don’t know what good music is.  Listen and name this tune, Music.”  The microphone remained open as the drums started.  After four seconds the music was gone and Ferguson spoke.  “In the Midnight Hour.”

             “Artist.”

            “Wilson Pickett.”

           “Year.”

           “1961.  Give it up, Dog.”

           They heard a sound from the microphone like there was a struggle in the other fraud car.  Mother Hen came on.  “Will you two just grow up.  Why is it we have to hear this all the time?”

          “Sorry, Ma,” Ferguson said into the microphone, “but next time, don’t send an   amateur to try and stump me.” Ferguson grinned at his niece. 

            Reaching mile marker eighteen on Interstate seventy-five just north of the Ohio border, the Charger and Mother  Hen’s Camaro made their move, drivers tromping on the gas pedals of the high-performance machines.  They closed in on the suspect’s blue Chevrolet in a matter of seconds.  Ferguson’s breathing became shallow and his left leg twitched.  The first police cruiser rushed past with red lights flashing as if pursuing an unseen speeder ahead of them but slowed to let the other cars catch him after only a few hundred feet.  The other tax fraud car pulled beside the suspect on the left. A second police cruiser approached from behind as Ferguson pulled up beside the suspect on the right to complete the box of the smuggler’s car.  Boxing the suspect vehicle with other cars usually prevented a chase.  They had used the technique successfully for years without incident.  

            “Subject is dark complexion, black hair, slight build,” Ferguson said.  He saw the suspect glance at them and then snap his head forward to look into the rear-view mirror. 

“He made us, Ma,” Ferguson said into the microphone.  “Just close the box but don’t make it to loose.  We’re gonna slow him down easy, and I don’t want him getting antsy and ramming the cars.”  The cars ground to a stop like rush hour on a Detroit freeway. 

“Gotcha!” Ferguson said, clearly relieved.    

The smuggler raised his right hand as if to surrender, but he clutched something in it.  For a split second, Ferguson couldn’t see what it was.  When he saw the glint of light reflect from it his eyes went wild.  The man was waving a huge Smith and Wesson.

         “Gun!  Get down!” Ferguson screamed as smoke and fire erupted from the barrel of the weapon.  He saw the shooter's hand pitch upward as the man tried to control the recoil.  A bullet pierced the side window of the Charger and zipped past Ferguson’s right ear.  He heard the buzz of it.  Before he could move, another shot split the air as Ferguson looked at a maniacal grin spread across the face of the shooter.  Ferguson put his hands up to ward off any further bullets while trying to shrink down in his seat.   

Peering over the door of the Charger, Ferguson watched the shooter turn to his left and point the Smith and Wesson at Mother Hen just as a bullet from the state  trooper's nine-millimeter Glock pierced the windshield and hit him in the shoulder.  Jerking to his right from the force of the bullet, the suspect’s crazed eyes bore into Ferguson, his contorted face showing brown stained teeth.  A second bullet pierced the windshield and hit the man in the chest.  He jumped like a marionette on a string.  A third bullet hit him in the face and exited the back of his head, splattering pieces brain and bone onto the rear window of the car.  

            Closing his eyes, Ferguson collapsed against the wheel gulping for air as his chest heaved spasmodically.   “Oh shit! Oh shit!  You okay, Kate?” he said.  “That was too close.”    

          Everything was silent.  “Kate?”  The steady hum of the radio suddenly seemed  deafening to Ferguson- louder than the gun blasts.  He sat stunned, strangling the  steering wheel with both hands.  Raising his head when he received no answer, Ferguson looked at his niece.  She  sat motionless against the passenger door.  A small red blotch on the front of her gray  Michigan State sweatshirt grew before his eyes until the entire emblem ran crimson.  With eyes half-closed, a furrow creased Kate’s brow, seeming to implore Ferguson to tell her what had happened.

 

           

Rick BarrettComment