9:03pm EST Tuesday
The grey unmarked cruiser's lights flashed and flickered red and blue one car length away from the dark green Toyota Tacoma pick-up truck on the side of the road. Byron Flemming, a former US Army sergeant and veteran state trooper was on his fourth stop for the night. He ran the plates of the vehicle in his Panasonic tough-book dash mounted laptop. The vehicle panned out clean. Flemming palmed his stiff-brimmed state-police cover as he exited the vehicle and approached the Tacoma. His polished boots crunched the gravel with each step as he slowly walked to the driver's side of the Tacoma. His flashlight beam aimed on the side-view mirror as he approached. "License, registration." He requested routinely. "Why am I being pulled over, sir?" replied an equally calm man. "Do you know how fast you were going?" challenged Flemming. The man paused, avoiding trooper Flemming's flashlight beam by staring straight forward as he spoke. "Sixty. I was doing sixty, sir. Speed limit's sixty-five". Trooper Flemming expected this answer. He knew the Tacoma was traveling around 60 mph because he drove behind him at that same rate of speed before he pulled it over. He also expected the Tacoma not to notice the signs for this quarter mile of road that drops its speed limit down to 40 mph. It's a routine area to make stops. Flemming new all of them on pretty much every highway in the state. Like clockwork, he knew exactly where to hit his lights and just how far most vehicles drive before they pull over and he had it down so that the vehicles would be in visible range of one of the two 40 mph speed limit signs. He aimed his flashlight at the sign and reported that the speed limit was forty to the driver. "Your license and registration" Flemming requested again. The driver made eye contact briefly with Flemming as he leaned his weight towards the door to access his pocket and produce a license. He reached over to the glove box and rifled through some random papers looking for the registration. He passed the paper to Flemming. "Wait here" said Flemming as he started back toward his vehicle. The crunch from his boots started again. He squinted from the glare of his cruiser's lights. His boots made a rhythm. The rhythm was added to with a new rhythm. That of the signature "Boing-boing- boing" made from a vehicle door being opened. He glanced over his shoulder to see the Tacoma driver's door ajar. His eyes were still adjusting from the brightness of his cruiser now to the Tacoma door. He simultaneously reached for his weapon as his brain registered the weapon barrel pointed at him. The sound was deafening. The impact was equally as shocking. Flemming fell to the ground recklessly. His adrenaline flushed his entire system. His body seemed to be fighting itself trying to grab his weapon and stand back up at the same time. It's as if he knew not which to do first. He got to one knee. His eyes absorbed lights from his cruiser strobing blindingly. They then locked back on the Tacoma to see the flash accompanied by that deafening sound again. This one was different. Flemming's head lurched backwards as he felt the impact burst into his lower jaw. His hearing instantly went from pristine clarity to a deep muffle as if he were underwater. Trooper Flemming was back on the pavement. He rolled slightly to his side away from the Tacoma almost involuntarily. He saw fragments of flesh on the ground. His flashlight separated itself from him and rolled on the ground highlighting and casting exponentially long shadows off each pebble it passed. It rested on what was apparently a fresh tooth still attached to some gum-line. Speckles of red decorated the ground. He heard another muffled "pop" from the firearm being discharged at him and watched a piece of pavement tear up before his face. Just as he registered the miss he also came to understand he was going to die tonight. The thought flushed him with panic. He felt a palm on his shoulder as he lay on his side. It wrenched him flat on his back. He felt the tip of the hot barrel forced against his forehead. It rested there searing his flesh for a second. He heard the blast louder than anything his brain had ever registered before. It was done. Byron Flemming lay with blood flowing from the large exit wound made in the rear cavity of his skull and still flowing from his lower jaw which was shattered and half missing. His eyes were greatly opened, one seemed to be dislodged slightly and looking in a different direction than the other. Blood from the entrance wound in the front of his forehead generously delivered itself over one of his open eyes. His body was removed instantly of any signs of a capacity to move. Gravity seemed to have consumed every limb. His boots seemed to try on their own to lay flat against the pavement making Flemming awkwardly flexible. He was dead.