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Stop Running is a short story about Detective Byron Green.  Detective Green is in the ongoing book series The ConciergeThe Concierge will be out at the end of March.  Detective Green is not the main character.  He is a supporting character.  In The Concierge, Detective Green finds himself baffled over a case that may be connected to some powerful people.


In this short story, titled Stop Running, Detective Green remembers why he became a detective.


Please meet Detective Byron Green.  Enjoy a little of his background. 


Byron Green looked out the window at his backyard.  He sipped a cup of coffee and thought about the first time he wanted to be a detective.  He was sure he was six when he decided.


Then again, maybe someone told him he was six.  That part was fuzzy.  But, he did remember where he was and what he did to begin his career in law enforcement.  It was his first step toward his goal.


He was six and riding his bike on the sidewalk in his neighborhood.  Up ahead of him, standing off to the side of the sidewalk, was Martin Duppler.


Martin was a kid from the neighborhood.  He was stocky.  He was seven.  But he could have passed for eight.  He had that typical troublemaker stance and expression.


Byron locked eyes with Martin as he rode closer to him.


Martin sneered at him.  Then Martin turned his attention to the small girl in the yard.  The girl was Patti.  She was five and licking an ice cream cone.  Martin ran toward her and grabbed the cone in her hand.  She pulled away from him.  He held onto the cone and pushed her down and ran with it.


Patti lay on the grass crying.


Byron saw what Martin did.  Martin was now cutting across the yard.  Byron peddled after him.  Martin ran onto the sidewalk.  He was out in front of Byron by thirty meters.  Byron made up ground on him.  Martin was twenty pounds heavier than Byron.  His weight did not help him put distance between him and Byron.


Martin’s chest was stuck out.  His shoulders were back.  His legs had slowed down.  It felt like he was running in quicksand.  He heard Byron coming fast and looked over his shoulder.  Pesky Byron was on his heels.  Always a do-gooder, Martin thought.  He would stop and punch him in the mouth, if he was not so tired.


Martin veered to his left into Mrs. Judith Haley’s yard.  Byron followed him on his bike.  He was five feet from Martin.  He yelled at Martin to stop running.  Martin zigzagged and ran through the middle of the yard.  He was panting.


Mrs. Haley heard the commotion and looked out of her window.  She saw Byron on the heels of Martin.  Martin held an ice cream cone above his head.  The ice cream was melting.


Byron rode up beside an exhausted Martin and told him to stop.  Martin ran slower than before.  His legs were ready to collapse.  But he was not ready to give up and kept running.


Byron bumped Martin with his bike.  Martin fell face first to the ground.  The ice cream cone flew up in the air and landed a few feet away.  Martin started crying.


Mrs. Haley ran out of her house to Martin’s aid.  She told Byron to go home.  She warned Byron she would call his parents about the incident in her yard.  Byron tried to tell her what happened.  She told him to go home and tell his parents what he did and that she would be calling them.


Mrs. Haley called Gayle, Byron’s mother, a few minutes later.  Gayle assured her she would talk with Byron when he got home.


That evening Gayle questioned Byron about Mrs. Haley’s claim of him attacking Martin.  Byron told her he did not attack Martin.  He had stopped Martin in the middle of a crime.  Martin had stolen Patti’s ice cream cone.  He had brought Martin to justice.


Gayle stopped herself from laughing at his explanation of events.  She cut her eyes at Howard, her husband, Byron’s father.


Howard pursed his lips and tried to come up with a response to Byron’s actions.  He cleared his throat and asked Byron, “So, it’s true that you chased Martin on your bike and bumped him with your bike and knocked him to the ground?”


Byron answered yes and that he was going to arrest Martin for stealing Patti’s ice cream.  But Mrs. Haley stopped him.


Howard praised Byron for taking down the suspect.  Gayle squinted at Howard.  Howard got the message.  This was not a pep talk and thank you session for Byron for a job well done.  It was a parents’ meeting with their six-year-old.  They needed him to understand he could not knock kids down with his bike—even though he was helping Patti.


Howard explained to Byron he should tell an adult when something like that happens.  Unless he finds himself or a friend in immediate danger, he should not go after anyone.


Byron told his father Patti was crying.  That was why he did it.  Then Byron said, “That’s what you do at work.  You stop criminals.”


Howard searched for a quick response.  He was a detective with the police force.  And he stopped bad guys most days, or worked to stop them, when he got the evidence.  It was hard for him to argue with Byron.  So instead, he explained how a real detective would go about getting evidence for the crime.


Byron told him he saw Martin with the evidence.  He caught Martin red-handed.  Red-handed were words Howard used sometimes.  Words Gayle had told Howard to stop saying around Byron.


Gayle was not happy about how the talk had gone.  She was, however, proud of Byron for stopping Martin.  Martin was the neighborhood bully, after all.  He probably deserved being knocked down to the ground by her smaller son.  But she would never tell him that.


Byron looked out the window and smiled.  Now in his mid-forties, he was a detective.  He was one of the best in the business.  He had either solved or helped solve more than one hundred and fifty cases.  Some were heinous cases.


Byron felt he owed his career to Martin.  Martin was his suspect that he stopped, and would have arrested, on Mrs. Haley’s lawn.


I hope you enjoyed meeting Detective Byron Green.


Thank you for dropping by.

Stephen Wallace