- February 15, 2021
The Hood: Violence & Prohibition Chapter 2
“Captain, what’s the plan?” I ask my police Captain Bianchi.
“Plan?” he responds confused. “Officer Torrence,” when he refers to me as officer, I know I’m about to regret speaking, “You think there’s a plan? I have never been in a situation like this before, and neither has any other goddamn officer here. All I’ve got right now is to wait, and hope we can talk him out of hurting the girl!” When he finishes talking, he throws his hands up in the air. Cpt. Bianchi is shorter than me, him at 5 ‘6 and me, 6 ft, but somehow he just makes me feel small.
Honestly though, everyone here is at a loss at what to do, I just arrived in my car to help. Other officers are clearing the area as Cpt. Bianchi keeps trying to talk the kidnapper who won’t answer.
We’re in Near North Side where in an especially poor apartment building, there is a hostage problem on hand.
Jim Dinna used to live in this apartment building while also maintaining a job at a nearby factory. Word is he is also a bit of a strange fellow. Never was quite right in the head, and when the factory fired him for incompetence, man decided to take it out on the neighbors and their kids.
Now Mr. Dinna has gone crazy, killed two people, and is holding a kid hostage with his gun. Apparently going on and on about how everything is pointless, and no one knows what to do. Can’t blame us, who would have predicted this? People get fired all the time.
“Everybody look! The Hood!” someone from the crowd yells out. I look up in time to see him. His leather jacket, and that helmet. Even from far away I don’t get what people find so sexy about it. It’s like looking into the abyss, with its black color.
The Hood is on the rooftop opposite of the apartment. I don’t understand why he’s here. Mobsters, specifically Capone’s are his usual victims. Rarely ever hear about him doing anything else, though hostage situations aren’t the kind of thing anyone decides to take on.
The Hood pulls out this launcher. It launches a line from across the gap, then he wraps around it and proceeds to use the line to cross.
I turn to Cpt. Bianchi to ask, “Should we stop him?”
The Cpt. looks at me like I’m crazy. “In front of these people? I don’t need a riot to add to my troubles. If something goes wrong we can blame it on him, and capture him too. Don’t need vigilantes making the people believe we can’t do our jobs.” Well, when so many cops are on this one case instead of busting secret bars, no wonder people think we can’t do our jobs.
I find that I won’t get anything I want to hear from my Cpt. so I look up in the sky to see the Hood right before he hits the glass.
When I cross the gap on the zipline, one-time use Tesla invention, I let go of the rag I used to hang on. I specifically keep enough momentum to fly through the window.
It’s hard as hell, and it hurts when I smash against it, but it still shatters. When I get into the building, I land one knee and left hand to the ground, right hand reaching across my jacket to get my taser.
I have seconds to look around the room and it’s that of a kitchen connected to a living room. The furniture’s been turned over, blood all over, then I see the body of a large male fallen behind the couch, as if tackled. I heard that a crazy man named Jim Dinna had attacked a family. I guess I know what happened to the father. Where’s the-
I hear the gun get cocked back to my right and immediately I dash into a roll behind the side of the couch. Bullets come flying at me and light up the couch. I count five before they stop, and then I hear his voice.
“Why are you here?! No one is supposed to be here!” I hear a man yelling. Must be Jim. I hear muffled crying and stifles, so I can imagine he’s got her in his arms. “I said I would shoot her. You’re not supposed to be here! I said no cops!”
I try and level with him as I say, “I’m not a cop. Didn’t get your message.” I speak truthfully, “Listen, there’s no need for this. No one needs to get hurt.” I need to get close, and take that girl from him. I’m not going to see another one die.
“You want to hurt me!” Jim cries. Sounds like he’s just as sad as he is angry.
“No, I don’t,” I tell him. I pull out my taser-gun and get ready. I offer, “I’ll even throw away my gun if you promise to talk, not to shoot.”
“I don’t know,” Jim mutters.
“Do you want to hurt anyone Jim?” I ask him from behind the couch. No one who cries as they attempt murder wants to kill.
“No,” he mumbles. Didn’t think so.
“Then watch,” I say to catch his attention. I lift up my taser-gun for him to see, then I throw it away. I still have knives up my sleeves. If I need to I can throw one. “Can I get up? You won’t shoot me will you?”
Jim ignores my question to speak his own thoughts. “You kill people. You’ll still hurt me.”
I proclaim, “I only hurt bad people. I don’t think you’re a bad guy Jim. I don’t know what happened. Did the wealthy man steal your wife? I want to know.” Usually that’s what it is. I do want to know for sure, but I’ll kill him if I find I can’t save him. I heard the mother was dead too, but I didn’t see her. “Will you shoot me if I stand up?”
I wait a couple seconds for his reply. I hear some tapping, smacking, but I don’t hear the girl make any noises of pain. He might be hitting himself.
Eventually Jim says, “I won’t shoot you. You have to stay over there though!”
“I promise,” I tell him. I slowly stand up, and turn around to face him. I get look behind between the kitchen and the counter where I see the mother’s body, two simple bullet wounds. Probably went quicker than the father.
I see Jim, large, muscular, but baby cheeks, pink from sweat and exhaustion. His hair slicked back but still with disheveled tangles, as if he didn’t know what to do. His eyes are wide because he’s afraid, which is good for me. He holds the kid with one arm. He holds the little blonde girl across the mouth with one hand. She’s shaking, too terrified to struggle.
Jim has the gun in his other hand, I see that it’s a Smith and Wesson M&P .38 Special, a police revolver with six shots. I heard rumors that the cops’ weapons were being sold on the street. Explains how Jim was allowed to get one. He fired five shots, which means he has one left. He can use it on me, or the girl.
I ask Jim, “Talk to me, what happened here? Why did you do this to this family?”
“They were going to kick me out!” Jim mumbles then yells. I take notice that Jim speaks with his hands, swinging the gun up and down as he talks. Jim continues, “Weren’t going to give me any time to get money together.” Then he looks at the gun, then points to the dead man behind the couch and adds, “He pointed the gun at me when he tried to force me out.”
So, the gun isn’t Jim’s. I wonder if this man is a cop, or was one. Could explain why so many came, though I didn’t hear anything about that. I’ll just file that idea away for now.
Jim seemingly waits for me to respond. Probably just can’t tell that I am listening because of the helmet. With my hands still up, I say, “I’m listening. If they were trying to force you out, they must own the building, or someone works with them at least. I assume you lost your job and couldn’t pay rent.”
“Rent wasn’t due for two more weeks!” he interjects, making a two with his gun hand. “Just wanted an excuse to get rid of the freak.”
One thing isn’t adding up. I understand the fight, the struggle with the man. Jim must have felt threatened, who wouldn’t with a gun in their face. Still, how did the girl and the wife get drawn into this?
I ask Jim, “Is this your apartment?”
He shakes his head points to the little girl’s. “It’s Stacy’s,” he sniffles. Somehow, I doubt she’ll be living in here after this.
“Why did the fight happen in here? I find it hard to believe they invited you into their home to kick you out,” I point out. I may have added too much attitude in my voice because I set Jim off.
“You don’t believe me!” he screams as he shakes his head. When Jim isn’t looking at me, I take two steps forward, but Jim swerves the gun right back at me. “I said don’t move!” His trigger finger is shaking.
I immediately stop, my hands no longer above my head. The situation is more intense now. I have to try and turn this back on him. “You’re not telling me the full truth. No way you came here uninvited.”
“I’m not lying!” Jim yells. “I wasn’t finished. Just let me finish,” he pleads. I feel like even though I don’t have the gun, he is still more scared of me than I am him, by miles. He wants me to believe him, in the way a child does, not a snake.
“Alright, finish your story,” I say.
He just takes some quick and erratic breaths; the kind people make when crying. After a minute Jim says, “When he told me to leave with the gun, it was when he caught me walking up the stairs to go home. He pointed it at me. Told me if I wasn’t gone by the time the sun rose that I had to leave, or he’d put one….” He looks like he’s actually going to break into tears.
Having no desire to hear that I try to get him back to the story. I assure him, “I know what you mean. What happened next?”
“I was afraid,” he continued revealing. “He kept yelling louder than me, and I wanted him to stop. He wouldn’t stop. I thought he was going to shoot, so I tackled him. We fell in here, and fought a little. He tried to shoot me, and missed.” Then he gestures towards the woman dead in the kitchen.
Shit, the husband missed and put two in his wife. This kid saw everything too I bet. Jim is going to get blamed for it no doubt if she didn’t.
“Then what happened next?” I ask him.
“We fought, me and him,” Jim says.
He has the gun laying at his side, no longer pointing it at me. I slowly start inching forward as Jim looks down at the ground. I’m maybe one jump away from him, but he could still potentially get the last shot off in any direction.
Jim continues, rambling now, “I got the gun from him, and he kept trying to punch me. Get on top of me. He said he was going to kill me because it was my fault he missed. I’m stronger than he was. When he wouldn’t stop, I just grabbed his neck, and squeezed to get him to go to sleep. When he went to sleep, he didn’t get up.” Then looks at the girl before he starts shouting, “Then Stacy started screaming at me! Saying I killed her pa and her ma! I tried to tell her what I told you, but she just kept screaming! That I’m a killer, I’m going to hell and that I’m a monster. A freak!” The girl didn’t see everything I assume unless Jim’s mind is playing tricks on him. Then he points the gun towards her. Speaking really fast he says, “She’s gonna blame me. Blame it all on me. She can’t leave! I can’t get in trouble!”
I raise my hand real quick and stop inching towards them. “Wait! Look at me Jim. You don’t want to do anything. Hurting her, not letting her go, is only going to make the situation worse.”
“She can’t leave!” Jim screams at me, not recognizing what I just said. Playing nice, negotiating, seems like all that isn’t going to work.
I threaten him, “Jim I swear to god, give me the gun. I’m not going to let you hurt that girl.”
“She was going to hurt me! Her family, everyone wants to hurt me!” he shouts back. Then he focuses on me. Then starts shifting the gun. I lunge for him, letting my knife fall my from sleeve, and into my right hand. “You want to hurt me.”
Everyone hears that last gunshot go off and freezes for a moment. We assumed the last few were at the Hood, figured him dead. After so long a pause the most recent one couldn’t have been at anyone but the hostage. Then Cpt. Bianchi yells, “Everybody not holding back the crowd storm in!”
Immediately five, six of us including me, we all run in at a breakneck pace. I’m third in line right in front of the Captain. He reminds us, “Third floor! Facing the street!”
We’re on the second floor, and one of the cops in front of me, little shorter than me, but stockier and just as broad gets onto the third. He sees the door leading to the apartment overlooking the streets and runs straight at it like a mad man possessed. Rams right through breaking it down. He falls to the floor on his side as we storm behind him, pistols drawn.
Immediately, the blood is apparent. When I enter, I face the right, quickly seeing the man with blood coming from his mouth as he lies dead behind the sofa. I look around for the Hood but don’t see him.
I hear crying as I turn around to see an officer quickly snatch up the little girl, blood all over her. Right next to where she was standing is Jim Dinna himself, dead on the ground. Blood pouring out of him from two stabbing wounds to the neck and forehead. The Hood.
After looking around really quickly for a moment or two, we confirm that the Hood is no longer here. Somehow, he slipped away.
Cpt. Bianchi turns towards the officer holding the girl, orders him, “Check for wounds on her Willoughby, make sure none of the blood is hers.” Quickly he pats her down looking for cuts or bruises as she tries to cling to him, crying and shaken. Girl can’t be older than six or seven. Saw all of this.
Willoughby informs the Captain, “Don’t seem like she’s hurt. She’s okay.”
Cpt. Bianchi catches his wording. Looks at Officer Willoughby intensely, “That girl isn’t anything remotely resembling okay. Get her out of here, and to the hospital. Make sure a nurse is with her, always. “The officer nods his head and carries the little girl out of the apartment. Cpt. Bianchi sounds off, “You all know who to look for. See how he got away. Can’t imagine he didn’t take at least one shot. Fan out!”
We all start sweeping the apartment. I start scouring the living room when one guy tells me, “Watch it! Look.” He points down and there’s a blood trail, leading to a door. “Gotta be his.” I agree, and we have our guns pointed out.
Slowly we inch towards the door. We listen in, and don’t hear anything. I motion my hand towards the door and the other officer nods his head. I hold three fingers up and countdown to me opening it. One, two.
Quickly I open the door and we have guns trained on an empty bathroom.
“Damn it,” the other officer immediately curses and backs up to continue scoping out the place. I decide to have a look around the bathroom.
Once I stick my head in, the blood trail that was only on the floor is now up the wall, and through an open window. He had to have gone this way. I look back at the other cops, and think to myself, what if one of them shoots the Hood? They get all the credit. He’s been shot, can’t be able to put up much of a fight.
I don’t tell any of the others as I shut the bathroom door and proceed to look through the window. The edge of the fire escape is just barely close enough to land on. The Hood really must be a good jumper to have made that in his condition. I am lacking in the bullet hole department and lift myself up easy enough, and slip my legs through the window. I make contact with the railing of the fire escape, and slip the heels of my foot over the edge. I slowly push myself over, and when only my arms are still in the bathroom the railing is cutting me off at my upper thigh.
I take the plunge and shove myself forward, all the way onto the fire escape with a shake. Made it, and I still have no idea as to how the Hood possibly did the same. I look and the blood trail leads up the stairs so I follow it up to the roof.
Before I pop my head up, I hear heavy breathing. I slowly stand to look over the edge and I see him.
He’s leaning against the door connecting the building and the roof as he pulls out some gun that melts the bolts. He was thinking about how the cops will come to the roof through there. When he’s done, he slips to his bum to rest I assume.
He looks up, and lifts up just a little of the shirt under his jacket. Guy is pretty skinny, and I see the bullet hole, lower left torso, left side of the stomach. I notice the tone of his skin, not white. Kind of a lightish brown. Is the Hood hispanic? Indian? Maybe it’s just the blood.
I’ll just have to find out for myself. Quickly I pull myself up and aim my gun at him. “Freeze!” I shout as an order.
The Hood turns his head to face me and mutters, “Shit.”
I train the gun on him and proceed towards him. Despite the fact I told him to freeze he stands back up against the wall.
“Hands up!” I tell him.
“Kind of have to hold myself together hear, bud. At least for a little while,” he says. I notice that his voice doesn’t sound normal. Like static is placed over it, making him sound like I’m hearing him over a radio.
I inspect his wound though with my eyes now that I’m close, and maybe it would be a good idea to let him keep his hand over it.
I start saying my winning lines, “You’re under arrest for-”
“Uh huh,” he interrupts. “You’re not going to arrest me.”
I do a double take. I realize that he has to be trying to get a rise out of me. I shouldn’t take the bait.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” I ask him. Self-control, have to work on that.
The Hood leans in towards me and then comments, “Officer Torrence, no one on the force wants to arrest me. You either want me to keep doing what I’m doing, or want to shoot me dead.” Well, that’s a pretty general way to think about me.
“What? Because I’m a cop?” I question.
“Yes, the lot of you on are either on Capone’s or Moran’s payroll, and you wonder why people cheer when they see me and not you,” he jabs. He’s making assumptions.
“Excuse me? The only pay I get is from my lacking paycheck, asshat. Why would I want a murderous psychopath running through the streets?” I ask accusatively. Where does this guy get off looking down on me, the one with a badge, when he runs around like it’s Halloween, murdering people. Albeit, they’ve all followed the pattern of being criminals, but that’s beside the point.
“Because I do what no one else does. I’m taking the pieces of shit out. A job that needed doing,” he says so high and mighty, as if he really knows what’s best.
“Nobody asked for you to this. It was you,” I say while taking a hand off my gun to point at him, “who decided to dress up in a costume and risk your own neck, being suicidal.”
“Typical, the more good you do, the less they want to admit something needed doing,” the Hood snorts.
Now I’m angry. I get right up in his face and put my gun to his head, but he doesn’t even flinch. He doesn’t believe for a second that I’ll pull the trigger. I shout in his face, “And what was that with Jim Dinna? Was that good? Was it worth killing the bastard in front of the kid if it means you get off?”
Then he turns his head, and even though I can’t see his eyes under that helmet, I feel the daggers he’s shooting with his eyes. Now I think I’ve made my-
In a split second I’m on the ground. I don’t know how he did it. I mean, I know my guard was down, but still, how did he swipe my gun, put a leg behind mine, and slam me down so fast? With his injury?
“What are you?!” I scream at him.
“Not just any man, I’ll tell you that,” the Hood says. I believe him. The ability to fight through that pain. I don’t even think I’ve heard him groan or complain once during our conversation. Then he mysteriously adds, “And Jim Dinna was no bastard. You don’t know what happened.”
That’s interesting. “What, were you buddies or something?”
“Never met before today, but I listened to what he had to say,” he tells me. What does that mean, ‘he listened?’ How do you listen to a crazy person like that? He continues to rant, “I bet you wouldn’t have done that. None of you.”
“Why would I? A kid’s in danger, and two people are dead at his hands!” I remind him.
“Not two,” he seemingly corrects me. Not two? What, did the maniac kill more people?
“What the hell do you mean?” I demand to know.
“Jim Dinna was a resident there, and the family owned the building. The owner wanted him out before rent was due, and tried to shoot him. After a struggle, the owner missed, and was the one who shoots his own wife.”
“Sorry if I find that hard to believe,” I tell him. Then I remember, the man was dead behind the couch, directly facing where the woman was standing. No, it had to be bullshit. “How the hell do you believe the words of a crazy person?”
The Hood’s helmet makes it hard to get a read on him, and if he’s not yelling, there really isn’t anyway for me to tell what he’s feeling. He interrupts my train of thought to say, “Crazy, don’t make him a liar, and he wasn’t crazy he was ill. Never had help I bet, not once. Only a matter of time before someone pushed him around enough for him to snap. Hell, if anything his mental health gives me more reason to believe him. Didn’t seem like he had the capacity to lie.”
The Hood seems like a detective or a really in-depth-therapist. He psychoanalyzed Mr. Dinna. I ask him, “You got any proof to this story? The kid going to collaborate it?”
The Hood turns his head away, seemingly realizing a mistake he made. “No, can’t say that I do honestly,” he admits. “Killed my own witness, and the girl only saw the struggle with the father at best.”
“See?” I tell him. “You’re no detective or lawyer. You act like you know shit, but don’t have anything to back it up. Maybe you should stick to gangsters instead of playing hero. At least with them you’d have to be an idiot to miss who they are.”
The Hood turns his back on me and takes a few steps away. He focuses on one thing that I said. “I ain’t no hero, never want to be. Have no need or taste for it.”
While he has his back turned, I slowly move to my knees and then my feet. When I take a step towards him he surprises me.
The Hood immediately whips out a gun shaped device from his jacket and pokes me in the face with it. I immediately freeze, not wanting to see what comes out of that barrel through experience.
“What is that?” I ask.
“Don’t ask what you don’t want to know the painful answer to,” he warns me.
I try to change the topic of discussion. Get him talking so that he doesn’t want to shoot me. “You were saying you weren’t no hero, and never want to be. Why try and save the girl then? Sounds to me like someone with a hero complex.” Let’s see if he likes being psychoanalyzed. At first he doesn’t answer for sometime. I try to fish it out of him, worried he’s considering shooting me. “Come on, it just doesn’t add up. Why risk your life if it isn’t taking out the trash, hmm? You don’t seem to consider Mr. Dinna trash, so why take him on?”
The Hood kind of tilts his head, then levels it. “You really want to know? It won’t tell you who I am, only hint at who I was.”
Annoying cryptic, shouldn’t have expected a straight answer. “I do, I really want to know why you saved the girl.” Now that I really think about it, no one should have even expected him here. I noticed this before, but I really do now fully comprehend that his M.O. has never once been about helping innocent individuals, that’s just been a happy bonus.
The Hood starts telling me, “A long, long time ago, I was in a somewhat similar situation, with a very different mindset. Hard to believe, but a crueler mindset.” That is hard to believe, I’ve seen the pictures of what he leaves behind of Capone’s men after he ‘interrogates’ them. He continues saying, “I feel differently about it now then I did in the moment, so this one time, I was looking for redemption.” Saved the kid to feel good about yourself, eh?
“Did you get it?” I ask, in reference to redemption.
“Hell no,” he admits flatly. Must of did something really bad if saving a little kid doesn’t redeem you.
“What did you do back then?” I ask.
“No, no more stories. You don’t need to know anything about me. Now though, I get to know something about you.” Then he gets back to insulting me by asking, “Tell me who pays you. Capone, Bugs, or someone else?”
I grit my teeth and push my cheek against his ‘gun’s barrel. “I told you once, and now I’ll tell you again. No one pays me. I’m clean, and ask me again and I’ll smash open that helmet of yours.”
“Feisty, aren’t you?” the Hood teases. “Figured you’d be on Moran’s pay list. Your Captain is.”
“Hey! You don’t know shit!” I yell at him.
“Sure, I don’t, I don’t care much though right now. I’m after Capone, and once I’m done with him, I’m done with this,” he says while gesturing his right hand over his helmet.
“You mean you’re quitting after Capone dies?” I ask, then add, “Assuming you don’t die first.”
He tells me, “If I stay too long, the people will either learn to love me or hate me. I can accept the hate, but I don’t want their love. I don’t want to be the thing that gives them hope.”
“You really think a lot of yourself, don’t you?” I ask him.
“No, I’ve just seen enough to see this kind of shit coming,” he says.
“How many vigilantes have you met before?” I ask half sarcastic, half serious.
I think I actually hear him chuckle. “You’d be surprised.” Then his finger hits a switch on his gun. “Goodbye Officer Torrence. I do wonder if we’ll meet again.”
“Wait! Don’t!” I scream out.
Then he pulls the trigger and the gun lights for a split second as if filled with electricity. It isn’t that bright, but being so close I am able to see it.
I feel a force hit me, and I feel what I think really is electricity run through my body. My body starts seizing uncontrollably and I fall to the ground.
I hear the Hood loom over me and taunt, “Don’t worry officer. You’ve been paralyzed temporarily. You’ll be good in half an hour, and I’m gone now.”
I can’t see him walk away since I can’t control the way my head turns. I hear footsteps as he gets away. I don’t know how he’s going to make it with that wound, but all he has done is surprise me tonight.
I don’t hear anything anymore. I’m just stuck looking at the cloudy sky of dusk.
Damn it, Cpt. Bianchi is going to kill me.
Then I think back to what the Hood said about him. I don’t believe it.