Hazardous Material by Kurt Kamm
"Next step, biker revenge," Bucky uttered aloud as he descended from Chief Vlasic's office.
At the bottom of the stairs, he saw AJ's motorcycle parked behind the pickups and SUVs belonging to the other men. AJ was on Bucky's shift, and wasn't supposed to be on duty today. Bucky went into the apparatus bay to find him. AJ was the perfect choice for what Bucky had in mind. He had grown up on the mean streets of Los Angeles, in the part of the city the LAPD referred to as the Ramparts Division. You had to be tough to survive there, and AJ was tough. He was a big man with a broad chest, thick arms and big biceps. He had a thick black mustache that hung over the sides of his mouth. He shaved his head but left a tiny strip of hair in the center, like a Mohawk, but cut close to the skin. He could be very intimidating, liked to mix it up and never backed away from a physical confrontation. AJ was someone who actually liked physical combat. Bucky had often thought that if AJ hadn't become a firefighter, he would have been a one-percenter.
Bucky found him on the far side of the bay, wiping down one of the engines. "Hey, AJ."
"What's up, brother?"
"I've got something going on tonight. Are you on duty?"
"No. I'm on holdover for another two hours. Richards had an accident at home."
"Want to have some fun later?"
"Sure." AJ's eyes narrowed and he grinned. "What do you have planned?"
"I'm going on a mission and I need backup."
"Cool. I'm always game for a little excitement. What have you got planned? A punch-up?" He held up his oversize hand and made a fist.
"I'm going to even the score with some one-percenters."
"That's not a punch-up, that's a war. How are you gonna pull that off with injured fingers and stitches in your head? Am I gonna have to be your representative?"
"Actually, it's more like a HazMat exercise, but I need your help."
"A HazMat exercise?"
"That's right. Can you bring five or six buddies from your club? On your bikes?"
"I could probably arrange that. You gonna tell me what we're up to?"
"I'll tell you about it tonight. You'll have some fun, I promise."
"Midnight. I'll meet you out on 90th Street, about a quarter of a mile this side of Mach 2. You know where that old house is? The one that burned down?"
"You're on. I'll see how many guys I can get." AJ returned to cleaning the engine.
Bucky went back out to the pickup and wrote up a list of the things he needed. The most important items were a Kappler 300 Level B protective suit, designed for chemical splash resistance, and a breathing apparatus with a full tank of air. Smaller things included a headlamp, his night vision glasses, the outer HazMat gloves to wear over the ones that were part of the Kappler, and adhesive and duct tape. Wearing any gloves was going to be a problem with two fingers splinted and taped together. Bucky also needed Vaseline. He would have to remove the tape and splint, grease his injured fingers and try to slide them into the protective gloves. If he could accomplish that, he could slip on the second set of outer gloves and tape his fingers together from the outside to immobilize them.
Bucky drove the pickup around the side of the station and picked up an SCBA harness and a full bottle of air. The Kapplers were in the supply cache, which was never locked. The suits were disposable, and recordkeeping was so-so. Bucky "borrowed" one.
Firefighters- Painkiller addiction - Drones - Meth labs - the Mojave.
The website link, which also clicks through to Amazon is www.kurtkamm.com
HAZARDOUS MATERIAL recently won a Best Novel award in a literary contest, and was listed as a finalist in another.