Five Times DiNozzo Passed Out
02. Sunday, March 19, 1994
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Chapter 2

Sunday, March 19, 1994

At first, Tony thought that Peoria was a nice town, a great place to raise a family or to spend those retirement years quietly. But on the other hand he also thought it just a bit on the boring side.

At least that was his opinion until he finally graduated from the police academy and began working a regular beat on its streets. Even as a rookie cop, he learned quickly that even the most gentile and hospitable of cities in the American midwest had their seedy underbelly and Peoria, Illinois was no exception. After just three weeks as a rookie cop he had seen drug deals, prostitution, theft, robbery and a whole host of various crimes and misdemeanors that changed his initial snap judgment of the city. While Peoria was no Mayberry, it certainly wasn't murder-capital of the world by any stretch of the imagination and so far, he had yet to actually encounter any serious felony cases and in fact, there hadn't been a single murder since he came into town.

Not that Tony wanted any crimes like murder to occur, but he just wanted that chance to be a part of putting away the bad guys that perpetrated such crimes. To fulfill those childhood fantasies of being a street wise and tough cop like Dirty Harry, chasing criminals across streets and alleyways, sliding across car hoods and putting criminals behind bars. However, the reality of everyday police work was much more tedious and by-the-book than he ever truly realized.

“Look over there, Rookie.” Tony's partner Allen Ross, a thirteen year veteran on the Peoria force, pointed to an old, rusty Mercury Cougar pulled over to the side of the highway with its hazard lights blinking. In the pouring rain, a man held the hood of the car up while he wafted smoke away from an obviously overheated engine. “I used to have a Cougar just like that one when I was a teenager. Man, what a sweet engine that baby had, not too shabby backseat either if you catch my drift!” Allen laughed at his own joke.

“I think this one's seen better days.” Tony pointed out. “Shouldn't we help him?”

“Ehhhh” Allen whined with a wave of his hand, dismissing the suggestion and not wanting to have to venture out into the soggy, spring weather. “He'll be okay.”

“But he's stuck on the side of the highway in the rain, we could at least call a tow for him.” Tony countered. Allen sighed in exasperation.

“All right. All right, Mr. goody two-shoes. We'll pull over, but this means you're buying coffee.”

“I've been buying coffee for you all week long.” Tony complained.

“Yeah. It's all part of being a rookie, Rookie.” He rubbed Tony's head and tousled the younger man's hair like a one might pet a favorite dog and Tony couldn't help but roll his eyes. He hated that and it seemed like Allen took every opportunity he could to mess with his hair. It wasn't so much the fact that he messed with Tony's well groomed hairstyle, but he hated being treated like a kid that didn't know anything and he was getting pretty sick of all of the hazing and being called 'Rookie' every five seconds. Intellectually, Tony knew that his first year was going to be like this, but emotionally, Tony couldn't wait for the day he was no longer considered a rookie and actually got a little bit of respect from the other officers on the force.

Allen pulled the cruiser behind the broken down car and reached for a poncho. Tony pulled his on too and was the first to get out of the car and head into the driving rain.

“Got some trouble with your engine here?” Tony called out as he approached the man under the hood of the car. The rain was coming down in sheets now and Tony had to raise his voice in order to be heard. Allen finally got out of the car and came up and around the opposite side of the car, looking it over with an appraising eye as he strolled up behind Tony.

The man poked his head around the hood to get a look at Tony and Allen. He was an average and unremarkable middle aged man with horned-rimmed glasses that obviously had never worked on a car before as he looked completely at a loss as to why his car was spewing smoke.

“Oh hey! Didn't see you pull up behind me.” The man began, looking startled.

“Mind if we take a look?” Allen asked as he joined them by the still steaming engine.

“Sure, I suppose. I'm not the best with cars, I'm a computer programmer, not a mechanic, so I'm not sure what's going on with this thing other than it's about twenty years too old to be driving.” He snickered as he babbled.

Tony gave him a polite smile and came around to the front. The man smiled nervously, but refused to make eye contact with the two officers, instead he took a sudden interest in the bottom of his shoes. Tony had noted that some people were just naturally a little bit more on edge when the cops came, even if they were just there to help them. However, the way the guy's eyes shifted and constantly looked sidelong between him and his partner while he inserted then removed his hands from his jacket pockets several times sent Tony's gut churning. Looking at the guy, he certainly didn't give off the 'criminal' vibe, but more of the 'pathetic computer nerd that still lives in his parent's basement.' Yet, Tony couldn't help but feel that something just wasn't right with this guy, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.

Allen monkeyed around in the engine and Tony kept a close eye on the man while he casually walked backward as if admiring the old junker.

“Didn't you say you had a Cougar, Allen?” Tony asked.

“Yep, it was a tan '76.”

“Like this one?”

“Yep.”

“Sweet backseat, right?”

“You got that right.”

“Maybe our friend here....what was you name again?” he turned to the now unsmiling man.

“Uh...John.” He answered warily.

“John, right... Maybe John here would let you have a look at it....you know for old times sake?” Allen poked his head around the hood to look at his partner with raised eyebrows, sensing the tone of Tony's inquiry that something was amiss. An unspoken conversation passed between the two cops with Tony doing his best to silently communicate his misgivings regarding this John guy and hope his partner would pick up on it too.

Tony hoped Allen would play along so they could get to the bottom of what was up with this guy. It could be almost anything from just hiding a dime-bag to smuggling drugs, either way, Tony wanted to see what was inside of the car, but simply going in and searching the car was a violation of the fourth amendment against searches and seizures. Without probable cause and nothing more base a search on than instinct, they would have to get permission from John to even open the door or anything they found would be unusable as evidence.

“Yeah, maybe he could show us what's inside. That would be pretty cool of him.” Allen turned to John and to Tony's relief, appeared to pick up on the man's nervous tension as well. Grabbing the top of the hood and slamming it down, Allen caused poor John to jump nearly a foot in the air.

“Sorry about that....well, it looks like we're not going to get this baby up and running for you here on the side of the road so we're going to have to call for a tow. Now since we have some time to kill, you want to show me the car?”

“I'd really rather not.”

“Why not? You don't have anything to hide, do ya?” Tony asked.

John began to sweat despite the pouring rain and shifted his eyes between Tony and Allen. Then with sudden desperation, he bolted and ran into the field they were parked next to. Tony was a bit faster in his reaction time than Allen and flew after John into the soggy and muddy field.

“I'll call it in, Tony!” Allen yelled as he went to the radio in the squad car.

Tony hardly heard his partner as adrenaline pumped into his veins. Finally a chase after the bad guy! It was like the fulfillment of every boyhood fantasy Tony always dreamed of. He truly felt like a cop now. However, reality was beginning to set in and for a middle-aged, nerdy-looking guy, John was surprisingly fleet of foot and Tony had to struggle a bit to catch up to him. How embarrassing would it be if he didn't catch this guy? He'd never be taken seriously if he let this guy get away.

Finally, Tony surged and nearly caught up to the man, making a flying leap the likes of which he had been too afraid to even contemplate attempting since he broke his leg playing football. He landed square on John's back, tackling the man into tangle of arms and legs straight into a puddle of rainwater and muck. Remembering his recent training on subduing suspects from the police academy, Tony quickly had the man in handcuffs and was hauling him to his feet, both of them covered from the bottom of their shoes to the tops of their heads in mud.

“What'd you run for John?..did you really think you could escape?” Tony asked out of breath as he pushed the man forward. John was silent, refusing to answer the question.

“All you accomplished was getting us both filthy and making my shoes squishy and squishy shoes make me very irritated.” Tony frowned as the poncho he put on earlier to keep him dry was now in tatters, covered in sticky mud and doing very little to keep his uniform from becoming a wet rag.

“So, what is it you got in the car, huh?....drugs?” Tony asked, but John only kept his eyes to his feet and his mouth shut.

Tony dragged John back to the police cruiser where Allen was already searching the Cougar. Now that John had attempted to evade arrest, that gave Tony and his partner sufficient probable cause to search the car and see what exactly it was that John was so nervous about them possibly finding. Upon their arrival, his partner looked up to see the dirty duo approach and grinned wickedly.

“Nice catch, kid. Looks like you got a little something on your uniform though.”

“Yeah, yeah. Very funny.” Tony growled. “Somebody had to go after him.”

That seemed to shut him up for a moment.

“Just put him in the back, DiNozzo. Then help me search the car. Back-up should be here in a couple of minutes and if this guy's hiding something in here I want to find it before those asses at CSI come and steal all of our thunder.”

Tony shoved John into the backseat of the cruiser and locked him inside where he would no longer be tempted to make a run for it. Allen beckoned him to the old junker, pointing to the trunk as he searched the backseat.

“I'm not seeing much back here, but you should pop the trunk and see what we got in there.”

Tony nodded and went to open the trunk.

“I need a key.” Tony pointed out.

“Check the ignition, genius.” Allen called out, grunting as he crawled and reached further into the backseat, searching the interior with his flashlight. Tony rolled his eyes again. Once again, his partner had that special way of making Tony feel like a complete, bumbling idiot even though he was the one that noticed John was acting strangely and he was the one that ran out into the muddy field and caught the suspect. He grumbled internally as he went to the front and grabbed the keys out of the ignition before walking back around to the trunk.

Tony slid the key into the lock and popped the trunk.

The hood flew up and immediately every single one of his senses went into overload.

“Holy shit!” Tony exclaimed and stumbled backward in shock at the sight that greeted him from inside the trunk. But far worse than the image that assaulted his eyes, was the smell. The desiccating stench of flesh compacted into such a small space was so overpowering that his stomach automatically decided to send his lunch back up where it came from. After violently voiding his stomach, he fell to his knees as spots danced across his eyes and the next thing he knew, Allen was slapping his face, rain falling steadily into his eyes.

“Hey, buddy. You okay?” Allen asked.

“What happened?”

“You passed out, Rookie” His partner was grinning now.

“What? No way...DiNozzos don't pass out.” Tony firmly assured him, but Allen just laughed. Tony wondered how he could still be so jovial after seeing the contents of John's trunk.

“What would you call it then? A catnap?” Allen helped him to sit up, actually giving him a sympathetic squeeze on the shoulder at Tony's mortified visage.

“Don't worry about it, Kid. You wouldn't be the first rookie to toss his cookies and faint after seeing his first body in the field. There isn't anything that can prepare you for it and this....” he pointed to the trunk with a deadly serious face. “Is one of the worst I've ever seen in thirteen years and believe me...I've seen some pretty nasty things.”

Allen helped Tony to his feet. Feeling better, but still shaky, his partner lead him back towards the trunk for a better look at the carnage inside. Tony found that he still had to hold his nose to be that close and he wondered how he hadn't been able to smell the rotting flesh inside it before the trunk was open.

“How many you think are in there?” Tony asked, surveying the various pieces and parts that used to belong to human beings.

“Hard to say...We better call the coroner. There's got to be at least four, maybe five heads in there, not to mention all of the other....parts....”

Tony turned his head and looked back towards the squad car that held their prisoner. John was like any person you would see walking down the sidewalk. Nothing about him screamed 'mass murderer' or 'serial killer'. On any other day, Tony would have never have noticed him, he would have just been another ordinary face in the crowd.

That's when Tony realized how easily that made it for people like John to commit such horrible crimes. On the outside they drew no attention to themselves, they were nice to others on the surface, upright citizens that paid their taxes and mowed their lawns, yet on the inside was nothing but evil and insanity. It was enough to make Tony's blood run cold and he knew that from then on, he would have never be able to look at everyday, 'normal' people the same way.

As the rain continued to fall, Allen closed the trunk lid a bit to keep the water from contaminating the evidence inside and Tony was grateful to have the gory sight closed up for the time being. Moments later, two more squad cars pulled up; their back-up had arrived.

Shaking off the nausea and gathering his wits again, Tony was grateful for the rain as it had washed away the evidence of his stomach's upheaval and prayed that his newly arriving fellow cops wouldn't pick up on his distress, nor the shame he felt for passing out the moment he laid eyes on the mess of human flesh inside the trunk. He turned to Allen, hitching his thumb towards the newcomers.

“You gonna tell the other guys that I....you know...?”

“fainted like a little girl?” Allen laughed at him. “Don't worry, Rookie. Partner's don't rat on each other, especially if the junior partner buys coffee and donuts every morning for their senior partner.” With that, Allen slapped Tony's shoulder affectionately and rubbed his wet hair while chuckling the whole time. For the first time since he met Allen, Tony found that he didn't mind his partner doing that to him anymore.

The End

Three more times coming soon........