We lined up like a SWAT team at the door; I was first in line and held a CO2 extinguisher like a gun. I thought if nothing else I could discharge the extinguisher and make a smoke screen effect to blind her.
Behind me was Tommy, and like me he had put on all his firefighting gear. We had on our big coats, gloves and helmets just in case she actually got a swing of the knife in, we might be protected a little. At the back of the stack was Pizza, and in hindsight that didn’t seem like the right place for the guy with the gun and training for this kind of thing.
Rock Chuck and Denny stayed outside and peered through different windows trying to track Flo’s movements and then radio her whereabouts to us.
“She’s gone down a back hallway and it looks like she’s gone into a bedroom back there.” Radioed Rock Chuck.
Being as I had somehow ended up in the lead of our little raiding party I motioned for Tommy and Pizza to follow me. We crept into the kitchen crouching low for some reason. I think I was crouching in case the guy behind me with the gun accidentally pulled one off.
Through the kitchen we went left into the living. I saw the hallway and knew where her bedroom was as we had been to her house many times.
“Do you guys see her?” I asked in my radio.
“Yeah, she’s in her bedroom and she’s standing on her bed.” Said Denny over the radio.
I waved Tommy and Pizza forward with me as I inched down the hallway to her bedroom door.
“Flo, it’s TimO, we’re here to help you honey. Come out of there and talk to me Flo.” I didn’t want to get trapped in her tiny bedroom with her, the knife and two other guys.
“No.” She yelled.
“Come get me.”
“What is she doing Denny?” I asked into my radio.
“She’s just jumping up and down on the bed like a kid.” He said.
“Does she still have the knife Denny?”
“I can’t tell TimO, the windows are filthy.”
“Denny can you get her attention? Pound on the window or something, act like you’re trying to get in, maybe that will distract her.” I said.
“What if she tries to stab me?” Denny asked.
“Denny just try to distract her.”
I could hear Denny pound on the glass and his muffled calls to Flo.
“Let’s go guys.” I said and moved quickly to the door way of Flo’s bedroom. There she was bouncing up and down on the bed. She had removed her bra I guess in a further effort to distract us.
Flo might have been crazy, but her distraction was without success. As we moved into the room I noticed she had one arm behind her back. The rhythmic bouncing and the associated movement of her attributes froze my fellow rescuers just for a second.
I had the long plastic bell of the fire extinguisher held out in front of me and pointed directly at Flo’s face. She smiled at me and then as she whipped the hidden arm from behind her back I saw the knife.
Thank God she wasn’t faster; I pulled the handle on the extinguisher and released a huge cloud of freezing carbon dioxide right into her face. She just locked up and went stiff. The knife halted in mid swing and she held it right in front of me.
I moved the bell of the extinguisher and aimed it right at her clinched fist and pulled the handle again. Frost formed on her hand just like it had on her face and hair. She looked like something out of a sci-fi move, an ice queen or something.
Now her eyes just blinked in a child like way. She dropped the knife but remained standing like an ice sculpture. Pizza moved forward quickly now and yanked her down on the bed and cuffed her. He was a little aggressive with her.
“Hey Pizza take it easy.” I said.
“Easy? Crazy bitch could have stabbed us,”
“I don’t think the knife was long enough to get through three of us Pizza.” Said Tommy.
“Yeah whatever, she’s all yours.” Said Pizza as he stood up and left the room. I grabbed a nearby bathrobe and covered Flo up.
“Flo, what’s going on? You know you shouldn’t be drinking, it gets you in trouble every time.” I said as wrapped her up.
She began to sob and cry and leaned into me. Flo had been involved in a terrible divorce for some time now. Her husband having grown tired of her mental illness had thrown in the towel on the marriage and the divorce as all divorces do had become quite vicious.
I think he was trying to win in the divorce by pushing Flo closer to a tragic end, sad situation and poor Flo was powerless to fight back in any intelligent or educated way. He knew how to push her buttons and get her to react in a way that would always end poorly for Flo.
An ambulance had arrived while we were inside and I explained to Flo, just like I had many times before that she was going to go to the hospital for an evaluation and then probably off to a psych ward for a few days. I made Pizza take the cuffs off her and lucky for Flo, the medic on the ambulance was a familiarly with Flo as I was.
We saw Flo a few more times over the next year when a bout would erupt. We saw her one last time when she was finally successful at a suicide. Sometimes we just couldn’t enough. I hope she is at peace now.