In THE INSIDER, my protagonist Will Connelly gets involved in a chase and shootout in the middle of San Francisco’s Gay Pride Parade that leaves two dead and Will in the joint custody of the Department of Justice and the San Francisco Police Department. I wouldn’t say that Will started a riot, but he definitely disturbed the peace in a major way.
Here’s where the action begins, as Will attempts to conduct an exchange with two Russian mobsters to recover his kidnapped semi-girlfriend Claire. It should come as no surprise to you that things do not go as planned.
Yuri drew a pistol from his jacket. In a moment of excruciating clarity, Will saw the glint of afternoon sun on the barrel of the gun, the concentration on Yuri’s face as he aimed.
An instant later, Will was shoving his way through the parade crowd, throwing elbows like Shaquille O’Neal. He heard no gunshots. Will managed to make it to Market Street and, drawing several shouts of resistance, clambered over the barricade into the street. He heard the cries multiplying behind him and knew that Nikolai and Yuri were plunging through the throng after him.
As he staggered onto Market Street, he found himself surrounded by a group of men dressed like nuns who had been outfitted at Frederick’s of Hollywood. It was the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a troupe of drag queen performance artists. The Sisters took his intrusion in stride – one blessed him, another attempted to spank him on the ass with a ruler. Standing in the middle of Market Street, with Nikolai and Yuri at the barricades and once more able to take aim at him, he felt more exposed than the burly Sister standing next to him wearing fishnets over a thong.
The Sisters did not have a float that Will could hide behind, so he tried to stay close to the performers while moving against the tide of the parade. When he looked back to spot Yuri and Nikolai, he saw them climbing over the barrier. Will wondered if they were actually brazen enough to shoot him in the midst of a televised parade.
Looking for cover, he was relieved to see a float rumbling towards him. It was a large, rolling lump of papier-mâché covered with plastic flowers and bearing the slogan: “More Than A Law Firm” and, in smaller letters, “Celebrate Diversity! Reynolds Fincher & McComb Honors San Francisco’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities.” The float was manned by about a dozen people who were standing at a low railing along the side throwing Mardi Gras beads to the crowd.
A string of beads hit him in the chest. When he looked up, he saw that they had been thrown by Craig Logan, a paralegal he had worked with on the Jupiter deal.
“Didn’t expect to see you back so soon! Happy Pride!”
Will walked backwards to face Craig and keep up with the float. “Can I join you up there?”
“This isn’t your coming out party, is it, Will?” Craig reached down and extended a hand. Will climbed the steps built into the side of the float and joined Craig at the railing.
“Craig, I need your help. Is there a place around here where I could hide?”
“Once that closet door is open, Will, there’s no more hiding.”
“I’m serious, Craig. I need to get out of sight. Right now.”
I'm going to stop right there, but the rest of the chapter features a hungover Ian McKellen as the parade grand marshall, the cast of Bleach Blanket Babylon, murder, mayhem and muy macho DOJ Special Agent Joan Fisk. It may not qualify as a riot, but it's pretty close.