Jeremy the Germ, Planetary Crime Fighter
by Ben A. Vanguarde
Chapter Two - What Happened to Perry
"Hi Dad. Good to see you." The two men weakly embraced.
"I know you Perry. Something's really troubling you when you come to see me like this. Is it the sergeant's promotion?"
"Yes and no. It's connected with the Schweitzer case."
"Schweitzer? I read about that in the papers. Any relation to Albert Schweitzer? Ah, who cares? I read you were on it but I also knew you could handle it. Grab a couple of beers in the refridge and come out on the porch. Then, let's hear it."
Perry unscrewed the long necks and sat down. "I have a great chance of making officer of the year again and this time there's another sergeant's opening. My case closing percentage is 64%. Sheldon Lutz is behind me with 62%. Last opening, Ruffman made sergeant with only 58% closed."
"Sounds like the promotion's yours, unless another cop runs in front of a speeding freight train to scoop up a child between now and the end of the year, that is. When I made sergeant there was none of this crap. You just put in your time and took the promotions as they came. Anyway, what's bothering you?"
"Dad, you said something which I'll always remember, 'When you know in your gut whose guilty and innocent, then you're a real cop. Then you can be a sergeant.' That's where it breaks down for me."
"Just tell me the story, Perry."
"I was sitting in my cruiser parked on someone's gravel driveway behind some ratty trees near the end of my shift. If someone ran that traffic light in the next twenty minutes, I'd pull 'em over. After that, I wouldn't see nothing so I could leave on time."
"Nothing wrong so far, son. Keep going."
"Being in my zone I was the first responder after the call. Dr. Michael Schweitzer met me at the door. On the couch, clinging to his mother was 22 year old Jeremy Schweitzer. The boy was babbling incoherently and jerking kind of funny. This was nothing like the O.D.'s I'd ever seen. He acted like a child. I asked, 'Dr. Schweitzer, what happened to your son?' They informed me she was also Dr. Schweitzer. One was a psychologist and one a psychiatrist, whatever the difference is. Snobbish people. Anyway, his mother, Sonia said, 'Obviously, someone frightened our son Jeremy.' Like I said, snobs.
"I said, 'I have to ask, what's wrong with Jeremy?' Michael Schweitzer answered, 'Our son Jeremy was a normal boy but at age ten he came down with a fever and emerged like this. Something happened. It appears like autism but we never got a definitive diagnosis and we have not found a successful treatment.'
"I said I was sorry to hear that and asked if they wanted the paramedics. They said no. I asked if he could talk or describe what happened. She said maybe after he calms down that sometimes he writes a word or two on paper. Jeremy kept staring at me, kind of creepy like. I asked Michael Schweitzer to show me what was taken and he took me around the first floor. They took everything they could pawn.
"When we returned to the living room Jeremy was standing with his mother who was holding a note. Jeremy lunged at me as if he had a knife. My heart was in my mouth because I was definitely not ready for this. I reached to draw but I saw he had nothing in his hand. The mother thought he must have been threatened by someone with a knife.
"He stood babbling incoherently before me. She handed me the note. It read 'GUN - SHOOT THEM'. I stepped back and asked her if she thought he wanted me to shoot someone. She said more like Jeremy wanted to shoot someone. His brother had always been the pacifist. He dropped out of college and became a Navy corpsman. He was killed in Afghanistan. Jeremy always wanted to be the hero. She explained that Jeremy lived outside in the guest house where he spent his days watching western, war movies, and space adventures."
"Its a tragedy to have a child like that but another tragedy to have one killed," answered Perry's dad. "Get us another beer, how about it? Don't know which would be worse."
Perry continued as he fetched another round. "I asked if there was any way to communicate directly with Jeremy but they both said no. Well, I inspected upstairs and of course, they did not have any serial numbers or photos. Outside, I noticed truck tires at the back door but you know where this is going?"
"Yes, I do," replied Perry's dad. "No where. The last thing I read was a burglar does on average 29 before he's caught. They're hard to catch. Takes time. Persistence. That would make it really bad for your closed case percentage. I can see why you'd be pissed with this call."
"This case put Sheldon Lutz ahead of me. Yah, I was pissed. I was also pissed that Jeremy, a boy in a helpless man's body, had met some real life criminals. Dad, I had no idea how much worse his life and my life would become."
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