Watch My Six

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

A 15 year old girls is found dead. A coldhearted cop does whatever he can to solve this case, so he can live an everyday life.

Watch My Six

A girl aged 15 is found in a field. Dead, her skin is blue, mostly likely been outside for 3 days. A fisherman felt like fishing in an area he wasn’t supposed to go to. I cut him loose, if he hadn’t been there, that girl could have been lying there much longer.  She’s the only 15 year old girl without a cellphone, no idea who she is. She’s thin, Latina, pig tails. Whoever did this was bored or had a fetish for girls with pigtails. She gets put on the gurney and taken away. My captain goes on the news to tell the whole city of San Antonio, Texas. Explaining what was found and who to contact if any information is discovered. He promises the crowd to not panic, everything is under control, and to expect a picture of the suspect soon. I wonder if he is thinking of running for office. Not once in my career have I heard him make statements such as “not panicking.”

I drive to the precinct for paperwork. I miss the days of photographing crime scenes; focus on victim and surrounding area, snap photo, pass it to the officer, and go home. No paperwork needed. But alas, being 35 is considered old in the San Antoni PDs eyes. They wanted younger people to do the job; young bucks seeing the crazy shit helps weed out the “weak.” The station smells of coffee, printer ink, and axe body spray. The cops are cool for the most part, some are college rejects, but hey, it took me seven years to get a bachelors degree. The Captain is fair, definitely takes his cues from cheesy 70s cop shows. “Give me your badge!” “Your ego is gonna get someone killed!” 

I start typing the report: “At 1930, I arrive on the scene of a murder victim. No ID, no phone. Her skin was blue, most likely out in the field for 3 days. Found by fisherman.” I check my notes for the rest of it, type it, and go. My wife is cooking meatloaf, my favorite. After dinner, I usually workout to get my frustration out. My wife thinks it’s a sign of me becoming cold because I don’t talk much about work, but what good would it do if I told her everything?   She thinks it’s her fault for not having kids; honestly, I’m glad we don’t; especially with this teen getting murdered. I’d be a wreck. 

I walk into my house, my wife is just finishing up dinner. 

“Hey, honey!” She shouts.

“Hi, babe.” I say in a monotone voice. 

“How was work?”

“It was eventful.”

“Well, put your feet up and open wide. I cooked meatloaf, your favorite!”

The meatloaf looks amazing. The way the light hits the sauce makes it shine like a ruby. It’s almost an insult to eat it, but for my wife, it’s an insult to let it sit there. The sides are homemade green beans and mashed potatoes. It looks like a Rockefeller painting. We eat, talk about our days, I don’t tell her about the girl, the news will say it in about 30 minutes. I quit watching the news long ago, they always add something to make the story different. They need viewers. I finish my meal, my wife shoos me away from the kitchen. I go to my garage and rack my weights on the bench press. 230 pounds goes over my chest, up and down, up and down. I knock out 12 reps. I do my exercises, three sets of twelve, I want to be able to walk tomorrow. I walk back into the house, the girls story just ended on the news. My wife comes up and hugs me.

“Are you okay?” She asks.

“It’s another day for me.”

“Do you know how she died?”

“I asked her, but she didn’t answer.” I say coldly.

“What is the matter with you?”

“What?”

“You’re so cold lately.”

“I have seen enough bodies now for it to not bother me.”

She walks away, I want to grab her and say sorry, but nothing comes out. I sit up a few more minutes, HBO is playing reruns of The Sopranos. I wish life was this simple, get money, go to strip club, kill whomever looks at you funny, and sleep with as many people as you want. I also wish talking about things with a doctor were this simple, but the doctors are all about making numbers in looney bins. 

11: 30 rolls around. I shower and go to bed. My alarm goes off at 7:30am on the dot. I like to wake up with my wife and have a cup of coffee with her. I have to be at work by 9am. Fortunately, today is my Friday. Normally, my wife and I like to do something on my three days off. Her only rule is no gun range, my first few weekends were at the gun range. Guns freak her out, but she isn’t anti-gun, just hates the noise.

“You ready for today?”

“I think so, I’m hoping to get this case done with soon, it was a rough site.”

“I hope you do, too. 15 is so young.” She says.

I wash my coffee mug, kiss my wife, and head out. My car is full of coffee cups and energy drink cans, might be something I get cleaned tomorrow. I arrive at the Precinct, I feel like I never left it from the night before. I walk in, it’s a madhouse; phones ringing off the hook, cops yelling for translators, Boots doing internship work, we got one Boot cleaning toilets. We all had to do it. My phone rings.

“Hey, come to my office.” My captain says.

I hang up and walk to the office. My captain is sitting there content, but has a shit eating grin. I” bet it’s not going to inconvenience me at all,” I think to myself sarcastically.

“Yes, sir.”

“Have a seat.”

I take a seat and try to get comfortable, these seats are worn. My Captain’s seat, on the other hand, is one of those gaming chairs. The ones that hold 500 pounds. He stares at me for a good minute before saying anything.

“How are you doing? You’re not one for words or meeting at the watering hole.” He says.

“I’m okay, Cap.”

“Are the murders getting to you? You’ve done this job for seven years. Your therapists clear you, but say you’re cold about all the bodies. You won’t take a partner, and you won’t come to any of our parties. “Do I need to call someone?”

“Look, Captain, I’m having a hard time fitting in after I was sworn under oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Do you remember that? Some of those assholes out there would rather I swallow a fucking bullet as opposed to showing up everyday. I do my job and mind my business now. That’s it. As far as partners go, I don’t need one. I prefer working on my own.”

“That’s what scares me. This job, isn’t one go anywhere alone.”

“I don’t want a partner.”

“Last time I checked, I’m the Captain, and I say you’re getting one.”

I begin to get up from the chair.

By the way, we got a lead on the girl. I want you to go to Sister Agitha’s Catholic School off of i10. The Sister Mary Rodriguez will be there waiting for you.”

“Am I taking a partner?”

“I’m going to give you today as your last day solo. When you get back, you’ll have a rookie, I want you to train him.” 

I walk out of the office. My jaw is clenched, I have hard time drinking water, it’s so tight. I walk to my squad car, there’s a group of cops chilling, I walk right past them and drive off. My job right now is to focus on getting to the school, not speeding tickets, not robberies, not drug deals, just the school. The school is huge, looks like a college. Brown brick, statues, and people walking all over the place. The left side is Pre-K-5th grade, the middle is 6th-8th grade, and the left is 9th-12th. I walk up to the main office, there’s a blonde woman with a short haircut, what the youngsters call Karen; there’s a Latina walking around filing stuff and  is sometimes translating for Karen. 

“Can I help you?” Karen asks.

“I’m looking for Sister Mary Rodriguez, I’m with the San Antonio Police Department. She’s expecting me.”

“Ok, go through these doors, take a right, walk straight down, take your first left.”

I walk through the doorway, the brown tile with the white grout in between each piece is shiny, well waxed. I see pictures of the nuns, monks, and priests from the past. It’s weird how much older they looked at 25 in comparison to now. People in their 20s look fresh out of middle school lately. I take the left turn as instructed. There’s a sign above the door, “Rodriguez.” I look in the room, she’s praying at her desk, I wait for her to finish. 

“Oh sorry, I didn’t hear you walk in.” She gets up and gives me a hug as if she were an old friend. It’s comforting, it’s a nice change from being so uptight with things. She lets go of me, and I feel relaxed.

“It’s no problem. I haven’t been here long. I came here to ask you about the suspect that was reported last night.”

“Yes, have a seat.”

The chair is probably from the 60s, it has that old wood chair smell. Reminds me of my time at Texas State University. It creaks with any shift I make, which is hard for me because the gun, handcuffs, vest, and radio make this uncomfortable. I pull out my notebook, if she has all this information, I want it in the biggest notebook I have. 

“So what’s her name?”

“Angela Esperanza.”

“Age?”

“15.” 

“Did she have a job or volunteer anywhere?”

“She would sometimes help Father McGrady around the chapel, but as she got older, she decided to focus on her studies. She wanted to go to a big school in California. USC I think. She wanted to become a doctor.”

“Did she have any family, stay with mom/dad, uncles, cousins?”

“She and her brother live here. There’s a section of the school where orphans stay. It’s not so cluttered on account that Aunts and Uncles are now given guardianship when parents pass. That and we also give them more responsibility; they can either volunteer or get a job, if they’re not working or studying. We also allow them to go on their own, they just have to be home by 8 Sunday through Thursday and 11 PM Friday and Saturday.”

“What happened to their family?”

“Their father was in a gang, their mother became a junkie, and their aunts and uncles were deported. This was the safest place for them.” 

“Where’s her brother? And I would love to talk with Father McGrady, if possible.”

“He went to a conference in Houston, he won’t be back for three days. But Miguel’s next class will be AP Biology in room 234. When you leave, take the left, take the first staircase you see and it will be the first door on the right.”

“Ok, I’ll return in three days. Here’s my card if you have any information, call me directly.”

“Yes, sir.

I walk into the hallway, the bell rings, a flood of students walk past me, confused baby faces all looking at me. With the media shining the light on unfavorable cops, it’s kind of hard to blame them. I just ignore the glares and go upstairs. The nun teaching looks scared at my arrival.

“Is there a Miguel in here? I need to speak with him.”

“Yes, Miguel, go ahead. I’ll get you caught up when you return.”

Miguel meets me in the hallway. We take a seat on the stair case. He is afraid to make eye contact, and I sometimes have to remember that in Latin culture; kids don’t look at adults when they are talking to them.

“I just have some questions about your sister, buddy.”

“Okay.” He says timidly. 

“What did she do when she wasn’t in school? Did she have friends that she would hang with?”

“She had some friends named Silvia and Jessica, but they stopped hanging out months ago.”

“Did she ever say why?” 

“They apparently partied a lot, they met working with Father McGrady, but they had another job. I just didn’t know what it was. But whatever it was, caused them to no longer be friends.”

“Did she go study off campus or outside of the orphanage area?”

“She’d sometimes go to the local coffee shop, but I would be at football around that time. So she could have been anywhere.” 

“Okay, where would I find her former friends? And can I have a picture them and your sister? Can you point me in the right direction of the shop?”

“I can text them to you.”

“Perfect, here’s my card, put my number in your phone real quick and send them to me. Save my number, call or text if you remember anything or need anything.” 

He texted me the pictures, he was really shy. I feel like he and the nun know more than what they’re leading me to believe. It’s only a matter of time before I get more answers. What felt like 4 hours was really only an hour and a half. I have 10 and a half more hours to go. This job used to go so fast and be exciting, now it’s the equivalent of watching paint dry. Fortunately that coffee shop is 20 minutes, so it will take me a good 40 minutes to an hour to get back to the office. Not including where more leads will take me.

The coffee shop is a hipster joint, laced with Sanders and BLM stickers. It doesn’t matter whether or not I support or don’t support their cause, I’m just a murderer with a badge in their eyes. I go up to the Barista or Baristo, they strike me as possibly gender fluid, I don’t want to assume a gender just yet. 

“Can I help you?” They ask. They don’t want me there, but the manager is there, so they’re trying to be polite. 

“Yes, I was wondering if you could tell me anything about this girl.” I hand them the photo. They examine it, and hands it back. They look like they’re about to cry. 

“I saw the story. She and her friends were regulars, she was my favorite customer.”

“Did she ever talk to you about anything? You seem upset, were y’all in a relationship?” 

“No. She was just a friend. I asked her out, but she wasn’t interested in me.”

I write down everything they’re telling me. 

“How would you like me to refer to you in my report? He, she, they, them?”

“They/them is fine. I didn’t know you cops cared about pronouns. It’s kind of shocking.”

“Not all cops care and not all cops are violent. Some of us just want to do the right thing. Did she ever come here more than friends? Anyone ever come looking for her.

“If she weren’t with her friends, she’d be alone. Her phone rang a lot, I guess she was popular at her school because guys would call her all the time. They’d usually walk to the corner, but after they past the dumpster, I couldn’t see them.”

“They did mention that they loved going to the mall. They weren’t your typical uptight christian girls that you see on TV.”

“Ok thanks, I’ll head over there next. If you need anything or discover anything, feel free to reach me here. Also, what’s your name?

“It’s Alex.” 

I close my spiral and drive off towards the mall. 9 hours left to go on the shift, thank God.   The traffic adds another 45 minutes to the shift. I’m listening to the chatter on the radio, typical traffic stops and drug arrests. No murders or shootouts. It’s still an early shift, and with the road rage going up, it’s only a matter of time. I hit up the stores that I feel a high school girl would like. Forever 21, Starbucks, and some of the Ramen restaurants. Nothing, no one in Hot Topic has seen her and no one at Bath and Body Works has any knowledge of seeing her. I hate to go into Victorias Secret or that she would even be here, but duty calls.I don’t stop for anything, I don’t stop to look for anything for my wife, I don’t look at the women, and I don’t even look at the product catalogs. I walk straight to the greeter in the middle of the store. 

“Can I help you?” She asks.

“Have you seen these 3 girls? One was murdered, but she was known for being friends with these 2 for a bit of time.”

“Yes! She came in 3 days ago, I saw she was murdered. Really sad, she was so pretty. Her friends are regulars also.”

“Did you ever hear them talk about what they were doing buying stuff like this?”

“They kept saying how much money they’d be making and don’t worry about anything, you’ll get used to it. Stuff like that.”

“Ok, I’m going to leave a card. If you see the other two come in, hold them here and call me.”

“How will I get them to stay?”

“Use your imagination.” I say walking out of the store. 

Finally some movement in the shift, 6 hours left of this shift. I decide to stop in the food court for lunch. It’s crappy food, but it serves a purpose. In a way, it’s like me in this job. I feel crappy, but I serve a purpose. I get the orange chicken, I’m glad I can see them put it on the plate, no worries about spit. I leave 15 minutes before the my lunch break ends. The seats in my car now feel hot, like opening the oven. I drive to the precinct in typical rush hour traffic.

I walk into the office to type this novel of information. I put my earbuds on and listen to something loud and heavy to drown out the chatter. I wish I had something to snuff the odor of axe and cheap cologne. A paper ball is thrown at me. I look up. There are three cops starring at me. Schultz aka Captain America, Jefferson aka Michael Jordan Jr., and Pazon aka Donatello from the Ninja Turtles. They’re hot shot, gunslingers. The types that would end up on the news for shooting a kid that stole Jordans. 

“Look at this guy. Mr. Lonewolf. How’s it going, Mr. Wolf? Solving the big case yet?”

“Not yet, but maybe y’all can help me with this part of my report. The video surveillance shows three men with small penises on the scene. From the looks of it, I have three suspects in front of me. What do y’all think?”

Michael Jordan Jr. tries to intimidate me, I don’t flinch. As far as I’m concerned, I have an hour to go before I head home. I won’t let these three ruin that for me. I put my earbud in and finish typing and drop it off in the Captain’s office. I chill at my desk for the next 20 minutes. After that, I head to the locker, take my gear off, throw it in my duffel bag, and drive home. My phone rings, it’s the captain. 

“Yes, sir.” I say.

“I’m reading over the report. Looks good, when you get back, go to the school and speak to the Pastor.”

“I think he’s a priest, sir.”

“Whatever, do it.”

“You got it.”

“And don’t forget, partner when you get back.”

We both hang up. I’m about 15 minutes away from home. I’m going to skip working out tonight. I like watching my wife through the window for a second before coming in. She always looks graceful moving around the house. The way the light hits her hair, she moves like a ballerina during the nutcracker. 

“Hey, honey.” I say.

“Welcome home, sweetie!” I can’t help but crack a smile. I feel almost an adrenalin boost of excitement.

“Want to take a trip tonight?” I ask.

“Wha- What?”

“Let’s go to San Marcos, tonight. Pack a bag, let’s go.”

“Are you okay?” She asks.

“I know I’ve become a bit coldhearted with the job, but I want to make it up to you. San Marcos or Fredericksburg? You pick and we’ll go tonight.”

“Fredericksburg!”

I go change my clothes. I pack my gun and badge in case a call comes through. I start searching for hotels that will take us now. Found a nice bed and breakfast, a 3-star hotel, but with it being the last minute, I can’t complain. We won’t get there till about 11:30pm, worth it. I really hope this makes my wife happy. The drive is enjoyable to say the least. We talk about the times we’d make late night trips for milkshakes, going to parties, and working out together. We exchange funny stories of when we were kids. It makes the trip go by fast, doesn’t even feel like 30 minutes. 

The hotel is quaint. That’s the best way to describe it. It’s not a corporate hotel, it has that warm local feeling. Like going to Grandma’s house. The only thing missing is the homemade apple pie and cookies. 

“How many nights will you need?” The female clerk asks.

“Three nights. One bed, 2 people.” I tell her.

“Here’s your key, breakfast is from 7am-9:30 am. Rest assured coffee will be available all day.” She says smiling. 

We grab our things and walk to our room. It’s a 600 sq ft room. It has a queen sized bed, with a flowery comforter. The table is about the same size as a small coffee table. The fridge is your average hotel fridge. My wife and I brush our teeth and go to bed. 

“This was an awesome idea, babe.” She says leaning in close. She kisses me. I then kiss her. We start grabbing each other and removing clothes. We make love. When we get our fill of each other, we close our eyes and go to sleep. 

I start seeing dead bodies. I see a man standing over 3 small children holding a gun. He looks at me and shoots. I wake up drenched in sweat, my heart is pacing. My wife wakes up to check on me. I get up and walk around the room for a second. It’s 7 am. The room is still pitch black due to the curtains. 

“You want some coffee?” I ask.

“What? Oh, no. I’m okay. I just want to make sure you’re okay.”

“I’m fine. Just dreams.”

“Past cases or this one?”

“Past, I haven’t gone deep enough for this one. Sorry, babe.”

“I knew what I signed up for when I married you. I just want you to get help is all.”

“I will. I just need to finish this case. When this is done, I’m going to take FMLA. Get a bit of a vacation.” 

“I just don’t want it to be too late. When Alvarez died, I knew it would eat you up.”

“We both knew what we signed up for.” I say smirking. 

I walk out to the lobby for some coffee. I let my wife sleep in for a bit. Plus, the cool wineries don’t open till 10 am. I sit at the table closest to the window. The news story on TV is talking about the case. I get lost in the story. Eventually the words are slowing down. The news reporters sit there looking pretty, acting concerned, when they’re really doing this for the ratings. I don’t even see them as people sometimes. Just talking heads floating around, speaking in cryptic tongues. The Joel Osteen of news stories. They’ve never been out in the field, yet they act like they’re hard veterans. Kids in the ghetto have more qualifications than these asshats. 

My wife walks up to me. She’s wearing jeans and a nice button up shirt with an undershirt, to keep her cleavage from being seen. It’s my favorite outfit she wears. She knows it, too. I’m wearing my favorite Queen shirt and blue jeans. It’s my wife’s favorite outfit I wear, and I know this. 

We explore the first winery. The cashier reminds me of Steve Martin with a John Denver haircut. He recommends the peach wine, Fredricksburg is known for their peach wines. I take a sip from the church glass that is handed at communion. My taste buds are dancing, the zing of it wakes me up. I shake my head to calm me down. I’m a bit of a lightweight. My wife is smiling, it’s been a while since I’ve seen that smile. It crinkles her nose, it’s cute. We buy a bottle and walk around town. A couple blocks ahead of us, and we begin to hear polka music. They’re having their local Octoberfest. Men in lederhosen and women in their outfits are dancing to traditional German music. They see us walking up to the area. An elderly German man grabs my wife, his wife grabs me. They are showing us dance moves like we’re rag dolls. My wife and I find ourselves dancing together at the end. She’s a natural and I’m stiff as a board, but we’re both smiling. She’s amazing, and this reminds me of why I married her. We catch a break after dancing to three songs, we get pretzels, beers, and weinerschnitzle. It’s fresh, no store bought stuff. 

“What do you think about moving out here?” I ask her. She looks shocked.

“What?”

“What do you think of living here?”

“What about work? What about the mortgage? Have you seen the cost of living here?”

“Let’s worry about that later. Look, I haven’t been this happy in a long time. I think we could start over. We just get a small apartment, let's let maintenance take care of us. We deserve it.”

“How about we see how this vacation goes, Cowboy? If it goes well, we can consider it. But I love you, and I love that you’re happy right now.”

“Sounds good.”

There’s a silence between us.

“You know what? Let’s do it. We’re young, we can sell the house. I’m in.”

We both smile and get back to dancing. We get lost in time, despite there being hundreds of people, it’s just my wife and me dancing. When we arrive back at the hotel, it’s round two for love making. When we finish up, we turn the lights off. What feels like seconds go by. My phone rings.

“Hello?”

“Detective? It’s me Sister Mary. Are you busy?”

“I can talk, what’s up?” I get out of bed to not disturb my wife.

“I have more information, that I couldn’t explain to you at the school. Is there a place we can meet up?”

“I’m in Fredericksburg right now. Is there a spot we can meet halfway?” I tell her.

“That sounds perfect. I can meet you at Kreuzberg in 30 minutes.”

I hang up the phone. I don’t even change out of my gym shorts, I just book it. Everything that’s not right in front of me is grey. Even the attendance clerk. I race out of the parking lot like an Indy 500 racer. I make sure my badge is around my neck because right now I’m going 30 miles well over the speed limit. 

I pull up to the nearest coffee shop. It’s about 6am. No sign of the nun. I call Sister Mary to tell her where I’m at. I leave a voicemail. I keep watching the door, even if I see the person walking in isn’t her, I still look. An hour goes by, nothing. Two hours go by, nothing. Thirty minutes later, my phone rings. It’s my wife.

“Hey, I got called by a witness on the case. They haven’t shown up. I’ll be back soon.”

My phone rings again. It’s my chief. 

“Hello?”

“Were you supposed to meet with the Nun?”

“Yes sir, she said she had more information for me. I’ve been here almost three hours.”

“She was found dead this morning. Hit and run. We’re at the scene now. It’s awful, her body is flattened, her intestines are spilled out of her stomach.”

“Do you need me down there?”

“Where are you?”

“I’m in Fredericksburg with my wife.”

“Enjoy your time. We’ve got it covered. Just send me the report that she called ASAP. If anything comes up, we’ll take care of it. We’ll give you everything we have when you get back.”

“Yes, sir.”

I head back to the hotel. My wife looks annoyed. I can’t say I blame her. 

“Look, I’m sorry. It was an important part of the case. Let me write this report, and I’ll answer whatever it is you have to ask. Just give me a few minutes.” 

I whip out the computer and type my report. My wife is in the shower. I send the report, close my laptop, and wait for my wife to grill me for leaving. My wife has Cheaters playing. I can’t tell if this is a happy accident or if she’s assuming I’m cheating. Either way, I watch. I see the people weep and Clark Gable’s Grandson giving us a moral lesson. 

My wife gets out of the bathroom. She walks past me and says nothing. I wait like a child about to get his ass beat by his dad for talking back to their mom. She gets dressed, she starts with her panties first. They’re almost granny panties, which means there won’t be any love making tonight, but that’s okay. Three nights in a row is asking a lot, I guess. She is huffing and puffing, she wants to say a whole lot, but doesn’t know what to say.

“Look, I know you’ve got things to deal with on this case. But, it isn’t okay to leave without telling me! Cops are getting shot all the time, and I don’t want to find out the next morning that you’re next!”

“I understand. It was just a last minute thing. I want to get this case done with, that’s it.”

“Just tell me next time, okay?”

“I promise.”

“Did you get to see the witness?”

“Sadly, she was killed in a hit and run. It’s just weird.”

“I’m sorry hunny. Do you need to stay in today?” 

“Nah, lets go do something. Want to go to the shooting range?” I say winking because I know it will annoy my wife.

“If you leave me again, I will gladly use you as a gun range.” She says laughing. 

The day is spent inside. We needed to recover from the dancing. That and it’s a nice panty party. We order room service for the day. It’s typical country cooking. I order the fried chicken and green beans. She ordered steak with broccoli. My beverage of choice is Diet Coke, hers is the peach wine. We watch cheesy kung fu movies and dumb reality shows. We start laughing at how better off we are than the reality stars. 

The next morning we get ready to leave. I enjoy spending my last day at home. It helps me get ready for work the next day. I have a sinking feeling that this week will be rough. Not necessarily due to the case, but because it’s the job. Everyday is a risk, but then again, what job doesn’t have a daily risk? I start with a new partner as well. Will it be a rookie that thinks he’s Rambo? Or will it be a man that’s done this for 20 years, stuck in his ways? I just need to finish this case, then I can get my two weeks off. 

The beginning of my work week comes sooner than expected. The thrill from the weekend fades away. The vibrant warm feeling turns dull and cold. My uniform is clean, pressed and heavy with all the equipment. The precinct looks exactly the same as I left it. It’s a black and blue renaissance painting. Men and women of all races reaching for papers, radios, and playing grab ass. The Chief walks out, most likely looking me, due to the fact that I will be training today.  He waves me into the office. I walk in, I see a young white man. Looks military, possibly a Jarhead.  

“This is Ryan Daley.” Chief says. Daley stands up to shake my hand. He has a strong grip, and a strong stare. 

“How are you, sir?” He asks.

“I’m good.”

“You’ll be training him for a couple weeks. He’s ready to roll. Y’all be safe and watch each others backs.” Cap says. “Before you go, here is all the information we have. The girl at the coffee shop noticed a red and rusty truck ran the woman over. No license plate or anything of importance. Go there to see if the barista or baristo remembers anything. I think they’re one of those non-binary freaks, but to each their own.”

We walk out of the office and head back to the school. We need to find out more information from the Priest and the coffee shop worker.

“Where you from?” Daley asks me.

“Houston.”

“How’d you end up here?” He asks. He’s not getting the hint that I don’t want to talk. He’ll learn.

“Lost a bet.” I say. 

He has a nervousness behind his laugh. 

“I ended up here after the Marines. I felt like I needed a slow transition to civilian life.”

“So is this only temporary for you?” I ask.

“That’s open ended for me. I’m young, single, no kids. Anything could happen.”

“You got me there.”

We get into the cop car.  No matter the tint on the window or the temperature outside, the seats always burn my ass. Despite modern day advances, we still haven’t discovered comfortable seating for cop cars. Then again, it’s less clean up in the backseat with the drunks vomiting and all. You could give the rookie and me 50 questions, and we still wouldn’t know what to talk about. He’s trying to get comfortable in his seat, he whips out a bottled water, downs it like it’s his last. Then he puts chewing tobacco in his mouth and uses the bottle as a spittoon. 

“Want some?” He asks.

“No, I got a wife at home.” I say with a smirk. 

“This just in, we got a robbery on i10 East, heading towards the Riverwalk.” Dispatch reports.

“10.60.” The rookie says.

“Whoa, what are you doing?” I ask him.

“I thought since we’re close, we should check it out.”

“Nope, we’re on our own case, let the others handle it. Cap has given us an exemption to handle our stuff, tell dispatch that you have mistaken.”

“Daley, to dispatch, I was mistaken. Someone else will have to handle that.” 

“10-4, we have officers in en-route already.”

The rookie looks disappointed, but I’ve done this job long enough, that disappointment is kind of a cops M.O. I’m surprised he didn’t learn that in the Marines. Can’t see things going their way either. We pull up to the school, it has a different vibe now that the Nun is gone. Who would have thought one nun would have made such an impact on the school community. I know I should be training the rookie, but I don’t want to play catch up with him just yet. 

“Hang outside, throw the football with some kids. Let’s try and make this a stress free environment.” I tell the rookie.

“I want to help.” He says almost like a whiney teen.

“I’ll get you up to speed, but right now, we need to make it look like we care about the community. Any positive snapchat, Facebook post, or tweet helps defeat the anti-police craze the news likes to report on.” 

He sighs with disappointment. “Okay, but if you need anything, let me know.”

“10-4.” 

I walk into the school, the main lobby has a memorial set up. Pictures of Sister Mary, flowers of all kinds surround it. Candles with Mother Mary and Jesus circle around her photo. There were newspaper clippings with various good deeds, “Nuns cook tamales for poor;” “Heavenly angel helps Devil Dogs with Toys for Tots.” The only story missing is Nun in a Superman Cape Saves the Entire Continent of Africa.” She did some awesome things. Hate to find out she died. I walk to the main office, the same receptionist is there. She remembers me, tells me where Father McGrady is. I walk past the staircase and the orphanage wing. The chapel is traditional, stained glass windows of Jesus and other Biblical figures that made an impact in Catholicism. The Jesus statues is high on the wall; he’s a gaunt man with wounds on his side; the whole thing is gold, even the grotesque bits. The Father is practicing his sermon for Sunday. He’s about 70 years old, looks kind of like the Jesus statue. White beard and gaunt. 

“Officer! Welcome, my son.” He shouts. He speaks to me like he’s known me for years. 

“Hey, Father. I have some questions about Angel Esperanza and Sister Mary.” 

“Oh yes, quite tragic. I’ll do the best I can. Ask away.”

“What all did Angela do for you in the school or church?”

“She would help put Bibles in the pew, fill the wine goblet, she’d also watch the kids during the sermons to give the parents time with the Lord with little to no interruptions. I also would have her escort visitors to the chapel. I don’t know anyone that could have done a better job. She was just so jovial. As far as school, she was typical, went to class and made good grades.”

“What about after school?”

“That, I don’t know. We trusted the older students with their own devices, some worked small jobs, some studied in the library, while others just sat at home and watched TV.”

“Did she mention friends at the coffee shop? She went there a lot.”

“She did mention how fun it was and the friends she made, but that’s it. Nothing or anyone special specifically.”

“She didn’t mention anything or anyone else? No creeps?”

The Father gives a slight chuckle. “No, I just told you that’s all I know.”

“It’s just weird to me that this girl that was so involved in the church didn’t seem to confide in the man that is supposed to be there for his patrons.”

“Did you tell your parents every detail about your day?”

“I guess not. Let’s move onto Sister Mary. Did she mention anything about her or why she was leaving?”

“She mentioned that she was running to get groceries for the kitchen. I didn’t understand considering the hour, but she knows those affairs better than I.” 

I write the notes, something in my gut is telling me he’s involved somehow, but I don’t have the evidence. He’s definitely going to be on the top of my list of suspects. As I put my pen down, a burly man walks in the Church. He’s wearing a wife beater, sleeveless flannel, and torn up jeans. Most likely in construction or a truck driver. Who knows? He could be the next Mark Cuban. 

“Hello, Manuel. Go straight to my office, I’ll be with you shortly. Is there anything else, officer?”

“Nope, that’s it for me. I’ll keep in touch.”

The Father is watching me walk away, he has a slimy smirk on his face. My skin feels like bugs are crawling on me. He makes me feel uneasy. As I walk outside, I see a red rust covered car. No one is in it and there’s no sign of damage. Plus, without a license plate, what good will it do? I snap a photo with my phone and jump in the car. I see my partner talking with some kindergartners, most likely the conversation gun safety. Kids are watching him talk like he’s a god. Probably helps his superman ego. I’m sure if my wife were here, she’d tell me to be nice to him. Letting people in my bubble has always been hard for me. I let him finish before I honk my horn at him. He runs fast, like the a deer. 

“What did you find out?” He asks.

“A whole lot of information on a whole lot of nothing. Angela helps out a lot at the church, but keeps to herself allegedly. Sister Mary lies and says she’s going to the store. Something isn’t adding up. We’re going to go to the coffee shop for more information on the hit and run case. There’s a red truck in the visitor spot, but I don’t see any damage that would be caused by the impact of a human body. That Priest is hiding something, though. I just can’t pinpoint it.” 

“Do we need to call that truck in?” Daley asks.

“With the little information we have on red truck, wouldn’t do much good. I got a picture of the license plate in case we see it again, though. How did the talk with the kids go?”

“It went well, got the teachers phone number. The kids remind me of the kids in Afghanistan. Curious and optimistic. It’s weird a lot of those kids have nothing, but they always find the positive. Makes you wonder where people start becoming ungrateful with things.”

“It’s definitely something to think about.”

“How long have you been a cop? You look too young to be this cold toward it already.”

I pause and stare at him. He might be arrogant, but he has balls. I look back at the road, we’re a couple blocks away from the coffee shop. “Short story or long?”

“Short…for now, anyway.”

“Photographed for the PD for two years, then I walked the beat for five years. So seven altogether.”

“Ah cool. See any action?

“Would you like it if I asked you the same question?” 

“You’re right, sorry.”

We pull up to the coffee shop. The rookie is going to be mad, but he’ll just have to make do with what orders I give him. It’s nothing personal, I just don’t want to go through all the relationship building with witness and suspects. Plus, he’s fast, if anyone runs, he can catch them. 

“Watch my six. I’ll take care of the witness.” 

“Yes, sir.”

Glad he didn’t argue, I hate having to explain myself to people. Plus, there has always been a method to my madness. 

The same person I spoke to at the counter is making a customers order. I wait my turn until the customer gets their drink. Fortunately, it isn’t crowded today. I must be used to commercial coffee shops because I feel like I’m on a different planet entirely. Maybe it’s the lack of people or because Sister Mary died here. 

“Welcome back, sir. What can I do for you?”

“Hey, I’m back for questions on the murder a few days ago. I understand you saw a red truck, do you recall anything special about the truck?”

“No, nothing too memorable. Looked like your typical work truck, it did have black tint, though.”

“Any tools poking out of it? Wheelbarrow? Shovels? Anything of that type?”

“I think I saw a wheelbarrow, it was blue. Again, it was dark.”

“Did (nun) walk in here at all? Or was she leaving the place next door?”

“She walked in here to call you, she then she was walking to her car. She had it parked across the street, that was when she got hit by the truck.” 

“Did she mention anything at all?”

“Nope, just wanted to borrow the phone.”

“Okay, thanks.” I walk out. The rookie is chilling on my car. As I open the car door, the red truck whizzes by. I watch where it goes, it keeps going straight. I start the car and tail the truck. I try not to be too obvious, but it’s kind of obvious on a day like this. We drive a good five miles and nothing changes. He then goes into a neighborhood known as the Red Zone. Cops don’t go there unless it’s an emergency, and if they do they need a lot of back up. Gang activity is big there. We live to fight another day. We pull up to the office. I go to the chiefs office with the rookie, he’s quiet. Good. Keeps me from being annoyed. 

*Knock knock*

“Enter!” Chief shouts.

“Hey Cap, we spoke to the reverend, he doesn’t seem to know a lot, but seems to know a lot.”

“What does that mean?”

“He told us everything about the girl and the Nun, but didn’t know anything that we didn’t already know.”

“Do you think he’s involved?”

“I would think so.”

“Need I remind you that he’s the head priest? What makes you think it was him?”

“Chief, you know every step we take here, but you at least have an idea of what we do after work. You know I go home to my wife. He has no clue other than she goes to the coffee shop. What 15 year old only goes to the coffee shop and the mall only occasionally?”

“Smart ones.”

“Even smart ones have relatability to other girls in their brackets, Chief!”

“Look it’s 2021, things change with every generation. Teens used to sneak in bars, now they go to coffee shops and ramen joints. You should know that, you’re only 35. And why are you being so quiet?”

“He had me talk to kids and watch the car.” The rookie unknowingly threw me under the bus.

“What is he your valet? You’re supposed to be training him!”

“This case is too big for me to start from square one. He needs to get familiar with the community and the streets.”

“I don’t care if it takes you fifty years to get him caught up. Do it!”

“Yes, sir. I do request that you let us keep an eye on the coffee shop tomorrow, I feel like something goes on close to the facility.”

“Do whatever you got to do, just work together as a team, dammit.”

“Yes, sir.”

We walk out, the Rookie looks confused and pissed off. I walk to my computer to type up the report. 

“So my training wasn’t meant to be like this?”

“I was under the impression, that it was how I saw fit.”

“Look, I don’t know what the deal is, but give me a chance. Why are you so bitter? If you don’t like the job, quit.”

“Let me finish this report. Give me 45 minutes, after that we’ll get lunch and talk. Put your street clothes on, we’re scoping out the shop after lunch.”

I finish the report drop it off, and we both walk outside. I’m wearing cargo shorts with a ratty t-shirt. My partner is wearing jeans with a plaid shirt. We take my car, so we don’t stick out like a sore thumb. The rookie already stands out with the Jardhead persona, grunge isn’t in the Marine Corps vocabulary. I drive us to a Chinese restaurant, it’s quiet and cheap. Most of the cops go to the diner that gives them 20% off, which is fine, but I like more variety than just bacon and eggs. 

We sit at a booth. The restaurant is illuminated with hanging silver lamps that only light up where we sit. The tables are mahogany as well as the seats. The seats are covered with green cushions. I order the orange chicken with brown rice and a diet coke, my partner orders the combination fried rice and a sweet tea. The awkward silence is like a gnat flying around my food. 

“Okay, whatever questions you have, ask away.” I say.

“Why are you acting the way you do?” 

“I used to be the crime scene photographer. I was put on trial to explain the discoveries of a murder scene. I went against a fellow cop, he said he was justified for shooting a teenager. I was able to explain and prove that he was lying. The Chief wanted me to walk the beat because he feels that it would teach me a lesson on loyalty. My second year, I was on a case; three girls killed. The gunman was standing over their bodies. He shot at me but missed. I shot him down, two to the head, lucky shot. My partner was the one that took the first bullet. I honestly just want to go to work and go home. No more dead bodies of any kind.”

“So are you a BLM supporter?”

“No.”

“Are you a Blue Lives Matter supporter?”

“They’re two sides of the same coin. No one should be wrongly shot or killed. If cops didn’t go in like Cowboys and shoot everything, we wouldn’t have dead people on any side. Then again, if people followed the law, we wouldn’t have dead people either. It’s never black and white as the news makes it seem. But until we get Giraldo Rivera to wear a badge and walk the beat, we’ll always have propaganda. I was never in the military, but I’ll say this; these people aren’t your friends. They’ll be nice to you when you’re backing them up, but eventually, it wears you down. Get a hobby because it will get to you eventually.” 

The table goes silent. The food arrives, we eat. It feels like we were there for two days. The silence is drawn out. I pay for our meal since I, admittedly, have been a jerk to the guy. We head to the coffee shop. We’re two blocks away.

“Trade with me. You’re going to drive to the shop, and sit inside. Since you were outside, they’ll recognize you. I’m going to walk from here.”

“Sounds good. See you in a few minutes.”

I walk down the sidewalk. I rub dirt on my face and tear a hole in my shirt. I stumble upon some homeless people. Gotta play the game. 

“Anyone got any money? Some crack? I’ll suck anything for some crack or money.”

“Get the fuck outta here, we’re struggling too!” A homeless man shouts at me. I don’t fight him because I don’t want to risk getting something incurable. I walk up to the shop and sit by the door. My partner walks out of the car. 

“Hey, man got a dollar?”

“No, sir I….” He stops and chuckles a bit. “You crazy.” He walks in. 

I look in to see if he knows where to sit. He sits facing the street, he doesn’t need my help. It’s both good and bad. I’ll be obsolete soon. But he’ll learn about all that soon. 

“Art to Chesty, radio check.” I say. I try not to be obvious, I have the ear piece tucked under my ski cap. it’s hot, but for a good cause.

“Chesty to Art, I hear you loud and clear.”

A teenage girl walks out with two of her friends, it’s Esperanza’s friends. I don’t know the other one, possibly a new recruit. She’s wearing a yellow shirt with a blue jean skirt. Her friends are wearing catholic school outfits. I assumed they’re walking back to the school, but they go right down the sidewalk. I let them walk a bit before I follow them. 

“Art to Chesty, I’m following Tweety bird. Keep an eye out.”

I’m at a good distance, not too close, not too far. A red truck comes up to them. They act like he’s familiar, I keep walking. I start to mumble random things to make me blend in. I pray the rookie is out of the shop watching, but it’s just one guy, hopefully he’s not a skilled fighter. I walk up to the drivers side of the truck.

“Hey man, you got any money. I need a fix, man.” I see the man, it’s Manuel.

“Get away from me, junkie.” 

“You’re selfish, dude.” I walk in front of his truck and fall over. 

Manuel walks out of his truck. “What the fuck is wrong with you? You damn junkie!”

I start gasping as if I’m struggling to speak. “What are you saying, you douche?”

“You have the right to remain silent, asshole.” As I look up holding my badge, the rookie sneaks up behind him with a gun to his back. We take all of the to an interrogation room. Esperanza’s friends in one. The random girl in one. The bell of the ball, Manuel, in the other. The room is cold, the chief is on the other side of the wall watching. 

“You like the young girls don’t you, Manuel?”

“I was just asking if they went to the school, I was going to offer them a ride.”

“Were you offering Sister Mary a ride too? Or were you testing the quality of your truck?” 

“I don’t recall hitting a nun. I think I would know if I did.” 

“Right, right, right. A witness describes your truck at the scene, I saw a truck at the school, and you mess with the Catholic girls. That’s a lot of coincidences, isn’t it?” He says nothing to confirm nor deny anything. We go to the young girls. I take the two in one room, the rookie takes the other. I send him notes to help fill him in, I suspect him to be a fast reader. 

“So what did y’all do with Esperanza when she wasn’t in school? Play sports? Chess club? Other extracurricular activities?”

“We would go to the mall and shop.” Tweety bird says.

“Any particular place? My favorite spot was Hot Topic when it was considered Satanic.” 

“Victoria’s Secret, they have the better perfume.”

“It’s funny you mention that, the woman at the front desk claims that y’all were easing Esperanza into something “not hurting.” “What does she have to worry about hurting?”

“Oh, we were going hiking in a couple weeks. She was worried she’d skin her knee.”

“Y’all went to Victoria’s Secret to discuss camping? Are they starting a camping line? My wife might be interested in that.”

“Do you go to sports bars and only talk about sports?” She says.

“Good one.” 

“What kind of work were y’all involved in? The greeter at Victoria’s Secret kept mentioning money.”

“She must have misheard, we don’t work.”

“How were you planning on buying the clothes and pay for the hiking trip?”

There’s a dead silence in the room. I have a feeling I know what they do, but I need to crack her down more.

“Inheritance money.” She says matter of factly.

“How old are you?” I ask.

“15 years old.”

“Hmmm, I thought you could only get your inheritance once you turned 18. I might have to look that up.”

“How do you know Manuel?”

“He’s a friend of a friend. He drives us where we need to go. The streets aren’t safe for us young girls.”

She thinks she is cute. Cute enough to get out of this, she’s a typical popular girl. Bullet proof mindset, probably gives it away to anything and anyone that will give her attention.

The Chief walks in. “That’s enough guys. The Father is here.”

“What!?”

We bring Manuel and the girls out to the Father. 

“My son, my daughters. What have they done to you? Have they hurt you?”

“We didn’t do anything. You interrupted us.” Daley says.

“Ah, yes. Just like Jesus with the sheep. I always protect the meek.”

“Meek would mean weak. Murderers aren’t necessarily weak.”

“Do you have proof that he murdered anyone?”

“No, we don’t.”

“Then I guess they’re still meek.”

“We need to ask more questions.” I say.

“If they’re not being charged with anything, then you have no questions. If you wish to pursue this, I can start a go fund me page; that will be interesting to see. Police department harasses orphans and a helper at church. That would get more propaganda spread, wouldn’t it?”

The father leaves with Manuel and the girls. The rookie and I write our reports. 

“Did the third girl say anything?” I ask.

“No, she just started hanging with them yesterday.”

We’re fuming. I ignore the protocol of talking with the chief, and I just leave. If he has any concerns, he can call me. I’m going home to spend time with my wife. The drive home was a blur. I feel my face is wet from tears, sweat, and it’s burning from anger. I don’t recall arriving in the kitchen or saying anything to my wife. She looks pissed.

“What happened?” She asked. Her tone was that of a parent that is tired of hearing the whining of her kid. 

“We had some suspects that could have possibly murdered these people, but we couldn’t prove it. His vehicle matched to a T. The others were the girl’s friends. It all can’t be coincidence, Goddammit.” 

“How did they get to leave?”

“The Reverend got him out.”

“Well, if you can’t interrogate him at work, why not go to Church?” She has a sly grin on her face. She was always the smartest one in the house. 

“Hand me the phone. We also need to talk about selling the house. After this case, I’m done.”

She hands me my cellphone. 

“Hey, what are you doing Sunday? I have a feeling we need to confess to our sins. Text the teacher, so you have an excuse to be at the church.”I hang up the phone. Grab my wife and take her to bed for some much needed gratitude she so rightfully deserves. 

The next morning, I explain to my boss the plan. He tells me to just go to church, no investigating. He has the three stooges on standby in case we need backup. I grab my jeans and polo. My wife chose to go, but she knows to go straight to the car after and keep out of sight. The rookie, ladies, and myself walk into the chapel. We sit in the middle of the aisle, in the middle of the church. Not too close, not too far. In a way, we’re invisible in plain sight. The church patrons range in color, clothing, and age. We spotted Manuel in the front near the Father. He tried cleaning up, but he is still wearing his work jeans. The three stooges are in the front row, not ideal, but they don’t know them, so fair game. The kids handling the candles and the communion are pretty boys and girls. Just like Esperanza and the girls that were leaving the coffee shop. Not a single blemish on them, definitely something to keep an eye on. We walk out during the communion prayer, that way we can leave without being seen. 

We drop the ladies off at the coffee shop. Church still has thirty minutes. We wait in the parking lot for the congregation to leave. A mass of individuals leave. We see the three girls leave with Manuel and walk behind the church.

“Art to Jordan Jr.”

“What’s up?” 

“Look at that guy at the front, he’s the one we interrogated along with the girls. Follow them. See where they go.”

“Got it.” 

He and the other two go to the back. Five minutes pass and nothing.

“Jordan to Art.”

“Go ahead.”

“They walked into a building. A Monk and a young girl are outside. A couple other guys have walked in. It’s weird, it’s only guys. No families.”

“Go ahead and walk in. Call if it get’s crazy.”

“10-4.”

“Let’s give them five minutes before we walk out.” Daly says.

“You read my mind.” I say.

We walk out of the car. No one sees us, at least to my knowledge. We walk to the front of the building. The man is standing there with a wormy look on his face. The blonde girl sizes us up. I don’t know if it’s to figure out if we’re cops or if she’s digging us. All I know is this place is evil. The alter boys walk into the building, we follow suit. The floor is covered in blood, feces, and semen. Which tells the Rookie and myself that this is a child prostitution ring. We can hear screaming in the back, we can’t tell if they’re boys or girls half the time. The walk is long, what’s probably a 60 foot walk feels like 6,000 foot walk.

“Don’t mind the mess, we get so many customers that we don’t have time to clean up right away. But we will before we place you in a room.”

“How much does a customer usually pay for this kind of service?” The rookie asked. 

“We take donations, but nothing less than 50 dollars, good sir.” 

“Are the kids clean? I don’t want to get some std.” I ask. The question was hard to ask, I feel nauseous even pretending to care about that.

“They’re the cleanest. We check them once a month.” 

“What about the clients? Gotten any dirty clients?” I ask.

“We let the Lord tell us who is worthy to come back here, if you’re asked or invited, then you must be clean in the Lord’s eyes.” He gives a slide smirk. 

I just want to punch him in the face. As we get close to another hallway, Manuel is running out. Turns out it is Michael Jordan Jr. pushing him while he’s handcuffed. I pistol whip the Monk in the face, he falls into a puddle of blood, semen, and shit. Daly grabs the girl and takes her outside. Captain America and Donatello are handcuffing the two friends. The third girl must have wisened up.

“Where’s the Father!?” I shout. I’m seething. I want blood. I want to shove his perverted face in every nook and cranny of this building, just so he can taste the pain and psychological destruction he’s caused these kids. I want him to get all the STDs known to man, but I want it to kill him slowly. I snap out of it. 

“Where’s the father?”

“He-he-he’s in the office. He might be running out, since your partner just bailed.” Manuel says.

I leave him with the others. I run to the chapel. McGrady’s office is in there, I just have to figure out which room. I walk in, everything in my peripheral vision is gray. I see a door opened with the light still on. That’s got to be it. I run in, pistol in hand. Protocol of checking corners slips my mind. I felt a sting in my arm. It’s McGrady. He’s wearing an overcoat and a fedora, he’s carrying a brown leather carryon bag. 

“I didn’t want to do this to you, Officer. I tried making all this quiet and under the radar. You kept sticking your nose in our business. Most would just trust my words and fuck off, but you - you and your idiot partner wouldn’t. Why wouldn’t you just leave me alone?”

“I swore to protect the people.”

“You mean the same people that shout to defund you and to kill you?”

The blood in my arm is oozing out fast. I feel like time is running slow, funny how my mind goes too fast one minute, then goes super slow the next. 

“I just want people to go home, sleep, and go about their day safely.” I say.

“Bullshit, what do you really want?! You can’t tell me you’re willing to die for them. Did you really care about these orphans before this case? I never saw you! Me, I’m teaching them how to make money, at least they’ll have a trade; even if it’s not ideal.”

“You know what I want?” My words are slurring from the wound. I honestly might blackout when this is all said and done. “I want to end this case, go home to my wife, and move to Fredericksburg.”

“I can guarantee that this case will end soon. The other two things, though; God is telling me it isn’t looking good.” 

“Just tell me, why did you kill Esperanza and Sister Mary.”

“Are you that dumb? How did you graduate the academy? It’s quite simple. Esperanza hit the age of being used goods beyond repair. Our clients don’t want a legal aged woman, they want little children. Young people are so impressionable. I had her friends kill her. They’re looking for fatherly love. That’s me, I’m the father and the grandfather. I spoil them and discipline them when needed. Sister Mary was killed because she was going to tell you about all of this. I’ll tell you my operation isn’t going away because some old twat is going to rat on me. Now, let’s get back to ending this case.”

He holds the gun up. I’m leaning against the wall, I’m not going to be able to shoot him in time. I’m too dizzy. 

BANG!! 

I look up, the father is falling back against his desk. Blood is dripping from his chest. He can’t stand up straight. Blood is now drizzling out of his mouth. I check myself for any other holes. I’m blacking out, a figure runs up to me, I pass out.

I wake up to white. White walls, white door, white blankets, just white. I look to my left, the Rookie is sitting there.

“You know, a tourniquet would have helped you out in this situation.” Daley says.

“Kind of hard to do when I’m by myself.” I reply.

We both sit in silence for a few seconds. Then we both bust out in laughter. I don’t know how much time past, but I’m guessing it’s all the same day. 

“Where’s my wife?” I ask.

“She’s on the way, I sent her home to get clothes for you and her. She didn’t want to leave, but you didn’t need a heroes welcome all musty.”

“Where’s your lady? Or was she just a decoy for the assignment?”

“We got date number 2 in an hour. She might be disappointed, no gunfights this date.”

“I can put a ski-mask on and make a scene for y’all.”

“Yeah, handicapped man tries picking a fight with a cop on a date. The media will have a field day with that.” He chuckles a bit.

“Who shot the father and got me out?”

“Yours truly. By the way, muscle weighs more than fat, maybe cut back from the weights a bit.”

Normally I’d tell him to cut the jokes, but I can tell that he’s nervous. I also need to learn to cut back on seriousness a bit. Deep down, I’m extremely grateful that he saved me. 

“I don’t know how to repay you. Are you going to be okay?”

“Enjoy your life. That’s the way to repay me. And as far as my mental health, it’s just another day in the desert. Shoot, I’ll probably be helping the therapist through their problems when it’s all said and done. What are you going to do when this is all over?”

“I’m going to move my wife and me to Fredricksburg. Grow my beard out. Might even become a teacher. Give me a break from the gunfire. Shoot, I might even start a weed farm.”

“Ha! That’s not legal just yet. What are you wanting to teach?”

“History? English? Math? Whatever floats my boat.”

*Knock knock* My wife enters the room. She has been crying, she thinks she fixed herself up enough to where I wouldn’t notice, but it’s obvious. She looks beautiful. I don’t even care if she’s wearing granny panties or not. I’m just happy she’s here. She walks to the side of me and gives me a kiss.

“Hey, baby.” She says.

“Hey.”

“You okay?”

“I feel some shoulder pain. Did I get shot in the leg?”

“No.”

“Oh that must be that good tingle then.”

She smacks my shoulder.

“OUCH!” I shout.

“I’m sorry, baby!” We both laugh. 

Daley heads out.

“Hey, Rookie!”

“Yeah.”

“Thanks. You’re ready. You never needed my training. You’re a good cop.”

He smiles and walks out. The Captain walks in shortly after the rookie leaves. I bet he even congratulated him on the way in.

“Hey, slugger?”

“Hi, dad.” I say sarcastically, he has never called me that before. 

“How are you holding up?”

“I feel like I’ve been shot in the arm. Thanks for asking.”

“You’ll be fine.” 

“Yeah. Hey, Cap, I’m putting in my resignation. Effective immediately. My wife and I are moving to Fredericksburg.”

“What are your plans?”

“I don’t know, I just need away from the chaos.”

“Well, I’d hate to see you go. The mayor wanted me to give you this medal for making the biggest bust in San Antonio.”

“What’s gonna happen to the school now?”

“We moved the kids all over Texas. Wasn’t ideal, but safer than leaving them there. We’re going to investigate the facility, and once we eradicate the roaches, they can go back. But, that’s neither here nor there for you. Your concern is to get out of here and do what the doctors tell you. When you get out, we’ll work on your resignation.”

“Thanks, Captain.”

“You bet. Take care of him, he’s a good man and an even better friend.”

“I will.” My wife says.

“I take it I’ve been forgiven for my mistake?”

“We all have to make tough decisions in life. The toughest ones just mean we’re doing the right thing. You taught me that. So yes, you’re forgiven.” He smiles and walks away. 

My wife kisses me and looks at the medal I received. I feel numb to it, but I know once I get away from this, I’ll feel that honor that people feel when they’ve accomplished something. Most the honor comes from being forgiven. I kiss my wife and she snuggles with me while we watch a dumb comedy on TV.

 

 

 

 


Submitted: October 08, 2021

© Copyright 2021 BlaSal. All rights reserved.

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