Cop fiction from a friend
My good friend and former partner, as in cop partner, not life partner, wrote this. I helped with editing and some other basics, but it’s his story. He said it’s partially based on a dream. Let me (and him) know what you think.
It was Monday, my day off, so I was surprised to hear my city phone ring. I screened the call and let my voice mail answer. The call was from a Sergeant Davis who said he was with from SWAT. He said it was urgent. I poured a cup of coffee and called him back.
SWAT was on an all night stand off with a suspect held up in a Starbucks. As Sergeant Davis talked I was thinking, what does any of this have to do with me? I wasn’t a negotiator and didn’t have any SWAT training. I’m a J.A.F.O., “Just Another Fucking Officer”.
Then he said the suspect was James Ritter. That caught my attention. I’ve known James for 35 years. We went to school together, from first grade all the way through high school. We were good friends, although we didn’t talk that often since our “real” lives took over after college. Once a month or so, James and I would hit a bar for a few drinks and talk about our lives, wives, kids, jobs and troubles, etc. I would do anything for him and vice versa. I guess that’s why he had requested me.
It was 0800 hrs and the stand off was in its twelfth hour. Apparently James came home from work to discover his wife had packed the kids and left him with an empty house. James went to the Starbucks and ordered a cappuccino. A twenty-year-old girl messed up his order and he snapped.
James had emotional problems for as long as I can remember. Once in sixth grade a kid started messing with him. James flipped out and started punching the kid. When the kid went unconscious, James started tearing up the classroom. It took three teachers to restrain him. He had been on medication ever since. Throughout the years I’ve kind of been his free therapist. More than once, I had made him stop searching the internet for instructions on how to build bombs. He had several people he wanted to kill, and had even joked about throwing a grenade into his wife’s office.
I arrived at the scene around 0830 and met with Sergeant Davis. They wanted me to talk James down. SWAT tried to put a vest and tactical gear on me, but I refused. James needed a friend, not a cop. I didn’t want a wire either but they insisted it was policy. James had two employee hostages and demanded to see me.
I called James on his cell phone, not the land line SWAT had set up. I told him I was there and I was coming in to talk to him. I ordered the patrol units and SWAT to back out of sight. If Jim felt pressured I knew he might blow up. I took a final drag off my Marlboro and walked in. My .45 was hidden in my waistband.
James was standing behind the counter, almost like he worked there. The poor girl who fucked up his order was on the floor behind him with the other employee. I made eye contact with the girl, winked and sat on a bar stool across from James.
He was holding a black .357, was obviously stressed and seemed almost out of it. He looked at me and I at him. We made small talk, just like we were meeting for a beer, the same way we had for the past fifteen years.
Twenty minutes or so passed and I made a suggestion to James.
“I tell you what, put your gun on the counter and I’ll put mine down on the counter.”
“You packing?” James asked.
“What do you think?”
He smiled. I knew then this would end peacefully.
“You first,” he said with a smile.
“I’m trusting you Jimmy, are you going to betray me?”
“What do you think?”
I placed my Colt on the counter, and almost simultaneously he placed his Smith & Wesson next to it. Neither of us was armed but we were both within reach of our weapons. Now we were friends, not a cop and crazed wacko – just two friends working out a problem.
He told me about his wife and kids being gone when he got home. He sounded like a broken man at the end of his rope. I almost forgot why I was there. I changed the subject and talked about old times, fishing, hunting and the many women we had throughout our lives. We talked about Gayla, an Amazon of a girl in the fourth grade who had a crush on James, and about Debbie, my psycho girlfriend in high school. We talked about his daughters and my son. I then asked Jim how we were going to solve this problem.
“What problem?” he asked. I honestly think, for a moment, he had forgotten about his immediate predicament. He asked what was going to happen to him. I just said, “I’m going to help you.”
“Naw, there’s no help for me.” His demeanor changed.
In a flash, I grabbed my pistol and knocked his off the counter. Stunned, James looked at the counter and said in a cold dark voice, “What the fuck have you done?”
“Nothing buddy, lets walk out of here, and I’ll make sure no one hurts you – or me for that matter.”
“You don’t understand… I have nothing.” As James said that he pulled a grenade from a pocket, held it to his chest and started to remove the pin.
Without hesitation I raised my Colt .45 Defender and placed one round in Jim’s forehead.
A trickle of blood ran down his face. His expression said, How could you shoot me? I’m your friend, I trusted you.
For that brief moment, I think Jimmy was the sanest he had ever been. He slumped to the floor. SWAT entered the store with the subtlety of a bull in a china shop.
The grenade? A novelty paper weight.
I struggle every day with the realization that I killed a good friend, made a widow out of his wife, and left his girls without a father. But on that sunny day off from work, Jimmy committed suicide. He just chose to do it with my gun and my finger.
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Tags: cop fiction