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The buzzing was rude and uncivil, like it was every morning at five a.m.. I reached over my stirring wife, so as to not disturb her, and pressed the miracle button on the alarm clock. I lay down for a few more minutes in the darkness, trying my best not to fall back asleep.
I grudgingly rose and dressed in the dark blue uniform, took my badge from the oak dresser, rubbed a spot of dirt off of it, and positioned it in place. I entered the bathroom, passing the garbage filled with failed pregnancy tests, brushed my teeth, repositioned my badge, kissed my wife, Donna, on her forehead and slipped from the bedroom.
The fresh outside air was welcome, and it woke me up as I strolled to the driver’s side of the black-and-white car, unlocked it, and climbed inside. Before I jammed the key into the ignition, though, I repositioned and rubbed another speck of dirt off of my badge in the rear view mirror.
Emerging from the quiet neighborhood, I enjoyed the temporary peace. However, it was short lived, as the radio perched on my dashboard chattered, “Adolescent reportedly vandalizing private property on 23rd and 19th.”
“On it, over,” I replied. That was only a couple blocks from here.
I pulled in the gas station parking lot to watch a pimply teenager stop spraying the neon spray can, throw the spray can at my police car, miss, and run away toward a new wooden fence and attempt to jump over it. The wannabe gangster tried to use a recycle bin to help himself up, then broke the recycle bin. I chuckled.
“Now, fella, that is intentional vandalization of private property. Punishable by a hefty fine,” I warned, stepping out of the car. He was shaking in absolute terror with wide eyes like this was the end of his life. “But, I’m in a good mood, so I’ll let you off with a warning. Understood?” He bobbed his head up and down for about ten seconds; I sighed.
Getting back in the car, I saw the spray can on the ground and I unrolled the window. “And pick that up, will ya?”
I drove a block away for a bagel with lots of cream cheese, like I like it. I got a little cream cheese on my badge though, and took the opportunity to polish it.
The distant sky dared to turn pink, and I drove around that day, doing minor things like filling out parking tickets, polishing my badge, and warning teenagers not to jaywalk.
The afternoon was sticky and warm, and I looked forward to Donna and whatever Donna was making for dinner. There was just an hour more of work.
“Hold-up at gas station on 23rd and 19th,” someone on the police radio said. “Requesting backup. Hostages probable.” I was surprised; normally we don’t get that kind of crime in that part of town. Nevertheless, I was nearby, so I turned on my sirens and reported to the scene.
I saw my commander standing outside of a police car. “Johnson, my boy,” he said. “Negotiation positions.” I understood and kneeled beside the hood of my car, pistol pointed at the entrance to the gas station, which was the same one the teenager was vandalizing this morning. A figure appeared in the doorway.
“Don’t move!” the figure roared, opening the door. “Don’t move or she gets it!”
He had a pistol like mine in one hand pressed against a woman’s temple, and his other arm wrapped around her neck, which was Donna’s neck.
I gasped and nearly lost it. Donna. What would I do without her? The man holding her hostage looked at me and Commander, inching his way to the back to the building with a struggling Donna, who spotted me with watery eyes. “Steven!” she throatily screamed my name, “Steven!” I watched; it was all I could do.
I rose from my position and slowly approached the amateur crook. I dropped my pistol on the ground. “Look,” I said as calm as I could, “you don’t have to-”
“STOP!” He screamed with a cracking voice. “Don’t take another step or she gets it.”
I stopped. His hand was shaking wildly, and was about as scared as Donna and I both were.
The criminal took the pistol off of Donna for a second, and instead pointed it at me. He stammered. “L-Liste-” I lunged forward, willing to risk my life to make sure Donna could live. I landed the tackle, wrestling him to the ground. Commander was over there quickly, pushing me off and handcuffing the crook.
I lay on the pavement. Something wasn’t right. It was probably the hole in my chest and the blood stains making my badge filthy. Those things shouldn’t be there.
“Steven,” Donna spoke softly and kneeled next to me while Commander was calling an ambulance. “Steven, I-I’m pregnant.” We had been trying for months.
I smiled through all of the kinds of pain. “Make sure he’s a hero,” I told her. “Make sure he’s-”
“Anyway, Laura, today was a weird day at work. Sorry for slammin’ the door. Yeah, I forgot the milk. An’ the eggs, too, yeah. Sorry. But anyway, ya know that crazy guy, right? The one who has some tinfoil glued onto his ratty shirt an’ thinks he’s a cop? Yes, him. Well, I was taking the trash out early this mornin’, and he stumbles up and yells at me about vandalism and something about a fine. An’ I just stood there, just watching ‘im, an’ then he leaves makin’ all these vroom-vroom sounds like a godd*** racecar.
“Later that day I check out this young couple ‘cause boss had me workin’ the register. So they leave with their sodas, right? And then the same crazy guy starts walkin’ all careful at the two with his tinfoil badge, an’ me an’ this cop outside are watchin’, an’ he starts spewing some nonsense about some girl. Then he, I kid you not, tackles the guy with his pop and wrestles him to the ground like a maniac. Then the copper just shoots the crazy guy probably because he didn’t know if he had a weapon or what. So yeah, then the rest of the police show up and he’s dead an’ all. That was weird.
“Other than that, the day was normal. Boss warned me not to be late like that again or I might get written up. Say, Laura, is that meatloaf? I’m starving. Can you pass me the ketchup? I forgot that too? Now don’t get mad at me, I have a job. Fine, I’ll go get some, just don’t make me sleep on the couch tonight.”