Disclaimer to Grammar/Editing Police: this is a rough draft. I am foregoing the edit because I’d rather spend that time on the book itself right now.
(excerpt from AKA Investigation Book 3, in progress)
Izzy pulled out the coffee carafe, and paused to look at Ginger. “What are you doing?”
Ginger had been standing, immobile, by the door. “I’m trying to remember where I put my keys.” She had once again been unable to sleep until almost three. It was affecting her brain.
“They’re not in the basket?”
Izzy poured coffee in the waiting cup Ginger had provided. “Not in your pocket?”
“No, I’ve already looked in all the obvious places.” She came back into the room and scanned it, as if hoping the keys would jump up in the air so she could catch them.
“Don’t worry. Maybe you’re just getting senile.”
Ginger turned slowly, one eyebrow cocked, and probably loaded. “That might be humorous coming from someone my own age, but from you, it’s just a sharp stick.”
“Don’t hate me for being younger,” Izzy said, sipping coffee.
Ginger moved into the living room area, and began accosting the sofa cushions. “Most people are visual. And those images attach to something. With me, it just goes in, floats around, then when a stiff wind comes along, whooooosh–it’s gone.”
“Well, maybe you should plug the leaks. Wear earplugs…I mean, that’s a 99 cent fixer-upper.” Izzy chuckled. “Or you could just put two marbles in your ears.”
“Oh I can’t do that, they’ll fall in and then that noise of them rolling around would keep me up at night.”
“You’re up at night anyway. You’re like a vampire.’
“A non-visual, marble-headed vampire.”
Izzy righted the askew cushion and plopped onto the sofa. “I’m sure some bleeding heart liberal group will take you on, don’t worry about it.”
“Ah!” The keys had fallen off the by the door hook and landed in one of Izzy’s shoes. “I’m late. I’ll call you later.” She scooted over and kissed the top of Izzy’s head.
As Ginger pulled out of the drive, she wondered if her sleepless night and her delay was really self-sabotage. Like a petulant school girl, she didn’t want to go to work today. Today was Officer Awareness Day. She was aware of being an officer, and didn’t need to be reminded, thank you very much. But the Denver PD had initiated the program that demanded detectives spend one day of the month patrolling, like they did when they were beat cops. No matter what, this day was always bizarre. For some reason, it was like the universe knew she was out of her comfort zone, and it wanted to make the most of the torture session.
Today, Ginger was to patrol a neighborhood that was largely a retirement village. She could only imagine the heyday the universe was going to have with that one. Senile old people. There but for the grace of whomever, go I, she thought.
The prophesy was fulfilled in a big way.
Her first call was to a high rise apartment building where the AARP crowd thrived. Two 70 year old women were involved in a domestic dispute, according to a giggling dispatcher.
It seemed that one woman was trying to ram the other woman with her Hoveround. The recipient of this scooter-attack had called Denver PD. Ginger said into her shoulder-mic, derisively, “Really.”
“Yes. REALLY. I promise,” the dispatcher said.
It was the same address she had been called to last month, only that time, Miss Rita-of-the-Hoveround had blown herself up when she smoked too close to her oxygen tank. There had been a small fire on the carpet that looked like the long fuse of a detonation device, and Miss Rita was found on the floor with burns on her right arm. While Ginger was interviewing her around the ministrations of the paramedic, she had the cheek to ask for a cigarette. Apparently, she needed one because blowing herself up had caused her some stress.
This time, however, Ginger had to steal the key to the scooter until Miss Rita calmed down.
No sooner had Ginger paid for her first cup of coffee at the local Starbucks, than she got another call about the accident at a private garage only a few blocks away. The old woman had hit the garage door opener twice accidentally, so it closed and she didn’t realize, and backed right through it. “My foot slipped off the brake,” the woman said defensively.
“So you hit the gas?”
Ginger left the scene with a caveat emptor: senior citizens should never be allowed to operate motorized vehicles.
Then at the next call, Ginger was summoned to another high rise apartment building a few miles away. An old man had dropped his cell phone down the elevator shaft. This particular elevator was notorious for stopping between floors, and that’s how it was when she found it. She’d have to jump down under it to get the phone. Good thing it was on the first floor, so that the only way it could go when someone pushed the button, was up. She considered just calling the fire department, but the old geezer was beside himself, since his phone was his lifeline–by the looks of him, a lifeline he sorely needed. The man said, “I’ll hold the door for you.”
Ginger said, “No, I’ll block it open because you’ll get distracted and wander off and I’ll be trapped under the elevator and get squished.”
She placed the trash can between the doors, and made quick work of hopping down and grabbing the phone, and climbing back out. When she handed him the cell, he said, “What are you doing with my phone?”
Rolling her eyes, she just bid him a good day and went out to the car to write it up.
It was like it was a full moon. But it was daylight. So is the day preceding the night of a full moon still part of the lunacy factor? Apparently so.
She cruised by the other cop on that beat, waved to him cordially. It was that rookie named Josh, who rode with her on one of these Awareness patrols, while he was still in training. He used to be an Army scout. She soon learned why he was an Army scout. His platoon-mates wanted him dead.
She had figured that one out a few months ago, when he drew down one night on a plastic coyote that the residents had placed outside to scare the geese away. Somehow, he saw the thing and was startled, so dropped to the ground with his gun out. The coyote wasn’t moving, so he crawled over and poked it with his gun. He told Ginger later he thought it was a chupacabra.
She had asked him another night where his weapon was, and he found it slid around to his back, because he had not worn the keeper tabs on his belt, and had pulled his coat over his weapon, too, leaving the access zipper closed. That boy was one shift shy of having his own placard on the Line of Duty death wall.
Ginger cruised the serene streets of Windsor Meadows, passing, as usual “Pregnant Don” on his way to the community center. The man had a pot belly that looked oddly like he was with-child. She honked and waved at him as she went by.
Later in the evening, with the winter chill swelling the air, she got a call that there were people moving around in an old woman’s attic. When Ginger investigated, she discovered there were no people in the attic, and indeed, no attic. She told the woman she had scared them away and they wouldn’t be bothering her anymore, and hoped she remembered to take her medication. This was the same woman that another officer had said kept her important papers hidden in the oven once, got hungry and preheated it, and caused a fire that burned up all her important papers. Ginger, herself, had dealt with her. Once, she reported that “hoodlums” were rattling the doors as they went down the hall of the floor she lived on. Ginger was familiar with this complaint. The lady called dispatch frequently with the same report. So Ginger had gone down the hall and rattled the doors herself. The woman never came out to check on the noise.
A fellow veteran officer, Chad Bentley, had joined her that time, and saw her rattling knobs. He laughed. “What are you doing?”
“Terrorizing a crazy lady.”
When she went in to talk to the lady, giving her the obligatory I ran-the-hoodlums-off-and-they-won’t-be-bothering-you-anymore spiel, she noticed the refrigerator in the middle of the kitchen. “Why is your ‘fridge in the middle of kitchen?” she asked her.
“How else are you supposed to clean behind it?”
Heavy sigh. But Ginger could tell, the fridge was kept right there in the middle of the floor and the woman just walked around it. Ginger was afraid to ask how she actually got it there.
Then came a man named Barry who said there was voodoo in his apartment.
“Where?” Ginger asked.
He showed her. It was in his chair, on his carpet.
It was dirt. The path through his apartment was thick with dirt. Voodoo dirt. He said the woman upstairs, a Miss Beecher, was putting voodoo on him, among other things. She assured him she would go up there and talk to her. When she knocked, the woman saw her and sighed. “What now?”
Ginger had trouble concentrating because Miss Beecher had one of those egg vibrators on the table next to her chair. She almost forgot why she was there. Must have been her lack of sleep. “Um…Mr. Barry says you’re putting voodoo on him, and he wants you to please stop.” Ginger was smiling as Miss Beecher commenced with the eye-rolling. “He said you were after him and tried to kiss him, and so if you would just stop trying to kiss him, that would really help me out.”
The old woman giggled. “He tried to kiss ME one day and I said you do it again I’ll punch you in the mouth. Maybe that’s what is really bothering him.”
“Well, now, it’s voodoo.”
Ginger went back down to Mr. Barry’s apartment and gave him the update. “I yelled at Miss Beecher and she’s agreed to stop the voodoo.” Ginger knew she wasn’t lying. She really had asked her to stop.
Mr. Barry was not convinced. “You said that last time! They always say that, but it keeps happening!” He then informed Ginger that she needed to be arrested for murder because she wasn’t doing anything about it. “Nobody’s dead! How can I be arrested for murder when no one’s dead?”
There was indeed a reason why they called it lunacy. It was from the word, lunar, meaning moon. As that full shining orb hung in the night sky, her evening was further entertained by an old guy who drove his car up on the sidewalk and hit a fire hydrant. She did have to call the fire department for that one. Water was spewing everywhere. While briefing the supervisor, she said, “Yah, if you can’t see, it’s best to drive really fast and buy a really big car.”
During the down times, Ginger entertained herself by recalling the other crazy calls she got during Awareness night. She and Officer Bentley had once tracked down a suspected drug dealer who was fenced in, and running around a tree, in an effort to find a way out. They both just stood there watching him. “If you run around a tree enough times,” Ginger had intoned, “you become invisible.”
“Oh, to be 17 again,” Bentley added.
“I know, right?
“You don’t grow brains until about 30.”
“And sometimes not even then.”
When Ginger cuffed him, and started to pat him down, she said, “Got anything that’s gonna poke me, stick me or piss me off?”
He did, of course, have all three.
The last call was about a complaint that a Mrs. Gentry reported, saying that not only were the neighbors stealing her electricity, but now they were trying to steal her brains. In the report, Ginger added, It is this officer’s opinion that this has already occurred.
Before clocking out back at the station, Ginger would also have the unenviable task of looking over the reports of the other officers on that shift. She dreaded reading the Box-O-Rocks collection. That was the moniker given to Rookie Josh, because he was as dumb as a box of rocks. The boy had no acquaintance with commas and periods, and it sometimes completely changed the meaning of his reports. He couldn’t spell either. And it always took him two hours to write his reports out. Probably why he waited until the end of shift to do it. Once, Ginger had told him, “Learn to use commas and periods. Don’t worry about the semicolons and stuff, but jeez.” She made the mistake of saying, “Every time you take a breath, use a comma.” She then read through his next report and said, “Do you have COPD?”
With the morning sunrise blazing above the horizon, Ginger made her way back to the precinct.
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