(Although everything in this short story is based on acutal events, they didn't all happen on the same night, and weren't experienced by the same officer. It's a whole bunch of stuff from the 60's to the 80's)
A Short Story by William R Bell
You probably do not know him, and
if you did, you probably wouldn’t like him. That is, unless you were a Detroit
cop, and weren’t above the rank of sergeant.
Joseph Compo never quite understood
why he became a cop, especially in Detroit. When he got home from the service, he
was treated like crap because a bunch of hippies protested the war in Vietnam. He
felt that they would have kept their dope infested yaps shut if we didn’t have
the draft. In his opinion, Joseph Compo thought they were all a bunch of
cowards who didn’t fit in anywhere except in their communal free sex society
they had built for themselves or in Joe’s words they were a bunch of cowards
who liked to cause trouble, and obviously didn’t love their country.
Joe often asked himself why he
became a cop. Did he enjoy being hated? It wasn’t just the hippies that hated
his service to the country; it was everyone hating him for being a cop. It was
a time of protest and anti-government/police groups popped up everywhere. To
top it off, when Joe hit the streets after graduating from the academy, the
1967 Detroit riots broke out, and when Joe got broken in…the hard way.
Through the years Joe came to
love the job. He went through some terrifying moments and was considered by
most, a fair cop. He had a lot of good times though, and enjoyed the company of
his brother officers. In fact he had no civilian friends to speak of. He
recalled during one of his mandatory meetings with the Chief of Police, the
chief told him that he was a great street cop, but a piss poor employee. That’s about right, Joe thought.
Joe did have some non-police
friends though. He was close to a lot of firemen. One in particular, called Big
Jim. During the riots, among his many duties, he was assigned to protect firemen
while they fought to save many basements. Fires burnt everywhere, and Joe,
wanting to help, would drag hose for the fire fighters. He watched and saw many
acts of bravery for his four days assigned to fire fighter protection.
While dragging hose for Big Jim,
Joe fell through the floor of a building. Still hanging on to the hose, Joe
thought he would soon be a goner. Big Jim had seen him drop, and with his
massive strength, pulled Joe up and out of the fires below. Joe popped out of
that hole like a cork out of a Champagne bottle, and was pulled to safety by
Big Jim. Joe had suffered a little smoke inhalation, but other than that he was
fine and he had a new best friend.
Joe had a few close calls other
than falling through a floor during the riots, but he managed to get through it
without getting killed, or for that matter killing anyone. He had seen enough
death in Vietnam, but he would soon find out that he hadn’t seen anything yet.
During his twenty years on the streets, Detroit had become the murder capital
of the world.
Of course tonight, none of that
mattered anymore. Joe was pulling the pin. He was retiring and moving to a
quieter place. He actually had no idea where he was going, only that he was out
of there. He had all his belongings in a storage building, finalized the lease
on his apartment and was living in a motel. His car was all packed with what
belongings he would need for travel to his destination, whereever that may be.
Roll call was boring as usual. There
wasn’t much going on in the city, which suited Joe just fine. He was looking
forward to an uneventful last night on the job. There were so many new guys on
the midnight shift that Joe hardly knew any of them.
He scanned the room, looking for
familiar faces. He quickly noticed Grape Ape. Everyone got nicknames after
they’d been on the job a few years, or were assigned to a special group. Grape
Ape got his for two reasons. First, was that he was a huge man. At six-seven,
he towered over the rest of the shift by a minimum of four inches. Secondly, he
was black. He was so black that his skin had a purple sheen to it. Because of
this he was dubbed Grape Ape. The Grape Ape was a no nonsense cop with a strict
sense of right, wrong, good, and bad. He was truly color blind when it came to
race, and he was the backup you wanted…especially in the projects.
Joseph Compo got his nickname during
a foot pursuit after a twenty mile, high speed chase. The driver had lost
control on a curve after exiting I-94 into a rural area. He rolled the car a
few times but came out uninjured and running like a jack rabbit across a field.
Compo was the first on the scene and gave chase. He was quite the track star in
college and was up to the challenge. As Compo was gaining on the suspect, he
saw a splash. The idiot hadn’t seen a 20 foot irrigation ditch and was now
As Compo saw him climbing out the
other side, he approached at full speed, and using his ability in broad
jumping, decided to jump the ditch. He had a peculiar style when he did the
broad jump. His feet would continue running while he was in the air. As it
happened, his trajectory was rather low and his spinning feet brushed the top
of the water, making it look like he was running across the water, rather than
jumping. His nickname became JC, but not for John Compo. He was Jesus Christ
who walks on water.
Joe Continued to watch the ranks as
the sergeant called roll. He saw Sapper, Tinker, High Pockets, Bozo, and
Hillbilly. They had a few officers nicknamed Hillbilly, all from the south.
This particular Hillbilly was from the hills of Tennessee. Joe had worked with
these men a lot during his career. They all worked narcotics and pattern crime
together and they all got into enough trouble to be transferred to the midnight
shift. As for the rest of the shift, Joe
barely knew their faces, let along their names. Joe was assigned a one man
unit, for which he was grateful. He planned on doing little this shift.
In the Tenth Precinct, there were no
one man cars in days past. Preceding the ’67 riots, during the riots and years
after it was a hotbed of crime and danger for officers. In recent years it
calmed significantly. Mainly because half of the precinct was still burnt out
from the riots and never restored.
Joe’s mind wandered as the sergeant
read off the latest crime reports for number Ten Precinct. A combination of
Grape Ape punching him in the back and the smells that seeped into the roll
call room from the jail brought Joe out of his mind wandering. The jail below
them gave off an odor of vomit, body odor, and human feces. The jab in the back
caused Joe to turn and see Grape Ape. “Hey Grape, what’s up buddy?”
“I could say the same. Why the body
armor? You never wear that unless we are going to kick some doors.” Grape Ape
Joe thought for a moment and said,
“Last day on the job. I thought I would be careful.”
“Yeah,” Grape said, “a lot of guys
buy it on their last day. Don’t worry though, I got your back.”
“A guy couldn’t ask for better back
up than you, Grape. Why don’t we head out to the brown round after roll call?”
“Sounds good JC, see you there.”
The brown round they referred was a
nick name they had given the local donut shop. Brown was for coffee and round
for donuts. Living up to the reputation given by the public, they headed for
the donut shop directly after roll call.
As Joe headed for his vehicle, an
unmarked unit, he breathed in the city smells. Diesel fuel and urine were the
two major contributors with a hint of meth lab and for some reason coal dust.
Joe would be glad to get somewhere the air was pure.
Two things guided Joe into his last
night on the job. First, he was not going to take any crap from anyone. Second,
he was going to stay alive. He didn’t want to admit that he was fearful tonight,
more so than ever before. The thought that Grape had his back did lessen his
fear, but did not alleviate it entirely.
After he checked out his vehicle and
sat inside, he took out some silver tape, and taped over his badge number. It
did not alter the look of the badge, but did hide his badge number. He did the
same with his hat, which he had no intention of wearing anyway. He then took a
piece of white adhesive tape and put it over his name plate atop his badge. He
had written a series of random letters on it which did not spell any name, but
at first glance would look appropriate. Now he was ready for his last night on
Joe shot down all the way to
Michigan Avenue from the station. He turned left, passing the Checker Bar B Q,
another cop and lawbreaker hangout, and continued down to the donut shop. As he
pulled into the parking lot, he saw that Grape, who was also a one man unit,
was sitting at the counter sipping on a cup of coffee.
Joe walked in and sat next to Grape.
“You gonna miss me, big boy?”
“Fuck no, white boy.” Grape
responded. “Glad to get rid of your punk ass. Maybe they’ll hire a good cop to
replace you. You know a real nice black kid.”
“Nope, they got too many of you
black guys already. Maybe they’ll hire another female, possibly Asian.” Joe
“Now you’re talking JC. I want her
for my partner, too. She’d probably be better backup than you anyway. Damn, I
have to shit.” Grape Ape jumped up and went to the bathroom.
The waitress still hadn’t come out
of the back yet, but Joe was a patient man. He heard tires skid as a car pulled
into the lot fast and hit the brakes hard, skidding to a stop. Without turning
around, Joe watched in the mirror as a young white kid stumbled out of the car.
He had long scraggly hair and was trying to grow a beard. He was skinny as a
rail and looked very disheveled. When he entered the door, he threw it open
with force and stomped up to the register. He was wearing a dirty t-shirt and
blue work pants with black work boots. From the looks of his hands, full of
grease, he might have been a mechanic. He was also drunk.
When he reached the register he
hollered. “Jenny, you fucking bitch, get the fuck out here.”
Jenny did not reply instantly, so
the young man yelled again. “You fucking cunt, I said get out here.”
Getting tired of the loudmouth, Joe
turned and said, “Why don’t you quiet down a little?”
“It’s none of your business how I
talk to my woman. Butt out.”
“I don’t care how you talk to your
woman; I want you to quit yelling. You are disturbing my coffee break.” Joe
“You fuckers are always on coffee
breaks. Just mind your own business pig…”
He might have been going to say
more, but Joe was up and back handing him across the room. The young man
slammed against the door jam and slid to the floor. The back of his head was
bleeding slightly, and he was struggling to get up.
“I wouldn’t get up just yet.” Joe
said, “I’m still pissed and will knock your punk ass down again.”
“I’m gonna have your badge mother
fucker,” the young man said as he jumped to his feet, only to be met by Joe
grabbing his throat and choking him out with one hand. Normally Joe would have
eased him to the floor, but because he was an asshole, he just let him drop.
This time he smashed his nose on the tiled floor and cut his forehead slightly.
Joe heard something move behind him
and turned to see the waitress standing by the register with a grin on her
face. She looked at Joe and said, “He is really going to be mad at me for
“I don’t think so, Jennifer,” Joe
said, looking at her name tag, “this is between me and him. You were never
mentioned. Would you pour me a cup of black coffee and then go to the back
again? He doesn’t need to see you when he comes around. He should only be out
for a few more minutes.”
Joe slid the young man under one of
the stools and handcuffed him around the post. Joe pulled the punks wallet out
and retrieved his driver’s license. He
sat down and started drinking his coffee. Looking at the license, Joe noted
that the kid’s name was Charles Morris.
Grape Ape was out of the bathroom
now and walked back to sit next to Joe. “Who’s your friend?” he asked.
“This here is Charles Morris. He is
currently taking a nap.”
Charles Morris was out longer than
expected. When he started coming around, he noticed he was handcuffed to the
stool. “What the fuck?” he said. He did not yell this time and wasn’t speaking
to anyone in particular.
Joe looked down at him and said,
“Charlie, you fucked with the wrong cop tonight. Here’s the deal. You are under
arrest for suspicion of DUI and resisting arrest. When I am done with my break
I am hauling your ass off to jail.”
“DUI? Crap, I can’t handle another
DUI. I will lose my license for good this time. Can’t we work a deal? Come on
man, help a guy out. This will fuck me big time.”
Grape Ape looked around Joe and down
at Charlie. Charlie’s eyes widened and Grape gave him his most intimidating
Charlie said nothing.
Grape said, “Why don’t you give the
little asshole a break man?”
“Because he’s white, that’s why. You
Honkey fucks all stick together anyway.”
Joe looked down at the young man and
said, “What do you think, Charlie?”
“I think you should let me go.” He
“Okay, here’s the deal. Give me your
car keys and get the fuck out of here. Do not come back for your car tonight.
In the morning, go the police headquarters downtown and ask the desk sergeant
for your keys back.”
Joe un-cuffed Charles Morris, took
his car keys and watched as he quickly left the donut shop.
“What you going to do with his
keys?” Grape asked.
“Pitch them out my window later
tonight.” Joe answered.
After coffee, Joe began his tour by
checking a few doors and keeping to the alleyways. He called the dispatcher
earlier and asked to be left alone on his last night of duty. The dispatcher
reluctantly agreed to leave him alone.
Joe decided that his last night, no
matter what happened, he was not going to get into trouble. He took out a piece
of white surgical tape and printed Doe on it. He placed it over his name tag.
He then took a piece of black electrical tape and placed it over his badge
number. He was in an unmarked car so he didn’t have to worry about his car
number. Not that he was planning anything outlandish, but he wasn’t taking any
shit or getting himself killed tonight.
For the first few hours, the
midnight shift was slow. There was a high speed chase that came though his
beat, but he stayed out of it. Joe backed up a couple of marked cars with
traffic stops, but otherwise stayed out of the mix in the city. For some reason
and it was killing him, Joe was scared. All he could think about were all the
stories of officer’s deaths on their last night of duty. Many movies depicted
the same thing and it was working on his psyche.
Since the dispatcher had promised no
calls tonight, Joe decided to go for a ride. He drove south to Michigan Avenue
and headed west. He had the driver’s window down and listened to the sound of
the City. Speeding cars, diesel trucks, horns honking, people screaming, brakes
squealing, and an occasional gunshot rounded out the sounds of the city. There
was an odor of diesel fuel and urine that was always there. Joe remembered when
he was a child, he had identified the smells as busses and popcorn. For some
reason Joe thought the smell of urine was popcorn.
Joe didn’t realize it but he had
driven several miles and was just about to enter Dearborn City limits. “No big deal,” Joe thought to himself. He
made a quick left and headed to Arlan’s Department Store. It was just inside
Dearborn and he used to come here a lot to shoot rats. The loading docks were
infested with literally thousands of rats. Both Dearborn and Detroit officers
would often come here to shoot rats until the neighbors called in shots fired.
They would all quit and one car would report that everything was okay, and the
shooting was done for the night.
Joe pulled into the parking lot and
headed for the loading docks. As he passed the tunnels, heading for the docks
he saw a marked Dearborn car with two occupants sitting quietly near the
Joe tapped his siren to let them
know that he was an officer. He pulled alongside the car on the passenger side
and rolled down his window. The passenger rolled down his widow and looked
Joe spoke first, saying, “Are we
“Yep,” the passenger said, “we were
just about to start. Do you want to join in?”
Joe said, “That’s why I’m here.”
The passenger strained his eyes,
looking Joe over carefully. “I know you. You are Joe Compo. We met last year,
down on Dix Avenue. You chased a stolen into Dearborn and we backed you up.”
Joe laughed, “Yeah, I was getting my
ass kicked when you rolled up. That was one big motherfucker, wasn’t it? You
are the infamous Billy Bell.”
“The one and only,” Billy said.
“How did it go with our internal
affairs guys? I never heard the outcome.”
“They grilled me about the fact that
asshole ended up in intensive care for a few months, but when I told them how
he had a death grip on my balls and I hit him until he let go, they seemed
satisfied. Oh, this is my partner, Doug Pond.”
Joe started laughing. “God they put
you two together. They must be nuts. We know all about Corporal Pond, the snake
charmer. You guys started the riot here last summer, with that fucking snake in
the purse trick.”
All three of them laughed as they
recounted the story, and they continued with other stories until Doug said,
“What are you killing rats with these days?”
With a wide, toothy grin, Joe
reached into his briefcase and pulled out a .22 cal Browning Buckmark Camper.
The weapon was a .22LR with threaded barrel. Attached to the barrel was a Mk14
suppressor. “You guys are going to love this,” Joe said, continuing to grin
like a kid in a candy shop.
“I’m impressed,” Billy said, “how
quiet is it?”
“It is as quiet as a pellet gun.
There won’t be any shots fired calls. Why don’t we all use this? We can shoot
longer if we do.”
It was agreed and the two police
cars moved slowly to the last bay doors in a row of 17. There was a long ramp
lowering into the dock where several dumpsters were set. They were all filled
with trash of all kinds and a haven for the local rat population.
There was an art form to rat
shooting. First you position the patrol cars at the top of the ramp, idling
quietly. The shooter or shooters would exit the car and get ready for targets
to appear. The engines to the cars would be revved loudly and after a few
seconds, when the rats would scurry into the darkness, headlights and spot lights
would be turned on, exposing the little critters. There would be only a few
seconds of target acquisition as the rats would scamper quickly to the dark.
The lights would be turned off and cars quieted to an idle again for usually
not more than five to ten minutes. The whole scenario would be repeated again.
Rats are very prolific, but not too smart. They loved their garbage and would
immediately return to the dumpsters when it got dark and quiet.
Taking turns with the suppressed
.22, the three officers shot off 200 rounds of .22 long rifle ammo and a total
of 20 rats were sent to rat heaven.
Last Traffic Stop
For the first time since the start
of shift, Joe hadn’t been plagued with the overwhelming thoughts of his own
demise, but now he was back on patrol and these terrifying thoughts were
creeping into his mind.
Joe was traveling in the curb lane
of Michigan Avenue at a pace slower than the posted speed limit. He had his
curbside spot light shining on the doors of the closed businesses, but he
wasn’t even looking at the doors and could have easily missed a break in. His
mind was elsewhere, reliving all the movies, TV programs and actual events that
included cops being killed on their last night of duty. He just couldn’t shake
it and he was angry at himself.
Joe thought that the bars must be
letting out, as the traffic increased significantly. He decided to get off the
main drag and move to the side streets to avoid the drunks. Before he could
negotiate a turn off Michigan Avenue, an old ‘69, red Camaro crossed the double
yellow ten cars behind Joe and continued until he passed several cars. Joe did
not want to get involved with a drunk, but this guy, if drunk, was probably
going to get into an accident. I’m still
a cop, Joe thought as he turned on his hidden blues and started after the
Right off Joe thought he might be in
for a chase, but the Camaro pulled to the curb as soon as he noticed the blue
lights. Joe parked his car slightly left of the Camaro to block traffic while
he was at the driver’s door of the Camaro. Joe, as a precaution, unsnapped his
holster as he slowly approached the vehicle. He had positioned his spot light
at the rear view mirror of the Camaro and shined his hand held flashlight at
the side view mirror. He could see no one but the driver in the car and quickly
moved his flashlight into the eyes of the driver. He could smell no alcohol and
the driver’s eyes seemed fine. “License, registration, and proof of insurance
please.” Joe snapped.
The driver already had his
information in his hand and said, “I am so sorry, Officer. I’ll admit that I am
a lousy driver when I am in a hurry.”
Joe was scanning his information and
eyeing the driver at the same time. “Why are you in such a hurry?” he asked.
“I don’t have a good reason; I just
wanted to get home. Can’t you please give me a break Officer Doe?”
Joe smiled, knowing his fake name was
working. “Is there any specific reason I should give you a break?” Joe politely
“Just that I have maxed out on my
points and will probably lose my license if I get another ticket. Like I said I
am a bad driver and would rather have you punch me in the mouth than give me a
ticket that will cause me to lose my license.”
Without hesitation, Joe switched his
flashlight and the driver’s information to his right hand and shot a
devastating left hook into the driver’s mouth and nose. He could feel the teeth
loosening and the cartilage breaking in his nose. The driver’s head snapped
back and blood shot out of his nose and dripped from a large cut on his lip.
Joe tossed the driver’s information in his lap and said, “Have a nice day.”
It was hard to understand, but Joe
thought he heard the man thank him as he tended to his wounds.
Joe felt good again, if only for a
few minutes. He laughed out loud and couldn’t wait until he relayed this story
to his brother officers. He quickly exited Michigan Avenue and headed for the
side streets to avoid any further contact with the public for a while.
Joe was working toward his goal of “Taking no shit, and not getting dead.”
With shooting rats and punching a
guy in the mouth, Joe figured he should have relieved all the stress that was
building within him. He tried breathing exercises as he drove, and even tried
some isometric exercises. Nothing worked. He was keyed up and needed to do
something to relieve the tension.
Rigorous exercise and more shooting
came to mind. The exercise would tire him out and the focus he needed to shoot
might help him quiet the heebie-jeebies.
He knew what to do, and wheeled his patrol car around and back onto
He headed back to Dearborn. When he
got to Michigan and Miller, within the Dearborn limits, he turned north and
headed for the Ford Rouge Plant. Before he hit Rotunda, he dropped off onto
Southern and pulled into a junkyard. He was quite familiar with this place as
he had once observed two Dearborn cops ripping doors off their hinges and
shooting at targets of no monetary value. He watched these two maniacs closely,
paying particular attention to the method they used. He had known that these
two were relieving stress and working up a sweat doing it.
Running the door ripping tutorial
through his mind, he circled through the heaps that were not within the fence,
making them next in line for the crusher, and therefore not of any value.
It didn’t take Joe long to find an
old ‘49 Plymouth coupe that still had one of its two doors. He backed his unit
away from it and scanned the area. He could see no one, so he exited the car
and walked over to the Plymouth.
His mind went back to the day he
watched the Dearborn coppers do their thing. He grabbed the door and pulled it
open all the way, and then threw all of his weight into it, pushing it beyond
its intended distance. He continued until he over extended the door and bent
the outer shell of the door itself. Then he went back and forth with the door,
while jerking it up and down.
Joe heard a snap and looked to check
the hinges. One of the hinges did its work, and snapped partially off. Joe
rocked the door up and down violently until the bottom hinge snapped completely
off. Joe was perspiring profusely and stopped only momentarily to bend down and
grab the bottom of the door, near the hinges. He ripped the door upward
viciously and screamed aloud as he thrust upward with all the force he could
muster up. The upper door hinge snapped and the door flew up in the air. Joe
had to jump back to avoid the door as it crashed to the ground where he had
been standing. At the same moment, Joe was lit up with spot lights. Startled,
he started to reach for his gun, but the sound of a siren being tapped as
identification, he turned toward the lights.
The lights were turned off and he
saw a Dearborn marked patrol unit idling a short way from him. The loud speaker
sounded. “Whatcha’ doin’ Joe?”
by Doug and Billy, Joe thought, recognizing the southern drawl of Doug
Call – Should I Go?
Joe moved his unit deftly and slowly
though the strictly east-west, north-south side streets of western Detroit. He
was more that slightly familiar with the neighborhood, having patrolled it for
his last five years on the job. The Sixth Precinct was his stomping ground and
was one of the safest since the riots of ’67 had gutted it. He pushed two
window controls and rolled down both front seat windows as he slowly cruised
the side streets. There was no traffic, probably because most normal people
were sound asleep.
In the spacious safety of the
residential area, Joe began to get a stomach-churning feeling. He felt his days
were numbered, and his number was at hand. He tried to make sense of this
terror within him, and couldn’t. Yes, he was afraid of bees, but he feared no
man, and never before had he feared death. There were ways of dying he probably
feared, such as torture or even drowning, but death itself never bothered him
because he knew how to protect himself.
“What the fuck is wrong with me?”
Joe barked out loud. “Fuck it; I’m going back out on the streets, and damn the
motherfucker who tries to off me.”
Joe turned right on Kilbourne Avenue
and was crossing Dickerson, about a block from Coplin Avenue. He decided to
turn his car around and head out to Gratiot and was going to drive into the Tenth
Precinct where all the action was. “Fuck it, if I go out, it is going to be in
a fucking blaze of glory.” Joe had his back up and was heading into the shit,
until his radio barked. “Any car in the area, at 15922 Coplin, a 911 hang up,
respond to unknown trouble.”
Joe’s ass slammed shut as the fear
raced through him. He was less than a block from Coplin. He wanted to turn off.
No one would know. “Fuck,” he said aloud. He thought to himself as he turned
onto Coplin and headed north toward 15922,
I don’t want to be known as a coward on my last night of duty.
Joe drove to within three houses of
the address. He picked up his Kel light and stepped out of the car. He made
sure it was locked so no brother officer would steal it for a joke, and walked
toward the houses. He kept to the bushes and house fronts as he headed for the
address. He keyed his radio and said, “Car 610 on Coplin. Will advise.”
Joe continued until he could see the
address he wanted. It was a story and a half bungalow. All the lights were on
outside and on the lower level. The front door was standing open, with only a
screen door closed. He heard no noise as he approached. There were two cars in
As a way to waste time and gather
more intelligence, Joe ran the plates on both cars for registrations. They came
back to the same name, but different addresses. Shit, family trouble and the asshole is still here, Joe thought.
A full five minutes that seemed like
an hour had passed and no backup had arrived, or for that matter, said they
were coming. Joe had to make a decision, so he crept up on the porch and
listened at the screen door.
He could hear moaning off to the
left of the front door. Joe peeked inside the home. The front door opened into
a living room. There was an arch to the left that appeared to be a dining area.
Beyond that, where Joe surmised the kitchen was, was where the moaning was
am a cop and it’s time to shit or get off the pot. Joe opened the screen
door as quietly as he could and stepped inside the living room. He unsnapped
his holster and had his right hand on the butt of his Glock and his flashlight
in his left as he scanned the room. Noting no threat, he did a quick peek around
the archway into what was the dining room. Still nothing to note, but the
moaning continued in the next room.
Inch by inch, Joe made his way to
the entry to the kitchen. Once again he used the quick peek, in and out. He
spotted only two people on the floor, and the moaning continued. He now stepped
into the door way. There was a teenage girl in a night gown, holding her mother
in her arms. The mother was quiet and the teenager was moaning. The girl did
not notice Joe, even as he moved closer.
Joe could see that the woman had two
gunshot wounds. One was to the face, and the other high in the chest. He could
see by her chest movements that she was breathing. He reached down and gently
touched the teenager. The girl looked up at him but said nothing.
“Honey, can you tell me what
“My mother’s been shot.”
“Who did it?”
“My father.” She said, “He came into
our house and shot my mother.”
“I will get help for your mother,
can you tell me where your father is?”
“He is upstairs.”
“What’s he doing upstairs?”
Looking up and deep into Joe’s eyes,
she said, “He’s waiting for you.”
Joe radioed for an ambulance and
reported the gunshot wounds and that the suspect was still in the house, but he
did it automatically. It was like an out of body experience. His training and
experience came to the surface, allowing him to go through the process, but he
was shaking inside like a wet dog in a snow storm.
Joe was shaken back to reality when
the girl said, “Is my mother going to die?”
“I don’t know, but she is still
alive and there is a chance she will make it. The ambulance should be here
Joe smiled kindly at her and patted
her head softly. Then he asked, “What is your father’s name?”
“John,” she said.
“Did he say anything to you?”
“No, I heard gun shots and got up to
see what was going on. I saw my mother running from her bedroom and down
stairs. I followed her down the stairs. She yelled at me to leave because my
father was going to kill us. She collapsed in the kitchen and I stayed with
“You are a very brave young lady,
and your loyalty to your mother is to be commended. No one is going to hurt you
Joe heard the front screen door
being ripped open and two young rookie officers came charging in. Joe grabbed
one of them and said. “Stay with her until the ambulance gets here,” pointing
to the gunshot victim. He directed his attention to the second officer and
ordered him to go outside and cover the rear of the house. There was no way he
was going to try and clear the upstairs with rookie officers.
He heard the sounds of sirens off in
the distance. He got on his radio and asked the dispatcher to tell responding
units not to use their sirens. He didn’t want to agitate John any more than
necessary. Joe walked over to the bottom of the stairs that led to the upper
level of the home. He concealed himself around the corner and yelled, “John,
this is Officer Joe Compo. No one wants to hurt you. Would you please come down
here so we can work this out without anyone else getting hurt?”
There was no answer, just an eerie
quiet. Joe knew that he needed to end this as quickly as possible. He didn’t
want to put the EMT’s or other responders in any more danger. He also didn’t
want a lengthy standoff, which would occur if the wrong boss showed up. He
peeked around the corner, looked up the stairs and started to move, when a hand
grasped his shoulder. Joe jumped a little and looked around to see Grape Ape.
“Grape, I’m glad you’re here. I
really didn’t want to do this myself.”
“You know I’d never let my favorite
white boy down.” Grape said, laughing and inching to the edge of the stairway.
Using a technique that the FBI had
suggested, Joe started up the stairs backward with Grape following forward and
to his left. The feds thought this way all directions could be covered. Joe
always thought it was stupid, but when training kicks in, even if it’s stupid,
you do what you learned.
As they ascended the stairs slowly,
both officers kept vigil. They looked for anything out of the ordinary. They
also listened to the deafness in the house. Only the creaking of the stairs
could be heard. Joe decided to try and make contact with John again. “John,
this is Officer Compo. We do not want to hurt you, and frankly we don’t want to
get hurt. At least talk to me, please?”
They heard nothing in return. A few
more steps and Joe repeated his request. “John, please talk to us…”
Out of the corner of Joe’s eye he
saw rapid movement. He wheeled, and snapped off a shot with his .357 Smith
& Wesson model 66, stainless steel revolver. Grape Ape jerked violently to
see where Joe had shot, and rammed into Joe. The two of them came crashing down
the stairs, ass over elbows, landing in a heap at the bottom of the stairs.
“Nice one, Joe.” Grape said. “Who
did you shoot?”
“Don’t have a clue. I guess we had
better get back up there and see.”
“Fuck you, Joe,” Grape said. I am
not going up the stairs again if we have to do the stupid fucking FBI bullshit.”
Joe smiled and said, “Agreed. Let’s
just head up there, I’ll go first. You can cover my ass.”
“Don’t I always?”
We Go Again
Joe started up the stairs again,
this time leading the way and staying as low as he could, without falling on
his face. The ascent was much quicker and he knew he had his backup right
behind him. As his head peered over the landing, he looked in the direction of
his shot. He could see blood splatter on the walls with reddish blond hair bits
and pieces of bone embedded in the wall. What
the fuck? He thought, I hope that was
the bad guy. Joe had forgotten to ask if anyone else was in the house. His
heart sunk and he began to imagine all sorts of scenarios, none of which would
keep him out of prison.
Joe continued to look and then let
out a sigh of relief. He turned back and looked at Grape, who was watching with
great anticipation. “Cat.” Joe said, and Grape tried to stifle a laugh.
Regaining his composure, Joe said
aloud, “John, That was a mistake and I am sorry. Please come out and talk with
us. I promise nothing will happen to you. Your wife is going to live and your
daughter is just fine. Come on man, give us a break and come out.”
“That mother fucker ain’t coming out,
white boy. We gonna have to go pull him out. Are you ready for this shit?”
“Let’s do it, my black brother. Let’s
get this shit over with so I can get the fuck out of Detroit.”
“Aw man, you’re going to leave me,
Joe smiled and looked deep into his
friends eyes, “Faster than you can say chitlins mother fucker.”
By this time they stood on the
landing. There were two bedrooms and a
bathroom that could be seen. It took them about three seconds to clear the
bathroom and they headed for the 1st bedroom. The door was open
partially and the lights were out. They approached and stood on either side of
the door. They made hand signals that indicated Joe would go to the left and
Grape to the right. It seemed like a good idea to both of them. They turned on
their flashlights and pushed their revolvers out in front of them. They busted
into the room on Grape’s signal.
The room was empty. Joe snapped on
the light switch and they cleared the closet. “One more to go, Grape.”
“Yup,” Grape said, and the two of
them reentered the landing area and headed for the last bedroom. This door was
closed. They both stood on either side of it. They made signals for the same
entry. Joe reached for the door and turned the handle slowly. LOCKED!
This meant only one thing. John was
in there, and as the teenager had said, he was waiting for Joe. FUCK, Joe thought as he looked to Grape
for an idea. Grape motioned for them to move back away from the door. The eased
back into the landing area by the stairs and Grape whispered to Joe.
“Okay, here’s what we do. This is your
last day, so you kick the door and step back. I will blow by you and make the
entry. You can back me up then.”
“No way, shithead,” Joe snapped, “Here’s
what we do. Yes, I will kick the door. We go in together. You go high right and
I will go low left. We see him and we blow his shit away.”
“Like the cat?” Grape smiled.
“Fuck you, Grape. Let’s get this
Joe was charged up now. He turned
and bolted for the door. Grape was right on his tail as he smashed his whole
body into the door, ripping it from the door frame and crashing to the floor.
Unfortunately, both he and Grape smashed into each other. Grape fell off to the
right, and Joe, being much smaller than Grape, flew to the left over six feet
and onto the bed. He was also on top of John, who laid their dead, with a
bullet hole in his right temple.
Grape was up and turning on the
lights, and looking down at Joe. Joe just laid on top of the dead man. Grape
could hear Joe say, “Thank you, John.”
Super Short Story
Where Am I?
Why can’t I open my
eyes? How come I am cold? If I am asleep, why am I dressed in a suit and tie?
Then why don’t I have any shoes on? I am trying to open my eyes but it feels
like they are sewn shut. Why are my eyes sewn shut? Wait, who’s that talking?
Let me listen.
good doesn’t he?”
really, I don’t like his color.”
anyone will miss him?”
will miss him today, but not tomorrow. We never really miss anyone, do we?”
I have never slept on
my back with my hands across my chest. This is just stupid. Wait, what is that
bright light? The brightest light I have ever seen, yet it doesn’t hurt my
eyes. If my eyes are sewn shut, how is it I can see the light? Hey wait, why
won’t they miss me? Why would they miss me if I am right here?
Wait a minute. I know
what’s going on. I am dead. Crap, I told that fucking waiter the food tasted
funny. That’s just great, I am dead and some asshole stole my shoes.
little more death stuff
night cruel world
poured myself a tumbler full of Jack Daniels, and sat down in my favorite
chair. I took a sip of my liquor and pondered my existence, as I looked around
my home, which was a 14 foot camp trailer. Would I be missed? No, I thought.
There is no one left that cares what happens to me, including an ex-wife, two
kids, and four grandkids.
took another sip of my whiskey and picked up my blue Smith and Wesson, model
19, .357 with a six inch barrel. I opened the cylinder and carefully loaded six
semi-jacketed hollow points into the waiting weapon. Each bullet slid into its
nest smoothly. A perfect fit. I closed the cylinder and locked it into place. I
have planned this day for months, and I want it perfect. No mistakes as there
would be no do overs.
laughed aloud as I recalled that I had purchased this gun from one of my cop friends,
who incidentally, killed himself this year. Talk about irony.
I was about to do was against everything I had ever learned in life. I had
always been strong, but now I am weak. I spent my youth in a whirl wind of
fuckups. I had committed minor crimes and major sins. I had violated at least
five of the Ten Commandments, and was pretty sure I was headed straight to Hell.
The thought of going to Hell caused me to pause. Do I really want to go to Hell
today? Fuck it, Hell couldn’t be any worse than my life.
spent four years in the Marine Corps as a young man. My last three were in
Vietnam. I killed the enemy but did not come home with a chest full of medals.
I was an average Marine, which by other people’s standards, was way above
average. Instead of the conquering hero, I came home to people despising me for
serving my country. They called me baby killer. I never killed any babies. The
transition back to civilian life was difficult until I secured a position with
a metropolitan police department.
wasn’t sure, but I may have got the job because no one else would have me, but
I was made for the job. I was a pretty good cop, but a lousy employee. At least
that is what my chief told me once. I did find that in the 60’s and 70’s people
hated cops worse than ex-military. What the hell, they made me feel at home. At
least I had my brother officers. The streets were as mean as depicted in the
news. Murders, rapes, assaults, burglaries, stickups, and the worst of all,
family troubles, was the daily diet of the street cop. I was tied to the job
more than anything else in my life. I had no civilian friends and drank too
much. I smoked cigarettes and cigars and ran around with wild women. I even had
a few hookers who would throw me a quickie any time I wanted it.
I married, I thought my life would change for the better. We had a nice
ceremony, a hell of a party and an enjoyable honeymoon. The first several
months were great, but things went downhill when the job became too much for my
wife. I suppose I could have changed more, but the job meant more to me than
anything. My brother officers were the only people who understood what I was
answer was close at hand, I thought. I needed to have children. That would give
me something in common with the average man and placate my need to carry on the
family name. We ended up having three. When they were infants I would spend all
of my home time with them. Watching them walk and then talk was a miracle to
me. It was the happiest five years of my life.
third child died shortly after being born and my wife decided she didn’t want
to have any more. I was in total agreement. I scheduled a vasectomy. I thought would satisfy my wife’s objection
to more children. Apparently she had a better idea. She just quit having sex
with me. It took me a while to find out she was having sex with other men
problem. I found a few groupies and reconnected with my hooker friends. I was
back to having regular sex. I started drinking heavily again and spent more
time away from home than at home.
wife got a job at a topless bar and got a full time live in baby sitter for the
kids. Neither of us was home very often. It was just a matter of time until we
finally got divorced. Through the years she convinced all of our children that
I was the devil and I didn’t get to see them after they were old enough to make
up their own mind. I lived in poverty while I struggled with child support.
lived in squalor my remaining years on the department. I had no family, no
civilian friends and was slowly alienating my fellow cops. I was bitter and
angry, so I retired.
finished off the glass of whiskey and picked up the revolver again. I practiced
putting the barrel in my mouth. I needed to make it right the first time. I
didn’t want to end up a vegetable. I poured myself another glass of Jack and
eased back into my chair. Feeling sorry for myself wasn’t anything new for
my retirement, the government took aim at my retirement package. My pension was
cut in half and the prospect of any health insurance is nil. I found out a week
ago that I have cancer and there is no way I can have it treated under the
current Government guidelines.
know I brought all this on myself, but I fought for my country and stood up
against criminals to protect society from danger and now I am sitting in my
fucking camp trailer about to blow my head off and head straight to Hell.
finished my glass of whiskey and pulled the gun up to my mouth. This is it. I
am on my way out. Dear Lord, please take me to you and if you could, make sure
I don’t shit myself.
put the gun into my mouth. I pushed the barrel deep into my throat, as far as I
could without gagging. I wanted to make sure that I blew out my brainstem. I
wanted death to come instantly. I started to sweat and my hand began to shake.
Was it fear that I felt? It was, but not of dying, it was where I was headed,
Heaven or Hell. I cocked the gun and had one final thought. God, forgive me my
sins and forgive me for taking my own life. Jamming the barrel further into my
throat, I squeezed the trigger.
hammer slammed down. The firing pin struck the primer full force. The primer
should have exploded and ignited the powder in the bullets casing. It did not
fire. I gagged and vomited the gun out of my mouth. The gun fell to the floor.
There was an explosion as the gun went off. The bulled carried through the thin
walls of my camp trailer and into oblivion. The gun was lying on a newspaper
and seemed to be pointing to a specific article. The article said “Election
today, be sure and vote.”
know this is a sign from God. I needed to go out and vote, to do my part to
save my country. I got up and went to clean up. I had to go out and vote.