Dreams of Destiny Pt. 02byKrenna Smart©
Officer John Rodgers opened his eyes. It was 5:55. The sun was rising on the horizon in a rancid, filthy alley in Anacostia, a section of Southeast Washington, DC, known for its high incidence of violent crime. Rodgers was staring down at the teenager he had just subdued seconds ago at gun point. He was, to say the least, nonplused.
What in Hell just happened to me? he wondered desperately. All I did was blink, and suddenly I was off somewhere, passed out on a floor looking up at a total stranger. A totally gorgeous stranger, but a stranger nevertheless. And then speaking Spanish to a waiter? I don’t even speak Spanish.
Rodgers realized that his hands were shaking and he was shivering all over. That’s it, he thought, I’m getting the flu. I’ve had too many night shifts and too little sleep. Or maybe I’m so sleep deprived that I fell asleep on my feet. Or else I had an adrenaline hallucination. There has to be a logical explanation for what just happened. Otherwise I’m cracking up and that just can’t be.
The teenager lying at his feet started to turn over. “Hey man.” he complained, “I’m tired of layin on my face. We gonna stay like this all night or are you gonna do your cop thing?”
Rodgers shifted gears. “Thanks for telling me my job, boy” he said sarcastically. Then he called in the arrest and his whereabouts, and asked for transport for the juvenile. He could already hear sirens heading their way. Less than half an hour had passed since he and his partner had entered the juvenile’s apartment on a domestic violence call. It felt like a year.
“Your welcome, but I ain’t no boy,” the kid replied with a scowl.
“You are to me if you’re younger than my baby brother. You can roll over slowly and sit up.”
The kid complied. “How old is your brother?”
“Shit, man, he's a grand daddy.” And you be ‘most old as God.”
“That’s the way I feel tonight,” Rodgers agreed. “And for the record, you’re under arrest. Anything you say can be used against you. You can have a lawyer if you want one and you don’t have to talk to me or anyone else without a lawyer.” Do you understand?”
“What’s your name son?” Rodgers asked the boy, “and how old are you?”
“Are you interrogating me, or just being friendly?” the boy answered.
“Just being friendly. I’ll know in a couple of minutes anyway, I figure. I’m sure your baby brother and sister have already given the information to my partner.”
“Shit,” the kid said. “That ain’t fair.”
“Life ain’t always fair,” Rodgers said.
“You got that right” the kid agreed without rancor. “My name's Devon, Devon James. I’m fourteen. What’s your name?”
“John Rodgers. I’m forty six.”
Rodgers suddenly realized that he still hadn’t recovered the weapon the kid had been carrying. Very sloppy work, ace, Rodger chided himself. A little slip like that could cost me my badge if not my life.
It was fully light outside now. Rodgers looked around for the gun. A pleasant breeze drifted into the alley blowing away some of the stink.
John spotted the gun in a gutter not far from where Devon was sitting.
“Stay put son,” Rodgers admonished the kid. I have to get the gun you were carrying before I arrested you.”
Devon was young, but not totally ignorant of the rules regarding evidence seized at crime scenes. “What gun?” the kid asked with an innocent smile. “I don’t know nothin ‘bout no gun.”
It’s amazing,” John thought, “how much street law a bright ghetto kid could absorb in 14 years."
“Give me a break, Devon,” Rodgers said wearily. “Its just you and me here. Do you see any one else? I saw that gun leave your hand and I saw where it landed. I even saw you reach for it before you decided to freeze. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t pick it up the second you were arrested.”
Rodgers decided to shake the kid up a bit for trying to be smart. “I might even say I had to struggle with you for the gun before I subdued you if you decide to play games with me. Who do you think a judge would believe?”
“Think about it, Devon, the officer urged. The gun has your prints all over it. Are you gonna try to convince a judge that it flew into the alley this evening under its own steam?”
The kid didn’t say anything as Rodgers got up and headed over to where the gun was resting. Retrieving the gun took less than a minute. Devon sat still the whole time.
“See,” Rodgers said with a smile. “There it was, right where you tossed it before you gave yourself up to me without a struggle.”
Devon rolled his eyes.
Rodgers’ backup and the transport vehicle pulled into the alley at about the same time.
Rodgers was soaked with sweat from the chase and crawling around in the alley He decided to sit himself down and watch the sky brighten while his colleagues worked. It was a warm and muggy morning, but not nearly as bad as summer in West Palm Beach where he had spent most of his early career. He had moved up here to DC to become what some people disparagingly call a “kiddy cop.” He had come for reasons known only to himself. Rodgers knew that life as a DC Youth Division officer could be as dangerous, or more so as a homicide dick in West Palm Beach. This morning’s activity had proved that in spades.
Now came the boring part of the job. He had to see to the kid’s transfer and secure the chain of custody of the gun he recovered. He had reports to write at the Youth Division. After that he would have to wait in the office of Corporation Counsel until a prosecutor was ready to talk to him about the case. The prosecutor would grill him on the morning’s events and decide whether or not to bring juvenile charges against the child.
If charges were filed, Rodgers would have to wait around in D.C Superior Court until a decision was made as to whether or not he would be needed to testify at an initial hearing. Rodgers figured he might get free of this case by 2:00 p.m. if he was lucky. Then maybe he could get some sleep before his next shift which began at midnight. The only good thing was the over time.
Rodgers and the rest of the officers finished up with the crime scene at about 6:40. Rodgers caught a ride over to the station with his partner, Maria Dias, who had joined the Youth Division ten years ago. She had been a beat cop before that. Maria was a pretty woman of ordinary height and breadth She had medium brown hair and brown eyes. Her breasts were her only extraordinary physical feature. Shelf tits, Rodger’s uncle in Florida would have called them. The way her bosom jutted out in front of her was amazing.
Maria had been his partner since he had joined the Division. She was tough as nails and took shit from no one. She was cool as a cucumber in a crisis. She was an expert at Judo. She knew the city like the back of her hand, having grown up in DC. She was a pleasure to ride with.
“What happened on your end, Maria?” Rodgers asked as he got into the squad car.
“A lot,” Maria replied shortly. “I think it was lucky the boy took the gun. Someone might have died in there this morning if there had been a gun in the apartment. Mama’s boyfriend was in the living room and had the little girl, Lily, around the neck when I got into the apartment. That was when your guy bolted.
“I heard a gun shot out back right after you went out the kitchen door. I was afraid the kid shot at you, but things were happening so fast in the house that I couldn't get out to back you up. So I called in for help. I couldn’t say which way you were heading and didn’t have the time to look. I told the dispatcher to get as many units into the area as possible.
“Once mama realized I wanted to take the kids into custody, she grabbed little Marky by one arm and dragged him into bathroom. Marky’s about four years old. Momma locked the door behind her. I went after the boyfriend to get him the hell away from the little girl, Lily.
“By this time the other units started to arrive. I subdued the boyfriend and placed him under arrest. Mack processed him for transfer. “Then I interviewed Lily.”
“Lily told me she’s twelve years old. Her mamma’s boyfriend wanted to pimp her. Her Momma was willing to go along with it but Lily refused to dress up and hit the street. Big daddy laid into her with his fists. Lily kneed him in the balls so big daddy put his hands around Lily’s neck and started to choke her That’s what got your kid all upset. A neighbor must have heard the ruckus and called the child abuse hot line.”
“While I was interviewing Lily, Mack was trying to convinced Momma to come out of the bathroom and give Marky to us. When she did come out she was high as a kite and wanted to fight everyone in the room. Mack was arresting her at about the time I learned that you had made your collar safely. I wanted to get out of there so I came by to pick you up.”
“God, what a nightmare,” John said.
“Some family, huh?” Maria replied as she lit a cigarette. Maria pulled the squad car into a parking space outside of the building which housed DC’s Youth Division. The two officers got out of the car.
“Well, I guess we’d better write this up tuit suite.” said John. “It sounds like both of us are going to be doing probable cause hearings today.”
“What a pain in the ass,” Maria grumbled. “But the sooner its done, the sooner we sleep. The coffee’s burning on the hot plate and the donuts are getting stale as we speak. Let’s go grab some breakfast.”
They strolled into the building in a comradely silence. It was 7:00 and the morning shift was just coming on duty. Officers worked 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. to midnight, or midnight, to 8:00 a.m. Most cops arrived an hour before their shift started in order to dress, chat and for roll call.
John and Maria grabbed their donuts and coffee and headed for their desks. Maria’s desk was closest to the front door. John looked at Maria’s desk as he passed by. It was a disaster area. It was covered with paper and files. Photographs of friends and family members were stapled to the bulletin board next to her computer. Candy wrappers, wads of used paper, paper cups and soda cans littered the floor surrounding her trash can.
Thank God the days of indoor smoking are over, Rodgers thought as he looked at Maria’s desk. Add the smell and mess of cigarettes and the desk could be condemned as a toxic waste dump site.
Rodger’s desk was neat by comparison. John prided himself on having an ordered mind. He would have done well in the military he thought, suddenly remembering his earlier dream. There were no little personal touches on or around Rodgers’ desk. Rodgers had very few personal ties and had not taken advantage of tentative overtures of friendship made by colleagues and other Youth Division employees since his arrival in DC. Each time he thought of reaching out he reminded himself that he had a private agenda.
Rodgers booted up his computer and got to work. He ignored his phone which began to ring the minute he sat down. It took him less than an hour to complete his incident report. As he was about to leave, Maria walked into his cubicle..
“John," Maria said. "Did you know you were voted Mr. Youth Division?” she asked, laughing. "I just got an E-Mail about it.”
“No. This is news to me," John replied. "What on earth is Mr. Youth Division?”
"It’s a little known popularity/beauty contest conducted by secret ballot by the women employees of the Youth Division. But there hasn’t even been a candidate in years. I have no idea who resurrected it. I don’t even know who won it last."
“Great,” John said sarcastically. “So what does it get me? A scholarship to cosmetology school? A date with the Mayor? Modeling contracts in biker magazines?”
Maria snickered. “It’s a great honor and privilege,” she advised him with a note of fake wonder in her voice. “You’ve been recognized as the most desirable man to grace the halls of Youth Division this year."
“Oh my God, you’ve got to be kidding me,” John groaned. “Please tell me it ain’t so.”
Maria snorted with laughter. “Oh John , this is the funniest thing to happen here in years. Don’t tell me you don’t love it. I’m riding with the sexiest man in the police department.”
“I don’t love it,” John said through clenched teeth. “I don’t even remotely like it. I feel like I just had a bad nude photo of me displayed over the Internet without my permission. Its insulting.”
”John Rodgers I’m surprised at you,” Maria chided playfully. “Where is your sense of humor? Your southern laissez faire attitude? Where’s your masculine pride, your opportunistic nature? You could go far with a title like this. Think of all the babes out there just waiting for you to give them the nod.”
“Give it a rest, Maria,” I’m forty six years old, not sixteen. I don’t want to be a sex object.”
“If you say ‘been there, done that,’ I’m gonna puke,” Maria warned.
“I don’t mean that, Maria, and you know it. I’m a private guy. I hate the idea of every woman in the building looking at me and wondering how I perform in bed. That’s disgusting. Its enough to put me off sex permanently.”
“Now that would be a waste. No. It would be a national tragedy for women.”
“Do you want to go to bed with me Maria?” John suddenly asked. He was furious. He backed her up against the wall, using his masculinity as a weapon.
She could feel his heat. If only he knew. “Jesus, John, I was just kidding around.” She shoved him back.
He felt a connection. A sudden rush of arousal coursed through him. He backed off. “Of course you don’t, he said brusquely. I know it and you know it. So don’t talk like that. Its inappropriate.”
“All right already. I didn’t know you were so touchy. I’m sure the girls didn’t mean anything by it. It was done in fun to break up work place tension. You know. Give people something to laugh about.”
“I know,” John sighed. "But how would you like it if it were at your expense? Say the guys put together a tit contest and you won. Every time you talked to a man in our office you’d wonder if he were checking out your breasts.”
“Yeah. I see your point. I hadn’t thought about it like that,” Maria conceded. “What do you want to do about it?”
“What can I do about it?” John asked. “Not much. What’s done is done. Damage control, I guess. Let’s try to keep it from going any further. And I don’t want any female secretaries walking by my desk tittering.”
The light on his phone line started to flash. John picked up the incoming call. “Good morning, Officer Rodgers here.”
“This is Marty Feinstein, John, in corporation counsel’s office, said a reedy voice on the other end of the line. I’m papering the Devon James case this morning and I need to talk to you. Meet me in my office in twenty minutes.
“Good morning to you too, Marty,” John said coldly. “I’ll have to check my calendar and get back to you.” He hung up. Pompous ass, he said to himself. No please or thank you, or if it is convenient. Just be there. Well, I’ll think about it.
The phone rang again. John left his desk to get another cup of coffee and a donut. The phone was still ringing when he got back.
“Yes,” he said impatiently into the receiver.
“This is Marty again. Can you be in my office in twenty minutes?”
“A simple please and thank you would help,” John said sweetly. "That’s how we do things down south.”
“This is Washington, DC, not West Palm Beach, John. An any event, I would thank you to please have your ass in my office in twenty minutes Mr. Youth Division,” Marty said maliciously.”
Oh great, the word’s out.
“That’s much better, Marty,” John said ignoring the rudeness and the jibe. I’ll see you shortly. He hung up the phone with a bang. What he really wanted to do was hurl it against the office wall. John spent the next fifteen minutes on the telephone with various calls. Several calls were about cases he was currently investigating. He got two or three hang ups which he passed off as wrong numbers. The other two were giggly overtures from female Youth Division employees asking for clandestine meetings.
John started to get annoyed, and then forced himself to relax. Ah hell. Let the twits have their fun. They’re not doing me any harm. Its not as if they are going to rape me or anything. And it is kind of flattering, he finally decided.
John looked up at the clock on the wall. 8:25 already. It was a ten minute walk to the Office of Corporation Counsel. Oh well, John thought, Marty’s kept me waiting often enough. He won’t kill me if I’m five minutes late. John shrugged into his rumpled jacket and set out for the prosecutor’s office.
Marty was chaffing at the bit when John arrived ten minutes later. “Where the hell have you been?” Marty demanded as John walked into the office. “Do you have my police report? Judge Raven’s really been hammering at us to get the juvenile cases papered as early in the day as possible. I can’t paper my cases without police reports.”
Rodgers handed Marty the police report and Marty read it eagerly.
“Good, good,” he said as he read. “Wait a minute, I thought there was a resisting arrest charge.”
“No,” said Rodgers, “Devon didn’t resist.”
“Are you sure about that?” Marty prodded him. “I thought I heard resisting.”
“I should know, I was there.”
“Yeah, right. Well there’s definitely reckless endangerment, carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of unregistered ammunition.. That ought to hang the kid out to dry. I’m going for secure detention on this one. We’ll have to have a probable cause hearing. Do you have time for me to prep you now?” Marty asked.
“I don’t need preparation,” John said flatly. “You put me on the stand and I tell the judge what happened. Its as simple as that.
“No its not as simple as that,” Marty snapped. “I want secure detention even though this is a first offense. Judge Raven doesn’t like to lock kids up on first offenses.”
“Neither do I,” said John.
“Your opinion doesn’t count,” Marty said shortly.
“Here’s how I see it . This was a highly volatile situation. You and your partner arrived at Devon’s apartment. When he saw police officers entering his home, Devon picked up his gun and fled the apartment. You took off in pursuit. Shots were fired at you. A lengthy pursuit ensued in the dark of night .”
Marty paused for effect.
“Loaded weapons were brandished. You could have been shot. Bystanders could have been killed. Devon might have been shot. You had to run him down to exhaustion and physically restrain him. You wrestled with him to get the gun. Clearly the boy’s danger to the community and a flight risk. Have I got it right, officer Rodgers?” Marty asked.
“Well, not exactly.” John said. He crossed the room to the water cooler and poured himself a drink.
“What am I missing?” Marty asked.
“That’s not the way it happened,” Rodgers said bluntly.
“Okay, so now you tell me what happened,” Marty suggested.
“My partner, Maria Dias and I were responding to a anonymous call that came in at 5:20 concerning domestic violence. The caller was tearful and sounded scared. She was an older woman. She said she thought three little children, Mikey, Lily and Devon James, were being beaten up by their mother’s boyfriend. She said the mother was a hooker and on drugs. The boyfriend was her pimp. She was especially afraid for the twelve year old girl. She said she thought there were drugs and guns in the house.
“Maria and I arrived at the scene at about 5:40 a.m. As we approached the apartment we could hear loud music blasting out of the windows. Maria knocked loudly on the door and an African American female, age approximately 30 answered, by opening the door about four inches. The woman was dressed up like she was headed for a party. Her eyes were blood shot and she appeared to be high.