Kicking the Habit Ch. 03byNobodyWorthKnowing©
Corruption is an addiction. It's the first taste of any filthy pleasures, for a price. It is not the mere delight in sin that makes a dirty cop, a dirty cop. It's knowing you can get away with it again, and again, and again.
Drugs. Sex. Power.
Any cop on the straight and narrow avidly avoids these temptations, knowing that once you give in'once you taste the sweet syrup of indulgence'it's almost impossible to give it up.
I'm not the cop who said no. Eighteen years in the goddamned force. I've been wounded twice in my career.
I am not an uneducated man, just an educated man who took an unfortunate trip down reality lane. Shot'wounded within a damned inch of my life'and I get some shiny medal. Then, it's pat on the back, and they call me a hero.
You take a slug in the back from an overzealous kid, and you're a hero. Put down a notorious criminal after a grueling firefight, and you're a star. I've been putting these bastards away for ten years, so when reality finally hit me, I wept. No one gives a damn. We wear a black band over our badges when a comrade falls. His replacement will be in next week. It happens' besides, he knew the risk. We give out shiny medals, and call wounded cops heroes, but in the end, it's just our job. It's what we signed up for, and no Goddamn it. It will never, ever pay enough.
So how do you make it right? It's like cheating on your wife, or cheating on your taxes; the first time is the only hard time. After that, it's the easiest game to play. If you're not sloppy, you can do it forever. They say the truth will always prevail, but what is the truth? What if you controlled the truth? Then this game'this habit'is your power. Suddenly, drugs, sex, and power are yours.
The world is yours. Your brothers in arms, naïve children who don't know the way.
Then, suddenly you get this pain. It's not physical. It's not mental. It's in your heart'it's like you just found religion. Christ, Himself, just came and donkey punched you in the fucking heart, and you know you've done wrong.
I have two boats, and some jet skies. I own a bigger, and better car than I can afford, but they're all paid off. It's dirty money. Blood money. It's dead cops, and crying children. I remember when it began, and I knew where it would end.
About ten years ago I put away one of the most notorious thieves that ever existed. I'm not talking about some pussy prick pick pocket, or cat burglar. This guy could steal your house and you'd never know it until it started raining. He was good. Too good. Not as clumsy as a magician, or as dull handed as a sculptor. When I arrested him, the bastard stole my gun, ammo, and the key to my handcuffs.
He didn't shoot me. He didn't even escape. It was his accomplice that put the two in my back. It was the same day I turned my back on law enforcement. Sex. Drugs. Power. Money.
I had a wife. I had a family. She's gone now, with our children. Money wasn't enough. The distance it put between us was too much. So, I'm giving it up. No more dirty business. One less cop on the take. I retire in two years, but after tonight, I'm requesting a desk job at the station. Maybe I don't deserve it, but once everything's settled, said and done' maybe she'll come back. I miss my daughter. I miss my son.
'and then, there he is. Same guy as ten years ago. How he managed to get out of prison I'll never know, but I'll be damned if he isn't going back. Filthy fucking urchins'but he's a different type. There's a woman standing here, next to me. Looks like she's gonna cry. He doesn't, though. She put in the call, and I guess it was just a moment too late that she realized this cat was the one who saved her life. Oh yeah. He's killed. Dressed ridiculously in an undersized tuxedo, split at the armpits.
She told us everything. Thing is. I knew this guy escaped. Tonight, I was told to put him down no matter what. This time, though, I'm going straight.
I order him to get down. He does it.
I order him to put his hands up. He does it.
I'm followed by six officers as I approach the suspect. It's overkill, and I know it. These are no doubt as dirty as I was, these cops. These blood collectors. One of them'Branson'clubs him over the back of his neck, and they start going to work on him. By the time I can get a word to order the halt, he's pretty tender. They drag him, and stow him into the back of my car, bruised, and bleeding. His hands are purple because the cuffs are too tight.
There was a small crowd that started to gather, but they've dispersed, no doubt returning to their black tie affair. I'm done. This was the last case. After today I'm back on the straight and narrow. It's how it should have been from the start.
I get into my car.
'Mind if I ride along?'
I can't see his face, but I can see he's a cop. Could be one of those dirty motherfuckers, but if I tell him anything now, it's my ass. 'Sure partner,' I say in the gruffest voice I can manage. 'Better us two with this sick fucker in back.' I say, pointing my thumb to the back, past the dividing cage.
The ride starts out in an uncomfortable silence. After a while, it turns into a pain in the neck. Literally. I feel a splitting pain for just a moment, and then red heat spilling down my neck, into my uniform.
I'm getting dizzy, but the officer next to me steadies the car out, as we begin to decrease in speed. I look at him as I slump over to my door, vision fading out. My last sight in this world, another law enforcement officer wielding the simple pocket knife that murdered me.
' and to think I quit the old life.
'what a lousy way to kick the habit.
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