Love, Bullets, and Badges Ch. 01byJimBob44©
*Author's Note: Any and all persons engaging in sexual activity are at least eighteen years of age.
Also, this is not a 'stroke' story. It is a Romance; the sex is minimal. So, if you're looking for a 'stroke' story, hit the backspace key on your keyboard.
"Love, love, love the pepper salad at Dead End," Darren Richards said.
"Love, love, love half-naked girls running around there too, huh?" Elise asked, turning from Highway 52 onto Mississippi Drive.
"Oh, hey! They got half-naked girls there TOO?" Darren asked, freckled faced a mask of surprise.
"Uh huh, what I've heard," Elise agreed and turned left onto Reagan Road.
"Nice. These really are some nice buildings," Darren commented, looking around.
"Yeah, my cousin, well, he's my cousin after my dad married my mom, Paul Robichaux? He's the one built these," Elise said with familial pride.
"No kidding? I know Blanchard went out of business right after Robichaux got the contract," Darren commented.
Nothing looked amiss so Elise drove through to Highway 19, and then turned onto Highway 27.
"Pepper salad, huh? What's in it?" Elise asked.
"Got banana peppers, red and green peppers, a couple of jalapenos, you know, for a little bite?" Darren said.
"Any protein?" Elise asked. "I'm not going to survive on just vegetables alone."
"Oh, yeah, grilled chicken. And they put this salad dressing, home made stuff, damn it's good!" Darren enthused.
"Come on; lunch time," Elise smiled and pulled up in front of the Dead End Bar.
There were four tables occupied by customers; none looked up when the two uniformed police officers entered the dark lounge. The girl on the stage was down to her panties and was slowly sliding those down, exposing her skimpy thong. Her nipples were discretely covered by two glittery pasties. Two people sat at the bar, more interested in a baseball game on the large screen television than in the attractive strawberry blonde that danced.
"I know that song," Darren commented as 'Hungry like the Wolf,' faded out.
"Duran Duran, big hit in the eighties," Elise smiled as she approached the bar.
Elise sat at the bar, choosing a stool that let her sees the entire bar. Darren sat down next to her.
"Might want to sit on the other side; I'm left handed," Elise reminded him.
"Oh yeah," Darren nodded.
"Officer," Kirsten nodded in greeting, smiling pleasantly.
The former Meth head, now clean and sober for six months, no longer resented and mistrusted the police. Now, she regarded them as friends, as welcome guests at the Dead End Bar.
"Kirsten, how's it going?" Elise asked, smiling, eyes still scanning the lounge.
"Good, good, picked up my six month key tag last night," Kirsten said proudly.
"You go, girl," Elise's smile widened.
"Key tag?" Darren asked.
"N.A." Elise told him. "Kirsten, what's the special today?"
"Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, milk gravy" Kirsten answered.
"Give me that, please, just water to drink,' Elise said.
"Thought you were going to try the pepper salad," Darren said.
"Ever had her chicken fried steak?" Elise asked. "Stuff's almost as good as my mom's."
"Give me the pepper salad," Darren ordered. "Water."
The dancer came over, chatted with Elise, flirted with Darren, then poured herself a diet Coke and disappeared into the back of the lounge.
"And here you are," Kirsten said, putting the plates in front of the officers.
"Thanks, Kirsten," Elise said, again sweeping her eyes around the lounge.
'I Think I'm Paranoid' by Garbage began to play and a slightly pudgy girl came out and began to gyrate to the music.
"Two words for her," Darren whispered loudly to Elise. "Slim-Fast."
"Two words for you," Elise said, swallowing her mouthful. "Grow up."
Despite Kirsten's protests that cops in uniform eat free, Elise and Darren each left a five dollar 'tip' on the bar.
Again, as she walked to the door, Elise's eyes never stopped moving. The sound of motorcycles filtered in over Metric's 'Help I'm Alive' and Elise paused.
Little John barged in, followed by Librarian and a third biker.
The six foot tall, three hundred and forty nine pound Little John, high on methamphetamines lumbered past Elise and Darren. Just before passing her, though, Little John reached out and slapped her on her rear end.
"Nice ass, bitch," he laughed.
Elise did not hesitate for a moment, she just reacted.
Her left hand shot out, slamming into Little John's solar plexus. Her left foot kicked out behind Little John's knee, toppling the large man backward.
He landed on top of a startled Librarian and the third biker.
"God damn cunt!" Little John grunted, struggling to his feet.
"Could have just let him off with a warning," Darren grumbled as they filled out the mountain of paperwork.
"Could have," Elise agreed mildly.
"I mean, most they'll do is give him a fine," Darren went on.
"Probably," Elise shrugged. "But it'll be on his record; he does it again, it'll be a bit bigger fine."
"Uh huh," Darren grumbled.
Coming down was never an easy thing for Little John. Coming down in a jail cell that reeked of stale sweat, vomit and urine was worse.
"Fucking bitch!" Little john screamed down the corridor. "Ass is fucking grass next time I see it, hear me?"
"Man, bitch, just go to sleep, huh?" another drunk complained. "Ain't shit you can do until morning, huh?"
Mrs. Givens tightened her jaw firmly, waddled up the driveway, then knocked on her neighbor's front door.
Elise carefully checked the peephole and blinked in surprise as she saw her neighbor's stern face looking intently at the peephole.
Every time Elise had gone to her neighbor's home for any purpose, the African-American woman loudly proclaimed "I don't let no white people up on my porch!"
Yet, here she was, standing on Elise's porch.
"Mrs. Givens, hi, how are you?" Elise asked pleasantly, opening her door wide.
"I need to ask you a favor," the woman snapped, getting right down to business.
"Of course, anything, if I can," Elise smiled, gesturing. "Why don't you come on in?"
"Thank you," the woman muttered, entering the small living room.
She looked around solemnly. The girl's furniture was neat, clean. It was obvious that the girl did not have a four year old grandson living with her, making a mess everywhere. Or an ill-behaved puppy making messes everywhere.
"Like some coffee?" Elise asked. "Just made a pot."
"That would be nice," Mrs. Givens grumbled, urging her bulk forward.
"Now, I don't make it as good as my mom," Elise warned, getting down an extra mug.
"Well, I've never had your mother's coffee so I wouldn't know," Mrs. Givens grumbled.
Elise bit back the retort; she was being polite, neighborly to the miserable old woman, but the woman was not making hospitality come easy.
"What you take in it?" Elise asked.
"Cream and sugar please," Mrs. Givens said, easing her bulk into a chair.
"Me too," Elise said. "My dad says real cops drink it black; I just can't do that, though."
Elise put the coffee mug in front of her neighbor, flung her long blonde hair back out of her eyes, then took a seat across from Mrs. Givens.
"So, what's up?" Elise finally broke the silence.
"Need to ask a favor," Mrs. Givens repeated.
"Okay," Elise said and waited.
"I've got to go in the hospital, ain't nothing serious, just some lady problems, you know? But I'm be in there two, maybe three days," Mrs. Given s said.
"Okay," Elise said and waited.
"Well, need somebody look after Henry," Mrs. Givens said.
"Okay," Elise agreed.
"Um, and Sam too," Mrs. Givens went on.
"Well of course, kind of expected that," Elise agreed.
"So, um, you watch them?" Mrs. Givens asked, staring at a spot on the wall above Elise's head.
"Of course I will," Elise agreed.
Mrs. Givens did not tear her eyes from the spot above Elise's head.
"I am going to need some information, though," Elise said.
Over a second mug of coffee, Mrs. Givens gave Elise the information she requested. Then she eased her bulk out of the chair and left the woman's house.
She did feel a slight twinge of conscience for lying to Elise. She had declared that Henry was potty trained, but Henry had been extremely resistant to the training and quite often had 'accidents.' She had also said that Sam was house broken, but Sam was not. The ill-behaved beast would often sneak behind a piece of furniture to urinate.
"Oh well, bitch's house smells too white anyway," Mrs. Givens decided as she let herself into her own home.
Iris Gauchet enjoyed her job as Housekeeper for the widowed Dr. Charles LaPointe. The work was minimal; other than cleaning and cooking, she also looked after Dr. LaPointe's three year old daughter, Carmen.
Adding a second child to her duties would not be any imposition, she assured Elise when Dr. LaPointe's sister in law called.
Sam, however, would have to stay at Elise's house. Richard's dog, Nemo, was an extremely territorial and temperamental dog.
"Not a problem," Elise assured the woman. "We have a crate at the office; Sam can stay in that while I'm on duty."
Elise quickly cut her grass, raked and bagged the clippings, then drove to Early's Grocery Store.
Mrs. Givens' assertions of 'Oh no, he'll eat whatever you put in front of him' had not fooled Elise; she had two nephews and a niece. Each one of them was very finicky eaters.
Mrs. Givens' bald faced lie hadn't fooled Elise either; she could tell, by looking at Henry's clothing that the boy was not potty trained. There was always the telltale bulk of a diaper underneath the boy's pants.
So, she bought a few boxes of diapers, judging that Henry would be between thirty to fifty pounds in weight.
Finally, she also picked up three coloring books and a big box of crayons.
"Hi," Paige mumbled, not looking up as she rang up Elise's purchases.
"Hi," Elise agreed, watching a group of teenage boys that seemed too interested in the liquor section of the store.
Paige gave her the total and scanned Elise's debit card.
Noticing that they were not invisible, the teenage boys walked away from their target.
Henry was excited about going to stay with 'that white woman next door,' Miss Leesey was a nice woman and often talked with him. She treated him like a young man, which he was, instead of like a little kid.
"I'm going tonight?" he asked as he played with the hot dog on his plate.
"No, not tonight, tomorrow night, how many times I got to tell you that?" Mrs. Givens snapped.
"Why I can't go tonight?" Henry asked.
"You pooped in your pants?" Mrs. Givens asked, sniffing the air.
"I don't know," Henry denied.
"What you mean, 'you don't know,' huh?" Mrs. Givens shrilled, slapping the boy's face. "How many times I got to tell you, huh? You need to tell me when you about to poop!"
Elise nerves were frazzled by the end of her shift. Little John had not taken his two hundred and fifty dollar fine very lightly and the Kingsmen motorcycle gang had taken to harassing her and her partner as they patrolled the streets.
"Fucking punk ass mother fuckers," Darren had muttered as the bikers raced past them.
"Let it go," Elise had advised. "They'll get tired of this silly shit sooner or later."
Frazzled nerves or not, Elise had a little boy and his puppy to watch. And she had the next day off.
(Sheriff Dick Davis had nodded his approval when his step-daughter explained that she was babysitting the next door neighbor's child.
"Best birth control device in the world," Dick had told his Deputy, Orville Jackson. "Let them baby-sit someone else's kid."
"Or their grandparents," Orville muttered. "Me and Rosy are taking care of her grandmother? Damn! What a pain in the ass!"
"Better hurry up and have some kids," Dick encouraged. "Y'all need someone change your diapers before too long.")
Ass if she had been watching for the cruiser, Mrs. Givens marched up the driveway, leading an excited Henry and a yapping Sam.
"Hello," Elise smiled, putting her day behind her.
"Uh huh," Mrs. Givens snapped. "His pajamas in here."
She thrust a paper bag at Elise.
"Oh!" Elise said, taking the bag. "What kind of pajamas you got? Mine were Barbie but I bet you don't have Barbie pajamas, do you?"
"No!" Henry yelled. "That's for girls!"
"Well, guess what, sweetie," Elise smiled. "I AM a girl."
"I got to go; cab be here in a minute," Mrs. Givens snapped and stomped down the driveway.
"You eat dinner yet?" Elise asked, leading Henry and Sam into her house.
Henry declared that the canned spaghetti was his favorite, ate all of the fruit cup, and happily helped Elise set up Sam's water bowl and dinner bowl.
"Now, he's your dog, not mine, so you have to be the one to make sure he's got water and make sure he gets his food, okay?" Elise said.
"Yes ma'am," Henry agreed.
"And, he needs to go outside to go potty," Elise went on. "But he's not my dog. Whose dog is he?"
"Mine!" Henry exclaimed.
'That's right, yours. So, you have to make him go outside, and make sure he goes potty," Elise continued.
A slight sniff of him assured Elise that Henry had not had a bath that day, despite his claims otherwise, so before she put his Spider Man pajamas on him, Elise bathed the boy. He complained bitterly about having to have his head shampooed, complained bitterly about having to have her scrub him, complained about the lack of toys in the tub.
"Goodness gracious!" Elise finally said. "You sure do complain a lot, buster!"
"It's your fault," Henry declared.
Henry was amazed at all the colors available in the large box and happily began to color.
"Henry, Sam needs to go out," Elise said.
"I'm about done," Henry said.
"You can finish that AFTER you get done with Sam," Elise said firmly.
Henry wasn't happy with Elise, but Sam was able to avoid making a mess in the house. Sam happily ran around the back yard, barking at everything.
Just as darkness began to fall, Elise decided it was bed time for boys and dogs. She made Henry bring Sam outside again, then made Henry try to go potty himself.
Then she made him wash his hands and brush his teeth.
"Uh, hey Mr. Henry, what about them prayers, huh?" Elise asked as Henry sullenly got into the bed.
"Man, you white people got a bunch of rules, huh?" Henry complained.
"I'm afraid so," Elise agreed, then knelt down next to him.
"You say your prayers too?" Henry asked eyes wide.
"Well yeah!" Elise smiled. "You don't ever outgrow God, you know."
"You don't?" Henry asked.
She recited the story of Cinderella from memory, mentally kicking herself for not asking Mrs. Givens for Henry's books.
(She would have found out that Henry didn't have any books.)
When Elise finished the story, both Henry and Sam were asleep.
She turned off the light, but left the door open for her peace of mind.
Henry found out that 'White People Rules' also applied to morning time too. Sam needed to go outside, then Sam needed to be fed, then he had to try to go potty and wash his hands and brush his teeth.
Then he was allowed to have scrambled eggs for breakfast. Then Sam had to go back out again.
Elise cursed Mrs. Givens under her breath. The old woman had packed one change of clothes for the child, but did not pack any shoes. All he had were the slippers he had worn the previous evening.
"Come on," Elise smiled, dressing the child.
Sam did not like going into the crate, but Elise did not give the animal any choice. Then she put Henry into the rear of her cruiser.
I don't need no shoes; I got these," Henry declared for the hundredth time.
"I told you, those are not for playing outside. You need outside shoes," Elise patiently explained.
If Grace Breaux thought it unusual to see a blonde haired white woman with a black child, she did not show it. The owner of the Bargain Bin clothing store smiled and helped Elise find some appropriate shoes.
"I bet you'll be able to run real fast in those shoes," Elise encouraged as she pulled the Velcro strap tight.
"Watch," Henry said, and then took off running down the aisle.
"Wow!" Elise said. "That was mighty fast!"
Elise also picked up two changes of clothes and a pair of pajamas that had horses on them.
"Yes sir, those are cowboy pajamas," Elise said as Grace rang up their purchases.
Mrs. Givens did not feel well when they woke her up that morning, but she did not tell the nurse anything. The nurse would not have listened if Mrs. Givens had complained; the woman had complained all night.
Even during the intake procedure, Mrs. Givens had been extremely unpleasant. When asked about whom to contact in the unlikely even that anyone would need to be contacted, Mrs. Givens had snapped, 'That white bitch lies next door, I guess.'
The nurse's aide smirked; as long as it was a black orderly pushing her gurney, Mrs. Givens didn't complain.
The anesthesia was administered and she slipped under the drug's effect.
"Blood pressure's rising," the nurse said.
"See that," the doctor agreed.
Mrs. Givens' blood pressure shot up, two blood vessels in her brain burst and she died before the doctor could ask for the nurse to prepare a syringe.
"Dad?" Elise said.
"Yeah, Honey?" Dick asked.
"Dad, Mrs. Givens died," Elise said, close to tears.
"Oh, Honey! I'm so sorry to hear that," Dick said.
He then thought about it for a long moment.
"Um, hey Sweetie?" he asked.
"Yeah?" Elise said, fighting the tears.
Henry and Sam ran around her back yard. Sam was excitedly chasing the tennis ball that Henry was throwing for him. Elise sat on her back steps, keeping an eye on the two.
"Who's Mrs. Givens?" Dick asked.
"Henry's grandmother," Elise said.
"Sweetie, that still doesn't tell me..." Dick patiently said.
"The little boy I'm watching," Elise explained.
"Oh!" Dick said. "Damn! That is rough!"
"Dad, I did a background," Elise sniffled. "Henry's dad's dead and his mom's in St. Gabriel doing life for first degree murder."
"So..." Dick urged.
"His grandmother was it, Dad," Elise said. "He doesn't have any other living relatives."
"I'll give Child Protection a call," Dick sighed.
"No!" Elise cried out.
She lowered her voice.
"Dad, all they'll do is sticking him in a foster home!" Elise whispered. "They probably won't let him keep his dog; Dad, he's lost so much. I can't let him lose Sam too!"
"What else you think we ought to do?" Dick asked.
"How hard, what if, suppose I wanted," Elise stammered, trying to think of the best way to phrase her question.
"I'll check into it," Dick promised then hung up.
"What's wrong?" Carmen asked.
Dick smiled at his wife.
"Your daughter?" Dick said.
"MY daughter?" Carmen said, amused. "Hmm, isn't she usually YOUR daughter? Guess she did something wrong, huh?"
"Your daughter's about to be a mom," Dick smiled wider.
"She's pregnant?" Carmen hissed, horrified.
"No ma'am, she's looking to become a foster parent to that little boy that lives next door," Dick smiled.
"Could have said THAT, instead of telling me she's about to become a mom, smart ass," Carmen groused, throwing a pillow at him.
"Could have, but wouldn't have been as much fun, now would it?" Dick laughed.
Iris was happy and bubbly and soon had the nervous Henry happy to be there.
Carmen was happy to have a friend to play with and happily shared her toys with him.
Nemo, however, growled and snapped at him until Iris put the dog into the laundry room.
"So, what's up?" Darren asked.
"Not much; you?" Elise answered, not really paying attention.
"No, I mean, what's going on? You're doubly quiet today," Darren asked.