The Dividing Line Ch. 02byAdrian Leverkuhn©
Ed MacCarley is sitting in the watch commander's office of the Central Division sub-station; there are knots in his burning stomach, a tight-acrid sensation boiling up from deep within his gut to his chest. The watch commander, a Captain named Thomas Hardy, has been in the department for almost thirty years, and is an even older man than MacCarley. His close-cropped hair is almost solid silver, his stomach is as flat as a board. Both men look very careworn; there is a large bottle of antacid tablets on the watch commander's desk next to a cluster of photographs of a woman and several children. On the watch commanders lapel is a small pin that states in bold letters to "Try God."
The watch commander has a file folder open in front of him on the chipped plastic-laminate desktop; a cigar smolders away in an gleaming amber ashtray off his left hand. He continues reading the documents in the file, occasionally back-tracking to a previous page to double check some fact or other bit of information. There are moments when he stops reading to rub the bridge of his nose and his closed eyes.
The files detail an incident that had happened the day before. MacCarley had responded to a call in a well-to-do neighborhood to back up a unit on a suspicious persons report. He had arrived just moments after the first responding office, an old friend named Alan Simpson. There had been three very sweaty and very dirty Latin American men standing by the street, their hands in the air. Alan had his Sig-Sauer P-226 drawn, and he was yelling at the mute and visibly very cowed men. It was pretty obvious that the men were mowing a nearby lawn, yet Alan had been treating the men as if they were subjects of a felony drug bust. There were also several women standing in the doorways to their houses looking on with barely sated satisfied curiosity. MacCarley was off balance as he watched Simpson; he must have missed something that had happened before he arrived, but what!? His training explicitly told him to back up his fellow officer, no questions asked. But MacCarley was concerned that the level of force on display was getting excessive, perhaps out-of-hand.
Simpson holstered his weapon, but he swung his night stick out of the loop on his belt with his left hand and moved toward one of the men.
MacCarley acted instantly. He jumped between Simpson and the man, who by that time had backed down and was cowering on the ground, crossing himself and crying "Madre de Dios" over and over. MacCarley looked into Simpson's eyes and saw blind rage: it looked like the depths of hell boiling to the surface of some private inferno. In a guttural whisper MacCarley said, "Simpson, get it together. Alan! Get the fuck out of here. Now!"
Alan Simpson pulled back from the edge; he shook his head, cleared the fog, and walked back to his squad car. Simpson then tore away from the scene in a hail of flying gravel and exhaust fumes.
MacCarley had checked with a few witnesses - the women in the doorways - then let the men resume mowing lawns and picking weeds. He had called the on-duty watch commander on the telephone a few minutes after he cleared the scene, told him what had happened. The commander told him to come down to the station and write up a detailed summary of the event. That had been yesterday afternoon. Now he was back in the W/Cs office.
"Anything you wanna add to this, Ed?" the watch commander asked.
"No, sir. I think that about covers it."
"Well, this is a goddamned mess. Lots of civilian witnesses came down to fill out complaints. Even so, it's probably going to have to go to the DA, civil rights violation alleged and all. It's good you came to me with this stuff when you did. If you hadn't, you'd burn to."
"You know there's gong to be some pretty heavy fallout headed your way. Lotta the guys aren't going to like you for doing this, not at all. Don't get me wrong, Ed, it was the right thing to do. Just watch your back for a few days, OK?"
"Yes, sir. I knew this would happen; it always does." Ed MacCarley stood to leave. "Thanks, Tommy." They had been friends for a long time.
"Yeah, OK Eddie. I mean it, watch your back."
It was a little after eight in the morning. A trace of cool just edged into the air, stirring faint echos of autumn into the still city air. Ed MacCarley walked around his squad car giving it a once over, to check for any overt exterior damage, then he began checking the Remington 870 pump shotgun to see that it was loaded and had a shell in the chamber. There was another much younger officer walking around the black and white Chevrolet behind him, looking as though he was taking mental notes and not just a little perplexed. The young man with Ed MacCarley was that most dangerous of all creatures on Earth, a rookie police officer - just out of academy.
Ed continued to point out things in the car to check for, like the correct functioning of the lights and siren, spare rounds for the shotgun, and the proper operation of the radio. Tire pressures, fuel gauge, cones and flares for accidents scenes. Ed asked the rookie if he had his clipboard and enough report forms to get through the day. And of course the rookie didn't have squat, and had to be sent back into the station to retrieve his equipment. Ed just shook his head and opened his briefcase, took out a bottle of antacid tablets and unscrewed the lid. As a training officer it was his job to get the rookie up to speed fast enough to be useful but not so fast as to make the rookie more dangerous then he already was. The long favored method of breaking in a rookie was ridicule and derision, then build them back up after you'd broken through the macho he-man gotta badge and a gun mentality. He brought the bottle of antacids to his mouth and poured several tablets into his mouth and started chewing. 'Ah, breakfast...' he thought as he crushed the cherry flavored chalk with his teeth.
Ed strapped himself into the passenger seat and started getting settled in for the days work. He turned on the radio and set the frequency to the division primary, checked the tactical and intercity frequencies for normal function. He logged into the computer, checked the secure computer-to-radio hookup. He picked up the radio's microphone from the console, and pushed the transmit button on the upper side of the mic.
"2141, radio check," he said into the microphone.
"2141, you're five by five. 2141, are you in service yet?"
Ed looked around and saw the rookie headed out of the station, back to the squad car. He wondered what the rookie would forget next. "2141, 10/4."
"2141 10/8 at 0817 hours. 2141, signal 4b, 3601 Hollandale, see the resident."
"2141, en route."
"2141 en route 0818 hours."
MacCarley scribbled notes on his DAR, or daily activity report, then yelled out the window to the rookie, "C'mon, Meathead." Rookies were really a pathetic life-form, he thought. "Let's try to hit the streets sometime today, OK?"
The rookie got into the car. "What, we got a report already?" When he saw his training officer nod his head he said, "Aw shit, man, that stinks."
To which MacCarley replied, "Well, Meathead, when you live in a sewer, you'd better get used to the stink."
"C'mon, Ed. Do ya have to call me Meathead?"
"No, meathead, I don't. But you don't want to deprive me of one of this jobs few pleasures, do ya?" MacCarley turned his head and smiled at the vacant stare hanging in the air. "And I'll tell you something else, meat. You call me Ed again today and we'll have to go to county to pull my boot outta your ass."
"Yessir," Meathead replied as if at attention.
"So, 3601 Hollandale, sig 4b. Remember what a 4b is meathead?"
"4b? That's a rape?"
"No, meathead. But you're getting closer today. A barking dog call, Meathead. Quick, hit the lights and siren!" As the rookie reached to switch on the lights and siren, MacCarley swatted the kids hand away from the switch, shook his head. 'Pathetic,' MacCarley thought to himself. "Well, meat, sometime today would be nice. And I don't feel the need to run code 3 to a barking dog call, OK?" He paused to let the deliberate sarcasm sink in. "Hollandale. Well, meat? Think you can find it?"
The rookie started the squad car and swung it out of the station's lot northbound onto Grand Avenue. MacCarley sat in silence. Hollandale was south and west of the station. 'Oh God,' he thought, 'it's going to be one long mother-fuckin' day.'
A little after five thirty that afternoon MacCarley and the rookie walked back into the station and turned the day's reports into the evening shift sergeant. He sat with the rookie while the sergeant checked the reports for errors, then they headed back to the locker room when they got a thumbs up. MacCarley felt the chill from the sergeant, went to his locker; there was a piece of paper taped to his locker door that had"Pig Fucker!" written across it in big red letters and had several - apparently used - condoms stapled to it. MacCarley left the note taped to the locker door as he changed out of his uniform and into his jeans and golf shirt and sneakers. He put his gun belt in the old academy gym bag he'd been using for almost twenty-five years, and zipped it shut. He walked out of the station and headed off toward his apartment. He never looked back at the rookie who sat dumbfounded in front of his own open locker, looking at the stapled rubbers like they were a dead dog hanging from his training officer's locker door.
Ed MacCarley climbed the steps up to the apartment building's long wooden balcony, and went to door number seven and slipped the key into the lock. He turned the doorknob quietly and opened it, walked into his apartment, the apartment which until so recently had been such a dim, lonely place. As he turned toward the living room he heard and felt Sara Wood running toward him, felt her leaping through the air for him. He turned in time to catch her in his arms, gave way a little bit under the momentum of her impact. He felt her legs wrapping around his hips, her arms around his shoulders, her hands in his hair. He turned more and pinned her body between his and the wall, put his arms around her waist, and their faces met in an explosion of hot breath and wet kisses.
It had been almost the same every day since that first weekend they had been pulled together in June. Ed MacCarley had thought that the force of her love for him would diminish, but it hadn't. He had felt that her thirst for intimacy would diminish, but it did not. And Ed MacCarley had for a while lived in fear that this miracle of God named Sara Wood would simply vanish, that the whole miracle of her smile and laughter would turn into a vicious dream. But it had not. Every minute of every day that he spent with her was a gift, a priceless bestowal. Such is the nature of destiny, the measure of love's hold on the human heart, that Ed MacCarley had committed himself to this dramatic course of action.
Ed MacCarley ran his hands down Sara Wood's lithe body, and he smiled inwardly as he felt the lingerie and the stocking tops with his starving fingertips. He kissed her with even more passion, felt the room around him dissolving into sweat-filled mists of open mouths and healing hearts. He fell under the weight of their combined need, the burden of her escape from poverty by now a cold memory that played on their heart's strings only when one was gone from the other. He fell under the weight of destiny's undeniable call to love Sara Wood, fell slowly to the floor as he cradled her in his arms. He fell in weightlessness through mists of hope and fear, came to rest on top of her, between her legs. They seemed to kiss for eternity, his hands moving over her every feature, finding her hands, holding them as in the forge of his redemption.
She rolled on top of him, laughing with a child's joy at the conjoined mystery of his need and the salvation of his offering. She felt him growing under her frail weight through the rough fabric of his jeans and reached down to release him. As she fumbled with his jeans Sara laughed and kissed his face; she grew more aroused and in love with each breath she took. She was so hungry for Ed MacCarley's love that food had become unnecessary when she was with him.
And then in sudden silence, she was poised above him. Poised above the arrow of his need, her lips brushing the tip of his cock as she slid lightly back and forth, teasing the head with each grazing stroke. She kept her hands flat on his chest, her eyes languidly locked into his. As she danced above his need she could feel the warmth releasing from deep inside her belly and spread slowly within her loins. The heat and the wetness coated the walls of her womb, rolled down on to the straining cock below. She lowered herself gently on each successive stroke, controlled his entry with her descent.
He could feel her warmth covering his need as she lowered herself. He took her hips in his hands and began to guide her motions. Forward, back, and twisting; he moved her from front to back in motive bursts. Sara began to gather speed, her up and down stride stormed toward the full fury of release. Soon two bodies were fused in the abandoned rhythm of their heat, each building toward a single release, a fusion of fear and desire.
After they had spent themselves, and were lying quietly in each others arms, only then would the uncertainties flood to the surface of Sara Wood's consciousness. The call of her past was a vast shadowland, a huge swath of fear and hiding that would overcome this new feeling of knowing where her next food was coming from, what clean sheets felt like, and how good it was to smell clean hair and skin. Sara Wood lost focus on the present, on the here and now, and was soon confronting images of other cocks in her mind's eye, other tongues probing her womb in warped desire. She looked up at Ed MacCarley then and knew that she was not worthy of this class=Section2>
man and his love, and with this thought she began to fall into the depths of her sundered hopes. With the peak of her ecstacy receding in an instant, she suddenly felt implosively empty, and began to cry. She had found the darkness of the shadowlands again.
Ed MacCarley felt Sara unravel in his hands in that shattered instant, and he met the extremity of her need with insight born of years on the street.
He held her.
He let her go to the darkness and despair, visit it, touch it.
And just as quickly he pulled her back, let her feel only the vague outlines of her fear. But he kept it from consuming her. He pulled her closer to him, held her tightly, told her that he was with her, and would be with her for as long as she wanted him. He felt her relax.
"Want you!?!" she cried. "All I want is you. I die every morning when you leave, Eddie. Want you? I get so afraid . . ."
"Tell me what you're afraid of, baby."
"That you won't come back. That I'll be alone again. I don't want . . . I can't . . ." and she broke down again in to the music of her private symphony of despair.
"You'll never go back there, darlin'," Ed said in velvet soft whispers of reassurance. "You don't have to worry about that anymore. I've taken care of all of that, Sara. If I die tomorrow, I'll still be able to keep you from going back there. But, now listen to me honey, I'm not going to die tomorrow. I'm not even going to work tomorrow. As a matter of fact, darlin', I've got a pretty big surprise for you tomorrow. But part of that surprise? I'm not going to work for almost three weeks; you and I are going to be together all that time, and I'm not going to leave your side for one second. Not even when you take a shower. And guess what, that's where we're going right this red hot minute."
Sara climbed off of Ed, and jumped up and down, laughing and crying at the same time. Ed got up and laughed with her, then held her in his arms again. His penis was caught between her body and his, and as she continued jumping and squirming he felt himself responding to her again. She felt it, too.
"Let me tell you a little secret, Sara. Showers can be real fun . . ."
The little tangerine colored Triumph roadster bounced down the interstate, the top down, Sara Wood's light red hair streaming out over the trunk of the little car. Ed MacCarley held the steering wheel in his left hand and Sara's hand in his right. She would sit quietly for long stretches, looking out at cows in fenced pastures or at an airplane flying overhead. Then she would turn her eyes to Ed.
"For what, Darlin'?"
"For all this," she said, waving at the sky. She began to tear up and laugh. "This is such a nice way to live. So far away from . . ."
Ed could just barely imagine what her life had been like, and a part of him wanted to shut that part of her past out. But that wouldn't be true to her grief, and to the world he wanted to make for her. To hide from her past would cause her to feel shame for her past, shame for something that had not been her fault. Running away from her wounds would build a wall between his love for her and her acceptance of his love, would root their relationship in a lie. In Ed MacCarley's world, lies were the foundation of hatred and violence, of recrimination and accusation.
"You know I love you, don't you, Sara?"
She nodded her head. "Eddie, I've thought about this a lot, what I feel for you, what I think you feel for me. I don't think I've ever felt these things before, Eddie, so I don't know what it's supposed to feel like. But I know how I feel when I'm with you. I know that when I'm with you I feel like the world is going to be alright, that I am going to be OK. I feel all warm inside, Eddie, does that make sense?"
He nodded his head. Yes, it did very much.
"If you feel anything like what it is I feel, then I know you love me," she said as she squeezed his hand and looked away, not wanting him to see her tears again.
Always ashamed. Always afraid. Had it not been for a prayer?
They crossed a very high, very long bridge, and in the distance off the left side of the car Ed pointed out the ocean. Sara's eyes went wide with astonishment, almost fear. There had been many unknowns in Sara Wood's life, and she had been pretty good at confronting them when she was physically able, but she wasn't prepared for the immeasurable blue-green infinity that defined the western horizon.
The little Triumph exited the highway and turned toward the ocean. Ed steered the car toward a forest of white trees that lined the ocean just ahead of the car. Sara had never seen anything like it. Shiny white trees! Ed pulled into the parking lot by the trees, up to a restaurant and other colorful buildings that sat between the parking lot and the trees. They put the top up on the car; Ed didn't have to help her with that little chore anymore. He got out and went around to help Sara out of the car, however. He wanted her to feel that someone should and would go out of their way to do little things for her. He wanted her to appreciate other people who were nice to her for no reason, that life wasn't always a calculation of fight or flight.
They went into the restaurant, and it smelled like nothing she had ever experienced. They were taken to a table on an outside deck that overlooked - not trees, but boats! Sara looked out over a vast island of sailboats, their white or blue hulls gleaming in the clear, bright sunlight. She heard the sounds of a working marina for the first time in her life; the slapping of halyards against masts, seagulls wheeling through the air. She looked at families coming and going up and down the docks, mothers and fathers and children who by and large looked happy. She took in the scene with a sense of jealousy and sorrow, but also with wonder in her heart.