The Chief says, “Explain the circumstances regarding the arrest of Thomas Barstow today.”
Tightening his arms around his chest, Landis knows this is the bullshit he was warned about in the academy. This is the part of the force he did not sign up for. Serving the community is only 5% of it. The other 95% is this shit.
Landis says, “Well, sir, I was writing parking tickets on East Kansas Avenue when I got the 9-1-1 call of a possible sexual assault in the area.”
The Chief interrupts. “Did you receive a call from police dispatch … or did you overhear dispatch make an all-units call?”
Landis labors to take in a deep breath. “I should say that I overheard the all-units call.”
Special Prosecutor Lancaster is already taking notes and barely looks up. Landis stares at the prosecutor and is not sure he has ever seen someone scribble so fast. These bastards are setting him up.
Landis brings his eyes back to the Chief. “Yes, sir?”
Landis sighs and begins to see the victim all over again in his head as he relives the events. “Well, I overheard the call and was about two blocks away, so I went to the address dispatch mentioned. Once I got there, I realized that I was the first on the scene.”
The Chief asks a question everyone in the room knows the answer to. “When you say that you were the first on the scene, does that mean you were the first responder?”
“Yes, I was the first responder,” noticing the special prosecutor has stopped writing to look at him for the answer.
The Chief nods. “Continue.” The special prosecutor goes back to writing.
“I saw the victim was an African American female that was beaten. Her face was bloody … she was missing some front teeth and had two black eyes. Her nose was all …”
The Chief’s voice grows louder. “What did you do after seeing the victim, Landis?”
His heart beats in his throat, Landis yells, “I went after the bastard next, that’s what I did.”
The Chief relaxes his posture and lowers his voice. The look on his face reveals he just got the answer he was looking for. “We don’t go after bastards, Officer Landis … We follow evidence that leads us to perps.”
Landis remains tight-lipped and redder than a stop sign, squeezing each armrest with both hands.
The Chief asks, “What is the first responder’s primary duty?”
Landis lets out a deep breath. “To secure the scene, call for medical attention if needed, and to wait for backup.” Rage makes its way in as the young cop grits his teeth. “Do you mind telling me what the fuck this is about? I take a fucking rapist off the street and …”
Before he can finish, the Chief rises to his feet and raises his voice. “This is about protocol, kid. Something your hotheaded ass didn’t follow. Because of your dereliction to duty, a rapist may end up going free unless the DA can find a way to save this case. If you want to be a police officer on my force, then you have to count for one … You must, count for one. This was not the work of a trained police officer.”
His face as red and hot as a branding iron fresh off the coals, Landis stands. “This is about truth. Do you remember our front seat companion that gives us the right to kick a bad guy in the ass? Well, it’s justice. And that’s what the victim got today. Justice.”
The fed up Chief waves off his green officer. “Save your speeches until you run for office. This type of shoddy police work is why you will never make detective … You find value in seeking the truth versus following procedure. Go pack your desk. You’re looking at a two-week suspension, son.”
My infatuation with writing was born before I ever took my first breath, somewhere on the rural plains of Eastern North Carolina, nourished by the adventures of my grandmother’s childhood. From the time I was only four or five years old, her memories gave flight to my imagination and fuel to my curiosities. Her stories widened my eyes to the fascinatingly bizarre in the everyday.
As a young girl, my grandmother would bring her puppy with her to stalk rabbits every morning. The two of them would chase an unlucky long-eared rascal until it escaped into a hollow at the base of a tree, and she would run a stick around the inside of the opening as though churning butter. The spell of the sound and vibration would lure the rabbit out of the tree and into her hands.
Good fiction, inventive and provocative fiction, reverberates in readers and spellbinds them. It can spur surprise, delight, discomfort, and revelation and defy reason. As a storyteller, I strive to help others solve their problems by sharing things that I have read about, heard about, and seen. But I also prize the look on people’s faces when they hear the brilliant punch line of a joke, or when they experience an epiphany that knocks the logical wind out of them. These are the reactions that I live to inspire in my audiences when I write paranormal thrillers.
My obsession with the extraordinary in my writing might also, ironically, stem from my 20-year career in the U.S. Army. I can allow my mind to wander in the extraterrestrial sphere while my love for my country keeps me grounded in domestic affairs. Of all of my accomplishments, serving as a paratrooper in a Special Forces Group and a Field Artillery outfit during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm claims high rank. Few situations force a person to confront his humanity as painfully as going off to war, and this experience taught me both to accept accountability for my actions and to trust others. Eventually, I became a successful Army Recruiter and Station Commander, earning the Top Recruiting Station awards in Dallas and Seattle Recruiting Battalions. North Carolina Central University granted me a Public Service Award for my work in the local community. And currently, I serve fellow veterans as an HR Specialist for the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Other passions of mine include playing chess, traveling, and indulging in my contrarian nature by instigating debate. Spending time with my wife tops the list of my life’s privileges, however. Whether I am entertaining her with my emulation of Laurence Olivier as Marcus Crassus or protecting her from an elk during one of our photography excursions in the wild, I treasure her companionship and affection.
When I was twelve years old, I announced to my Aunt Becky and Cousin Tony that I wanted to write a book. They stared at me in astonishment. The world of publishing was an enigma to simple country folks in Beaufort, North Carolina in 1982. These days I am achieving my dream with the ebook, a medium through which I can express my individuality without sacrificing my voice to expectations of marketability, popularity, and deadlines. My goal is to create an opportunity for escapism that is bold and absolute.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/RW-Reels/e/B00TSAXE9C
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