A Year in Seattle
A Murder of Crows
by Det V. Young
Sometimes I wonder what leads to the major changes in people’s lives. Is it some catastrophic event that leads them to change– or something as simple as getting up in the morning and seeing what’s out there.
Maybe I’m a bit jaded these days. I don’t really believe in people who tell you what they think and don’t play games. They just don’t exist. At least that’s what I thought when I first met Jess Miller.
There I was, the know it all cop– been everywhere seen everything. I knew damn well that when someone claims they want to help you, it’s the last thing they really want. I practically told her as much– Hell, I did tell her as much.
She wasn’t exactly surprised by my comments, and yet I could tell she was going to be involved in the case no matter what I said about it.
Three brothers missing under suspicious circumstances and their little sister being all sweet and innocent: I told myself it was all an act– it wasn’t really, but she wasn’t all that sweet or innocent either.
If I had to describe Jess, I’d have to say ‘bronzed velvet’ would be a good start. At first glance, she looks like she’d break if you looked at her too harshly. But then, I’ve seen her doing her job– no way would I want to get in her way.
I saw her literally hold a man together so that there was something there for the emergency surgeons to piece back together– a bulldog.
A bulldog, searching for something she wanted more than life itself. Its amazing how my opinion of her has changed in only a few months. She was a suspect, a danger– a woman more determined than I ever imagined someone capable of being. I think she could be anything she wanted to be– if she put her heart into it.
When I met her, her heart was set on two things– her job and her brothers. So many things that could have destroyed her, changed her course and yet she continued on each day– seeing what the day would bring.
When she finally found her brothers– my heart went out to the kid. She’d lost everything she’d set her heart on. For the first time in my life, I found myself praying that this change– this catastrophe wouldn’t claim– a friend.
I shouldn’t have worried.
Four weeks after she’d told me what happened, I saw her again. It was a shooting. The victim shouldn’t have made it– too much blood loss, even I could tell that. The flashing lights, the cacophony of sirens, horns, and radios, and out of the chaos, a motorcycle weaving its way through the mayhem.
She was there, her voice calm and soothing as she told the man to hang on. She fought for him, did everything she could. She almost lost him more times than I care to think about, but she never gave up. She kept pushing. The bulldog– she wasn’t going to let go without a fight.
The investigator made the mistake of trying to declare it a homicide and get forensics to take over. I think he might have experienced one of those ‘life changing moments’ when he looked in her eyes.
At least he had enough sense to back down. It went down as attempted murder, and Jess was quite satisfied about that. She never worried about who he was, what he was like– that was beyond the moment that concerned her.
As the ambulance pulled away, I saw the satisfied smile on her face. I almost envied her, but I’ve seen the look of utter defeat in her eyes on other occasions. I don’t think I could take that roller coaster.
She just smiled at me as she picked up her gear and started towards the investigator. I intercepted her.
It probably would have worked too, if the idiot hadn’t seen her and decided that he wanted to butt heads with her. I could have told him it wouldn’t work– but its that bronzed velvet thing she’s got going.
He almost resorted to arresting her. Thing is, she was right. It wasn’t his call– it wasn’t even hers. Only the Docs can make that call– the docs in the hospital, or the coroner, nobody else.
By the time she was ready to leave, it was a circus. The reports were flocking to the investigators, and the investigators for their part were puffing their chests and making so much noise about themselves.
Jess winked at me as she picked up her helmet. “A pack of hyenas,” she sighed. “And a murder of crows.”
I looked at her questioningly and she explained. “A gathering of crows is a murder. Kinda appropriate don’t you think?” she asked. Her eyes seemed to sparkle in the dark
I watched as she pulled away into the night and then looked back at the circus. The crows, demanding attention, as the real fighter fades into the dark. But Jess never sees it that way– she’s just doing her job.
I kinda like her style.
Copyright 2000 – M.T. Decker