A Year in Seattle – Week 18 – Downhill Slide

A Year In Seattle

Week Eighteen

Thursday, October 19th, 2056 – Coming undone

Casey stayed over at the condo. We had a long talk, most of it about Andrews. Case had known him from when they’d first gone through training together. A lot of history, a lot of good times and now they’re all memories.

I mean, Andrews helped give me focus, he knew what I was going through and he turned it from an obsession into a business for me. He knew people, and he did what he could to help them. Casey was the same way. I wouldn’t call either of them Boy Scouts, but they did care and they did what they could.

Now that Casey wasn’t my guardian angel I could see that. I think neither of us really wanted to be alone. So we talked.

Finally, the conversation turned to my current situation. I wanted and needed to prove Alan’s innocence, but anything I tried would be misconstrued. Darringer, the primary on the case, had already declared Alan guilty and had pegged me as his accomplice. With Andrews gone, the only friend I even came close to having was Saunders. I didn’t even know the man who’d be taking over his cases.

I had to sit down when I thought about that. It drove home the fact that Andrews was gone. Casey gave me a worried look as I finally broke. He held me, I don’t know how long, but he just patiently held me until I’d gotten enough out of my system that I could function again.

I almost felt like I was drowning. I think I was. Case suggested I call in sick, but I think dwelling on things would only make them worse.

“Besides,” I told him. “By now there’s a team of officers on surveillance detail, just waiting for me to change my routine… to prove that I’m in on this.”

He smiled, but we both knew it was a case of ‘Ha Ha, only serious.’

It was too. They were better than the others, taking turns with who was in the lead. Would have worked too, but I’m too paranoid not to expect them.

Casey tells me I’ll get through this, but I don’t know anymore. Everything I thought I knew, thought I had nailed down is coming undone and once again, I’m in the middle of it.

Friday, October 20th, 2056 – Its good to be a medic

As if I didn’t have enough problems, Darringer and his people decided that if they couldn’t find Alan, harassing me was the next best thing. They pulled me over on my way to work and said they needed to take me to the station to answer a few more questions.

Following them wasn’t good enough, no… I was to leave my bike there and get into the back of the patrol car and they would take me there. When I objected about leaving my kit, I was handcuffed and thrown into the back of a squad car.

They, of course, waited to pull me over until I was in a strange part of town, one of the more run-down ones I drive through. They could have stopped me in Lynwood, but no… they wanted to make things as difficult for me as possible.

Of course, that was only the beginning. They said that since I wasn’t being arrested, I didn’t get my phone call. I told them to either arrest me or let me go– it denigrated from there.

They continued to question me, everything they asked the last time. Over and over again until I wanted to scream. When I asked how long it was going to take, Darringer slammed his fist down on the table and glared at me.

“It’s going to take however long it takes to get to the truth.”

I lost it then. “I’ve told you everything, you’re just too hard headed to accept that. You think there’s some kind of conspiracy and since you can’t find my brother, who’s been MISSING since the beginning of THIS YEAR that I’m the next best thing… So you have your people follow me, watch everything I do and then instead of asking me here from home… or the parking lot- they wait until I’m in the worst part of town and I have to leave my first aid kit there.” I was seething.

“And now you’re going to play your game where you keep me from work so- What?… They’ll fire me? I got news for you Bucko, you want to play your games with me fine… but you keep them to times when I’m not on duty… You keep me from MY WORK and PEOPLE DIE! And you don’t want the trouble that will cause…” I glared at him.

“Gee, Mrs. McMurphy… Sorry your husband died, but the medic who could have gotten to him in time was down at the police station. Why? Oh, because they think her brother’s involved in a police shooting and since they can’t get to him, they’re harassing her… instead of looking for the real shooter.”

My eyes were blazing by the time I finished. I was in no mood for any of this and they were seriously overstepping their bounds now.

“MS. Miller,” Darringer growled. “We are trying to get to the bottom of this. I’m sorry your job is too important to answer a few questions, but if you feel so strongly about it, tell me what I want to know and I’ll let you out of here.”

“I’ve told you the truth,” I answered with an exasperated sigh. “What you want to hear… I don’t have that information and to be honest… what you want to hear is a load of lies that will make your job easier. You’re too blind to believe the truth and therefore you’ll never find what you want.”

They held me for another hour before Citywide finally tracked me down through my pager. And when they did come they arrived like the wrath of God himself. Lawyers, officials, they even dragged the Mayor into it.

I had warned him, but Darringer in his infinite bullheadedness believed that this was another case of a criminal hiding behind power. I just know I’m going to be hearing more from him.

I got a ride back to my bike. The officers seemed let down that the bike and the kit were still there. I waved goodbye to them and then looked at the tokens and smiled. Safe passage had its advantages.

I bowed slightly to one of the kids hanging out near the corner. He winked at me. Sometimes… it’s very good to be a medic!

Saturday, October 21th, 2056 – Victim of Circumstantial evidence

Well, Darringer and his cronies have been following me around for a few days now. I can tell they’ve been in the condo when I’ve been at work going through everything. I’m thinking of leaving my journal out so they can see what clandestine things I’ve been up to.

I didn’t go to Council Island after shift. Figured they’d construe that as ‘leaving town,’ especially since Darringer wants to construe anything I do as a threat or an admission of guilt. My refusal to tell him the truth as he sees it, means I’m guilty. The fact that I’m still breathing means I’m guilty. But somehow, if I were to die tonight, he’d take it to mean I was guilty.

They’d been all through my apartment though and that was enough to creep me out a bit. Unlike Fin through, I did catch them on tape. Of course, they were planting bugs and cameras, he just raids my fridge without triggering anything.

Its really hard not to act self-conscious when you know they’re watching, up close a personal- and it’s very hard not to make faces at the hidden cameras when you know they’re there. I tried taking a shower and getting some sleep, but it was a lot harder than it is when Fin does it.

Fin at least leaves his message leaving to the fridge and kitchen area. This was a whole new level of invasion. At least they left the bathroom alone. I woke up two hours later when the phone rang. More good news. Aaron managed to con his way out of the mental ward. They’d released him without a trial, without a victim impact statement.

According to my friend on the force back home, they’d subpoenaed me, but the police here had told them that I didn’t have anything to say in the matter. So now I’ve got a whole new mess of trouble to worry about. Maybe Aaron’s learned, maybe he’ll stay put. Maybe he’ll take up origami, but somehow- that’s not his style.

I am not going to go to pieces. That’s his power trip and Darringer is trying to do the same thing to me. He can call it whatever he wants, but he’s as much a stalker as Aaron is.

I tried to get some sleep, but it wasn’t working. Figured some warm milk and honey would help. That’s when I found Fin’s contribution to the chaos. Just a friendly warning from him that I’m being watched.

I remember thinking, ‘thanks Fin! Should I wave at the cameras?’

I finally got to sleep but it wasn’t restful. Needless to say, I was looking and feeling my all UCASian best when I got there. Ray noticed it immediately, he said I had my ‘Aaron’ face on. I hadn’t told him too much about Aaron, but I gave him an earful tonight.

He’d started off seeming nice and normal. We drifted apart like I tend to do when the guy I’m dating and I realize we have more in common as friends than we do as anything else. Except with Aaron, I became a combination of evil succubus and unobtainable angel; something to be possessed, controlled- destroyed. He just kind of stepped over the edge and became my all-encompassing nightmare.

And now he was on the loose again, because some cop had it in for Alan and through some abstract guilt by association, me too.

I was in rare form on call though. The only time things like this don’t bother me is when I’m on a call. With my luck it figures it would be an officer down call.

I got there first. Talk about cold shoulder. I think the only one there that was glad to see me was the officer and even he wasn’t all too keen on the idea. I didn’t care. They didn’t matter, their opinions didn’t matter. All that mattered was the man and his injuries- and my old battle with my old enemies: Pain, Suffering, and Death.

Them at least I understand. They’re indiscriminate, they don’t hold grudges, they’re just a fact of life, and I can fight them with the best of them. It was a good call sending me. Good at least for the officer, but at the hospital, Darringer was waiting for me.

Somehow he blamed this on me too. Another good officer lay there bleeding because of me. Technically I guess he’s right. Martinez and now Corveli were in the hospital because of me and my work. What he didn’t seem to get was if it weren’t for me, they’d be in the morgue.

I really need to talk to Case, or Jonathan. What I really want is to talk to Andrews- or Alan. But that’s just not going to happen.

Sunday, October 22nd, 2056 – It’s not paranoia when they are out to get you.

Casey was waiting for me at the condo. Judging by his expression, Ray had told him everything that’s been happening. Especially about Aaron. I really wanted to talk to him, but not in the condo. Not with all the tapes and bugs. I didn’t want Darringer to know he was getting to me, and I definitely didn’t want him thinking that Case was somehow involved in this.

Casey just shook his head and led me to his car- Therese’s car. “You’re coming with me Jess,” he informed me. “You need to get out of here.”

He was right of course, but I felt like I was being a lot more of a burden than I should. I mean the last thing he needs is for Darringer to come down on him like he’s been on me.

Case just smiled. “Jess- I’ve met a dozen Darringer’s in my time. Had them try and pull a number on me, and after everything they did, when they found out they were wrong, you know what happened?”

I shook my head.

“Absolutely nothing. My life didn’t change, they never apologized. Life just went on. What matters right now is he’s pushing all the right buttons. He’s endangering you, and he’s keeping you from resting and that’s even worse because if you get punchy, some one’s going to get hurt, and its probably going to be the kid on the bike.”

I thought about that as we drove back to his place. He already had the couch in his office setup for me. “Get some rest. We’ll talk after,” he told me.

I thought it would be hard getting to sleep, but with Case there, I slept like a baby. Good thing too, cause work was one of those days.

We had a psychiatric case, just transporting him. Paranoid Schizophrenic, thought everyone was out to get him, people following him everywhere. Kinda know how he feels.

Casey picked me up and took me home again. I can tell he’s been working on this for me, but how much can he take?

How much more can I take?

Monday, October 23rd, 2056 – Pariah

I wanted to go to the station this morning, try and take back my life. But it wasn’t to be. Casey had already tested the waters and told me I wouldn’t be welcomed. Martinez was still comatose and unless he regained consciousness I was probably going to remain a pariah.

Casey did his best to help me through this, but I just couldn’t get him to understand. My ‘crusade’, as Fin had labeled it, was the only thing that kept me going. Having that taken away from me, losing Andrews- it was too much.

And then, as if that wasn’t enough, there’s the fact that Aaron is on the loose again. I really need something to concentrate on otherwise its going send me right over the edge.

I haven’t done anything wrong, but that means nothing. It isn’t fair, but then life isn’t fair. At least there’s balance.

I felt confused, betrayed. I was drowning in all the loss and all the doubt. Casey was there for me, if I’d have let him he could have helped me– but instead, he bore the brunt of my anger and hurt.

I ended up trying to walking out on him. I knew if I stayed there I’d regret everything I said and did. Like I said, I tried– he wasn’t cooperating. With all the police following me it wasn’t like I could really go anywhere anyway.

Case was a blessing, but at the time I was so ticked off about everything, and he was unfortunate enough to be the one telling me just how bad it was. When I finished he just smiled and handed me a deck of cards.

Just like that. He didn’t take it personally. He just let me vent my spleen, get everything out of my system. It helped. I still don’t know what I’m going to do about my situation, but I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be ‘roll over and let them win.’

Tuesday, October 24th, 2056 – Maybe not everybody

Today we got a visit from Daniels and Cummings. This time they didn’t opt for good cop/bad cop, they just asked to come in and told things to us straight and expected the same in return.

It was refreshing because, unlike Darringer, they actually listened. I was surprised, to say the least. They told me that everything Darringer had to date on Alan was purely circumstantial but very strong.

They had Martinez’s call, the wants and warrants check on Alan and his license which was left at the scene. The film that had survived was too grainy and shadowy to really give them information one way or the other. There was nothing, except that the shooter was left handed and his movements were fast, smooth and sure.

They didn’t have to tell me a thing on that. He’d taken out my headlight and me in very fast succession. If it hadn’t been for my vest, and I’m pretty sure Mrs. Walker’s enhancements, I’d be lucky to be where Martinez is.

When they finished, I got to tell my side of the story. Daniels and Cummings knew about my brothers’ case, knew that was why I was there, so I didn’t get the repetitive “awfully convenient you being there” line of questioning.

I filled them in on the dirty pool Darringer’d been playing and they nodded.

“Thought there had to be a good reason for you not being at Andrew’s funeral,” Daniels said gruffly. “Glad that feeling was right.”

I nodded then admitted to being there, just not being seen. That surprised them and Casey. He gave me a “You did what?” look, but I could see the understanding there too. He’d seen what all of this had done, was doing, to me.

I also filled Daniels and Cummings in on Darringer’s campaign against me, trying to get me to lead him to Alan- or to force Alan out of hiding. I also told him about Darring’s warning that Alan’s not being available for questioning was only going to make things worse.

They got a chuckle out of that. Like I said, they were familiar with the case. They were none too happy when I told them about my own personal hell being released because ‘someone’ at the local star had decided that I didn’t have anything to say and that *I* had said as much.

One thing about Daniels and Cummings, they may be two of the biggest self-righteous jerks I’ve ever had the displeasure of meeting– they definitely believe that the ends justifies the means, but when they see injustices from their own department, they act.

They told me there wasn’t much they could do about my general status, not until Martinez woke up. They tried to convince me it was a question of when, but we all knew that wasn’t the way things were probably going to go- not after this long.

Still it was nice to know they were on my side on this. I could tell that the jury was still out on Alan, but they believed I was innocent and that my involvement was purely professional. That and the fact that they knew I wasn’t trying to protect Alan.

I wish I could be so sure now. Its been long enough that the doubt has gotten rooted rather well. I don’t know anymore, but at least everybody’s not out to get me.

Wednesday, October 25th, 2056 – My lawyer can beat up your lawyer

Casey had to go to work today so I had him drop me off at my place. I don’t mind hanging out at his place, especially when he’s around, but if I have to be by myself, I feel a lot safer in my own home. Or at least I did until I remembered all the cameras and bugs.

That made me change my mind. I decided to do the John Doe check at the hospitals. I mean, the Star has no jurisdiction there, and as far as I knew, they weren’t mad at me. I figured I’d find out if the Star’s suspicion had been passed on to them.

It didn’t matter though, before I could get out of the neighborhood I was pulled over on a “routine traffic stop.” Routine if you’re an axe murderess with bad hair.

They went through every compartment of my first aid kit, scattering the contents, opening the sterile bandages to make sure I wasn’t hiding anything- basically rendering it useless. Then they decided to search for hidden pockets.

When they finished the told me to ‘have a nice day,’ and ‘sorry for the inconvenience.’

Yeah, right. I told them I understood, then went to the company supplied lawyer and filled him in on it. He dutifully took notes and asked me if there had been any other peculiarities, signs of harassment.

He already knew about the wrongful detention and the interfering with a medic performing her duty. I filled him in on the bugs and cameras, and Aaron. The cameras I could almost deal with, but Aaron was another story.

He took notes about the invasion of my home. Asked for details on Aaron, the case- why that constituted reckless endangerment. I didn’t want to start a protracted legal battle but this has to stop.

He also asked for an estimate of the damage done with the first aid kit. He was surprised at the cost of replacement until I pointed out that it was highly specialized and comparable to the kit I used at work.

On the way home I was once again ‘invited’ to come downtown. This time I knew my rights, as briefed by the company lawyer. Of course, when I demanded to have my lawyer present Darringer tried to scare me out of it by telling him that I didn’t need a lawyer if I had nothing to hide.

I told him that might be the case if he would actually believe me when I talked to him, but in his book I was guilty and therefore everything I did regardless of what it was, only confirmed my guilt to him.

He tried to tell me how he wasn’t letting his personal feelings get in the way of doing his job. I told him I needed my lawyer. He told me how much easier it would be if I just told him the truth. I told him I needed my lawyer. I swear it pretty much denigrated into him trying to yell at me and instead of me sticking my fingers in my ears and going “LaLaLaLALA” I just kept saying “I think I need my lawyer.”

I finally got my lawyer, he told Darringer that unless he had something new to discuss with me, he was to leave me alone, and he promised that I’d be seeing him again.

Darling man. He was dangling his handcuffs from one finger as he said it.

I had the urge to yell something like “My lawyer can beat up your lawyer,” but at least this bout was over and depending on who you listened to, the good guys won.

But, my lawyer wasn’t finished. He took me back to my apartment, knowing the place was bugged and camera-ed. That’s when I really began to appreciate his deviousness.

He went over everything I’d told him at his office over nice soothing cups of tea. He told me that I had nothing to fear and this harassment was just that. He told me to not let it get to me. I noticed he very carefully avoided discussing Aaron. Probably trying to find out who had informed the Baltimore Division that I didn’t want to file a victim impact statement on him.

That was the most damaging and damning thing. That was the one that could very well get me killed. I’m hoping it was Darringer and somebody is stoking up the fire.

Copyright 1999 – M.T. Decker


June 22, 2018

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