A Year in Seattle – Week 31 – Working to Exhaustion

A Year In Seattle

Week Thirty-One

Thursday, January 18th, 2057 Avoiding an empty house

I spent the morning in physical therapy and was finally given the go-ahead to start doing ‘real work.’

He warned me to take things easy at first and reminded me that if I started getting stiff, it was my body’s way of warning me that I was pushing too hard. And I was to go back to just light duty.

The job doesn’t work that way, but I didn’t feel like telling him. Looking back, I must have been grinning like an idiot. If being able to ride again had given me my freedom, it was as if the go-ahead on riding at work had given me back my life.

I grinned and shook his hand, but he warned me that this wasn’t ‘good-bye.’ I’d still have to see him so he could chart my progress and make sure I was following his orders. I nodded. It’s not like I can turn him down– I don’t show up for PT, Citywide can dock me.

From there I ran the gamut, Records at Lone Star, tea with Dr. Chen and a missing person’s check at the hospitals. I’m not sure, but I think I was trying to avoid going home, finding out that Case was still gone.

At the end of the day, I was back at the condo, alone. I found myself pouring a glass of wine and ended up pouring it down the sink. I was not going to fall into that trap tonight. If I was feeling that lonely, I knew some people who could use some company.

I packed up my gear looked at the guitar case that housed expensive collection of kindling and sighed. I really need to get another one. Unfortunately, since the condo belongs to the boys, its covered under their insurance and they have to file the claim. I wonder if they make squatter’s insurance?

I was a little bit down after that, but I’m glad I followed through and went down to the shelter. They put me to work serving and it was a big boost. Nothing like helping people to get you out of a self-pitying slump.

Later on, I borrowed one of the staffer’s guitars and took a stint playing some of the old standards. It felt good to play again.

I was in a lot better frame of mind when I got back home. Just as well, its usually when I’m alone that I start feeling the ganger’s presence… and that I should be doing something. I didn’t hear him when I got home.

I guess it’s because I’d done something constructive.

Friday, January 19th, 2057 – Playing in the dirt

Still, no word from Case, not that I really expect it after the warning he gave me– still, I wish I’d heard something. I take that back. That I haven’t heard anything is probably a good thing.

Officer Smiley showed up around 11:00 with his daughter Melissa. I had a hard time keeping up with the two of them.

She is definitely following in her father’s footsteps. I could see it in her eyes. Funny thing is I sense he’s trying to guide her away from police work.

If I didn’t know better I’d say he’s steering her right towards me and the emergency medical field. Hate to tell him, but at least as a police officer, you have the right to carry a gun. Yeah, most of us in Citywide carry– but its official policy to discourage us from doing so.

We carry weapons, not as members of the rescue squad but as civilians. We won’t discuss the fact that they have a shooting range inside Headquarters– it’s for the folks running security and backup– really.

Thinking about it, I really should book some time on the range. I haven’t used the gun since– since Andrews gave it to me: it and my concealed carry permit.

As we rode, I realized that it was the first time since I can’t remember when that I didn’t carry– no vest, no gun, only a minimal ‘standard’ kit. Melissa was asking me about being a medic, and how I knew her dad. She also made very sure that I knew her mother was waiting for him.”

I think I surprised her when I told her point blank that that was not why I was there.

“Then why are you here?” she asked me pointedly.

“Because I was hurt, and I’m trying to get back in shape so that I can ride, and ride safely. Because dirt is softer than asphalt and because if I fall and hurt myself, I want somebody around I know and trust to pick up the pieces.”

Once that was settled, we got along perfectly. I wish Case had been there.

Saturday, January 20th, 2057 – Reassignment.

The orders came through today– tomorrow I report to Tacoma where my bike will be waiting for me. My first reaction was to check their call logs.

It wasn’t the 97th, but it wasn’t Fort Lewis either. The calls were hectic, but not enough to require time off in between like at the 97th. It was another 3 on 3 off assignment. Most of the calls indicated the high price of the good life: accidents, drug overdoses. Less gang activity, but a lot more Yakuza.

Thing is– it looks like the trouble on that end won’t be the Yak’s but the Maffia trying to muscle in. Seems the Yakuza are so ensconced in Tacoma that the Mob feels the only way to uproot them is a tac-nuke. Fortunately, they either don’t have any handy– or they’re just saving it for a special occasion.

Great stuff to look forward to– still I’m glad PC showed me where to get the low down. Its good stuff to know going into it.

I gave the condo a slight dusting and then with nothing better to do, I headed over to Tacoma and started getting used to the streets. I think I unnerved quite a few people driving up and down the streets and checking out the alleyways.

Let’s face it, my bike is not the most inconspicuous of vehicles. By the time I’d finished, I had at least two people tailing me. I figured the best thing to do was to report into the station and get the layout there.

That way I could get acquainted with the folks at the station, and, hopefully, allay the fears of my tails. While I was there, I got the traffic reports and plotted out my routes. I stayed until I was satisfied that I could handle my job, then I headed home to dust the cats.

Sunday, January 21st, 2057 – Boredom can be a killer

I ended up reporting in to work early. There was no real point to hanging around the condo– all I was doing there was killing time. I rode over to Tacoma and checked out the streets again. I slotted a map program and modified it based on what I found. A few of the alleyways the commercial map said were there weren’t. Then again, there were a few extra routes that weren’t on the map.

Then it was just a question of reviewing the traffic reports for the area and noting where things tend to get backed up– and when.

I was about three hours early, but the bike was there and it needed to be checked out and its carriers needed to be restocked.

By the time I was done it was time for briefing. It was a relief to have a real briefing again. After Fort Lewis anything was an improvement. I mean, I’m not an adrenaline junky– I just…

I’m here to do a job and life is much better when I can do it. Its almost like I was born to do the job and when I don’t get to do it is pretty much when things tend to fall apart.

I had pretty much vowed to keep my nose out of things that didn’t relate to me or the boys when the calls started coming in.

Rich kids bored on a Sunday night…I’m discovering that this is not a good combination. Those that weren’t out wreaking havoc on their last night of freedom before school were finding their amusements in simsense and chemicals.

Three overdoses, one case of alcohol poisoning, four drug-related accidents, with injuries. Guess they figured we were bored too.

Monday, January 22nd, 2057 – Bitter almonds

I managed to keep up on the bike last night, but was paying for it this morning. I felt about the way Ray looked the last time I saw him. I got up, took a hot shower.

I was in the middle of the shower when the first call came in. There are times I really hate this job. Nothing like rushing to an emergency when you’re soaking wet. By the time I got there, it didn’t really matter– I would have been soaked anyway.

My ‘wet weather gear’ seems to need some work.

I get to the call, a heart attack call in one of the ritzier neighborhoods. They almost didn’t let me in, I think they were afraid of me tracking water, mud and god knows what, into their lovely home.

It was house beautiful, but that wasn’t why I was there. They told me to go around the back. I almost said something, but there are times that arguing just isn’t going to get you anywhere or do any good for your patient. This was one of those times.

There was a lot that was hinky about the case, but I concentrated on the patient and ignored everything else as best as I could. The patient, Mr. Worthington-Hyde-Smythe’s heart had stopped as I bent down to check his breathing I caught a faint odor of bitter almond. This explained some of the nervousness I was feeling. Swiping his mouth to clear the airway, I found some food particles, he’d keeled over in the middle of breakfast… perhaps a poisoned meal.

I continued CPR and artificial respiration until the ambulance arrived fifteen minutes later.

Mathis and Beauford, my new teammates were sent around back as well. I continued CPR, with Mathis taking over the breathing while Beauford readied defibrillator. Four minutes later we’d managed to establish a good sinus rhythm. I bagged the food sample and placed it on the Gurney as the guys wheeled him out.

They left with a slight nod. They’d seen the sample… I think maybe Mathis caught the scent. They took Worthington-Hyde-Symthe, leaving me to clean up… and tell the Star what I found. The Star never showed up.

I tried to ignore the ‘itchy’ feeling that kept telling me that something was wrong. My eyes narrowed as the man who had answered the door started cleaning up the table. I almost told him not to– but without back up, it would only tip him off that someone was suspicious. I stayed as long as I could without arousing suspicion then left.

I got back to the station with enough time to start my report when another call came in. I wasn’t officially cleared from the last call, but a quick review of traffic indicated that I was on. Dispatch arranged a pickup from a different station since Mathis and Beauford were still on the last call.

It ran like that for most of the day. Some calls I’d ride with my team, other’s I’d be on the bike. There weren’t any of the pileups we get at the 97th so it wasn’t too bad– it just seemed to go on forever.

By dinner time, I was ready for a break. The next one didn’t come until 0230 Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2057 Cross-examination

Mr. Worthington-Hyde-Smythe died this morning. The Star finally showed up when the lab results came back. He had enough cyanide in his system to kill several Worthington-Hyde-Smythes.

I handed them my report and wished, once again, that investigators would accept my report as written and not feel the needed to cross-examine me ad nauseam. I guess they wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t but still, how many times and ways can I say, I got there, I was suspicious, and his breath smelled of almonds… bitter almonds.

I told them everything that happened, at least four times. Then they started asking me what people were wearing, and how the victim had been dressed. I took a deep breath closed my eyes and described absolutely everything. This time I realized that there was one thing I hadn’t noticed. When I pulled up there had been three cars in the driveway. When I left, there were only two.

So maybe cross-examination does pay off.

I don’t know, but the investigator seemed to have what he wanted, and I was back on the road in no time. By the end of the day, I was emotionally and physically drained. And there’s still a day or so to the shift.

Wednesday, January 24th, 2057 – Exhaustion.

I have never been so glad to sit down in my entire life! I got off shift about an hour ago… Its almost Thursday and I’m exhausted, but not exhausted enough to sleep. I hate it when things get like that.

Still I guess I have three days of peace and quiet to recover. Still no sign of Case and it almost feels like– the whole thing was just a dream. I hate that feeling. We had several weeks where there was nothing but the two of us and now… now its just work and the quest again.

I know he’s out there, I know he cares, but knowledge can’t hold you and keep you from feeling lonely. Still, there is a warm feeling that surrounds me when I think about him. I wish he were here right now.

Anyway, I think I’m going to sleep till Friday, then see about getting something to eat.

Copyright – 2000 M.T. Decker

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