Officer Down
138 pages
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138 pages
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Description

Constable Sam Stephens, now out of probation on the streets of Toronto, takes on new and demanding challenges. Inspector Althoff continues to go out of his way to make Sam’s life as miserable as possible. Water off a duck’s back to Sam. He is dispatched to the call from hell. “High school active shooter”. Sam, former Canadian Forces, Special Ops, enters the school to devastating carnage – Officer Down.

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Publié par
Date de parution 02 avril 2016
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781771458597
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0032€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

Officer Down
Sam StephensCrime Thriller Book 2
By Ronald AdyCrouch
 
ISBN EPUB9781771458597
Kindle978-1-77299-611-1
WEB 9781771458610
Print ISBN9781771458627
 

Ronald AdyCrouch Copyright 2016
Cover art byMichelle Lee 2016
 
All rights reserved.Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no partof this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced intoa retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means(electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise)without the prior written permission of both the copyright ownerand the above publisher of this book.
 
This is a work offiction. Names, characters, places and events in the story areeither a product of the author’s imagination or have been usedfictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead isentirely coincidental.
 
 
In memory of
Mary JosephineTuohy
 
Acknowledgment
 
To my wife Catherinefor all her support over the years, for her advice and constructivecriticism. Thanks to her, this is my fourth novel with Books WeLove. A special thank you to Judith Pittman of BWL for continuingto believe in me.
 
Chapter One
 
Front linepolicing is a combination of ninety-five percent sheer boredom andfive percent of unimaginable excitement. That five percent can turnyou into an adrenaline junkie. You begin to crave the life anddeath calls, and compensate by putting up with the boredom and theendless hours of paperwork. No aspiring recruit could possiblyunderstand how much tedious paperwork is involved. The worst of itis trying to comprehend the nonsensical decisions of those inpositions of power above you. In an effort to capture attention intheir bid to get promoted, a new idea is born, like changing thezones the front line guys have been working in for years. Itsuddenly all makes sense to everyone not on ground level. Gruntslike me carry on, shaking our heads. A few years later, anotheraspiring senior officer develops a new idea and the wheel isreinvented once more. The policing zones are changed yet again, butno one will admit, they worked just fine decades before, untilsomeone educated beyond common sense comes along and changes it all… If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it , is not a doctrine ofmodern-day policing. If I’d known how much paperwork was involved,I’d never have joined. But I’m in now, the pay’s good, the benefitsare good, time off is good and way down the road, the pension’spretty good too. Pay duties are a gold mine, almost a license toprint money that is if you’re willing to give up your time off,risk divorce, or may be even another divorce. It’s hard to leaveonce you’re in. And, once you are in, it becomes increasinglydifficult to relate to those in the civilian world. They wouldn’tunderstand how you watched someone die at the side of the roadbecause of a traffic accident. Another person you couldn’t save.Sometimes they could have saved themselves if they’d only investedin a new set of tires. The house fire where the family all burnedto death. The pretty young woman raped and murdered, her oncebeautiful body discarded in a ditch like a bag of garbage. Thechild sitting in the classroom, after being molested during herlunchtime break. It all weighs heavily on your soul. If you don’tfind a coping mechanism, it’ll crush you. It becomes hard to seethe good in people
A once innocentinteraction between an old man and a child on the street, thatwould have made you smile, before you became a police officer thatis, you now see in a whole different light. He’s no longer somenice old guy talking to a cute kid, but a predator, attempting tolure away an innocent young life. And that’s just the tip of theiceberg. Front line policing is not an occupation for thefainthearted. Sure there are the other specialist units, like Gunsand Gangs, Drugs, the Criminal Investigation Branch, Major Crime,Homicide, Robbery, Sex Crimes. But who’s first on scene almostevery time … the cop wearing the uniform.
There’s theineffective method of policing by The Rules, then there’s the moreeffective, but personally very risky method of policing, the oldfashioned way . The latter preferably done alone, withoutwitnesses, mindful of surveillance cameras, recording devices andcellphone cameras. Fresh-faced recruits don’t fully appreciate thatthe firearm, holstered at their side, might one day be drawn andfired into the body of a fellow human being. They don’t appreciatethe powerful effect it can have on your psyche. You have to askyourself this question, and be able to search your soul and answerit honestly. If called upon to do so, could I take the life ofanother human being in the line of duty and go on afterwards withmy own life as before? If you don’t know the answer to thisfundamental question, join the fire department, or become aparamedic. If you’re really book smart, become a librarian, atleast that way you can imagine being a cop through the pages of abook, without actually doing it. No long-term life-threateningnight duties to contend with. Mindful of all these pitfalls,policing can be a lot of fun. You can’t really equate it tomilitary combat. However, on a hot call you want your trusted andreliable brothers and sisters alongside you. That bond can be forlife. I wanted to be a part of the world of real policing, that’sone of the reasons I asked for Toronto.
 
* * *
 
Any unit forYonge and Eglinton, male threatening to commit suicide, says he’llstab the first police officer he sees.
It was teno’clock on a cool December morning. One week before Christmas Day.I happened to be cruising nearby. I wasn’t one of those officerswho, on hearing a call like that, would turn around and start goingthe other way. Yes there are a few of them in the service, one onmy own platoon. Don’t ask me why, but the guy is destined forpromotion. He’s unlikely to get killed in the line of duty that’sfor sure. With any luck he’ll get struck by lightning.
I picked up themic and marked myself on the call, activated the lights and beganto snake my way through traffic. I didn’t want to use the sirens toalert the guy that I was on my way. I always kept a broad mind whenit came to calls. What came over the air was not always what youended up encountering. Cops got killed not heeding that advice.Everyone to me was a potential raving lunatic with explosivesstrapped around their waste, armed with a Kalashnikov, until I knewotherwise. Or possibly someone with a rifle and telescopic sight,waiting for the uniform cop to show up and place the officer’s headbetween the crosshairs. By the time you uttered the words, Ohshit , part of your brain matter was on the front passenger seatnext to you. Oh, was about all you’d get to say. That woulddefinitely qualify as a bad day at the office.
I killed thelights and rolled into the back entrance of the small plaza wherethe suicide by cop candidate was expected to be, somewhere out onthe front parking lot. I could hear sirens coming in the distance.I could be cautious and wait for backup, leaving this lunatic to goon a killing spree, or I could do my job and deal with him. Idecided to deal with him.
Sure enough hewas standing in the middle of the parking lot waving a huge knifearound his head, like some drunken sailor trying to do a navalsword dance. I couldn’t hear what he was shouting at first. When Iheard it, it wasn’t very complimentary.
“Come on youfucking pig, shoot me! If you don’t I’m gonna charge you and cutyour head off!”
I was aboutfifty-feet from him, gun out and closing on foot slowly. Thecivilians had scattered. Sensible move on their part I thought.Stores were being rapidly locked down. I was impressed. Atforty-feet I called out to him.
“It’s yourlucky day!” He looked confused. Not what he expected.
“The good newsis, I’m ex-military. JTF actually. Joint Task Force to you.Marksman, trained sniper. Mind you, a handgun, albeit a Glock .40is not the most accurate of firearms for most police officers atthis distance. A rifle would have been much better, but I didn’tbring it with me today. However, I’m a crack shot at this distance,even with a Glock .40. Now that’s the good news. I’ll come to thebad news in a minute.” Not what he was expecting.
Nowthirty-feet.
“There arerules you know,” I said.
“What rules?”He looked wild, his hair stuck out all over the place, like he’djammed his finger into an electrical socket. Either that, or he washaving a really bad hair day. He was appropriately dressed for theoccasion, warm jacket and trousers, winter boots. If it hadn’t beenfor the fact he wasn’t wearing gloves we could have made it anall-day affair if need be.
“Well, it’sgoing to be hard for me to fill out the sudden death report afterI’ve shot and killed you. So it’s only fair you tell me your nameand your age so I can get on with the paperwork while the coronermakes his way over to inspect your dead body.”
“It’s JohnEmery. John William Emery. E-M-E-R-Y. I’m twenty-six.”
“Okay John,thanks. Now here’s the bad news. I’m going to shoot you in theballs. It might kill you, it might not, but it sure is going tohurt like hell. It’s kind of like having an instant sex change, Isuppose, but without hormone treatment or anaesthetic. The .40calibre bullet is going to blow your penis clean off and may takeone or both of your testicles with it. You could of course stepsideways up towards me to avoid that happening, but then I’m goingto shoot you in the ass. That’s going to hurt like hell too.”
“You can’t dothat,” he screamed. “You have to shoot me centre mass, that’s whatit said when I Googled how police are trained to shoot people.”
“Was that onWikipedia John? You know you can’t trust everything you read. I’mtrained to put two in your chest and one in your head, but becauseof my skill level, I normally double-tap two in the forehead. But,there’s no hard and fast rule about where I have to shoot you.After today, that might all change of course. The Brass willprobably issue a new directive on where to shoot people. But, as ofthis moment, I’m going to shoot you in the balls.” Other cruisersarrived. Officers began taking up tactical positions, but lettingme take the lead. Verbal judo. A police officer’s best friend.
“Okay John, I’mgoing to give you another choice. I think you’ll like this one. Itmeans you can still keep all your body parts intact. We’re going tosit down together over a cup of coffee and discuss the problemsyou’re having. Right here. I presume you drink coffee John? Let’sface it, it could be your last one … ever.”
“Large, twocream, three sugars.”
“Okay, that’son order right now. Meanwhile, stay where you are. No one is goingto come near you. You can keep the knife for the time being. Whenthe coffee arrives I’m going to bring it over to you. You will putthe knife on the ground, step away from it and we’ll have coffeetogether. There are no other choices here today John, coffee withme and maybe a muffin. Would you like a muffin as well John?”
“Blueberry.”
“Blueberry itis John. The first choice as I said, is an immediate and extremelypainful sex change. I’m your friend here John, not your enemy.” Iwas smiling at him, gun pointed at his balls. He turned to theside, then remembered his ass was now exposed. Not sure what to do,he began twisting his body on the spot. It looked quite comical,like someone with absolutely no inhibitions doing their own thingin the middle of a busy parking lot. Personally, I’d have needed afew beers in me first before dancing like that. Reminded me of asergeant I knew after one too many beers.
Had I timed it,it wouldn’t have been that long before our coffees arrived alongwith John’s blueberry muffin. It felt like an age standing outthere on the parking lot, waiting. Zoe Martinez, a diligent youngfemale officer, new to our platoon arrived with our order and stoodnext to me. She looked very uncomfortable, armed only with acardboard carton containing two paper coffee cups in one hand and asmall brown paper bag in the other. Unlike me, she had her hat on,all brand new and clean looking. Her long blonde hair was tied in aneat bun at the back, whereas my long black hair was tied in a longbraid down my back. If the Sikhs can wear turbans on the job, Isure as hell can wear my traditional native braid, for religiousand spiritual reasons as well. A source of annoyance to some of theupper management and definitely an irritation to my inspector.
“Time to putthe knife down John.” He didn’t comply. There’d have to be somecreative writing for the testicle shot. I took a look over myshoulder to protect myself against a possible rear attack from anunknown source. Not good to have tunnel vision, you’ve got to keepscanning the area, that’s when I saw my old training officer,Jimmie Callaghan, place his hand on the arm of the cop with hisTaser out. Infinitely less paperwork than a bullet anywhere in theyoung man’s body.
“John we havean agreement. I’ve kept to my side of the bargain. If you don’tcomply with your side of our agreement, things are going to turnvery ugly and very painful for you. I won’t tell you again. Put thefucking knife down. Do it now!” I don’t like to swear, butsometimes using the ‘f’ word out of the blue can have real shockvalue. It certainly did for bystanders on the periphery and it didfor John. I thought of what my mother used to say to me as a child, Sam, swearing is a sign of a poor vocabulary. Toronto Newswould be interesting to watch this evening. Another visit to theinspector’s office for me. The carpet was starting to look worn inhis office, from the doorway to the back of his desk, after themany visits I’d made there in the past eighteen months or so of myservice.
John bentslowly at the waist and placed the knife on the ground, then stoodback up.
“Step away fromit John. This young officer and I are going to bring the coffeesand your muffin over to you.”
We began towalk towards him, Zoe carrying both coffees and the brown paper bagcontaining the muffin. I kept my gun out, not that I needed it now.I figured if I put it away, John wouldn’t worry about getting shotin the balls or ass anymore and go for the knife. I still had theupper hand. The officer with the Taser approached slowly over myleft shoulder. Twenty-five feet, twenty. Statistically twenty-onefeet is the distance an assailant armed with a knife can charge anofficer with his gun holstered and stab the officer before theofficer can draw and fire. It takes an officer with lighteningreflexes to draw and fire his weapon, but it wouldn’t matter muchanyway, the assailant’s momentum would keep them plowing on intothe officer and the officer would be stabbed. You had to move offthe tracks to minimize the attack. If you were lucky, you mightjust get off a few rounds and stop the attack. Might … noguarantee. I like knives, my favourite weapon. An untrainedopponent with any size knife, wouldn’t have it for long. I’d takeit off them in a split second and use it on them. I had a rule. Ifyou took a knife out on me and I got the knife, I would kill youwith it. John would be no exception.
Atfifteen-feet, even if he made a grab for the knife, it was gameover. I was a big man, a very big man. Contrary to what someuninformed people think, big men can move fast, very fast. WitnessUsain Bolt, world’s fastest sprinter, six feet five inches tall.John William Emery was about five feet nine inches tall, about ahundred and sixty pounds. I could bench-press him with one arm. Istood on the knife, towering over him, as I did so I re-holsteredmy gun, well aware that John might still be carrying anotherweapon. That would be a very bad day on the planet … for him.
“I’m going topat you down John for your own safety and ours, then we’ll havecoffee and a chat. No one’s going to hurt you and you’re not goingto hurt anyone. We’re here to help you, that’s what the police do.It’s not all about traffic tickets.”
He was clean,no weapons. Not forgetting, his fists, head, elbows, knees, feetand teeth were all potential weapons. Zoe handed John his coffeeand muffin. I stayed close in case he threw the coffee.
“Thank you,” hesaid.
I slid theknife back behind me with my right boot. Zoe was good, she pickedit up and took it away. Now it was just me and John.
I put my rightarm around him, gun side away and hugged him one armed. He felt allskin and bone. He smelled like he’d slept in a garbage dumpsterleft outside a restaurant for a week in the hot sun. His teeth wereyellow, no dental benefits for people like John. He began to sob,telling me over and over again that he was sorry. To my amazement,Zoe came back with two chairs. For the last three months we hadworked together on nights. We just seemed to know what the otherwas thinking. We liked each other a lot, but there was a line wedidn’t cross. To cross it would ruin our relationship. Not that wedidn’t tease the hell out of one another.
Ten minuteswent by. Neither of us spoke. We sat and enjoyed our coffee. Johnwolfed down the blueberry muffin like he hadn’t eaten for a week.Maybe he hadn’t.
“My parentskicked me out a month ago. I’ve been living on the streets eversince. My dad kept calling me a loser because I couldn’t find ajob. I’ve tried to get a job, but they’re hard to find. Any job.Then my girlfriend dumped me for a jock. Said I was too nerdy. I’mnot stupid, I got a degree in mathematics, but I just can’t keep ittogether. I started drinking and taking drugs, then when whatlittle money I had ran out, I started stealing. You know, littlethings, just enough to give me some money for booze and drugs. WhenI pawned my mom’s eternity ring, that’s when my dad lost it andfired me out the door. My mom was crying. My dad’s right. I am aloser. Maybe Officer you stopped me today, but there’s alwaystomorrow. I’ll jump off a bridge or something.”
“Call me Sam.John, I don’t know how the rest of your life is going to turn out,but if you give me a chance, I’ll help you. We’re buddies now. Weshare a bond. First thing we have to do is get you some help. Getyou assessed, get you on medication maybe, and get you off thedrugs and the booze. Find you a place to live, maybe a part-timejob. It’s all going to take time, but if you put your trust in me,I promise I won’t let you down. Then we can figure out how toreacquaint you with your family. We’re going to take a drive to thehospital, you and me.”
“Are you goingto arrest me Officer, I mean Sam? Am I going to have to go tocourt?”
“No nothinglike that. I’ll be straight with you though. I’m apprehending youunder the Mental Health Act, that’s all. That way the doctor canplace you on a Form One and the specialists can assess you in asafe environment over seventy-two hours. I’ll be waiting for youwhen you come out. Here’s my card. I’m your lifeline now. Youfinished?” He nodded. “Okay then, let’s go. I’m going to hold twoof your fingers tightly, just in case you change your mind on theway back to my cruiser and run off. I don’t need all thatunnecessary paperwork.” I thought of my second training officer,Rudy Jackson and asked myself what he would have done in thissituation. In memory of his murdered father who had been homelessat the time he was savagely beaten to death in Allen Gardens by agroup of thrill-seeking thugs, I took a twenty dollar bill from mywallet and gave it to John William Emery. No strings attached. Hecould spend it on whatever he wanted. He didn’t need the extrastress of failing to meet my unrealistic expectations of not buyingalcohol and drugs. Jimmie was right, You can’t save them allSam. Some cannot be saved, no matter how hard you try. Once you’vegrasped that concept, it gets easier to deal with thedisappointments. Rudy had the biggest heart I’d ever comeacross in a human being. The murder of his father broke him. Now hewas teaching at the Police Academy. He was and always will be myfriend.
Zoe insisted onfollowing my cruiser to the hospital emergency ward. Hospitalemergency wards are not the ideal place to bring a mentallydisturbed person. The mental health wing is normally a few flightsupstairs, but to get there is a whole different nightmare. To theaverage citizen, they would assume we take the MHA patient straightto the psychiatric ward where they are quickly processed andadmitted into the care of professionals. In reality, we take a seatin emerge. A nurse admits the patient and then we take another seatand wait and wait and wait. Another nurse arrives to take thepatient’s blood pressure. Then the waiting process starts all overagain. The overworked and frazzled ER doctor arrives to assess thepatient. We have a brief discussion, the doctor speaks to thepatient and generally puts the patient on a Form One. Now theycan’t leave voluntarily. They are now the responsibility of thehospital. Then we begin the waiting game all over again until amember of the psychiatric facility arrives to further assess thepatient. This is where I find I have to intervene, because if youdon’t, they’ll walk right past you like you don’t exist andinterview the patient on their own, who could be telling them awhole other story. I wanted John Emery held and assessed beforebeing released back into the community.
The MentalHealth Nurse began to walk past me into the small room where Johnwas pacing the floor. We’d been waiting nearly five hours for thismoment and I wasn’t going to lose momentum.
“Nurse, could Ihave a word. I’m the one that was on scene at the time this allwent down. I’m the one who apprehended John. You might find what Ihave to say helpful.”
He looked up atme with a hint of irritation. Through his eyes I guess he saw me asa big lumbering idiot that hadn’t done well at school and policingwas my best option in life. No doubt he thought I didn’t have thebrains to be a psychiatric nurse. Probably not very bright, butcould lift heavy things. As I spoke, I watched his eyes widen.
“Thank youOfficer, very enlightening.” Then he went in and spoke to John asZoe and I remained in the hallway … waiting.
“Get used toit,” I said. “Just be grateful they’re not the one’s paying us.We’d still be waiting for our money.”
“Is it alwayslike this Sam? I mean the waiting.”
“No. They mustbe really busy. Sometimes the hospital security staff arrive andtake over from us. When that happens, we’re back on the road prettyquick.”
“What happensif the patient’s violent?”
“We becomeviolent. Just remember, they have cameras all over the place. Beprofessional at all times. Many an officer has forgotten that andlanded in a whole world of hurt when Professional Standards gets ahold of the complaint. When things get out of hand, unless you wantto evacuate the hospital, don’t use your pepper spray. It has anawful habit of getting into the hospital air ducts andcontaminating the building. Hospitals don’t generally like thepolice, maybe that’s our fault. We come in and take over as thoughwe’re the ones in charge. We’re not. This is their domain and we goby their rules unless it’s a life threatening situation … then it’sour rules.”
Dr. AieshaAhsan walked into the nursing station, clipboard in hand and allbusiness. She swept her black hair back behind her ear as shelooked down to read something. She was dedicated, hardworking andvery pleasant to look at. She looked up and caught me eyeingher.
“Sam, how areyou?” She hurried out into the hallway and hugged me. It was likeembracing a small child, she was so petite. “It’s so good to seeyou.”
“It’s good tosee you too.” Then she noticed Zoe.
“One of thegood ones. Gotta go, nice seeing you again Sam.” Then she was offdown the hallway.
“She likesyou.” I didn’t reply. Not that it was a question. “She wasblushing.”
“Whatever Zoe.Stop grinning, she and I have a lot of history. All police related,before you say anything else. Some happy cases and some tragicones. Ask Jimmie, just make sure he’s got his hearing aid in.”
“You guys arealways teasing the hell out of him. I don’t think he’s that old, ishe?”
“Well, put itthis way. When Jimmie joined the Toronto Police, Long John Silverhad two legs and an egg on his shoulder.”
“I like Jimmie.He reminds me of my dad.”
“Don’t let himhear you say that, you’ll destroy his ego. He still thinks he’s ayoung man and a catch for young women like you. Let’s be real here,Jimmie’s nothing like your dad, more like your granddad or yourgreat granddad if we’re going to be completely honest with eachother.”
“You’reawful.”
The nursewalked out of the room and walked over to the nursing stationwithout speaking to us and the waiting game started all over again,but not for long. John continued to pace the floor. Two members ofthe hospital security staff came around the corner and made theirway towards us. One was a tall severe looking skinny guy, the othera short stocky, if not overweight female with red out-of-controlhair and a big smile. I was happy to see them. I spoke to Johnagain before leaving.
“You’re in goodhands John. Call me when you leave. If you don’t get a reply, leavea message for me telling me where to find you. Zoe and I will comeand get you, take you out for a burger and a milkshake. Okay?”
“Okay Sam.You’re like my family now. My big brother. I never had a bigbrother before.” He was smiling through bad teeth. I caught a whiffof his ghastly breath and couldn’t get the taste out of my mouth. Ialmost told him to buy a new toothbrush and toothpaste with themoney I’d given him, but stopped myself.
As he began towalk away with his security team I clapped him on the back, “Seeyou soon brother.”
He was allsmiles as he walked off down the corridor, periodically glancingover his shoulder, before disappearing out of sight around thecorner of the adjacent corridor.
Zoe reached upand slapped me on the back. “Good job, partner. Let’s go get awell-deserved coffee.”
“Good jobyourself partner. Would you like a blueberry muffin to go withthat?”
“Funny guy.I’ll meet you at our usual watering hole.”
 
 
Chapter Two
 
Another dayshift over as I parked my old Chevy Caprice Classic in the condounderground. Annie was getting ready for nights when I walkedthrough the door. She turned and looked at me, a smile creepingacross her face.
“Put thefucking knife down? Well, that certainly got everyone’s attention,in fact it’s all over the news. And as for, ‘I’ll shoot you in theballs,’ that’s different. Some are hailing you as a hero, others,as a thug in uniform.”
“What’s yourtake on it Miss Greyeyes?”
“Sam, I knowyou. Swearing doesn’t come naturally to you, neither does losingyour temper. I know it was all play acting, and it worked. Nobodygot hurt. In my eyes, it’s all good. Mind you, I’m biased.” My cellphone rang, it was Jimmie.
“Heads up bigguy, the inspector wants your head on a silver platter. Actsurprised and look concerned. I have it on good authority he’sgoing to call you into his office tomorrow morning before parade. Alittle bird told me he’s going to charge you with discreditableconduct. Professional Standards has the papers ready. He’ll serveyou with them tomorrow. Apparently he wants forty-eight hours offyou, that’s if you take an early resolution and plead guilty ...You still there?”
“I’m hereJimmie. I’m trying to control a homicidal urge not to rip thatcoward’s head off. Got any advice?”
“Two pieces.One, keep your cool. By that I mean, don’t rip his head off oranything else for that matter. Two. Don’t take any deals. Think ofa polite way of telling him to shove it up his ass. You did a greatjob today Sam, I’m proud of you. Sergeant Wells went to bat foryou, but got told to leave the inspector’s office before he gotcharged with insubordination. Don’t worry, it’ll all blowover.”
“Thanks Jimmiefor the call. You in tomorrow?”
“Wouldn’t missit for the world. I come to work every day because I love it somuch and can’t get enough of it. I don’t really need themoney.”
“You missedyour vocation in life Jimmie. You should have been a stand-upcomic, especially with that Irish accent of yours.”
Annie wasn’tsmiling anymore. “I presume another visit to that assholeinspector’s office?”
“Yep.”
“Promise me youwon’t lose your temper and punch him out.”
“I won’t losemy temper, but I can’t promise not to punch him out.”
“Sam, whenyou’re standing in his office, think of me.”
“I don’t thinkthat’s a good idea Annie. I don’t want to be standing in front ofhim with an erection. If that happens, he’ll think I’m reallypleased to see him.”
Annie shook herhead in slight annoyance. “Everything has to be a joke with youdoesn’t it. Can’t you be serious for a change?”
“Nope.”
“Sam, I’mbeginning to think you’ve got a screw loose, either that or yourwiring’s screwed up.”
“Wiring problemI think.”
“It wouldn’t beyou otherwise would it. I guess that’s why I love you.”
“You be safeout there tonight Annie. I’ll keep my phone with me if you have aproblem. Don’t forget, when the shit hits the fan, OIV.”
“I know,Overwhelming, Incapacitating Violence. Guys have got the initialsprinted on their lockers. The Brass are still trying to work outwhat it stands for. Okay I better get going.”
“I’ll walk youdown and then head out for a run, just give me a second to changequickly.”
The two of uswalked down to the underground parking lot, Annie in her civvies,kitbag in hand, me in my running gear. No cop who truly understoodthe meaning of officer safety, ever traveled to and from work inhalf blues. Even I wouldn’t do that. Despite my size, skills andtraining. There’s a reason bulletproof vests are not made out offlesh and bone. In a crowded place you could get stabbed and noteven know who your assailant was. No radio, no gun, no other use offorce options. Those that wore half blues had that mistaken, It’ll never happen to me mentality.
Annie got intoher white Ford Explorer, this year’s model. I kissed her throughthe open driver’s window and jogged up the ramp after her. Onequick horn blast, a wave and she was gone.
I had a goodrun. I wouldn’t call running or jogging healthy in a city, that’swhy Annie and I liked to get away to my reserve in Port Albert orto hers up near Buckhorn. Fresh air, lakes, trees and wide openspaces. After a hot shower I sat down at the kitchen table and atemy dinner, listening to my favourite CBC radio show, Unreserved while sipping on a glass of red wine.
I’m one ofthose lucky people that don’t stress over coming events, like mymeeting with the inspector in the morning. I look at it this way,if I couldn’t do anything about it at the time, then there’s nopoint in getting upset about it. Might as well put it out of mymind and face it when the time comes. I always sleep better thatway. But I knew the inspector would be fretting about it. He wasn’ttruly convinced in his own mind that I wouldn’t drag him out of hischair, across his desk and hurl him out the door then kick his assdown the hallway. I knew one thing though, for some reason he had areal hate on for me. I figured he got pleasure from pushing arounda man that towered over him and could pick him up and use him as atoothpick. He had positional power. In his case, vindictive,spiteful and petty. Probably got bullied a lot at school. Probablygot wedgied a lot at school too.
 
* * *
 
By the time Ileft for work, Annie was still fighting crime on the streets ofPickering, her night shift almost over. We weren’t one of thoseinsecure couples that had to keep calling or texting each otherwith mundane messages. If Annie and I needed to contact oneanother, it was for good reason. Front line policing requires youto be focused. Lives may depend on it. You can’t save anybody ifyour mind is elsewhere.
As usual, themood in the locker room was upbeat and comical. Night shift goinghome and day shift coming on. One of the night shift guys wastrying to get his pants on, only to find one of his trouser legshad a knot tied in it. Another guy was frantically trying to get awire coat hanger off his padlocked locker, the wire wound tightaround it. Boys will be boys, but it was all meant in good humourand everyone took it that way. It was always better not toinstigate a practical joke, because, once started, they took on alife of their own. Very rarely did they get out of hand, but ifthey did, they stopped being funny. They became dangerous. You justhad to know where to draw the line.
I felt sorryfor the guy struggling to remove the wire so he could at least getinto his locker. I took out my multi-tool, and in no time had thething cut loose.
“Sam, you’re alifesaver. I bet it was that cocksucker, Fitz.”
“Not me buddy,”came the call from across the other side of the locker room. “TryMarco. No not him, I think he did the pants thing.”
I looked acrossat Marco, who was grinning from ear to ear.
As the nightshift departed, shouts of, Have a safe shift. Be safe out thereyou guys , echoed out the door and down the hallway. Day shiftcalling out, Hurry back you guys! The Brotherhood. You hadto be a cop to understand it. Not just any cop, a Street Cop.Reminded me a bit of the military. The brotherhood on the frontline in combat was far deeper, policing didn’t come close. But,that feeling of camaraderie was there all the same. It was whatseparated us from civilians. Naturally I received a lot ofgood-humored ribbing from the guys about the previous shift’sevents.
Big Dave, whowas actually five-six, tall for an Oriental, remarked, “Way to goSam, once word gets out on the street about cops shooting you inthe balls, suicides by cop are gonna go way down. Yeah, drop theknife motherfucker or I’ll blow your balls off.”
Then Jimmierolled in, hung over from a night of hard drinking. “Okay, keep thenoise down guys, will ya? My head feels like it’s being crushed ina vice.”
“Maybe youshould take a Breathalyser before you drive your cruiser Jimmie.”Jimmie turned and glared at Big Dave. “Only joking. You need adriver today, I’ll drive you.”
Sergeant Wellswas unusually subdued for parade. Maybe he and Jimmie had gone on adrinking binge together. Not unheard of for the two of them, but Ididn’t think so. He looked across at me.
“Good jobyesterday everybody, especially you Sam. I’m afraid the inspectorsees it differently. He wants to see you in his office immediatelyafter parade. I think I should be in there with you Sam, if that’sokay with you?” I nodded. “Please, please keep your cool and don’tdo anything you’ll regret. I’ve got the ETF on stand-by in case yougo postal.” For a minute I thought he was serious. Then he lookedacross at Zoe Martinez. “Zoe, partner up with Jimmie today, he’sunder the weather and make sure you do all the driving. Jimmie,don’t go anywhere near the inspector’s office today.” He tossed abag of breath mints across the parade table towards Jimmie. “Everytime you have to stop and talk to a member of the public, make sureyou take one of these.” Then he slid a large roll of Scotch tapeacross the table to Zoe. “Failing that, tape his mouth shut.” Theroom erupted into laughter.
Jimmie wasgetting close to retirement. He didn’t want to take a sick day.Unlike the new guys, Jimmie was going to get a huge payout when heretired, from all the sick days he’d accumulated. He was no fooleither. This morning he had his wife drive him into work. She wouldhave nagged the hell out of him all the way. No wonder he had aheadache. He was lucky Sergeant Wells was a good friend of his,anyone else would have sent him home, unfit for duty.
The cheapblinds covering the inspector’s office window were open, though theblinds were down. I could see the inspector sitting behind his deskand two plain clothes officers standing in front. One a woman, theother a man. Both from Professional Standards. They were both intheir early forties. The woman had a hairdo that reminded me of anumbrella bird, from the rainforests of Central and South America.Only the umbrella bird is a beautiful creature. She wasn’t.
Sergeant Wellsknocked on the door.
“Enter.”
We stood toattention in our familiar positions, me on the left of my sergeant.The games began. The inspector looking down at papers on his desk,failing deliberately to make eye contact with us. The female stoodto my left, the male detective to the right of Sergeant Wells. Ilooked around the room to see if he’d been awarded any more plaquesfor community involvement, such as tossing hamburgers at some localschool with the community cops and school liaison officers. No,nothing new. I was disappointed. There was a new and biggerphotograph of his family, wife and two kids. Older now. He shouldhave kept the original photograph, the new one made his wife lookeven more like a bible thumper.
“These twodetectives are from Professional Standards, Detective Guber,” helooked towards the female, “and Detective Borthwick.” Guber hadthin mean looking lips. Borthwick was tall and slim with a pencilmoustache and flashy suit and tie. I knew what was coming. Theinspector didn’t disappoint me.
“You are adisgrace to this police service! How dare you behave in a publicplace in the same way you, and the rest of them, behave in theconstables’ locker room. Threatening to shoot a member of thepublic with mental health issues in the balls, and shouting, dropthe fff.” He just couldn’t bring himself to say, fucking. “Knife.Your conduct was discreditable, an absolute blemish on the goodname of this service. Furthermore, you should have charged himcriminally, that’s neglect of duty. I intend to make it my mission,my personal mission to have you fired.”
“With respectInspector.”
“SergeantWells, you are merely here as an observer. Any interference by youand I will insist you remove yourself from my office, before youget yourself into hot water as well.”
I glanced downto my right and saw my sergeant visibly stiffen. I squeezed his armin a gesture of solidarity and said, “It’s okay Sergeant. Take thesame advice you gave me.” He relaxed, slightly. He was pissed.
The inspectorcontinued. “Detectives Gruber and Borthwick have reviewed thetelevision footage shot at the time of this outrageous incident andhave determined that a discreditable conduct charge under thePolice Services Act be laid against you Constable, and Iwholeheartedly concur with their findings. I am seeking a penaltyof forty-eight hours against you. You will report to this stationon your time off, without pay until you have worked off thosehours. If you do not accept this, a more severe penalty will besought, namely one hundred and twenty hours. If you plead guiltythis morning, the lesser penalty will be incurred. Otherwise I’llsee you at the Police Act trial.”
“Sir, I’ve hadsome medical training in the Canadian Special Forces. I’ve noticedover the past six months that you appear to have developed a slighttwitch. Nothing too discernable, especially to the untrained eye.I’m very worried that you might be in the early stages ofParkinson’s disease. You ought to have it checked, for your ownpiece of mind.” I turned towards the family portrait, “Especiallyfor your family’s peace of mind.”
He took thebait and went silent, the shadow of fear and eventual death brieflycrossed his face, until he gained his composure. It was a mostsatisfying moment. Sergeant Wells appeared to have stoppedbreathing. Given time, I would break him. I hadn’t just hammeredanother nail into his coffin, but at least half a dozen. He wasspeechless. Detective Guber came to his aid.
“Constable, Isuggest you tread very carefully, as it is you are on very thinice. It won’t take my colleague and I very long to add, insubordination to the growing list of charges.”
My cell phonerang in my pocket. Not waiting to be told to turn it off, Ianswered it. It was John William Emery.
“John how areyou?” I put my hand over the phone and addressed the inspector.“Excuse me sir, it’s the young man I apprehended yesterday underthe MHA. I should talk to him ... That’s good John, I’m glad you’refeeling better … Don’t worry, I’ll meet you when you come out ...Yes, I’ll make sure Zoe’s with me ... That’s okay John, you don’tneed to thank me. Would you like to speak to my inspector, he’ssitting right here with me?”
The inspectorreacted as though I was handing him a rattlesnake instead of acellphone, squirming in his chair and mouthing, “No, no, I don’twant to talk to him.” I grabbed his hand, and after a briefstruggle, on his part, I forced him to take the phone. Borthwicktried to intervene, but Sergeant Wells blocked him. Guber came infrom my left and mysteriously bounced off my left shoulder.Inspector Althoff held the phone as though he had a vicious rat inhis hand that was trying to bite him. Gingerly he held it up to hisear.
“Hello. Hello,is anyone there? … That’s good Mister er … Emery … I wouldn’t gothat far, Toronto is full of fine officers, the majority far moreprofessional than Constable Stephens … I can’t agree with you thereMr. Emery ... He wants to talk to you.” I took the phone from theinspector.
“John, I’d likeyour advice on something. The inspector wants to take forty-eighthours off me. It means I have to work for free for those hours …It’s a punishment John. If I fight it and lose, they’ll take twicethat off me. What do you think I should do? … I’ll tell him. ThanksJohn. I’ll be seeing you.” I watched as the inspector’s face wentfrom a pale grey, to pink and then red. “John says I should tellyou to shove it up your ass, Inspector. His words not mine. So Iguess I’ll see you all at the Police Act trial. Was there anythingelse Inspector? I have a busy day ahead of me protecting thepublic.”
He grabbed somepapers off his desk and thrust them at me. “You’re served, sign thepapers and get out.” I glared at him. “Very well, refused to sign.”He scratched it on the paper with his pen and signed below it.
“Inspector,”said Detective Guber. “Before you hand Stephens those papers, may Isuggest adding a further charge of, insubordination.” She spat theword out as though it was a contagious piece of phlegm stuck at theback of her throat. “As you know sir, insubordination means, byacts, words or gestures. I think everything that happened from themoment he answered his cellphone, to this moment, encompasses thatsection perfectly.” Inspector Althoff grinned.
“Add it,Detective Guber, and thank you.” He looked up. “Dismissed.” Iremained standing as Sergeant Wells turned to leave. “What are youwaiting for man? Get out!”
“I’m sorryInspector, I thought you were speaking to the two detectives.” Iput my forage cap on and in full military style, saluted crisply,stomping my foot down hard, did an about turn and marched out ofhis office as my sergeant held the door, smiling.
Sergeant Wellsreached up and patted me on the back, unconcerned that InspectorAlthoff was watching through the window.
“Come on Sam,let’s get breakfast. I’ll meet you at Callaghan’s Restaurant.Jimmie will already be sitting there with young Zoe. My treat anddon’t argue.”
 
* * *
 
The followingweek I got my revised disciplinary papers served on me. Annie and Iwere on different shift patterns, she was on twelve-hour shifts;two days on, followed by two nights then four days off, whereas myshifts were ten hour days for seven days, then five off, ten hourevening shifts then five off, followed by the dreaded eight hournights for seven nights then three days off. Our days off coincidedat last. Time well spent together. Time to forget about work.Quality time. That was the good thing about uniform patrol ascompared to the detective office. At the end of the shift, we’dpark our cruisers and go home. No work pagers or cellphones to callus back in like the plain clothes guys. Other than extendedovertime following an arrest near the end of shift, our time wasour own.
 
* * *
 
It was earlyafternoon when she walked in through the front door and sashayed upto the front counter. I happened to be passing through as she camein. Tall, leggy, early thirties, exotic looking. Her dark hair tiedback in a ponytail. Red-pleated skirt, above the knee, but not tooshort. Still classy. White-frilly blouse, gold necklace,gold-hooped earrings. Red lipstick on sensuous looking lips. Redhigh heels to match her skirt. All high-end clothing. Definitely aten. Drop-dead gorgeous. She asked Larry, the front desk constableif she could speak to Inspector Althoff. French accent. Montreal.Testosterone and blood pressures were going through the roof.Uniform guys and plain clothes officers appeared from out of thewoodwork. Even the cleaner came by to take a look. It was all soobvious and she knew it. She looked up and smiled at us. I heardone of the guys actually groan behind me. Larry was still staring,speechless. Cops are such pigs. Finally he picked up the phone anddialed the inspector’s extension. A faint hint of her expensiveperfume wafted across the room. I knew the scent. I’d smelled itbefore.
When theinspector came out of his office to see her, he did something I’dnever seen him do before. He smiled, maybe he was leering at her,but from where I was standing I thought he was smiling. He wascertainly giving her his best knicker-elastic melting smile. Ashort conversation, then she placed her hand on his arm as heescorted her back to his office. Once inside he closed the door andshut the blinds. It was an uplifting experience. Some of theperverts actually went outside to see what car she might be drivingin the hope of running her plate. Illegal and most unprofessional.As I said, cops are such pigs. It would be a rental anyway, I wascertain of that.
 
* * *
 
I was and Iwasn’t looking forward to night shift. Though they were only eighthours compared to tens, they were still exhausting. Zoe Martinezand I were partnered up as usual. My new steady partner. When wefirst started out together, she was surprised that I let her drive.Male cops in general like to be in charge, they like to drive. Me,I prefer not to drive, I like being chauffeured around, besides,with all the hours cops are driving, more chance of an accident anda ticket, possibly even an SIU investigation. The SpecialInvestigations Unit, a civilian body independent of the policecreated to investigate incidents of serious injury, death orallegations of sexual assault involving a police officer. Many ofthe investigators are ex-cops, retired from homicide units, atleast from some investigative background. Like all organizations,there are good ones and there are bad ones. An organization nottrusted by the rank and file police officer. A feeling among usthat decisions were made based on the flavour of the day, what thepolitical landscape was like at the time. A feeling that, Haven’t charged anybody lately, better charge this one, appeasethe public, make the left-wing bleeding hearts happy. It wasn’tlong before Zoe reminded me of the rules. “I drive, I operate thecomputer and I answer the radio. All you need to do is to sit thereand look pretty.”
“Sounds good tome. Wake me up when it’s time to go home Miss Martinez.” I don’tthink I’d ever met any human being that loved life as much aslittle Miss Zoe Martinez. Her outgoing pleasant attitude wasinfectious. She was a cute little thing, very bright, hardworking,but above all, compassionate. I liked that in a cop. In a violentbar brawl, look out, you’d see another side of her, she’d be inthere alongside the rest of us, throwing what little weight she hadaround.
“I like workingwith you Sam.”
“Can’t thinkwhy.”
“You never comeon to me and complicate things.”
“Would you likeme to?”
“Don’t be anass.”
“Glad we gotthat settled. Where to now?”
“They want usto head over to the east side. A small child was seen wanderingalong Eastwood Road near St. John’s Cemetery.”
“Where is henow?”
“The callersaid she can’t see him from her balcony anymore and doesn’t want togo outside to look for him. It’s getting dark outside and shedoesn’t feel safe on her own.”
“Can’t blameher for that, better to have one victim than two. I’d step on it ifI were you. Better to have no victims at all, assuming you don’trun down some little old lady on her way out to the corner store tobuy some milk, or worse, a procession of nuns on their way toconfession.”
“You have apeculiar sense of humour Sam, you know that don’t you.”
“Annie tells methe same thing all the time.”
We both saw twoelderly nuns walking along the sidewalk on Kingston Road and burstout laughing.
“What wouldthey have to confess anyway Sam?”
“Themistreatment of my people in residential schools for one.”
“Okay,” shesaid slowly. “Moving right along.”
Within tenminutes we arrived outside the northwest corner of the cemetery.Zoe pulled the big Ford smoothly into the curb and parked outsidean empty house in the process of being renovated. We got out andlistened. Nothing but the constant noise of city traffic, the soundof a radio blaring. Some inconsiderate tenant who thought we mightall like to listen to some classic 1970’s rock band. All wasforgiven, Bad Moon Rising by my favourite all-time band,Creedence Clearwater Revival .
“Come on, playthat louder buddy. You can’t play CCR with the volume turned down.Crank that up man.”
Zoe looked upat me and shook her head. “You are definitely something else SamStephens.”
“I used to playCCR all the time in the military, a different song for a differentoccasion. Timeless Zoe. They don’t make music like thatanymore.”
I thought aboutmy cabin on the outskirts of Bancroft and longed for the peace andtranquility of the Canadian wilderness. Annie knew I had it, butdidn’t know where it was. I had not as yet shared it with her. Itcontained some sensitive equipment. Probably better she didn’t knowtoo much about it. Safer that way. I felt guilty about it, I didn’tlike keeping secrets from her. Relationships are fickle things.
“Poor littlefellow’s lost,” I said. “Probably run himself into exhaustion,sobbing quietly somewhere. Frightened the bogeyman is going to gethim.”
“When he seesyou, he’ll scream for sure,” replied Zoe.
I looked acrossthe road at two six-foot high chain-link gates, padlocked togetherwith a piece of chain. Three strands of barbed wire ran looselyalong the top. The chain-link fence encircled this side of thecemetery. The gates no longer closed properly, forming a triangleat the bottom, then touching halfway up, where the two gates cametogether. The gap at the bottom, small enough for a small child tocrawl through, but nobody any bigger. Not even little Zoe could getthrough that gap.
“Maybe he wentthrough that gap between the gates. What do you think Sam?” Inodded in agreement, seeing a tiny dark coloured piece of lintclinging to the lower half of the left-hand gate.
Then itappeared. The perfect, friendliest child finder. An old guy waswalking a beagle dog towards us, no longer a puppy, but not old,unlike his owner. It was getting dark, the graveyard did not lookinviting, not that graveyards look inviting, but some of thoserural ones with the old white clapboard churches on them lookpretty nice.
As the manapproached I bent down to pet his dog, its tail wagging likecrazy.
“His name’sSpencer,” said the old guy. “Loves people, especially kids.”
“Can I borrowhim for ten minutes or so? We have a lost child somewherenearby.”
“Sure, if youthink it’ll help.”
The leash wastoo short for what I needed. I opened the trunk of the cruiser andtook out a bundle of yellow plastic rope, opened the driver’s doorand lifted out the rubber floor mat.
“What are yougoing to do with that mat,” asked Zoe.
“You’llsee.”
I placed themat on top of the barbed wire strands to the left of the gates,adjacent to the sturdy upright pole that I knew would have beencemented deep into the ground for strength. To stop the mat fallingoff the wire I took out the piece of nylon rope I always carried inmy pocket and tied it around the mat and around the wire. Grabbingthe upright pole at the top I vaulted over the fence into thecemetery.
“Got to protectthe crown jewels Zoe.”
“Don’t botheron my account,” she laughed.
The old guypassed Spencer through the gap in the gates and I attached theplastic rope to the leash. Zoe and the old guy stood by the gateswaiting. Two cruisers were already on their way to the child’shouse to gather more information and conduct a search of the houseand gardens. Often a missing child turned up hiding inside thehouse. Whether the child had been abducted or not, we needed to actquickly. One of the biggest killers was already lurking out thereunseen. Hypothermia.
Spencer sniffedaround near the gap in the gates, tail wagging, pacing back andforth, but not yet committed. Then suddenly he was like afour-legged rocket, racing across the grass in and out ofheadstones. The place was a lot bigger than I thought. Dark anduninviting, the dog sniffing the ground like crazy. Sometimes thedog would stop, sniff the ground, look up and take off again, neverfollowing a straight path. It was probably a fox or a raccoon, butmaybe a three-year old named Tyler Wilson, who was not replying tohis name being called.
“Find himSpencer, find him. Good boy, that’s it.” We were off running again.The dog was good, like he was on a mission.
“You better notbe leading me on a wild goose chase Spencer, not if you want thatbag of expensive dog cookies, that is.”
We were so farin now, I began to wonder about finding my way out again. Thatwould be embarrassing. I looked over my shoulder. Darkness, no signof Zoe and the old guy, except for the movement of her flashlight.Then the dog began barking with excitement and pulled even harder.I scanned the tombstones for what I hoped would be the toddler. Alarge raccoon scurried away not thirty-feet in front of us. Myheart sank.
“Forget itSpencer. Not your fault.”
He wouldn’tstop pulling, past the track where the raccoon had gone. Focused.Off leash I would never have been able to catch up with him. It wastoo risky to let him go. I had no desire to return and tell the oldguy I’d lost his dog. Spencer began barking, yelping withexcitement at something I couldn’t see. And there, at the foot of alichen-covered tombstone lay a small boy, either asleep or dead. Istayed where I was and let the rope out gently. The dog was pullingso hard he was almost choking. I let him go as far as the boy’sbare legs, the little dog began licking them. I let the rope outfarther. Spencer began sniffing the boy’s bear bottom then histummy, his stained Superman T-shirt was all he was wearing.
I moved closerto the small body on the ground. No sign of blood. No visible signsof trauma from what I could see, but I hadn’t turned the body overyet. I was now towering over the toddler, looking for other signsof human activity near the body, like fresh footprints in the dampgrass. There were none. I wound the rope around another headstoneto secure Spencer, while I took a closer look at the tiny form onthe ground. He was a good dog. He sat and wagged his tail. Verypleased with himself.
I got on theradio and gave the dispatcher my location. “Have an ambulanceattend my location a.s.a.p. I’ve found the child, but cannot yetassess signs of life. Constable Martinez will be at the entrance tothe graveyard to assist.”
Copy that. Doyou require any other units?
“Send cruisersto all the entrances as a precaution, if you have any unitsavailable that is.”
Copy that.Ambulance en route. ETA fifteen minutes.
I stared at thelifeless body on the ground, willing its tiny chest to rise andfall, just like a couple with their first new born would have done.Nothing. Then I moved in closer, cognizant that I might be kneelingin a crime scene. I placed the palm of my right hand on thetoddler’s tiny chest. It was still warm, then I bent low, turned myhead to one side and listened.
A tiny barefoot shot up and caught the side of my nose. It was a good kick. Ipicked the bundle up in my arms and held him close against mychest. He began to wriggle, opened his eyes briefly and went backto sleep. I could hear sirens approaching in the distance.
“You can tellthe paramedics to slow down. The little guy’s breathing.”
Copythat. Hard to believe that with just those two words, you couldhear the dispatcher’s voice breaking with relief.
I carried TylerWilson back to the chain-link gates. I could hear the sound of theambulance’s siren as it raced towards us. Spencer walked just aheadof us on a shorter reign, he seemed more erect, head held high,proud of himself I guess, and so he should be.
“That’s youngTyler,” said the old guy. “No wonder Spencer went looking for him,they’re best buddies.”
That wasprobably the only reason the dog went in search of his friend. Anuntrained dog would have just stood there wondering what all thefuss was about and wanting to get on with the walk. Spencer wasn’texactly following the boy’s scent, though as he got closer that wasprobably true as it had been back at the gates, where the child hadrubbed his little body against the fence, climbing through the gap.Spencer was smelling the crushed grass where the boy had walked, itwould have given off a scent that was different to the surroundinggrass. To the dog, the path might just as well have beenilluminated. Small insects and beetles the boy had trodden on,would give off a scent as well. All leading to Tyler Wilson.
As aprecaution, the paramedics whisked Tyler off to the hospital, Zoeand I followed on to ensure the child was okay and there was noreason to commence a criminal investigation from anything thatmight be found by the doctor and nurses. Zoe got the old guy’sinformation. She insisted on being the one to buy the dog hisfavourite treats. The boy’s parents were already going to drop offa large bottle of scotch for their old neighbour. Turned out,someone forgot to close the front door properly and like a littleterrier off the leash for the first time, Tyler made good hisescape.

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