1995, Crime, Excerpt, Suspense
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Call of Duty: A Cop’s Tale | An Excerpt

{ 959-word excerpt }

Before he made any attempt at action, Officer Bernie Reed sat in his cruiser and waited for Officer Taylor Guerrero to arrive at the scene, which was procedure.  Unlike the police officers seen on most television cop shows, metro patrolmen and patrolwomen rode alone in their department cruisers, yet still partnered up on shared areas of a particular beat.  Also, unlike the cops in those television shows, real cops often do not run sirens blaring with their cherries and blueberries flashing en route to a scene.  The goal was to catch perpetrators, not send the scurrying for safe cover.

When Officer Guerrero arrived, she stepped out of her department sedan and met him midway to the sidewalk that led to the urban residence.  Bernie noticed that the morning sunlight had accentuated Guerrero’s half-Latin features—her long, wavy brown hair, caramel skin, and deep brown eyes

“As always, perfect timing,” she said.

“The art of convenience is a trait that’s inbred in criminals, didn’t you know?” Reed said with more sincerity than sarcasm.

Guerrero’s lips formed something that was almost the complete opposite of a smile.  She said, “This better be worth me being late.”

He knew she was anxious to get the shift over with so that she could see her young son before his aunt carted him off to kindergarten.  First Watch was a tough shift to work for a single mother.

Officers Reed and Guerrero approached the rundown house that had certainly seen better days like most of the other houses on their beat.  Just before they reached the porch they heard a scream from inside, followed by the crashing of something made of glass against a wall.   The two officers continued their approach to the door, but with caution now.  Once on the porch they heard what sounded like a typical domestic conflict with the proverbial screaming and name-calling; typical of domestic disputes.   However, when they heard what sounded like the thud of a body slamming into a wall, they knew they had a serious situation.

Reed checked the door knob.  By the way it turned he assumed it was unlocked.  He should probably knock, but as the apparent struggle inside seemed to intensify, he scrubbed that option from his mind.

One.  .  .

Two.  .  .

Three.  .  .

Reed flung the door open.  “Police!”

He and Guerrero entered the house, greeted by the repugnant sight of a man—if, indeed society would deem him worthy of such a term—crouched above a woman with his fists balled and bloody.  He was a shirtless, roguish looking subject with long, brown, unwashed hair, a scraggly beard, and various tattoos decorating his bare chest and arms.  Reed sized him up to be approximately thirty years of age, maybe six-two and two-hundred pounds.  The tattoos were quite large and colorful, highly detailed and flashy.  The guy was a walking mural.  The woman, his wife, or whatever she was to him besides his apparent punching bag, lay on the living room floor just past the foyer, sobbing.  She bled from the nose and mouth from the apparent battering she had just taken from his ring-covered fists.  Her morning gown had been torn from the struggle, and bared one of her small, perky breasts.  The woman’s lengthy blonde hair had fanned around her head on the floor.  She looked like hell.  Self-conscious, she adjusted the robe to cover the exposed breast.

The shattering Reed and Guerrero had heard earlier looked to be the result of a ceramic lamp that somehow introduced itself to the living room wall.

The two officers stood in the small foyer, which connected to the living room. “Someone here call for us?” he inquired, though the answer was obvious.

Tattoo Guy—surprised to see the police in his home—rose anxiously from his victim and started to protest their intrusion.  “What the hell are you doing here?”

Guerrero said, “Just calm down, mister, and no one will get hurt.”

Reed heard Guerrero’s words fine, but he detected a hidden message in them.  Knowing a great deal about her background, he could only imagine how these domestic calls affected her.  He knew that as a young child Taylor Guerrero had been witness to her own mother being physically abused by her father, who had been an upstanding citizen on the outside world, and, most notably, a sober man, not the drunken stereotype that was expected to have routine volatile outbursts.  Bernie knew that on a basic human nature level, Guerrero was immediately put-off by Tattoo Guy and would have a major attitude toward him.

Neither officer had yet drawn their pistols, though Bernie had a feeling they would need to.   He was usually quite intuitive when it came to these situations.   It was like a latent talent of his to predict negative outcomes, though he was not a complete gloom-and-doom cynic.

The helpless woman sat up and very timidly scooted herself away from her abuser, toward the two police officers.

She yelled, “Get this bastard away from me!”  Her voice was hoarse and tears streamed down her reddened cheeks to mingle with the fast-clotting blood at the corner of her busted lips.

“Just be calm, ma’am” Reed advised.

“He’s a freak and he’s crazy!”

“Ma’am, please—”

“He’s just an ol’ meth head who puts his drugs before his family!”

Her husband, pointing at her, said, “You better shut your fuckin’ hole.”

“Enough!” Guerrero said.  She pointed at the woman, “You, calm down and stop yelling, and you…” she pointed at Tattoo Guy, “You just make sure you keep that stance and don’t go near her.”

Reed added, “We’d really rather not have to use any force, you understand?  So, please, just do what my partner suggested.”


Taken from a story originally written in 1995. The full story was previously featured in Local Heroes, a print anthology published in November 2011 by Static Movement, edited by Brandon L. Rucker. This sample is for electronic access and online archiving, and is intended for reading and reviewing purposes only – any other unauthorized use or dissemination is strictly prohibited.

This edition is copyright © 1995 – 2016 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.

Cover provided by Jessy Marie Roberts and is copyright © 2011.

brandonrucker.com | RuckerWrites | @RuckerWrites

Amazon | Smashwords

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