A Cafe For Authors and Avid Readers
It's especially poignant when a story I wrote for the NaNoWriMo in 2015 gets published 10 months later.
No, I did not win last year but the very fact that I published it this weekend is special. to me.
So here it is, without further ado.
Excerpt Chapter 1
43 DIVISION DAYROOM.
JULY 20, 2015
Three days after I had been stripped of my Sgt. Badge. I was sitting in the ready room awaiting reassignment after the roll call and announcements. There I was, away from my usual squad. I knew no one. This could be a good thing, as no one knew me and what I had just gone through. I had been lucky they didn't outright fire me and send me to jail, but I was in professional purgatory just the same. There wasn't enough evidence to say conclusively whether I had or had not been dealing the drugs, they found in my Crown Victoria. My captain, however, had no choice but to rescind my sergeant status and to reassign me back to patrol officer for no less than six months. I was back to issuing speeding tickets and jaywalk summons. I would have to work my way back up and re-earn the badge.
This pissed me off more than ever, as I had worked my ass off to get that badge and earn the respect of my fellow detectives. Someone on the vice squad had seen fit to put me in my place. I was determined to find out who the asshat was and serve him his junk on a platter and force him to choke it down at gunpoint. No one throws me under the bus and gets away with it that easily. I had been decidedly screwed over. The person responsible should've at least bought me dinner before raping me professionally. Just thinking about it made me want to cry all over again.
The day I was called up in front of the Disciplinary Board, my former partner was there to hold my hand as I gave my report of the events that had transpired. Craig testified in my defense, but the representative from Internal Affairs made it sound like Craig was just saying good things to get a piece of tail. My union rep ripped a few strips off his butt for that, and the panel ignored IA's comments. Craig wanted to pummel his ass but held back for my sake. I daresay if Craig ever runs into that guy again outside of work, he won't be so lucky.
My former partner Craig was still behind me all the way. The other guys, not so much. They still believed the crap they been told. That I was dirty and as much as they couldn't prove it, it stuck in everybody's mind. In a way, I was glad to be out of there. At least temporarily I would avoid the sneers and the trash talking behind my back.
As I sat awaiting roll call, I noticed another new recruit standing by the coffee machine. I thought of going over there to warn him against drinking that swill. Why not let him find out the hard way? The coffee here was only marginally better than it had been at 22 division. The donuts, on the other hand, were as bad if not worse and could be used as hockey pucks for the NHL. Surely the Maple Leafs couldn't do any worse.
The other police officer came and sat down beside me as it was the only chair left. He introduced himself. "The name’s Nigel Holmes, what's yours?"
I wanted to laugh but held back. "Would you believe Kristen Sherlock?"
He gave a chuckle. "Ha! Imagine that Sherlock Holmes together again. Tell me, sweetie, what's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?"
I groaned. “First of all, that's the most used and cheesiest line there is; you need new material. Secondly, I was transferred from the 22 division out here for six months. It's a long story, so don't get me started right now. I'm still a little bit raw over the whole transfer thing. What about you?
"Well as you can tell by my accent, I'm not exactly from around here. I've been sent over here from Manchester, UK. Apparently, I pissed off the powers that be enough to exile me from Mother England. Again, they've got me for six months so they may as well use me to the best of my ability. I thought I was coming over to join the detective squad, but I just learned that I could be riding in a patrol car. Chasing down speeders and the like. What fun is that?"
"Nice to meet you, Holmes." I shook his hand.
Just then the brass walked in to get the meeting started.
"Before we begin roll call, I have a few announcements. Joining us today are a new transfer from 22 division Constable Kristen Sherlock. Sherlock will be with us for the next six months. Joining her is Constable Nigel Holmes all the way from merry old England.
"Constable Holmes is here to learn how we do things in Canada. So let's give him a warm welcome and show him how to do it up right."
Captain Taggart instructed the desk sergeant to call roll and issue car assignments. Holmes and I were called at the last. "I am putting Sherlock and Holmes together. Sherlock you're driving until Mr. Holmes can get his Canadian license and learn to drive on the right side of the road." Everyone laughed at this, but us.
My old captain, Mike Williams called me aside. “Sherlock, I'm sorry to stick you with the newbie, but I'm quite confident that you can show him the ropes. Just wait here, Sherlock, Taggart and I need to talk to Sgt. Holmes for a few minutes. After that, I'll have someone give you both a tour of the precinct.”
I nodded in response as they retreated to a meeting room.
~ ~ ~ ~
Captains Taggart and Williams sat down with Nigel Holmes.
Captain Taggart spoke first, “You understand why you're here, don't you Constable Holmes?"
“Well, I was under the impression that I would be a detective here and learn new skills. Apparently, that's not the case.”
Captain Williams continued where the other man left off. "Well that's just it, Constable you been stripped of that title, at least for now. Once we feel that you've got a feel for the place and have proven yourself capable of doing the job without screwing up, you will be permitted to take the Sgt.'s exam with all the rest of the officers. We know about your infractions overseas. Your Chief Inspector sent a full report.”
Captain Taggart spoke again, "You're going to have to earn your stripes like everyone else does."
Holmes put on his game face and replied. "Okay, fine, I can do that." He was respectful as he didn't want to rattle any chains, at least not just yet. "Just what am I restricted to Captain?"
Captain Williams stated, “You will do everything the other constables do - traffic control, issuing tickets and jaywalking infractions. You are to follow the lead of your partner. We're teaming you up with Sherlock. She's a good officer and will hopefully keep you in line."
Holmes took the opportunity to lighten the situation. "What did she do to get stuck with the likes of me?"
The two Captains looked at each other, and Williams responded, “It will be up to her to tell you what happened."
"So she is doing penance for something." Holmes thought aloud.
Taggart answered in an irritated tone, “Like I said, Constable, it's Sherlock's story to tell you."
Williams went on to take up the next topic, “If we find that you're not keeping up, we have the choice to dismiss. Any serious infractions like brutality will not be tolerated."
"We do recommend that you study Canadian police procedures, as well as getting your Canadian driver’s license as soon as possible." Captain Taggart interjected.
Holmes nodded in agreement. Resigned to his fate, he said, "Okay, sounds good."
Taggart added. "If you have any questions, simply ask Sherlock or me. We are more than happy to have you on board. Don't think of this as a punishment but as a learning experience. You'll get along a lot better if you leave the chip on your shoulder at the door when you come in here. Play ball and we will all get along fine."
Holmes nodded and shook the men's hands. "Thanks for the opportunity to redeem myself, Sirs. They could've just cut me off at the knees and let me sink over there."
Williams chuckled. "Well any cock-ups as you guys would say over there, and we will put you on the first flight back, and they can deal with you. Now let's go give you and Sherlock a tour of the place and get you a squad car."
By that time the detectives had arrived and the officers had subdued the crowd somewhat. I introduced myself to Detective Butcher and explained the situation to him. "There's an officer over there protecting the dead bodies. There seem to be about three of them.”
He thanked me and then looked at Holmes. "And who might you be?" Holmes gave him his name. Then he looked at both of us. "Sherlock and Holmes. You two are joking, right?"
I shook my head. "No, unfortunately, we're not."