I got the idea to write this “short” story back in March when I was polishing up Duty to Protect. It’s a pivotal moment in Garren’s back story, and I wanted to flesh it out. I originally planned on putting it in a newsletter, but yeah. I haven’t figured out the newsletter thing. Mostly how to get the sign up form on the blog. So, I decided I’d share it here in installments. Each week, I’ll post a scene or two(depending on the length). Feedback is always welcome, although this is more for fun than publication.
Garren Alexander strode into the police station. His blue uniform shirt felt wilted from the summer heat. He was almost surprised his badge hadn’t melted out there. His partner walked in right behind him. He slapped Garren on the shoulder. “Pretty quiet out there today. Usually it’s a madhouse it gets this hot.”
It hadn’t seemed that quiet to him. Over the last eight hours, they’d had several traffic stops, a couple burglaries, and at least half a dozen assaults. That was quiet?
He’d been partnered with Wade Hellerman since he’d graduated from the Academy and joined the department just over a year before. He looked up to the older man, felt the need to prove himself to him. He still didn’t feel like he’d done that.
“Hey, Hell,” one of the officers called out to them.
His partner glanced up, his teeth flashing white against his darker skin. “Hey, Rosie.”
The other officer’s nameplate read Rosinsky, but Wade rarely called anyone by their actual name. He hadn’t come up with a nickname for Garren yet though.
“I’m going to get started on that paperwork, Wade”, he said, stepping away from his partner.
The man let out a booming laugh and slapped him on the back again. Garren was tall. He’d inherited his long, lanky build from his father. But, Wade was big and there was a lot of strength behind the move. It nearly sent Garren to the floor. “How many times I gotta tell you to call me Hell? Everyone else does. I’ve certainly raised enough of it.”
Garren shook his head, but he could feel his cheeks warm. “The paperwork, Wade.”
The man just laughed again. “You got a hot date or something, Gare Bear?” He grinned at the nickname.
Garren’s mouth twisted in distaste at it. “Seriously, Wade?”
And he laughed again. His partner did a lot of that. If he hadn’t gotten to know him better, he’d think the man didn’t take their job seriously. But, he did. Which was maybe why he made sure he laughed so much.
“Damn, Garren. A year on the job and you’re still so damn green. I thought the streets would have wiped that out of you by now.”
Garren just shook his head again and turned away. He had paperwork to file before he clocked out. His parents were expecting him at the ranch for dinner. He didn’t want to be late or his mother would worry. His sister would probably be out in the barn until dinner started and not even notice he was late. He started for the desk but stopped when Wade’s “oh shit” caught his attention.
“What is it?” He asked, noting that the man was watching a monitor playing a news report in the corner.
“That damn Jonah Wilkers just won’t shut up.”
Garren narrowed his eyes as he thought. The name sounded slightly familiar, but he couldn’t quite place why. He moved closer to the monitor as the news report flashed footage of the aftermath of a drive-by shooting. Then, back to a man in a well-pressed suit whose face was turning a darker shade of red. He remembered now.
“Idiot should have just laid low,” another officer commented.
The volume was turned low, but Garren had already heard the interview that morning. He had to agree the guy was an idiot. Of course, giving his witness statement to the police had been the right thing to do. So would testifying when it came to that. But, he should have laid low. As soon as the suspects saw this, they’d be after him.
It wasn’t his concern though. He had started to turn away then the desk sergeant set down the phone. “Alexander, get back here,” he called.
Garren spun on his heel and went back to the desk. “What is it, Sergeant?”
“You’re wanted up in the Commander’s office.”
Everything inside him went still. “Why?” He felt his hand tremble as he lifted it to tug on the collar of his shirt.
“Wasn’t privy to that, Officer Alexander. Just that you’re to get your ass up there.”
“Right,” Garren said with a nod. He felt like he was in a daze as he headed for the stairs. Had he done something? He couldn’t think of anything that would get him called up to the Commander’s office.
He felt a large hand come down gently on his shoulder. The concern he saw in Wade’s eyes didn’t help his nerves at all. “I’ll take care of that paperwork, kay?”
Garren just nodded again. He couldn’t stop his mind from racing as he headed up the stairs to the next level where the Patrol Bureau’s offices were located. Had he done something wrong? Sure he had a temper. But, he was never too rough when they took someone in. Well, there was that one time. But, the man they detained had been beating that poor girl nearly to death and had been as high as a kite. Rough was the only way to take him down.
That had been more than a month ago. He couldn’t be getting called out about it now. Could he? He couldn’t think of anything else he had done that would merit a call to the commander’s office. Until he reached the landing and remembered getting into a detective’s face on scene a couple days before. Shit. Wade had tore into him about that already. Was he going to hear about it again?
His stomach was twisted into a series of knots by the time he knocked on the door. He couldn’t lose his badge. He didn’t know what else to be besides a cop. He couldn’t be a rancher. He’d never wanted to stay on the ranch like his father. He’d always been moving toward this. He couldn’t lose it now.