Routine is the goddess of safety and security.  Broken routines foreshadows disasters.  It's not deep philosophical observation.  It's just plain fact.

You walk the streets of a neighborhood, you get to know the people--maybe not intimately--but enough to get a sense when things're wrong.  The nature of the people you pass on the street are a true indication of the health of a neighborhood.  Do they make eye contact? 

I worked a lotta years in a rats nest, where a lot of the junkies do their thing.  It's hard to get a leg up when you don't have two pennies to rub together.  The street trade alone brings out all sorts of predators, looking to make a quick buck.  And who cares if it's someone selling percoset to get a little bit of rock?  Self-medication is the way to go.

So, moving to this neighborhood after five years in the rats nest has been a fantastic change.  I'm finally at the point where I recognize a lot of the people.  And I'm no longer looking over my shoulder every time someone yells a little louder than usual.

The sketch-artist is in place already.  Adam's not a threat, 'cept that he sometimes leaves his money lying too out in the open.  Just begging for someone to make a snatch and dash. 

Today, he's running his slow, friendly shpiel to Alyssa, the cute little blonde lady with the narrow face and pointed eyebrows.  She's a research assistant for a law firm.  Talked to me once or twice about police procedure for a novel she doesn't want anyone to know she's writing.  Wish I was artistic..  She has an unconscious grace about her that suggests confidence.  You know I'll be among the first to line u pfor her book when it hits the shelves.

I move through the park, up and away from the little river.  It's near lunch-time, so I stop in at the Coffee shop to see what's what.  Today, it's Sally.  Rebecca must be off, today.  I know she'd been having problems with her family.  Her father had gone missing a week earlier, and been found wandering the downtown core at 2am, confused.  Dementia does some ugly things to folks.  He's lucky to have Rebecca.  Good family, that.

"Bonjour!"  I call out to Sally.  "Comment allez-vous?" 

Sally screws up her face at my horrible Newfoundlander accent and laughs cheerfully. "Hey Mick."

I scan the shop, not really expecting anything.  Sometimes, it's just the presence of the badge that makes all the difference.

Then I see the old drunk in the corner.  There are parts of my job I hate.   I mean, where is he going to go?  Sally's too much of a soft-touch, and Rebecca would give her hell if anything happened.  So, I do my job, knowing she'd never ask.

"C'mon, big fella."  I poke at the drunk.  "You know you can't stay here.    Rush hour's nearly here.  Gonna be crowded."  I lean in to him and get a whaff of booze.  Hard night if he started before noon.  He looks up at me blearily and at least his pupils aren't too dilated.  Probably just the booze. 

"Why don'tcha head down to St Michaels?  It's Monday.  They got a hot lunch today."  I'd slip him some cash, but it looks bad.  Instead, I throw down a ten-spot in front of Sally and nod as she pushes my hot-chocolate to the front of the counter. 

I don't want change.  I just want everything to stay routine...

The End

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