The cop

What a shift. He hated the 9pm-9am shift. The only consolation was that there was inconvenience pay added to his pay packet for working through the night. Not much, but every little helped he supposed. So far tonight there had been three DUI’s, a mugging, a burglary, and a public disturbance when a woman complained that her neighbours television was playing too loud. The fact that he was watching cartoons she found more offensive than the volume. He supposed the one saving grace of this job, was the fact that you never really got used to the people you ended up meeting.

About an hour and a half left. He could taste his supper already. Or should that be breakfast? Many a discussion had been had over the correct terminology of whether the meal should be named for the time its eaten, or the placement of it in your daily schedule. Either way, his wife had told him she would save him some of their sons birthday cake.

Dispatch to Charlie-David-4, advise of current location?’ Ah, the sweet impersonal tone of Meredith on the horn back in the Station. He wondered what it could be now. Its too late (or is that too early?) for anyone to be doing anything really stupid he hoped. But, you never can tell with people. “Charlie-David-4 to Dispatch, current location is…uhhh…Westbound on Bay Harbor Drive, approximately 3 miles from exit 6. What you got for me Meredith?” Outside the cars windows, the sky was beginning to lighten. Gone are the shadows that the bad people like to hide in when he drove past, being replaced by the gray half light of a world just starting to wake up and yawn. If he could get back to his desk by maybe 08:15, that would leave 45 minutes to type up the paperwork properly for the nights work. He had learnt from experience to make copious notes through a shift, so that all was needed to be done was to type up a more meatier account of ‘who said what, who hit who’ etc when the shift was coming to an end. Typing had become an integral part of police work. Perhaps he should be a secretary? Better hours at least…

Dispatch to Charlie-David-4, hi Frank, we have reports from a few drivers of a person apparently sat on the railing of the Western side of Freeman Bridge. Please investigate. Probably someone dumping rubbish but you never know. Tell Ben happy birthday for me when you see him will you, and give my love to Trish.

As he drove up the still empty roadway, he could see the bridge from some distance away. Straining his eyes he tried to see if he could spot the alleged unknown person. It wouldn’t be a crank call, too many people had called it in. Hopefully it was just some drunk having a look at the bay and worrying the drivers.

He pulled onto the bridge, slowed to a crawl and put his roof lights on. There had been no clue in the dispatch alert as to where the person may be, and IF it was more than just some drunk looking at scenery, turning up with sirens and lights blazing in a screech of brakes would probably scare the crap out of them.

In the middle of the bridge. A young woman was sat on the hand rail, her arm wrapped around the lamp-post next to her. If it wasn’t for the fact she was sat with her legs on the outward side of the railing, the scene would have been one of just passing interest to anyone who drove by and saw her sat there.

“Charlie-David-4 to Dispatch. Confirmed, one Caucasian female, approx’ mid twenties. Sat on hand rail about midway on Westbound side of Freeman Bridge. Standby for update.” “Dispatch to Charlie-David-4, understood. Do you require back up at this time?” “Negative, but will call for the cavalry if needed.”

Stepping out of the car, he tossed his hat onto his seat, and took off his tie. He wanted to appear as friendly and un-official as he could. He walked up to the guard rail, keeping his distance from the woman. As he leant on the rail he could see her stare at him from the corner of his eye. He tried to remember the lectures he had attended in the correct protocols of handling suicide cases. The need to build rapport quickly, engage them in conversation and find the cause of their possible suicide attempt.

“Morning.” “Don’t come near me. I don’t want you to come near me, ok?” “I don’t blame you, I’ve been up all night, and I stink. I had to chase a guy for 4 blocks all because he had stolen some DVD’s. Can you believe that? I wont be able to have a shower until I get home, so yeah, keeping up-wind from me would be a good idea.” Despite the assurance of not moving, in the act of turning to speak, he had moved a couple of inches closer anyway. “Out of curiosity miss, I gotta ask, why are you sat on the rail?” “I wanted to watch the dawn. Ive always loved watching a sunrise.” “Well, you know that you probably missed it because you’re facing the wrong way…” “No, I saw it. I saw the sunrise, then came over here to this side to look at the bay for one last time before I die…

As he stood by the rail taking in that last nugget of information, he couldn’t help but think to himself , ‘so much for getting all the paperwork done early then…

“Do you mind if I get something to drink from my car? Its been a long night, and I could do with something. Do you want anything?” She looked at him for the first time face to face, and he could see the lines of tear streaked mascara down her cheeks. After a few seconds deliberation, she nodded, and returned to looking out over the bay.

“Charlie-David-4 to Dispatch. I can confirm, the female on the bridge is a suicide risk. I will remain on site, but we need to close the bridge down asap, the traffic is starting to increase already. Ive moved my car to block the first lane, but would recommend that the bridge be closed immediately.” “Understood Charlie-David-4. We have units on the bridge already, and will advise them to close the traffic down now. The tail backs may cause a delay in a negotiator getting on scene, will you be ok to handle until his arrival?” “I hope so Dispatch. I will switch my personal radio on, and leave it on channel#4 so you can listen in.” “Personal radio left open on channel#4, understood. Cavalry is on its way Frank.

He put the can of soda on the brick ledge of the bridge stanchion behind the woman, and made sure that he stepped around her when he moved back to the railing. This time, he had moved a little closer again when he leant there. He heard her open the can, and did likewise with his. After a minute of silence, he turned his head to her slightly. “My names Frank, by the way…” he said with a smile. “Hi Frank. My names Emily.” She looked at him with sad green eyes that were puffy from crying, but there, under a little button nose, was smile in return.

Well, it was a start.

The End

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