Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Pecaw's Gift / Chapter 20 - What Nerve?

The morning light found Bev still crowded halfway into bed with Sinclair’s arms wrapped around her when Maime walked in. Not wishing to intrude she eased her way back out the door and said nothing. There was a smile that lighted up Maime’s whole face as she strutted down the hall. “There’s hope for us all yet. Yes indeed, there’s hope for us all.” Maime chortled to herself as she went to notify the Charge Nurse of the change in Sinclair’s progress.

The closing of the door was just enough to bring Bev out of her fairy tale sleep. Rubbing her eyes as she stretched the cramp out of her side from sleeping in such an awkward position, Bev wondered if she had dreamed it. Sinclair was slowly working his fingers across the curve of her side. The touch felt so natural it was hard to believe that it had taken three months, nearly to the day, for him to accomplish such a simple task.

Bev slipped out from under the weight of Sinclair’s arms as easily as a child sneaks out at nap time. A few minutes in the bathroom to freshen up and change her dress. The months of visits had taught her long ago to keep a change of clothes and a few simple toiletry items there in the room with Sinclair. There was nothing much worse than having to go all morning without having first brushed her teeth, taken a shower and changed into some fresh garments. She sat down at the desk and reluctantly read the questions that had been left by the I.A.D. officers the night before. The list was very specific and would require careful thought prior to answering any of the questions.

“Did you at any time refer to the suspect as a “Son of a Bitch” or any derogatory racial slur? Did you punch or kick the suspect at any time prior to or during the arrest? Did you consider the increased danger level applied to the situation based on established Departmental guide lines. While making your arrest, which of the “take down” techniques that you were taught did you apply? Support your arrest procedure in accordance with the Officer’s Standard Field Operations Manual. After noticing that the suspect was injured, did you make any attempt to use the techniques as taught in the Department’s First Aid In Service Training? Why did you not call for an ambulance when you noticed that the suspect needed medical attention immediately? Prior to this incident, did you ever have any other confrontations or dealings with the suspect either on duty or off duty?”

Bev could hardly believe the questions that had been asked. Was this what Sinclair had to put up with on a regular basis or was this reserved especially for when an officer was involved in a homicide investigation? The questions were so, so negative in their design. Her thoughts about the Department were not very favorable at the moment.

“Good morning, what cha’ reading?” Bev was momentarily startled by the voice that came from the speaker. When they had fallen asleep the computer had been left on inadvertently. The moment that Sinclair formed his thoughts, his words instantly became audible. The hours spent working the bugs out of the speech synthesizer had paid off with some remarkable dividends. The voice that came out was so much like his own that Bev found herself looking to see if his lips had made the sound.

“Just looking at this horrible list of questions that they left for you. I was tempted to throw them away. The implied guilt that each question hides is preposterous. It really galls me to think that you have to put up with these innuendoes and out right accusations.”

“Well, there’s not much to say to their questions. I don’t have any recollection of the incident. I suppose it will come back eventually; but as far right now goes, well let’s just leave it alone. I’ve found that they can’t hang you unless you give them the rope; and I don’t know what this rope even looks like.” Sinclair was almost glad that he had a blank spot in his brain. Bev read him the list and he thought about each question.

“They wouldn’t ask me to comment on this unless they had some information which would lead them to believe that some, if not all of these allegations were true.” Sinclair reasoned that one of the complaints must be from either a relative or a friend of the dead man; that would make him a biased witness. Sinclair wanted to see the letter of complaint and to hear the radio transmissions that were kept in the communications tape room. Maybe if he could jog his memory just a little; at least he would have an idea of what had happened to him.

“What’s bothering you, dear?” Bev wanted to help; but was not sure if she could.

“Get a hold of that lawyer; you know, the one who helped me with that insubordination deal. I want him to get me a copy of the dispatcher’s tapes for that night. You’ll have to go by the Association offices first; to get permission to retain him. Tell him I want everything from the time the call was received on the phone ‘till at least four hours later; and I want everything that was on the back channel and on the MDT units as well. They keep all that stuff, it’s just not common knowledge. That’s why its not too smart to be blabbin’ your personal business, even on the computers. They can hang you with any of it if they want to.”

“Wait, what was that about back channel and MDT ?”

“Back channel is like a private line for officers to use when they are in close proximatie to each other. It’s supposed to keep the news media from picking up stuff; but if they’re in the area. . .”

“Oh, I see; then there may be information that hasn’t been put out in the news papers. What was that about the MDT ?”

“That’s what we call the little computers that are in the police cars. Its all sent via radio waves; so it can easily be recorded onto a tape, just as a voice can be recorded. Each unit has its own identifying code built into each transmission. At the beginning of each shift we have to “log on”. That’s when the system codes all the rest of the messages for that shift.

“So he’s to get a transcript of all the MDT activity along with the tapes?”

“Now your cookin’ with gas.”

“I’ll do that this morning; right after I go by the bank, since the Association offices are just across the street anyway.”

“Now let me see the manual on this new toy.” Sinclair was refering to the speech synthesizer. “I want to have some fun.”

“Okay, . . .”, a reluctance to help him based on his past history of juvenile delinquency when given the opportunity. The dental assistants used to duck whenever they passed the room that Sinclair was in. He would get bored waiting for the novocaine to fully do its work. Sinclair had consumed more than his fair share of soda and candy while growing up. The consequences for such activity was a mouth full of silver. As the years had gone past, the original work had to be replaced from time to time. The art of dentistry had improved considerably; but Sinclair was still scared of the dentist. The first time he had a filling put in as a boy was by some guy resembling Boris Karloff. That guy thought that pain was a lesson to keep kids from getting more cavities. Sinclair never forgot; some day that guy was going to have to answer for all he had done.

“The nerve of that guy!” The built in squirt gun, designed to wash out the patients mouth, would be transformed into the mega-galactic alien zapper. Any and all aliens, which included nurses, clerks and especially dentists; would have to pass the portals of doom. “ . . . but please don’t get carried away and get into trouble this time.”

“Who?, me?” Sinclair knew that Bev was onto his antics. “Why I can’t believe that . . .”

“Don’t give me that innocent look.” Bev handed him the software manual. It was good to see his hands working again; even if they were not yet at full ability.

“You promise me that you’ll behave before I leave or I’ll turn off that fool computer and then what would you do?” It was an empty threat and Sinclair knew it.

“Yes Ma’am.” Sinclair had one of those eight year old faces that gave away his conniving ways. The harder he tried to hide his devilish way, the broader the smile on his face became.

“Don’t you , “Yes Ma’am” me and think you have me fooled, Mathew Sinclair Dosilmeyer.” Bev was scolding him just like he was one of the kids.

“Oh, all right then; I won’t get into too much trouble.”

“Please, just behave for a while, okay?” Bev knew that he was going be hard to manage now that he was starting to feel better. She could hardly wait for Dr. Gwynn to wean him off of the respirator.