Sunday, June 26, 2005

Pecaw's Gift / Chapter 42 Lemons or Lemonade

“Officer Dosilmeyer, I’m Lt. Rayford. Since you’ve been away from the station there’ve been a few changes; I am now your night shift commander.” Sinclair did not know the man or anything about him. He appeared to be one of the spit and polish types; his uniform was immaculate right down to his plastic leather look alike shoes. His manners seemed to match up to the same high standard. Sinclair quietly waited; not having sufficient data to evaluate, but temporarily impressed none the less.

“My last duty assignment, before requesting a change of stations was I.A.D.” Sinclair’s left brow shot up, the mere mention of those letters brought dark thoughts to his mind.

“It figures.” Sinclair slipped momentarily, allowing his true feelings to be expressed; knowing all to well that he should have keep his mouth shut.

“Now wait just a minute before getting yourself all cranked up about me.” Lt. Rayford had a pleading in his voice which struck a cord with Sinclair. “I know a fair amount about your situation, more than most of the command staff. It may come as a surprise to you, but not everyone in I.A.D. is the total and complete asshole you’ve conjured up in your mind.”

“Hurmph !”, unable to contain the automatic response.

“I suppose that covers your opinion of I.A.D.”

“Why are you here, not to be rude or anything?”, but at the same time showing questionable manners. Sinclair glared out in his general direction, forming a scowl as his lower lip became tighter.

“I came to clear the air on a few issues that might help all concerned.”, reaching to his shirt pocket he removed a gray metal canister and unscrewed the end. Sinclair’s old partner had bought many cigars; these were not cheap.

“Go on, Sir.” Sinclair remained cautious, having been “helped” by the Department on other occasions.

“I wasn’t assigned to your specific investigation; however, some of the information I had from another complaint crossed over and so I had a chance to review your file. I read about everything you ever did or that they thought you did.” His hands spread to emphasize the thickness of Sinclair’s personnel folder. “Your a peculiar type of guy. It’s unusual to find that you are still with the Department, not that I find fault with what you’ve done as an officer; but, that you would manage to put up with the way things are done here.”

“I suppose that could be taken as a compliment. Was that your intent?”

“It was.”

“You still haven’t explained why your here. I mean, I must have talked to every supervisor in this Department; what could I tell you that you haven’t already heard about or read?” For a few moments the two men looked at each other very seriously, not sure of how to proceed. Lt. Rayford carefully relaxed himself as he began explaining his intentions to Sinclair.

“Dosilmeyer, it would have pleased the Captain no end to have you fired, for any reason. Its no secret that the two of you don’t get along; never have from what I’ve read. He reviewed every aspect of the your incident and subsequent responses to the Internal Affairs people.” Lt. Rayford paused as he studied Sinclair’s reaction. “As far as I’m concerned you acted properly, but the Captain; well he said that you acted out a hostility based on a racially motivated dislike for Hispanics. As he put it; “ I got him fired once and can do it again.”

“Wouldn’t put it past him.”, looking at a spot on the ceiling as he spoke. “So, where does that leave me? They’re keeping me here under observation; supposedly until they can figure out what’s goin’ on inside my head.” Sinclair wasn’t sure how much Lt. Rayford knew as he tossed the explanation out. “I’d like to get out of this place and back to work.”

“Not much chance of that. I’ve read all the medical and psychological reports. It will be the Departments contention that you are no longer able to act in the capacity of a police officer. Like I said earlier, I can find no fault in any of your actions relating to the incident that has taken place; but there are several other members of the command staff who are not sure how to close the book on this. I have recommended that you to pick up a full medical pension.” Lt. Rayford sat back as he took the cigar and played with it, never intending to light it. Had he been in the military it would’ve been a swagger stick instead. “You need to accept the fact that your not going to return to the Department.” Sinclair breathed out heavily as each word repeated itself inside his mind.

“You really don’t think I can make it back to full duty status then, do you?” Sinclair had been building his endurance up with the expectation of resuming some semblance of a normal life. He thought he would always be a police officer or at least for as long as he wanted to remain in that position. The idea of being run off was repugnant to his being.

“As I told you, I took the liberty of going over your medical charts. These unexplained departures from reality would make it nearly impossible . . .”, rolling the cigar as if it had been laden heavy with ash, “. . . the Department could never assume such a risk; that’s why they’re have to let you leave with a full medical pension.”

“I only have six years more to achieve pension status. I could work the desk or disappear into some quiet place like uniform supply division. There wouldn’t be much of a risk to the City there, would there?”

“Why would you want to hang around here six more years?” Lt. Rayford pointed the cut end of the cigar at Sinclair to make his point. “So you stick it out and get the minimum pension at forty five percent of base pay; why do that when you can leave now and pick up a full pay check under a medical release? You think about it for a minute; but its already a done deal.”

“When I first realized the extent of the injuries I had to overcome, well; I entertained the notion of a medical pension. It would have been easy to lay back and not go through the pain of rebuilding these muscles. I quit taking the pain pills a long time ago just to see if I could get through the day without help. I wore the edges off my molars the first week, but I got off them.” Lt. Rayford listened politely and let Sinclair continue without interruption.

“I did it so that one day I could get back in that damned blue and white police car. I’ve paid my dues and want to go on with it.”

“You’re not listening. My recommendation has already been approved. The Chief ran it by the pension board; starting Monday you are no longer to be carried on the roster.”
Getting up from his chair, Lt. Rayford stood and walked over to the edge to look out the window. “That’s where Sgt. Perry got hit the other night, isn’t it ?”, placing the cigar in the corner of his mouth as he continued without waiting for Sinclair to make any kind of response. “In case you’re wondering; the answer is yes. I was working a case up on Perry. From all the evidence, it appeared that he and his partner were making a sizable income by helping undocumented laborers obtain fraudulent papers.”

“So, Perry WAS in that apartment!” Sinclair found some more of the pieces beginning to fit.

“We were never able to actually tie him directly to that apartment, but it does fit. He was making regular deposits to his checking account and all the money came from the same management company that ran those apartments. We were able to trace the money to some fairly prominent crooks; but that is not important now that he’s dead. The other night when he was killed in the parking lot, we had been following him. I don’t want to needlessly upset you; but, I feel quite certain that he had come here, under instructions from his other employer, to finish you off.”

“So I’ve been told.” Sinclair matter of factly responded.

“How did you know? It has not been made public and there are only a handful of people who are aware of this.” Sinclair smiled as he thought of how to explain his source.

“I just knew; go on.”

“As I was saying, only a select few have been made aware of these findings; the Chief, Doctor Chatterly, and myself. We have decided that it would be safer for you to complete the rest of your recuperative efforts away from here.”

“You mean that I can get out of the hospital?”

“Yes, Dr. Chatterly felt it was a waste to have kept you here for the last month as it is; he’ll be along within the next half hour to go over the necessary forms.”

“This is too good to be true.”

“Actually we have reason to believe that this is the best way to prevent another attempt on your life. The way we see it, by rendering your testimony as “unreliable”; these guys will have no reason to worry about you anymore. You would no longer be a liability to them.”

“So I’m some kind of lunatic; is that what your putting down?” Sinclair was not thrilled at what he was hearing.

“Would you rather be a live lunatic or a dead cop?”

“I ahhhh. . .”

“We will make a statement to the press explaining your medical retirement from the Department. It will include a brief account of the irreparable damage in your brain to
certain reasoning functions, as a result of your valiant efforts in the line of duty.” Lt. Rayford stopped for a moment as he noticed Sinclair’s shoulders droop slightly.

“So that’s it? I just sit around and play dumb for the rest of my life?”

“Not exactly; that is unless that’s what you want. Well?” Lt. Rayford again pointed the cigar at Sinclair. “I had the idea that you might want to continue to help, sort of put your special talents to good use.”, raising the corner of his smile half an inch as an inducement.

“What talents would you be referring to, Sir?”

“We’ll work on that after your free and clear of this place.” Lt. Rayford opened the door and nodded the he had completed what he had come for. Turning back to Sinclair, “I did forget one thing.”, a broad smile broke across his face. “The station took up a collection. They all figured it would be used for flowers or something dumb like that.” He reached into his back pocket and pulled out an plain white envelope and handed it to Sinclair. Looking at the bills and making a rough guess, he figured it to be about two or three hundred dollars. Lt. Rayford held the door open as Bev came into the room. She had been given a briefing of everything only moments before Sinclair himself. It was a dream come true for Bev; no longer would she have to wait up wondering about the welfare of Sinclair as he rode around the streets all night. As she walked past Lt. Rayford she thanked him with a quiet smile.

“I don’t know what to say, which is not like me at all.”

“Why don’t you and your wife take a weekend trip, you know, get back together.”, Lt. Rayford exaggerated his smile.

“What do you think, Hun?” Bev waited as Sinclair closed his eyes in thought.

“We could take that trip up to Dallas like we planned last Spring. Yea, that’s a good idea.” Bev had already packed an overnight bag for him.

“The car’s all gassed up and ready, Bek’s watchin’ the kids for the rest of the week and I called the Dallas Temple as soon as I found out we could go.” Bev reached into the depths of her purse and pulled the family group forms that had been put on hold since the accident.

“Guess that about does it. You don’t need me in here.” Lt. Rayford gracefully extricated himself from the room and let the door close behind him.