Flashfiction: “Tuesday”

Standard flashfiction warning for new(ish) readers: when I tag something as flashfiction — or micro fiction when I get all lazy and forgetful — it means two things. First off, I give myself only 500 words or less to tell a story. Secondly, I have only one hour from the time I come up with the idea or image I want to use to write, edit and post the piece. That’s it, them’s the rules…

So, anyway, I haven’t done one in a bit, so here you go — oh, and I failed at the word-count rule. this one weighs in at 545 at last count…

Tuesday

The cop sighed as he settled in to the battered, aging cruiser.  A glance at the passenger seat, one that held the mix of pity and derision that only an old cop — or an old crook — could hold for a younger, and he said, “Time to learn the night shift, eh?”

Excitement and nerves hidden by all the blustering self-confidence that only a twenty-year-old could muster, the passenger answered, “They decided I needed to see some action, so I got moved off days.”

“Action?  It’s fucking Tuesday, kid.”

Hours passed, hours with all the life and activity that only a Tuesday night can bring. A car with a headlight out; a suspicious burglar that turned out to be a late-running UPS driver; cases of stolen Monster explained by an impromptu Madden tournament in someone’s basement; all the action, the old cop had joked, the rookie could ever want.

Later, towards the end of the night, the action really did start.  Closing bars and emptying clubs led to fights and disturbances, the odd indecent exposure and drunk-in-public.  A casual wave from the old cop as he screeched the cruiser to a halt in front of yet another small, dingy bar with a sign unreadable at any distance.  The rookie leapt out at that wave, charged headlong for the entrance.

It was no new thing for the longtime veterans to send him sprinting while they strolled along behind, but he didn’t mind.  That was the price to be accepted as one of them.  No, it wasn’t time or age, of that he was sure.  It was effort and courage they would respect, and the ability to deal with any situation, not his age or how long he had worn a badge.

He didn’t need to see the bartender’s pointing arm, the frantic pile of fists and curses and violence in the back corner of the bar was obvious enough.  His pepper-spray answered their punches; his club, then, and someone fucking bit him; a half-panicked call to dispatch for back-up…

Half-an-hour later, the bar was quiet.  He and two other cops, both as young and fit as he, were bruised and sweaty and breathing hard.  There was elation, then — action, at last!  They had triumphed!  Outside, the drunken brawlers were being pushed into an overfull paddy wagon by the last-arriving of the back-up units.

Later would be the time for reports and lessons-learned, just then there was only the elation of victory.  They tried to be professional, those three, but none could hide the grin and the rush of endorphins that came only from triumphing over the worst of threats.  Handshakes and pats on the back, words that seemed cynical and world-weary to them, the camaraderie of the badge.

He glanced over to the bar, then, on nothing more than instinct.  A fresh beer arrived on the counter, to stand beside an empty pint glass.  Jokes between the old cop and the bartender as the rookie’s partner picked up the beer for a long gulp.  As the glass went down, the old cop glanced over and grinned.  “Jesus Christ, you’re done already?  You gotta learn to pace yourself, kid.  It’s only fucking Tuesday.”

{Musical Note — I love this band. I’ve seen them dozens of times, including when they were new and playing bars and small venues around my old university…and, yes, as a matter of fact, I was indeed listening to this album as I wrote this post!}

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