Monday, February 15, 2010

I suppose the driving ban was to protect the other people on the road from me. I might have gone along, if I liked any of the other people on the road. Since all my family lived in a different town, screw the other drivers, I thought,

I did make a deal with my conscience. I would only drive to places I absolutely needed to go. I would also drive carefully and stay out of traffic as much as possible. All those things to minimize the risk and to salve my conscience.

After dinner any other night I might have stopped by a country and western bar for a couple of beers, but since I was trying to behave I went straight home. I also went straight to bed.

The next morning my landlord came by. Since the rent wasn't overdue, I was a little surprised. He sure as hell wasn't at the house to make repairs so I wondered why.

I wondered until he stated, "I just came over to see for myself. Rumors are floating around that you are dead."

"As you can see, I'm as alive as ever."

"Yeah, I can see that. So you didn't get shot?"

"No, but I did have a heart attack chasing some mooch through the woods."

"At our age you would think we would know better." It was obvious from his tone, that he thought he would know better, even if a dumb ass like me didn't. Him knowing better than to risk it is probably why I could never get the snow cleared from my driveway.

The drive was shared with three other houses owned by the same owner. They all backed onto a common grass area as well as a common parking lot. I imagine they were once called patio homes until he bought the whole pod of them. They were a couple of steps above slums but they were short steps. Still they beat the heck out of an apartment building.

"So you going to stay with the cops?" I realized then why he was really visiting me. He wanted to get a heads up. If I was planning to leave the cops, I might also be planning to move out. The sooner he knew the better for him.

"Depends on what they offer me. I won't be cleared to go back for at least a month. I'll take that time to look around."

"Well let me know as soon as you decide please." The please was because I had been out of lease for five years or more My renting was month by month. I was obligated to give him a month's notice, but he would like longer I knew. Finding a good tenant wasn't as easy as it had once been. The economy had a lot of deadbeats looking for reasonable rent. Rent was my biggest expense for sure. My ex wife told me, almost every time I talked to her, that I was one cheap bastard.

The landlord didn't know the cop policy on deadbeat cops but I did. I could either be offered a light duty job or an early retirement. I had no skills to place me in the running for the lab so the best I could hope for would have been dispatch ten years before. By the time my heart decided to miss a couple of beats, police dispatch was a thing of the past. Not totally but the 911 system put a hit on it. There was only one police dispatcher per shift. Their only reason to exist was to know who was on break and who was in the field in case someone asked. When not taking piss break calls, they were records clerks or maybe typists. I wasn't even qualified to do that job

I was pretty sure that it was half pension for me. Most of the guys who went out that way ended up as bank guards or couriers. One could almost live on the half pension but not totally live on it. When social security kicked in at 65 there would be enough to squeak by. I had seventeen years to go before I could squeak by. Since that was the case, I spent the day trying to assess my real abilities. I kept coming up with an empty glass. It wasn't half full or half empty it was bone dry.

Breakfast had been an egg sandwich made in the microwave. It wasn't too bad but not something I liked as a steady diet. Still it was better than my lunch of two packs of peanut butter crackers and a diet coke. I wasn't ready to face the world that afternoon, but I was starving. I found out yet again that hunger trumped my good intentions not to drive. I thought I might make a list of people I didn't really hate. I could call down the list before I went onto the roads. In the end I decided screw'em let them watch out for themselves,

Out of respect for Sadie, I didn't go there more than once a week. She had told me years before that I was bad for her business. It seemed that too many of her customers had outstanding warrants. They had no way of knowing that serving warrants came below cleaning out stables on my least of things to do next.

I drove to Burger Burger's drive thru window for dinner. They made the best dollar burger in town. I should know I had eaten my share and about a dozen other people's as well. I guess my ex was right, if you looked at it that way.

After dinner I stopped for gas at the 24 hour gas and beer mart. "Hey Abba, I heard you were dead." I turned to see Lucy the teenaged paramedic.

"You know better you are the one who hauled my ass to the hospital."

"Yeah, but you know how much more interesting a rumor is than the truth," she said absently.

"Yeah, I guess that is true enough."

"So you going back to the pig valley?" They called the police substation pig valley because it sat on a piece of land no one in their right mind would buy. It was like being in a bowl. Every time it rained it was up to my ankles in the parking lot. The pumps in the basement could almost keep up with the rain. Once in a while the basement water got high enough to shut down the hot water and once even the furnace got flooded. It was a stupid place to build a police station, but the city had bought it cheap.

"I don't know. I don't think the doctor is going to re certify me. Who knows maybe he will."

"Abba, You do know the evaluation period is three years. They don't have to give you a job of any kind during that period."

"Yeah I know Lucy. I'm giving it all a lot of thought."

"Then you should think about one of those bank guard jobs," she chuckled at the thought of me being in uniform again. Even a rent a cop uniform was out of the question.

"Yeah, I'll think about it."

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