Being inspired, maybe – 55


A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance:



And, then, the words:



"You!"

It was spoken in anger, a short, terse, word spat out with its intended effect.

"I could say the same.  How they'll did you get picked for this detail?"

Old flames were meant to be distanced from, and I had taken the initiative.  We'd had an office romance, against unwritten rules, and it ended badly, though through no fault of mine, but I had been the one to make the greatest sacrifice.  A grade demotion, and assigned to a new division and in turn the shittiest jobs.

Like this one, surveillance from a distance on a suspected tanker that was allegedly bringing drugs into the city by the sea.  It was, in my view, a pie in the sky scenario dreamed up by a CI to save his skin.

"I was hoping you could tell me."

To be honest, I never wanted to see Judy Haskell again.  She was a climber, using whatever and whoever to get what she wanted.  Once I'd served my purpose I'd been discarded.

"Truth be told you did it to yourself.  But I doubt you'd have the humility to understand that.  Now you're here, take a seat and do me a favour, don't speak."

She was about to disregard my request, I could see that clearly written on her face, but then, she obviously thought twice about it.

I turned my attention back to the ship, not that much was happening other than a couple of languid seamen casually applying a coat of paint the upper deck walls, covering anti rust primer splodged  on it like blood spatter.

Other than that, the only other movement had been on the bridge.  The ship was at anchor waiting for a berth, though according to the report we received earlier, they were supposed to be waiting for clearance, perhaps an administrative oversight, but it was suspected there was something else afoot.

A glance to one side, Judy had made itself comfortable and was texting on her cell phone.

"Feel free to jump in at any time."

I might have said it with an edge to my time, but the one and only time I'd been on a stakeout with her, she had shown a remarkable lack of interest then, and it looked as though it hadn't changed since then.

Judy was one of those officers who preferred to be out physically chasing the suspects, not sitting either at a desk or watching the action from afar.

So would we all, if it came to that.

"You've got it under control," she said, without looking up, "besides it doesn't take two people to do this job."

"Exactly the attitude that's going to get you kicked out of the squad."

I turned around to see the operational commander a few steps away.  It was not good form on my part to not see him, but worse for Judy who hadn't noticed him either.

Or, so it looked.

She slowly got to her feet.  "This doesn't need two senior officers, and if you want my opinion, this assignment is punishment."

He was her superior office not mine and heading up the task force.  It struck me then, given the body language that this was her new man.

A strange choice, I thought, because I knew he was married, and not to her, but a quite significant other.

"You need to learn your opinion doesn't matter."

He turned to me.  "Sykes, is it?"

"Yes, sir."

"I've heard good reports on you.  You're to report back to the station for reassignment.  I want you in the boarding party if it comes to that.  Dismiss."

I wasn't going to wait till he changed his mind, gathering my stuff, tossed it into the duffel bag is brought, and left.

My only thought, going down in the elevator, was that he was going to end it if he was the one she was rumoured to be seeing.  Those thoughts lingered until I reached sheet level.

Coming out I head a bang, not loud, but somewhat similar to, if not, a car or truck backfiring.  It was a sound I'd heard before and wasn't what I thought it was.


Instinctively I looked up towards the roof, but nothing was out of the ordinary.  My imagination, I thought, only because the sound had not come from what I thought was ground level, but shrugged and walked on.


© Charles Heath 2019

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