Friday, 26 January 2007

Chapter 6: Stakeout

Jesus Christ, it’s hot.

I’d been sitting in my car since long before the sun came up, waiting for our suspect to emerge from his house. A mixture of caffeine and the drone of commercial radio was helping me to stay awake. I didn’t know for sure if he was even here but his car was in the drive and none of our grasses had seen him out and about for days.

On the hour every hour, the newsreader on the radio reported on an attack at a pharmaceutical company. A lab had been bombed and three people had been killed. They didn’t say too much about it though. That was typical of this city. It’s an unfortunate reality that there would probably be more deaths on these streets before sunset and the bombing would be old news by the end of the day.

I thought I saw something or someone move inside the house so I lifted the binoculars off my lap and peered through them. The house was in a state of disrepair. Every visible piece of metal was coated with rust and the front gate was hanging off its hinges. Across the picket fences that needed a new coat of paint and the lawn that was slowly getting out of control, I checked each filthy window. Nothing moved. I lowered the binoculars and closed my eyes for a second.

I must be losing my mind. Get a grip, Tom.

If I hadn’t missed out on a promotion last year, I would have been sitting there with the air conditioning blasting away. Superficial I know, but it’s one of the perks of being a senior detective. Come to think of it, if I hadn’t missed out on a promotion last year, I would have been sitting in a comfortable office with the air conditioning blasting away. Apparently I was too valuable doing what I was doing so my boss couldn’t let me go.

In my experience, bosses don’t give a shit about you but as soon as you want to do something different and they realise you’re actually useful to them, they come up with some half-assed compliments about you being a critical member of the team and make up some bullshit about new challenges which keeps you doing the same job for another year.

That’s right; no one can sit outside suspected murderers’ houses all day long waiting for them to come out then kick them in the balls and read them their rights better than I can. Not that I don’t enjoy that part of the job to a certain extent but that’s not the point. I felt like I needed something new in my life.

I cracked open my second can of a disgustingly powerful energy drink and gulped it down in one. A shudder went down my spine and I shook my head involuntarily. These drinks can keep you awake when your body tells you it’s time to go to bed but why do they have to taste so bad?

The passenger door opened and my overweight partner, Detective David Thomas, shook the car as he crash landed in the faux leather passenger seat. Luckily the two cups of coffee in his hands had lids on the top otherwise we would have ended up wearing the contents.

“Here you go, Tom,” he said in his slightly high-pitched voice. “Get that down you, you’ll feel better.”

“Thanks, Dave. I’ll probably be pissing all day with all this liquid but I feel a bit better now. What, no doughnuts?”

Dave laughed. “The last thing you need is more sugar, partner. Anyway, my diet starts today,” he added with a wink.

He was right. It was just after eight in the morning and this was my third coffee of the day. A double espresso. I hadn’t slept for a few days. Well, not during the nights anyway. Dave reckoned it was because of all the coffee I drink. I knew he was right but by the time I feel like sleeping, I’m back at work.

I’d been up for days, reviewing endless security tapes. I eventually found footage that showed who had beaten Andre Lewis, a nightclub bouncer, to death. The killer is usually one of the first people we talk to and this case was no exception. The details weren’t important to me any more though. I had three very simple steps to follow:

Step 1 – Arrest this guy.

Step 2 – Take some time off.

Step 3 – Sort out the life of Detective Tom Ryder.

Dave lurched forward in his seat and snatched the binoculars out of my hands. “The curtains just moved.”

I looked across the street and saw the curtains of the small suburban house move. It was the first movement we’d seen since the sun went down last night. We had slept in shifts. Well, Dave had slept; I just closed my eyes and tried to fight the thoughts that were buzzing around in my head, keeping me awake.

“Could be the wind,” I suggested.

“The windows are closed.”

I picked up my gun, checked it was loaded and clicked the safety off. Dave did the same. Time for him to ask me if I’m ready.


“Always,” I replied, as usual.

The front door of the house swung open. There stood our suspect in his pyjamas and slippers; a very short, stocky man, only five foot two but almost as wide. We had to be careful. He had managed to beat a man to death with his bare hands who was a clear foot taller than him.

I was psyched. My heart was pounding and I felt adrenaline surging through my veins. Even though it didn’t seem possible, I started to sweat even more. I had to take this man down, for the sake of society and more importantly, for my own sanity. This man stood between me and a good night’s sleep.

I picked up the radio and announced, “This is Detective Ryder. We have positive confirmation of the location of the suspect. We’re moving in.”

“Let’s go,” Dave said.

We bounded out of the car and shot across the street, pointing our guns at the suspect.

“Police! Don’t move!” I shouted.

The suspect looked shocked and tried to make a run for it but his freedom didn’t last long. I shoulder-charged him into the wall. He stayed on his feet for a second but a swift boot to the balls sent him tumbling into his flower beds. My trusted size tens haven’t let me down yet.

Dave leaned over the squirming suspect with one knee firmly digging into his back. “Give me your hands,” he said. “Do you watch Cops on TV?”

“What? Er… yeah, sometimes.”

“Good, you already know your rights then, asshole. Keep still.”

As Dave handcuffed the suspect, I returned to the car and picked up the radio. “This is Detective Tom Ryder. We have apprehended the suspect in the Lewis killing.”

“Well done Detective Ryder,” was the reply, “we’ll prepare a nice uncomfortable cell for him back at the station.”

“Thanks, we’re on our way.”

I breathed a sigh of relief and watched Dave drag the suspect towards the car. I felt the weight of the world start to lift off my shoulders. My vacation and my sanity were within touching distance.

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