For the A-to-Z April Blogging Challenge, I’m writing a story, aiming for 1000 words a day (every day except Sundays). Continuing today with part 8 of a story about the character Codie Snow.
If you’re new to this series of posts, you might want to start here:
After typing in a cursory report on the laptop in his cruiser, Pete looked over at Codie, buckled into the passenger seat. “Quick coffee break,” he said, pulling the car onto the street. He drove slowly, though, and Codie noticed that he was checking out the house next door. The lights were on there too, in spite of the fact that it was getting quite late.
Codie figured the women knew their sister Michelle was dead.
Once they were past, Pete said, “Even though I’ve been working graveyards for two years, I still can’t adjust my sleep schedule. On my days off, I’m sleeping a lot and then back to usual. The first night back to work sucks.” He glanced over at her and grinned. “Coffee is a night cop’s best friend.”
Codie had already figured that out. This would be the third cup of coffee she would see him consume tonight, and even though she was nowhere near sleepy, she wouldn’t complain about having more.
It wasn’t long before they had turned onto the main highway through town. Soon, Pete pulled the cruiser into a convenience store. “We’re here,” he said, and Codie got out of the car with him. She was glad she’d brought a little money with her, because she didn’t want Pete to feel like he had to keep buying her stuff, just because she was along for the ride, but as they were heading toward the front door, Pete nodded at the cashier. “She’s with me.”
The clerk nodded back. “Have a good night, officer.”
“You as well.”
Once they were out the door and heading toward the cruiser, Codie asked, “You didn’t have to pay for the coffee?”
He grinned that all-American quarterback smile, one of his strongest weapons. “Lots of places give cops free drinks. They figure it’s a way to say thanks for our service, but it’s also a great way to get policemen to come in and make their presence known. Tends to keep the riffraff away.”
“Oh, that makes sense.”
“Don’t worry. We don’t take advantage. We never come in when we’re off duty and demand something, and we try to spread out the love. So like this place? I won’t come back here for a week, ‘cause I don’t know how much the other guys come here.” They got in the car and buckled in. “Now, finally, we can start patrol.” He backed out of the parking space and pulled out onto the highway. There weren’t many cars as he drove down the road, pulling off onto Main Street a few blocks down. “We all have routes we patrol, different neighborhoods we drive through and watch and what’s good about that is we get familiar with what things usually look like. We know which areas are hot spots for crime and which ones are less likely to have problems.” He turned down a side street, heading toward a residential area. “I’ll drive through here twice tonight, hopefully, but at least once, starting now.” Codie tried to think of questions she wanted to ask, because she didn’t want to blow the opportunity, but she knew she’d have lots of time later, after the shift, if she needed. He took another gulp of coffee from the paper cup. “Mmm. Good stuff.”
“Yeah, not bad at all.” She’d expected gross coffee, java that had been sitting for far too long and had developed an oily scum on the surface, the integrity of the flavor long gone, so much so that no amount of sugar or creamer could mask the old taste. But it was strong and fresh, almost as if the convenience store had seen them coming from miles away. It was no Starbucks, but it’d do.
The radio that had been blaring incessantly and that she had, thankfully, started to tune out caught Pete’s attention. He picked up the mike. “Eighteen here.”
“Neighbors are reporting loud music on Elm Avenue.”
“On my way. What’s the address?”
As Pete responded to the operator, Codie took another sip of her coffee. She wondered if that was simply a sign of the times that neighbors didn’t feel comfortable enough with the people they lived near to tell them to turn down the tunes. And how rude and inconsiderate of others to blast their music enough that their neighbors felt like they had to call the cops. It wasn’t like it was Friday night and warranted a party; it was the middle of the week. Kids had school the next day. A good lot of people had to work the next morning. Cranking the tunes was beyond rude.
Codie didn’t know if the detour was part of Pete’s regular patrol, but he didn’t act like it was an inconvenience. In fact, he didn’t act that way about any part of his job. He seemed to enjoy everything he did as a cop, from the expected to the routine. Nothing was a chore.
He loved his job.
As they drove down another side street, Pete rolled down his window. “Oh, yeah,” he said. Codie turned her head and, above the radio chatter, she was able to hear some heavy techno dance beat. The cruiser kept rolling, though, and soon Pete was parking in front of a residence that had its garage door open and lights on. There was some kind of SUV inside but a guy was just outside the door, pacing back and forth while smoking a cigarette.
Codie didn’t ask. She just got out of the car when Pete did and followed closely behind. Better to ask for forgiveness than beg for permission.
As they got close, the pacing man shouted, “Hi, officer. What can I do you for?”
Pete’s voice was firm. “We’ve had complaints that the music is too loud. I need you to turn that down.”
“Oh, yeah. Of course.” The guy went back into the garage and then into the house from there. Pete continued to saunter closer so that he was inside the space in short order. Codie was still there, appearing as a shadow, but close. Before she actually walked into the garage, she noticed the faint scent of weird chemicals, a sicky sweet smell that made the coffee in her stomach feel sour. She saw Pete’s gait slow and he touched his belt. Scratch that. He touched his gun, a weapon she’d almost forgotten was there. Apparently, something had his hackles up and he was thinking there was more to this call than merely loud people.
She was starting to suspect it too.
UP NEXT: K is for KABOOM!