"Malloy! In my office, immediately!" Jim called from the doorway of his office.
He's waiting for me, David guessed as he arrived at the station after what seemed like the longest ride back with the Sergeant.
"I'll be right in." David called back, sounding defeated.
I've never done anything like this in my 6-year career. I've never crossed the line with a suspect or a fellow officer. Two tremendous strikes in one day. David knew what was coming and it wasn't going to be pretty . . .
" . . . How dare you conduct yourself like that out on the street! You do not use excessive force on a suspect. And you certainly don't take your anger out on a fellow officer, much less your partner!"
David sat there as Jim railed into him. He watched as Jim angrily pace in front of the window. He never recalled seeing such fire burn in his blue eyes before.
"You should know by now that your partner is your lifeline and is to be respected! You were trained better than that. What the hell were you thinking out there?"
"I don't know, Lieutenant. I'm sorry."
"Sorry will not get you out of this."
"It won't happen again."
"That's right, it won't happen again, David," Jim stated firmly.
Jim sat on the edge of the desk directly in front of David.
"I know you've been having a difficult time over the past few weeks. No one's expected that you would bounce back quickly. However, Shawn's death is in no way an excuse for your current actions while on duty . . . "
As Jim began, David's thoughts began to wander back to the day that started it all - the day he was trying so desperately to forget . . .
"1-Adam-16, 1-Adam-16, see the guard. 211- silent in progress at America's Bank, 1211 Lincoln Avenue. Adam-16, Handle Code 3."
"1-Adam-16, roger. You know? I really don't like these calls, David."
"Tell me about it. I have what, four years on you? And I still don't like 'em. I don't know which are worse, the 211's or the domestic's-"
"We're approaching the 900 block. Know what you mean. It's a toss up, isn't it?"
"1-Adam-16: Supplemental on your call: PR says suspects are heavily armed. Proceed with caution."
"Terrific. Ask her if they have a description of the suspects or a car."
"1-Adam-16, roger. Did the P.R. report any descriptions of the suspects or vehicle involved?"
"Negative on the car, Adam-16. PR reports 2 male suspects, 1 white and 1 black. No further description given."
"1-Adam-16, roger. We better be careful. Who knows what these guys will do - or how desperate they may be? 1100 block."
As David turned off the lights, "I know what you mean about desperation. A criminal will do anything to save himself. That's one lesson my dad has always taught me. These 211's can go so wrong so fast - you always have to be aware of what's happening."
"Call in that we're Code 6 - then follow me and stay behind the car until we can assess the area . . . see if they have any hostages," David said as he stopped the car. He grabbed the shotgun from its rack on the floor, exited the car and moved quickly behind it, like he instructed his partner to do.
"Okay. 1-Adam-16, Show us Code 6, 1211 Lincoln." Shawn tossed the mic on the seat as he exited the car from the driver's side, moving low.
After joining David behind the car, "See anything?"
"No. There's been no movement. It's too quiet."
"Hey, David. Maybe I can get a better look over there." Shawn pointed to a parked car that seemed to be closer to the front of the building than where the unit was.
David held up his hand, "No. Stay here for a moment."
"I really think I can get a better view over there," Shawn repeated.
"Shawn, no. Stay back behind the car! We don't know what's happening yet."
"Hey. Trust me, partner."
"Wait. Shawn!" David yelled, watching as Shawn moved away from the squad car. David tried to grab at his uniform sleeve, but missed. Damn! I can't believe he just disobeyed my orders!
Yelling from his new position, "I have a direct view from here, Malloy. I can take one of them out, maybe both!"
As Shawn spoke, the suspects entered the doorway of the bank and quickly spotted the police car. They began to scramble.
"The police are here, man!" one of the suspects yelled, gun in hand.
"Just great! Let's get movin'. Fast!" the other suspect responded as he slung a bag over his left shoulder and drew a gun in his right.
As David grabbed the mic, "No, Shawn! Get back here behind our car! 1-Adam-16, suspects are running out the front. Request a backup unit to this location."
Before anyone had a chance to react, shots rang out between the suspects and David's partner. No one could tell who shot first.
"1-Adam-16, officers need help! Shots fired! Shots fired at this location!" David called in to dispatch. He looked to see if he could cover Shawn in any way. He couldn't. Shawn was too far away.
Suddenly, a shot from the suspects got lucky. David watched as Shawn jerked backwards from a bullet's powerful impact. He stumbled a few feet, clutching at his chest. Shawn fell to the ground in a long, hard thud, his gun knocked out of his hand as he went down. Time seemed to move in slow motion . . .
"Officer down! Where's our backup? Send an ambulance to this location!" David called to dispatch again, searching for an opening in the gunfire to help his partner.
The echoes of gunfire and people screaming danced in David's head. He dropped the mic on the floor of the unit, "Shawn! Shawn! Can you hear me?"
David tried to clear his head and survey the area. All he could see was one of Shawn's limp hands sticking out behind the other parked car in the distance.
"Adam-32, will back up Adam-16. ETA 2 minutes."
"Roger, 1-Adam-32. Attention all available units: Officers need help. 1-Adam-16 reports shots fired and officer down at America's Bank, 1211 Lincoln Avenue. Ambulance and 1-Adam-32 are in route - E.T.A. 2 minutes. Any available units to assist, please identify."
"Adam-22, will back up Adam-16. E.T.A. 4 minutes."
"Roger, 1-Adam-22. 1-Adam-16, 1-Adam-16. 1-Adam-32 and 1-Adam-22 will back up. E.T.A. 2 to 4 minutes. Ambulance has been dispatched."
David grabbed the mic after he heard help was on the way. "1-Adam-16, roger."
Throwing the mic down again, David crawled as fast and low as he could to his partner, who was still holding his chest. Shawn was bleeding profusely, a pool of blood forming on the ground beneath him. David grabbed him by his left arm and began to drag him in the direction of the police car. In the process, David got caught on the fender of the car, ripping his left uniform sleeve. Once he freed himself, he dragged Shawn with all of his strength until they reached cover behind the car.
Looking down at his wounded partner, holding him in one of his arms while aiming the shotgun with the other at the suspects, "You idiot! What the hell were you thinking? What were you trying to prove?"
"I had a better v-view. I think I-I hit one of them, David. Ma-maybe both - "
"Shawn. Don't talk. Just rest. Backup will be here soon. Hang on partner, please, hang on . . . Your wife needs you to stay alive. I need you to stay alive . . . " David whispered, kneeling over his partner in a protective watch. His partner was dying and there was nothing he could do.
"P-please tell Katie . . . " Shawn's speech and breathing were labored, "Tell her I love her. Please pr-promise . . . Okay?"
"You can tell her yourself. Stay with me, partner. Just stay with me."
" . . . I-It's getting so hard to stay awake, D-Dave . . . "
He's not going to make it. God! He's not going to make it . . . . Help us!
" . . . You have a choice to make now: either you take some time off and clear your head or, it's time to make the decision you have been threatening for the past week."
David remained silent, deep in thought.
David didn't reply.
"Are you listening to me?" Jim asked.
David heard a voice escalating in the background, but didn't acknowledge the questions.
"David!" Jim shouted as he slammed his fist on the desk.
"Huh? Oh, I'm sorry. I wasn't listening-"
"That's exactly what I'm talking about. You totally tuned me out - didn't hear a word I've said! You're not with it, David. You keep reliving that day in your head. You're endangering your life and the lives of everyone else on the watch, not to mention those innocent people in the street!"
David looked down at the floor. He's right.
"I don't want to do this, but you have to decide now: are you taking an extended break to deal with this? Or should I recommend that you leave, permanently?"
Jim's statement finally caught David's ear. "It doesn't sound like you're really giving me a choice. Are you?"
"I'm trying to give you the choice - but you have to make it, not me or the Review Board or the brass. I don't want you off the force, David. I know what you're capable of and I want that back. I need you thinking and acting rationally. I can't have you on duty without taking care of what's in your head."
"I'm sorry, but that part of me is gone. It died three weeks ago . . . "
"I don't believe that." Jim studied David for a few seconds. He looks like such a scared child. I don't want to lose him now.
Jim spoke again, this time softly, "What do you want, David? How do you want to proceed?"
"You know what I really want, Lieutenant?" David asked, hatred entering into his voice. "I want Shawn back, can't you understand that?" David began to rub his forehead, trying unsuccessfully to get all the images of Shawn's lifeless body out his mind. "I want Shawn back - for me and for Katie. But I can't have that now, can I?" David stood up and turned away from Jim. "I just want out. I want out so I don't have to relive it anymore!" David shouted, turning back to look at Jim with tired, blood-shot eyes, now filled with raw anger.
"Leaving is not going to help you to stop thinking about it."
"It's a start. Now, am I free to go? I wanna pack up my locker and get the hell out of here . . . before I get sick!"
Without waiting for an answer, David stormed out of the office, almost breaking the glass pane in the door as he went.
David's trip to his apartment building seemed much longer tonight, despite the short amount of time it took to get there. He got out of his car and slammed the door so hard that the glass shook. He stared at his car for a moment, then his glance shifted to his building.
He swung his bag over his shoulder - the bag that held his life and career for the past 6 years - and walked slowly, almost deliberately, inside the building and headed up the stairs to the second level.
I'm so tired. So tired and angry - angry with everyone, he thought as he climbed the staircase. It's quiet tonight. Just as well. I want to be left alone anyway. No one around to bother me . . .
He approached the door to his solitary apartment. The number '15B' was attached to the door in brass lettering. He put his key in the lock and listened for the deadbolt to click. He opened the door to enter the black room.
The room felt cold, lonely, isolated - perfect. I can sit in the dark and tune everything out. Finally, no one to intrude . . .
He put his keys and heavy bag on the table, and searched for the light switch on the wall. Before he could locate the switch, he noticed a somewhat familiar smell - the smell of smoke: cigarette smoke. He spotted a tiny but bright orange glow coming from the opposite corner of the room.
"Who's there?" David demanded, reflexively moving for cover and placing his hand on his off-duty gun.
He listened closely - watched as the glow moved in the dark. He heard someone take a single long, steady drag of the cigarette, then blow out the smoke in one calm breath.
Drawing his gun, he adeptly sited on the glow. By instinct, he called out "I'm a police officer! Who's there? What're you doing in my house?"
This time the person spoke: calmly, professionally, persuasively . . . warmly.
"It's me, David. Put the gun away. We need to talk." With that, the man leaned over and turned on the small, dim lamp set on the table he was sitting at.
Almost mockingly, "Dad? I thought you stopped smoking years ago," David said as he holstered his gun.
"I did - until now." Looking down at the ashtray, Pete continued, "You know, there used to be a time when smoking was very soothing. Kept you calm - helped you to regain your control when you were angry or upset or disappointed." Stubbing out the barely-smoked cigarette, "But, it just doesn't seem to be helping right now . . . "
"Because you don't need it. Now, go home, Dad. I'm tired and wanna sleep." With that, David turned toward the bedroom door.
"I'm not leaving here until we settle some of your issues."
Pete stood up and walked closer to his son. "How about your attitude towards your job and partner? Your grief over Shawn? Your beating yourself up over something you couldn't control? I can make the list can go on if I have to. It's only the beginning."
"I don't need you to tell me what's wrong in my life. Go home. I can handle it myself." David looked at the very serious expression that seemed to be glued to his father's face. He really wants to talk. He wasn't pushing me before . . . Why now? Did someone call him? God! I wish he'd just leave me alone.
David panicked at the thought of the impending discussion. Without warning, he sprinted toward the bedroom door, trying desperately to get inside and lock the door, wanting to avoid the conversation he so dreaded.
Just as quickly, Pete lurched forward and caught him by the neck of his shirt, slamming him chest-first into the wall right outside the bedroom door. Pictures that hung on the wall rattled from the impact. A picture of a younger Jimmy and David fell to the ground, the glass shattering on the hardwood floor. They struggled for what seemed like an eternity, but in reality only lasted for a few seconds. David momentarily stopped fighting as he realized Pete had him pinned solid.
I never realized dad was so quick and still so strong. I can't talk about it. Not now, Dad. Not now . . .
"We are beginning this conversation, David, whether you choose to or not! If you won't talk to me as your father, you will talk to me as your superior!"
"Don't pull rank on me! Go home! I don't need you here!"
"No. Not until we get this over with. This talk's been a long time coming."
"Leave me alone!" David struggled again, this time much harder as the anger in his voice grew even more apparent. "Who do you think you are? I don't need you here, Dad! I can handle this by myself! I'm not some scared little boy without a father anymore! I don't need you to wipe my tears away! I don't need you here. I don't want you here!"
The cold, contemptuous words floated in the air of the apartment like images cast on a movie screen. Neither man dared to move as the words settled on their ears and the realization of what had just occurred settled in their hearts.
Pete's grip on David loosened as he took a few slow steps, backing away from the young man - the boy - he considered his son. David's words were like a knife to his heart and soul. After all this time . . . Is this how he really feels about me? I thought we were so close - like father and son. I thought he needed me. No - no, he's just angry. He doesn't know what he is saying right now . . .
"I - I had no idea you felt this way, David."
Pete walked slowly over to the window, staring out into the lonesome, dark night. "I'm sorry if I assumed we were so close or you needed me here. I thought we - we . . . " Pete took a deep breath and let it out slowly. After a moment, he spoke again. "If you really want to be alone, I'll go."
Pete turned and began to walk towards the door, trying not to look at his son - not wanting his boy to see him broken or hurt.
"Dad? Don't go. Please. Don't leave me alone." David's words were spoken so low, they were barely audible. David turned to face in Pete's direction, leaned back against the wall and slid down the wall's length, finally sitting on the floor in the corner among the broken glass, defeated. "I didn't mean that. I-I don't know what I am saying anymore. I'm sorry."
Pete turned slightly and could see in the corner of his eye David's shoulders begin to tremble. He walked toward David and knelt down in front of him. He moved David's hands away from his face and looked in his son's eyes. All Pete could see was a strange distance in those bright green eyes, which now seemed muted by all the pain.
Pete took David's face in his hands. Suddenly ignorant of the passage of time, Pete was staring at an eleven-year-old boy, hiding in his closet because of a bad grade on his report card. Pete hoped it would be as easy to make it all better now as he had so many years ago . . .
"David. Tell me? Do you know what friendship and family mean?" Pete waited for a response, but when none came, he continued, trying not to say anything that might set him off again. "They mean sharing your feeling and hurts with those who care about you. Showing those who love you all of your fears, trusting in them when the world seems out to get you. Know who taught me that? The people closest in my life: your Uncle Jim, your mom . . . and you. All three of you changed my life in ways you'd never understand.
"You see, Jim helped me to crawl out of my hole - similar to the one you're in right now. He gave me a new sense of purpose in my life and work. He helped me move on after my partner was killed and to trust a new one. He nagged me about the virtues of marriage and family, and about being honest with myself. He helped me to open up to the world, to trust in others - to trust in myself. I always thought I could make it on my own, but he showed me I was wrong.
"I took a gamble and opened myself up to your mom. She's an incredible lady, you know? She accepts me and loves me for who I am. I know she never liked my being on patrol. She was so frightened the night your Uncle Jim saved my life. She thought I was going to die and leave her alone again. But she never asked me to leave the job, even after I recovered. She just wants to be with me for as long as she can. I never thought I could trust or adore someone as much as I do her.
"And, you? What can I say? You accepted me into your life from the day we met . . . like you knew more about the future than I did. I was so happy that you wanted me in your life. You completely shocked me when you asked me to adopt you - to make you my real son, not just my stepson. I'd heard so many horror stories about being a stepfather. I prayed none of it was true. I discussed adopting you at length with your mom, but I never wanted to push you into it. I thought it best for you to keep your identity with your real father. I was so honored when you asked me and so proud the day it became official . . .
"You've made me proud every day since I've known you. And to see you in Blue . . . " Pete's voice broke off as he began to choke on his words.
After a moment, Pete continued, "David, I know you didn't mean what you just said. You've been through a very rough couple of weeks and you're still very angry - at yourself and at the world. No one expects you to rebound that fast, least of all me. I know what it's like - honest I do. I've been there. I just wish you'd come talk to me."
Pete watched David's expression begin to soften. Maybe he's finally beginning to understand now.
"You know what you've been doing to Jimmy is wrong. You aren't giving him a chance to show you what he knows. To let him screw up and learn from his mistakes. Jimmy's trying to reach out to you - to help you. You keep turning him away. You keep turning everyone away.
"What you don't realize is that it was so hard for me to see your uncle in the passenger's seat, just like it is for you to see Jimmy there. It's surreal, foreign, not right. It doesn't seem to fit - at least not at first. Once some time goes by, and you learn to trust your partner, it will feel natural. You'll feel like a team. If someone told me that the first night I was partnered with your Uncle, I would've told them that they were wrong. But, it's so true.
"And what you did today - to that suspect - was very wrong. Trust me, I know from experience."
"What?" David finally looked up at his father, who had the most regretful expression on his face that David had ever seen.
"I thought I told you about that." Pete decided to get more comfortable. He brushed the glass aside and sat down next to his son, leaning against the wall, and began to recall the events of that dreadful day.
"Well, there was this little girl. We were told she was wearing a red and white gingham dress and a red sweater. Her mother called and reported her missing, so your Uncle and I started searching the neighborhood and surrounding area. I came across a house - a beautiful house that was old and run-down. I knocked on the door, but no one answered. Then, I noticed some movement in the curtain, so I knocked again and a man answered the door. He said he worked nights and slept days. He said he was getting ready for work. . . ." Pete began to shake his head as he the memories flooded back to him.
"When he moved, I saw something red - like a red sweater - on the couch. I asked him about it and he stammered on his answer. Next thing I knew, he slammed the door in my face and bolted to the back of the house. I called to your Uncle to let him know I had the right house, then kicked in the door. I saw the girl . . . what he had done to her. It made me sick. I ran out the back behind him.
"What a chase! I don't think I ever ran so hard or fast in my life. When I finally caught up to him, I knocked him down into an off-loading ramp and hit my head at the same time. I didn't even know I scraped myself up until much later. I pulled him up off the ground and cuffed him. He said something to me. I don't remember what it was now, but he basically said he didn't do anything wrong and she asked for it.
"I lost it. I just totally lost it, David. I slammed him into the wall as hard as I could, and slammed him a second time, shouted at him. I let it continue until your uncle yelled at me to cool it. Jim offered to put him in the car, but I did it myself. I had to - I had to arrest him myself. I asked Jim if the girl was ok, but he didn't know.
"God, I felt so dirty! Dirty that I touched such a loathsome person and dirty because I let myself lose my control. The only thing that made feel better was that the girl was going to recover."
"I - I had no idea, dad."
"It's something I'm not proud of and don't like to talk about. I still don't know why I let myself go like that. Facing the Captain was the most difficult thing I've ever had to do in my career. I thought I would lose my chance at advancement. I risked so much by one stupid action. Now, you're in the same position and you probably feel no better than I did."
"No, I don't. I feel worse. At least you didn't go farther and almost knock your partner out."
"Yeah. And don't think Internal Affairs will overlook that."
Pete accidentally let out a small laugh, shaking his head, "But, I have to admit, there were times I could've gone after your uncle. He could occasionally make me so furious, like the first night we were on duty together."
Pete noticed David was allowing himself to relax. He shifted his position a little closer to his son.
"Yeah, your Uncle decided to be 'Sergeant York', as I called him, and took it upon himself to apprehend a gang of kids in a park armed to the hilt! He disobeyed my orders because he thought he could do better. I was so furious with him that I told him to 'marry a tree' so I could talk to the Lieutenant. The look on your uncle's face was priceless. Of course, that's now that I look back on it." Pete started to laugh more at the picture of Jim in his head. "You'll eventually learn that the times which seem the lowest to you now will actually be somewhat humorous later."
"I suppose there were times Uncle Jim wanted your head too, right?"
"You bet. Like the night I rolled the patrol car."
"You mean in Griffith Park?"
"Yep, that's the one. I left him at the scene of an armed robbery with his suspect cuffed and took off in the car after the other one. It wouldn't have been so bad had the radio been working properly. But, it wasn't. I still only remember that night in flashes - one minute I'm pursuing a suspect and trying to make the radio work, and the next minute I'm lying there in a cracked-up unit . . . aching, cold, alone and terrified. I was left out there for over 4 hours."
"That's a long time not being able to communicate with anyone."
"Yeah, it was. And to make matters worse, a guy named Boone, on the run for murder, took my revolver and shotgun and left me for dead. I really thought my life was over. But, your uncle was stubborn and continued to search the park, against Mac's orders. When he found me, he watched over me, awaiting help, and stayed next to me all the way to the hospital."
"So, when did he chew you out?"
"He decided to wait until I was recovering in the hospital. And I was lucky enough to get it again from Mac. I knew that I should've broadcast the description of the car and stayed there with my partner, but I had to be a hero."
David smiled. "I had no idea we're so much alike, dad."
"We are - somehow you've managed to take on some of my traits, not all of which are so great."
"Like being stubborn?"
"Yeah. You know, you never really asked me about things that happened when I was on patrol. There are so many stories I can tell you - some funny, some sad, many terrifying. You just need to ask and I'll share anything with you."
"Without hesitation. Even if is something embarrassing," Pete replied.
David sat quietly for a few moments, letting all that was discussed sink in.
David looked back down at the floor. "I'm sorry."
"You don't need to apologize. I understand and I want to help you. We all want to help. You just need to ask."
"Can I ask you a question?" David's voice sounded so young, so scared.
"When will it go away? I mean, when will all this pain go away? When will the look on his face - the blood on his chest, his hands, everywhere - leave my head? I feel like his blood is still on me. I - I feel like I'm going crazy! When does it get better? When does it go all just away?"
David finally began to sob so hard that his whole body shook. Pete moved close to his son and pulled him over to hold him, like he did when he was a young boy.
"I wish I knew, son. I really wish I knew . . . "
Pete held onto his son as tightly as he could, as David cried, finally able to let go of the anger and heartache that held him back for the past three weeks.
The pain never goes away, David. It only fades slightly with time. But how do I explain that to you?
The next morning, David reported back at the station. The day was not going to be pleasant, but he was ready.
Only an hour had passed since his dad left his apartment - Pete stayed with his son the whole night. David didn't get much sleep, but his headache had finally subsided. I guess I'm ready to go through 'Round 2'.
David poked his head through the open door of the locker room, looking to make sure no one else was around. He spotted Jimmy by his locker alone.
"Jimmy? Have a minute? We need to talk."
"Why, David? So you can chew my head off again? Or, since the Sergeant isn't around, maybe you'd like to really hit me?" he said coldly, looking in the mirror while straightening his tie, without even turning toward his T.O. and friend. "I don't think you can have a rational conversation right now, so you might as well not bother. I really don't feel like explaining to the brass why there's all this commotion in the locker room. I'm still on probation, remember?"
David smiled to himself, realizing just how much he had to apologize for. "Listen. Just give me a moment. I don't have much time this morning, but I need to explain everything that's been happening. I promise: no shouting or punching. A few minutes is all I ask."
"All right." Jimmy plopped down on the bench, not really believing David's newfound composure. "Shoot."
"First off, I am very sorry, Jimmy. I didn't mean to take Shawn's death out on you or anyone else. I was wrong.
"I know this is not much of an excuse, but Shawn is the first person really close to me who has died. Dad suggested that my real father's death might be part of my anger - but I really don't remember it. I was only four or five years old. I didn't know him enough to be sad or angry. So, I guess I didn't know how I would react to all of this.
"Add to that how responsible I feel for not being able to help Shawn - "
"I told you - "
"I know. There was nothing I could've done - Shawn put himself in that position by trying to be a hero. He was too far away from me to move him out of the way. But I still felt so helpless and useless . . . like my training was a waste. I can't seem to get those images out of my head, no matter what I do.
"I think that's why I've been so tough on you. I've been too tough on you. I just didn't want to see you making the same mistake - lying on the ground, bleeding to death. I'm sorry. I've been taking everything out on you and you don't deserve it. I haven't been much of a T.O., have I? I haven't given you a chance to show me what you know or what you can do. I keep treating you like a little boy - it's not right."
"David - "
"And, I had absolutely no right to almost swing at you. I'm surprised you didn't try to swing back. I expected it."
"Why should I? If I did, you would've gotten more angry."
"Yeah. I probably would've really tried to punch you."
"Besides, Stewart rolled up. If I'd tried to fight back, I'd be facing review right now."
"Yeah. And that wouldn't be good in your jacket. Uh, who called the Sergeant anyway?"
"I don't know. No one's said."
"Oh. I suppose he just rolled on the call."
"David, can I ask you a question?"
"Why'd you do it? Why'd you lose your control out there?"
"I'm not sure. I guess I've been trying to ignore how I feel and the call just pushed me over the edge. I felt so alone, like no one knew how it felt to have their partner die in their arms . . . " David hung his head, wanting to erase the events of the day before.
"You aren't alone. You can always talk to me. No, I wouldn't know how you felt, but I could try to understand. You don't have to shut me out. Making me angry at you isn't going to help."
"Well, I know that now. My dad kinda beat that into my head last night. I had no idea that he'd been through so much or that he still feels responsible for his partner's death. And that's how many years later? I thought I was the only one."
"I told you that you're not in this by yourself. You just need to tell all of us what's happening and what you're thinking. Up to now, we all thought you weren't mentally equipped to handle the job anymore - that Shawn's death made you really lose it. Once the Captain was informed of the problem, he considered putting you on permanent disability - but my dad and Uncle Pete asked him to reconsider, to give you more time."
David's attention centered on Jimmy, "But my dad's opinion shouldn't matter - he's not connected with this division now."
"Captain Woods served with your father and trusts his judgment completely."
"I had no idea they did that."
"They did because they trust in your abilities - they know you can do the job, you just need to get through this first. You had to open up and talk about it."
"And I told your dad I wasn't like my father."
"He knows better. You're more like your father than you'll ever know."
"Do you think we can move past this?"
"Well, now that I know what's going on, I think I may be able to get over it."
"So soon?" David smiled to his life-long friend, who was now beginning to really feel like his partner.
"Did I say I would forgive you right now?"
"Oh. Okay, okay - what do you want? How can I make all of this up to you?" David asked, his arms flailing in exaggeration.
"Hum . . . " Jimmy walked over to David. "How about? No. No. That's no good." Jimmy looked deep in thought until it came to him, "How about letting me drive the car?" Jimmy poked David in the chest with his finger, with the largest grin on his face.
"The car? You mean my new squad car? Oh, no. You see, Reed, driving is your T.O.'s responsibility . . . " David could see Jimmy was now rolling his eyes. "You - you don't know the area yet, so you need to learn the streets first. You can only do that by being in the passenger seat, looking at the street signs and the maps - "
"You know, I could always ask for a new T.O., one that would trust me to drive."
"Oh, I trust you to drive. I just haven't broken her in yet."
"Really? David, I think you need to work on your control issues. You have the same obsession about that car as your dad did. Ask my father - I think he only drove twice!"
Wiping his face with his hand, " . . . Oh man! This apology's going to be harder than I thought . . . " After the brief laugh, David grew serious. "I just hope I can continue as your T.O."
"Yeah. When do you think you're going to return to watch?"
"I don't know when - I don't even know if I will."
"You do remember that I slammed the suspect around yesterday, not to mention almost roughing up my partner?"
"Yeah, but you have it all worked out now, don't you?"
"Yes, I think so - but that's for myself. I still have to face Internal Affairs and the review and see what the consequences are. Just because I'm having personal problems doesn't give me a right to knock the guy out, or you. Let this be my first, and hopefully not my last, lesson to you. Keep yourself in control and don't knock anyone out - it isn't worth it."
The door to the locker room opened. Sergeant Stewart peered in the doorway.
"David? They're ready. Are you?"
David placed his bag in his locker. "I think so. I'll be right there."
"I'll wait for you outside my office."
"Okay." Turning to Jimmy calmly, he said, "Wish me luck - I may need it!"
"Good luck, David. I'm on the desk today, so I'm here if you need me."
"Okay, I'll remember that." David winked at his friend as he moved toward the door.
"If they need someone to vouch for your character, tell them to come find me."
"Thanks." David left the locker room nervously, yet with more confidence than he had in weeks.
Three weeks had passed since David's suspension. He officially returned to watch today, ready to really begin work again. It was now nearing the end of Roll call.
" . . . Lopez and Jacobs, Adam-26. Wilson and Jones, Adam-34." Sergeant Stewart rubbed his eyes and refocused on the paper in front of him. "Well! I guess lightening does strike twice! Malloy and Reed-" He looked over at David and Jimmy with a smile on his face, "Adam-12."
This is my idea of where the characters, created by Jack Webb and R.A. Cinader, would be today No copyright infringements are intended in this story.
Thanks to Mark VII Productions for creating and producing the show I so enjoy. To Martin Milner, Kent McCord and the entire cast of Adam-12: thanks for your portrayal of some of the best men to ever wear the uniform. You have encouraged many good people to enter a line of work that is often tough and not always rewarding.
Thanks to Cathy - your editing and suggestions are fantastic, as always. Thanks to Leslie for helping with some procedural questions and to Harry Marnell for assistance on details with the LA area.