Fiction: The Staff Sergeant

Gary Robinson
Gary Robinson

            The car had been tailing someone for a while (first when the person was on a bus and now afoot), keeping at a safe distance. The driver and his partner slouched in the passenger side were calm and focused. This was a job to do and only that. There was nothing petty or personal to it. The time was 10 p.m.
            So far they hadn’t been spotted. But this was the suburbs and the odds of staying unnoticed were becoming less likely.
            Then an elementary school bordered by a small playground came into view. The person darted into the playground and disappeared. The car pulled over. The two men jumped out and hurried to catch up. Neither knew if they’d been made yet. Thirty yards ahead the men saw the outline of the target. They swiftly closed the gap between them.
            A man out with his dog heard the gunshots: nine, he counted. They came from near the school and he rushed home, almost dragging the dog.
            The police quickly arrived (several 911 calls had been phoned in) and people watched from their front windows and even the lawns as the playground was surrounded and yellow tape was stretched along the street.
            A Staff Sergeant drove up and parked at the school. It was 10:45 p.m. A police officer explained what the situation was.
            “They’re in the playground. We have a male deceased,” he said.
            The Staff Sergeant and the officer walked over past empty swings, a plastic toy house, and slides that resembled enormous tongues and colourful helixes. Half a dozen cruisers had blocked off the area. Cops in uniform gathered around two men who leaned against a car.
            “That’s Dunigan and Lapointe,” the officer mentioned.
            The Staff Sergeant recognized them. They’d been at his Christmas party last year.
            “Who was the shooter?”
            The officer shrugged. “They both fired.”
            The Staff Sergeant went to check on the body which was now covered by a blanket. He searched a wallet and a blood stained knapsack filled with textbooks, a cell phone, and a laptop. The deceased’s name was Daniel Jackson, a twenty-one-year-old student, judging by a university ID card. There was no sign of a weapon or anything that might have brought his death upon himself.
            When he returned Dunigan was pointing up in the sky.
            “I swear it was a bunch of lights, red and white, in a triangle shape heading south.”           “A plane?” someone suggested.
            “No way,” Dunigan said, shaking his head. “It stopped for almost two minutes before moving again. That’s no plane.”
            Lapointe, smoking a cigarette, agreed: “I’d never believed in UFOs. But, holy f**k, there it was. Like something from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
            The Staff Sergeant studied the sky but could only make out a star here and there. He didn’t know enough astronomy to say what stars they were. Like everybody else he was fascinated by the notion of worlds outside their own solar system. Scientists said, given the billions of galaxies, that the chance of alien life was, at least statistically, a probability. The Staff Sergeant owned a large collection of sci-fi films as well as books on the subject and was interested in what Dunigan and Lapointe had seen. Then he had some questions.
            “You were following that guy?” he said, not directing the question at anyone in particular.
            “He’s a dealer. We heard he was getting a shipment tonight,” Dunigan replied, staring upwards.
            “His ID says his name is Daniel Jackson, a university student it would appear.”
            “Shit,” said Lapointe.
            “Sure?” Dunigan asked.
            “That’s what the ID says,” the Staff Sergeant said.
            Laughter burst from Dunigan, Lapointe, and several officers who were talking among themselves. Even the Staff Sergeant smirked.
            “We were onto a dealer named Marcel. He definitely looked like him,” Dunigan said.
            For a moment the Staff Sergeant wondered if the UFO might still be there, maybe concealed behind a cloud. He wished he had a telescope with him.
            “So,” he said, getting back to business, “you fired at the guy. Did he do something to alarm you?”
            Dunigan and Lapointe shifted against the car (they were still resting on it), uncomfortable by the long wait and their backs that were becoming sore.
            “We told him to f**king stop,” Dunigan finally said.
            “But he didn’t,” Lapointe added.
            “He turned suddenly. It spooked us. We thought he had a gun and did what we had to do,” Dunigan concluded.
            Paramedics who were on the scene asked Dunigan and Lapointe if they needed any medical attention. The crime scene photographers had come and gone. The paramedics carried the student in a body bag to an ambulance and drove away.
            “You’ve had a tough night,” the Staff Sergeant said. “Go home, get some rest. Tomorrow you’ll have to give statements about this. Then the SIU will be involved and want to interview you. But I’m sure everything will be fine.”
            Dunigan and Lapointe seemed angry (or bored) the Staff Sergeant noted. The two accepted a lift offered by a cop and left.
            The Staff Sergeant took in the crime scene one more time. He would file a report in the morning. He felt bad for Dunigan and Lapointe. They were good cops. Probably they’d be suspended. Of course they would receive pay for the duration of the suspension. Until everything was sorted out. And it might not be for a while. That’s how it was. Nobody knew how hard police work really was nor the toll it took on all of them.
            He returned to his car. When he retired he wanted to take up UFO investigations. Who knew what lay beyond their own world? Could alien life be out there? Imagine how exciting it would be to actually stumble across an extra-terrestrial. There was so much they didn’t know about the universe. It was absolutely mind-boggling.

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