Categories > Original > Drama0 Reviews
A suicide makes a policeman think about things.
My writing style for this short one-shot was heavily infulenced by Terry Pratchett, I'm afraid. Any feed back on how to improve this story, if I should change the writting style or not, etc. would be welcome.
Everyone Who Came Before
They dredged the body up from under a pier, on a cold drizzly October. There was a whip-around for flowers and the cost of the coffin, once it was ascertained that the old officer didn't have a wife, much less any family. The funeral service was brief and vague, the sergeant's name filled in to the right spots in the often repeated speech. Supposedly it was enough to make God care.
As the various officers, who had known him, filed away to their respective domiciles the drizzle continued, grey and depressing. A few thought about him in a non-committal way. Several others thought about his death. His brother sergeant, who had signed up at the same time, and gotten trained at the same time, and been promoted at the same times, thought about life in general and what a pissy life it truly was as he headed for The Marksman of Trafalgar with the unerring instinct of a homing pigeon.
Sergeant Kinley had been a good man, at least according to the vicar. The still alive Sergeant Mostun would disagree with that assessment, at least in the privacy of his own head. Kinley had been a harsh man, a good man to have watching your back, Mostun agreed, but a harsh man, who would viciously attack an innocent bystander for getting in the way. Kinley had never understood that to be truly human you had to occasionally bend a rule, or get dirty. He had never understood that you couldn't be perfect, and be a policeman.
You couldn't be crooked, either, of course, not crooked in your soul. But occasionally life handed you a choice between being crooked in your actions and being crooked in your soul. That was why beer was needed, Mostun reflected somberly. Because it was a pissy old world, and the only thing that could make sense of it all was that marvelously disconnected feeling.
And here, as the blast of warm air and yellow light hit him, was the source of that liberating numbness. Kinley had always disapproved of Mostun's habit of gravitating towards the nearest pub like it was his second home, but Kinley had grown up strict Catholic, and what could you expect, reasoned the sergeant. Kinley disapproved of a lot. Mainly because Kinley approved of authority.
His equivalent to alcohol was a world view so narrow that it only had room for two colors, black and white. In a way, Mostun had admired that way of seeing things. Everything became so simple. There was authority, and it was to be obeyed. There was Right, and there was Wrong. There was no in between.
Mostun admired that point of view, because all he could see was in between, and he often wished that it would all resolve itself so simply for him. When everything was in between all you got was one big mess. One god awful mess that seethed and boiled with depraved sins and secret miracles, and would never be made right. Except by the answers found when mind and body were only loosely connected by a long string.
Kinley hated that approach. He had often had to help his best friend home after gang wars and drug deals, with Mostun so drunk he could be seeping beer from his pores, and saying things like how much easier it would be if the entire human race was wiped out, and what a favor they'd be doing everyone, eh? Right and wrong had held all of the answers as far as Kinley had been concerned. You were either one thing or another.
Like alive and dead, Mostun thought bitterly as he shot back another pint. He couldn't recall getting his first, but this must be his second or third. Kinley had taken everything so bloody seriously, starting with himself. Mostun didn't know why Kinley had taken the route of the bridge, but the man could guess that the line between Right and Wrong had been crossed too hard for Kinley to bear.
You couldn't work this job, Mostun knew, without stepping into Wrong, just a bit, just on one occasion. You couldn't stay sane and continue to hold right and wrong as your universal truths. Mostun gulped back the warm ale, and wondered how many others were like Kinley. How many others had discovered that their rules of life had to be broken, and that in turn broke them? Mostun could see them, lining up, a long line marching into the past, and waiting for bore to come into their ranks tomorrow.
So the English sergeant drained pint after pint until those horribly bleak faces swam away from his vision, and fell asleep in a pool of a sticky something that he didn't dare contemplate. After all, every man had to have his own personal way of killing himself; Mostun's would just take longer than Kinley's.