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Oh My Planet!
Wake Christopher, Chapter 3
© 2022 James LaFond
Seattle, Washington, King Street Station, 11:51 P.M.
Justice yawned.
Gabriel Delgato was feeling somehow, unclean.
His helmet felt like hell’s very bell.
The visor steamed up from the terrible scene.
His vest was stifling hot in the cool rain.
The body armor made him feel as inflexible as the laws he was charged with enforcing.
The stun unit rested easily upon his shoulder and uneasily in his heart.
He really hoped he could make it to tactical and see some real action disarming these people. At least when these people had guns he could frame them as a threat. But seeing them file by like this, heads down, blue plastic psyche shields clipped on their wrist phones to limit social contact to medical and safety personnel, he had a hard time envisioning these people as the as the white supremacist mass murders they must be.
They must be genocide hungry planetary rapists. This was evidenced by the open beds of the clean-power collection cruisers where the hoarded gasoline, firearms, offline computers, world choking wood stoves, meat and other allegedly nutritious illegal commodities were deposited as their erstwhile owners, now under arrest and headed into the station and down to the trains, filed by, pink cozy cuffs confining their wrists, blue psyche hats and guidance glasses rendering them anonymous. They were all so ominously compliant and quiet.
This bothered him as he and Carson guarded the gasoline collector jammed with gas cans, kerosene cans and other planet killing fuels.
It bothered Carson for another reason. Carson was the only male Caucasian officer on Crowd Control. Where the rest of them did what they could, Carson always went above and beyond to prove himself to Corporate. Shouldering the stun gun was an affront to Carson, who simply thirsted for bullets and blood, could not wait for the command to deploy Lethals was given, and the sidearm could be unholstered and brought into play.
Carson looked angry through his face shield, pissed that these rednecks, hillbillies, trailer trash, preppers and gun nuts filed by like sheep, giving him no challenge and no way to distinguish himself.
“Look alive, Gabe,” said Carson. “I’ve got a feeling that this is it, ‘that time,’ that we’re going to see ‘that guy.’”
“Yes, Sir,” agreed Gabriel, out of fear, feeling itchy and unclean, sweating under his uniform and armor, shouldering his dishonorable weapon. Both he and Crazy Carson could agree on that, that the stun units were dishonorable, used to taze unarmed people and render them less then a threat, to make them into a medical ward. They had both become Seattle Public Safety Officers to “fight the bad guys.” Instead, they had become electronic cowboys, herding losers and non-compliant creeps unto the trains headed for The Colonies, where people learned how to get along in a therapeutic setting.
‘Heck, we would have seen more action in Medical Security,’ he mused.
He felt unclean again, felt the sweat pooling on his belly roll just below his chest where his Saint Sebastian medal hung on Grandmother’s rosary. Every day, he broke his Service oath by engaging in the psychological aberration of Christianity, if only passively and symbolically, by wearing his most treasured childhood gift. If any other officer knew that e wore a Christian religious symbol he would be in this line of pink-cuffed blue hats and glasses, among these now anonymous social criminals.
The collection cruisers whined slightly as they were powered up, their soft traction wheels engaging the asphalt in the steaming cool rain. The last of the Psyche Cases filed by, an old bald man with stringy beard and a fat little woman in pink flip flops waddling behind him in a homemade dress.
“Mount Up!” roared Carson, the Detail Rotation Commander, and Gabriel and Carson entered the rear cab of the rolling collection container, while Preston, the big black officer and Brooster the pretty blond officer, boarded the front cab 16 feet ahead of them and began pulling off, fossil fuel recovery collection vehicles going at the head of the convoy as per Planetary Recovery Protocol 16.C.
Preston pulled out onto King Street as a cuddle of three smart cars whined past them and Brooster brushed her dreamy yellow hair absently in the passenger seat. How Gabriel yearned for that beautiful woman’s approval, and how he feared her rejection and kept silent for 18 months of service in Crowd Control Collections.
A rumble sounded and someone yelled, a female voice, “Oh my Planet!”
Carson had his hand on the small blue wheel of the rear car, both of their stun units racked behind them and hell rolled from the left, in the form of a large, fossil fuel burning truck of old time make, doing about fifty miles per an hour and squishing the front cab into an aluminum can, its hood barely buckling, though the extended rear view mirror of the old pickup truck did shatter on contact with the solid aluminum bin.
Sparking steel, crushing aluminum, shattering glass, Preston’s globular gobs of gelatinous bloody fat and Brooster’s adorable blond head spattered everywhere—the head of the best looking officer in The Service soon crushed under the unappreciative passenger-side front wheel of the planetary menace mobile.
He was puking, throwing up his burritos on the windshield as Carson roared, “Lethals! All hands on deck! Safety, safety, safety!!!” and bailed out.
Embarrassed, heart broken and sick, Gabriel limped down out of the back cab like a suddenly old man and looked up to see Brooster’s goddess-like petite body rolling over the hood of the red truck as it stopped and roared as if stuck.
A burly looking man in trade shirt and carpenter pants stepped out of the truck on the far side, climbed up on the roof while Carson’s service weapon discharged, hitting a shin, a knee, the top of the truck—which seemed not to effect the man standing on the roof of his roaring truck.
The man wore an expression of utmost tranquility, not seeming crazy at all, as Carson’s weapon jammed and the commander of the detail yelled at himself like he were a training officer on the range, “Clear your weapon, officer!”
As Gabriel wiped vomit from his jutting armored vest, barely able to house his gut, something he would no longer feel embarrassed about when he looked at Brooster, who was just a leaking rag doll with no head, he thought, ‘Who is crazier, here?’
A bottle of vodka with a rag hanging limp like a wet candle wick out of the top, was held in the left hand of the driver. ‘He’s a lefty.’
A match, one of the illegal stick matches, was struck with the right hand against the man’s own eye brow and then applied to the improvised incindiary device and tossed into the collection bin.
A flash of flame erupted and roaring black smoke blinded him as he backed off and walked around the back of the rear cab, feeling his way with his hands until he was upwind and able to clear the steam from his face shield.
Carson was marching around the flaming aluminum bin on wheels, his weapon at the ready above his left shoulder, ‘Carson is a lefty too—and that matters why?’
Trying to recover some level of professionalism, despite the hole in his chest left by the loss of Brooster, he double-timed up behind Carson, who might be engaging the man who was no longer on the roof of the truck…
“Pop, pop-pop-pop, pop!” sounded Carson’s weapon, who was a one man show now, with the other Safety Officers just standing around calling for Fire and Medical and Tactical.
Carson was standing over the dead men, whose face wore a serene look of repose. The man’s left arm was bared by a rolled up sleeve and had some kind of words carved into it in blood, two words, one long, one short.
Carson was going to be crazy, was going to dress him down, yell, cite operational doctrine, etc.
‘Might as well get it over with.’
He approached Carson, who was bent over the body now, looking at the bare bloody arm, blocking Gabriel’s view of it…
“Chief?” said Gabriel.
Carson rose, holstered his weapon, turned and looked into his eyes with the sweetest, most open look, with that peace that Grandmother wore on her face whenever she had smiled at Little Gabriel from behind the medical shroud at the Assisted Living Center.
“Chief?” he asked.
Carson did not say a word. Rather he kissed his left hand, in the palm, and steeped up to Gabriel and pressed that palm gently against the rosary, under his under shirt, under his service shirt, and under his vest, that no fellow officer ever knew that Gabriel wore, as he always reported to work with the collar bunted up tight.
“Chief?” asked he.
Carson patted him on the shoulder, cradled his big square head in that lean left hand gently, and kissed Officer Gabriel Delgato between the eyes and then walked right by him, as if he had never known a care in the world.
Justice awakened at noon.
At the Smart Desk
whack the blue
Seattle Psychiatric Concern
behind the sunset veil
son of a lesser god
blue eyed daughter of zeus
riding the nightmare
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