If It’s Not God…(Old Short Story)

6:00 am

I woke up in a white room that was consistent with your typical hospital setting. I got mad, but I was immediately met with intense pain in my arm. I groaned loudly, and a swarm of white coats stormed into the room. The high powered types, the ones I couldn’t stand that made the big bucks and drove the nice cars.

I heard them all talking, I had to really concentrate to try and figure out what they were saying. It hit me suddenly, that I had been shot only hours ago. I had forgotten, in fact I had no idea whether or not they got the perp. I started to think hard, to try and remember but I suddenly got this tingling feeling in my testicles. It was morphine, or some sort of painkiller. I hated that stuff. I couldn’t fight it; it was already in me and working. I realized that one of the white coats was trying to speak to me.

“Detective Taber, my name is Doctor Matthew Dale; do you know where you are?”

“Yeah, it seems as though I’m at a hospital, I don’t know which one but I’m at a hospital, right?” I asked. I felt the urge to be a smartass. “Either that or a Stephen King book, which one?”

“You are in the hospital that’s correct; you were brought in a few hours ago because of a gun shot wound. Do you remember any of that?” asked the white coat. He was tall, skinny and seemed more like a skeleton then anything else.

“Yeah I remember enough. Did my partner get Benoit?”

“I’m not sure, I-”

“Ill get up then,” I said defiantly. They tried to keep me sitting down but I didn’t listen as usual. I enjoyed being hard headed, in ran in my family and it was something we all took pride in. It was my duty and also my prerogative to help my partner, it was also necessary because the only reason I was shot was because I was selling information on raids. I didn’t want Gale to be hounded alone, the guy was the smartest Detective I had ever met but it would be good to have some support. So I used the phone in the hallway after a one legged man hopped away.

I rang Gale’s cell phone and awaited an answer. “Detective Fortgang.”

“Gale, its Oliver, what’s going on downtown?”

“Nothing we are good, just worry about that arm. We are all set, Ash has our backs. Ill be down to see you once I’m done with some paperwork. How do you feel?” asked Gale. It was a huge relief that we were alright, we wouldn’t have just lost our pensions for what we were doing. Captain Terry Ashford, or Ash as we called him, was in a tough spot. Either he would sacrifice two of his detectives and a lot of funding from an investigation, or some moral fiber. Naturally he chose the moral fiber. Nevertheless this wasn’t over, I wasn’t going to let this shit just happen and forget about it. Fabio Benoit shot me, and there was going to be a price to pay.

“No Gale, fuck that. Not how do I feel, what’s the game plan?” I hissed. I wasn’t angry at him, in general I was just a abrasive bastard.

“The game plan is you sit your ass in that hospital, let your arm heal up a little more. Then come home, take time off, get caught up on Rachel Ray or Jerry Springer and then in a few months depending we will figure something out.” One of the problems was Gale was almost as abrasive as I was.

“No man.”

“You’re getting paid, you will be taken care of. We can talk about things before you come back, but in reality that might be a little while,” exclaimed Gale.

“I don’t care about my salary, or any of that police shit. I’m going to go get my motherfucking money. Either you are down or not, I’m not talking about official business, I’m talking about my money.” There was a short silence.

“Alright, I see what you’re saying. Next week, we’ll get Benoit. Is that good for you?”

“No,” I muttered.

“No, what the fuck do you mean no?”

“Today, ill meet you at my apartment.”

8:30 am

Gale knew that Benoit and Claude Sinclair would have left the country by Thursday. Sinclair, was the ringleader of a arms dealing operation which originated from Lyon, France. Fabio Benoit was his right hand man, a contract killer from the French Mafia. The reason Gale and I had started mixing with them, was that we were getting nearly five hundred thousand dollars a year for giving information on raids of their property in Brooklyn and Queens. We were part of the Major Crime Units, and were the ones that conducted the raids. Sinclair must have thought we were going to give him up, so they planned on shooting us. We weren’t going to give them up, instead we were going to make their demise look like an arrest gone bad. I didn’t remember much else.

I had left that god damn hospital instantly, I signed off on the Against Medical Advice papers. It was just the way it was. I called a taxi cab, and had to listen to this asshole talk about how bad his wife cooked. Somehow he didn’t ask me about my shoulder, which was wrapped up and blatantly badly injured.

Once I was home I was exhausted, I figured I could rest a little but once I arrived at my small apartment I had a pounding headache. I kept vomiting, so much that I basically laid by the toilet for about an hour. I felt my eyelids getting heavier, but my arm was pulsating with pain so it kept me awake.

10:25am

“Yo Oli! Open up the fuckin door man!” yelled Gale. I stood up in a daze and shuffled toward the door. I made sure everything was cool outside by checking out the window, paranoia had developed simultaneously with corruption. Everything seemed cool, so I opened the door. “Jesus Christ, didn’t you hear me banging on the door man? I was out there for about five minutes, I thought you were dead.”

“No I fell asleep…for about an hour I think, wait what time is it?”

“Its 10:25,” said Gale sighing. He stared at my me for a few moments. “Look at you, You have to be one of the stupidest motherfuckers I’ve ever met in my life, what the hell is wrong with you man? You just got shot, and now you are home looking for revenge. What are you thinking?” asked Gale laughing. He really wasn’t pissed, in fact he was kind of getting a good laugh out of this.

“I told you, I’m thinking about my money. Take a seat and tell me what happened?”

Gale sat down on my leather couch, while I stayed standing. I was still feeling very lightheaded, I hated waking up like that. “Alright, well you got tagged and i didn’t know what the fuck was happening. I just hugged the corner and pulled you toward me. They bailed after awhile, I called a bus and they sent you to the hospital. I got back to the station, and Ash was pissed off. He was grilling me, but after awhile he got the drift.”

“What’s the official story, we were doing some surveillance right?” I asked. My nerves had hiked for no reason.

“That’s what we are going with, I had Delaney go and make sure there were no cameras. We are completely clean man, that’s why I don’t get why you want to go after them so bad.”

“They have three hundred thousand dollars of our money, I would like to send my kids to a good college. How the hell am I supposed to do that with eighty grand including overtime?”

Gale just laughed. I started to pace and decided to get something to drink. “What are you a prophet, are you a prophet now man?”

“Fuck you.”

“How are you going to think about your kids going to college, when you don’t have any…you don’t even have a girlfriend. Anyway if you do have some, they will probably be just as stupid as you. Little Vigilantes.”

“Don’t talk about my unborn kids, ill put my foot in your ass. Do you want something to drink?”

“I had three cups of coffee already, ill be pissing my pants soon. My prostate is in bad shape, I’m just not getting that examination.” We shared a little laugh. I drank a paper cup of orange juice.

“So today, what’s up?” I asked anxiously. I wanted revenge badly. I had always held grudges, ever since I was five. My brother used to make fun of me with his friends until I was in fourth grade. Then he stopped, but I never forgot it. It left a raw feeling, it hurt when I tried to let it go. I didn’t, and as I became the more aggressive one, I started to mess around with him. One day he was with his girlfriend in a car on Lover’s Creek, and my friends and I cracked his windshield with bats. We scared the shit out of him, but it became a lot more then that. It became something very serious. Some people said I was a bully, I agreed. The last thing I should have been was a cop.

“Today my friend, we are going to visit a little illegal gambling joint in Yonkers. Johnny Handsome, remember that guy we met when we busted Borislav, he gave me the tip this morning. They are having a high stakes poker game, and Benoit cant resist. I say we can help him cash in, what do you think?”

“Definitely.” We laughed. “What time?”

“It starts at two, so you have some time to take a nap. Does that fuckin thing hurt, your arm? I saw you get tagged, Benoit had a hand cannon.”

“Yes it hurts like hell. Tonight ill probably end up going back to the hospital, I don’t know if I can deal with this thing,” I muttered feeling a little defeated.

“Of course you can’t, sometimes you think that you have to be Action Jackson. We can get this done tonight, and then you need to take a easy.”

“I can do that,” I said. I was just as exhausted with this life as my partner.

1:15pm

I was leaning on the windshield, crying. I was glad nobody else was seeing me like that. Everything hurt so bad, my head was pounding. It felt like there was a knife and it was in my head. But instead of going deeper, it just twisted around. I couldn’t hear what Gale was saying, I also really didn’t want to.

During one intense wave of pain I clenched my teeth so hard, I thought they cracked. The saliva in my mouth was becoming bitter, my nose was dripping just enough so that it annoyed me. We were so close, but my mind was so far away. It was stuck in a hole, but I needed my shoulder to climb out.

Gale kept driving though, which actually made it better.

1:45pm

Gale stopped, we were only a few miles away. We were in a seedy neighborhood, the skies were gray and it felt like I hadn’t been asleep in days. I was slowly drifting between a daze and a painfully alert state. Gale reached behind my seat and grabbed a assault rifle. It wasn’t until I got a good look, that I recognized the F2000.

“Did they issue that to you for your birthday?” I mumbled. He was concentrated though, and didn’t pay much attention. I reached into my holster and pulled out my Colt M1911 Government Issue. I grabbed my Beamshot, and started to attach it. It was always difficult, but now the difficulty was magnified through the pain.

“How do you feel partner?” asked Gale.

“I’m doing alright. Better then before.”

“You know the plan, go in strong, give the money to Johnny and make the arrests. There is no back way out of this fuckin place, so we go together. No cowboy shit, ok?”

“I wont do anything.”

“Give me your word, because I don’t need to get shot and die. My wife is pregnant, I have to see this through. After this we need to cool down, no more fuckin cowboy shit. We will get our names in the newspapers, probably get some awards and even get some legitimate bonuses, when was the last time that happened?” asked Gale starting the car back up.

“I think it was back when I won that fuckin trivia game, remember the one with the Denzel Washington question at the end. That was back in 2005, so I think we are due.”

“Oh yeah, the one with his character from Mo’ Better Blues. Only you would know the answer to that bullshit,” said Gale and I laughing. I didn’t know that would be the last time we would laugh together.

2:00pm

Gale edged the car up to a small brick building called Ferry Pool Hall. I had forgotten about a warrant, however Gale had a piece of paper in his hand. The entire search was bogus but the intent really wasn’t the arrest. The emphasis was on the money. We both took a few very loud deep breaths. We looked at each other and burst out of the car.

Gale was much faster, and dashed to the building. The door wasn’t locked luckily. I heard a crack and I knew he had immediately gotten shot. I ran in however, through the suddenly painful realization in my stomach.

It must had been a chair, because Gale was still running. “POLICE! POLICE! HANDS ON YOUR FUCKIN HEADS, HANDS ON YOUR HEAD!” screamed Gale. It felt good, things were smooth so far. I kept a sharp eye once we had made it into the pool area. One guy was there, he was old and looked doped out of his mind. I grabbed him and pushed him with me. It hurt though, and I groaned. We had made it to the big room. There was a table, a dim light, and three men sitting. In the back was Benoit, a overwhelming pain struck my chest, that felt like the old days.

“HANDS ON YOUR HEAD, ALL OF YOU. I’LL SHOOT YOU IN YOUR FUCKIN HEAD IF YOU MOVE!” screamed Gale. He immediately went for Benoit. He searched him and found two guns, one to his side and the other in his sock. I turned my head and saw Johnny sitting in the corner. I got this pain, that made me want to die. It wasn’t fully physical, I felt like a wimp but I couldn’t help it. I was getting through it though, and I stayed on task with vicious aptitude.

“Sinclair, where is the money?” I demanded. He pointed to a cabinet. Johnny reached over and opened it. So far so good, so far so good, i thought. I looked around for a second, and had the bad feeling I was going to get shot again. I checked the back and there was nothing there.

“Hey you, did you like that present I left on your arm. You were crying like a bitch, you probably just were sobbing. They say people from my country are pussies but I’ve been shot eight times and I never cried. How do you feel that I’ll get off on this bullshit, find you and cut you up into little pieces?” asked Benoit. He had so facial expression, no emotion. He had a large scar under his right eye, that was always prominent whenever anybody looked at him. I was clenching my teeth, and the pain got worse. “Is your arm hurting more and more? You might need bed rest tough guy, maybe your partner here can bring you to the hospital and tuck you in with a Hello Kitty doll?”

“Shut the fuck up,” hissed Gale. He smacked Benoit with the back of his rifle. By that time, Johnny had already run out of the room. Gale had handcuffed everybody except Sinclair.

“I hear your mother runs a nice grocery store on 1st avenue, ill need to check out the good buys.” I raised my gun and shot him in the head. I froze, my mouth wide open. I thought for a second that it wasn’t real, but this wasn’t the movies where there was a dream sequence and I could go back. That shot had marked the rest of my life. I had signed my fate with Benoit’s brain. The shot didn’t only mark the end of my freedom, but the end of the story as well.

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