Friday, December 12, 2014

Suicide by Cop - Part 2

The cops all drew their own guns and ducked behind something — a tree, a squad car, even a recycling bin in one case — the moment they saw my toy AK-47. “Put down the weapon,” the one who’d appointed himself their spokesman bellowed at me.

“No,” I said. “You put yours down. Or, better yet, stick it up your ass.” That inspired one of the other cops to snicker in spite of himself, which inspired the bellower to give him the dirtiest look in the history of facial expressiveness, which inspired me, in turn, to giggle, which inspired another cop to speculate loudly that I might be a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic, which inspired me to sneer and ask if he couldn’t do better than that.  “I’m a law enforcement officer, sir,” he said, “not Bill Maher, OK?”

I found touching his calling me sir, but it was a tiny Band-Aid on the gaping wound that my life had become.

"On TV," I said, "whenever cops break into some evildoer's house, they shout at him to get face-down on the floor. I get that that's meant to be intimidating, but don't they teach you in cop school that one can sometimes make his point even more effectively speaking very softly, as witness Marlon Brando's hoarse mumbling in The Godfather."

"Didn't see it," said the lead cop, gravely undermining his own credibility. "I'm not much of a cineaste, I guess." He pronounced cineaste much as I'd have expected him to pronounce faggot. 

It occurred to me that two of the cops were black — I wouldn’t say African American in life, and I won’t say it now either — and three of them, including the bellower, Latino. I didn’t feel right about my imminent death being on the conscience of somebody who’d had to deal with being dark-skinned in a racist society. I mean, I read. I know full well that a lot of cops are traumatized beyond repair by having to kill someone.

I said I’d reconsidered, and that I’d drop my weapon, which of course wasn’t really a weapon at all, if the cops of color would withdraw. Only one of them didn’t sneer at me. They’d taken my request completely wrong! “You don’t understand,” I said. “It’s because I’m not a redneck that I ask that.”

“Yeah,” one of the swarthier cops said disgustedly, “right.”

That really upset me, and I cut to the chase. I pointed my toy gun at them and they filled me with bullets. The first, in my chest, hurt like a motherfucker, but I hardly noticed the rest, and within a second I was gone. I was pleased to realize, in that second, that I’d probably done the right thing not trying to hang or asphyxiate myself, or jumping off a skyscraper.

Three of the five cops were deeply traumatized. One had to be hospitalized for depression, and the other two vainly sought comfort in alcohol and substance abuse. The only good part was that one of the alcohol abusers was the white guy, and that, in the big scheme of things, isn’t really that great a thing. I actually feel pretty rotten about the whole affair, and, from what I’ve been able to gather, will continue to do so for the rest of eternity. The devil turns out to be a plumpish woman in a blouse with a big bow and a coffee mug that says World’s Best Mom, the sort of artificially cheerful woman you’d meet in the Human Resources of a corporation you’d hate the idea of working for, but might have to because the world isn’t remotely interested in your hard luck stories.

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