Alex Teach on the beatalex teach on the beat
Officer Alex persuades a client to tell the truth for his own good…or maybe not.
I was running around the corner and being careful not to slide in the gravel as I went from paved sidewalk to graveled alleyway. Boots may appear universal in their applications, but running is clearly not one of them and polyester is no more impressive as protection when grinding sideways against the ground than it is as a fashion statement.
I wanted the arrest, but not the road-rash that would go with it if I pushed my luck. I had time.
James Patten was like everyone else these days: Younger, thinner, and faster than me, but I had the advantage of wisdom. Well—wisdom and a Taser energy weapon with nitrogen gas compressed darts. Mr. Patten was increasing his lead as I took aim, recovering from a near fall while wrestling just to get the device out of its holster.
I fired, and when the darts found their way home 15 feet ahead of me they caused Mr. Patten to freeze like a silhouette of Wile E. Coyote going into the side of a mountain. He ground to a halt, and for five seconds he rode the lightning, still frozen in a running position, fists balled, teeth grinding. Then as is the blessing of Tasers, it was over.
No broken bones, no cuts, loss of teeth, or exchange of blood or spit or gunfire…just instant pain that was instantly over. Amnesty International may prefer a steel baton to this, but I at least was a big fan.
After collecting a dismal four crack rocks from his clenched palm and having my man checked out at a local emergency room, on the way to jail I noticed him in my rearview mirror swallowing strangely and asked him if he’d swallowed some of the evidence during our jog. “No,” he said, quite adamantly. Who was I to doubt him?
Once inside the booking area, I sat my felon down and began the monotonous paperwork (in triplicate, true to television) and again noticed him craning his neck in discomfort.
“Are you sure you didn’t swallow more crack, man?”
“No,” he repeated with determination.
“Fine with me,” I said. “I can’t treat you if you don’t ask for it. It’s your ass. But if you did, you’re uncomfortable because the cocaine is elevating your metabolism. You’ll start to sweat and your blood pressure will go up,” I said with conviction, knowing damn well that this is also what happens under stress in general, just as he was experiencing.
I looked down and began writing as I talked, completely monotone, completely uninterested. He was really paying attention now.
“Then you’ll feel tingling in your fingertips as your nervous system reacts. That’s called hypertriculation.” I had just made up the word. “It’s what happens as the coke overloads your heart and nerves, and after that you’ll probably have a seizure before your heart stops beating. But like you said, you didn’t eat it. I’m sure you’ll be OK.”
Mr. Patten shrugged me off…but slowly began studying his fingertips. I glanced away to smile, just barely holding back laughter. When I looked back, he’d begun to weave, and turn ashen in color, and after a while he began to heave, his psychosis being such that although it didn’t affect his nervous system (as I had lied), it definitely affected his digestive system. Mr. Patten vomited once, then twice, with great effect. Nerves, indeed.
For all they see and do, cops dislike blood and absolutely loathe vomit. Cops can eat a sandwich standing over a corpse in a graveyard, but puke? It offends their cop hearts in some profound way from which I was strangely immune. Prisoners near mine quickly scooted away and the other officers and jailers present wrinkled their faces in disgust as they stopped work, but they were silent in their protests as I strode over to Mr. Patten, all eyes now focused on us.
I stood in front of him then bent forward, placing my hands on my knees to get a closer view of the product. A moment passed, and I said, “French fries. Krystal. Am I right?”
Which, unexpectedly, caused Mr. Patten to vomit yet again, and that was it for the audience, one poor jailer yelling “JESUS, Teach, what’s WITH you?! Every time, you…Go, man. Just, go.”
I looked up, touching my hand to my chest, eyebrows raised. “What? Me?” I gathered my belongings, and left, a charge nurse in route to my former customer, her new patient.
I left, and went to find lunch. But not at the Krystal. Bad fries.