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by Robert Buckley © 2008
Detective Kevin Dacey pressed his hands to his head and barked at his partner of just two days, "Turn that fucking siren off!"
Steve Berube meekly complied, flicking the toggle silencing the woofer that had so irritated Dacey. He guided the car through the crowd of onlookers gathered on the pedestrian mall.
"Just gun it," Dacey said. "The fuckers'll jump out of the way fast enough."
The rookie detective decided to ignore that particular directive. They had driven as far as they could to the scene anyway. A fire department ladder truck blocked any further progress.
Dacey, nursing a splitting headache, sat and massaged his temples. He yearned for aspirin and a shot of Jack Daniels. Berube had already exited the car and Dacey began to think he could just sit and ignore the commotion. He was startled as the passenger door was abruptly yanked open and Rashton bleated, "Dacey, ya sorry-assed fuck. Whatsamatta, still hung over?"
Rashton's voice sounded like a hundred tin cans full of rocks rolling down a hill. He always had a stupid Bugs Bunny grin on his face, the kind that made you want to slap the shit out of him. His chin was a button that bounced while he yapped, and he was always yapping. Dacey had decided a long time ago that Rashton couldn't help being irritating. He was a congenital asshole. Since he couldn't help being a jerk, Dacey decided he couldn't in good conscience kill him.
Dacey stepped out of the car and surveyed the crowd and the crew of firefighters manning the ladder truck. "What the hell's going on?"
Rashton's eyes brightened and his button chin began to bounce. "We got a jumper on the top floor of the Sherborne. A cute one, practically bare-assed. She's sitting on a ledge, wanna look?"
Rashton handed Dacey a pair of binoculars and directed his attention to the tenth floor of the hotel across the mall. Dacey raised the glasses and focused. A pale blur sharpened into the image of a young woman, maybe in her early twenties, blonde, one long leg dangled over the ledge, the other bent so she could rest her chin on her knee. She looked pretty casual about her predicament. From his angle, Dacey couldn't see if she was wearing pants, but the rest of her was bare.
Rashton snickered, "Not much in the titties department, but a cute piece of ass."
Dacey tossed the glasses back at him. "So, what the fuck am I doing here?"
Rashton's grin was almost too much. Dacey thought he might set principle aside and bust him right in the mouth.
"Chief wants you," Rashton replied. Then after another hissing snicker he added, "Get this. The expert the State Police sent over to talk her down? She's afraid of fucking heights. She took one look up and nearly blew her lunch."
Dacey's face pinched into a snarl at Rashton's wheezy cackle. "So what?" Dacey demanded.
"So, you get to be the hero. The chief wants you to talk her down."
Dacey couldn't believe his ears. He thought it best not to speak anymore with Rashton. He was too close to putting his hands around his throat. He pushed his way past the grinning Rashton and his own befuddled partner and strode over to the chief who was tending to a state trooper recovering from acute intestinal distress. The trooper's dark hair was done in a short, tight braid. She lifted her head as Dacey approached.
"Aw, Christ!" Dacey growled. "Roxenfeld. I might have guessed it was you that ruined my morning."
Trooper Rachel 'Roxie' Roxenfeld mustered as much pride and defiance as she could and spit back, "Sorry to interrupt happy hour at Donut-D-Lite, Dacey. And, by the way, fuck you."
Chief Creedon spun on Dacey, "All right, detective, put a zip on it. We got a situation here and you're our point man."
"You mean Tinkerbelle here isn't up to flying to the tenth floor?" Dacey sneered at Roxie.
"Dammit, Dacey," she blurted between hiccups. "I don't do jumpers. Nobody said you had a jumper."
"You're supposed to talk people out of suicide. People do choose that particular method once in a while," Dacey replied. "Or maybe we should call her down and put a gun in her hand and say, 'Okay, honey, gotta start over again cause our expert negotiator doesn't do jumpers'."
"Get in line!"
"Knock it off!" Creedon capped the bickering. "Now, Dacey, you're all we've got. We gotta get someone up there to talk to that girl."
"Why me, for crissakes?"
"You talked that kid out of shooting himself last fall. You're the only one who has the experience."
"Aw shit, Chief," Dacey whined. "That kid wasn't going to cap himself. He was shitfaced on Night Train. The fuckin' gun was rusted so bad it couldn't work anyhow."
"He didn't know that, and neither did you. Now you're going up," the Chief ordered. "Roxie will fill you in on the particulars."
Dacey shook his head and gave in. He sat on the bench next to Roxie. Pink was beginning to replace the gray in her cheeks. Her eyes were deep brown, almost black, and still a little glassy. He felt his irritation begin to dissolve.
"Feeling better?" he inquired.
Roxie bit back another "fuck you," and nodded. "Yeah, a little." She remembered this paunchy, gray-haired cop, who seemed to be in a constant state of agita, was at heart a gentle, caring soul.
He could be infuriating—sometimes for the nicest of reasons. He apologized for everything: leaving a wet spot on the sheets, coming before she did, waking her up by pissing too loud. He'd get up early and have breakfast waiting for her and do his best to straighten up her apartment. It occurred to her that the man had serious trouble believing a woman could just enjoy being with him, having sex with him, sucking his dick. He regarded it all like a gift he didn't quite deserve, so he had to repay it in any way he could. And when he figured he couldn't repay it, he just left. She wondered if he realized how much it hurt.
"Okay, Dacey," she began, "Listen up carefully. The desk clerk said she checked in last night with a young guy. The guy and a couple of male friends bolted around 2 a.m. We're not sure what the hell was going on. Maybe it was a sexual assault, maybe a boyfriend-girlfriend fight. Whatever happened, about 6 a.m. missy made her way to the roof, tossed all her clothes off except for her panties and slid off the mansard onto that ledge. It's a wonder she didn't tumble over then. The point is, it's a good ten feet from the roof to where she is and no windows nearby. No way to grab her."
"Okay," Dacey nodded. "Shit, so I guess I'm going up in the bucket."
"It's the only way," Roxie said. "And when you get up there take everything slow and easy. Get her to talk, and I mean talk about anything. The more she talks the less likely she's going to want to do the swan dive."
"Okay, okay," Dacey said, then shook his head. "What's a young girl want to talk to a forty-five-year-old, broken down cop for?"
"Dacey … dammit! You don't trust yourself, she's not going to trust you either. Now, you want a wire? We can rig it two-way with an earphone so I can talk you through stuff."
Dacey stroked his chin. "Yeah, wire me if you want. But I got a feeling if she thinks I'm getting instructions through an earphone she'll probably think we're planning a grab."
"Okay, then," Roxie agreed. "A one-way wire. At least that way we can check out anything she tells you. It might help."
The transmitter wire was fixed along Dacey's shirtsleeve, with the microphone clipped to his cuff. He made his way into the bucket at the end of the extension ladder on the fire truck. Dacey didn't say so, but he hated heights, too. The trip to the tenth floor was excruciating. He thought briefly of puking, if only it would hit Rashton.
The fire crew guided the bucket to the ledge. The girl drew herself into the opposite corner, hugging her knees beneath her chin.
"Hi there, Miss," Dacey greeted her in an unsteady voice.
"Sorry, Miss, I can't do that," he replied. "Look, I know there are probably a whole lot of other people you'd rather talk to right now …"
"I don't want to talk to anybody."
"Yeah, well, I'm sorry, but I'm afraid we're stuck with each other. Say, would you mind if I got out of this bucket and sat with you on the ledge for a while?"
She drew herself tighter into the corner. Dacey eased himself onto the ledge and assured her, "I promise, I won't try to grab you or nothing."
"You do and I'll jump, I mean it."
"I know you do. Look, I'll just sit in the corner here."
Dacey eased himself into the corner opposite from the girl. There was about eight feet between them. Maybe a younger guy could have made a dive for her, but for him, no way in hell. She'd be over the side before he had a chance to get to his feet.
As he settled in he began to look her over carefully. She was naked, except for a pair of frilly tap pants. Blonde, flush cheeks and pouty lips. Long, long legs. He thought she could give a supermodel a run for her money. What a beautiful girl.
"I don't understand, Miss," he said. "What's a pretty girl like you want to do something like …"
"Don't tell me I'm pretty!" she screeched. All of a sudden her eyes were spilling tears by the bucketful. "I don't want to be pretty … I'll … I'll … kill myself right now!" She began to move toward the edge.
"Whoa, no!" Dacey shouted. "I'm sorry, please, just calm down and sit back, okay?"
She was crying great shoulder-heaving sobs. Dacey noticed she was shivering and her body gone pimply with gooseflesh.
"You must be freezing," Dacey said.
"So what, I'm going to kill myself anyway," she sobbed.
"Well, still no reason to be uncomfortable. Here, let me give you my coat. I'll leave it right in the middle. You take it."
He pulled off his flannel-lined trench coat and leaned about halfway across the ledge. The girl hesitated a moment, then pulled it toward her, all the while eyeing Dacey. She stood and wrapped the coat around her. Maybe it was the warmth, but she seemed to calm. Dacey thought she sighed as she sat back down.
"Thank you," she said. "But aren't you chilly?"
"Nah," Dacey said, patting his stomach. "I got twenty years worth of doughnuts insulating this old frame."
The girl smiled. She nearly laughed. A good sign, thought Dacey.
"So, it's true what they say about cops and doughnuts," she said with a slight grin.
"True, yes. Sad but true," Dacey smiled. "Wish I had a box now. We could split them and talk about what's bothering you this morning."
The girl went quiet again, but Dacey thought he would gently push her to open up. "That young fellow you checked in with, was he your boyfriend? Maybe you two had an argument?"
The girl fixed Dacey with dagger-eyes that began to water again. "He's not my boyfriend. He's … he's …" She began to sob.
"Look, ah … gee, I don't know your name."
She looked up and sniffed. "Martie."
"Martie? And that's a nickname for what … Martha?"
"Martina … Martina Saunders."
"Martina? That's a nice name" He thought it best to avoid the word 'pretty.'
"I hate it. My Mom liked it. She thought it would be a good name for a model. My Mom wanted to be a model before she married my Dad. Now I guess I'm supposed to become the model she never was."
"Okay, Martie. So, your Mom thinks you should be a model. What do you think?"
"I don't want to be a model. I want to study art. But my Mom says no, I've got to make the most of my looks, she says. All good things happen to pretty girls, she says; the world belongs to pretty girls, all doors open for pretty girls." She clenched her teeth as she spoke.
Dacey waited. He sensed Martie wasn't finished. "You see," she resumed, "my Dad walked out on us when I was twelve. Mom said he left us for a younger woman. She said she's going to make sure it doesn't happen to me. This time I'll be the pretty younger woman."
Martie wiped her tears. "So, what does she expect me to do, steal other women's husbands? Is that supposed to be her revenge?"
"Hey," Dacey said. "I know what it's like to have a parent who wants to live your life for you."
Martie set her chin on her knees again and cocked her head toward Dacey.
"You see," he began, "I never wanted to be a cop. But my Dad was a cop, and his dad was a cop, and probably his dad's dad was a cop. My big brother, Mike, was a cop, too. He was a big strapping, handsome guy. Lots of girlfriends. He had a real easy way with the ladies. I was ten when he got killed in the line of duty. So it fell to me to uphold the family tradition. It never occurred to my Dad that one of my seven sisters could put on the blue suit."
Martie quietly listened to Dacey's story.
He continued, "My Dad made me enter the academy, but you know, I could never measure up to Mike. He was tall and lean, and I was always kind of pudgy. My Dad told me and anyone else in earshot that I'd never fill a uniform like my brother Mike. You know, I took the detective's exam just so I could wear plain clothes and not listen to my Dad tell me I was an insult to the uniform."
"That's awful," Martie offered. "So, what did you really want to be?
"An archaeologist," he nodded. "Yeah, I love those documentaries about digging stuff up in Egypt and Mexico."
"Maybe you could still be an archaeologist."
"Nah, too late," Dacey said. "Anyway, I'm good at this job, even if I don't like it all that much."
Dacey stopped and smiled. "So, Martie, what's going on here? There's more bothering you than your Mom's ambitions for you to be a model. Who was that guy?"
Martie's eyes darkened and her jaw set tight. "His name is Tony Lawson. He's just the kind of boy my Mom says I should go out with. 'Prep school confident,' she calls him. I wonder what she'd think if she knew what he did … he and his friends."
"What did he do, Martie?"
Martie wiped her nose with the back of her hand, then seemed to struggle to keep her voice from quavering. "I thought he liked me. I thought they all liked me. I dated them all, Tony and his friends. I did everything they wanted me to do, just like my Mom said I should. It's not like I didn't want to … you know, have sex with them … I did. It's just that … I thought it was because they really liked me."
"What happened?" Dacey prodded.
"I was a prize, that's all," she said through fresh tears. "They had a contest. Fuck the prettiest girls on campus, that's what it was all about. They didn't care about me; I was just a body with a pretty face at one end and a pretty pussy at the other. They set it up. And to prove it they took pictures, videos. I never knew, until last night. That's when Tony told me what they'd been doing. Jack Walters came out from an adjoining room with a camcorder. The whole room was wired for sound. They were laughing, they thought it was hilarious. Then they said they had set up a Web site called Campus Sluts with my pictures and a couple of other girls on it. They said everyone at school had seen it."
Martie dissolved into sobs. Dacey wanted to hug her. He thought she was young enough to be his kid and that right then she needed a dad to hold her in his arms and say everything would be okay.
"Were there any other guys involved in this?"
"Yeah, Jeff Cowen and Dennis Lereaux. I dated them too. Every time I went out with one of them they took me to some place set up for pictures and sound. How could I be so stupid?" she sniffed. "They all room together at the place they call The Big House on the edge of campus."
Dacey looked down to where he knew Roxie and the others were listening. Berube was already moving toward the car and signaling a couple of black-&-white units to follow. Good boy, Dacey thought, round up those little shits.
"Yeah," Martie spoke again. "The right kind of boys, my Mom thinks. God, what'll she think of me now? How could they be so cruel?" Her shoulders heaved again. Dacey couldn't find words to comfort her.
Her high cheeks glistened with tears and her nose dripped. "My girlfriend, you know," she continued. "She's really sweet, and her boyfriend is really nice. My Mom calls her dumpy, an unmade bed. Well, I wish I were dumpy, I wish I were ugly. Maybe someone nice would pay attention to me then, someone who isn't so prep school perfect and really likes me and not just my body."
Her eyes fixed on the rim of the ledge. "When I hit that pavement I guess I won't be so fucking beautiful."
Dacey's heart ached for her. "That's not the way, Martie. These punks, they're assholes. I promise you, they'll pay for what they did to you. And your Mom, it isn't going to matter to her, because she'd rather have you well and alive."
"Sure, and meanwhile I'm still the campus slut, or the supermodel knockout. Either way, you think a regular guy would have anything to do with me? That is, if there is such a thing as a regular guy."
"There is, Martie," Dacey said. "Yeah, maybe they figure a beautiful girl won't give them the time of day. Maybe they don't think they deserve you."
Martie eyed Dacey, who nodded his head and said, "Yeah, that's it. Some guys can be awfully stupid, like me."
Martie smiled and waited for him to continue.
"There's a girl … well, a woman. Oh, Martie, she's beautiful too. Raven hair, and deep, dark eyes you can lose yourself in. What the hell she saw in me I don't know, but one day she asked me to go out with her, and another night she took me home with her."
Martie hugged her knees, again rapt by Dacey's tale. She noted the faraway look in his eyes.
"I remember her standing in front of me," Dacey said, deep in reverie. "She was slowly removing her clothes till she finally stepped out of her panties. Her skin was so white … not pasty sick white, but, you know, like fresh cream. I wanted to touch her breasts, slide my hands around her behind. And, God, her belly button; it was so deep I couldn't see the bottom."
Dacey sighed, "I don't know. She was like an altar, something holy, sacred. Something I thought I had no right to touch, even as she put my hands around her waist. I let myself kiss the spot just where her arm and shoulder meet, that soft fleshy place. And another just where her waist meets her hip. The hair just above her, uh, you know …"
Dacey felt his ears burn and cheeks tingle, amazed a girl less than half his age could make him blush.
"Um, yeah," he said, "Well, her hair was curly and soft like down. I got on my knees. That's what you do for a goddess, right? And I tasted her. It was wonderful. She was so wet, glistening like olive oil."
"Yeah. Anyway, she lifted me up and led me to her bedroom. She laid down and spread her legs and … well … I embarrassed myself. Came all over her stomach. Jeeze, you know, I felt like a jackass. But, she just smiled and kissed me and stroked me until I was ready again and then I made love to her… well, they talk about going to paradise … I couldn't have been far away."
"What happened?" Martie prodded.
"Just couldn't believe anyone so beautiful, so wonderful could love me. I screwed it up; acted like a jerk just to convince her I really didn't deserve her. Then I left."
Martie shook her head. Dacey smiled back and said, "You see, Martie. It's not because you're beautiful. It's just some guys, like me, can't give themselves a break, and let themselves love a woman, any woman. That's our fault. You find a guy like that, do him a favor, and kick him in the ass, and make him love you."
"Maybe your girl will give you a second chance, if you ask for it."
Dacey smiled. "Martie, let's both give ourselves a second chance. Let's get off this ledge and leave it to the pigeons."
Martie nodded and both started to stand, but Martie stumbled on Dacey's coat. She began to totter toward the edge, her eyes wild with fright. From below a collective shriek went up from the crowd. Dacey bounded toward her grabbing her waist, straining to balance them both back toward the wall. His back muscles knit themselves into a knot that would ache for days, but he pulled her back to safety. She threw her arms around him and buried her face into his chest trembling.
From below a cheer rose from the crowd and the guys on the fire truck clanged the bell. Dacey whispered in Martie's ear, "Listen to that, kid … there's a whole bunch of people down there who're glad you decided to stick around this old world."
Martie nodded, and Dacey called out, "Anyone up there?"
"Yo," came a reply from the roof. A rope ladder tumbled down and Dacey and Martie climbed shakily to the top. A pair of EMTs took Martie by the arms as she asked, "What about your coat?"
"I'll pick it up at the hospital," he replied. "That way I can check in on you too."
Martie smiled as they led her to the stairwell. Her mother, waiting below, greeted her daughter with a hug she wouldn't relinquish even as they boarded an ambulance.
Dacey emerged at the ground floor to cheers and a bunch of hands patting his back. The chief shook his hand, and said, "Good job, Kev, real good job."
"Thanks, Chief. How about those punks?"
"Berube rounded them up; confiscated their computers, photos, the videos," the Chief nodded. "We're holding them the max until we absolutely have to let them call their parents. Let them stew for a while."
"Good," Dacey nodded.
"You know," the Chief added. "That Berube's all right. Should of heard him put the fear into them. Told them they'd be responsible if that little girl killed herself. That wise-ass, Tony? Well, Steve had him and his pals bawling like scared babies."
"No shit," Dacey smiled. "Yeah, I guess Steve's okay at that."
Dacey made his way to the dark-haired woman in the state trooper's uniform. "I heard every word," Roxie said.
Dacey turned tomato red. He had completely forgotten about the transmitter. "Aw, gee, Roxie, I … I mean …"
Roxie covered his mouth with hers and his hands made their way around her taut, turned-up ass. He thought about second chances, and then he thought about Roxie out of uniform.
Rashton's reedy cackle intruded. "Hey, Dacey, looks like you're eating Kosher tonight … Ha, Ha …"
Roxie placed a perfect right jab directly on Rashton's button chin and he fell hard on his ass. Rashton cradled his jaw and whined to the chief, "Did you see that?"
"I didn't see anything," the Chief said. "Now get up off your ass, you're a disgrace."
"Chief," Dacey said, "I need to get to the hospital."
"Sure, take my car, I'll get back in a black-&-white."
Dacey kissed Roxie again. "Would you come with me? I'd like you to meet this kid. She ought to have a woman to talk to. I got a feeling she'd like to meet you."
"Sure, Kev. We'll both talk to her. And later, when we're off duty … let's go home."
© 2008 Robert Buckley. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.
Bio: Who is Robert Buckley? Read his bio on the Erotica Readers & Writers Association website.
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