Also Known As Rising & Falling
( AKA Investigations Series, Book 4)
Ginger had stepped outside to make sure that Payne Hollister left the premises. She wished she could have arrested him, but the crime
had been so long ago, and there was no case to prosecute. Date rape, sadly, was a commonplace occurrence, and more often than not, left unreported.
Checking on Phoebe again before she had to leave for her late-shift, Ginger went down to the apartment to change, Izzy joining her.
Officer Appreciation Day was not what it sounded like. No parades, no award ceremonies. Just Detectives in the department taking shifts like a beat cop. Captain Campbell thought this was a good way to remind the plainclothes cops of what it was like to be a regular cop in uniform. It seemed to increase the working relationships at the station, but it was still not something Ginger Grant looked forward to.
“I can’t believe that dick showed up tonight.”
Izzy pulled out the coffee carafe, and paused to look at Ginger. “What are you doing?”
Ginger had been standing, immobile, by the door. “I’m trying to remember where I put my keys.”
“They’re not in the basket?”
Izzy poured coffee in the waiting cup Ginger had provided. “Not in your pocket?”
“No, I’ve already looked in all the obvious places.” She came back into the room and scanned it, as if hoping the keys would jump up in the air so she could catch them.
“Don’t worry. Maybe you’re just getting senile.”
Ginger turned slowly, one eyebrow cocked, and probably loaded. “That might be humorous coming from someone my own age, but from you, it’s just a sharp stick.”
“Don’t hate me for being younger,” she said, putting the lid on the tumbler and handing it to Ginger.
In the living room area, Ginger began accosting the sofa cushions. “Most people are visual. And those images attach to something. With me, it just goes in, floats around, then when a stiff wind comes along, whooooosh–it’s gone.”
“Well, maybe you should plug the leaks. Wear earplugs…I mean, that’s a 99 cent fixer-upper.” She chuckled. “Or you could just put two marbles in your ears.”
“Oh I can’t do that, they’ll fall in and then that noise of them rolling around would keep me up at night.”
“You’re up at night anyway. You’re like a vampire.’
“A non-visual, marble-headed vampire.”
Izzy righted the askew cushion and plopped onto the sofa. “I’m sure some bleeding heart liberal group will take you on, don’t worry about it.”
“Ah!” The keys had fallen off the by the door hook and landed in one of Izzy’s shoes. “I’m late. I’ll call you later.” She scooted over and kissed the top of Izzy’s head.
As Ginger left through the rear exit stairs, and pulled out of the drive, she wondered if her decision to skip the afternoon nap and her delay was really self-sabotage. Like a petulant school girl, she didn’t want to go to work tonight. It was Officer Awareness Day. She was aware of being an officer, and didn’t need to be reminded, thank you very much. But Captain Campbell’s pet project demanded detectives spend one day of the month patrolling, like they did when they were beat cops. No matter what, this day was always bizarre. For some reason, it was like the universe knew she was out of her comfort zone, and it wanted to make the most of the torture session.
Today, Ginger was to join Sergeant Chloe Eckert on patrol in a neighborhood that was largely a retirement village. She could only imagine the heyday the universe was going to have with that one. Senile old people. There but for the grace of whomever, go I, she thought. The prophesy awaited fulfillment.
At the Windsor Meadows Security Office parking lot, Ginger locked up the Cherryot and slid into Sergeant Eckert’s black and white. She was greeted with a box of Krispy Kreme donuts. “Oh, you shouldn’t have.”
“Blatant attempt at being your toady.” She buckled her seat belt.
Ginger sunk her teeth into the doughnut and made a sound not unlike sexual pleasure. “What is it you think I can do for you?”
“You can’t say things like that while making those sounds. It could be construed as sexual harassment.”
“So arrest me. You’re the one who brought the evil donuts.”
Chloe smiled, shook back her colorful hair; brown, with blonde and red highlights. It had been the first thing Ginger noticed about the officer when they met a few months ago on a domestic violence call. Her hair. She was pretty sure Chloe was gay, too, but didn’t feel it was appropriate to bring it up. Ginger would certainly have asked her out, if there was no Izzy in the picture. But she had no complaints in that department. “Still. Not sure why you’d toady me. I’m just a detective.”
“Just a detective?” Chloe almost squeaked. “You’re like a fucking rock star, and I’m like your groupie.”
Ginger lowered a brow at her. “Seriously?”
“I’m not the only one, either. I don’t think you realize how much some of the female cops admire you. You’re inspiring to us. And…” She pushed the visor back in place, clipped a pen in the elastic. “I just took the detective’s exam.”
“Really? Good for you, Chloe. We need more female D’s. I’m sure you’ll pass with high marks. But tonight, I’m on your turf. I’m just a beat cop like you. So, you’re in charge. What do beat cops do these days?”
Chloe pointed to the last bite of glazed doughnut in Ginger’s hand. “You’re off to a damn good start.” She punched up the GPS on the unit laptop. “Have you ever worked this area?”
“Nope. Anything I should know up front? Give me the four-one-one on Windsor Meadows.”
Chloe put the cruiser in gear and pulled out onto the main street. “It’s a fucking asylum.”
“OAD shift, a full moon, and an asylum. This should be interesting.”
“It will be. You’re aware this is a retirement village. But it also seems to have an inordinate concentration of senility, mixed with some weird lunacy factor that must be emanating from the ground. Maybe they have radon gas underneath this place.”
“So, boredom, probably not a concern tonight.”
Chloe glanced at her. “Um…no.” Chloe grabbed the handset from the dash and notified dispatch. “Eckert and Grant in the saddle at Windsor Meadows.”
“Ten-four,” the dispatcher said.
Ginger pulled a second doughnut out of the box. “Can we just eat all of these now, so I can focus?”
Chloe laughed. “You have to pace yourself, Ginger-Bear.”
Their first call was to a high rise apartment building where the AARP crowd thrived. Two 70 year old women were involved in a domestic dispute, according to a giggling dispatcher.
It seemed that one woman was trying to ram the other woman with her Hoveround. The recipient of this scooter-attack had called Denver PD. Ginger said into her shoulder-mic, derisively, “Really.”
“Yes. REALLY. I promise,” the dispatcher giggled.
“It has begun,” Chloe said solemnly. “This is the same address I was called to last month, only that time, Miss Rita-of-the-Hoveround had blown herself up when she smoked too close to her oxygen tank. There was a small fire on the carpet that looked like the long fuse of a detonation device, and Miss Rita was found on the floor with burns on her right arm.”
“And, while I was trying to interview her around the ministrations of the paramedic, she had the cheek to ask for a cigarette. Apparently, she needed one because blowing herself up had caused her some stress.”
Ginger laughed under her breath. “Jesus.”
At this current call, Ginger and Chloe took the key to the scooter until Miss Rita calmed down, and then went on their way. Ginger jotted notes for the report.
No sooner had the two paid for their first cup of coffee at the local Starbucks, than another call came through about an accident at a private garage only a few blocks away. The old woman had hit the garage door remote button twice accidentally, so it closed and she didn’t realize, and backed right through it. “My foot slipped off the brake,” the woman said defensively.
“So you hit the gas?” Ginger asked her.
Chloe just smiled knowingly though the whole thing, and offered, as they walked back to the cruiser, “It’s day-backward and I have too much hands on my time.”
Ginger left the scene with a caveat emptor: senior citizens should never be allowed to operate motorized vehicles.
At the next call, they were summoned to another high rise apartment building a few miles away. An old man had dropped his cell phone down the elevator shaft. This particular elevator was notorious for stopping between floors, and that’s how it was when they found it. Chloe said she’d have to jump down under it to get the phone. Good thing it was on the first floor, so that the only way it could go when someone pushed the button, was up. She considered just calling the fire department, but the old geezer was beside himself, since his phone was his lifeline–by the looks of him, a lifeline he sorely needed. The man said, “I’ll hold the door for you.”
Chloe said, “No, Officer Grant will take care of it, because you’ll get distracted and wander off and I’ll be trapped under the elevator and get squished.”
Ginger held the doors open with her own body, as Chloe made quick work of hopping down and grabbing the phone, and climbing back out. When she handed the old guy his cell, he said, “What are you doing with my phone?”
Rolling her eyes, Chloe just bid him a good day and Ginger followed her back out to the car to write it up. The full moon was doing its job. The lunacy factor was alive and well.
They cruised by the other cop on that beat, waved to him cordially. It was a rookie named Josh, who rode with Chloe on one of these Awareness patrols, while he was still in training. He used to be an Army scout; those are the guys who trudge along in front of everyone else and watch for danger. They’re, unfortunately, the first to take a bullet or trip a wire. Chloe soon learned why he was an Army scout. His platoon-mates wanted him dead.
“I got his number a few months ago,” Chloe told Ginger. “when he drew down one night on a plastic coyote that the residents had placed outside to scare the geese away.” She took the roundabout back into Windsor. “Somehow, he saw the thing and was startled, so dropped to the ground with his gun out. The coyote wasn’t moving, so he crawled over and poked it with his gun. He told me later he thought it was a chupacabra.”
You’re making this up,” Ginger laughed.
“If I’m lyin’ I’m dyin’. I asked him another night where his weapon was, and he found it slid around to his back, because he wasn’t wearing keeper tabs on his belt, and had pulled his coat over his weapon, too, leaving the access zipper closed. That boy was one shift shy of having his own placard on the Line of Duty death wall.”
As Chloe guided the unit through the serene streets of Windsor Meadows, they passed a man with a pot belly, who looked oddly like he was with-child. “That’s Pregnant Don, on his way to the community center.” She honked and waved at him as she went by.
As darkness shrouded the streets, the winter chill swelling the air, Ginger turned the heater up.
Chloe gave her a look.
“What? My arms are cold.”
“Not on the inside.”
Ginger rolled her eyes. “That’s like: ‘it’s hot today’ — ‘not in Canada’. Kinda not the point.”
Chloe laughed, as a new call came through. There were people moving around in an old woman’s attic. Chloe lifted a knowing eyebrow at Ginger.
When they investigated, they discovered there were no people in the attic, and indeed, no attic. Chloe told the woman she had scared them away and they wouldn’t be bothering her anymore, and hoped she remembered to take her medication. This was the same woman that used to keep her important papers hidden in the oven, but got hungry and preheated it, causing a fire that burned all those papers up. Chloe said that once, the same woman reported that “hoodlums” were rattling the doors as they went down the hall of the floor she lived on. The lady called dispatch frequently with the same report.
Officer Eckert responded to this complaint by traversing the hall in question, rattling knobs.
Ginger laughed. “What are you doing?”
“Terrorizing a crazy lady.”
When they went in to talk to the lady, giving her the obligatory I ran-the-hoodlums-off-and-they-won’t-be-bothering-you-anymore spiel, she noticed the refrigerator in the middle of the kitchen. “Why is your ‘fridge in the middle of kitchen?” Ginger asked her.
“How else are you supposed to clean behind it?”
Heavy sighs shared. It was obvious, the fridge was kept right there in the middle of the floor and the woman just walked around it. Ginger was afraid to ask how she actually got it there.
A man named Barry had summoned them to say there was voodoo in his apartment.
“Where?” Ginger asked.
He showed her. It was in his chair, on his carpet.
It was dirt. The path through his apartment was thick with dirt. Voodoo dirt. He said the woman upstairs, a Miss Beecher, was putting voodoo on him, among other things. She assured him she would go up there and talk to her. When she knocked, the woman saw her and sighed. “What now?”
Ginger had trouble concentrating because Miss Beecher had one of those egg vibrators on the table next to her chair. She almost forgot why they were there. Chloe’s eyes went to the egg and back to Ginger, and the desire to laugh was almost overwhelming. Chloe did a good job of maintaining her composure, but Ginger felt a case of screaming meemies coming on.
Chloe cleared her throat. “Um…Mr. Barry says you’re putting voodoo on him, and he wants you to please stop.”
Ginger was smiling as Miss Beecher commenced with the eye-rolling.
Readjusting her duty belt, Chloe added, “He said you were after him and tried to kiss him, and so if you would just stop trying to kiss him, that would really help me out.”
The old woman giggled. “He tried to kiss ME one day and I said you do it again I’ll punch you in the mouth. Maybe that’s what is really bothering him.”
“Well, now, it’s voodoo.”
Ginger and Chloe went back down to Mr. Barry’s apartment and gave him the update. “I yelled at Miss Beecher and she’s agreed to stop the voodoo.” Chloe told him. She wasn’t lying. She really had asked her to stop.
Mr. Barry was not convinced. “You said that last time! They always say that, but it keeps happening!” He then informed Chloe that she needed to be arrested for murder because she wasn’t doing anything about it. “Nobody’s dead! How can I be arrested for murder when no one’s dead?”
There was indeed a reason why they called it lunacy. It was from the word, lunar, meaning moon. As that full shining orb hung in the night sky, their evening was further entertained by an old guy who drove his car up on the sidewalk and hit a fire hydrant. They did have to call the fire department for that one. Water was spewing everywhere. While returning to their patrol car, Ginger said, “Yah, if you can’t see, it’s best to drive really fast and buy a really big car.”
Before they’d even reached the vehicle, dispatch notified them of a suspect fleeing a suspected drug deal, and Ginger perked up. “Finally. A normal call.”
They caught sight of him running across the roundabout, fenced him in between a couple of houses, and they both just stood there watching him running around a tree, in an effort to find a way out. “If you run around a tree enough times,” Ginger intoned, “you become invisible.”
“Oh, to be 17 again,” Chloe added.
“I know, right?” Ginger reached for her cuffs in at the back of her belt and they moved toward him.
“You don’t grow brains until about 30.”
“And sometimes not even then.” Ginger circled her finger at him as a signal to turn around. He assumed the position when he realized he wasn’t going anywhere. After cuffing him, she began the pat-down. “Got anything that’s gonna poke me, stick me or piss me off?”
He did, of course, have all three.
There were downtimes, and Chloe would periodically park at certain vantage points while they waited for the next call. Chloe regaled Ginger with stories about previous calls at Windsor Meadows, while they polished off the rest of the doughnuts.
“Now I’ll have to actually go to the gym to work these off.” Ginger closed the lid of the donut box and tossed it in the back seat.
Chloe patted her stomach. “I prefer sexercise.”
Ginger smiled. “Sounds like a better idea. Now the doughnuts don’t seem so evil anymore.”
“It’s not so bad, really. I enjoy pulling Windsor every so often. It’s a nice break from the usual fare, and always good for a laugh.”
“I’ve actually had a good time tonight,” Ginger admitted. “Probably the least dangerous patrol in Denver.”
“Yeah, they stick lots of rooks in Windsor. You can see why. It’s usually pretty innocuous here. But there are a few gangbangers over in Pine Village across the main drag. And where there’s gangs, there’s drugs. So every now and then we’ll get one of those…tree-orbitals.”
The last call was about a complaint that a Mrs. Gentry reported, saying that not only were the neighbors stealing her electricity, but now they were trying to steal her brains. In the report, Ginger added, It is this officer’s opinion that this has already occurred.
Before clocking out back at the station, Ginger would also have to stop at the security office for the village, charged with the unenviable task of looking over the reports of the other officers on that shift. She dreaded reading the Box-O-Rocks collection. That was the moniker Chloe had given to rookie Josh, because he was as dumb as a box of rocks. The boy had no acquaintance with commas and periods, and it sometimes completely changed the meaning of his reports. He couldn’t spell either. And it always took him two hours to write his reports out. Probably why he waited until the end of shift to do it. Once, Chloe had told him, “Learn to use commas and periods. Don’t worry about the semicolons and stuff, but jeez.” She made the mistake of saying, “Every time you take a breath, use a comma.” She then read through his next report and said, “Do you have COPD?”