Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A good cop or a bad cop?

To fully understand Bill's story, you need to read the background to it

The story of Bill Chart will become a part of "Hunted Down," the  next chapter in the Pat Canella series after "Ghosts of your Past,"

And the story will also link with the cross-over story with Chronicles of Mark Johnson called "Vortex."

  Ex-cop Bill Chart started his written account of the end of his police career with these words:-The days since I got booted of the force are lonely, and the days are too long to think about, the town I once stood for now hates me and they think I’m a dirty cop and a cop-killer-if only they realised the truth, but they never will; power protects and the people involved are too powerful for me to bring down and for that I paid the price. Perhaps some day the truth come out but I ain’t betting on it, at least if I put my version of events down on paper there is a chance my name will get cleared, even if me and my son, Adrian, don’t witness the day.
Some things needed to be covered up to help the case load, but this job went higher than we expected and involved out-of-state involvement. The reason for shooting of my friend Dennis and the screw-up over the Market House job will only come out  if this document is revealed as the people in power have the ability to keep the truth quiet and believe me, they will do all they can to that cause.

For my sins, I am a disgraced ex-cop living in a hovel and surviving on hand-outs from old friends, shit, what a way to exist; my only income comes from some dirty PI work and only because nobody else is low enough to consider the jobs I do.

I sat looking at what I wrote and thought, “Nobody will believe you, Bill, and those who will need to stay quiet or risk everything, so, why are you doing this? Hell, how the fuck should I know. I was a fall guy and a shmuck; give the job to Bill, he’s a tough guy and can do the dirty work for us, they said.” After a few minutes I muttered, “Tough guy, some chance; all they needed was a patsy with fists to bust heads and somebody to blame if things fell apart and I was the guy they chose. When I’m done I’ll stash this in my secret drawer;; these people will trash the place to try and find it as they are certain I’ll tell my story; even if nobody reads the papers and they can’t afford to be too careful.”

The days and nights passed and nobody turned up at my office, nothing new about that. The office was on the ground floor of the old Harker building and looked as though nobody had been in here since the 30’s. In those days the lawmen were respected, what a difference to now, I am sure somebody is on the take, too many jobs turned up dead-ends for there not to be a leak, but we never found the leak, “Oh well, I may as well get a beer for the night,” I said as I closed the drawer and dug in my raincoat for my last dime, realising the point was useless as I hadn’t had a job in months and I lived on favours.

I walked out of the office and shut the door behind me, and then I ventured down the dark hallway, taking in the wallpaper peeling off the walls; revealing the mould underneath.

I walked over to the Lincoln Arms; the only bar which would serve me now; as I went to my usual stool at the end of the bar nobody took a second glance my way, not surprising as they despised me in Middleton.

I took my seat, for some reason nobody ever sat there. I passed the bar every day and at odd times, but I had never seen anybody in the seat; I guess they think they might catch something from sitting on my seat, “Hey Jim, can you give us a beer on the tab?”

Jim Mellor, head bar keep at the Lincoln, poured my beer and came over to put it on the counter in front of me, I took my time drinking the beer; “With no sign of a job, this may be my last,” I thought.

I sat the bar was playing with the half-empty glass of beer, shabby and down-at-heel; but so would you, if nobody trusted you and you couldn't get a job. I sat alone at the counter watching the door and chewing a cigarette butt, “Hey, can I have a refill, Jim? I'm good for one,” I said as I downed the last of the beer and slid the glass over to the barman.

Jim glanced at me and replied, “You were but your credit is out, Bill, until you get some work.”

 “Hell, Jim, who is gonna be crazy enough to do that, everybody knows my rep and how I took the rap for the cop-killing over at the docks; all I can do is clear my name, so my kid don't have it to carry around. Okay, be seeing ya, Jim.”

 “Bill, take care!” Jim replied to my back as I left the Lincoln Arms on the dark and lonely night.

The cold air bit the back of my neck as I paced across Doverman Drive, on the way to my dingy office. I had become, Bill Chart, the former cop and now a PI; a man alone in a town he loved but a town which had grown to hate me, not only for his bully-boy tactics but for things which they read but appearances can be deceptive and I had been forced to hide a secret from the town. I had been warned about things I saw and for my family’s lives I needed to stay quiet. “Hell, who am I kidding,”  I said as I walked out of the bar and across the street to Barrack Street, “there is nobody but me and nobody cares about a dead-beat cop killer with a bad rep.”

I took my time walking the few streets to the office with its coffee stained table; the small office at the back of the warehouse is all I could pay for and I was behind on the rent. Finally, I ended the journey to the office and stopped at the door; I turned to glance down the road opposite, “Nothing happening today,” I muttered as the key turned in the lock. 

Light had took its time to penetrate the grime on the windows as the sepia tints of browned light entered the room and crept along the floor; almost as if they were ashamed to be seen here. The coffee had stained the desk and I had long passed the point of caring about tidiness; my creed became, “Nobody comes here; why should I care?”

I sat in the old chair which came with the office and the lumps in the stuffing told of the many years which it had been used but when you can’t pay the rent and even last night’s stale coffee is tempting, anything will do.

I began to read the paper by browsing the baseball pages and thinking, “Middleton could use a good relief pitcher or they’ll be for the drop this season; the new guy isn’t up to taking the strain and we don’t even have a good closer.” 

In the back of my mind played the scene at the dock when his career in the force ended and the last siege at the Market House, each time I had one thought, “I wanted to tell you, but I couldn’t.” 

I lived in the office since my wife left and took our son, Adrian; when news of the killing broke across the papers that week two years ago. Now, the only thing which caused pain was the fragment of bullet near the spine, “The fragment is too near your spine and if we operate; you may be paralysed,” those words from the surgeon came back to haunt me every night.

I had trouble digging my hand in a coat pocket but I pulled out the key to the drawer which held the whiskey bottle; nights were bad and in the end I got tired of waiting for a job and dozed off, but the days dragged and things would get worse now my credit was no good at “The Lincoln.” 

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