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An Act of Impulse

Updated on January 27, 2017

It was just after two in the morning, and the lead detective completed scouring the streets. It was in an after hours bar when two men shot at each other. Each man represented a different gang, and the lead detective had to prove that the shot was an act of impulse rather than premeditation. It was something he had to do so he could prevent an all out gang war. One shooter wasn’t going after gang-colors; he was just fighting over a waitress. They were mightily pissed off at one another and that led to the shootings.

He was at the hospital trying to get a better glimpse at the body. He was leaning over the dead man’s torso with a fresh page of his notepad stuck in the palm of his hand. He started drawing a human form followed by the wound sites.

A heavyset trauma nurse, her face locked in that what the hell are you doing here expression, pushed the detective out and closed the plastic curtain behind her.

“I am an investigating officer,” he chimed.

“Good for you,” she replied sarcastically.

“A .22 slug in the heart is what killed him,” said an ER doctor as he stood behind the lead detective still wearing his face mask. “But I doubt he felt it.”

“What do you mean?”

“Fresh needle tracks on both arms,” the doctor replied. “This guy was as high as a kite.”

“How’s the other guy?” asked the lead detective.

“He had the advantage,” the doctor replied. “Yeah his alcohol levels were very high, but he wasn’t doing drugs. He was a big guy, and you know what they say? The bigger you are the harder you fall. His eyes were shut swollen from a fall over by Fairfield Avenue. I may have to cut into flesh so that he could see.”

“Can’t you just wait until the swelling goes down?”

“No, the skin was almost charred,” the doctor replied. “It was as if someone was dragging him on the cement, face first.”

The detective nodded.

“But I doubt anyone was dragging him,” said the doctor. “I mean he looks pretty mean. I figured that if there were no guns involved, he’d kill the other guy.”

“He did,” replied the lead detective.

“Yep, I guess you’re right.”

“Doctor, can you do me a favor?”

The doctor looked puzzled but was still listening.

“None of the gangs have moved or spoke yet,” the lead detective started. “I need you to tell the newspapers that this was a fight over a female. Lie, and tell them that they were both in love with the same woman and they had it out.”

“What, how would I have known that?”

“Tell them that it was a dying confession. The guy who died wanted to be clear that this wasn’t gang related. I need you to do this so that we could stop a gang war.”

“What about the guy who didn’t die?”

“I’m going to make a deal with him.”

“I don’t like to work outside the box,” said the doctor. “I pride myself on being honest and straight forward.”

“This could prevent many needless deaths,” the lead detective stressed.

“I know, but it’s just not right.”

“Doctor, I know how the gangs are going to view this shooting,” said the detective. “It’s going to be viewed as a color war. You can do something about it.”

The doctor frowned at the prospect, but he knew his duty. It was really a difficult decision, but he also knew that he couldn’t help the detective. He was a medical doctor and his job was simply to heal the body.

Taking in the emergency room, he glanced at the plastic curtains that was scattered everywhere. He knew behind those curtains people needed him. The detective had a job to do, but he too had a job to do.

Of course, the doctor reflected, and gave that request some thought.

“I’m sorry,” said the doctor. “I really can’t help you.”


The doctor raised his hand dismissively and walked away.

It was a difficult decision to make, and the detective knew that. He just watched the doctor walk in between two double doors and he sighed. The detective needed to find another method to execute his plan. Something that would clearly make this shooting an act of impulse.

© 2012 Frank Atanacio


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    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      5 years ago from Shelton

      thanks DDE :) Bless you

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You are truly one of the good writers here and I am glad to have read this one.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      5 years ago from Shelton

      Thanks uban for reading my short reaction piece bless you

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 

      5 years ago from Lagos

      I love detective story and to say you have done a great job is an understatement.

      Interesting story. I hope to read the other part.

      Good job, Sir

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      5 years ago from Shelton

      thanks for stopping by Eddy :)

    • Eiddwen profile image


      5 years ago from Wales

      Powerful ;clever and is there part2 ?You are so very talented and thank you for sharing.Enjoy your day as always.


    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      5 years ago from Shelton

      what a way to begin a comment LOL .. but they say when ytou start one lie the others become easier.. right? LOL thanks for the early morning chuckle Alaster..:) Frank

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      Could that have been the waitress who has a penchant for bending over in front of men reading siege histories lol? This is quite interesting, this story. It's hard to see after reflection why the doctor wouldn't do as the detective requested; after all, wasn't that the whole point in his thinking, saving lives. In the same position as the doc, i wouldn't want to do it either, but it seems the only right thing to do, right?

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      5 years ago from Shelton

      thanks again Denise and Blossom for visiting my impulse and commenting bless you both Frank

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      Interesting read...people are faced with ethical dilemmas frequently and it is never an easy decision. I liked Storytellersus comment as well linking it to the current situation with the Petreous situation. Thanks for the story...a thought provoking one. :) UP/I

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      An interesting story that helps us to understand the kind of dilemma that can confront doctors and detectives.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      5 years ago from Shelton

      thanks again gypsy for stopping by my impulse :)

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Very interesting. That poor detective must be frustrating and I bet it happens in reality all the time with all the gangs out there. Liked this.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      5 years ago from Shelton

      thanks so much Jlava for reading my impulse and pegcole thank you for the very good comment.. bless you both :)

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Frank. Great job on presenting both sides of the moral dilemma. The doctor is bound by his oath to "do no harm" but also by his ethics in telling the truth. Is lying justified if it saves lives? Good food for thought and well written dialogue. I like it.

    • Jlava73 profile image

      Jennifer Vasconcelos 

      5 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

      You do irony so well my friend! So much packed into one story. Very enjoyable and mind-bending read!

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      5 years ago from Shelton

      great comment storyteller... thank you for reading my impulse :)

    • Storytellersrus profile image


      5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Frank, great scene and reader comments. I will be thinking about this til your next installment. Would a police officer actually make such a request? I have no idea!

      This reminds me of the Petreous situation and all the wonderings and conspiracy theories. One of his cohorts said the CIA is professional about that sort of thing and doesn't play politics or concern themselves with timing. They just do their job.

      So would a

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      5 years ago from Shelton

      @ Joyce.. you are the wirter..LOL thanks for popping by

      @Cyndi... always good to see you and thanks for trying to make heads and tails of the Doc's decision..:)

      Lathing.. no part 2 it's just a reaction crime flash... everything should unfold in the readers' own head.. thanks for popping by :) bless you guys

    • LaThing profile image


      5 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      Needs a Part 2 here, Frank! Brilliant storyline, and the way you write, I can just see the whole scene in front of me. That is writing!! Voting up and awesome.....

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      5 years ago from Georgia

      Hmmm. Good story. So does the doctor look at the big picture and help avert blood shed or does he stick to the rules? Well done. No surprise there!

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      5 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Great story but then you always please us with your crime stories.

      Voted up and awesome Mr. Writer, Joyce.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      5 years ago from Shelton

      X-- I agree with you 100% thanks for stopping by :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      5 years ago from Shelton

      Thank you Valley poet for reading my act of impulse..: and thank you tobusiness for stopping by and sharing my shorts.. no next installment this is :)

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 

      5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      An act of impulse finding that would save lives, perhaps innocent ones too, and save the city thousands of dollars in police and court time as well. It feels as is the doc was too stiffnecked here to me.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      5 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      Frank, an interesting dilemma, doing the wrong thing for the right reason, does it ever turn out right? Can't wait for the next installment. Voting up.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      An interesting read frank....the doctor must reflect on a moral it wrong to tell a lie, even though in this situation, lives could be saved. He decides to hold onto his belief in telling the truth, or more accurately, avoids an untruth. I suspect though that his decision was more emotive than based on moral reasoning, and simply didn't feel comfortable with telling a lie!?...thanks Frank for another great read:-))


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