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Detective Laura Kimber began her day right, her freshly shined shoes narrowly avoiding a piece of a dead man's face as he was pushed threw a screen door of a candle wax factory over on the East-side.
“You just missed that piece of flesh,” said Peter O'Brien as he tried holding the screen door open for her.
“Jenkins found her?” he added.
“Jenkins found her? What's her number?”
“Was he touched, or was anything moved around him,” Kimber asked.
“Hey Jenkins,” O'Brien shouted. “Did anyone touch him or move anything around?”
Jenkins looked at O'Brien as if he just fell from another planet. Touch him? Hell, she didn't even want to look at him. Jenkins shook her head indicating no, then glanced over at the body. Kimber looked at the young female cop and understood and accepted her silent plea.
“Female cops,” whispered O'Brien. “We'll walk her through this, she'll be okay.”
Kimber didn't really care too much for O'Brien's comment. He once said that the academy was turning out policewomen for over three decades and as far as he was concerned, the verdict was still out. It was sexist, and she knew it, but she kept it to herself, because she respected O'Brien.
Many women had joined the department with a reasonable understanding of the job and had a willingness to perform; some were even good cops. But why did the majority quit so early, why didn't they just run the course?
“Come here and claim this crime scene,” O'Brien demanded. “Women cops, just get me. They make so many mistakes.”
“I need some time,” Jenkins replied.
“Come up here, take orders if you have to,” said O'Brien. “Remember, you're not a secretary with a gun. Or are you?”
“That's enough Pete!” Kimber snapped.
“I'm trying to toughen her up, make her a decent cop.”
“She's getting on.”
“We can't have dead weight on our team,” he said.
“Women make too many mistakes,” he added.
“I mean you are the exception to the rule.”
“I am the exception?”
“You're one of the brightest.”
“You don't make mistakes,” he half whispered.
“Your first year on the force, O'Brien,” she started. “At the Rite Aid Pharmacy, a fifteen year old mental case took your gun from you after he wrestled you to the floor. He could have killed you and by-standers. And the time over at Bassick High School, you called in for back up hiding in your car while your partner was getting the shit kicked out of him by a bunch of pot- heads. Oh and don't forget the break in at Yankee Candle Factory on Wordin Avenue. Radio cars came storming up the street, they found you standing at the curb, pointing to the broken window like a security guard. What a bitch you were! Give us women a break. We come into a lewd, locker room environment and keep all the shit to ourselves because we know most of you guys are good detectives. We're not going to let ignorance take that away from you guys. So when you see a new female, or male cop having a rough go at it, help him up. Dust his ass off and work with them.”
“I think I just been schooled,” O'Brien added.
Kimber huffed and turned away
O'Brien felt a little uneasy. He knew Laura Kimber was one of the hardest working detectives on the squad, she was a consistently aggressive and an intelligent investigator. It was almost a year ago when O'Brien's partner was shot in the head during an ambush. The shooting had been drug related, and O'Brien was cornered at the back end of the unmarked police car. He closed his eyes waiting for the two drug lords to fire, but that didn't happen. Out of nowhere Kimber came through the alley taking out the two men killing them instantly. When O'Brien opened his eyes she was crouched next to him giving him coverage. He realized that she was a detective, but she was also a woman too.
“Jenkins,” O'Brien called. “If you need any help sorting this mess out, you can count on me. And since this is your crime scene, everyone here will take direct orders from you or I'll personally kicked their ass. And I too will take whatever order you dish out.”
Jenkins smiled and turned away.
© 2015 Frank Atanacio