Saturday, March 20, 2010

66 - 67

My kindergarten teacher was a nice old lady. When I was a cop I helped the medics carry her out of her apartment on an aided case one day. She said that she remembered me. It was twenty-five years after the fact but she remembered me. I wonder how that works, with teachers I mean. Are they all blessed with this indelible memory of every kid who sat amongst the sea of kids that a teacher must swim through in a decades long teaching career?

I'm pretty sure she really did remember me. I have an unusual name. A Scandinavian name. She was first generation Scandinavian. Same country even. Yeah, she really did remember but she never made it back to that little apartment. That was kind of sad. Cops firefighters and medics all deal with that sort of thing all the time. It's a lot different when it's someone you knew or had a connection to.

I knew this guy John. We hung out with the same crowd when we were teens. When I was a cop he ended up living just blocks from my station house. He actually lived upstairs from one of the cops I worked with. One day a neighbor in the building where he lived called nine-one-one. The neighbor said that she had not seen John in days. She knew John and she knew that was unusual. She was fairly certain he was in his apartment. My partner and I arrived and spoke to the cop we worked with who lived downstairs. I ended up going up the fire escape with that guy while my partner continued to pound on John's door in an attempt to contact him.

From the fire escape outside John's kitchen window we could see dozens of empty beer cans and hard liquor bottles strewn about the floor. We saw legs, John's legs in blue jeans and white running shoes laying across the doorway from the kitchen to the living room of the small one bedroom apartment. The double hung window was not locked. We slid it up and the off-duty cop I was with punched the screen to gain entry to the apartment while I called for medics to respond.

John was barely breathing. He was not responsive at all. My partner had retrieved the oxygen we carried in the trunk of the patrol car and hooked it up with a nasal cannula. He fit the cannula in John's nose and set the rate of flow at number two. All we could do was wait for the medics who did respond in very good time.

I knew John had a drinking problem prior to this incident. Another guy I worked with had charged him with DUI after an MVA that the officer witnessed himself. Thankfully no one was injured in that accident. I would see John at the bus stops at times. I would see John stumbling up the street. We gave John rides when we could. Just to get him off the street. He was never incoherent or unable to converse so transport to the hospital was never required. John had been through all the programs.

I called a couple of old friends who knew him as well. They were able to contact family. When I was done with my shift that day I changed in the locker room and responded to the hospital to see John. I was not family so I was not allowed to enter ICU to visit. I badged the nurses. I told them I was an old friend of John's. I told them I was one of the cops on the call. They said no family members were present. No one was with John. They let me in for a visit. He was still in a coma like state. I held his hand for a minute and talked to him. I left after a short time. I didn't want to get emotional. The two guys I had called went to visit him after I did. I talked to them on the phone about it. They reported the same. No family members present. John still in a coma.

John died a few days later.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I was talking to my sister. She said that I'm facing what may seem to be an impassable brick wall. She said that on the other side of that wall is a garden. The garden leads down to the dunes an onto the beach. She said that I will get to the other side of that wall.

(I need some overhead imagery. How long is the wall? Do I go left or right? What's the quickest route. How thick is the wall. Can I breach it?)

I wasn't getting it. I never do. Then she tells me that when I'm driving back up to Jersey from Florida I should stop and stay at my niece's place when I get to D.C.

(...ring the bell...Hi! It's your recently suicidal uncle here for an unexpected visit. Got any ammo? Preferably hollow points. Wad cutters won't do. I might just wound myself then have to wait around and die from led poisoning.)

If I'm as far north as D.C. I'll just finish up the drive. It's close enough to Jersey. My swimmingly cosmopolitan niece does not need her uncle dropping by to disrupt her life. She would not agree of course. She's family. I'm just saying that there may be some better options.

(I have this blind cousin who still rides his old Triumph. He loves Zep. A blind Zep fan on a motorcycle. I love this country.)

I'll stop in North Carolina. My cousin lives lives there. Not too far from Fort Bragg. I can spend a night or two, it's about half the way up so it's a given. Maybe he'll let me ride one of his old bikes around.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


When I was a cop that meant out of service. The Ten Code guys would say ten-seven. I think the trend is leaning towards just saying what it is. Numerical radio codes can be confusing.

I'm in Florida right now. I drove down here almost two weeks ago. Left home late Saturday afternoon. Arrived here on Sunday evening. It seems that I wanted to die. Briefly that is. I don't mean die briefly, I mean for a brief few moments in time I wanted to die. My wife wouldn't give me my pistol when she threw me out this last of now six times that she's asked me to leave. I told her I wanted to sell it.

Somewhere along the highway I stopped at a rest area with no facilities available beyond a place to park. I dug a very small hole. Just wide and deep enough to hold my four inch folding knife blade up with the handle firmly secured in the dirt. My plan was to fall on the blade. Not a very good plan. As I stood over the knife trying to line it up correctly I realized that the odds were not in my favor, at least as far as the wound being fatal. No, my training and experience led me to believe that I would probably just hurt myself and end up looking stupid when some truck driver or Trooper found me there.

(I didn't really want to die anyway. Still don't. Never really did. Looking at it on this side. Now.)

So my next stroke of shear genius is as follows:

I decided to continue south. The Sunshine State being my destination. I have an old friend there, I'll go see him. He owns a couple of weapons. Firearms that is. I'm thinking I'll talk him into going to the range and when he opens up that gun safe I'll grab something short like his pistol and run out the door with it. When I got to his house I realized I wouldn't be doing that either. After a few hours of sleep I told him what was going on. I told him that I had actually considered using his pistol. He was fuckin' pissed. I don't blame him. The cops probably would have kept the piece.

(As well as the peace. Get it? I like that. I'll have to use that sometime.)

So not only would he have to live with me capping myself using his gun, he would have been out at least a grand. It's a titanium Smith with an integral laser site. Nice gun.

(He doesn't care about the gun. That's my own spin.)

He calls a number. I checked myself in. I told the shrink what I had thought about. They kept me for a week.

I take two pills every morning. One at night. I'm doing follow up care. I will not leave my kids like that. It was selfish for me to think that I could. That's just part of it. That's the most important part for me however. Suicide ain't painless. That's a stupid fuckin' song anyway. Good movie, great show, stupid song.

I'm staying with family right now. I've got some relatives down here. Good people. I have to replace calipers and rotors on the old Jeep. Had a caliper freeze up once I got down here. When that's done I'll be heading north. I'm going to stay with family and try to assess the situation. Get involved with my therapy up there. It's already set up. With enough sleep you realize that life really is good.

EIGHT - OH....Back in service.