[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. His weekly column,True Story, may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]
"You don't know what I deal with--the fucking human waste that I wade through every night. I can't sleep. It's fucking killing me, Laura."
"Oh, fuck you--it's always you. What about us; what about your fucking son? He used to be proud of you, and now I hear him laugh when he tells his friends what you do."
He buttoned his shirt--dark blue over a white tee and a protective vest. He checked his service revolver and picked up his keys.
"Maybe you should think about living somewhere else until you get a grip on your head. You need to see somebody, Frank; I don't know who, but I'm done."
He took her comment like he attempted to take the world: as though it couldn't hurt him if he ignored it--brushed it off his back and left it where it lay. But the stench of the world followed him, and her comment rode him rough to the car, a blackandwhite sitting in the driveway, waiting to begin its night.
His first call was a 415, which rolled into a domestic violence beef--a couple of tweakers had gotten into it over nothing, as far as he could tell, a woman crying about some girl named something who'd taken something and fucked her old man. Jesus. He looked the "old man" over: He had more fingers than teeth, and the scars on his face outnumbered the cars on a highway--he was a walking disease. Frank had tuned the woman out as she complained.
His attention was drawn to a small child in dirty clothes--a young boy too old to be sucking his thumb standing near the wall, bouncing his head off the plaster.
"Are you listening, man?"
"Yeah, I'm listening," Frank said. "Here's the deal: If you tell me he hit you, he goes with me. But I'm looking at those scratches on his neck, and he says you grabbed him, so you both go--and the boy," Frank nodded toward the child, "he goes to CPS. So what'd you wanna do?" "I want him to stop fucking her!" she screamed.
"You got one more chance," Frank said.
The skeleton that had been scratched in the neck grabbed the girl by the arm.
"I'm sorry officer," he said. "We'll work it out, okay?"
"Okay, clean up the kid."
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As the night progressed things got worse. There was a stabbing near the corner of Sixth and Rose--some border brother had cut some kid up over a few bucks and a pool game. It didn't look as though the kid was going to make it; 2 inches lower, and that knife would've broken on a belt buckle, but now, he was just another nameless fuck bleeding out in a gutter.
By 3 a.m., Frank had dealt with two more assaults and a lewd conduct, and at 4 a.m., he got dispatched to a drunk in public. He was ready to go. . . .