Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Detective · #1886834
The elderly woman glared at Brad, sniffed, whispered to her husband as they walked away.
|Writer's Note: As I wrote the dialogue for this story I omitted the vulgar words Brad used extensively in all of his conversations. I don't think writing.com has a high enough rating to cover the things Brad said.|
A Man of the Cloth
He had the filthiest, most vulgar vocabulary of anyone I had ever known. F-Bombs exploded continuously during his conversations, and the bad language became worse if he was passionate about the topic. It never concerned him that someone might hear him and be offended. He was a sheriff's deputy, and very good at his job. I was a Municipal police officer, and we occasionally worked together on criminal cases. We were partnered on a particularly horrible double homicide that went unsolved for two years. But when the case finally broke I learned something about him that surprised me more than anyone I have ever known.
His name was Brad Paisley.
A year had passed since the homicide investigation had begun. We were meeting once a week now, going over any new leads or information. We were no closer to an arrest now than we were a year ago; and the disappointment of that weighed heavily on us. We sat in a booth at our usual restaurant. Brad lit a cigarette, pulled his coffee cup closer to his edge of the table. His face curled into a frown.
"I wanted to solve this case before I resigned." Brad put the cup to his lips and sipped loudly at the hot coffee. He didn't care for the acid taste of the coffee, and said so. An older couple seated in the next booth turned and glared at us, a red line rising on their faces as they absorbed Brad's language. He didn't notice and went on. "But it doesn't look like that's going to happen."
"What are you talking about?" An inch-long ash fell from his cigarette onto the table. I pushed the ash tray closer to him but he ignored it. "One of these days we'll get a break, and we'll get whoever did this. It's just a matter of time."
"Then the break better come soon, because I'm out of here in a month." He took another sip of coffee, his blue words cut through the air.
"What are you talking about? You're not going anywhere." I used my napkin to slide cigarette ashes off the table into the ash tray. "You love this job." Brad was what is known as a cops, cop. While his language was offensive, he usually got results on his cases. I liked working with him, but my hopes that he wouldn't say anything embarrassing were always wasted. He seemed to be oblivious to it all.
"You're not serious...are you Brad?" His face remained blank. No smile, no frown, and when he took off his dark glasses his eyes gave nothing away. I began to believe that he was serious about leaving the sheriff's department.
"Never been more serious in my life. I've had enough." He sat back against the cushion of the booth, blew out a cloud of smoke and watched it drift onto the table across the aisle. The two women seated there turned and frowned. He didn't notice.
"You have another job lined up?" I couldn't imagine him as anything but a cop.
"Nope. I'm done with law enforcement." The stub of his cigarette hissed as he dropped it into the half-empty coffee cup in front of him. He lit another one and took a long drag.
"I've had enough of the fighting, being cussed at and spit on. I'm tired of having to deal with ungrateful people. I'm sick of the low pay. I'm done!" Hearing his language, the couple seated behind Brad stood. The gray-haired woman glared at Brad, sniffed, whispered hard to her husband as they walked to another empty booth further away. Brad looked at them over his shoulder and shrugged.
"You're serious, aren't you?" I asked. "Where are you going to go?" My voice was edged with skepticism. I thought he was joking, and his next words seemed to be the punch line.
"The Seminary." The waitress appeared and he held his coffee cup out to her. She looked into the cup, frowned, then moved to the full pot on the counter.
Silence filled the space between us. Slowly, the sound of silverware scraping against plates grew louder. I smiled at him, waited for him to laugh, but he didn't. My smile faded.
"Sure," I smirked. "I suppose you'll have a bridge to sell me before you leave." I pushed more cigarette ashes off the table into the ash tray. "Tell me another one Brad."
"I'm serious. I applied to a Seminary in Texas, and they accepted me. I begin the fall semester in September. I already turned in my resignation. I leave the last day of August."
As I drove back to my office I knew Brad was serious, he was leaving. But I thought he just didn't want to tell me the truth about where he was going. I never saw him again after that morning.
A year later that fateful break finally came in and I was able to solve the crime. The newspaper assigned a reporter to write about the case. His article quoted many of the people originally involved in the investigation. But it was a quote near the bottom of the article that caused my jaw to drop open. I hadn't seen Brad since our last meeting so I was surprised to see his quote. He asked the parents of the victims to try to find it in their hearts to forgive the man who took the lives of their children.
Brad had been located in a small town in Texas. He had finished his first year in the seminary—he was studying Theology. Of everyone that I have known throughout my life, the last person I expected to take this path in life was the man whose language could fry a tough steak, curl shoe leather, or make a cop blush. It was impossibly improbable.
Brad Paisley would one day be a minister.
Submitted to the Writer's Cramp for August 22/23, 2012.
Word Count: 983