Cornelle Keveen

Author of Dark Urban Fantasy and Romantic Drama


First day on the job.  Rookie cop can't fuck up.  Can't fuck up.  Gotta keep telling myself that.  This guy they partnered me with.  Gauge.  He's like super-cop an shit.  He can't stand my rookie ass.  I can tell.  I'm hungry as hell but I'll be damned if I let him know it.  It's two o'clock and he hasn't taken a lunch yet.  We keep riding through what's left of the projects.  They've finally started making these things into ghost towns.  Why he wont let it go, I don't know.  Ask me and I'll tell you that Crimson Heights is gonna be a hell of a lot safer without the projects.  Damn I'm hungry.  Forget this shit.  "Say Gauge.  You plann..."

His cell phone rings just as he's giving me that "Say something stupid again Rookie..look". 

"What up?" 

He was already locked in a state of permanent pissedivity.  The phone call took it to another level. 

"I'm listening.  You don't want to do this.  Just let me talk to....Hello?  Hello?"

The car fishtails so hard and fast I think we're gonna flip over.  Next thing I know, we're speeding down 2127 out of our jurisdiction.  He has a white-knuckled death grip on the steering wheel and hatred in his eyes.  "Gauge, what are we doing here man?  Want me to call it in?"

He answered me by flicking the radio off. 

We're weaving and slicing our way through traffic without a single strobe or siren.  It didn't take a veteran to figure out that this guy doesn't want back up.  He doesn't want much attention at all.  I have to keep cool.  Maybe this is some initiation or some shit like that.  I'm not about to let him see me crack.  I'd heard about rookie hazing.  I'm ready.  I pledged Omega in college.  Whatever they want to throw at me, I'm more than capable of handling. 


Ten minutes pass and we're pulling up in the driveway of a quaint little crib off the highway.


"Stay here rookie!  If I'm not out in fif......."


"Hell no partner.  You don't have to tell me what the hell is going on.  But if you go in, I'm backing you up.  So lock and load and let's do the damned thing."


He actually had half of a smile on his face.  He didn't say a word for the few moments we locked eyes.  And then..."Look here roo....Mason.  This is a bad situation all the way around.  I'm pretty much done for either way it goes down.  You don't have to get caught up in this.  You have half a chance at a career.  I screwed mine up a long time ago.  I broke the code, the law, and ....    Bottom line, my shit's coming back to haunt me.  Stay here.  Call it in...but give me ..."


"No way Partner.  I know about code.  I'm not breaking it.  I'm not letting you go in alone.  I got your back.  Let's roll old man."

And then we hear a woman's scream, two gunshots,.......and what looks like the body of a small child is thrown out of the house onto the front lawn. 

Gauge looks like he's about to have a coronary.  It was like a worst nightmare had come to life.  The last thing you want to see is a dead child.  For all I knew, this was his house and that was his kid. 

We move, guns drawn and eyes alert.  He takes point and I hold back a few paces behind him.  My heart's pounding.  This is it.  This has to be the real shit.  The look on the man's face when that body hit the dirt let me know that this was no gag or initiation. 

He got to the body before I did.  I key the mic on my radio to call for EMS, but Gauge waves me off as he touches the body.  Now I'm confused.  I follow his hand with my eyes to the body.

I move closer to crouch beside him and I hear him curse as he reaches out to push me away.

"Son of a bitch.  Move ROOK!!"

I catch a glimpse at the dummy corpse long enough to see the note attached to the chest. 


We're rolling on the grass expecting the worse.  We're fucked.  Just like that.  My career and my life are over. 

Nothing happens.  We look up to see the dummy smoking, but there's no boom.  Nothing happens.  God I almost laugh out loud.  I thought I was done.  Shit. 

"Gauge, you gotta tell me what's up man.  I thought...."

A woman's scream interrupts us again.  This time she screamed a name.  His name.  It comes from the house.  We both look up to see them standing in the door.  A woman in the clutches of a man.  The man has a knife pointed up beneath her chin.  They're  only there long enough for us to see them before they disappear, leaving the door open. 

Gauge doesn't say shit.  He don't have to.  It's a set up and we've lost our edge.  The woman screams again and we move.  I can't lie.  At this point I'm scared shitless. 

We're inside and the scene is gruesome.  Whoever this guy is, he just beat the living dogshit out of this woman.  He's wearing some kind of stocking mask but somehow Gauge knows him.  The woman is either taller than the guy or he's smart enough to stay crouched behind her.  But the blade is already slicing into her throat every time she breathes.  Her chest is coated in her own blood.  The guy stays behind her and doesn't say a single word. 

"I know its you Derron!  You're being used lil blood.  He's using you!  THINK about this shit!  It don't have to go down like this.  Let her go D!  You know how he works.  He uses people.  He used me.  He used Trisha!  Now he's using you!  Come on man!  Don't make me do this!"

Damn I wish I had put on my gloves.  My palms are sweating so much I'm about to drop my piece.  Fuck!  I can't stop shaking!  Gauge is trying to circle the guy.  He moves to the I move to the left.  He gives me a nod to let me know that I'm doing the right thing.  Don't know how he knew that I needed that.  But I did. 

 The guy still doesn't say anything.  He just moves back against the kitchen wall close to a phone on the countertop. 

The phone rings.  He reaches out to put it on speaker.  The voice comes across the speaker and Gauge clenches his teeth at the sound of it.

 "What up partner?!  Got your new shadow with you I take it.  Ha Ha...Hey there Rookie!!  Man did you pick a Bad Day to get in the game!  Hey there Trisha baby!!  Girl you are looking GOOD!!  Is that that new Estee Lauder shit??  I like it.  I Like it!  I figured I'd get my boy over there to help you get all pretty for Gauge.  I know how you two do the thing you know.  My partner and my wife.  You two.  You two."

 I'm hearing this thing go down and I don't believe what I'm hearing.  Gauge gives me that "I told you this was a fucked up situation" look. 

"Derron!  You're gonna take the fall for this dumb shit.  Don't let him do this to you!!  He never gets his hands dirty.  Think about this!  He's somewhere safe and clean, and you're doing the dirt for him.  Trisha...will you PLEASE keep the fuck still!!"

Gauge was trying to keep the woman from getting her head cut off.  She's doing more harm to herself than the guy is.  Her head keeps dropping down on the blade. 

The voice comes across the phone again. 

"My Man!!  You're like all hostage negotiator and shit!!  You still got skills partner!!  Don't want to give up control of the scene do you?  Don't want to admit that you never had control do you?  I've had you on a string for the past year.  You know what today is Gauge?  It's our anniversary.  Six years to the day.  Six years to the day since I found out you were fucking my wife.  Six years to the day since you gave me up to the brass:  Six years Gauge since you broke the code.   Six fucking years since you ruined my life.  I bet you think it's all about me getting revenge on you and that lil beat up whore of ours.  Nah partner.  The life I'm about to fuck up ain't yours and it ain't hers."

I hear movement.  I hear something or someone moving in one of the rooms.  I want to say something.  I fucked up.  I didn't check the house.  I didn't even do a once over.  I wasn't aware of my surroundings.  Gauge had the perp.  He took the lead.  He probably thought I had it covered.  I fucked up.

"What's up there Rook?  You still with us?  Tell me something Rookie.  Think I would miss a chance at nailing the guy who fucked my wife?  Think I would plan it for six years and not be there to see it through?  Think about it Rook.  Six years man.  You're quiet rookie.  What's wrong?  Uh oh.  Did the Rook fuck up?  I'm gonna kill you first Rookie.  I want you to know that.  I'm gonna come out...and blast you all over my kitchen floor."

The movement.  I still hear it.  I wonder if Gauge knows.  I don't know what to do. 

"Hey Rook.  Did you take the safety off?"

Shit.  The door opens.  Gauge's back is against a wall.  The safety.  Oh fuck. 

I turn and squeeze off three rounds as I release the safety.  I don't even know if my eyes were open.  The body drops in the bedroom doorway.

The line goes dead. 

The woman screams and the knife is dropped to the floor.

She runs over screaming even more.  She crawls over the body in the bedroom doorway.

I shot a kid.  I shot a kid.  I shot an unarmed kid. 

When he walks in the front door, Gauge and I both know it happened just the way he wanted it to.



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