Lester was a seasoned Deputy and I was the greenest of rookies working my first overtime shift. We had been forced to work a double shift. Our regular afternoon shift now included an extra midnight shift. Sixteen straight hours of working uniformed street patrol dealing with whatever the radio dished out or we could stir up. After we geared up Lester settled into the passenger seat. “Don’t get us into any trouble and try not to wake me up”, he mumbled as we left the parking lot.
20 minutes later the radio called our number and by then Lester was snoring so loudly I had to wake him up. ”Adam 11 copy man with a gun”.
The dispatcher’s narrative unfolded, “At the corner of Ecorse and Harris – behind the Marathon gas station the caller can see two men. One appears to be holding a shiny handgun”.
That got Lester’s attention as there had been a series of armed robberies at this very location.
I made the scene in minutes coming in lights out and silent. We bailout into the darkness and round the end of the long brick wall. Then and there we came face to face with the described individuals.
For the first time in my life I stood shoulder to shoulder with my partner, gun in hand, offering up violence against others. It would not be my last. I was changed by it. Welcome to the Rodeo.
”Get your hands up before we shoot your ass”, was the order of my hillbilly partner.
In the moment I realized Lester and I were more deadly together than if we were alone but not for the reason you might suspect. I was more willing to kill to protect my partner than I would have been if I were alone and Lester was the same. He was there to protect me, the rookie. I was there to protect Lester. In these intense moments an alliance is forged that lasts a lifetime. From this springs the foundation of our Bond, our Brotherhood, our Love and Devotion.
Today I cannot remember if the subjects were armed with a chrome plated .45 or a can of Colt .45 malt liquor. I can only remember how I felt and what I was willing to do to protect my partner in that dark alley. I was a rookie destined to become an adrenaline junkie in search of more moments like these.
Lester and I would spend our careers working out of the same Station. Slowly I moved from rookie – to respected partner – to friend – to Brother. It happened one alley at a time.
We attended many choir practices together. In Cop World choir practice is a shift ending get together, often held in some dark and secluded parking lot, which involved Budweiser 40 ouncers and fifths of El Toro tequila, a lot of drinking, laughing and bragging. It was during one of these choir practices that I made the Promise to Lester.
We were sitting on the tailgate of his old Ford truck, feet dangling below us, cold beers between our legs. We had outlasted the rest and were alone.
His big chest heaved slightly as he said, ”Michael, there are a shitload of things worst than being dead. I don’t want to end up that way – shitting my own bed. Promise me that if I ever end up like that you’ll take me out”.
“You mean it”?
”You’ve got my Word on it”.
Nothing more was said as we finished our beers…
NOTE: I can tell this now because Lester released me from my Promise.
As the years stacked up Lester would occasionally ask, ”You remember right”? I always nodded and told him I had it covered. More time passes and he would ask and I would say the same thing.
That was until this one night when the conspiracy came to an end. We were sitting in the parking lot of Station #2 after work. Lester looks at me and asks, “So Rat, how are you gonna do it”?
”Lester I’m gonna smother you with your own pillow”.
”OH Lord NO! I don’t want to be smothered. You gotta shoot me”.
“Lester I’m gonna try and get away with murdering you so shooting you is absolutely out of the question”.
He must have meant it because he went right in the station house and started telling everybody not to leave him alone in a hospital room with me.
I guess he fears suffocation more than shitting his own bed.
© 2015, Michael Fulcher. All rights reserved.