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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Special Circumstances - 1. A New Face

“Stop yawning," Nam said as we walked down the stairs from the men’s locker room.

“I’m just not a morning person. Starting work at seven should be banned.”

It didn't help that my flatmate, Rebecca, had come home from her shift on the wrong side of midnight, dropping a bowl of cereal in the kitchen. She then lost any consideration points she had accrued by swearing like a trooper while clearing it up.

“Some would say you aren’t a person at all.”

I refused to take my best friend’s bait any further, and we entered the briefing room in silence. We were the last to arrive. The remainder of our shift had already assembled. We were complete today which was a rare occasion.

“Good morning, Enfield!” Nam said cheerily, and he went to fist-bump our colleagues.

“Morning," I muttered to no one in particular and sat down at the table.

Nam was the chummy and cheerful one. I exchanged some nods and ‘mornings’ with those of my dozen colleagues that I tolerated more than others, but otherwise, I kept to myself.

Nam gave me a slight kick, leaned over, and whispered, “Hey, have you noticed the Special? Right up your alley, mate.”

Only then did I notice the handsome bloke sitting on one of the chairs on the edge of the room. How could I’ve missed him? I was tired, no doubt. Clean shaven, well-groomed dark hair, and a gentle face made him alluring. His arms showed that he either was doing some sort of sports or was one of those naturally wiry people.

“Lecker," I whispered in German, knowing that Nam would understand that I found the chap very attractive indeed. What an eye candy.

My lustful thoughts were interrupted by the new shift sergeant, Michelle Ward. She entered the room and took her seat at the top of the table.

It isn’t unusual to get a new sergeant or a new inspector at very short notice. I understand why. To climb in police rank, one has to start from the bottom, so each station is a career step. So, to tick the box for having served in the most rural area of London, many come to us. They leave equally fast. Not that my borough was boring. We are rural and busy, but I need to say that now, don’t I?

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen," Michelle began. “As this is only my second day with you, please continue to forgive my mixing up faces and names.” She scanned the faces before her and stopped with me. “Would you tell me your name, please.”

“Leon," I said and earned some snickers from colleagues. “Shoulder number 1233.”

“Ah, nice to meet you, Leon.” The sergeant continued until she stopped at the Special. “And you must be Mike.”

“Yes, ma’am.” The handsome man answered in a melodic voice.

“Welcome. I’ve you down for the whole day. Is that right?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Then my crewing stands," she said and started calling callsigns and names. Mine was one of the last. “Golf-Hotel One-Three-Seven will be Leon and Mike.”

I waved at him, and he nodded back while the sergeant assigned a further call sign. We were updated on the latest developments in our local area and then were left to our own devices.

As officers shuffled from the briefing room, I hung back to wait for Mike.

Specials are volunteers who hold the same police powers as us regulars. Often derisively called Hobby Bobbies, they could be as good as gold or simply indescribably bad to work with. I’ve had experiences of both kinds, but generally, I liked working with Specials. I loved teaching about policing. Who was a better audience than a keen volunteer who can’t escape you for hours on end?

“Hi, I’m Mike.”

Was that shyness? Up close, he was even more handsome than from afar. He was about my height and had clear blue eyes, like me. This shift, I would need to actively try to avoid peeking at my crewmate.

“Leon.” I shook his offered hand.

“Keep focused," Nam said to me from behind as he passed by.

I turned to Mike. “Ignore him. I’m not a morning person, and I just had a couple of days off.”

We walked down the corridor to the Traka cabinet where the vehicle keys are stored. I held up a set. “Sorry, I can’t offer you a nice car today. Only the Transits left.”

“A Ford Transit? Aren’t these usually only for the public order department?”

I was impressed that he knew that. “Correct. How long have you been a Special?”

“Three years. I transferred in from outside the Met.”

I chuckled. “I hope that you don’t expect Buckingham Palace, the tube, and masses of annoying tourists. Can’t offer you any of those here.”

He laughed. “No, I live north of here in Hatfield. This is the Met main station easiest for me to get to.”

“What a coincidence. I live in Hatfield, too. Yep, same for me.” He is cute, I don’t want to know what he does privately. “Are you IP?”

“Yes, Fit for Independent Patrol for over a year.”

“Good. Done a lot?”

“Depends on what you mean. I think I know my way around. The transferee induction course was very easy.”

“Okay, let me see how I can challenge you today. First, let’s start with a station tour.”

I led him downstairs to the Station Duty Office, the reception counter of the station which was open for the public to report issues and make inquiries.

“And here, SDO. Mike, meet one of the longest-serving employees of the station, Natalie. If you want to know where things are or who to talk to if you need anything, she’ll know.”

Natalie got up from her chair.

“Oh, don’t listen to him," she said to Mike and walked over to me to give me a hug. “Good to see you back, my boy.”

“Thanks, Nat.” She was a bedrock of stability in this madhouse.

“Hi," Mike said.

“Good morning, young man. Special, I see. Good, we need capable volunteers. We don’t have that many.”

“How come?” he asked.

“Few of you youngsters know how to talk to people nowadays. They forget to teach about that in your so-called training. Listen to people, Mike. Really listen, even if it costs time!” She went over to a table. “I brought some carrot cake. Want some?”

After a nice chat and a good piece of cake, we said our good-byes and left.

“I haven’t been called young man since I turned thirty.” He shook his head. “And I’ve never had cake at half seven in the morning.”

I hadn’t thought him to be over thirty. A couple of years older than me, he was hot. I really had to think about something else.

I said, “Working in irregular shifts makes absolute time lose meaning. Every day starts at different times. One day it’s seven, then eight, then six, then nine thirty. Annoying. Also, the patterns of the different departments don’t match.”

“Yeah, that was the same in my old force. Any idea why that is?”

“I’ve been told it’s so that the crooks couldn’t plan their activities around shift change. I’ve always thought this flawed because at those times there are double as many officers in the station as normal. Hey, who am I to argue with the higher-ups?”

We went to the custody block. They were busy as usual, and Mike assured me that he’d made arrests, knew the custody booking-in procedures, and that he’d done cell watches. He seemed to know his stuff.

“So, and this is CID.” We entered the large open space office. “We usually don’t have much to do with them. We have here local CID dealing with burglaries and stuff. Over there is division CID who deal with the heavy stuff like murder.”

“Leon is back," someone shouted from the back of the room. Others joined and waved at us, “Hi, Leon!”

Assholes. “No escape," I murmured and left the office.

Mike followed suit. “You seem to be popular.”

“Don’t be fooled. They’re making fun of me. Shall we head out?”

“Always!”

We walked to the car park where there stood three Ford Transit vans in the last corner. I drove our van forward and hopped out. “So, all yours. Do the vehicle checks.”

Again, I was impressed as he checked everything by the book, even the vehicle radio channel.

I put his knowledge to the test. “You know the difference between the vehicle radios and our personal ones?”

“We stay on the main channel for communication with our personal radios, but PNC for the car.”

“Yes, but the main difference is the tracking. A vehicle radio is tracked by Control and they know where we are. The personal ones can get tracked, but only with the duty Superintendent’s permission in emergency situations.”

He vanished in the back of the van. I heard him rummage around before he came back out.

“Sorry, Leon.” Mike caught my eye. “I’m through with the POWDERS checks, but what shall I check here?” He pointed at the public order equipment in the back of the van, shields and long batons.

“It’s great that you question things. Just do a visual check if anything is broken or whether any rubbish is flying around.”

Once we were satisfied that our van was safe, we headed out on patrol. It was not long until we were called up, “Golf-Hotel One-Three-Seven, Sierra X-Ray.”

Without me prompting, Mike answered, “Sierra X-Ray, Golf-Hotel One-Three-Seven, go ahead.”

“Please make your way to Hillsfar Commons. Reports indicate drug dealing going on. Caller reports small groups of people in the park.”

“Any descriptions?” Mike asked.

I would’ve asked that question, too. My estimate of his abilities increased even further.

“None given.”

“Zero Five," Mike gave the code indicating we were making our way there. Turning to me he asked, “And what shall we do about that? Stopcheck everybody walking in that park?”

“Nothing. We drive around and look important.”

He laughed.

The little park called Hillsfar Commons was known as a local drug trading place. I left the van prominently at the entrance. We walked around, and Mike spotted a person disappearing in a bush.

Approaching the shrubbery, I shouted, “Come out, Pete. We saw you.” As there was no reaction, I said, “Just wanna talk.”

“Sod off!” A thick North Yorkshire accent came from the bush.

“What’s going on here? Any people gathering?”

“I ain’t no snitch!”

“Nobody says you were, Pete. Has anybody bothered you?”

“Fuck off already!”

“You’re not hiding because you have an injury you don’t want me to see?” I bent over trying to see the homeless man’s feet under the bush.

“I don’t wana see your face. You’re ugly.”

“My heart bleeds when you say such things to me, Pete. Sure you’re alright?”

“Yeah, nothing a couple millions couldn’t fix.”

“Well, enjoy. We’re off.”

We walked back to our van.

“How would you write that off now?”

“Well," Mike mused, “There were no groups of people. We met one who refused to engage.”

“Yep, please update Control with that. Writing off jobs is an art. You seem to have the knack.”

He updated Control. Back in the van, we buckled up, and I was ready to drive off, when he said, “Bloody junkies.”

“Don’t judge them. That could’ve easily been me or you.”

He seemed surprised at my statement. “What do you mean?”

“Have you ever done any drugs apart from alcohol?” He hesitated, so I continued, “Hey, you’re not confessing to the police here. I’ve done my fair share of weed and E.”

“Yeah, weed, but nothing else. I did confess, though. In the initial recruitment documentation.”

I laughed. “How honest. What I mean is this. When I was twenty, I had a gastroscopy. I had to swallow a not thin pipe with a camera and some instruments to take a sample. I suppose you can imagine that this isn’t pleasant.”

“Yes.”

“Lying on that examination table, the doc took a syringe and injected me with something. I asked what it was, and he replied that it would make the procedure not so uncomfortable for me. Asking when it would take effect, he told me to turn on my side. So, I turned, and turned, and turned... I entered a new world. Everything was unimportant. He forced that pipe into my throat, and it hurt. I didn’t care. It hurt badly. I didn’t care. I felt that I needed to vomit. I didn’t care. I felt embarrassed because he pumped air into my stomach and I constantly had to burp. I didn’t care. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel anything. What I felt just wasn’t in the least important. He could’ve done anything with me.”

“Wow.”

“And now comes the scary bit. The procedure ended and he left. I was lying still on that table, but I usually can’t lie in one position for long. So, all my body told me to turn around, to shift position on that table. I didn’t care. At some point, an alarm went off on my phone. I had arranged to meet a friend after the procedure. What did I know that the doc would send me on a trip? I didn’t care. The phone was persistently bleeping. I can’t describe the effort it took to grab it from my pocket and turn it off. It wasn’t that I hallucinated or anything. It was just like being in a perfect space where nothing mattered. Absolutely nothing.”

“And then?”

“I forced myself to get up, out of that room. The nurse released me, and I had to walk back home. Gosh, that was a walk. Like being in a film. Moving my legs, what effort that was. Every step a struggle. The walk home usually takes five minutes, but that time, I’ve no idea. Finally having arrived home, I went to bed to sleep. And now, the very scary part. When I woke up that evening, I could perfectly recall that feeling.”

“Really?”

“For years, I was able to recall the feeling of bliss. The only reason that I’m not one of those lying on the street is that I didn’t have any real problems. I was in a happy place at that time with a good job that I love and friends. I’ve always had a strong sense of duty and commitment. I pushed the feeling aside. Others did not, and I don’t blame them. Also, I have to get a new examination every three years. The two since then, I’ve always refused the syringe.”

I looked down at my hands, clenching on the steering wheel as a hot flush crept up my neck. I rarely shared that story with close friends, and now here, I was going off about it with a bloke I barely knew. What was wrong with me?

“I’ve never had any experience like that," Mike said after a period of silence, “You see, I come from a so-called good old lower middle class family from the home counties. Visible drugs are a problem for cities. The only time I’ve come into contact with homeless people or drug addicts is through the police. Thank you for sharing.”

“Remember one thing: whatever it is, it happens in the so-called best families.”

I started off again, joining the flow of traffic through our area.

A couple of minutes later, I had an idea how to make it more interesting for him. “Have you done much PNC work?”

“You mean vehicle checks? Not really. I was with our inner city neighborhood team. Not much chance for that. You want to stop cars in a van?”

“Police are police, van or car. If they drive off, they’ll drive off. I’m not going to start a pursuit driving this thing. It handles like a pregnant whale. Anyway, you’ve just been promoted to Enfield’s motorists’ official nightmare. Get going!”

He used the vehicle radio to make checks on a dozen cars and was pretty good at it. “They’re all so lawful.” Mike looked crestfallen over the fact he hadn’t yet found anything irregular.

But as with anything, if you dig long enough, you’ll find something. We conducted several stop checks, and Mike was able to issue some tickets. To complete the paperwork for those tickets, we headed back to the station.

Offices everywhere were busy weekday mornings. This was no different for the police.
The report writing room was crowded but we found a desk. Once settled, I showed Mike the systems and how to record his tickets.

“How often do you give tickets?” Mike asked.

“Let me ask a counter question.” He was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable. I loved teaching policing, especially to a student like him. “What’s a ticket in law? When they accept a ticket, what does that mean?”

“It’s the same as pleading guilty at court."

“Yes, in lieu of going to court, they accept guilt and get a fixed punishment. However, they can contest a ticket at any time. What happens then?”

“It would need to go to court.”

“Yes, what do I need to have to win a court case?” I looked at him.

“Evidence. Like our bodycam footage for the bloke who jumped the red light.”

“Yes, exactly! So, I only issue tickets if I’ve got the necessary evidence to back it up in court. If you don’t, then it would come to their word against yours, a contest which you’ll lose. So, if you’ve got evidence, go for it.”

“Apply your discretion," Richard, one of my colleagues, chimed in from the desk opposite.

“Usually, I go for the ticket.”

“Fascist," Richard said.

“Who do you give your tickets to, Rich? Those who fail the ‘attitude test’? And who won’t get your tickets? The beautiful brunette? And what do you get for not issuing a ticket? BJ or HJ? Where’s the line?”

“Fuck you, Leon," he said.

I gave him the finger.

We worked in silence till Richard was called up to attend a job, a neighborhood dispute. He got up, and I asked, “You want backup?”

He nodded, and I looked at Mike who told Control that we were backing up. We went to our respective vehicles.

“What was that exchange earlier?” Mike asked as we pulled on seat belts.

“There’s always someone you don’t get along with. Don’t you have that at work?”

“Sure. There’s this girl who I really despise. Well, now, we go with Rich like nothing happened.”

“Rich and I will never be friends, but out here, he’ll have my back, and I’ll have his. There’s no question about that. We stick together. Also, when we get there, he’s the boss. We’ll do what he wants us to do, and so would he if he came to one of our jobs.”

He nodded acknowledgment.

“There’s only one limit to this.” I waited for Mike to look at me. “Never lie for anybody! When you have to write a statement or give an account, you will report the truth. Clear?”

“Sure.”

“I mean it," I pressed. “What each of us does is our own responsibility. Always state what you believe to have witnessed.”

“Have you ever covered for anyone?”

Wow. “You don’t take any prisoners, do you?”

“Nope. You’re all high and mighty here, so tell.”

I sighed before I answered. “As I said, I’ve never lied, but I haven’t reported either.”

Mike looked at me with a raised eyebrow. When I didn’t elaborate his tone was condescending when he said, “You must’ve had your reasons.”

Suddenly, I felt very much on the spot. I didn’t want him to think bad of me and explained, “We arrested somebody who resisted heavily. My crewmate had the bloke on the ground and handcuffed him, believing the detainee to be secured. However, the bloke was able to bite him. So, my crewmate kicked him square in the stomach. Full force with a heavy boot. The prisoner was quiet after that.”

“I can imagine.”

“There was no injury. The bloke walked fine after. If he’d complained, I would’ve told the truth about what I’d seen, but I didn’t report it. The little shit got what he deserved. Biting or spitting, that makes it personal.”

“Why is that more personal than drawing a knife on you?”

“Because they can carry diseases. A knife wound can heal, whereas Hep C or HIV will stay with you for the rest of your life.”

When we arrived at Richard’s job, Mike reported us as at scene and wanted to get out. “Wait. We’ll just stand outside by the van and look haughty and annoyed. As if you were bored.”

Which was what we did. Richard dealt with the job while we stood in the background looking angry and ready for a fight.

After Richard had released us, we climbed back into the van.

“You see, giving the right impression is everything.”

“Standing around and looking important as well as driving around and looking important?”

“Exactly!” I laughed. “So, you’re listening.”

“Oh, yes! I’m learning lots.”

They say that having a crewmate was like being married. Being forced to be together in the same car for hours on end, there wasn’t much choice but to talk. It was a normal workday, and it was fairly quiet. So, we talked. Mike was very easygoing and very funny. I got the impression that he was open and honest, and what I saw, I liked. A lot. An awful lot.

Being close to him for those twelve long hours had been taxing for me. I’d enjoyed that day far too much. Mike was a very capable, enjoyable crewmate, and eye candy that I could barely keep my eyes off. Once I’d bid him goodbye, I made my way to the Sergeant’s office to ask Sergeant Ward to never crew me up with him again.

Going to her was an unusual step for me to take. Generally, I tried to avoid making special requests of any kind. She sat in her small open-door office and listened calmly to me before answering.

“Why, Leon? Is he a danger? Is he not fit to be crewed with a regular?”

“No, no," I replied quickly. “It isn’t that at all. He’s really good. An excellent police officer and a superb crewmate.”

There, I’d said it. I usually didn’t praise. Luckily, she didn’t know that, either. I hesitated because I didn’t really know how to explain to my new line manager that I was sexually attracted to a Special without actually saying so.

My moral support appeared in the form of Nam. One glance from me, and I was sure that he knew why I was seeing our boss. He nodded at me encouragingly.

“Simply put, I don’t want to work with Mike, because I fancy him, Sarge.”

She leaned forward. “I’d expected a lot now, but not that. Thank you for telling me, Leon.”

I could hear Nam whisper from just behind me, “Own it, mate.”

He was right. So, I asked, “How much have you heard?”

“About you? Not much yet. Why?” She asked.

“Well, Leon is only my nickname.”

“Sorry, I thought that Leon was your middle name. In Command And Control, you come up as Artois, Jamie L.”

“No, that’s Lewis. I’m sure that you’ll be told soon anyway, so better that you hear it from me. I had a bad breakup with a guy who was into the shooter game Resident Evil 4 Remake with a hero character named Leon Scott Kennedy. Turns out, I look exactly like that game character. Partly naturally, partly because my partner groomed me to be. One night, he wanted me to become his manifested pixel fantasy.”

I took out my private phone and navigated to that picture compilation on Instagram that Nam had made from pictures of me in the same poses as said character in a couple of screenshots from the game. I showed it to her.

Thinking about it still hurt. Nam had forced me to make this compilation after the breakup. To find some sort of explanation that that relationship had been doomed and that there had been nothing that I could’ve done differently.

She studied the pictures. “Same blond curtains, similar features, and equally brawny. Uncanny resemblance. It looks like you stepped out of or into that game, either way. Now, I’m really sorry for calling you Leon.”

“No worries. You can keep doing that. When I told Nam the whole story in a bit more detail, we were downstairs in the courtyard and were overheard.” Nam clapped me on my back as encouragement. “From a corner came a comment, ‘Oh, that’s so hilarious, Leon.’ So, I became prime material in the rumor mill. Everyone started calling me Leon.”

“Better than ‘Stella’," Nam said, referring to my previous nickname derived from my surname and a beer I didn’t like. “And juicier," he said and winked.

“You seem to take all this very calmly," she said to me with genuine concern. “If that happened to me, let alone it going round at work, I wouldn’t know how I’d react.”

“He’s schmerzfrei," Nam stated resolutely.

“I beg your pardon?”

Thanks, Nam. “It’s German and means literally that I’m free of any pain but in context means that I don’t care much. I’ve been called that by a German friend because it seems that nothing can faze me.”

Nam explained, “He always seems calm, stoic even, although he might be boiling on the inside.”

“Colleagues can be cruel. Maybe they thought that it wouldn’t have any effect on me because I always react so stoically. Maybe they just didn’t think at all which is probably more likely.” Enough complaining. “Anyway, coming back to my request.”

“No worries, Leon, ah, Jamie," she said. “I won’t crew you with Mike again.”

“Thank you, ma'am.”

Nam and I left the sergeant’s office and headed upstairs to the locker room.

“Is it bad?” Nam asked.

He was too observant. “What?”

“Mike-boy turning up today. Is your dry spell in the boyfriend slash hookup department finally over?”

“You’ve just been with me when I asked to not meet him again, so what do you think?”

“So, you keep jerking off twice a day, once before shift and once after?”

“Sod off!” I exclaimed, although he was right.

Sometimes, I wondered whether this man was indeed my best friend or the universe's form of exercising a punishment on me. For what transgression, I hadn’t yet been able to figure out. However, I couldn’t wish for a better friend. His support had gotten me through some of the worst parts of my life, the grapevine was just the latest. ‘You must own it’ he’d said, and he’d been right. Again. Like so often. Thanks to him, I did own it in the end.

Check out Leon Scott Kennedy in Resident Evil 4’s 2023 Remake at https://www.residentevil.com/re4/en-us/

All policing incidents mentioned in the story I have either handled myself, or I was witness to them. A lot of the police incident dialogue is genuine. Details are changed of course, and street and village names are made up to not resemble any existing place. However, I have not served in the London Metropolitan Police, and all procedures and descriptions are based on my own force. So, there are deviations (the Met does everything different). If you recognize any, please let me know.

Copyright © 2024 lawfulneutralmage; All Rights Reserved.
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A very special thank you to my editor @Mikiesboy and beta reader @CassieQ. Their support and advice has been invaluable.
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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