Memories of a Street Rat - 6. Not All Cops Are Bad
The shade from the big trees I was sitting under felt good and gave some relieve from the early June heat. The cool grass in front of the Science Museum of Virginia added to the comfort of the day. I’d splurged since I’d had a few decent paying tricks lately and had gotten a sandwich from Sally Bell’s kitchen; one of the women there always tried to sneak a cupcake into my bag. I wasn’t planning on working for the afternoon and I wanted to have some time away from the people that usually looked for kids like me. I really wished I could have gone into the museum, but no matter how many tricks I did, spending $15 on entertainment just seemed like a waste of money that I might need for food or clothes later. My plans for the next hour or two were to just sit in the shade, try to ignore people and see if I could do a decent sketch of the museum. If that didn’t work, I had some book that I’d found in the trash that I could read or even work on one of the fantasy stories I was writing in my notebook.
A police car had parked in the circle for the museum and he walked over to Sally Bell’s before coming back a while later with one of their box lunches. The officer leaned on his car as he ate; I guess even the police need some time to relax though I wished he’d have found someplace well away from me. There was a trash can about half way between where I was sitting and his car. I was doing my best to ignore the fact that he was there; trying to not catch the attention of a cop. When he tossed his stuff in the trash can, he walked over where I was sitting and asked me, “Shouldn’t you be in school now?”
Since it was the beginning of June, I knew schools should be out. I gave him my best annoyed teen look, “Summer vacation. School’s out.”
He seemed to take a step closer as though he were appraising me. I felt a little annoyed at him invading my space and my quiet time. I mean, I’d found a spot where no one was around to bother me and he come over. I started to think I should have gone to one of my quiet hiding places along the James River, but I liked this spot; I could watch people and just be a teenager instead of someone’s rental toy.
“Nice to see someone just sitting out enjoying the day.”
I tried to ignore him and continued working on my sketch.
“That’s a pretty good drawing of the museum. Have you been in there yet? I hear it’s got a lot of fun stuff in there.”
“Thanks and no, I haven’t. It’s too expensive to go in that place.”
“Yeah, seems like the price is going up on everything.”
I kept hoping that he would get the hint that I didn’t want to talk and leave, but he just kept trying to make small talk.
“Looks like you’re a pretty talented guy,” he said as he looked over my sketch again.
That seemed to be a favorite for some of the cops to use as an opening when they hit on me the first time. I was getting pissed that he wasn’t leaving and I didn’t feel like playing the usual games with another cop. I wasn’t in one of the usual areas where I worked or where cops usually picked me up so I shouldn’t be giving off any vibes to say, ‘Hey look, I’m a hustler’; hell, maybe I had some flashing neon sign over my head that only guys like him could see. I was just sitting in front of a museum and felt like this guy was cruising me; though I had been cruised by a cop of front of a cathedral, and altar boys and staff inside the cathedral so location obviously doesn’t matter. After a few more comments that could have been taken as innocent or suggestively probing to see if I was available for some fun, I’d finally had enough of the games I thought he was playing.
I glared up at him as he smiled down at me in a friendly way, “Look, if you’re wanting to fuck me or have me suck your dick, just come out and say it like the other cops do so we can either get on with it or I can get back to drawing. And it’s a little soon for one of you guys to be hassling me since I just paid my dues two nights ago. You’d think you guys could work out a fucking schedule and leave me alone for a few fuckin days at least. What is it with you fuckin pervs always using your badge to get up in my ass?”
“W-what? No, no, no… Wait, you thought? No, no, I wasn’t trying to get you to… I’m not hitting on you.” He stammered on for a bit before he finally seemed to regain control of his thoughts, “What do you mean, ‘like the other cops do’?” He knelt down next to me.
I looked at him realizing that I’d misinterpreted his comments and was quickly trying to figure out how to get out of this situation without getting arrested.
“Nothing. Obviously just a misunderstanding.”
“No, you said if I wanted you to fuck you or have you blow me to just come out and say it like the other cops do. And what was that about paying your dues two nights ago.”
I was slowly putting my sketch book back inside my backpack in case I needed to try and run. I didn’t know what my odds were of getting away since he looked young and in good shape, but I wanted to be ready and I knew I was fairly fast.
“Like I said, it’s obviously a misunderstanding. Some of the things you said could be taken as suggestive.”
“What did I say that was suggestive?”
I just glared at him with the typical teenager look of ‘really?’ as he continued to kneel next to me.
He seemed to be going over what he had said to me, “Okay, I don’t really see it, but I suppose if someone had already been subjected to suggestive talk, they could take it that way. Are you saying other cops have had sex with you? What are you, fourteen?”
“I’m not saying anything else. I was pissed and I misspoke. I’m sorry. I should probably be going.”
“No, you implied other cops are gotten you to blow them and done more. Talk to me. Guys like me are supposed to be here to help people.”
“Yeah, never gotten much help from guys dressed like you and don’t really expect to now. Won’t do any good to talk and nothing will change. I’m sorry I thought you were hitting on me and I’m sorry I lost my tempter and said what I did.”
“Come on here kid. You’ve gotta give me something to justify what you said.”
“I mean no disrespect, Sir, but are you that much of a rookie to think that some cops don’t use their badge to get or take what they want?”
“Dude… Are you really saying that cops on the Richmond force have used their badge to force you to have sex with them?”
“Dude? Really? I’ve said too much and I’m not saying anything else. This conversation is over unless you can think of something that you want to try and arrest me for so you can hold me.”
“Look, I’m not going to arrest you for anything. I’m just trying to figure out who’s done what to you that you have such a low opinion of my job.” He was silent for a few minutes. “Do your parent’s know?”
I looked at him like he’s sprouted antennas on his head, “Dude, the rookie green is showing through again. Can I go now?”
“Yeah, you can go. I’m on day shift this month and I usually grab lunch on Mondays at Sally’s. If you happen to be around here, maybe we can talk again.”
I stood to leave. As I was walking off I looked over my shoulder, “That could be taken as another suggestive comment and trying to arrange a hookup.”
He just looked flustered as he walked back to his patrol car.
The next Monday I walked back over to the Science Museum and sat down in the shade again. I’m really not sure why I went back, but I did. I pulled out my notebook and was writing a story to go along with one of my drawings. Around the same time as last week, a cop car pulled up and parked. As the officer got out, he waved to me, “Wasn’t sure if I’d see you again.”
“I wasn’t sure I’d come back either. I’m still not sure why I’m here, but I didn’t have anything else to do and it’s nice here.”
“Have you had lunch yet?”
“I’ve got some stuff to snack on.”
“Come on. I’ll get you something at Sally’s”
“You don’t have to.”
“I know I don’t have to. I’m offering though and it would be rude to decline.”
We walked over to the cafe and placed our orders. He got one of the box lunches again and I just got a sandwich; they were big enough that I’d be able to have half of it for dinner. We walked back over to the grassy area and sat down in the shade.
“I’m Kyle,” he said as he held his hand out to me. I looked at it for a moment before shaking it. When it seemed obvious that I wasn’t going to give my name he gave a friendly smile, “So what should I call you?”
“People usually call me what they want.”
“Stubborn seems kind of rude even if it appropriately fits and you don’t like being called Dude. I guess we can get by without a name for now.”
We ate in relative silence and when we’d finished we stuffed all the trash into his lunch box. He seemed to take notice of me putting half my sandwich into my backpack before I got up and took our trash to the garbage bin before returning to sit down with him.
“I’ve given some thought to our last conversation.”
“That means either more questions or you’re looking for another way to spend the remaining forty minutes of your meal break. Something tells me its more questions.”
“Maybe not questions, but I’m just going to think out loud here for a bit. I know not all cops are good, but this is my profession and I love it. This is what I dreamed of being when I was your age. Being able to help people.” He took a deep breath and was more focused on the trees than he was on me. “The way you snapped at me wasn’t just some random outburst from an annoying teenager, it was because you really thought I was hitting on you when you probably just wanted to be left alone, which means that other cops have done the same and followed through.”
I just looked at him with a neutral and guarded expression. I wasn’t going to give anything up I didn’t have to.
“I’m going to take your silence as confirmation. Hitting on some kid that could go home and tell their parents would be stupid, not that every cop is smart. One accusation by a mad parent and our career is pretty much over which makes me think that parents aren’t in the mix here or they don’t care.”
I still remained silent.
“If my train of thought is correct and there are no parents in the picture, then that would mean either couch surfing, living with someone other than a parent or streets.” He seemed to be looking at my eyes for confirmation of something. “You mentioned paying your dues and I know some cops have joked and bragged about hookers paying their dues not to get run in.” He continued to stare at me, not in a condescending way, but just appraising. “Now, if some cops are willing to pick up a hooker and get favors like you originally thought I was looking for, it wouldn’t be a far stretch for some to target guys hustling on the streets for the same thing, especially young ones that probably have no one to tell.”
“How long before they make you detective, Mr. Tracy?”
“Cute reference, no being a brat though even if sarcasm is a teenager’s primary language.” He grinned at me briefly. “I actually prefer being a beat cop since I get to work with the public more.” He seemed to be gathering his thoughts as he leaned back on one arm with his legs out in front of him. “You’d said you had paid your dues two days before our first meeting last week, so a week ago Saturday, some officer ran across you and took you someplace.”
“Can I ask you something without it being taken that I’m being rude or a brat?”
“Go ahead. If half of what I’m thinking is correct, you probably have reason to be rude to the police.”
“Why do you care?”
“It’s my job to care,” he said almost defensively.
“Not really. It’s your job to police the city and stop crime. Why care about what happens to me? It’s not like you know me or can change it. You can’t care about every person in the city or you’ll burn out fast.”
“If what you implied is true, some of the cops here are committing a crime; sex with a minor is a crime. I may not be able to care about the whole city, but sometimes if you show you care about one person, maybe you can make a difference in someone’s life. I don’t know what your situation is, but if you’re hustling to survive, it can’t be good.”
“It’s not all that bad. I’m pretty good at taking care of myself.”
“Maybe so, but you shouldn’t be doing it alone. Foster care is an option if going home isn’t.”
“Oh, Hell No! I don’t care if the stories I’ve heard are BS or not. I am not going into that system. Taken in by someone that just wants the government check. Good chance of getting raped or abused by the caring foster parent while social workers forget to check in, pimped out to guys worse than I already meet. I’ll take my chances on the street and first attempt at anyone trying to force me into the system and I’ll just work my way to another city and start over again.”
“I’m not going to do anything to make you run off. It’s time for me to get back to work. If you’re not doing anything, I’m off work on Friday and I’m going to stop by here for lunch. I’d enjoy the company if you’re around.”
“Only thing I have planned is swimming and Tie Chi class at the Y in the afternoon.”
He looked at me like I was pulling his leg.
“Since I can’t find any place cheap to practice Karate, it’s the closest thing I can do.”
“Maybe we can work something out. I’m always looking for a good sparring partner.”
“We’ll have to see if you’re up to my level, but I guess I could come down to your level if needed. Stay safe Kyle.”
“You too! And meet me here on Friday.”
A couple minutes before 11:30 a Ford truck pulled into the parking lot and parked where the police car usually did. Kyle got out and walked over to me.
“You look different out of uniform.”
“What? I look like a human now?”
“No, you just look like a normal guy.”
“Oh, I don’t look human? Is that a good thing or bad thing to look normal?”
“Jury’s still out on that, but if you were after something, you’d have done it by now most likely unless you’re the type that goes in for mind games before closing the deal.”
“How about we get lunch at City Diner? If at any point you think I’m not being on the level with you, you can walk away with no questions asked.”
I shrugged my shoulders. “I’ve walked by, but had never been inside. Is the food cheap?”
“I’m buying and I want to make sure you get a good meal.”
“You bought me lunch on Monday. It doesn’t feel right you doing it again.”
“Hop in. I’ll drive us down.”
We talked over lunch. He told me about growing up wanting to be a cop and his time in the police academy. I let him know I was sixteen and not fourteen like he thought. I opened up a little about how I got kicked out when my parents found out I’m gay. I didn’t tell him I’d come from another city or anything about my parents beyond I’d been kicked out and I wouldn’t tell him where I was sleeping; if he wanted to think I was couch surfing, I was fine with that. I told a few things I’d done, like going horseback riding with Dan and Andrew, but didn’t give much information about the guys besides them originally trying to get me to stay with them.
“They sound like great guys. You made it clear you didn’t want to go into the foster system, so why didn’t you stay with them if they wanted to help you so much?”
“They are great guys. I’m just not willing to trust anyone and I don’t know them that well. I’m always waiting for the disappointment that follows any happiness. If I don’t trust, I can’t get hurt. I figure it will eventually happen with you or you’ll get fed up of dealing with me; that or this is all a mind game before you go for the demands.”
“That’s kind of a sad way to live, but I guess I get it. Did they do anything to break your trust?”
“They didn’t, but there was a party on New Year’s Eve at their house and one of their friends that was there knew me. He got drunk, thought I was the entertainment. It was a safe place before that night, but I just don’t feel comfortable there anymore even though they didn’t know and never laid a hand on me. Can’t be in that house without thinking about their friend and I’m not willing to make them choose a friend over someone like me.” I took a bite of my sandwich. “I know I’m suspicious of everyone’s motives, so not that I don’t appreciate having someone to talk to and the food is good; really, why the interest in me? I’m a ghost that doesn’t matter to anyone.”
He sipped on his ice tea as he regarded me and considered how he’d respond. “You remind me of someone I use to know. And you’re still a kid even if you are a teenager. You should matter to someone.”
“So I’m your charity case for the month?”
“No. After what you said that first day, I wanted to try and get to know you. I don’t know if I can help and I don’t know if you’d let me help.” He was silent for a moment. “With your mistrust of people, I’m surprised you shared what you have with me.”
I pointed to one of the security cameras, “Between the cameras here and the ones at Sally Bells, I figure there’s video of you and me together enough in the last week that if you caused problems for me or tried to bust me for suspicion of hustling I could point to the tapes and say you were one of my clients.”
He got a worried look on his face.
“You’ve been nice to me and I’m not going to do anything. I just have to look at things for my safety and make sure my ass is convered.”
We finished the rest of our lunch in silence.
Once we were outside, I told him, “Thanks for lunch. It was fun. Slightly weird, but fun.”
“You’re welcome.” He smiled at me, “What do you mean weird?”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. Just not use to someone putting in the effort without them expecting to get something in return, especially a cop.”
“You really don’t trust cops do you?”
“Cops have never given me a reason to trust them; besides, I don’t trust people. I stay safer that way.”
“I suppose you do.” He was silent for a moment. “Would you like a lift to the Y?”
“If you want. I can walk or take the bus otherwise. Downtown isn’t that far.”
“Get in,” he told me as he gave me a playful shove towards his truck.
He parked as close to the “Y” as he could and I didn’t expect him to get out. He grabbed a small duffle bag. I kind of looked at him with my arms crossed since the “Y” was my place for getting away from everyone; even if I did occasionally have guys there propositioning me.
“I’ll leave if you want, but I thought about going for a swim and maybe checking out the Tie Chi class you mentioned.” He gave me an innocent look like he really wanted to come along, “It’s up to you. I don’t want to seem pushy.”
I guess I sighed a bit when I replied, “Come on. You were pushy from the moment you said Hi.”
He started laughing, “Stubborn brat.”
When we got to the front desk, it was Jason, one of the guys I knew well that was working. “Heya Wolfie. How you doing?”
I growled a little since I’d tried to avoid letting Kyle know my name, “I’m fine. Umm… Can I check in a guest today?”
He leaned in trying to be quiet, “You promised not to bring work here with you.”
“No, no… It’s not…”
Kyle saved me from anything else by flashing his badge and saying, “I just thought I’d go swimming with my friend and check out the Tie Chi class he goes to. If it’s a problem, I can take off.”
“No problem at all officer. Anyone from the Department is always welcome at the Y.”
Jason, was the one that originally gave me my membership. I looked at him and said, “I’ll explain later, but it’s definitely not work.”
As we were passing the desk, he called me back over, “One of the washers is free if you want to throw your stuff in it while you’re in class.”
“Thank you. I was going to the laundry mat tonight or tomorrow.”
“Go change and put your stuff in. I’ll put it in the dryer when it’s done.”
Kyle and I walked to the locker room and he followed me to the same row.
I narrowed my eyes at him a little, “You change on the next row or I’m going to have to start charging.”
He kind of grinned at me one of those gentle smiles and reached into his duffle bag and pulled out a blue t-shirt and gray shorts and tossed them to me, “Thought you maybe you could use these.”
When I looked at them, they each had a Richmond Police badge printed on them. I also noticed a swim suit was in with the shorts and held it up. It was a speedo style also with the police badge on the hip. I raised my eyebrow at him as I looked at the small suit.
“Oh, shit. I wasn’t sure about giving you those yet. It’s all they had from the department swim team.”
“Thank you. Now got over there and let me change.”
He walked around to the next row of lockers and quickly changed, putting his stuff in an available locker. By the time he was done, I’d changed into the clothes he’d given me and they fit nicely. His were the reverse colors of mine with blue shorts and gray t-shirt.
I was just putting my shoes on and told him, “I’ll be back in a second. I need to dump my clothes in the washer before we go into class.” A couple minutes later, I was back and put my backpack in a locker.
Like always in class, I stayed in the back since I wasn’t an actual paying student. Kyle stayed next to me and did pretty good for what I figured was his first time. After class, we went back to the locker room and changed into our swimming gear and headed to the pool. I had to admit that I liked the way the speedo looked on me and Kyle didn’t look bad in what he had on. I teased him later about sizing me up enough to pick out the correct size.
I dipped my goggles into the water before putting them on my head. There were several free lanes in the pool I picked the one I wanted and stepped onto the starting block, pulling the goggles over my eyes. Kyle watched me as he moved to get into the pool. I crouched down and took my start position, focused on the far end of the pool and dove in; gliding beneath the surface was one of my favorite feelings. I traveled a good distance before breaking the surface and beginning my strokes. Being in the water felt good. Here, there were no problems to think about; all that mattered was my stroke and breathing. Reach the end of the pool I flip around, kick off and head back the other direction. Even knowing that Kyle was near, this was my own world while I was swimming laps.
After watching me for a while, Kyle began to swim his own laps.
After getting my usual routine done, Kyle and I hung out for a while in the other pool and just relaxed for a while.
“You’re good. The way you dive off the block, your strokes as you go… Hell, I have to look where I’m going so I stay in the lane.”
“I use to be on the swim team at my old high school. I like being in the water. It blocks out everything else.”
“Why don’t you join one of the teams here?”
“Too many questions that I can’t answer. Parental permission required.”
“I’m sorry. Even with everything you’ve told me so far, I know there’s a lot you’re not going to tell me. Hopefully someday I can earn enough of your trust that you will; in the mean time… Wolfie?”
“I can’t make any promises.” I fell silent for a few minutes. “I was kind of pissed at you when you kept showing up at the museum, even though I went there knowing you said you’d be back. Think I wanted to figure out if you were for real or planning mind games before demanding sex from me. I was also pissed at you for coming here today, but it was fun. My name is Wolf, but a few of my friends call me Wolfie.”
“I’m glad you were able to have fun and thanks for sharing your name with me. I figured if you showed up when I said I’d be there, I’d see what I could do. I know you don’t trust me and given that other cops have abused their power I don’t blame you.” He got a slight twinkle in his eye as he looked at me, “I suppose I’d get in trouble if I called you Pup, wouldn’t I?”
I just glared at him.
“I’ll take that as a yes, so I’ll just stick to Wolf.”
“You can call me Wolfie.”
He looked at me with surprise in his eyes before he broke into a smile, “Thank you.”
“Maybe I should get one of those police shirts with your badge on it saying ‘property of’. Wonder if that would get some of the others to leave me alone. They’d probably just want you to share me. How about with the Chief’s badge number on it?”
He laughed at that, “If you wear one with my badge on it, then I would have to call you Pup.”
After another short silence, I had to ask something. “Who was the guy that you said I reminded you of?” I looked away for a moment before adding, “You don’t have to tell me, I’m just curious.”
Kyle looked like he was staring off at some distant memory and I wasn’t sure if he would actually tell me. His eyes finally refocused on me, “He was my first boyfriend. He came out to his parents and they kicked him out like yours did. He was fourteen when it happened. He ran away and I never saw him after that; don’t know if he’s alive or dead.” He took a few deep breaths before continuing, “When my parents found out that my best friend was gay, they asked if I knew. I lied and told them I didn’t and they were glad that he was no longer around me so that he couldn’t try to turn me gay. I never came out to them and eventually moved away so that I could become a cop here.” He looked at me for a little while and if it wasn’t for the water from the pool, maybe there was a tear in his eye. “I know you’re not him, but as a cop, maybe I can do something to help others that went through what he did; what you are. I know I can’t help every kid that has gotten kicked out, and if nothing else, I can try to be a friend and do what I can, do what someone like you will allow me to do.”
Kyle learned that I had my ups and downs. Sometimes I would disappear for a month or two before showing up again. It always worried him when I disappeared, but he accepted it would happen. I didn’t tell him it was usually to heal after an abusive trick. We’d meet up and talk from time to time and he would try to make sure I was somewhat safe; usually taking me someplace so he knew I’d had a good meal. He understood my mistrust of people and the police, but was thankful for what trust I could give him. He tried to get me to give him the badge number or at least a cruiser number for the guys that would knock me around or extort sex for not arresting me, but I didn’t want him to get in the middle of that. He had given me his cell number and home address early on and said if I ever needed anything, if I was in trouble, whatever it was to call or come over. During winter, he regularly told me that if I needed a place to stay, there was always a spare bed for me at his apartment. I didn’t think it would be good for his career if anyone found out a minor was staying at his apartment, so I made that an option of last resort; he didn’t like it, but understood.
Kyle became someone very important to me over that time. He patiently worked on me like you work with a wild wolf and got me to where I would come up to his hand without biting him or without running off. He really wanted to try and force me off the streets, but he also knew that would only chase me off and I’d never trust him again. He’d also talked about trying to work out a way to take me in with him as my guardian. A part of me wanted to, but was scared of dealing with Child Protective Service to try and make it happen and I wouldn’t do it under the radar since he could get in serious trouble.
He was just as happy as Dan and Andrew were that I had gotten my GED. After I turned 18 and moved into my apartment, he came over and we sometimes talked for hours. I eventually told him there were several times that I’d wanted to have sex with him, but would have never asked since I was underage at the time. He said his answer would have been no and always insisted that it was only because of my age and wasn’t because he didn’t find me attractive, adding that he’d had lots of fantasies of trying to rock my world and show me how things could be. He was interested in more than sex and knew that was something I wasn’t ready for at that point. He also knew I viewed sex as work and something to barter with, since we had talked about that a lot.
In all that time, the only thing that ever happened with him is that I spent a few nights with him, sleeping in shorts, with his arms wrapped protectively around me following the last time I attempted suicide just before I turned twenty. He ended up meeting the guys because of that as all three took turns keeping an eye on me while I recovered.
He became friends with Dan and Andrew and the four of us went out several times or just spent a quiet evening at their house talking over dinner or at his apartment. I got Kyle to go riding with me at the stable a few times. Riding a horse was never as effortless for him as it is for me, but he still enjoyed it. We also continued to go swimming when I had time between work and college.
We’ve kept in touch since I moved away from Richmond and he jokes that I’m now the same age he was when we met. His last email to me was to let me know that he’d gotten a job with a department near me and would be moving here soon. I told him I’ve still got the speedos and I can’t wait to go swimming with him again. He still occasionally calls me Pup and he’s the only one that I won’t bite if they try it; though I do remind him that I’m very adept at securing someone in cuffs if he calls me Pup to my face. I’ve missed that pushy cop that eventually became my friend and it will be good to have him as an active part of my life again.
Are all cops bad? No they aren’t and one has worked for years to keep reminding me that most of them are good people that just want to help those in need.
You probably have a crazy and hectic schedule and find it hard to keep up with everything going on. We get it, because we feel it too. Signing up here is a great way to keep in touch and find something relaxing to read when you get a few moments to spare.
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now