Sit down here, Timmy, and let grampa tell you a story. It's all about who you can trust in this world and who you can't. It's all about second chances and hoping like hell you didn't make the wrong choice.
About two years ago I was out working the floor in the Adseg unit with a brand new officer. We were serving dinner and I didn't know this guy from Adam, but he seemed willing to work and take direction so I went along with it. We can always use another pair of hands, even if they are inexperienced.
This new officer (let's call him "Hoppy") and I were serving dinner in C-wing. Things were going along fine until one of the knuckleheads sticks his arm out of the chuckhole of his cell door and refuses to take it out. I pull my pepper spray and tell him "Take your arm out of my chuckhole right now, or I will spray you." He refuses. I give him the order again and he refuses again so I hosed him down. I tell him again to remove his arm and still he refuses. So I crouch down and readjust my aim and get him full in the face with the spray.
While all of this is going on, I'm assuming that Hoppy is right behind me. That was where he was when it started. So I just assumed.....
After the second spraying, I'm standing there wreathed in a cloud of pepper spray myself and it's starting to get to me a little. I hear this coughing/strangling sound and I look off to my right and Vinnie is standing there, gagging on the spray. Then I look behind me and Hoppy is nowhere to be seen.
I didn't know what had happened, having been focused on the knucklehead at the time. Since said knucklehead was still technically in his cell and not really an iminent danger, I waved Vinnie back out of the cloud. There was not really any point in getting anyone else all stinky.
So knucklehead pulls his arm back in so he can wash his face off and I close the chuckhole and the thing is done.
Or so I thought.
But when I get back out of the wing, MizP (our bubble officer that night) tells me that she watched the whole thing go down and as soon as my pepper spray clear the case, Hoppy turned and ran. All the way out of the house. She sent Vinnie in there in case I needed help.
It took a few minutes for that to sink in. I went into the office to wash my face and hands off and rinse the red fog off of my glasses (man, that stuff stings!).
About the time I got the best of it rinsed off, what MizP said hit my brain and I started to get pissed off. The little s.o.b. burned out on me when I might have needed some serious help. It turned out I didn't, but that's neither here nor there. He ran away before anything even happened!
Then I started to get really pissed.
Fortunately, they had pulled him out of the house and sent him up to central to get his butt chewed on by the captain. I think they did that to keep him away from me, or visa versa. And that was probably a good thing. He didn't come back the rest of the night.
I haven't had to work directly with him since then. Which is good, because I don't trust him at all. It's been almost two years since that night. Maybe he's changed. I don't know. But I still don't trust him.
So last night Chuck calls out sick. I figured he would, because he was feeling pretty poorly the night before. And the next thing I know, Hoppy is coming through the door. They sent him to be Chucks replacement. Snap!
I voiced my displeasure quietly to the Sarge. He understood and told me to do the best I could. Everyone else seemed to be holding their breath waiting to see if I was going to do anything.
Surprisingly, I behaved myself. I never mentioned the past event. I stayed as far away from him as I could and when we had to do some rec together, I kept my mouth in check. I spoke as little as possible and got done as fast as possible.
And I about wore my eyeballs out watching all sides for trouble. Because I knew that if anything went down, I could not count on him to be there. That was kind of nerve wracking.
The rest of my crew.... I know where they stand. BG, Chuck, Vinnie, GM and Big M.... I know they got my back and I have theirs. We've been there and done that. We've smelled the smoke and seen the elephant together. I trust them with my life every day. And they know that I will be there when it starts getting flaky.
But Hoppy..... I just don't know about him. It's murder not being able to trust someone like that. Most of the lieutenants know about our past and tried to never put him and me together. But the one we have now just does thing alphabetically and doesn't use any common sense.
I survived the night and nothing happened. But I was uneasy in my soul all night long.
That makes for a long shift.
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