Fiction: Insomnia

I couldn't sleep.

The echo of the gunshots was still ringing in my ears, two years later. The smell of the powder, stuck in your nostrils, like when you've been playing poker all night with the boys. That deep combo of cigars and cigarettes.

I guess that's why cops smoke so much. We're used to the smell of it. The fire. It covers the worse scents, like the smell of blood; or worse, the smell of death.

It keeps me up at nights, pacing in the living room. I've gotten so quiet now, Sarah never knows I'm up, and the babies have never said a thing. If that's a good thing or a bad thing, I dunno.

Coffee. How could I forget coffee? It's the detective's best friend. Crazy hours, no real schedule, long, long days...the recipe for falling asleep at the wheel. Not that detectives have the exclusive right to coffee.

I've seen it enough down at the forensics lab. Nerds. Such smart nerds. No idea how to relate to people, but they figure out how bullet A got through victim B. It's a beautiful thing, them nerds.

They sit in a lab, them nerds; the smart ones. They sit in there, and the figure out a crime after it's been done. They don't find the vics, they don't case the joints, they don't pound the streets. They sit behind a computer screen and do models of patterns of forensic something something. Without firing a shot, without leaving the building.

Well, no, wait. They do go to crime scenes. All taped off, cleared of any hostiles. And, the rare times a perp does return, there's always some beat cop or highway patrol there to hold down the fort. You know they fake their range scores.

Sarah's gotta know I get up. I would wake up in the night if I was her. She hates being cold, and she's gotta notice her heating blanket's not there. Maybe she does sleep right through.

Amazing. I've got 54 convictions, and I have no clue if my wife knows I get up at night. Unbelievable. There's got to be other clues.

She's gotta see that there's fewer drinks in the fridge. She's gotta know that I've been using the computer. I've left workpads out before. Even the little things, like pens moved.

Okay, now I'm sounding like the nerds. I need one of them computer models or something. Maybe the lady that puts clay on top of skeletons. That'll tell me if my wife is concerned about my insomnia.

Gotta think it out like a street cop. Figure out the perp's motive. Follow the facts to the source. Break it down into manageable, answerable questions. Then, find the answers.

That's what I hate about them nerds. It all wraps up for them, figure out who done it, then the credits roll. It ain't that simple in the real world. It's never that simple.

You've got the facts, and you follow the facts. Then you find the guy who did it. Then you gotta chase down his friends who knew about it, so they can be guilty, too. Then you gotta get them in court. Then you gotta play your part in that big court drama. Then, you gotta hope they didn't pack the jury with a bunch of weak-kneed women who think the scumbag has too pretty of eyes to have murdered that lady.

Then the loser gets back on the streets in two years, does the same crime all over again, and we play the same song all over again. All the while, the nerds are in air conditioning, listening to their iPods, playing with their computers.

I should've been a nerd.

I hate thinking things out about myself. It never comes to a good conclusion. I always did the wrong thing, or took the wrong turn, or made some dumb mistake. Why don't I do things right?

Oh, it's like a broken record. I need to drink more. No, smoke more. Yeah, that's a good idea.

Wow, I'm dumb when I think. Reasoning things out is not my strong suit. I should stop thinking to myself. I'll stop now.

Great. Now I'm babbling to myself. This isn't getting me anywhere. That's the point, isn't it.

My mind won't let me do it. My mind won't let me think about that night. My mind won't let me just settle down, feel the pain, and let it go. My mind works so hard at not letting me think it through, that it keeps me up at night, not thinking about it.

It. Think about "it." That "thing" that happened. Like I can't ever dignify it with what it was.

My mind is working so hard, even now, that I can't even call it what it was. I need some sleep. I need that release.

You would think those computer nerds would learn to shoot. You would think there was some kind of training for them. It's not like a hispanic male looks like a caucasian female. How could you miss that? How?

It just grates, over and over. There's got to be some training assessment program that they can stick in their computers that would show them what targets look like. I'm going to go crazy over this.

Then my children will have to drive my poor wife to the looney bin where their Daddy is counting numbers over and over again. This is not healthy. I'll be writing on the walls with crayon.

No, I'm not crazy. I'm not going to go crazy. I love Sarah too much. I will beat this. I will get over this. I will move on.

It's all about getting the variables knocked down. It's all about asking the right questions. It's all about making the facts line up. As soon as I do that, then I'll have my peace.

It's nights like this I wish this case would wrap up in a 60 minute episode. One perp, one crime, and all between the credits. Throw in a car chase for sweeps. That's not how the real world works. They can't keep the gunshots keep ringing in your head for years, that shot he had no right to make. Grasping for meaning, for years, hiding your insomnia.

It's late. Sarah's cold. Now I'm ready for bed.

Posted by Macabee at January 17, 2006 01:39 AM | TrackBack

Sounds like a good Law & Order character profile...dumb CSI...

Posted by: Portia at January 17, 2006 08:50 AM