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M. A. De Neve: Stealing Badges

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Art by Sophia Wiseman-Rose 2022

Stealing Badges

 

by M.A. De Neve

 

         

 

          I stalk cops. Where they go, I go. They like coffee shops and fast-food restaurants. At McDonald's, I'm lucky enough to get behind an officer. I bump into him. Excuse me, I say. 

 

          I'm 52, gray-haired and overweight; my disguise for the day.

 

          He turns back to his partner. No one wants to look twice at an old lady. He is still in line when I walk out of the restaurant. I have his badge in my purse.

 

          Officer Drew is off duty when I trail him to a neighborhood bar. My look is very different on this day. I'm wearing a long blonde wig and a miniskirt. I do a fake  stumble; I brush against him. As I walk away, I consider flirting a little more, but I sure don't want him following me. I have his badge, his keys, and his wallet.

 

          I keep the badge, and the money, even the change. A girl has to make a living. I drop the rest of the wallet and the keys in a dumpster exactly ten blocks from the bar.

 

          The next night, I work, so I won't have as much time to devote to stalking cops. I perform at a comedy club. My act is magic. Doves fly from my scarves. I dance on air and pull a rabbit out of an umbrella.

 

          My act is pretty old. You've seen other magicians do the same tricks time and time again. It's really no trick to pull a rabbit from an umbrella. 

 

          When I'm not working, I live dangerously. Cops have guns and nightsticks, and they can get rough with wrongdoers. I collect their badges. Some people collect stamps, coins, dinner plates, or Beatles memorabilia. I collect badges.

 

          Serial killers collect souvenirs. Badges are my souvenirs. I wasn't always crazy mad at cops.

 

          I used to be Jay's magician assistant. I was Jay's wife too. He was black and I was white. We faced lots of discrimination. One night, after a show, I stayed behind in our dressing room. He went out to get our car. He said he'd pick me up at the stage door. I had just finished removing my makeup when I heard three gunshots.

 

          The cops who killed him said a liquor store had been robbed and he was moving away from them. They shot him in the back, and they got away with it. Jay couldn't have robbed that store. We'd finished our act moments before.

 

          The cops lied and they killed him.

 

          I decided to kill the cops that were there that night. I'd collect their badges, after I'd kill the men who killed my beloved Jay.

 

          I planned very carefully. I got a job in a coffee shop. Denny, the cop who fired the bullet into Jay's heart, stopped in every night. I decided I'd fill his thermos with arsenic. But then I couldn't do it. Instead, I laced the coffee with a fast-acting sleeping pill. When I walked out the door after my shift was over, he was asleep in his squad car. With gloved hands, I opened the car door. He hadn't locked it. I took his keys, his wallet, and his badge. That was the beginning of my life stalking cops and collecting badges.      

 

          I've stalked many cops and I've taken almost a hundred badges.

 

          It's not much of a revenge for what they took from me, but it's something.

 

          Tonight, I sit in the coffee shop, the one where I once worked and where I once drugged Denny. I come here often on the anniversary of the night Jay died. I watch the snowflakes fall and stare at the flickering lights that adorn the shop windows. I watch as the steam escapes my coffee cup. I clutch the badge of the man who destroyed my life.

 

          I watch as he enters the shop. He walks over to the counter. Perhaps if I tried again, I could . . .    

 

 

 

M.A. DeNeve is a retired college instructor, and crazy cat lady. Her short stories appeared in Over My Dead Body, Yellow Mama, Everyday Fiction, Cafe Lit, Freedom Fiction  and Mysterical -E. Her novels and chapbooks are available on Amazon.

 



Sophia Wiseman-Rose is a Paramedic and an Episcopalian nun. Both careers have provided a great deal of exposure to the extremes in life and have provided great inspiration for her.  

 She is currently spending time with her four lovely grown children and making plans to move back to her home in the UK in the Autumn.  

 In addition, Sophia had a few poems in the last edition of Black Petals Horror/Science Fiction Magazine


https://www.artstation.com/sophiaw-r6



In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2022