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