[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]
Complete shit. Daily life had hit an all time low as far as the standard of living… and everything else for that matter. The turn of the century did not bring radical changes for the better like the president had promised. In fact, things had become much worse, and much quicker than ever before.
It was over a year ago that Congress passed laws making provisions for private individuals to become certified law enforcement officers. It was only two weeks later before those individuals became half mercenary, half bounty hunters. Not exactly the “private police” the government had intended.
Senators that had drafted the bill envisioned law-abiding citizens taking certification classes that resembled police training. With that certification, these people would patrol bad neighborhoods as regular police, but only respond to calls they wanted to… ie: get paid for. The promise of police-like soldiers sounded good to the violent streets, so people pushed for it to pass.
Jake was not exactly a clean cut guy. “Low life”, “scum”, and “bastard” were the usual colorful adjectives used to describe him by the street cretin, his clients, and everyone else. The petty insults didn’t affect him though, rather the condition of society did. Crime was on a drastic spiral downward with no end in site.
He couldn’t complain too much about business though, the need for police service was always present. Fortunate for him, victims of crime weren’t always lucky to get state funded officers, and had to rely on the ‘private’ police. Dispatch for all of the officers was done through a central service with ‘real’ officers getting routed whenever possible. Once that buffer of ‘real’ police had been crossed, people like Jake stepped up to do the job, and get paid for his services.
He looked at his watch and sighed out loud. He had promised himself to complete each shift even though he set his own hours. About the only thing keeping him motivated was thinking about later. He had planned on renting some flesh and kicking back with a few beers. His Big Gulp came to an end too quickly and concluded his break once again. Settling back into the front seat of the hummer he turned the radio back on to monitor police traffic, waiting for the next call. It was only a matter of minutes before it came through.
“One Eight Two… please respond… Four Eleven in Progress”
A quick response to acknowledge the call and he was off. The tires squealed as the big vehicle slid onto Colfax. This was the only road he patrolled, and for good reason. Recent reports indicated that 30% of the crime in Denver revolved around the long and dirty street. Some chalked that number up to the fact it was the longest continuous road in the country, others because of the inhabitants of the area. Either way, it was very profitable for the ‘private’ cops that braved it’s dangers.
The call told him there was an armed robbery in progress but hostages were involved. Not his favorite job, but typically very rewarding financially. Using his knee to keep the wheel steady, he barreled down Colfax checking his two guns for ammo. As usual, both were loaded and ready to go. The white flashing lights on the top of the hummer was more than enough to clear the road for him.
The hummer screeched to a stop about fifty feet from the front of the building. All of the lights were off inside, but the hundreds of bullet holes on the front façade told him he was in the right place. Jake looked over to the two ‘real’ officers that had arrived and guessed that dispatch couldn’t scrape together any backup. He didn’t like that.. the ‘real’ police hated the ‘private’ police more than anyone.
Both of the uniformed officers had their guns out and were trying to keep their eyes on the front of the building. Neither could help a quick glance to see who had come to help them. The look in their eyes told Jake that they didn’t approve of the blue jeans and flannel appearance he preferred. Under the flannel was a D1 rated bullet proof vest that had stopped over a dozen bullets in the past. Jake pulled out his two Sig .45s and moved over to the police car to talk with the officers.
Not ones for chat, the officers roughly clued him in to the situation of five well armed individuals inside, all trigger happy. With no light around, and the few street lights shot out, Jake pulled out his glasses and switched them on. It took a few seconds for him to adjust to the night vision, but it was something that had saved his life almost as much as his vest.
Now his real dilemma. If he moved in now, the officers would not back him up since there was no other backup. If he waited with them, he didn’t get paid. Not a hard choice really, but he always gave it a chance. The glasses switched over to infrared giving him a look inside the building. Looked like four dead figures, two hostages, and only three armed individuals. Typical, the cops had lied to him in hopes of keeping him out of the way.
Jake ran to the very corner of the building and looked around. There were several cases in the past where a sniper lurked from nearby buildings to take out any police that tried to interfere with a robbery. Considering this was a high risk robbery, a sniper was not out of the question. He panned around looking at windows, balconies, and roof tops trying to ascertain just how many people were involved in this hit.
“There he is…”
He didn’t speak very loud, but was happy to notice the extra person. The figure on the rooftop had what appeared to be a high powered rifle aimed at one of the officer’s backs. It was kind of ironic that the person didn’t consider him a threat, but was willing to take out a few cops to help his friends out. He brought both of the sigs up to take aim, and unleashed. Two rounds from each gun shot out and across the street. The glasses he wore allowed him to zoom in and watch as all four rounds struck the sniper in the face.
The two officers snapped around to see what he shot at and immediately realized how vulnerable they had been, and how lucky they were for Jake. Both nodded to Jake and looked back at the front of the building. He knew that was the most he would ever get out of them, but it only costed him two bucks for the ammo. Back to the task.
With his back to the wall, he slid down the south side of the building heading for a back door. He hoped the back door was the entry point for the robbers, and that it would also offer him that same service. As he moved farther from the street, he began to thank his glasses again as they offered him near perfect vision.
Taking position at the back door, he peered around the corner hoping to get a better look inside. The infrared told him how many people were in there, but robbed him of the depth perception of other forms of vision. He kneeled down at the back door and scanned the interior. The back room of the building contained boxes and shelves lined with electronics gear. It was then that Jake realized he hadn’t noticed what kind of store this was.
Pawn shops always brought around the worst robbers. Not only were they well armed, they were stupid. Even if they went in with minimal firepower, once in they had access to anything the store was trying to sell off. That almost always included some nice guns. Robbing pawn shops was something that amateurs did as most stores were equipped with timed safes, remote video monitoring, and other security devices. Beyond that, they rarely brought in cash.
Between all of that, the sniper, and some gut feeling, something seemed out of place. Maybe he was about to shoot three really ignorant people, or maybe there was something else he was missing. Either way, should be easy money for him.
Both guns lead the way, one at chest level, one at waist level. Jake approached the wall that separated them to determine what it was made of. He silently cursed at the reinforced alloy wall knowing he couldn’t shoot through it. Jake also took comfort in knowing the robbers couldn’t shoot him either.
This was it, time for his move. He took a split second to close his eyes and pray to nothing in particular before this went down. Moving toward the door he readied himself for the firefight to come. The door between him and the next room was held open with a small radio. One kick and the door flew open exposing him to the occupants within.
His two guns blazed in front of him firing in rapid succession. It was obvious he caught the robbers off guard as he shot the first two in the back, delivering at least five rounds into each. The third robber was quick enough to dive behind a display case in hopes of avoiding the fate his friends had just received. Jake scanned the room quickly and made sure the two employees were still alive. He had to get paid by someone.
The proverbial standoff again. Jake kneeled down behind one display case while his opponent stayed behind his. The fact that he was able to take out the first two so easily was indication that they were amateurs. The firepower they carried suggested they were some of the better mercenaries you could hire. Either way, the third guy should be pretty spooked right now, and not expecting…
Jake broke into a run across the small store and dove over the opposing counter. As he sprung from the ground his Sigs let out their fury until he rolled to a stop just inches away from the wall. The fact that he didn’t get shot in the back as he stopped told him he was successful. He turned around to see several wounds in the chest of the robber. Apparently, he was lying on his back waiting for Jake to make the move. Obviously, he wasn’t expecting that move.
Cycling through all the forms of vision on his glasses, he verified that no one of danger was left. Holstering his guns, he moved toward the two forms huddled in the corner. After the glasses came off, he assured the two people they were out of danger, and explained who he was. Along with that information came the typical routine of moving them to the front window where they could see the ‘real’ police out front.. doing nothing to help them.
That was usually all it took to get the money. As the police entered the building and began to fill out the report, he started bargaining with the two people there, which turned out to be the owners of the store. Jake was done negotiating his price long before the police finished their reports.
Another Big Gulp, and another two hours before shift was over. He had made his money for the night, but kept his promise to stay out there the whole shift. He was number 182 out of just over 700 ‘private’ police roaming the city. Not exactly the best guy, but one of the best for the job. This was his life, his claim to big money and some kind of future. A kind of future he wasn’t sure about, but one that he had to keep his faith in. It was the only way to make it day to day.