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He watched silently. The grass illuminated the sight as he focused on the mumbles and moans in the area. He wondered how many others he would see like this. Across from him was the woman and her daughter. One wept as the other remained as hard and cold as ice. He shook his head as the sixteen year old wept and broke down while her mother resembled the statues of old. She stood without red eyes or water falling from her face. If her jaw had been any tighter, it would break. Her front wasn't working. Everyone knew about her for the past year and a half. His breath released slowly. He was used to the sight. After all he spoke to people and watched them break, deny, blame, swing, or become stone. This was no different.
The pipes began to play. Rick Garcia eased into the spot that he would remain in. Great man. Well, that was, of course, his opinion of Rick. He met him just four years ago. Rick, with his team, put 4 cases into the closed pile solved in this year alone. He was an easing going guy with a great sense of humor: Something needed in this department. His ex-wife, the statue, filed for a divorce almost two year and gained full custody of their child all because Rick avoided his work at home. He wasn't surprised. How do you talk to anyone about what you've seen? It was great that Rick managed to keep his work life and house life apart. What was his ex-wife asking for exactly? To be told they found a dead boy in a dumpster. He shook his head. Rick would have either been divorced by talking too much or too less. Saying nothing was easier. This was the curse of the department. At least, he didn't die eating a bullet. After his ex-wife and the demands given by her, they were surprised that he didn't take his life or go insane because of the stress he had. He grimaced.
The prayer began as people dropped in flowers. Even though Rick was gone, IA still had him under investigation. He shot a suspect in defense, but, of course, he was a cop. Rick was dead with an unclear name. It hadn't mattered if the guy had shot at him or that he had kidnapped a kid. What did matter was he shot the guy and the suspect died with him. His gun was still in evidence and the papers dragged his name through the mud. They complain that you don't do anything and when you do, you are guilty on sight. Dirt began dropping in. The rest of the force walked up slowly shaking hand with Rick's ex though they didn't want to. He moved in the line of dark suits and uniforms. Rick's kid was sitting in a chair now, a waterfall fell from her face. He was next now. He was only going to shake her hand, but the girl pulled him into a hug. He had no words or comments that would help. She finally released him from her grasp. He moved to the next person after making sure she was sitting down again. Rick's ex. He didn't even shake her hand; he nodded at her and moved on. He stood over the grave.
"Well it's been great man," he looked down at the hole.
Commander walked up clapping his shoulder, "We lost a good man. It's going to be difficult to replace him. His partner doesn't want other. I'm going to have to put him on desk duties for awhile. Collins, you are going to see the shrink tomorrow whether you like it or not. Don't want to lose another."
Collins nodded. IA investigates stood at the row end watching everyone. Collins rolled his eyes. IA had spoken to him already along with everyone else in the department. Yet, they still lingered like vultures. It was their job and he just wanted to get back to his own. Sadly, that meant talking to the shrink, Dr. Hase. That was going to be fun. He would have to watch his words carefully with Hase. Collins was in the books already for wanting to blow a suspects head off. It was better then what a woman was living with right now. He sighed dreading everything. He looked at Rick’s grave: Rick F. Garcia. April 10, 1973 - December 5, 2008. Beloved Husband and Father. They should have put Great member of the force, but that wouldn't fit unless they made a bigger stone. Collins walked to his car. He didn't want to deal with the aftermath. Home, a beer for Ricks honor, and bed. Yeah, bed sounded great at this point. Sleep before returning to the chaos of his unit and the IA, who had been stalking right behind him silently. Now what did he do.
"Don't you guys have a home to go to." he asked as politely as he could.
One shrugged. "So Collins--"
"You have already questioned me," he told glancing over his shoulder with a frown, “Rick--Garcia, Franklin, Navarre, and I were there. The suspect nailed him twice in the leg before hitting him in the chest. Garcia fired back twice before passing out. Both the suspect and Garcia died. Garcia died before the bus came and the suspect died in the hospital. Nothing more, nothing less. Drop it, leave me alone. Anything else, you have my union officers number."
"You think we came to bug you about that today of all days." IA Officer Darens told. His partner shook his head. Collins laughed low. They wore badges and weapons with notepads squares showing themselves on their clothing.
Collins snickered," Yeah. You're not in uniform or in black. Your notepads look ready to be written on. And, those recorders in your pockets will not be admissible in court."
Darens grinned as he fingered the recorder," It wasn't on, Collins. We investigate those who did wrongs. Your squad was going to be re-interviewed. No need for a recorder right now."
He nodded and unlocked his door. Get me out of here; he thought sitting down and closing the door. Daren popped his head through the window before he could make his getaway.
"The log says you haven't talked to Hase, yet. Something wrong?" Daren inquired.
"Just haven't gotten to it yet. Long line and all. Talking with Hase tomorrow morning." Darens eyes narrowed before his partner tapped his shoulder.
"Well, have a good day Collins. Sorry about Garcia." Collins nodded and as soon as Darens head disappeared. He hit the gas. He drove wishing he could go over 50 at this point. His cell went off. One of his members probably wondering where he was going. He turned it off. All he thought was home. Collins wished he had better liquor though for Garcia’s honor, but he didn't want to ditch his work the next day because of it. Garcia wouldn't want that. It took five minutes to get to his home.
Apartment 9C. It wasn't much. Coffee table settled itself in front of the TV. The dusty brown couch had been behind it. A few pictures were hung on the wall. A lamp hid itself in the corner. That was it in the wooden floor apartment. His bedroom was just as bland. Collins walked into his kitchen. White tile blinded him when the light went on. He pulled out a glass as he walked for the beer. He sighed. No beer. Rick, are you trying to tell me something? Collins went for another drink.
"To you, my friend, have a great time where ever you are." He toasted with milk and downed it. Collins sighed wishing he had something better. 4:28p.m. A lot of hours to go before midnight. He had plenty of things to deal with before then. Collins dealt with the trash cans before moving to his couch and nestling in his favorite dent in it. He watched the reports on the news. They were still talking about Garcia. Didn't they have anything better to do? Collins changed it, nothing much was on. He sighed tossing the remote into the abyss of the couch. Hopefully, it would be found the next time he wanted to watch the TV. He moved into his room for files on other cases. The computer logged in automatically when he turned the switch for the light on. Emails popped up as well as his log in for his messenger. He grabbed a file and sat inn the chair glaring at the scene.
"No rest for the wicked or the good," he started to read. Which was he? The very thin gray line in between? Collins sighed the report didn't have that much evidence or prime suspects. The victim was barely talking to them too. Not much to go on. Attacked at night. Suspect reported to have brown hair and... Damn it would have been easier if he had Rick's notes. IA had everything in knots when it came to Rick’s cases and notes. Even his desk was taken apart. The file lay on his own desk with the photos in rows. Homicide and rape. One dead while the other hid herself in her house. The suspect still on the loose. Just looking at the photos made him want to rip the guys head off. Right. He needed to have those thoughts out of his head before talking with Hase. His head slammed on the desk. Collins rubbed his forehead taking off the plastic that had attached itself to his skin. It was the photo of the father in a collapsed position bullet hit through the left side of his head. He shook his head. His pen touched his notepad describing everything he saw from photos, then from the report and description from the vic. They would either match the old notes or bring light to the case. The phone rang. He reached for it.
"Hello is uh Detective Collins home?" The voice mumbled.
"Yes. This is him."
"This Mindy Garcia. I was calling to see if you were alright. We didn't see you at the gathering after wards. We were worried."
His head dropped. Rick's kid had been checking on him. Shouldn't be the other way around. "I...I'm fine. Mindy."
This was awkward. We? So, even Rick's ex was worried or Mindy was playing the good role of adding her in. He wasn't about to ask.
"That's good to hear. Detective Navarre said you weren't answering your cell."
Detective Navarre...Mindy hadn't called them by formal names in three years. "It must have been off. My bad." He told quietly. There wasn't much over the phone. Everyone was either home or she was in another room. "Thanks for calling though Mindy."
"Yeah. No problem." Mindy went silent for a moment before continuing, "I was wondering if they had finished with my dad's things."
"I'll know by tomorrow. And, I'll drop it off if they are. Okay?"
"Thanks. I'll see you around then. Thanks again." Mindy hung up.
Collins looked at the phone for a second. He was actually missing the bitchy teenager from two years ago. Sure. Rick died just a few days ago, but she'd been like that for a year now. He sighed heavily: nothing he could do that he already wasn't. He gave her his number as did the rest of the team: Told her they come when she needed them, though what teenager ever wanted a cop around them. He went back to the case, but wondered if Rick's notes along with the rest of his stuff were being looked over still. Collins head bowed as the clock read 5:56pm. Too early for dinner for him. How is it the day moved so slowly? Ever since Rick's death it had been like that. A shower would waste time, he thought. But, he took one this morning already. Hell. He was going to take another one. It would be the first time he done that since he was in middle school.
The alarm sounded at six. He groaned heavily. The first word that entered his head was Hase. Hase. Hase. Hase. He really didn't want to go. Collins stood up from his bed and dressed. The desk looked like a twister hit around it. Everything was tossed. He sighed now. Never get a break. He picked up the papers from the floor and packed them into his folders. The computer shut off as he finished up and moved to the living room. Breakfast? He shook his head. He'll eat junk food at work. He grabbed his keys and locked up. The trip to the station wasn't long as it was from the last two days. He parked and headed up stairs to his floor. Commander had been shouting orders and as soon as he spotted Collins he pointed at him waving him to come over. Collins hung his head as he walked over into his office.