A POLICEMAN’S LOT, part 14. Back to the grind and murder most foul.

Back to the grind and murder most foul. At the end of part 13 I had hit the road on a quest for – something. I found out that no matter how far you run you cannot outrun your problems. Luckily I had a few weeks leave owing and tried to repair my home life. There weren’t enough patches to cover the marital blowouts, so I floundered on. I couldn’t face going back to work and took some sick leave. My Inspector visited me and we talked about my returning to work. I had to go to Sydney to give evidence in a case and needed to be on the ball. The case involved me locating and apprehending, with the timely assistance of two ‘go get em’ Detectives, three men wanted for attempted murder and armed robbery when I was stationed in Fortitude Valley on the beat. They’d robbed ten banks and shot a drug dealer in Sydney and weren’t at all happy when arrested. I went to the Supreme Court trial and did my bit, they were sentenced to twenty years.

This inspired me to get back into it, however I was placed in the Inquiry Office where the Inspector thought I would keep out of trouble. I did, for a little while. Late December 1982 my offsider a senior constable, who I’ll call Ernie and myself, had been seconded to general duties for the Christmas period. Who knows what universal forces are at work when deciding on a person’s fate? All I know is the fates had me in mind again. It was my birthday and I didn’t want to be at work. We were patrolling a suburb that had been getting some attention from thieves when we received the call,
“Go to number 54 …..Road, shots fired.”
Lights and sirens on Ernie hit the pedal. He was a nice bloke but the worst driver I’d ever come across. Another call,
“Received a phone call, a woman says her son has killed his wife, we can’t be sure if he’s still there.”
Great, just what we didn’t want to hear. The house was situated on the corner of a main road and there wasn’t a person in sight when we pulled up. Ernie decided he would go around the back and I took the front door. Some things never leave your mind and the feel of the weatherboards on the house against my back is one of them. A typical summer night and the air was heavy and damp, like my shirt as it clung to my skin. Back pressed hard against the wall I slowly climbed the front steps. There was a rugby league match on television; it could just be heard over the howling of several dogs. Revolver held tightly in my right hand I slowly pushed the front door open, four tiny dogs fought and scrambled their way out and down the steps. (be still my beating heart)

The only light in the front room came from the television, a door opposite opened and Ernie appeared out of the gloom. My heart skipped several beats; this was my job so I moved towards the room with a light on, the kitchen. We’d called out that we were police, all quiet, no reply. I inched along the wall and took a quick glance, I really wished I was at home. My radio crackled into life,
“Another crew has him in custody, they found him hiding under his mother’s bed.”
One problem solved, now secure the crime scene. I will let your imagination work here, a woman in her twenties sat at the kitchen table, obviously dead. She’d been shot at reasonably close range with a shotgun, one in the chest and another to the face. The remnants of her last meal were scattered around her. A little brown terrier dog attacked me from under the table, defending his mistress to her last. He kept rushing at my legs whenever I got close. The Detectives came and took over, I manned the door, keeping a running log. She was removed to the morgue after midnight and I accompanied her remains. This is where things get a little spooky. You entered the morgue cold room via a large stainless steel door, being the holiday break it was a full house. When bodies are placed in there they are put in the row on the left, feet against the wall. Then a tag is put on the wrist. Bodies awaiting pickup are on the right side as you come in. I signed her over to the attendant and returned home. I needed to be back there at 7am for the autopsy.

My head had no sooner hit the pillow and I fell into a deep sleep. I’d had an out-of-body experience before but nothing like this one. I found myself hovering in front of the door to the morgue’s cold room. The door disappeared and I stood next to the woman. Looking around I could see misty blue forms hovering above each body, however there was only darkness were the bodies awaiting pickup were located. She stood next to me, terrified, lonely asking questions I couldn’t answer, I could offer nothing but support. My alarm clock rang and I felt myself being pulled away but not before I noticed that another gurney had been put next to hers. It was head first against the wall.

A quick breakfast and I drove the squad car back to Brisbane. The coroner was ready to go and I went to the cold room to wheel her out. I nearly fell over when I went in to find another body next to hers, head first against the wall. I won’t go into the autopsy other than it was a fascinating experience to assist the coroner. The end result, her husband was sentenced to life, he’s now out on parole. His excuse for killing her was that she had a nervous disorder and he wanted to put her out of her misery. The facts were she was having an affair and he didn’t want to divorce her. I seemed to come back on track, finished my stint in Inquiries and went back on patrol. Life at home went on and I put everything into my job, at least there I knew who I was and what was expected of me. As they say – the fun has just begun. I wrote this verse last year as my way of getting the anger out.

LOVE NO MORE.

Siren’s wailing,
Xmas lights,
scared dog’s howling,
domestic fights.
Tearful confessions,
no love here.
Shotgun’s blast!
Goodbye, My Dear,
a fatal ending.
He took your heart.
No love from me,
my heart’s unbending.
Shot to head.
It’s time to part.
The bitch is dead.
Runaway.
A coward-from the start.
Frightened dogs, pies on floor,
gun straight out go through door,
to hell.
I see her there, my heart’s racing.
Gore, blood running, tracing,
lines of red on face, defacing
lumps of lead-a life have taken.
Aim was true, a shotgun-no mistaking.
For her – Love no more.
Stainless bench-cold-uncaring.
Coroner’s knife-peeling-paring.
Laying open a heart destroyed,
I count the pellets that did void.
Weigh the heart-
That loves-no more.
Face demolished-death’s head grin.
Pellet shining, in light’s harsh glare,
Tongue so pink-it lies on skin,
like Oyster’s flesh, a pearl lays there.
Cut and carve, weigh it all,
Death is here, He casts his pall.
Justice?
There’s none for her in ground so cold,
Lying there-she grows not old.
Love did fail on that hot night,
A shotgun’s blast can’t make it right.

Copyright. Laurie Smith 2011.

12 thoughts on “A POLICEMAN’S LOT, part 14. Back to the grind and murder most foul.

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  3. patgarcia

    Hi,
    As I sat at my computer and read this, I thought about all of the injustices that happen to women all over the world. This young woman was robbed of a chance to experience life to its fullness. She was robbed, as you have written so eloquently in your poem, the chance of growing old. And her husband, the coward that he was, had no respect for life. He took away what he could not give back and did not have the right to take. To see things like that happen in the world is difficult. You were actually living in two worlds, the world of law and order where people in one part of society are trying to live life in a peaceable manner and in the second world you were constantly confronted with the greed, lack of respect for another human being, and the selfishness that drove people to destroy another human being.

    I do not know how I would have reacted. I believe it would have destroyed me to work in such an environment, even though I am very much aware that such situations exist. Believe it or not every article I read from you increases my gratitude for all law enforcement officials. I know that they are humans and some of them make mistakes also, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that here in our Western World, the majority of all law enforcement officer, I believe, are people who want to do a good job and are proud of their work and their uniform. It hurts to know that many of them are left alone with their trauma, their agony, and their family problems.

    Your out of body experience confirms my belief that we are body, soul, and spirit. The poor woman did not expect to die, and she was herself lost for words and sought explanations. That the husband got out on parole is a shock. I don’t believe that someone should have parole for taking another person’s life intentionally.

    As for your poetry, I thank God that you had that avenue to deal with your emotional turmoil. That is another reason why your heart still aches and feels. It kept you on the side of humanity and from sinking down into the pits.

    Thank you for sharing this very personal part of your emotional turmoil. I am so happy that you found your way.
    Ciao,
    Patricia

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    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Hi Patricia,
      The strangest thing just happened as I replied to your comment, I’d nearly finished writing it when the page went to some completely unrelated site. the last ten minutes of typing vanished. Oh dear and it doesn’t save as you type. Thank you so much for your beautiful words and I agree wholeheartedly about the injustices to women. She was robbed of more than her life, he robbed her of the chance to have children and the opportunity to give out a mother’s love, to see them grow and have children of their own. I wonder at the injustice of life sometime. I did live in two worlds but they clashed often, grinding against each other, rubbing away at my humanity. You would’ve coped Patricia, you have a great, loving heart that would encompass all that came near.
      People only seem to see the negative things that some policemen do, the violent traffic stop or the fight in the cells. Nobody sees you sneaking into your home at three in the morning, careful not to wake anyone while you wash a child’s brains off your uniform, to spare your wife’s feelings. The cameras never seem to capture you at a traffic accident where a child has been seriously injured, and you are holding onto a full grown man while he weeps on your shoulder because he has struck the child with his car. Or cradling a tiny, dead baby that a morgue attendant has dropped carelessly into a gladstone bag for transportation.
      I did the best job that I could and was very proud. I had always wanted to be a policeman and very nearly didn’t get in. I never attended high school, they took me into the academy because of my army and prison background. It was hard work, not physically, I could handle that. The studying nearly done me in. At the end of six months I came 13th out of 56 overall, topped the class in English and recieved the St Johns medal for first aid.
      The day I left the police on medical grounds was without doubt one of the saddest days of my life. I wept at my send-off party, and at the injustice of life that had taken away my dream. I’m actually shedding a few tears as I write this, if I had of stayed in I would be at retirement age now. It was not to be and here I am.
      The out of body experience shook me, however it started a trend, that had me later in life exploring the whole mind body soul connection. To the extent that I’m now a Reiki master/healer. The soul connection for me is very important, it has opened a whole new world. The early parole wasn’t a shock, he had no previous criminal offences and was a model prisoner. Poetry has been something of a saving grace for me, it is a great way to vent.
      I’m happy that you like my posts, I look forward to your insights and heartfelt comments.
      Cheers
      Laurie

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      1. patgarcia

        Laurie,
        Before I take a nap, after being awake at 4 this morning, I wanted to write you back and let you know that your being dismissed on medical reasons was for you one of the saddest days of your life, at that time, but it was the best thing that could have happened to you. It is natural to weep, but I know you already know that, and I know that you already know that life is not always fair, but do you realize that the turning point in your life began with that medical discharge. What is retirement if it means living in the past and thinking about the glory days that happen way back then. Many people go into retirement, and they are at a stand still. They travel out of boredom, and they go on day trips because they do not feel useful.
        My dear, you have so much to be thankful for. You have started a new life again. You are doing what you once dreamed about doing, but thought you never could. You have overcome hurdles that make some people heads swim. You are an achiever who I am so proud to know and share with.
        You say the studying nearly done you in, but it didn’t. Know Why? Because you were stronger than you thought you were on the inside. You had guts, even though you may have been afraid. You did what you had to do, and you pulled yourself up by your bootstraps, and you kept moving against the odds. That what I call courage and determination. One young man who never thought he would be a policeman went out there and showed the world that he could. They didn’t take away your dream, they enlarged it! To that I say Amen. I have learned that success likes those who are willing to go through the struggles, face the tribulation, and ride the waves that go up and down, holding on until the tide comes in.
        That you didn’t retire meant it was time for you to move on. Who knows whether you would have written Mountain Of Death, or gave people a chance to look at your poetry, or even had that wonderful 10 minutes talk about your book to a large group of people as well as meet Peter a former soldier comrade and police comrade, who himself is a successful writer. There are no coincidences. Those things that happened prepared you for the now.
        Believe me when I say I know where you are coming from. The person that you are today is a sum of all of what you have gone through. You are the Laurie that reaches out to others, but more than that, you are the Laurie with a heart, and the compassion comes out in your writing and the way you communicate to others.
        So chin up! You are extremely blessed. There are so many others who wished they were in your shoes.
        Take care, my dear friend and I breathe peace to you.
        Ciao,
        Patricia

        P.S. Many greetings to your lovely wife.

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      2. laurie27wsmith Post author

        As always Patricia you say the right things at the right time. In retrospect you are right about the timing, who knows I may not have survived the job. Mant things happened between then and 2001, things that enabled me to be a, hopefully better person. I’m moved by your words, you should be an inspirational speaker. You have put everything into perspective, I haved been looking at it from the wrong direction. It was just another stepping stone in my life that wasn’t working for me at that time. I showed others and myself that I could accomplish. You are right once again, I may never have started writing or reaching out through my poetry, or meeting the people I needed to meet. (Like you). I’ll look at my day through a different set of eyes and count my blessings. Thanks so much Patricia.
        Cheers
        Laurie.

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      3. patgarcia

        Hi,
        Thank you for the compliment, but I cannot take credit for something that flows through me. It is my belief in a loving and caring God who wants the best for us that has changed my life and gives me the courage and trust to love others, no matter what. My mountains are sometimes pretty high. In fact, I sometimes think they are too high, and yet this God that I serve and love gives me the ability to jump over them by facing what others consider impossible. And one of the facts that I have learned about life is that it is all about loving people, from the heart. The pie is enormously big, and it is big enough for all of us to get a slice and still have more than enough on our plate. Your very first poem touched my heart. I will never forget it. We were in the Definitive Serious Writers Group, which does not exist any more. Your poems touched my heart, and I knew you were a person with depth and great talent, and I wanted to get to know you as a person.
        I am so thankful to be able to share in a part of your life and to see you rise like a phoenix out of the ashes, and you will rise Laurie. I know it, and I will sit back with a big smile on my face and say, I laid a building block in his life, and I will rejoice with you.
        Have a great weekend. This weekend I am performing with my young people’s band. We have learned a new song that is absolutely beautiful and Angie, the young women from Australia with a heavenly voice, is leading it. It took me some time to master the keyboard chords (I play two keyboards at two different times on this song) but the band was patient with me. So, I’m very excited and nervous. I suffer from stage fright. Have every since I have been performing. It comes and then it leaves me as soon as I start functioning in the gifts that I have been given. I know it is going to be okay as soon as I play the first notes, but I have to play them first and then I settle down into doing what I am called to do.
        Be blessed this weekend.
        Ciao,
        Patricia

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      4. laurie27wsmith Post author

        You might not take the credit Patricia and although we are all able to use that ‘slice of pie’ not everybody does. The way that you use it is wonderful. We all need that help to get over our mountains and with your faith in God I know you will. Thanks for your comments on my poetry, I enjoy writing it especially when it is appreciated. Your comments on my future uplift me a great deal. I hope your weekend went well with your young people’s band and that you got over your stage fright okay. two keyboards in one song? Talent personified. Thanks so much for your reply Patricia and I will talk soon.
        Cheers
        Laurie.

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    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thanks so much, I must say I like the poem to. When they come from some deep area of pain the words seem to flow. I’m glad that you enjoy the posts, it is the bad things in life that tend to be read. I write them so people can be made aware of how a policeman’s life can be and hopefully entertain them along the way.
      Cheers
      Laurie.

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