The 5 Stages of Grief

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Chapter 5, Sgt. Whitford

Sergeant Whitford took another drag then blew out the mixture of rot that had become his life, starring into Sam’s eyes through the haze. Scott knew he was a wreck that his life was in shambles and that Lieutenant Samuel King was probably the closest thing he had to a real friend in this world.

He was also acutely aware that the only reason his friend let him keep his badge – which enabled him to continue with his destructive life pattern – was he had skills which were desperately needed in solving homicides in a city buried in them. Scott was certain that if there were anyone else in the department with even a fraction of his talent, Sam would have sent his toxic ass off to rehab faster than he could say Betty fucking Ford.

He watched with interest as the lieutenant studied him, smelled him, looked into his bulging, bloodshot eyes. He could feel the dried sweat that fouled his poisoned body. Smell the new stench of booze and cigarettes and whatever the hell else he may have ingested the night before as it blended with the reek of rancid perfume and sex, halfway wishing that his friend Sam would override his boss the lieutenant and take control of his pitiful life, pack him up and send him away to rehab. The silence stretched. Then the Lieutenant lowered his gaze and shook his head.

“You have it. I’ll get the proper forms worked up. You’re in command from this point on.”

Scott stood silent, staring at the big man, his friend, a moment longer then turned and began walking towards his car. It too was a mess, like himself, like the forgotten girl sitting in the front seat, like his entire piece-of-shit life.

“Sergeant Whitford.” He stopped, turned back to face the Lieutenant.

“This one’s important, Scotty. Four dead, seriously fucked up. After this one okay buddy? After this one we’ll get you fixed up, you have my word.” Each man stood, reading the others face, the sadness, the pain of being used, of using a friend. “You need to be good to yourself until we clean-up this mess. You alright with that? Can you make it?”

He could see a tear in the big man’s eye and it wasn’t just cigar smoke. The fucker cared, even if he was a cop first. Scott felt his own eyes begin to water, he nodded, not trusting his voice to hold.

“I need that info fast, Sergeant. Whatever you can find and as soon as you can. I’m heading down to City to find out what’s going on. You can reach me there.” He stood, unable to move, to emotional to try. One more, he thought as he watched his friend and boss get into his car and drive away.

He hadn’t realized he’d returned to his car, didn’t remember walking. He felt her presence before her voice gave it away. “Steve! When are we getting out-a here?” Her voice screeched out of the open car window, ratcheting his already throbbing head. “I’ve got a private party to dance tonight, so I’ve gotta get home and get ready. It takes a girl a while to put her face on you know.”

Scott lifted his head to face the intruding voice. A smile crept its way onto his features, he couldn’t stop it. “Yes it does, honey. It most certainly does.”

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