Adam had a month of training left at the academy. His troop was doing well in their classes and they had only lost a few of the 32 who had started through drop-out or failures. There were 11 other troops at the academy and every dorm was filled. Competition between the troops (which started at the same time) was fierce to set physical and academic records. Adam was excelling at the academic and physical requirements of the program which allowed him to spend some time with troop mates who needed help with their studies. Although Adam was quiet, many of the troop members had begun to rely on his advice or even seek his counsel on personal issues. He may be a young man, but many thought of him as the older and experienced brother.
Adam was working at his desk in the dormitory, studying for the final exam not too far in the future. Two of his troop mates who were jealous of Adams abilities were chatting quietly in their pit. The one man named Jean gestured for his buddy Reggie to follow him over to Adam.
"Hey Adam, how come you study so much?" asked Jean.
The young man placed a marker in the book. Turning in his chair to face the speaker, Adam replied, "I have always wanted to be a policeman, it is the path in life I was intended to walk. So I'm studying hard to be the best policeman I can be."
"You trying to show us up?" asked Jean. "You better than us?"
"Not at all. I'm just trying to be the best that I can be as you will aspire to what you want to accomplish in life. This is my choice to accomplish, as that is your choice to accomplish."
"I don't get you, Adam," exclaimed Jean. "You don't go out except home on the weekends, and never to the bar. You study and work out. When we ask you questions there are times your answers make us think you are some ancient philosopher. You think you're better than us?"
Adam looked at the two men, "Neither of you wishes to know anything, you wish only to speak."
Some of the other troop members approached the discussion. One of them said, "Leave Adam alone, Jean. You've been beaking about him for months now and I know I'm tired of it. He does nothing but try to help everyone and you just take what you can for yourself."
Jean stood quickly and stuck his chest out. "You wanna take me on?"
"Why, to prove what?" Adam asked Jean.
"You afraid of me?" asked Jean.
Adam stood casually, but in a semi-fighting stance. He looked Jean directly in the eyes and replied, "There is no man I am afraid of, but many I respect. You are neither."
"You little bastard, let's arm wrestle. We'll see how fucking tough you are."
"I don't like to arm wrestle, it proves nothing," replied Adam.
"C'mon, pussy boy... let's do it."
Adam looked around at his troop mates and could sense they would really enjoy seeing Jean beaten. "All right, let's do it."
They quickly cleared one desk between the beds and set up for it. They agreed on the rules and moved into position. They locked their right arms together and used their left hands to stabilize the right elbow.
One of the men called out, "3-2-1-go."
Jean put all the strength he could to push Adam's arm down. It moved slightly, but not very much. Again he tensed his muscles and tried to push Adam's arm down, it only moved slightly. The room was loud with the cheers and encouragement of their troop mates. It was then Jean realized except for Reggie, everyone was cheering for Adam. He looked at Adam and was surprised. Adam had no signs of strain on his face at all. In fact, his face now had a big smile. That angered Jean even more. It was the incentive he needed and he put everything he could into pushing Adam's arm down. This time he could feel it moving as he began to push against Adam's arm.
Jean was grunting aloud as he felt his arm beginning to move downward and gaining ground on Adam. His long, extended grunt turned into a yell as his arm gained momentum. He was halfway down when he felt an increase in resistance from Adam. He concentrated to focus every last bit of energy he could gather to finish the contest.
The men were standing and cheering Adam, hoping he would defeat Jean. Their cheering became more intense as Adam's arm had begun to lose ground with the hope their encouragement would help.
Adam focused his gaze and locked eyes with Jean. He smirked as his arm began to reverse the progress Jean had been making. He continued his movement smoothly as their arms moved up and past the starting position. Jean was putting every last bit of energy he could into his arm to stop Adam's sudden domination of their match.
In spite of everything Jean did, Adam continued a smooth movement and then pinned his opponent's arm. The dormitory erupted into cheers as people were pulling Adam to his feet to congratulate him. It took a couple of minutes to settle down, but it became deathly quiet as Adam moved towards Jean with hand outstretched to shake.
Jean turned his head as if it was 'If I don't look, it's not there.'
Adam stood there for a moment and dropped his hand to his side. "Jean, why did you join the police?"
"That's easy, the pay, benefits, uniform, and women. Good career with choices available."
Adam looked at Jean's sidekick and asked, "Reggie, why did you join?"
"The same as Jean."
Adam looked at the two men. They were both bigger than him, more muscular and better looking too. But with those things, Adam had recognized the narcissism they both had deeply embedded in their behaviors. "I know you didn't ask me, in fact, you are the only two in the troop who has never asked me why I joined. Very simply, I joined to protect and help people. It is my path in life to help others who are in need."
By now, half of the troop was sitting around Adam's pit listening.
"You sound like a poster boy for recruiting," laughed Jean. "You're a native so why do you even need a job? You just get handouts and when you want more, you stick your hand out."
The group was getting upset with many of them stating Jean was out of line and inappropriate. Adam raised his hand to them.
Adam's face was emotionless as he spoke. "You are entitled to your opinion Jean, regardless of how wrong it is. That which you know, you ignore because it is inconvenient to your agenda. That which you do not know, you invent."
"You calling me a liar, Chief?"
"I'm not a Chief Jean... medicine man, but not a Chief."
"Medicine man? OMG!" Jean replied with a belly laugh. "That is so pathetic. Is it supposed to impress me or even impress us?"
"Not at all, it's just a statement of fact. I know I'm a native, and a medicine man 24 hours a day, and that won't change. I don't need to check every mirror or shiny surface I pass to confirm my own physical image in my mind." The group chuckled, and a few seconds later Jean figured out what Adam had said.
"Fuck you. You talk so smart for an Indian," said Jean with anger building.
Just then, the dorm door opened and a knocking was heard. A voice announcing 'visitors' was heard as three men came in. Frank and Tyler with John behind them came into the dorm. All three of them were in patrol uniforms with flack vests. The troop looked at the three with interest.
Tyler spoke up, "We came to visit with Adam for a few minutes, but we can leave if you guys are in a meeting?"
Adam moved forward, "No Constable, not a problem. Sergeant, Recruit Jean was just about to finish explaining why he thinks I'm so smart for an Indian."
Frank stepped forward and they could now clearly see the chevrons on his shoulders indicating his rank. "I would be interested to hear what he has to say about my adopted son Adam. I'm sure your brother Tyler here would be interested as well."
Jean's face blanched.
Frank stepped up and directly in the face of the recruit. "Please... carry on. You have my undivided attention."
Jean panicked for a moment before stammering, "I decline to answer."
"That was not one of the options I gave you. Did you not understand what I said?" asked Frank.
"I decline to answer at this time."
"That wasn't one of the options, either."
"You can't order me, you're a guest," Jean finally stated.
"Who's the Right Marker troop commander?" asked Frank.
One of the recruits answered, "He's in the gym working out."
Tyler spoke to one of the recruits sitting near the door, "Would you please go and ask him to join us here?"
The recruit looked at Frank, nodded and then ran out. None of the overhead lights were on, everyone one was using their study lamps on their desk to see. It was darker at this end of the dorm, and although they knew a third person had come in with the Sergeant and Constable, they still didn't have a good look at him.
Frank had just started to chit-chat with some of the recruits while waiting for the Right Marker to show up when the door opened again. He arrived out of breath from running. It didn't take long for him to be brought up to speed as to what had happened.
"I had been at the bottom of the stairs on the way back when Ed came to get me. My apologies to you gentlemen for walking in on this private discussion and your being offended," said Wes, the Right Marker.
Frank looked at the young man and knew he was trying to smooth the water. "I will be reporting this conversation to the Professional Standards Department. You need to know the real work of policing involves nearly every culture, ethnic group, colour of skin, and type of person. You can't even imagine what is out there to be dealt with, and something like this is an indication of a predisposition towards natives. Something as simple as this could set police and community relations back for years."
"I am entitled to my opinions on my own time," injected Jean with confidence.
Tyler spoke up, "In some circumstances you're correct. But, in this line of work, your opinion is always seen as coming from a cop so you need to know you really don't have an opinion anymore. This is a lifestyle change for many of you, and even being off duty you are still a cop."
Wes looked at the ground, trying to figure out how to get this under control. "Could I ask you not to file the report, and to consider allowing us to have a troop meeting to discipline him."
Adam looked at Wes, "That wasn't very effective when Jean found out Les was bisexual, and he harassed him until he quit." The group murmured in agreement.
Finally, the man standing behind the other two moved forward into better lighting. He was the same approximate age as the sergeant wearing a flack vest and ball cap but seemed to carry the air of more authority with him. It was then one of the cadets noticed he had extra patches sewn onto his epaulets. "This will be reported by me to the Officer Commanding of this academy. That is the end of the discussion," stated John very clearly.
The cadet who had noticed John's rank stated clearly, "Officer on deck." Every recruit in the dorm heard the comment, saw the rank on the shoulders, and stood at attention.
John looked around, and said to Frank, "There's never a dull moment with you two guys around is there?" Frank and Tyler chuckled.
John looked at Jean, "You have five minutes to be in uniform and accompany me to the Officer in Charge."
"He's not in until morning sir, it's past 8:00 pm," Jean stated in reply.
John took his cell phone out and stepped out through the door to speak into it. He returned a moment later to find Jean hadn't moved. "Tyler, when was the last time you ever heard me repeat an order?"
"Never, sir. Never have I heard you repeat an order."
"You're right. I have good people around me and they know to do what they were told the first time."
Tyler looked at John, "And we are very loyal to you as well, you don't need to say anything twice to us."
"But, there is a cadet still standing exactly where he was when I told him to get into his uniform."
Jean was beginning to shake.
In a voice rarely heard by anyone since John had left the Academy when he was the Sergeant Major, "MOVE YOUR ASS NOW!" The voice echoed through the dorm as if it had been yelled through a PA system. Jean moved to his pit and started to get dressed.
"The rest of you, stand easy," John said calmly. He moved to where Jean was getting dressed. "So Constable, you don't like bisexual people. What do you think of gays?"
Jean stopped and looked at the Officer, "I don't have an opinion on that."
John leaned forward so his nose was touching Jean's nose. "Are you expecting me to believe you don't like bisexuals but don't have an opinion on gays? Do you think I am that stupid?"
"Yes, I mean no sir. I tolerate gays."
John stepped back, "You tolerate gays? You tolerate gays? What do you mean by tolerate gays?"
Jean answered as he was tucking in his shirt, "I don't know Sir."
"Be a man, probably for the first time in your life, Constable. Be a man and own up to what your beliefs are. You told me that you have a right to your opinions about Indians and gays, be a fucking man and tell me what they are."
"Sir, that language offends me."
John was about to become unglued. In his best Drill Sergeant voice, he screamed at the young man, "I do not give a royal fucking shit if you are offended by the language I am using. You will hear worse in the real world and you of the snowflake generation cannot run away crying because someone offends you. You need to do your job, to the best of your ability, and equally with every person you deal with in the job. Now Constable, answer my questions about Indians and gays."
"I believe Indians should be cut off from support and made to work. I don't believe bisexuals or gays should be in a position of power to prey on weaker people. It's a lifestyle choice they made, and I do not understand them."
The door had opened and the Officer Commanding, Superintendent Skillet, was standing in the dorm watching the two men. During the pause, he stepped up to John and clearly said, "Reporting as requested Chief Superintendent." Neither of the officers had their actual uniform caps on inside the building so no saluting was required.
John turned to the Superintendent, "Did you hear enough to understand the problem?"
"Yes sir, I did."
"May I leave this in your more than capable hands, Superintendent?"
"Yes sir, you may. I appreciate the confidence in me."
"Additionally, I have also been told he may have harassed someone into quitting because they were bisexual. Please investigate that as well."
"He also claimed my language offended him. Please investigate and obtain statements to specify as much as reasonably practicable, what swear words and how often this recruit has used them while here. If he has used the words I used, write him up for insubordination by making frivolous complaints."
Jean sucked his breath in deeply.
"Yes, sir. I will do it."
"One final thing Superintendent."
"My husband would like you to come for dinner on Saturday at 5:00 pm. Would that be suitable?"
"Of course, sir. My wife would enjoy a supper prepared by your husband."
Jean was looking at the Chief Superintendent with huge eyes.
"I am one of those you do not understand. I'm gay. But, I'm a Chief Superintendent in this police force and my job is to ensure people who are tainted like you do not make it into the real world as a police officer to prey on the people who don't fit into your neat little definition of the world."
The Superintendent encouraged Jean to move faster. A moment later, they both left the dorm.
John looked around the dorm at all the men staring back at him. "Does everyone here eat pizza and drink soda?"
The group hesitantly answered yes.
"Sergeant, call my husband at the restaurant and tell him I'm ordering 10 of his pizzas. Whatever he wants to make and I need them in 30 minutes when you pick them up with the Constable-for-life." The last comment brought a couple of snickers out of the recruits.
Tyler stood straight, "With all due respect sir," and stuck his tongue out at him. That brought a gasp from the group of recruits.
"Troop, make note. That is why the little shit is Constable-for-life," said John with a smile.
Frank walked over with the phone to his ear, "Sir, Gus is going Greek on me."
"Tell him Dominos could do it," said John with a really big smile.
There was lots of yelling in English and Greek heard coming out of the phone Frank was holding back from his ear. "I think he heard you, Sir."
John laughed, "He'll have them done as soon as he can for you two to pick up. Have him charge my office for the food."
Tyler looked over at Adam and held his arms open. "You gonna come give your big brother a hug?" He didn't need to be asked twice as Adam jumped over the bed to grab Tyler.
"Can I come with you, Tyler?" asked Adam.
"Of course you can but you get the back where some drunk puked before we got here."
Adam looked with his mischievous smirk, "Again? That happened last time too."
When they got back with the pizza's, they found John sitting on the end of the bed with his boots off and enjoying himself. The tie was loosened, the flack vest was off, and he was sitting back. The troop members had been telling him training stories, and he was telling them a few of his own. Jean had come back and packed up his kit. He was being moved to the administration dorm until they could determine what to do. He didn't say a word while he was there, and John noticed the relief on the troop mates faces as he left as well. They dropped their guard enough to speak freely in front of John about Jean.
One of the men asked about Tyler being a brother, and Frank as a father to Adam. He told them of the family they had, and some of the stories the brothers had gone through. Tyler spoke up and explained Adam had been trained as a medicine man in the traditional healing techniques. The troop was surprised when John had added, without too much detail, the traditional healing techniques had saved his husband's life by treating a defect in his heart. The Chief Superintendent made it very clear that was one of the reasons it was so important to understand the community you are serving and the people within it. A couple of the recruits volunteered they were indigenous but had been afraid to say anything.
One young man who stood 6'6" moved to the centre of the group and asked for their attention. When they were all staring, Tyrone said, "I have a confession, something I've been keeping from you guys."
The group looked at him with interest.
"I've been hiding this, and it's time to share it with everyone," he continued. "I want you to know, and I hope this won't change anything between us, I'll be the same guy tomorrow as I was today and yesterday, but… I'm black."
There was dead silence in the dorm until John started laughing at the announcement. He got up and hugged Tyrone as he continued to laugh.
The men finished off the pizza and soda as the lights out warning was given. One of the recruits had commented about hearing Adam talk more tonight than he had the entire time while in training.
Tyler laughed and said, "We can't get him to shut up when we're together and you can't get him to talk. What's your secret?"
Adam snuck up behind him and slipped some ice from his drink down the neck of Tyler's flack vest.
Short stories I have written: