F is for field strip

Backstory for Blood On His Hands

Senior Inspector Jackson Tyler stepped onto the patio at the back of the precinct. “I have been looking all over for you…why have you field stripped your Glock?” he said.

“It didn’t feel right at the range this morning,” said Tom, a Junior Inspector for Detroit’s 12th precinct, and Jack’s partner.

“Why didn’t you leave it at the armory?”

“I should have, I know, and I will, but I just wanted to see for myself,” said Tom. The truth was, he missed the routine of field stripping a weapon. Each gun had its own peculiarities, its own wear and tear marks, its own patina. Somehow, the character of the gun said something about the character of the man who held it. He wasn’t sure what that said about him and the Gatling guns fitted to the Warthogs he flew.

He shrugged his shoulders, and glared at Jack. Caring for his gun was a form of meditation for him, a chance to reflect on life, and on death. He resented the interruption. He held the empty barrel to the light to look through it. This gun could take a life or save one in a fraction of a second, but only if it functioned properly.

Jack left him to it.  

Since Tom had joined the Inspector Corps for Detroit’s Police Department, there had never been a reason to fire his weapon in the field, but he knew it was there ready to defend him and the people he had sworn to protect. Like all officers, he practiced regularly, cleaned it as recommended, and this was the first time it felt…off. He could not explain it, especially after taking it apart and cleaning it. The barrel was smooth, the pins looked good, he saw no rough patches or scratches anywhere on it. It felt good in his hand. However, when he’d shot it at the range earlier in the day, the recoil just wasn’t right.

He sighed.

He took his time, wiping away excess oil. Sure that his gun was shiny, and clean, he put it back together. He returned to the bullpen and sat at his desk.

Jack came in and sat in the desk across from him. “The armory is taking guns for another hour. You could have it back by morning.”

“Uh, thank you. I didn’t know that’s where you went.”

“Tom, trust your intuition. Turn the damn thing in.”

Tom hugged his gun to his chest. He knew it was just a tool, but he had a personal relationship with an instrument that gave him so much power over life. Calling it a ‘damn’ thing hurt a little, though he knew Jack meant nothing by it. Though he and Jack had never discussed it, he knew Jack was as particular about his Smith and Wesson as Tom was about this gun.  

Tom said, “My place or yours for dinner tonight?”

“Let’s go wild and eat out. My treat.”

“Ooh, is that date?”

“Go turn in your gun,” said Jack, ignoring his jibe.

Tom saluted his partner. On his way out, he whistled “Life’s Lessons” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s