E is for Elliot – Open House #atozchallenge

I’ve already talked about Elliot a little bit over on Darkness PD’s ‘E for Elliot’, but there’s some other stuff I wanted to share so I thought I’d post it here.

As you’re all probably aware, one of the most enduring nightmares I’ve ever had was ‘The wall’.  I’ve mentioned it a few times I think, but I thought I’d write about it today because it shows how deeply Elliot affects me.

I’ll write about ‘The Wall’ later, but I thought I’d share a story snippet I wrote that’s the day before Elliot goes off to deal with the events in Glass Block
This originally appeared on various blogs on my birthday a year or two ago, but I thought I’d share again, given everyone’s been saying how neat Glass Block looks… 

Open House

Sometimes, I wonder why I bother, I thought, looking around the room.  Five visitors sat in the barely adequate chairs, watching and listening to the hum and howl of the station around them.  One woman wrinkles her nose in distaste as people stagger past – a drunk, draped on a woman that could kindly be described as worn out.  Her saggy breast almost falling out of a threadbare dress that is several years too young for her, and wasn’t in style when it was new.  Its Lycra is sagged and pulled in various places, and the wide V at the front gives a view of flaccid, wrinkled skin.

“Welcome to the main station,” I say, crossing to them.  I can see them eyeing me up, and I know what they’re seeing.  A bleary-eyed detective in a suit as wrinkly as the ineffectual bosom of that prostitute – three day stubble, blood shot eyes.  But I smell clean, and I smile as disarmingly as I can.

“You’re the last group I’m taking on this tour,” I say, as they’re all lead to the desk.  Brochures are handed out, and I explain, briefly what we’ll be doing.

“So, you’ll be taken into the back offices of CORETEX.  If there are no crimes currently being logged and booked, I will demonstrate the system with the information outlined in this pamphlet,” I say.  The crime that we’ve chosen to use, after deliberation was CX115-AX3 – when my best friend was shot in the foyer of the station.  Because, of course, we own the footage and have no need to gain permission from the public spaces that crimes may or may not have happened at.And the prosecuted cases passing through now are in judicial limbo, as the last of the pilots are assessed. 

 Five visitor passes, handed to each of them.  “Before you take these though, I have to tell you that there are mandatory touch checks going on.  Your pass contains a sweat-spot,” All five nod happily.

Sweat spots.  As if they couldn’t just douse themselves in chemicals to suppress or invalidate the tests.  No clone would be dumb enough to come to the stationhouse anyway.

“The Open House project is designed to give you a chance to explore the CORETEX system’s practical applications in the community.  It’s our database as you know, but what has just been announced, and was piloted here, was that we’re all jacked in…”

“Is that entirely necessary?” a timid voice from behind me asks.  The small woman is one of the outlying district’s councillors – Ms Japes I think.  I put on my widest beam before turning to her, hoping my smile is as disarming as the words we’re all trained to parrot.

“CORE jacked officers are designed to be helpers in the community – it means we’re able to collate and sift evidence as we see it.  Everything is filed, and everything can be checked.  It makes the meaningless muddle meaningful.” The words are saccharine on my lips – the party line, of course.

“Why’s this your last tour?” an older, portly man asked.  “I’ve enjoyed having you testify in my courtroom,” With those words I placed him.  

“Judge Marks, I was told you’d come on one of these,”

“Gotta see what the tour is all about,” he said, patting my arm. “So, are you retiring?”

“No, off on a consult, then Beth will be imminently due…”

“Ah yes, your lovely wife.  Deepest congratulations,” I smiled.  We were travelling along the long hall, the worn tiles showing the age of the refits that were long overdue.  I could see them all looking around and wondering why we hadn’t cleaned this up instead. 
Up ahead someone was subduing a prisoner, firmly holding him face first into the wall.

“This is the perfect example of why CORETEX makes our lives much easier,”

This is the perfect example of why I hate CORE, I thought.  “So, as you can see, the officer is subduing this man for…”

“Drugs possession,” the officer supplied as I stopped, dutifully.

I nodded, “this will be documented, including his attempt to escape.  Any marks or bruises will be later documented to ensure there were no mitigating circumstances, and everything will be tracked….”

Later, much later, I was back at my desk.  The tour had gone as expected, and now, I had some clean-up to do.  I knew I was getting the consolation assignment – Cassidy had already given me it, so now, I had to pack up.  I wasn’t coming back here for a long time.
The drive home was interesting.  Snow everywhere, the first flurries of the year.  And every channel, every station was talking about ‘Big Brother with Blood’ and how UCPS had set something up that was perfect for the burgeoning problems in the city.  I looked over at my rucksack, at the CD I’d been given, and at the official files and sighed. The prison consult was going to be so dull, but then I could return to my girl, and we could get ready for the baby.

The publishing date for Glass Block has moved to April 30th, but I’m still running the giveaway!  What do you think though?  Wanna meet Elliot again?

Tomorrow’s post is F is for Fear…

Wanna be in with a chance to win?  I’m giving away a Kindle Fire or a Fitbit.  There are lots of entry options! a Rafflecopter giveaway