Gaelle of the Law

Gaelle’s shift at the diner was over and as she grabbed her coat, she realized that there was a fancy-looking brooch on the counter. A customer must have left it behind because they were in a rush to leave after eating. Gaelle picked the broach up and examined it. The shiny bauble was not a brooch at all. She was not sure what it was but it looked like a pendant that had something to do with the city police department. Her boss was out on business so Gaelle decided to take the initiative and return the pendant to the nearest police station on her own. It was only a few blocks and it was hardly out of her way. She slipped the pendant into her coat pocket and then she took her share of the tips and put them away.

She walked down the street and took a deep breath of city air. Everything around her was moving so fast and just teeming with life and it made her feel restless. She spent most of her days inside the restaurant. The job was hectic but lately, it had made her feel unfulfilled and completely unexcited. There was always some large party that undertipped her, some handsy guy who hit on her and a whole host of spills and messes that were always an emergency. To top it off, she was really good at the job so even the hardest days were not even challenging anymore. Her tips reflected that and for once, she was actually ahead of her bills.

She walked into the police station and it was dead quiet, a far cry from the bustling streets outside. The desk sergeant was not paying attention when Gaelle put the pendant down on the desk. She felt they would be able to figure out what it was and who it belonged to without her help. Always do good without expecting a reward. At least, that is what Gaelle’s grandmother had always said. As she turned, a man in a long, tan trench coat bore down on her. Just as Gaelle was about to step aside so he could pass, he spoke to her.

“Are you Karen Capelli?” The man said, his voice hoarse from either smoking or a lot of shouting.

Gaelle would wonder for a long time what caused the next impulse. Her lips curled into a smile and she nodded. “Yes. That’s me.”

“Good,” The man said. “I’m Sargeant Harrison. Nice to meet the new transfer. We seem to be short on detectives and we could use a new hand here, Capelli.”

Gaelle blinked. What she had intended as a funny joke to lighten her mood was quickly turning into something else. “Oh? Have things gotten that bad?”

“I am not going to lie, Capelli,” Harrison said. “It has gotten worse. It’s a war zone out there and we need all hands on deck. What do you say, new partner?” He walked over to a desk, opened the drawer and pulled out a badge and a gun. He tossed the badge to her and she caught it and it felt good in her hand. She had to tell him this was a mistake, right?

“Where do we start?” She asked. She clipped the badge to her coat and then pinned her hair back and tried to look a little tougher.

Yelling suddenly came from a radio on the desk and the voice yelled out some numbers that Gaelle did not understand and an address. Gaelle looked at Harrison and he looked very alarmed.

“Come on, Capelli. That shootout is for us,” He said. “We’re probably the closest cops to this thing.” He held out the gun to Gaelle and she watched her hand reach out and clutch the handle. She popped the chamber open like they did in the movies and looked down at what she assumed were bullets. She slammed it shut and nodded like that was exactly what she should be looking at.

“You got it, partner!” She said. “But my friends call me Gaelle. Um, it’s my middle name.”

“Guile is your middle name?” Harrison said. He laughed as they headed out the door past a tough-looking woman. Gaelle held her breath as they passed her and walked toward a beat-up muscle car. Harrison hurriedly got into the driver’s seat and Gaelle scrambled into the passenger seat. This had to be a very vivid dream that Gaelle was having. There was no way that she was carrying a gun and a badge on her way to what Harrison had said was a shootout.

“Buckle up, Guile,” Harrison said. “They don’ teach my kind of driving at the academy.”

Gaelle buckled up and shivered as the car lurched forward. She had never been in a vehicle going that fast before. Thankfully, Harrison slapped a siren onto the top of his car and everybody started to get out of their way. Her heart was beating out of her chest and she would actually welcome a shootout over the crippling panic of Harrison’s driving. At least with a shootout, she could run away.  Finally, the car skidded to a stop sideways in the middle of Barclay street. Harrison reached across her and opened her door and pushed her out as he climbed out her side.

Gaelle peered out from behind the car and she could see two factions who looked like they had actually been shooting at each other. The air smelled like burning and there were actual dead people on the ground. Gaelle gripped her new gun tight and shook and trembled.

“Police! Everybody freeze!” Harrison shouted. Somehow, those words made Gaelle bold and she nodded at Harrison in solidarity and waited to see what would happen.

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