…and why Jack wears them.
Junior Inspector Jackson Tyler survived his first major case with Detroit PD. As cases went, it was a major win for the city. No one had so brutally ravaged Detroit since 1920. He felt good about it, being the new man and not trusted as it were. It was plain ol’ good luck that his OCD fired up and plunged the thoughts of the barbarian into his mind. The killer’s thoughts were so vicious it nearly broke him.
His senior partner held him together. His gentle reassurance coaxed the details out of Jack’s manic babbling, details about the killer’s next move. Manny’s team waited for the killer and took him down with ease.
The fact that Manny didn’t run screaming from Jack’s obsessive behavior or his weird psychic visions was a miracle. He took the information at face value, and it paid off. Jack was grateful. But now Manny was pressuring him to reward himself, except Jack was not a tattoo man. What if germs crawled under his skin during the process? What if he could feel them? What if, when he looked at the tattoo a couple of days later, he hated it?
Senior Inspector Ramon ‘Manny’ Valdez sat on Jack’s desk, his arms folded, his face stern. Jack hesitated at the door to the bullpen, not wanting to face his wheedling. Manny looked at the floor and shook his head. Reluctantly, Jackson approached.
Manny tsked at him. “Come on, man. It’s what we do here. You solve a major crime; you gotta take credit for it.” He pulled off his shirt and flexed his pecs.
Impressive. The tats danced on firm muscles. Not bad for an old man. He had one over his right nipple, a short sleeve on each arm, and when he turned, his back was adorned with one on each shoulder blade. Jack was sure he had more because his career had been long and successful, but he didn’t want to think about where they were placed.
“It’s not for me, Manny.”
“What you gonna do, huh? Forget about catchin’ that slime ball?”
“I won’t ever forget,” said Jack.
“The point is to remember the good part, the part where you won. You need to give yourself a medal of some kind.”
Jack laughed. “You make it sound like a contest.”
“It is. A contest between good and evil, and good won. Get a tat.”
“I’ll think on it.” It was a lie and they both knew it.
“You let me know tomorrow. I’ll hook you up.”
Jack sighed. He slumped out of the precinct and walked home. Good and evil. It wasn’t like he actually had to battle the monster, he just tracked him. And, really, he didn’t even track him; the monster did that himself. Jack was a receiver, like a radio dialed into the Twilight Zone. Did people get medals for receiving? No. They prayed that the abhorrent thoughts would go away, and when they did, they walked home for a nice glass of something intoxicating, like the chilled vodka mojito in his refrigerator.
After dinner, with his tumbler of vodka next to him, he researched tattoos. Some indicated lineage, some religious beliefs, and others solidified cultural affiliations. Tattoos marked conquests, gang kills, and other gang activities like notches on a stick. He leaned against the back of his cushioned chair and sipped his vodka. The police force was a gang of sorts.
Manny’s voice wormed into his mind, “Get a tat.”
Jack shuddered. It would be easier to get a stick and notch it every time he caught a violent criminal. He would be easy to set it against a wall here or at the precinct. An insistent earworm, Manny laughed his head off over that notion.
He punched in another site. At the bottom of it was a link to another article, “The Cultural Use of Gold Jewelry.” Men had been wearing gold chains as status symbols throughout history. Seventy-five thousand years ago, the earliest records indicated ancient Egyptians wore them for good luck.
A gold chain. He could use more luck. He’d moved across the country to put his divorce behind him, literally. Trying to fit into another police force wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. He liked gold. He could get a fine chain, one that wouldn’t interfere with the job. He could hide it under his tee shirts like a tattoo. The more he thought about it, the more he liked the idea. He grabbed his phone to text Manny, but he didn’t punch up his number. He didn’t want to ruin the excitement of his idea or the warmth of the vodka. Manny would most certainly call him a wuss. Nope. First he would get the chain, then he would tell Manny.
Manny was right about one thing. Apprehending a murderer was a victory and he had played a major role in that. It was time to get a medal.
A gold medal.