“In nature, there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences.” Robert Green Ingersoll
“Actions have consequences…”
LAPD- SWAT Division Briefing Room – Monday Morning –
Hondo had tried several times to reach out to Buck but with no success. He couldn’t imagine how it must be for him right now. Every news broadcast seemed to be littered with Spivey’s name accusing and vilifying him as if he were Satan himself. Not even the strongest of them would be able to stand up against such persecution. Hondo’s last message warned Buck that he would stop by in person on his way home later and he’d kick the door down if he had to; whatever it took to see him face-to-face.
The shooting of Raymont Harris had served as kindling on an already out of control forest fire in the community that Hondo still called home. Contrary to what City Hall had hoped, the dismissal of Buck Spivey did nothing to end the tension in the city. Innocent people were being caught in the line of fire and the men and women in blue were having a hard time telling the good from the bad. Nothing seemed to matter and the few opportunities for police and community leaders to work together had lay wasted and the stench left a foul odor of disillusionment on both sides of the line. The body count was rising and so were tempers…this wasn’t what anyone had in mind and Hondo felt helpless as he watched his neighborhood self-destruct before his eyes.
Part of being a good leader was the ability to stay positive in the midst of uncertainty. Hondo had always dreamed of leading and making a difference. He was born for a time like this but now standing in the same spot where his friend and mentor had stood less than forty-eight hours before was daunting. This was not how he had expected his opportunity to come and right now his guilt overshadowed any semblance of joy. Still, he had a job to do and the faces seated before him were waiting for him to tell them that the job of keeping the city and each other safe wasn’t impossible. They needed him to be that strong tower, the man with the plan to make it all better. Hondo wasn’t sure how he was supposed to change things, what he did know was that if he failed there would be consequences; consequences that would create the city’s own version of Armageddon.
“Buck didn’t deserve this, you know that, right?”
Dominique Luca, had known Buck Spivey longer than any of the others. Luca had worked under him shortly after the academy and they’d formed a close bond. It didn’t sit well with Luca that his friend had been thrown out like yesterday’s garbage.
“Yeah, I know but…”
“But what? Are we supposed to just sit around and pretend everything is cool?”
“Listen, the brass has made their decision. The only thing we can do now is to make sure they don’t have a reason to come down on us again.”
“How are we supposed to do that? You see what happened to Buck!”
“We do our jobs. We protect the people of this city and we protect each other!”
Office of Jessica Cortez –
Her eyes fell on the red keychain. She hadn’t been able to move it from the place on her desk where he’d placed it when she’d asked for it back. She’d gotten what she wanted and had sealed herself firmly in the city’s history; first Latina, first female and the youngest to hold her position-all things to be proud of but circumstances required that the celebration be placed on hold for the meantime. The key sat as a delinquent omen of what her consequences looked like. Opportunity had come at a price.
“I have a surprise for you.”
She smiled looking deeply into his eyes. She saw the curiosity dancing with the twinkle that always seemed to be there whenever they were together. She pulled out of his arms and headed toward her purse that sat on the dining table. Jessica could feel the heat from his eyes as she walked away.
“Come on now, you know I don’t like surprises.”
“I think you’ll like this one.”
Pulling a small red box from her purse she exhaled nervously and turned to face him slowly closing the gap between them. She kept her gaze on him looking for a sign any sign that he would reject what she was about to offer.
“Give me your hand.”
“What are you up to?”
“Come on, hold out your hand.”
He complied reluctantly and when he did she placed the box in his hand. Without saying a word, he opened it and smiled.
“Are you sure?”
Hondo pulled the gold key from the box then looked seriously into her eyes.
“But, I thought you wanted to take things slow.”
“It’s been six months…it’s time.”
He closed his hand and smiled down at her. She smiled back relieved that he had accepted the key to her apartment. He kissed her on the lips sweetly at first then he kissed her again and again deepening the kiss each time showing her that he would cherish the gift, the offer of next steps…
The loud ringing of her phone pulled Jessica from her thoughts. It was the Police Commissioner. She’d been dreading his call all morning. There had been an unexpected development in the Raymont Harris case that was sure to cause problems for the department.
“Good morning, Commissioner…”
Her heart rate increased as the voice on the other end began to speak. It was bad, really bad.
“What? What am I supposed to tell my people, Sir?”
She rubbed her temples knowing that nothing would stave off the oncoming headache. Nothing at all.
Jessica ended the call. Looking out at nothing in particular, she knew her next call would be a difficult one.
Hondo had wasted no time in getting to her office. He’d heard a sense of urgency in her voice coupled with the request to speak in person and now he was both curious and worried. The two hadn’t spoken since the announcement of his promotion…since giving her the key back. Even though he missed her he wasn’t looking forward to seeing her so soon after their breakup.
He was never good at hiding his anger. She would never tell him that his eyebrows did a certain something when he was upset. She looked up just as he stepped through the door. The stress of the recent happenings was already showing in his face.
“Hi Hondo thanks for coming so quickly.”
“It sounded important. What’s going on that you couldn’t tell me over the phone?”
“I got a phone call from the Commissioner.”
“And the ballistics report on the bullet that hit Raymont Harris came in.”
“Okay, again why couldn’t you tell me this over the phone?”
Jessica watched the frustration and she braced herself before speaking again.
“The bullet that hit Raymont didn’t come from Buck’s gun.”
“What? How’s that possible? Buck admitted to shooting him! I.A. was so certain that they closed the case in record time! Buck lost his job, now you’re telling me that he didn’t shoot that kid?”
“Hondo, I’m sorry…”
“Sorry? This department ruined a man’s life…his career and you’re sorry? How does, sorry fix any of this?”
“I know you’re upset, I’m upset. This whole thing has implications that could take down the whole department!”
“Jessica, I don’t give a damn about this department! A man’s life has been ruined because, this department cared more about their image and politics than doing the right thing, all in the name of expediency!”
“The Mayor is planning a press conference…”
Hondo held up his hand to stop her from speaking. He’d had enough of the professionalism she hid behind; that she had become so good at in such a short time. They’d promised each other that they would not become the heartless bureaucrats they’d both grown to despise.
“Does Buck know about this?”
“Internal Affairs sent two of their investigators over to talk to him.”
“Good. I think I’ll head over there now. He’ll need a friend.”
Hondo quickly turned to head out of the office.
“What?” Slowly turning to face her again.
“I.A. got there about thirty minutes ago.”
“Did they talk to Buck?”
He saw something in her eyes…tears.
“Buck is dead, Hondo.”
“What? How? What happened?”
“When they got there his door was unlocked. They found him in the bedroom one gunshot to the head. The coroner is ruling it a suicide.”
One-hour later- Location unknown –
He heard the familiar footsteps enter the room. He’d been waiting for confirmation that his orders had been carried out. Slowly he turned to face the large imposing figure standing before him.
“Is it done?”
“Yeah boss, it’s done.”
“I made it look like a suicide. They’ll never figure it out, trust me.”
“Good, very good.”
“Now we wait.”
“One of Satan’s most deceptive and powerful ways of defeating us is to get us to believe a lie. And the biggest lie is that there are no consequences to our own doing. Satan will give you whatever you ask for if it will lead you where he ultimately wants you.” Charles Stanley