A secret well kept
Missing scene from 'The Specialist'
The precinct was almost empty when he entered it through the doors from the garage. The man knew well that there wouldn't be many other officers in the squadroom, meaning nobody would see him. And would there still be somebody working behind their desks, it wouldn't be an unusual sight for them to see him sitting behind his own, working late. The only thing that would make them think a bit more about it was the fact that he was alone, without his partner.
That in itself was a bit unusual, for either of them but still nothing that would be thought over that long. At least until the next morning when they both would be arriving together again. But for tonight, he was alone, silently ascending the stairs towards the squadroom and finding the large room behind the swing doors empty. He sighed relieved and slowly went to the Captain's office. This room too was empty and he closed the door behind him. On Captain Dobey's desk there were a lot of reports, most of them arresting reports and other folders filled with information on current cases. At the bottom of one of the stacks he found what he had been looking for, the thing he'd come for. Captain Dobey mustn't have seen that particular report yet since it was under the other folders and the man took a deep breath, feeling again very much relieved at that. He had to know what was inside, he had to know the truth. He knew what it would cost him to know but even more when he didn't know.
I know I shouldn't have come here tonight, sneaking into Dobey's office and snatching that report from his desk. I don't know what I was thinking but not knowing would be worse. Still, I can feel my hands shaking right now. I don't want to open the folder but I have to.
I know the Captain will tell us about the results of the investigation, or I hope he will but can't be sure. So that's why I'm here, I couldn't sleep that great anyways. Not knowing really takes your sleep. I've been down this road before but why is it this time that I'm scared to know the truth? Maybe it's because I really don't know this time or maybe this time it concerns him as well, as deeply as me. I have to know though, can't stall any longer.
The man took a deep breath and finally opened the manila folder in his hands. He skipped over the details on the investigation and went straight for the conclusions, the undeniable proof of the ballistics report. His hands shook even more when realization sunk in that he was cleared on the shooting but his partner wasn't. As if the typed letters were mocking him, they still were there and didn't go away, no matter how much he wished for them to. Or at least to change.
He knew what would happen if his partner would find out, he also knew what would happen if the Captain saw the report, or IA. But for the moment the man didn't care at all about Dobey or the bloodhounds of the Internal Affairs department or what they would think. All that mattered at the moment was his partner for him and what it would do to him and in the second when that settled into his mind, he knew with perfect clarity what he had to do.
The man took the folder and went to the door, slowly opening it and peeking outside, to ensure that nobody had returned to the squadroom while he'd been inside the Captain's office. It seemed that whoever was looking out for them from up there must have been on duty tonight, to guard and protect them and that's exactly what he was about to do as well. He went straight for his desk, not knowing when somebody else would just burst into the room or how much time he had exactly to complete his task. But one thing he knew, he had to hurry. As well as he knew his partner, it could be possible as well that he would be the one sneaking into the squadroom like he had done, for the exact same reason.He opened the folder and put the sheets on the table, sorting them and reading the report for real this time. It wouldn't do any good if he'd overlooked something when he got started. Then it would be reason for a more thorough investigation and then they sure would find out what he'd done tonight. But he was lucky, he only had to work with the last page of the report. The man put the other papers back into the folder and left the final page on his table. Then he put out his typing machine and inserted a fresh piece of paper, flexing his fingers and started typing, careful to keep his wording the same style like the rest of the report.
I wasn't really prepared for what I read in the report. I know I'd braced myself for it and had considered the possibility of it but seeing it on paper is really something different. I'd been prepared for it to be me but then reading the other truth it was well...Being honest to myself, it shocked me to the core. And feeling what reading the report did to me I can't begin to imagine what this must feel like for him should he read it. There's only one solution to the problem. He musn't find out, ever.
I just hope that the Captain really hasn't read the report yet but how could he have? That folder was at the bottom of his stack of reports and he wasn't even through with our last one, the file at the top. Dobey hasn't called any of us in yet, but he sure will, once he finds the report in the morning. Or maybe he won't, knowing what this'll do to my partner. But even he can't escape his responsibility as our superior officer, and our friend and neither can I escape that same responsibility I have for my partner, my best friend.
Right now I'm thinking what to write, how to make it work. The ballistics
report said that the bullet came from his gun. The bullet that killed the poor
woman. I know it was an accident, a tragic accident and he doesn't deserve to
beat himself over it. And I know that's what's going to happen, once he'll find
out. He just doesn't deserve that, he blames himself for too many things already,
things he has no control or influence over.
I know that the poor woman didn't deserve to be shot, but sometimes things like this happen, unfortunately too often and him blaming himself for it doesn't bring her back either. Just like it doesn't bring back our two brother cops that got killed in the wake of this case. And I know he's already blaming himself for that somehow, even without knowing the results of the investigation. But finding out that he might have been right all the time will surely eat him up from the inside.
I have to make sure that the part I'm re-writing now matches the rest of
the report so he won't find out, or anybody else. But I know he'll recognize
my style of writing as soon as he looks at the whole thing so I have to be careful.
I have to make sure that he won't ever find out the truth about the shooting,
the real report.
I don't know where he is right now, home probably but I know he at least will wait until tomorrow to come here and find out himself what the ballistics report said; he'll wait until after tomorrow's shift and then probably try to get rid of me so he can go through the files, unless Dobey hasn't called us in by then.
The man continued typing the report, or rather re-typing the last part that was the one most important part of the whole report. From time to time he looked up; especially every time when somebody went by on the outside of the room he froze slightly, thinking they would come in and find him or worse, it could be his partner. He sure wouldn't let himself be fooled into leaving him to work alone should he arrive against the odds.
But then he was finished and he leaned back, taking deep breaths and thanking whomever was watching him that he could finish his task without interruption. He then faked the signature of the investigator and set it under the page he'd just written. After putting it back into the folder with the rest of the report, he stood up and made his way back to the Captain's office to return the folder on the desk from where he'd taken it. Inside the office he hesitated shortly, thinking that he'd forgotten something important. Stepping towards the desk, he put down the folder first and then he took out his gun.
I'm finished but still I have to do one more thing before I can put the file back. I have to switch the bullet, the one real piece of evidence that will mark my report a lie. I have to be thorough, you know? I can't leave anything open, any questions left should there be an investigation again on this one. So I'm taking one of my own and replace the bullet in the bag with it, his bullet. I could've just as easily put that one on one of the others involved in the shooting but I couldn't. It wouldn't be right to do that and honestly I never even thought about that. I know very well the risk of taking this on me, it could leave me with a criminal charge at worst but it's a risk I'm taking. For him. And it's not the first time I'm taking that risk for him.
So here again I'm tampering with evidence, commiting a crime to protect my partner. And I'd do it again if I ever have to, without hesitation and without any second thoughts. I know he'd do the same for me.
Maybe Dobey will tell us about the results tomorrow and then he'll put the file away. The case was resolved and nobody will have to know about the real results of the investigation of the shooting that started it; it won't change anything that happend, only bring more pain. And that is the last thing that we need or he should have at the moment. It's hard enough as it is. He'll never know the truth, he just can't know.
The man slipped the bullet he'd taken out of the bag before he'd replaced it with one of his own into the pocket of his jeans and then left for the garage where he'd left his car. He knew he'd done the right thing. As he walked down towards his car, he took out the bullet again, held it inside his palm and looked at it. One tiny piece of metal, capable of causing so much pain as he knew from personal experience as well as from the outside view. For a moment he thought about telling his partner about what he'd done today, tell him about the truth one day but he dismissed that thought again. No, he silently vowed to keep that secret well, keep it with him until he'd died; take it with him so that his partner would never know.
This was a secret that he'd even keep from his partner.
He couldn't see the other man stepping out of the shadows after he was gone, making his own way upstairs towards the squadroom...