February 27, 2015

It happened almost every night, although this was the first time he’d been called out.

It was harmless, really.

A bunch of teenagers hanging around at the reservoir. The makeshift campfire and the few torches stuck in the ground didn’t shed very much light, but it was enough to see what was going on. Groups of kids were scattered around the silvery water, flirting and drinking illicit cans of beer, probably swiped from their parents’ cupboards. Some were huddling by the campfire, although the night wasn’t cold, so he could presume they had other reasons for it.

Every now and then, he’d hear a splash and know some kid had jumped off of the little ridge and into the reservoir itself. If he listened, he could hear splash-fights and laughter from not too far away.

If he was honest with himself, he was a little jealous of them. He shrugged his shoulders, shifting them around inside his uniform, trying in vain to get comfortable. The navy blue uniform with the bright, shiny badge on it might look authoritative, but the wool was itchy as hell, especially on this hot and muggy July night.

Honestly, he wasn’t sure why he was there – it wasn’t like there was a crime being committed. The old lady at the edge of the forest preserve had called in a ‘nuisance’, as she usually did. It couldn’t be because of the noise. There was music blaring, but they were nowhere near her house – no way she could hear it. No – she’d seen the cars driving past her house and called it in anyway.

And what was wrong with what they were doing, really?

Everyone deserves to have some nights like this. To be young and free, with no reason to get up early and no reason to care.

Another distant splash distracted him.

He’d never had this, although it was really no one’s fault but his own.

He’d seen the caravan of beat-up cars driving to the reservoir on hot summer nights. He’d had his chance. And he’d blown it. Either too awkward or too scared to go, he’d spent his summer nights reading on the porch, watching the bugs get zapped one at a time as they flew into the neon light.

So he’d never had this.

And now, years later, he was supposed to bust up somebody else’s fun.

He knew he could. That he’d wade into the group of kids and tell them to break it up and head home. And they’d roll their eyes and pack it up, moving the party to somebody’s basement – whoever’s parents happened to be out of town.

But he didn’t want to.

No – he knew what he wanted.

And really – no really – now that he stopped to think about it… why shouldn’t he?

Sometimes in life, opportunities pass you by. Sometimes it’s too late.

And sometimes it isn’t.

None of the kids sitting by the reservoir heard the cop show up – his car wasn’t any louder than any of theirs and he hadn’t turned on his sirens or his lights.

He started with the short-sleeved itchy wool shirt. Then came the trousers.

He didn’t see the shocked looks on their faces as he leapt off of the ridge, cannon-balling into the reservoir wearing only his boxers.

He didn’t care.

But damn, it felt good.

Writing Prompt:

1000+ words * A Police Officer * shedding inhibitions

(under word count for once…)

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