“Distrust”

The street crowd
clapped their hands
and stomped their feet
as a man in a gray hoodie
threw a jab
a right cross
an uppercut
a hook
at a non-existent opponent.

A passing patrolman
judged the man and the crowd
harmless.
He started to leave
as the boxer advanced
toward him.

The pugilist
increased his speed
and the power
behind his punches.

The tenor of the crowd
changed.
A heckler called out
“Hey, man.
Throw a real one.
Show us your stuff.”
“Yeah, your stuff,” others echoed.

The policeman’s retreat
was prevented
by onlookers
who had gathered
behind him.

“Get that cop,” a voice rang out.
“Yeah, he don’t belong here.”
“We don’t like his kind.”

The man in the hoodie
landed a jab
on the chin
of the officer of the law.
Then he reached in his pocket
flicked his thumb
and planted a hook
in his victim’s abdomen.

The policeman staggered and fell.
The boxer
pulled his switchblade
from the fallen man’s body.
“Only good cop’s
a dead cop,” he muttered
as he pushed his way
through the crowd
and disappeared.

The observers
scattered like startled geese.
Some returned home
to their TVs.
Others climbed
onto stools
at the corner pub
and pretended
they’d been there since noon.

The police questioned the locals.
No witnesses
were identified.
No informants
came forth.

However
behind closed doors
the community consensus
was
that the cop was messin’
where he didn’t belong
and maybe
he got
what he deserved.

The patrolman’s brothers in blue
took note
of the locals’ attitude
and vowed
that
from that day on
they would stay
far behind
the outer ring
of the neighborhood crowd.

(Written for dVerse, Open Link Night #159, October 29, 2015)

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This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to “Distrust”

  1. Grace says:

    How unfortunate and sad that the neighborhood has such an attitude towards the cops ~ Trust works both ways ~ A relevant write, thanks for sharing ~

  2. A sad but apt commentary on the seemingly prevailing attitude towards law enforcement these days. Peace, Linda

    • vbholmes says:

      Admittedly, there are some abuses which get played up by the media and fuel discontent. Unfortunately, the everyday heroics, big and small,rarely make the national news..

  3. That’s why the police has to be trusted.. your might wonder who was the real perpetrator, the man in the hoodie or the crowd…? or maybe a bad cop who happened to get filmed.. ? it seems like a spiral that can only wind downward… Nice to see you back at the bar.

    • vbholmes says:

      I fear the man in the hoodie is as much a victim of the crowd as the policeman is of the man. Peer pressure is a terribly powerful instigator and the boxer, who probably would have done nothing more than shadow box to please the crowd, gave into his contempt for the police when the crowd egged him on. The neighborhood’s lack of cooperation and attitude toward the killing caused the police to be overly cautious, and therefore, less effective, when in the area. It’s a vicious circle and nobody wins.

  4. MarinaSofia says:

    A rather shattering story you share with us here. I like your easy conversational style of poetry (which is actually really quite hard to achieve), Some interesting choices of line breaks too – the very short lines add to the ‘breathless’ nature of the narrative.

  5. Well.. the truth is.. for my father
    in Law Enforcement for
    46 years.
    some things
    one just cannot
    overlook.. like
    family
    and
    a need
    to survive..
    It’s a prison
    in some places
    where children fail
    Love.. and that has no
    color or hoodies.. it is
    just
    a lack
    of Love..
    and a vicious
    cycle with
    no real
    b
    Eginning
    or end for now..:)

  6. This is not an easy story. I think the casual (conversation) style works really well here.

  7. Bodhirose says:

    At first I was commending the cop for just wanting to move along and let the situation be and then the crowd took over and seemingly instigated a tragic outcome. It’s tragic in more ways than one…

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