Author's notes: Brigatti was in my head, so I wrote her thoughts on Fatal Edition. This is not a recap of the ep, but hopefully a different perspective on a great episode. Please do not forward without my permission. Feedback is not required, but is always nice to read. And thank you, thank you, thank you, Mary P for beta reading. :)
Send feedback to: papercat @ optonline.net
Standard disclaimer and all that.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Train, the Dark, and Other Things
by Ms. Panther
I hate paperwork. I'd rather have root canal than spend a day at
my desk, tying up the loose ends of my closed cases and typing up my notes.
It's not that I'd rather someone committ a heinous crime just to get me away
from my desk. It's just, I'd rather be out on the street chasing down
leads and hauling in suspects to be interrogated. In fact, the interrogation
is probably my favorite part of the job. There's a moment during just
about every interview where the suspect screws up, gets tripped up in his
own lies, and you know, you just know that you've got 'em. Of course,
I kinda enjoy watching them squirm even before that moment comes.
Paul Armstrong's got me riding a desk for two weeks, because I ignored regulations and disobeyed his orders on a case. Never mind that I was right all along. Usually, I'm a by-the-book cop, same as Paul. But where we differ is, the book goes out the window for me when it comes to one Gary Hobson.
Hobson was innocent. I knew it down deep in my gut. No matter what the evidence pointed to, there was no way I could really believe he'd kill someone. It's the eyes. The eyes rarely lie. Sure, Hobson's eyes hide secrets, but not murder.
Every cop in the precinct thinks I've got a thing for Hobson, and I guess they're right. But I'd never admit that out loud. It's bad enough to have everyone prying into your personal life, but when that personal life involves feelings for a guy who's always in the midst of trouble, usually
involving a crime, well it makes it that much worse. Hobson's a mystery to all of us, and I guess I can understand everyone's curiosity. After all, it's our job to unravel mysteries, and expose secrets. We're cops.
That night I found Hobson in my apartment, I was scared. I wasn't afraid of him, really. I was more afraid that I'd give in to that hopeless, pleading look in his eyes and let him stay. I could've lost my whole career if I'd done that, and for one weak moment, I almost didn't care. If he'd pressed me just a little bit further, I'd have given in. I can only say that my years of following procedure to the letter kept me from it. It was reflex to pull my gun. He *was* a fugitive, after all. I reached for the phone, but Hobson started to leave, and so I let him go. Just like that. Procedure be damned.
The next day I checked over all the notes on his case, carefully, hoping against hope I'd find something new. Something that would point to Hobson's innocence. When he faxed me the notes on Scanlon's murder-for-hire investigation, I knew that was where the answer lay. I just couldn't get Paul to listen to me though.
Funny thing is, if I'm biased where Hobson is concerned, so is Paul Armstrong. We're just at opposite ends of the scale. He was so determined that Hobson's secrets meant he was guilty, that he refused to hear any other theories or look at any other possibilities. Usually Paul will at least consider another side. But not when it comes to Hobson. He took me off the case that very night, and I might've given up and gone home if it were anybody else but Hobson. I just couldn't get those pleading eyes out of my mind though. "Help me!," he'd said, and that's just what I intended to do.
I found myself at the coroner's office asking questions that he really didn't want to answer. He seemed to be annoyed about breaking a light bulb or something. Looking back, I guess he was nervous and with good reason. I risked another blow to my career and called Paul. I just had to make him listen, 'cause this time I had compelling evidence of the murder-for-hire operation; evidence that could not be dismissed as coincidence. Evidence that might help clear Hobson. Paul began to listen this time, and as I explained the situation to him, my glance fell onto the pictures tacked to the work station--Savalas and Arbethnot. A coroner and a cop! Of course! It all made perfect sense, but I didn't get the chance to tell Paul because at that moment the whole world became fuzzy, and then went black.
I don't really know how long I was unconscious. I only remember the darkness as my eyes struggled to adjust and the tingling feeling in my arms and legs that were pressed against what I surmised was a spare tire. I felt the unforgiving metal of the trunk as my head made contact with it, and I groaned softly. I could see faint lights flashing past and the red glow of the brakes and I could hear the distant sound of a train whistle. I was disoriented for a few minutes, and then I was just angry. My anger was soon replaced by gratitude that Jake was stupid enough not to kill me right off and to leave me with my cell phone and gun, plus he popped the trunk when the car came to a stop. Clearly he was not the brains of the operation.
I called for back-up before he discovered I was conscious, and then all hell broke loose. If I hadn't been so woozy still, I might've been more helpful. As it was, I was hard pressed to focus on anything. I saw Savalas shoot Paul in the leg. Not too smart on his part either. I'm thinking he could've used some extra time at the shooting range. I felt the rumble of the train bearing down on Hobson and Savalas, before I actually saw it, and for one brief moment I thought if I shot at it, I could stop it. At some point, I caught Jake trying to sneak away--the little weasel. And then, finally, Winslow showed up with reinforcements and Jake and Savalas were taken into custody.
I was still jittery from the drug Jake had given me as I sat in the ambulance with Paul. I knew he felt bad, and it wasn't just from the bullet in his leg either. He'd put Hobson through hell--the man who once saved the lives of both his wife and unborn child, and now he was struggling to say something that would make it all okay. I knew just how he felt. Cops aren't supposed to be wrong--at least not when lives are at stake. And they're not accustomed to admitting when they are wrong. Besides all that, Hobson was a hard person to apologize to. He's just so damn forgiving and ...well, nice. If he got angry and railed at the injustice that nearly ruined his life, it might be easier to dismiss him. But he didn't. He just shook Paul's hand, gave
him that 'everything's okay' look and that was that.
My own eyes met with Hobson's and I barely heard Paul ask me how I knew he was innocent. I never did give him an answer. How could I explain it, when I didn't fully understand it myself? Yes, Hobson is odd and secretive, and yet he's also compelling and extraordinarily kind. There's a message that's always there in his eyes, and it was shining out at me through the darknesss of the trainyard that night. "You can believe in me," it said. And I did.
But that's not exactly something I can put in an official report.
Email the author: