Hello. So nice to have you drop by again this week to view my offering for Tuesday Tales. Last week you met Charley. Today, I want to introduce you to the hero of the story, a hard-working, slightly jaded, but still open to the possibility that there’s still something good in this world. Here’s the next section of Hello Again.
Constable Bill Murdock of the RCMP cursed and reached over to slap the snooze button on his alarm clock. First day of his summer vacation, and he’d forgotten to turn the damn thing off. He’d planned to sleep in this morning, and maybe go fishing on the Qu’Appelle River this afternoon. The last thing he wanted to do was get up at 5:00 as if it were a workday. He tossed and turned, and gave up just as the alarm radio came on again.
“Good morning, Regina,” the announcer cried in a bad imitation of Robin William’s Good Morning, Vietnam character. “It’s going to be a hot one out there, folks. The mercury will hit ninety this afternoon, but with the humidex, something folks from the east understand and we don’t, it’ll feel like a hundred and ten. There’s a chance for severe weather, maybe a thunder boomer with hail later in the day. Remember kids and pets suffer more than you do in the heat, so give them lots of water and keep them cool. And for heaven’s sake don’t leave either one sweltering in a car in a parking lot! It’s a good day to stay indoors in the AC if you have it. If you don’t, the city has set up cooling stations …”
Bill got out of bed and padded to the bathroom. His apartment was only slightly cooler than hell, but the idea of being out on the river in the heat didn’t seem as appealing as it had. In this weather, crime statistics actually went up. Sizzling temperatures sparked hot tempers, and toss in more than a few beer to keep cool, you ended up with all kinds of mayhem. He stretched, looked at himself in the mirror, and tuned on the faucet in the tub. A cold shower would cool him off. He stepped into tub and yanked the shower curtain across. The icy water cooled his feet. Pulling up the shower toggle, he allowed the frigid water to run down his body. He shivered and added warmer water to the mix.
He was flexible. If he couldn’t fish, he could always make himself useful. He could go over to the museum. They were always happy to have off-duty men help out with the tourist.Besides, it was air conditioned and would be busier than usual on a day like this.
He soaped his body, washed his hair and rinsed it, and then turned off the tap. Opening the curtain and reaching for the towel, the familiar ring from work sounded loudly. Who the hell called in on a day like this? The station and patrol cars were air conditioned.
“Murdock,” he said loudly, not even trying to hide his aggravation.
“Bill, sorry to piss on your parade. Carlson’s wife went into labor, and he’s at the hospital. I know it’s your first day of vacation, but you did say you’d be available in an emergency.”
Bill chuckled.He really had to think twice before he spoke at times. “Hell, you know me. I’m flexible. Besides, it’s too hot to do what I’d planned on anyway. What’ll I be doing?”
“Carlson was going to Carry the Kettle this morning to get a statement from the Nakoda chief about that problem they had last month with those bikers.”
Bill smiled. That wasn’t so bad. A long, cool car ride and a visit to the reservation might just make the miserably hot day wroth it–not to mention the overtime he’d log.
“Sintaluta’s only an hour away. The cruiser’s air conditioned, and so are the Nakoda council offices. Martin’s expecting someone today. So can I count on you?”
“It beats sitting around in this pressure cooker. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
Hanging up the phone, he put on his uniform, and headed out the door. After visiting his favorite drive through for coffee and a muffin, he pulled into the RCMP parking lot.
“Murdock, I thought you were going fishing?” Greer, the dispatcher, asked.
“In this weather? It’s hotter than Hades out there, and it’s only seven. Without AC, I’d rather be here.”
“There’s a big storm coming in, and we’ve had brown outs twice. I’m heading to the cottage for the weekend, and I intend to immerse myself in Last Mountain Lake as long as I can. You’re welcome to join me.” She batted her eyes at him.
“Yeah, I’m sure that partner of yours would like that. Tell Sheila I said thanks, but no thanks.”
“Well, if you change your mind …”
Bill laughed and waved. Kathy Greer was at least twenty years older than he was and as committed to her life partner as he’d ever seen anyone. Sheila had suffered a stroke last winter, but was on the mend. Love was love regardless of gender. It pissed him off when people belittled it. He’d give anything to find the forever kind of love they had, or that his folks had had, but so far, love wasn’t in the cards for him.
He’d dated, had done the horizontal mambo a time or two with some delectable ladies, but he’d yet to finds a woman who shared his interests and wouldn’t resent the demands of his job. Too many officers married women ill-prepared to accept the long hours and dangers of the job. It was funny how many broken engagements and relationships came on the heels of an RCMP shooting.
He sighed. Better alone than broken-hearted.
Waving at Kathy, he headed up to the second floor to sign in.
That’s it for this week. Don’t forget to check out all the other great story starts at Tuesday Tales