“Target” by Maria T. Groschup-Black

Target
Image courtesy of USAF Art program and Victor Juhasz, artist.

The ending is always the same: Two shots to the chest, one to the head. He falters.

Two to the chest, one to the head. I’ve hit him. Why doesn’t he stop? Six to the chest and reload. He doesn’t stop. He doesn’t bleed.

I wake up. I am sweating; my heart is pounding. The beat echoes in my head like the rhythm of a bass drum. Every muscle is tense. I pull my lover close and whisper “I had the dream again.” I used to have that dream a lot, but I don’t sleep much anymore.

I get up.  I pour myself a drink.

Some say the dream is “insecurity.” Some say it represents a “lack of skill.”  Others say “fear.”  For me, the dream is much more.  Targets don’t bleed.  No matter the interpretation, they all say it is a common dream among police officers.

I’ve been on the force for twelve years. Twelve years is a long time. I am callous. I am indignant and arrogant. I shout at the television.

“You weren’t there, Asshole!  What do you know about my job?”

My lover tells me to calm down. I pour myself a drink.

A suspect high on drugs and alcohol resists and beats an officer with his own nightstick. He is shot. The public calls him “Martyr.” They call the officer “Murderer.”

And I? I pour myself a drink.

I get ready for work. My lover whispers “come home to me.” These words say it all. Without them my night is empty. We’ve been together a long time.

“Come home to me.”  She says.

“I will.” I promise.

I come home.

“How was your night dear?” She asks.

“Nothing special” I say.

I could tell her the stories, but I don’t talk about work anymore.

I want a drink. I go to a meeting.

I am angry. The public I have sworn to protect has turned its’ back on me.

“Walk in my shoes!” I shout.

They question my every step, my every method. They ask me to protect them, to solve their problems and to counsel them. I protect them. They want me fired.

“Walk in my shoes!” I shout.

I need a drink. I go to a meeting.

I go to meetings a lot now. I tell them I am angry; I am indignant.

“You did this to me! You, the public I serve and protect! Who will protect me?”

I tell them I am powerless and go home.

I wake up. I am sweating; my heart is pounding. I hear each beat echo in my mind.

Babump! Every muscle is tight.

Babump! I scream.

Babump! I pull my lover close.

Two shots to the chest, one to the head. He falters. Two to the chest, one to the head. He stops. He bleeds.

And I? I pour myself a drink.

I don’t sleep much anymore.

 

 

Maria T. Groschup-Black worked for 18 years in San Diego local law enforcement, first as Deputy Marshal and later as a police officer for the S.D Harbor Police. She currently resides in Spring Valley with her spouse of 10 years and their 3 children ages 10, 7, and 6. Her credits include articles written for and sold to Police Chief Magazine and Fire Chief Magazine. When not at work, Maria spends her day repairing the damage caused by three rambunctious boys while squeezing in a few moments of time for reading and writing.

 

Comments are closed.