Factual Fiction

    When I first started blogging Case Jackets, it was meant to be a creative release. It was first person, present tense. It was fiction, but based on my experiences as a detective with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC.
It wasn’t until I wrote a blog about a funeral, that I realized several readers actually thought that what I was writing was based on actual events. I received a lot of emails – readers offering sincere comfort for what was a fictional loss. I felt awkward, and that’s when I wrote back and confessed that Case Jackets was fiction. But it was fiction based on real experience. One of those experiences was based on the funeral of a good friend. 
I remember clearly sitting on a pew squeezed between older people, maybe distant relatives. My tender sinus membranes tingled to the sharp commingling scent of pine and roses. His wife sat in a pew a couple of rows in front of me, her arms gently wrapped around her two boys, holding them against her on each side. A sizable wooden cross was centered on the wall behind the pulpit. White candles with curiously still flames, lined the edge of the stage. Large, colorful floral arrangements rose above in back. The Pastor was on the stage behind a podium above the casket, reading a passage out of a large Bible. I felt mentally off balance, and the words were lost to me.
It was crowded with family, friends, and officers dressed in their Class A uniforms. Everyone huddled together according to their tribe. I recognized a few of the officers and detectives from my old district, and some of the guys from homicide.
     I’ve gone to too many funerals when I was on the job. I remember well those lonely nights at home. The city, quiet for lack of sirens, horns, loud people and the sound of their bottles breaking in nearby dumpsters.
I remember sitting on the couch for most of the night. I felt the loss but not the pain. The dead grieving the dead. That was how I always felt and why I would always sit there most of the night, in an effort to find real tears.
Yes, I have been to several funerals. I’ve lost a lot of friends and co-workers in the line of duty. I really do hate funerals. I really have never understood the custom of viewing the dead.
Cremate my human remains and if there’s a need for any ritual just keep the ashes in a clean pickle jar on a shelf beside your favorite book. I won’t have anyone charged with such a burden as arranging burial. You can count on that.

A Reoccurring Theme.

    A comfortable clutter occupies my home office, all memories that have been recently placed with calculated effort to recapture an otherwise lost civilization. I am settled here. I find solace in this room, wall to wall shelves of books beside books upon books, plants, boxes of framed accomplishments, papers, notes, odd trinkets and mementos.
I should go to bed, but sleep is a painful process. It is not something I look forward to. Unexplainable pain throughout my body. Racing mind. I have to sleep on top of the covers with a thin blanket draped over me or I feel like a body wrapped in an ace bandage.
     I know there was a time I felt different, because I’ve got friends who tell me so. But I face the past like a bug faces the windshield of an oncoming car. I don’t really have the time to reflect before I’m hit with the notion that my past is either fiction or belongs to someone else. Maybe I'll just sit here for a while, stare at all the books on the shelves. There is a certain comfort in that.