I splashed it against my face: once, twice, thrice, till I could no longer feel any sense of nausea. It has become my routine ever since O’Maley first suggested that it might help. In a way, I guess, it did. The others, especially Williamson, thought I was a wimp, that I didn’t have it in me to take it like a man. But, I didn’t care. We all do what we can to make it easier. And this is what I do.
A few moments later, I was staring at the grass on the front yard, holding an empty water bottle in my left hand and drying my right hand over my uniform. My face felt cold. I needed it. I left my face damp, with no intention of drying it as I recollected what just happened.
The 911 call was a routine call. That's what the dispatcher had said, and had asked us to check on a old couple. The couple’s daughter was that one that called. She had tried to reach her parents for the past few days but never got through. The phone kept ringing and going to the answering machine. She tried to keep herself calm. But, after a week, she decided to call 911.
Williamson and I took the call and drove to the neighborhood. As soon as we reached the home, something about it told me that things weren’t right. As we walked to the front door, I noticed the previous days’ newspapers were lying on the front yard, indicating that no one's home.
When we reached the front door, Williamson knocked on the door, announcing us. I looked to my left and right and saw a few glares from either direction, from mostly senior citizens, wondering what was happening. A patrol car in front of a home does have that effect on people.
I ignored them, left Williamson to wait at the front door and walked to the backyard. That’s when I found out what had been wrong all along. There was a dead dog in the backyard; it had been dead for a so long that it had even stopped smelling. I was surprised that no one ever called in earlier.
I started to run back to the front door. As I ran, radioed Williamson about the dog. He got the hint. I radioed in the emergency dispatcher as well for a backup and possible ambulances.
As soon as I reached the front door, Williamson kicked it open.
“Police”, we announced ourselves.
No sooner did we step in, I almost threw up at the sight awaiting us. I immediately got out again and ran to the patrol car, took out a bottle of water and splashed my face.
The water felt cold.
A few hours later, I was in front of another front door. This time, everything around me felt cold, not just the water, not just the autumn breeze, not just the chaotic silence.
When the door finally opened, I announced, “Mrs. Jacobs, I am detective Gary and this is my partner, detective Williamson. We have some very bad news for you”.
My heart turned cold.