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The Trashcan Robot

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posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 11:41 AM
'Stop it!' she yelled. 'I don't BELIEVE you!'
'I'm afraid it's true, ma'am.' The department's chaplain, a twenty five year veteran of the force, was at a loss for what to do next. This was his least favorite part of the job.
'I'm sure it was quick.'
'It was QUICK?!' The anger welling up took her mind off of the grief.
'It was QUICK?! You heartless bastard!' She pounded on his chest with both hands.
He was used to the outbursts, the disbelief and equally used to what usually followed; the inconsolable grief.
'I'm sorry. He was a good man. Is there anything I can do?' He knew the answer. There was never anything he could do.
Somehow this responsibility had fallen into his lap ten years before and he seemed to be stuck with it now. Many days he dreaded going to work and others he tried his hardest to do what no one else wanted to and struggled to do it with compassion. They were all people, after all.
'Just get out. Just go and leave me alone.'
'Yes ma'am. Can I call anyone for you?'
'Just get out.'
He walked out the door and paused for a second to listen. 'She might change her mind,' he mumbled in his head.
He thought the silence was unusual but it was only because it was being drown out by the relief that his part was over and the gratitude that, for another day, it was someone else and not him.

His ford was older, probably the oldest in the fleet. He didn't need 'all that fancy stuff' that the younger guys seemed so impressed with.
He was from a simpler time, when cops walked their beats and actually talked to people like they WERE people. The younger guys always prodded him. 'What's UP, Barney, How's it hanging, Tut,' Kids can be so cruel. Cops can be worse. Just this morning one of those 'punks' asked him if he knew Jesus. When he answered 'Not really." the kid said, 'that’s surprising. Didn't you two wander around healing lepers together?'
He always tried to blow the comments off, but he was a human too, after all. The last thing he was EVER going to do was let them know they had gotten to him.
He often found himself chuckling inside when he saw the guys decked out in 'all that fancy garb.' They looked more like soldiers than cops. They didn't iron their shirts, or shine the bars on their epaulettes. He didn't understand how this had happened. How we had gotten to this point.

Although it was old, the ford started right up. Fleet maintenance did a good job. They couldn't speak too much English, but he was always happy with their work. All the shifty smiling and glazed eyed stares made him a little uncomfortable, but he was always happy with the results. Car troubles seemed like some sort of universal language.

It was just about eleven. After so many years on the force, the chief let him pretty much keep his own schedule and his two hour lunch time was just around the corner. It's funny how the human mind works. In less than a second he had seen the time, thought about lunch, felt remorse for not giving his all at the office, and decided it just wasn't worth it.

His thoughts always wandered. They made a lazy, irregular oval around how much more he had to work; for the day, the week, the year. How long until he could leave all of this behind him and finally do what it was that HE wanted to do. How long until he could enjoy retirement. When he got to the part where he was sitting on the bank of the river with a fishing line attached to his toe, and his favorite hat shielding his head from a summer sun, he would chuckle inside and convince himself that the department still needed him.

Occasionally he had a guilty indulgence. He kept track in his head of the weirdest things he had ever seen, the most unusual positions a corpse was in or the most difficult circumstances to believe, had he not witnessed them himself, or been informed by trusted associates. When he was not engrossed in his duty, he often found himself reliving these images like his own personal snuff films.

There was the guy that had died in his recliner, trousers still open, his flaccid 'manhood' still exposed. The computer still on the page he was watching. He remembered the story about how the evidence tech. was made to 'make the body more presentable' for the photographs and the legal troubles so narrowly averted. Apparently the other guys thought that was pretty funny. He remembered thinking that this guy was five years his junior and how quickly you can check out.

There was the pretty young Asian girl. Just eighteen years old. She met a guy online and tricked her parents in to dropping her off near the motel. She told them she was going to visit friends. Two days later the missing person report came in. Four days later the stench in the motel room was so strong that guests in the next rooms had complained. They found her body stuffed in the wooden bed frame, under the mattress. His own daughter was older then, twenty seven. Eternally jaded by what he had seen, he always harped on her to be careful and made sure she knew how to defend herself.

His favorite, in a macabre kind of way was the guy the construction workers found in the driveway after they heard shots and had gone to investigate. This guy was old. Eighty one years old. No family, no nothing. He had a decent house and a couple cars, but no one to share them with. It was easy to relate. The old man lay in a pool of his own blood, with three gunshot wounds to the head. To this day, the fascination had not worn off and the leathery old cop played with this often. It held special meaning for him.

It turns out the old man was brilliant, but desperately alone. He had used the INTERNET of all things, to download plans for a 'robot' and built it out of parts he had scrounged. The body of the contraption was made from his city-issued trash can. The irony of that choice was a constant source of fodder for the internal strife that always plagued the chaplain when we found himself dwelling on this story longer than the others. The robot had one purpose. It was designed to pull the trigger on the old man's .22 semi-auto pistol. It performed flawlessly; putting three rounds into the old man's head seconds after he flipped the toggle switch. The grouping was just a little off, but not bad for a homemade killing machine.

He knew better than to EVER tell anyone the things he thought about. He needed his job and the last thing he wanted was to be forced through another 'psych. eval.'; he had to do it once before when Shelly had died. They had been married for twenty nine years and she had been through more with him than any sane woman could have handled. He always smiled when he thought about her. Sometimes he felt like he could still smell the perfume she had worn for the last ten years. She tried so hard to make him happy and he missed her terribly. It had been six years. He always promised her that they would never die so that they wouldn't have to live alone. The thought of either one being without the other always lead them down the same road; An empty but romantic promise of mutual immortality.

[edit on 13-8-2009 by KSPigpen]

[edit on 13-8-2009 by KSPigpen]

posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 11:44 AM
He pulled up in his driveway and stared from his car at the faded lace curtains hanging in the picture windows. He always tried to see her there, sitting in her chair reading some 'mushy love story.' She loved those things. He didn't have time for it, but appreciated how her eyes would light up when they made the trip to the second hand book store and found another one she hadn't read yet. The back room was still full of them. Every Saturday for God knows how long he would pretend to be interested in what she was looking for. He knew she made him what he was and he was proud to be holding her hand. What a dish.

As soon as he had turned the key in the deadbolt, it snapped him back in to reality. It did it every time. A stale breeze would creep out the door and the dark, empty, quiet vacuum that was once filled with love drew him in and attached him to his chair.
The small table between his and her chairs in the living room still had those damn coasters she wanted so bad. He had given her such a hard time about how gaudy they were but he couldn't make himself get rid of them. In fact, he couldn't make himself get rid of anything. On the refrigerator was the last grocery list. He had it memorized. he had read it, stared at it thousands of times. Sometimes during the day he would read it back to himself. 'Pepto, TP, Veggies, fufu.' He never stopped to think about the significance of the items, just focused on her writing. He traced the curves in his mind's eye like he could still touch her.

The TV guide was from a month ago. he picked it up anyway, out of habit and turned to Tuesday. Nothing seemed to ever really change anyway. He felt ridiculous again, for being such a 'basket case' and made a funny inaudible noise, as if to express disgust or disappointment at himself and threw the magazine down right where he had found it. Like he had for so many years, he turned his head to the right. He liked to look over at her and watch her read with her glasses on the edge of her nose. He teased her about how 'sexy she was for a grandma.' They both knew by now that his bark was worse than his bite.

He thought about making some soup. It had been quite a while since he had eaten anything. Chicken noodle just didn't sound good, so he decided he would wait until dinner time. His daughter would come by later to make sure he had eaten something. For some reason, she was easily placated and wouldn't push the issue, but she was a lot more observant than he gave her credit for. She was her daddy's girl after all.

Like he had done so many times before, he stared at the blank television and fought the lump forming in his throat. The sounds of his breathe and the low humming of the water cooler was all he could hear. Above the TV was their wedding picture. His daughter had told him a dozen times that he should 'put it away' but she knew better than to push dad too far. He could make out the seven small ceramic bears that represented the extent of his gift giving to her. They sat in the corner curio, lit up light they were Faberge eggs. She had always displayed them with such pride and kept them meticulously cleaned and arranged. He knew the smiles and features of each as if they were his own children. He was often angry with them for smiling when he felt so bad.

With the familiar knocking of the mailbox on the front porch, he knew that 'weird looking' mail man had just dropped off some more bills and that it must be fifteen after eleven. He looked over to the kitchen where that god awful chirping bird clock, which had long since been 'fixed,' confirmed his suspicions. 'Right on time,' he thought to himself. He knew he had an hour and half to nap before he had to be back at the office, but he never napped that long. He closed his eyes. For an instant, he actually thought about pretending to enjoy the peace and quiet. That lasted less than two seconds. He remembered why it was that he came home for lunch; why it was that he sat in his chair; why it was that he reached his arm across the table to touch the hand of the love of his life.

He was safe here and could feel whatever he wanted to. With no one to scorn or ridicule him, no one to impress with his stature, resolve or fortitude, the pretension left his face; his body got that familiar heavy feeling; he was relaxed. His mind went back, as it always had for the past six years, to his favorite of the weird stories. He caught himself tearing up, ever so slightly and put a grimace on his face to stop his eyes from overflowing. 'Keep it together, old man,' he thought to himself as he pondered the genius of an old man with a trash can robot.

[edit on 13-8-2009 by KSPigpen]

posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 04:55 PM
Ok to everyone that hasn't read this, do so. S&F!

I have to say friend you have an immense vocabulary. Your writing style is truly genuine and easy to follow, yet painting those perfectly painted pictures within my mind that take me out of this realm into the one you described. A very touching, moving and inspiring piece and I must say it again, a very very well written one. You should keep it up seriously. I just love it when another talent comes out and shares!

Did I mention that this was damn good? lol

Keep it coming man!!!

[edit on 13-8-2009 by N3krostatic]

posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 04:57 PM
crazy way togo, neat story not bad writting.

2nd line

posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 06:08 PM
reply to post by N3krostatic

Thanks man. I really appreciate your kind words.
I felt like I was stepping out of my comfort zone a little bit. I tried to write a story that would help me deal with my own tendency to dehumanize cops. I know it doesn't make a lot of sense, but I was trying to give myself some therapy. Thanks again N3kro.

posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 06:39 PM
reply to post by KSPigpen

Anytime and I meant every word.

I can see where your coming from as cops are an issue for me too. Most of the time I call them pigs and need to think about the non arrogant, good ones more often because they do exist. But I generally have authority issues anyway.

It makes perfect sense as self therapy to me as I do it. Objectively viewing your own paradigms, especially if formed falsely is a sign of a healthy, humble mind IMHO. I too have been uncomfortable posting my own poetry and such, as I viewed it as a weakness. Somehow I though poetry by a man was a weakness but I was just submitting myself to the established ideals. Either way after time I learned to not care and posted more and more. I got tired of worrying about others opinions and realized they did not matter.

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