A Little Hole in the Middle

At some point, in an interview, a polygraph, a discussion, someone is going to ask me, why law enforcement? Doesn’t seem like you. You were always against the system. So why? And I never know how to answer.

I don’t particularly want to save the day, or carry a gun, or do hours of paperwork. I’m not particularly fond of the uniform either, but it does make choosing a wardrobe easier. I don’t mind long hours alone, in silence, patrolling. I don’t mind the chaos of unexpected violence or other emergencies. Since I was young, I have always come back, interested, but not enough to keep trying… and then I try again, five years later. Still, I haven’t answered, why?

And everybody’s got a little hole in the middle
Everybody does a little dance with the devil
And you know I’m evil now, and you shout it loud and proud
Singing born in the U.S.A

-Emily Jane White

It’s Sunday in July, in Seattle, 2018.

I’m on duty, in Chinatown, patrolling the plaza above the station, street level. I just spoke to the alcoholic, homeless author, who still manages to scrounge enough money to keep his family in Kenya rich. Now I’m walking toward the north end of the plaza. It’s hot, and the north end of the plaza is covered. Dirty turquoise iron supports and opaque glass overhead. The ever-present scents of body fluid and sanitizer fluid blend into a single aroma. In these layers of uniform and body armour, I need the shade.

A man covered in tattoos, wearing green baggy pants, and a bright blue jacket, headphones on his shoulders which seem to be bent and broken, slinks toward me.

“Hey man! What’s up? Is it easy doing security?” He yells, as though I’m a mile away.

“Sometimes, it is.” I say, like I’m giving an order. I’m always giving orders.

“I used to be a gangster, man. All cleaned up now. But, sometimes I come back here, to visit. You gotta do that.” He is gesticulating wildly, and still yelling. “I used to know everyone, around here. Used to be a gangster. Sellin’ dope. Whatever. All cleaned up now. Wife and kids.” He’s almost dancing at this point, even though his headphones are still on his shoulders, broken. “Gangster. Live by it and die by it.”

Then he slinks off into the hot sun.

He’s right, I think. You got to visit, sometimes. The world is a dirty, disgusting place, full of tormented people who seem to love suffering. And sometimes, you got to visit it, and suffer with them.

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