Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SLANDER (09/07/17)
- TITLE: The Signature
By Yvonne Blake
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â€œBoys,â€ Chief Nebber strode into the room and plopped a stack of folders on a table. â€œI hate to cut your break short, but we have an emergency down at the wharf. The Viper Gang has vandalized the boat house and terrorizing the pedestrians near the park. I need a team to see sniff them out. We need to put a stop to this now. So, any volunteers?â€ Dan lifted his arm. â€œNo, not you, Dan. I need you to coordinate things here at the station â€“to oversee the whole operation.â€ A murmur rumbled around the room. â€œWell, if no one else volunteers. Iâ€™ll have to choose the team.â€ Nebber wagged his finger around. â€œJake, Mike, Lester, Phil, Butch, and Conner, suit up and meet me back here in ten minutes.â€
Conner slammed his locker shut and pulled on his gloves. â€œIâ€™ve had just about enough of Nebber playing favorites. He never sends Dan on any dirty work. That preacher boy thinks heâ€™s so special. I canâ€™t stand his guts. Weâ€™ve got to find a way to get rid of him.â€
â€œYou donâ€™t mean . . .â€™ Butchâ€™s unfinished sentence hung in the air.
â€œNo, no! Iâ€™m not going to knock him off. Iâ€™m going to find something on him that will send him out of this station, out of this precinct, maybe all the way back to Wales.â€
â€˜How are you going to find something on him? Heâ€™s got the cleanest record of anyone I know. Iâ€™ll bet he even flosses his teeth three times a day. Iâ€™ve never seen a person have such a regimented life. Even in his breaks, he reads that religious book all the time.â€
â€œI know! I even asked him why it took him so long to finish it. Do you know what he said?â€ Conner leaned close and whispered. â€œHe said that heâ€™s read it all the way through seven times already. Seven times! Can you believe it? Itâ€™s like heâ€™s trying to memorize it.â€
â€œWell, if you ask me, the only way youâ€™re going to get him fired, is to make one of his weird traits against regulations.â€ Butch adjusted his hat and slapped Conner on the back. â€œGood luck doing that.â€
The next Friday afternoon, Conner tapped his bossâ€™s door. Without waiting for an answer, he poked his head around the corner. â€œChief, can I see you about something?â€
â€œSure, Conner, whatâ€™s up?â€
â€œWell, Iâ€™ve noticed things are getting slack around here, and Iâ€™ve come up with a proposal to tighten discipline â€“ things like promptness, hygiene, and respectful attitudes.â€
Nebber nodded. â€œYes, yes, I agree.â€ He flipped through the ten page report of legalese, pausing at the last page filled with signatures. â€œI see you got the guys to agree with you.â€
â€œYes, sir. All we need is your name, and it can be put into practice.â€
â€œRight now? My flight to Palm Springs leaves in a half hour.â€
â€œI know. Thatâ€™s why I wanted to get your signature before you left.â€
Nebber flipped through the pages again, pausing here and there. â€œIt looks okay.â€ He scribbled his name on the line. â€œPrint and distribute copies for everyone. Iâ€™ll see how things are going when I get back.â€
â€œYes, sir.â€ Conner smiled as he closed the door behind him.
Two weeks later, Nebber returned to a ship-shape station â€“ sharply dressed officers, polished cruisers, and everything done promptly. â€œWhereâ€™s Dan?â€ he asked Conner.
â€œOh, heâ€™s got night shift on Vinegar Hill.â€
â€œWhat? Alone in that crime infested neighborhood? Itâ€™s suicide. Why?â€
â€œItâ€™s on page seven, sir.â€ Conner shook his head. â€œHe was stubborn and refused to comply. In fact, he even implied that he might resign. We had to enforce the rules, sir.â€
Nebber read, â€œNo officer will have any non-law enforcement printed material in the break room, locker room, police vehicles, or anywhere in possession while on duty. All offences will punished by two weeks of night shift duty.â€
â€œConner, you scoundrel!â€ He bellowed at the figure beyond the closing door. His head dropped into hands. Oh, Dan, what have I done?
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