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The desert ocean has washed me up against this shore of dark dreams and frightening realities.  As much as I hate this hell hole, I can’t stay away.   I take a seat at the bar, order the usual.  There’s this cop sitting a couple of chairs down, holding a jug of beer, but he’s not drinking.  He’s just looking at himself in the mirror.  His eyes are wide.  He looks scared, sweat is dripping down his face and neck.  “Hey!  What’s the matter buddy?” I said.  Nothing.  Just that long blank look.

Freak.  I go over and place a quarter in the jukebox.  Garth Brooks begins to play.  I hate this song, but I need the distraction.  Back at my seat I sip another bruised martini.  I look over at the cop.  He looks like he wants to scream.  I ask the barkeep what the deal is.  He says some kid was found beat to death a while back.  “Everyone thinks the cops beat the shit out of him.  Resisting arrest, high on drugs, same old bull shit.  The body was dumped out side of town and was found a day later.  No files were found at the police station about any arrest and the jail cells were clean as a virgin’s ass.”

He tells me that the autopsy showed that he had nothing flowing in his veins, but blood.  Come to find out, his kidneys were failing and it was body’s system that was making him all fucked up in the head.  He also tells me that old blue shirt has been sitting here all day with that look on his mug.

I was about to call it a night when all of the sudden the cop just looses it.  He starts screaming, never looking away from his reflection.  His eyes were even wider than before.  Nothing but screams.  We tried to ask what was wrong, threw his beer in his face, slapped him a couple of times, nothing worked.  Tears were streaming and his voice was getting horse.  No matter what we did, he would only stare at his reflection and scream.

Finally some of his brothers in the fraternal order of police officers came round to help.  There was nothing they could do.  An ambulance, 6 cops and EMT’s and strait jacket later, they finally carted him off to some hospital.  He never stopped screaming.

As the place finally calmed down and I was finally finishing my drink, I began to wonder.  Did this cop know what happened to that kid?  Was he the one who did the deed?  What about those screams, will they ever stop?  It could have been his conscience screaming, wanting to tell the truth.  I bet…I bet that it was the soul of that kid, screaming for justice.

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