Chapter 48

Two-and-a-half years later...

"Well, here are again." Jay said to Kyle as members of the graduating class took their positions on the stage of the Academy's auditorium. I hope the Mayor's not going to be as long-winded as he usually is."

"Is he that bad?"

"Let me put it to you this way..."

"You can put it to me anyway you like, as long as you do it!" Kyle interrupted, devilishly.

"Keep interrupting me and you won't get any." Jay threatened.

Kyle quickly capitulated. "Okay. I'll be good and not say another word. I promise."

"Yeah, and the Pope's Jewish. Anyway, as I was saying, the Mayor's the only person I know who can take two hours to say the same thing that you and I can say in five minutes or less."

"I guess it looks like we're going to be here for several hours then."

"I should have taken a bet on whether or not you would keep your promise about not saying anything. I can always use a little extra spending money." Jay teased.

Jay's teasing resulted in getting slapped on the arm with a resounding "Bitch!"

"The truth hurts, doesn't it Kyle?" teased Tommy, which resulted in him getting slapped on the thigh.

"Double-bitch!"

All three burst into raucous laughter and the Mayor began his speech, which was mercifully restricted to about fifteen minutes. Then it was the Police Commissioner's turn.

A big, pleasant surprise awaited them at the end of the Commissioner's speech. The Academy had a special award, which was given to the most outstanding graduate. It was a difficult award to get, and the recipient invariably ended up with the choicest assignment, as well as a college scholarship, should the graduate choose to pursue a law degree or a degree in criminal justice or crime scene investigation. A look of surprise crossed everyone's face as Adam was announced as the recipient.

Momentarily stunned, Adam just stood there shaking his head in disbelief. Shaking off his surprise, he marched smartly to the podium and snapped a sharp salute to the Academy's Commandant, the Commissioner and the Mayor. He was totally unprepared for the honor, which required an acceptance speech. Licking his lips nervously, he began.

"Mr. Mayor, Commissioner Burke, Commandant Wilson, Academy Instructors, Fellow classmates, and honored guests. I am deeply honored by this award. I stand before you, deeply honored to become an Officer with the Provincetown Police Department. Yet at the same time, I am deeply troubled. Troubled by what's happening in this city, and indeed, this country. Our great country is being torn apart, torn apart by racism, bigotry, prejudice, hatred and intolerance. Every time a biased word is spoken, it weakens us as a nation. Every time a woman is raped, a cashier is shot, a gay man is beaten, a child is molested or kidnapped or a homeless person is run over trying to cross the street, we lose more and more of our humanity. My pledge to you all is that I will do my best to try to change this. I know I can't change everyone, but if I start with my little corner of the world, perhaps I can start to make a difference. I challenge each and every one of my fellow graduates to do the same. I also issue the very same challenge to all of those who come after us. LET'S DO IT!"

Loud cheers from the stage answered his challenge. Each and every spectator rose to their feet and gave Adam a thunderous ovation as the Mayor, Commissioner and the Commandant pounded Adam on the back.

"Yep," Jay said to Kyle, "we raised one hell of a son."

"One that we'll be proud of until the day we die."