Chapter 30: Hank


After winter break, I was back in G.R. to finish my last semester. I was determined to get all A's again and finish in the top 10 of the class.

I was trying to watch a football playoff game when Paul's bitching about wanting to go out finally got to me.

"I'm trying to watch the game, so shut the fuck up. Christ."

"You're a fucking bastard. I'm outta here."

Paul grabbed his coat and was out the door.

That was the end of it.

By Superbowl weekend, the little slut had already latched onto one of the other guys in the program. I hope they're happy together. At this point, I couldn't give a shit.

Later that month, Dad called and told me that there were three openings in his department: one guy was retiring and they were hiring two new officers. I called Chief Baxley like he suggested and we talked for a bit on the phone. We set up an interview one week from Saturday. I was pleasantly surprised he suggested a Saturday to not interfere with my classes.

The next Friday after class, I headed home in my pickup truck. Mom had a great dinner as usual. The next morning, I got up early and dressed in my suit, and left for my meeting with Chief Baxley.

The meeting went very well. I had a feeling that I was already in good with him before we even started. He said he had a lot of respect for my Dad. When he said dryly that he'd also met my older brother, I smiled and laughed inside. I gave him a copy of my transcripts and my résumé, which highlighted my MP duties in the Marines. He was impressed by both. I then charmed him with some stories of things that happened in class and some war stories from Iraq. Before I left, he told me I had the job.

I received the contingency offer in my email early that next week. As long as I finished school as a licensed graduate and maintained my current GPA, the job was mine.

That spring, I graduated 4th in the class. I called the Chief and faxed my transcripts and documentation. The next morning, I had my final job offer letter in my email. The pay was lower than I could have made in a bigger city, but the cost of living at home was cheap and I liked the small town feel. I immediately printed and signed the offer letter and faxed it back.

When I arrived home, Ma and Dad had a small barbeque for the family to celebrate my graduation and my new job. Vince and Marie were there. Gina was still in Ann Arbor, so she couldn't come. Lor declined the invitation, which was perfectly fine with me.

When Dad stood up and gave a speech telling everyone how proud he was of me and the man that I had become, I couldn't help the tears that fell down my face. And when he hugged me, I saw a tear roll down his cheek. He quickly turned around and wiped it away, but I saw it.


By the end of April, I had completed orientation and was on patrol for the first time with my new partner, Sean Ferguson.

Sean was 33, almost ten years older than me, and had been a cop since he was 21. He was a little loud and maybe a little too obnoxious, but he seemed like a good guy. He was driving while we talked and tried to get to know each other. He was married with one kid, a little girl. When he asked if I had a wife or girlfriend, I paused for a second.

"We need to be able to trust each other, and there might be rumors about me, so I'm just gonna be honest with you, Sean," I said. "I'm gay."

He did a double-take. "You're queer?"

"I don't really liked to be called 'queer', but yeah. I am."

"No shit?"

I nodded.

"Well, it don't bother me none, I guess. Just keep your hands to yourself."

"Trust me. You don't have anything to worry about."


In my spare time, I hung out with Jeff a lot. He had a nice town home he was renting. We'd kick back and watch a game and enjoy a beer.

I asked him about Tim every so often. Jeff wouldn't really talk about it, but something happened between the two of them and they weren't really speaking anymore. It had something to do with the guy Tim was seeing. It fucking killed me that Tim was dating this guy. Not only dating, but they were living together as well.

But I fucked it up. I had plenty of chances to tell Tim how I felt about him. How I feel about him. Kalamazoo was only like an hour from Grand Rapids. I could have drove down there and hugged him and kissed him and told him I loved him. I haven't even seen him in a year and a half and we even live in the same town now.

I miss him.