“Don’t you EVER”
A rookie mistake, a lesson learned.
“Another World” is the property of Procter and Gamble Productions.
I thought I was doing the right thing when I brought that kid in. I really did. After all, I was right outside WILSON’S CORNER CANDY STORE
and I saw her take that candy bar and put in in her bag. Sure, it was just a candy bar, but stealing is stealing, and I’m a cop. It may have been my day off, but I am a cop.
“You’re under arrest for stealing,” I said, when she came out of the store.
i showed her my shield, which I keep with me at all times.
“I wasn’t stealing!”
“I saw you take that candy bar!”
“No buts,” I said.
I brought her over to the 2-3
Then I put her in a cell.
I planned to let her out in a little while, after I’d put a scare into her. Like I said, stealing is stealing.
I opened the cell door and said, “You can go, but don’t you ever steal again.”
She glared at me and ran outside.
I thought it was over, but it wasn’t.
She came back an hour later with her parents.
In a few minutes, my captain, Joe Carlino, knew the whole story.
“The officer is a rookie,” he said. “She’s young and inexperienced, but she’ll learn. I apologize for her actions, and I’m sure”
And then I got mad.
“I may be young and inexperienced, but I’m not a child! Don’t you ever apologize for me again!”
Joe looked at me and lowered his eyebrows.
“Go to my office, and wait for me.”
I was already shocked at what I had said. Had I really mouthed off to my captain, whom I love, respect, and trust? Had I really shown him such disrespect in front of others? Had I really been that insolent?
I couldn’t help it. I started to cry.
Joe came into his office a few minutes later. He locked the door and closed the blinds.
I looked up at him.
“Oh, Joe, I… I…”
Joe took me in his arms and stroked my hair.
I felt worse than ever. I didn’t deserve to be held and comforted.
“Don’t cry, Chelle,” Joe said. “It’s not the end of the world.”
And when I’d stopped crying, Joe asked, “Remember what I said out there? That you are young and inexperienced, but you’ll learn?”
“Well, part of my job as your captain is to help you to learn. And that means disciplining you when incidents like today’s occur.”
I waited for the lecture.
“First of all, we don’t put children behind bars. We take them to their parents or guardians. Did you forget that?”
“I just wanted to throw a little scare into her.”
“We don’t do that either. Understand?”
“And I happen to know that kid. Her name is Marcia Wilson.”
“Yes,” Joe said, “her parents own that candy store, and she is allowed to help herself, within reason. And she always lets them know when she takes something, so they can keep their inventory straight. All of which she would have told you if you’d given her the chance.”
“I really messed up, didn’t I?”
I waited to hear what my punishment would be.
“I’m putting you on desk duty for two weeks,” Joe said. “It’s for your own good.”
“Yes, sir,” I said.
I had a feeling that there was more coming. I was right.
“Now, about the other incident. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you, Chellebee?”
“You mean… what I said to you in the squad room?”
“That’s right. You disrespected your captain in front of others, and I can’t overlook that.”
“I apologized for you because, as captain of this precinct, I’m responsible for my officers’ actions. And I was starting to say that I was sure you’d like to apologize as well when you mouthed off to me.”
I looked down the floor.
“To tell you the truth,” Joe said, “I felt like giving you a good swat right then and there.”
I looked up at him.
“Are you… are you going to do it now?”
I hoped he wouldn’t, but at the same time, I hoped he would.
Joe looked at me for a minute.
“Would it do any good?”
“I think it would make me feel better.”
“All right, then,” Joe said, “but just one. Turn around.”
I obeyed. Joe put his left arm around my waist.
Once again he said, “This is for your own good.”
“Don’t you ever disrespect your captain again!”
It was a good swat, and it stung, but I knew I had gotten off easily.
And then I was in Joe’s arms again, but this time it felt right.
I messed up today, in more ways than one, but someday I’m going to make Joe proud of me.