CW Prompt 2: FNG

With a word limit of 1K, this was a pretty open-ended prompt but with dialogue limitations. For the sake of academic limitations, I won’t give the prompt but here’s my result. Hope you enjoy!

“Pick up your duty belt and begin to place your holster and tools along the belt as you see to be most effective,” said the sergeant. The hair on his arms looked as if they were gelled and combed over similar to the hair on his head. His gold checkered five-point hat glistened under the fluorescent light of the gray-walled basement range. “Once you’re done, wrap the belt around your waist and place your keepers.”

Michael Bryant, the police department’s freshest probationary officer, held the stiff heavy leather belt in his hands and swung it around his waist. He snapped his keepers into place around his belt and immediately felt the disparity of weight as the tools took up every bit of his twenty-eight-inch waist. His lower back started to ache and he couldn’t bend any which way at his beltline. This gear was much stiffer and heavier than the loaner gear he’d used throughout the academy.

Another officer entered the armory. He wore a powder blue shirt, clean and creased, with chevrons on the upper arms. His embroidered name tag read, “Ofc. A. Scholl.” His dirty blond hair was cut short on the sides with a little length on the top, but not much. He strolled along the wall until he reached the ammunition locker and disappeared into it. He exited moments later. The sergeant pretended not to notice.

Ofc. Scholl made his way over to the table. “Has his vest come in yet?”

The sergeant slipped a box out from under the table and opened it. Inside was a brand new custom vest made from Kevlar. Scholl removed the wrap and held it up, the entire vest so small it would take three of them to cover Scholl’s barrel chest. “You’ve gotta do one of two things kid. You’d better start eating or hitting the gym. Since you’re going to be my partner for the next twelve weeks, I’d prefer you do the latter.”

Bryant’s head dropped as he gripped his left forearm with his right hand. It had been six months since he graduated from college and he still looked like a high school freshman. He ran cross-country in high school and always had a fast metabolism. In his short life, he’d never weighed more than a hundred-forty pounds.

“Take your uniform shirt off and let’s get this on you. We’re supposed to be the street already but our sergeant here, in his infinite wisdom, thought it’d be better for you to receive your gear after roll call than before.” Scholl glanced over at the sergeant who’s red face and gritted teeth showed all his anger shy of steam coming from his ears.

“I told you, Scholl. The company went on backorder.”

“I’m sure it did.”

Bryant removed his powder blue long sleeve uniform shirt and revealed the white undershirt that clung to his body. Scholl handed him the vest, “put this on.” Bryant did as he was told and it hung loosely from his shoulders and extended down to his waist, ending just above his belt. Scholl stretched the elastic strips and velcroed them into place, snuggly securing the vest to Bryant’s midsection. “Put your shirt back on.”

Bryant knew the tradition. New officers wore their long sleeve uniform shirts, even in the boiling summers, until their training officers said otherwise. You had to earn the privilege of comfort.

“Is that all, sergeant, or is there anything else our newly minted officer here has yet to be supplied with?” Asked Scholl already making his way toward the door. “With me Bryant!”

The sergeant stormed off, his polished boots thundering against the tile. Bryant jogged to catch up with his training officer.

They made their way out to the garage, all the other officers already having checked their vehicles and making their way to the beats.

“You are here to learn. If you do that shit they taught you in the academy, you’ll die or get someone killed and I don’t want to die anytime soon.” Scholl placed his green tactical duty bag in the trunk of the car. Bryant placed his bag, double the size of Scholl’s, next to it. “They teach that stuff the way they do because the state mandates it, not because it’s good policing. They do it to cover their own asses just as we have to cover ours. Articulate your suspicions and the reasoning behind your actions. An officer’s articulation can be the difference between being cleared and being incarcerated. I drive.”

Bryan sat wide-eyed in the passenger seat of the patrol car where Scholl’s calloused hands gripped the wheel and steered them out of the garage after having checked the squad.

“If you’re going to have your belt on, keep your hand on the release. These vehicles can quickly become bullet-riddled coffins if you can’t get out in time,” said Scholl without taking his eyes off the road. “Remember, it’s department policy to wear your seatbelt. If you don’t have it on and you get injured in a wreck, the department won’t cover you as you breached policy. Be mindful of that.

Bryant shivered. He reached down for the release and felt the button under his thumb. The squad started down the street and rolled into the city he was now sworn to serve and protect. It was Bryant’s first day on the street and he would soon come to understand just how unforgiving it could be.

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