Breaking Out Pt. 01

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In this short series we return to the Victoria Police in suburban Melbourne. Our narrator is Gail, a Senior Constable who is also a single mother. When she first meets Sarah, it is at a siege and she immediately stands out because she is the only female officer in the elite police squad. It is not the only thing that draws Gail but is it sexual or something else?

Our first meeting was at a hostage situation in Warrandyte, Melbourne. I was one of the officers helping maintain an outer cordon while the Critical Incident Response Team (C.I.R.T) went in to ascertain the situation. Sarah is part of C.I.R.T and it was seeing her kitting up with a sniper rifle that first caught my attention and it was what impacted on me most strongly. She’s my height and weight, five foot six and about nine stone but she was surrounded by big strapping men. One of them said something to her and she looked up at him and smiled before heading up the hill to the house. She disappeared over the brow of the hill and I returned to my duties.

We’d been called out to assist two officers from our station who’d been fired upon after trying to serve a summons. Whenever you hear the call go out over the radio it’s an automatic reflex, you drop everything and rush to the scene. We’d pulled over a car load of louts speeding on Maroondah Highway and were just waiting for VKC to get back with our request for outstanding warrants when the call came through. We literally told them to fuck off and think themselves lucky and took off for Warrandyte.

Because we were the first unit to respond we came up behind the C.I.R.T van, which had blocked off the road running past the house. The guys were all getting kitted up and then Sarah stepped around from the other side of the van and locked eyes on us. She had a sniper rifle slung across her body and when someone nodded at as and said something she smiled and made her way down the road to our car.

“Hiya,” she squinted at my rank, “can you pull back about twenty metres and guide the ambos in? They’re coming to look at your colleague, we’ve got a hostage situation.”

“How is he?” I asked.

“Looks like a flesh wound,” she replied, “someone fired a shotgun through the door, he’s got wood splinters in his hair.”

“No worries,” I shifted into reverse, “take care in there.”

“Tell that to him,” she stepped back and smiled.

It was a long vigil, three hours of standing about, making sure that members of the public didn’t try to work their way through the surrounding bushland with their phones. We had the media set up just south of our position, the usual assortment of journalists. The worst are these citizen journalists because they have very little sense of self preservation, and a distorted sense of their right to report everything.

The ending was dramatic when the man appeared at the front door, ostensibly to talk face to face with a C.I.R.T officer and was brought down by a bean bag round when the police saw that the hostages were temporarily out of sight. The man was brought out in a C.I.R.T vehicle with his hands in zip ties for transfer to a police car, the wife and three kids were brought out some fifteen minutes later and taken back to the station.

Our paths crossed later that day, towards the end of my shift. Mum actually texted me to say she’d taped it on catch up and told me she was proud of me and then I had to call my daughter, Cassie to tell her I was okay. She was over the road at my friend’s house. Fiona is a schoolteacher who moved in five years ago and we clicked straight away. Whenever I’m on a late shift, she either goes across the road for dinner or Fiona invites herself over to my joint for dinner. She’s the only person apart from my immediate family who has a key to get in, which shows the degree of trust I have in her.

“Fiona’s already taped it for you,” Cassie went on, “when will you be home?”

“Soon, sweetie,” I looked up then to find Sarah looking at me with undisguised amusement. I hadn’t seen her come in. I hadn’t registered her presence because she was off duty. Her floral top hung loosely over blue jeans, a brown leather jacket kept the winter chill out. Her red hair had been let down, it fell past her shoulderblades, I felt a little weak just looking at her. Sarah was propped on the counter and one of my colleagues was moving towards her.

“I got to go, see you later,” I ended the call, “hey, I didn’t recognise you.”

“I’m disguised as a civilian,” she held up a mobile phone in a plastic bag.

“He dropped his phone in the car, it must have fallen out of a pocket when we put him in the car, we didn’t find it until we were cleaning out the car.”

“Thanks,” I took it from her, “you didn’t have to bring all the way from the city though.”

“I live in the area,” she shrugged, “how’s Constable Roberts?”

“They let him out a few hours ago,” I replied, “he’s off work for the next couple of days, although he’ll have to do the debrief dance.”

“My favourite dance,” she izmit escort looked around the station, “every eye is trained on you but hey that’s cool, just pretend we’re not here while you relive your brush with death in minute detail.”

My colleague coughed and then smiled. Sarah’s mouth twitched in the merest suggestion of a smile and then she focused on me.

“Well I’m outta here, take care out there, thanks for your help today.”

“No worries,” I managed as she turned on her heel.

It was an unusual thing to say, I mean it’s not like we don’t say thank you, it was just that she’s part of an elite unit and there is a definite pecking order. I’m a plain Jane uniformed Senior Constable and while she was the same rank it made me feel a little more important.

Cassie was sitting watching the news when I got home and Fiona had just washed the dishes. Our four year old red heeler, Rastus was there to greet me and there was the usual turning about on his own arse. I inherited Rastus when we were called out to a house by neighbours who reported a dog whining like it was in pain. When we eventually gained access through a partially open window we found the owner dead in the bath where he’d opened up his own veins. The suicide note in the kitchen was kind of rambling but one line stood out at the end. Please look after my dog, his name is Rastus.

I did eventually manage to get Rastus out of the pound and due to the circumstances under which we encountered each other, he’s become another member of our tiny family. Cassie just loves him to bits. She’s a great kid and I know I’m prejudiced but I’m also remembering the many compliments people have offered over her in the past. Cassie has two main loves in life, reading and cycling, just not at the same time! She’s forever got her nose buried in a book and just lately she’s started writing her own short stories.

“Your dinner is in the microwave,” Fiona nodded, “I taped the news for you.”

“Thanks, she told me,” I rose and looked at the door, “how is she?”

“She’s fine,” she smiled, “proud of her mum. I have to get back across the road, I’ve got a load of washing to put in the machine, so I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Thus I got to see myself on tv for the very first time with my dinner on a stable table and Cassie at my side texting one of her friends.

“She’s really down to earth,” I told her, “she actually came into the station with the guy’s phone, he lost it in the car and she dropped it in on the way home.”

“Who does Sarah work for?” Cassie pushed her glasses further up her nose.

“Critical Incident Response Team, they’re a rapid response unit, kind of midway between us and the Special Operations Group.”

“You should totally go for that unit,” she picked up my bags, “I reckon you’d be ace.”

“Considering their training regime and hours, I doubt it,” I sighed, “but thanks for the vote of confidence.”

As it turned out, mum wasn’t the only one to save the news footage. Sarah had saved it too and I was forced to watch it again with my daughter. It’s actually the first time I’ve ever been on tv so I felt a little weird. It was due to that fact that I was drawn to Sarah and perhaps because of the angle of the camera or something else, but I felt a little flutter in my belly. Cassie was right, she did look hot and police uniforms aren’t designed to make you look hot. But Sarah definitely looked good in that ten seconds of footage.

“I think she’s so cool,” Cassie snuggled up to me.

“So are you,” I put my arm around her.

That night I was just content to sit in front of the idiot box with my dinner, my daughter and the dog. In hindsight though I can admit that night was the first time I admitted to myself that I was attracted to another woman. Be that as it may though, I was a plain Jane uniformed cop and she belonged to an elite unit so there was little chance we’d meet up any time soon. Besides, she probably had some hot guy or some hot woman to snuggle up next to, I had a second pillow. Little did I know that our paths would cross again in the most dramatic fashion.


Three months went by before I saw Sarah again but there had been a dramatic change in my life already. Fiona had decided to put the house up for rent and join her boyfriend in New Zealand. She’d been dating Mike for the better part of six months before he went back to New Zealand but one weekend she flew over to see him and he proposed to her. It was a bittersweet moment for both Cassie and I. Happy because Fiona really is a lovely woman who always seemed to wind up with arsehole men who saw her as just another pretty face or a trophy. So seeing her so happy made us both happy. But I was also sad because I had come to see Fiona not just as a neighbour who looked after my daughter when I was working odd shifts, but as a friend and confidante.

However she assured me that the move wouldn’t happen for a month or so, she had to finish the school term and interview potential tenants. Once she’d finalised izmit kendi evi olan escort everything here we would get together for a going away party. It was playing heavily on my mind though, I know we have the Internet and we can communicate in an instant but it’s not the same as having someone over the road to put the kettle on and have a brew.

I mention all this for a reason because it had a major impact on what happened to me two weeks before she was due to fly out to New Zealand. Maybe I was distracted or just trying to reconcile myself with the fact I wouldn’t have my best friend a stone’s throw from my front porch. Either way it very nearly had tragic consequences and without further ado I must tell you about the incident on Maroondah Highway.

It was a Wednesday afternoon and we were doing another sweep of the highway before heading back to the station for our change over. You hope that nothing happens in that last half an hour, you just want to get back to the station and sign off. More than one crook has been let off because it was the tail end of a shift and the cops just wanted to get home. It shouldn’t happen but we’re only human, we have lives of our own. On tv shows of course, the cops work 24/7 until they solve the crime, if we had those kinds of hours then you’d have mass resignations!

Having said that we so very nearly let this driver go. He was driving a multi-coloured, early model Holden Statesman with different colour doors, two of them were painted in primer. Not exactly an offence, he was obviously restoring the car but the defect notice stuck to his windscreen caught my partner’s eye because I was driving. Even that could have been overlooked. You can have the Yellow Canary on your windscreen and still drive the car, providing you’re going to or returning from a garage to get the car returned to a roadworthy condition. However, a lot of people will use that excuse when they’re pulled over and hope the cops believe them.

I became suspicious after John flicked on the lights and he didn’t pull over right away but kept driving for another 550 metres. He’d been coming out of McDonald’s in Croydon and only pulled over opposite the Croydon Hotel. John got out of the car to go and talk to the driver while I reached for the breath testing unit on the back seat. I distinctly remember having a hold of it when John yelled out.

“Gun, he’s got a gun!”

I heard two shots right away and for an instant I froze. It’s one of those things you train for at the Academy and talk about on the job but when it happens you can’t guarantee how you’ll react. I ducked and opened the car door at the same time. I saw John ducking down behind the car and moving backwards towards our car as the man stepped forward. He had a pistol in his hand and because John was out of sight it was pointed at me.

I just froze as he aimed and then instinct took over as I remembered my old instructor telling me that doors weren’t bulletproof and spun around and ducked at the same time. I didn’t hear the shot before I felt something slam into my arm and then I felt a searing pain and I fell forwards. I knew I’d been hit but I didn’t know how bad. I tried to roll over and raise my gun but I couldn’t see shit because the door was in the way.

A couple more shots rang out and then I heard hurried footsteps followed by two more shots and then a door slamming. Screeching tyres told me the driver was leaving and here was me lying on my back with my gun pointed at the open door and this terrible pain in my left arm. A few moments later John sprinted around the front of the car and came to a stop as he looked down the barrel of my gun. Weapons control kicked in a moment later and I lowered the gun to the bitumen. He came closer and I tried to sit up but my head was swimming, and then I saw the blood dripping down my left arm and I cried out in pain.

Everything happened pretty quickly after that. The first units arrived within three minutes and by then we’d manage to ascertain that the bullet had grazed my arm instead of penetrating. That was a relief but a couple of centimetres further in and I’d be looking at surgery to remove a bullet. The third unit on the scene was the C.I.R.T van and Sarah managed to get a half smile out of me as she squatted at my side.

“You got yourself a sit down job? Where do I sign up?”

“Ha ha,” I clutched the sterile dressing to my arm as John tried to wrap the bandage around it.

“Give me that,” she took the bandage from him, “Jack,” she addressed the officer standing behind her, “instead of standing there like a stunned mullet, organise a cordon.”

It was only then I noticed the third stripe on her arm.

“You grew a third stripe,” I managed.

“Oh that?” Sarah cracked a wry grin. “The truth is, no other bastard wanted it,” she checked the wound once more, “you’re going to have a nice scar there.”

“Scarred for life?”

“Oh I wouldn’t say that but it will take a while to fade, the skin is broken.”

While she finished wrapping my arm I gave her my version of events but I was kind of hazy about the weapon.

“It was a semi automatic, I couldn’t see any other weapons.”

“We’ve got his rego, they’re already tracking him,” she studied me for a moment.

“I gotta fly, you take care of that arm and I’ll be in to see you.”

Two more cop cars had pulled up while she’d been there and formed another parking lane. Her guys were already getting ready to go.

“Okay, the ambos are here,” she glanced up, “and I’m outta here. Stay beautiful,” she squeezed my good arm and then she was gone, ordering her guys back to the car and I found myself staring after her with a crooked smile on my face.

The next two hours are either lost to me completely or a blur. I remember the ride back to the hospital just down the road in an ambulance and then Emergency where they changed the dressing and because it was a gunshot wound I was kept under observation in isolation. I felt a little stupid by then, it was a bloody graze but procedure is everything these days. Gone are the days you could shrug it off as a flesh wound, even if it is a flesh wound.

The first visitors I had were Cassie and Fiona. Apparently my colleagues had stopped by the school to tell her and even gave my daughter a ride in the car while Fiona followed on behind. They were met there by mum and my sister, Ruth, who were my next visitors. I must have looked a sight and at first Cassie didn’t know whether to hug me or just sit by my side but I smiled and reassured her that the sedative was doing a beautiful job.

My sergeant, Tom McIntyre was the next visitor and he told me that the guy who shot me was now in custody thanks to the C.I.R.T team.

“The stupid thing is, he only had a minor record for burglary and possession, but after they brought him down they searched his car and found a kilo of ice, so now he’s looking at other charges.”

Cassie moved a little and I patted her hand, grateful he hadn’t specified the other charges, one of which would be attempted murder, probably downgraded to assaulting a police officer by the time the lawyers did their negotiating.

“You’ll be off work for the next few days,” he told me, “although we’ll do the debrief tomorrow, assuming you’re discharged today.”

“They told me I can go home tonight, which means I don’t get to taste hospital food.”

He was about to reply when another person stepped into the room. She wasn’t wearing her uniform now, having changed back into civvies, a pale blue tee shirt and bike leathers. Sarah had a helmet under one arm and a bunch of flowers in the other hand.

“Hey, you,” she held out the flowers like they were a bomb, “I nicked these from downstairs,” her eyes flickered to Tom.

“Shit, I didn’t realise the cops were here,” she smiled.

“I’ll be seeing you soon,” Tom eased away from the bed and nodded at Sarah, “and thanks for today, I don’t forget a kindness.”

“All in the line of duty,” she replied.

The nurse came in just after that to check on me and tell me I’d be released as soon as the doctor could come by.

“She’s been caught up with another patient,” she told me.

As she left the room, Sarah shivered.

“Ooh, yeah, she can check my temperature any time.”

It hadn’t occurred to me that Sarah was gay but it didn’t surprise me or even Cassie, although she was otherwise distracted by my condition. I did notice Fiona gave her a second look and then she smiled but didn’t say anything, although to be honest she didn’t have to say a damn thing, her body language said it all. I was feeling pleasantly numb from the meds and taking it all in with a kind of half smile as I engaged Sarah in conversation.

It turned out she lived in Heathmont too. Her house was literally ten minutes drive from mine. I was at the eastern end of the shopping strip and she was at the other end and just over the hill, it was an odd coincidence. At least that’s what I told myself and of course I was affected by the painkillers but it felt as if something had just fallen into place but I still couldn’t see the big picture.

“It belonged to my parents but when dad and mum split up, she got the house and when she died I was the one left with the house. I was going to sell it but instead I decided to make new memories in the house.”

“So you had a difficult relationship with your mum?” Fiona asked.

“You could say that,” she mused, “I was an only child. My mum was a baptist and bought a house in the same street as the church, it was the final death knell for their marriage,” she winked at my mother.

“Dad is a dyed in the wool atheist and mum was a mad born again Christian.”

“And you’re their lesbian offspring,” I grinned, “don’t mind me, it’s the meds I’m on.”

“Pretty much,” she returned my smile.

We exchanged telephone numbers not long after that and about twenty minutes later she left me with my family and Fiona. I was released not long after that now that the mandatory four hours had passed without incident. It was straight home in mum’s car and for once I was grateful for her incessant fussing over me. Hey, even I like to be mothered sometimes!

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