Theatrical Muse: Week 292: Question 292

Name: Conrad Ecklie

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Word Count: 836

Show and tell.

I live in a different era now, a different age of technology, new rules and politics. Essentially ever since the human race started philosophising and writing these thoughts down, there is a basis to say that some of the undercurrents of the human experience are essentially always the same. Office politics is part reason, part emotion, and a person must be rational when making decisions regarding rules. Even technology proves the ever essential thought that things always change, and nothing ever stays the same. As much as I remember of the past, as much as I am tied and bound into emotional being by the events of my life, the world still moves around me, and if I want to keep my present lifestyle, I need to move with it.

I was born into a Las Vegas much less crowded than the one that exists today. Less casinos, less houses, less shops, less everything. It was an era where the roles of men and women were still in the position of man being domineering, and women following behind, with the bucket, as it were. My parents were progressive people, and from what I have heard of the grandparents I never really knew, there was a good reason for this. Growing up in a strict Greek society is enough to make anyone want to change their future.

When I went to university journal articles existed in bound volumes in libraries, and computers were huge. When mobile phones came along, they were novel, but large also, as were a number of other technologies that have now been downsized to the extreme. Politics, real world politics were different too, as were those of the office. Now I look back and I have a veritable history class of presidents and other country rulers in my head, of events in Russia and in Asia. I have an even larger catalogue of murders that I remember, countless dead bodies stacked up high in my mind. Hundreds of murders here, dozens of suicides there and accidents aplenty; I have watched the crime rates rise and fall and I have experience all of it.

I am hesitant towards change, by which I mean not all change, but that which is too fast, too quickly. I realise that change is essential for society to move forwards, but too much change too quickly often results in unrest, or mess, simply because people haven’t taken the time to think things through. Of course, not all change has to take years or months or even weeks, but especially when it is to happen quickly, it must be well thought out. Changing office policies simply does not take one moment, one thought, one person, it takes a collection of people, a collection of moments situated in an allotment of time, when other things are not happening and people are free to discuss matters.

In my field I have risen to one of the highest positions possible, at least compared to the hopes of other CSIs, lab techs, and even cops. I have new responsibilities and duties, and a schedule that is much the same, because I already worked longer hours than I was meant to, did more in one day than I might have if I was a slower, lazier person. It is not only my good work ethic that has moved me up the ladder now, it is also due to my ability to play the game of office politics. All of this, being good at knowing people, adapting to the new faces and new technology, it all involves being good at changing, at accepting change as it causes different, new, fresh, occurrences within the world.

Earth will always change, and eventually, I will no longer have an influence upon my corner of the world. As time passes and changes cause things to differ, eventually I will die, and a new generation of people will take hold of science, of my job, of the roles I have filled in the workplace. However, right now in my life, I am finally in a position of greater influence, I am able to, at a greater level, show and tell the people I work with what needs to be done, what might be done, and what can be done, all within the spectrum of the passing of time, all causing eventual change. Even though I will never have children to show things to, or family to tell things to about the life that I have led, and will continue to lead, I am now at a point in my life where I can show and tell many things. I now have a good responsibility and role concerning change within my environment, and admittedly, this change itself, came at the cost of other things I would have appreciated staying fixed. I have never had family, not much of it anyway, and I have never desired children, but irrelevant of that I am still a good man, I can still, make a difference.
  • Current Music
    Surrounded - Chantal Kreviazuk

Theatrical Muse: Week 291: Question 291

Name: Conrad Ecklie

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Word Count: 684

Take someone out.

“Do you remember this Conrad?” the woman spoke, holding up a piece of folded paper, a badly printed menu for an Italian restaurant. The CSI smiled distantly as he continued repacking evidence boxes, noting her weary eyes and her coat, slightly askew on her shoulders. He had heard of what the Nightshift team had just been through, multiple fatalities as the result of a head on collision between a very large bus and a very large car on a dark road in the middle of the night. He could imagine it, had managed to see some of the crime scene photos in passing, and there were bodies strewn every which way across the dirt and the road and beyond.

The man rolled his shoulders loftily and ran a hair through his hair in mock confusion and forgetfulness, a little smile curling up his face in a telltale sign of confidence.

“Ninth date. One pizza, extra anchovies, Greek salad, two shots of vodka once we got home.” Ecklie said, pausing and cocking his head to one side as he pressed the lid onto the final box closed. Michelle was smiling at him, wearing that smug grin of hers, the superior one that spoke of past contempt and present knowledgeable satisfaction. The man raised his eyebrows slightly, willing to admit a slight curiosity but not honest enough to verbally admit it.

“That is one of the first times you have referred to us as going home. It’s always your house or my house with you.” the Nightshift replied, handing over a slightly wider, more affectionate grin, her eyes circling the surrounding room and nearby hallway, waiting to see the nonexistent people that might be spying on them, that might see that they were actually being nice to one another for once.

“You and your womanly affections.” the CSI said, running his hand through his hair once more, noticing the gradual thinness, the increasing thinness, and passing off the slight tinge of worry by nodding at the woman and the door.

“You get on back to my place and I’ll try and be home for lunch. I’m suspecting it’s going to be a busy day, so perhaps we’ll catch dinner instead.”

It was more a statement than an inquiry or a polite question of preference, and as a lab tech came through the door into the light table room, Michelle winked and slipped out. It was like Conrad to be like that, funny the one second and back to his old ways the next few minutes. He was gruff though, and she had begun to know exactly when and when not he was being mean with actual sadistic intention behind it.

Conrad Ecklie wound his way through the door that night slinking like a jungle cat, the house still dark, light shining from his bedroom. He smiled, putting off sleep for a later hour when he knew he would need it more than he felt he required it then.

Michelle was on the bed brushing her hair and putting it up into a fancifully intricate ponytail, as if she had somewhere to bed, something to do. She knew him too well, obviously.

The man smiled and coughed, leaning n the doorway of his bedroom, their bedroom, smiling, holding the shoddily folded menu, the bad print job with the doubled text and the off green colour resplendently grasped between his fingers.

“I made us a booking, shall we go out?” he queried, smiling, tired, yet happily familiar after a busy day, with that feeling of coming home to something that wasn’t emptiness, pain or emotional depravation. For once.

“Yes, take me out, take me out please Conie, we need a break.” Michelle said, finishing her hair, smiling and standing up from her seat on the bed, a picture of perfect beauty in his eyes.

The rumble of agreement in his throat and the slight nod was all that she needed to suffice for agreement on his part, and together they went, the unusual couple, a good couple, strong against the world, nothing able to get in their way.
  • Current Music
    Surrounded - Chantal Kreviazuk

Theatrical Muse: Week 290: Question 290

Name: Conrad Ecklie

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Word Count: 1353

You pass a complete stranger on the street and notice they are crying. What do you do?

It felt like the auspicious start to a new era, walking the streets of the city of Las Vegas, knowing that he was without Grissom to go back to, to torment, to befriend without being friendly, without feeling friendliness. The streets still bore the gauche signs of depravity he had become heavily accustomed to; the signs of whorehouses, of strip clubs, of bars that sold too much alcohol, too fast. Yet the city still screamed for people like him, and while he existed, it was his duty to always heed the call for help, because it was his job, much like the policeman, the security guard, to serve and protect his public. Now though, now he was Undersheriff and Grissom was gone, Sara was gone, Warrick was dead, and of the Nightshift team there were only three originals left. Only three people, accompanied by Jim Brass, who he had known for so many years, who he had become far more accustomed to, compared to his own team of the past, of two promotions ago.

It bore at Conrad Ecklie, the uncomfortable feeling of having lost his supposed nemesis, who had really been more of an itch in the side in the past years, than a real annoyance. Ever since he had become Assistant Director and ever since he had stood up for the fate of Nick Stokes against a man he later learned to be corrupt, ever since he had allowed the Nightshift team back together, things had changed. Ever since it had become clearer that he outstripped Grissom as far as the professional ladder went, things had relaxed between them. If they were not close friends, by the time Grissom had come to leave, then the many intervening years between their meeting and their departing of ways had indeed changed them, made them a little more friendly towards each other. Just as the recent years had changed their relationship, the two men themselves had also changed. As Ecklie become more secure in his role as a friendly domineering tyrant, Grissom had finally been able to love Sara, so much so that he was able see his job as a CSI as only one facet of his life. Just as it had finally become comfortable between them, to talk and not have to spat, to discuss and not have to threaten punishment or payback, they had come across other thoughtful discoveries.

The realisation of Ecklie that he could get along with Grissom had come only a short time before Grissom had realised that his loyalties could, and would, lie elsewhere than the lab. Now that Grissom was gone, things continued much the same as they always had done, accommodating new CSIs into empty positions, teaching new CSIs old tricks and watching the previously new generation move into the haunts of the recently departed oldsters. If anything though, Ecklie had seen most of them come into the lab. He had seen Catherine on her first day, and she was now Supervisor, he had seen Grissom as he had entered the lab, and now, Grissom was gone, and he still remained. He had wanted to punish Nick for all his wrongdoings and now Nick had shed off the role of little brother, and stepped into the boots of the main male mainstay of the vaguely new Nightshift team. They had a young arrogant girl in Warrick’s place and a Professor where Gil had once been. It was different.

Rounding the corner to a familiar coffee haunt, Ecklie found Catherine sitting in a window seat, wearing much the same expression as he was. It was early morning, so she was probably coming off shift, and he was, he wasn’t sure where he was, but he hadn’t exactly started work yet. The man slid into the seat in the booth opposite the woman and tried smiling at her. It came off rather malicious, or so he supposed, because fresh tears started to edge their way down her face, few and frequent in between because she was trying her best not to cry, not to seem upset in a place where so many other cops and co-workers might see her. He knew what she was thinking about; it always seemed that he knew what the Nightshift was thinking about, better than some other people he knew.

“You’ve lost a lot in the past while, haven’t you? Warrick and Grissom are gone. I told you not to make a shrine of Gil’s office, so I see it’s been split up between the rest of your team.” Ecklie said, eyeing the Nightshift as she looked up at him, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. Maybe she was grimacing at him, or maybe she was smiling in thanks. Either way, it was an unfamiliar expression on her. He wasn’t one to readily recognise gratitude.

“Grissom taught us each a lot of things, Conrad. I am happy for him, but it is different without him here with us, like it is with, Warrick. You probably wouldn’t notice it, but it is.” Catherine replied, to which Ecklie proffered forward another facial expression, something closer to a friendly smile.

“He threw a coffee pot at me once. I was just beginning to forgive him for that.” the Undersheriff said, smirking at the memory, one of few actual displays of physical violence between him and Grissom, their past animosity towards each other brought into the realm of the real and visible. Catherine smiled in return to this snippet of memory, something fond and warm lighting her face.

“They were good men. Gil still is.” she said, speaking softly, with that same shining kindling of emotion.

“Yes, yes they were Catherine, and I would not worry. If it consoles you, I think I miss them too. Friendships are hard to find in this city, and with the life that each of us leads, it leaves room for little else but the relationships in work. Grissom may have been the closest thing I have had to a friend, in a long time.” Ecklie said, head cocking to one side as he listened to his own voice, his own words, his eyes noticing the cautiously turned heads of two familiar lab techs sitting in the booth behind the Nightshift. Catherine herself seemed to have cheered up and stopped crying, her sadness replaced by a set of facial quirks that looked better on her face than his, and no doubt, they came with more ease than he could muster.

The woman laughed at him suddenly and patted him on the arm he had laid on the table.

“That’s probably the largest amount of honesty I’ve ever heard out of you, Conrad. How does it feel?” the woman queried, suppressing evident amusement on his behalf. Maybe she didn’t want to ridicule him; maybe she wanted to save professional face in a space filled by many of her co-workers and potential contacts.

Ecklie shrugged, an unfamiliar rolling of the shoulders that admitted cluelessness as much as it did the willingness to give in to the need for honesty.

“I can’t say that I love it. But perhaps, we aren’t meant to lead our lives entirely in science, as Gil would have had us once believe.” the man replied, and fell silent, before the hole he was in dug itself any little bit deeper.

“I said I felt sorry for you, you know? Having to become Undersheriff in place of, so many other kinds of people, because of, well, you know.” the Supervisor said, a little happier still, smile growing a little larger, a little more amused, a little more forgetful of the past.

To the snickers of the listening lab techs, all the Undersheriff could muster was a half hearted sardonic, “Yes”, to which she nodded in agreement, seeing through his bitterness with a referential nod to their other co-workers.

Perhaps they weren’t complete strangers after all. Perhaps, after all these years she had stopped hating him as well, and maybe, they might become better co-workers in the absence of Grissom. Perhaps, anything was possible. Maybe, maybe not.
  • Current Music
    Surrounded - Chantal Kreviazuk

Theatrical Muse: Week 289: Question 289

Name: Conrad Ecklie

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Word Count: 803

Cheer someone up.


The woman marvelled at him through eyes lined with wrinkles and her hands, curled with age were quick to grasp his hands and squeeze vice tight. Conrad Ecklie nodded and smiled at his aunt as she patted him on his head, fingers brushing over the growing lack of hair that the years had been none to kind to remind him of. She was more excited than he ever would be, or could be possible of displaying, although, he did feel something, somewhere, deep down. In his promotion to Assistant Director he had felt, he had felt the kind of grim satisfaction that he had come to associate with a promotion. When he had been made Assistant Director he had seen it as one rung up, one rung that he deserved a place on, that he had earned through hard work and absolute adherence to the rules. This, this being Undersheriff, this was different, it felt, a bit different, just a bit. Perhaps it was just the appearance of his aunt, who now, a few years older, was that much closer to death, and to him being left alone. Perhaps it was just her continued living that was making him cheerful and not actually the chance that he might actually, feel something that wasn’t tightly ordered and placed in a category of strict emotions, somewhere between anger and steely control.

Grissom had been, proud of him, proud of him? In one of their final discussions he had been so angry, was it angry, so angry perhaps, with him leaving. Then there was the conversation they had together when he told the Nightshift about his promotion to Undersheriff. There was that implicit, unspoken silence between them, of what his promotion entailed, and some of the reason for why it had occurred then, in that situation, those circumstances. It went unsaid, but if Warrick hadn’t been murdered by McKeen, then the previous Undersheriff might not have slipped up as soon as he did. If that hadn’t happened, then things would be different, and it might be someone else standing in Ecklie’s place. It might have still been McKeen even, if the world was seeking to reward people who actually were vile, corrupt individuals.

“We’ll go out to dinner, we’ll celebrate.” the man said, producing theatre tickets out of s coat pocket and nodding at the elderly woman, still seated in her rocker. She was, his aunt, she was his aunt still, but she seemed just a bit more fragile than the last time he had seen her, and the way she moved was a poor excuse for the sharp agile young woman she had once been when she had adopted him and taken him in as her own. In doing that she had doomed her life to be a certain way, for her to have certain responsibilities that she wouldn’t have had otherwise, the care and education of a young child mostly, that alternately needn’t have existed until a time of her choosing. Much like how he didn’t get to choose the actions of McKeen concerning Warrick, she had not been able to say no to him, when she had been, always would have been, the only person he had left.

As Conrad Ecklie helped his elderly aunt into his waiting car, as they took off into the night to a swanky restaurant, reservations produced out of thin air because a friend owed him a favour, he reached what he might have called cheerful. For the first time in a while, this promotion, his promotion, didn’t feel just like a fated puzzle piece sliding into place for a hard working player. It felt like that, but, it also felt like something else. It felt full of something, memories, largely, of who had died and who had gone corrupt so that the pieces slid in his favour. It reminded him of a past that had borne him out of fire, to become a hard working, intelligent man, instead of something else. Most of all, though, while he had regret for how things had happened, and some emotion for all the hard work he had done to get where he was at that moment in his career, the promotion brought him a kind of stilted cheer. While he wasn’t about to go out and paint the town red, as he helped his aunt out of the car and into the place where she would share a meal, the man, Conrad Julius Ecklie, the Undersheriff, he smiled at her. For the first time in many years, he smiled at someone, and truly, truly felt something when they smiled back. Something which transcended plasticity, pretending, which surpassed deception and supposition. He felt happy, and for the moments that this happy cheerfulness lasted, he was able to enjoy it, completely.
  • Current Music
    Surrounded - Chantal Kreviazuk

Theatrical Muse: Week 288: Question 288

Name: Conrad Ecklie

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Word Count: 1030

Is redemption truly possible?

Atonement for guilt, worthy payback for the commitment of sin, that is what is being talked about here. Redemption is one of the major cornerstones of many religions, including my own. I am supposedly meant to atone for my sins, for my ill thoughts, the bad things I do, have done, and may ever do for the rest of my life. According to some sects of humanity, women are beyond redemption by being female, and every person alive has committed the ultimate sin of causing another person pain, simply by having been born. Disabled people are beyond redemption because they are disabled, because they simply are different and can’t help it. As for homosexual people, those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, even those who are transgender, well, that’s a big issue, as is so much of everything else. According to the hardcore fanatics of religion and politics, messing with gender stereotypes and roles is beyond redemption as well. People who injure themselves, people who commit suicide are all beyond redemption, all beyond being forgiven by the very people who should be forgiving them! I have to say, I am a man who solves crimes for a living, I look into the deepest darkest corners of the human condition, as it is, and there are far more terrible things that a person can do than just being who they are, without harming anyone else.

I am fortunate in that my aunt was a progressive person. Oh yes, she was stuck in her ways, intending I take classes in manners and table setting, but for her generation she was progressive in the set of social things she accepted. I was thus, raised a child accepting of people and their differences. I have no issue with homosexuality, nor disability, and working in the public service role I have long since inhabited, it is not in my nature to be a discriminating being. All people should be treated equal, and I try my best to do so.

In my life, I have caused injury, and I may have occasionally played a role in the death of a criminal, when the law gave me no other option, but I am not a law breaker. I follow the rule book to the absolute, I help whoever needs my service, and I give my best service to the people who I am helping, always. I see people on the worst day of their life, when they have either been killed, injured, or are otherwise suffering the pain that death can bring, through the discovery of mourning and loss. Working back from this, it is then my job to see that the evidence that is collected is processed by the proper methods in due course, all to help catch the criminal who has committed any particular crime or set of criminal acts.

Perhaps there are a few people beyond redemption. The criminals without guilt, maybe, the murderers who feel no pain for what they have done, the repeat rapists, the paedophiles, the continuous abusers of animals, women, children, other defenceless people or creatures. All the guilty people who intend to harm, to spill blood or spout absolute abuse at their victims, whose only aim is to provide a grisly service of continued suffering via their very own hands. Those are the people who are beyond redemption, and who remain beyond redemption until they feel that spark of guilt, until they feel remorse for the pain they have caused, true remorse and sorrow. Yes, I believe that some criminals can be rehabilitated, but for the ones who are lost to normal human notions and thoughts, to those who are like this and have already committed their crimes, it is different. For criminals who do not feel guilt or remorse, they place themselves beyond the forgiving eyes and minds of the people they harm and who they have affected as a result of their devious acts.

Although I am sure the murderers of my mother and father may soon die, as may my aunt, the man who violated and murdered my wife will probably live for a long time yet if jail doesn’t get him, if cancer doesn’t spread through his body. I have visited him, and still do on occasion, and never in all these years that have passed by in the duration, has he ever shown remorse, pity, pain, a desire for forgiveness, a reprieve from his actions. That man who took away my Michelle, my wife, my lover, my everything, he is beyond remorse from me, beyond redemption, and if the world was a different place, he would have been sentenced to death a long, long time ago. For him, there is no redemption, because he is evil thoughts housed in an evil body, with hands to purport his truly, truly evil acts of terror, injustice, pain and horror. As for me? Am I beyond redemption? Sometimes I think I am beyond forgiveness for having left my wife behind, but then the next day I take a triple homicide, or I go and meet the family of a rape victim and I am reminded that I am a force of immense good in this world. I may have been able to prevent the death of my wife, but I did not, something which I did out of no cruel intentions, merely fate. I am not beyond redemption, no, I am not. I atone for my sins, even if I go and get angry and shout the next day at someone or something else. But will I ever forgive myself even if I know I am a human, a man, open to redemption? No, no I will not, because Michelle is gone, my father and mother are gone, and once my aunt dies, I will have no one left. People who have redemption, I am sure, do not continually punish themselves, do not continually suffer nightmares for decades on end. Yes, I may be a man open to redemption, but as far as inner forgiveness goes, I will never forgive myself for not, being there, for not having made, the situations that irrevocably changed my life, gone differently.
  • Current Music
    Surrounded - Chantal Kreviazuk

Theatrical Muse: Week 287: Question 287

Name: Conrad Ecklie

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Word Count: 666


The man was precise as he unbuttoned and rolled up his shirt sleeves, inch of fabric folding upon inch of fabric in a tight curl upon each of his forearms. Through the bars of the cell he scoped the area outside, and stood for a few minutes, silent and intense, watching the movement of people passing by, waiting to see if any discernable pattern would emerge. This survey provided nothing, aside from the conclusion that people did pass by, that the hallway outside of the cell was a regularly visited piece of floor way for the passage from here to somewhere else. He had already known that. There was no pattern though, no people coming by, then a pause where none came, followed by more people, at regular intervals. There was just unpredictable randomness, one person from left to right, a pause, then three people from right to left all at once, more people, more people, more nothing, more people It could not be said that there was a definite time where there would or would not be a pause. To do anything in that cell, a person would have to come upon a period of low or no activity, by pure happenstance.

Ecklie made a careful examination of the small room, bars at the front, three walls, toilet and sink at the back, empty bench on one side, and another empty bench on the other. There were two blankets, one on the end of each long seat, a hatch on the door for the passage of food or items. It was all standard affair, all completely frustrating, nothing to discover, nothing to use that blared significantly obvious cause and effect, but many small details, things amiss here and there that may have helped him. That would have helped him. Inwardly he may have heaved a sigh, but even his innards could not give him this emotional recompense, and instead chose to stay silent. He may have even wished to escape the prison, but he did not, because it was now his designated place to stay, for the time being.

Taking a second to smooth the fabric of his sleeves, the man turned around, and bent down to his kit and pulled out a pair of gloves. Slipping them on, he approached the dead body on the floor and examined it. There was a balding security guard who was dead inside the prison cell of a shopping mall security lockup, where shoplifters went, where people who vandalised property went. A cell which was on the way to the shopping mall break room, with people passing to and fro almost every damn minute. A man killed and locked inside the very cell he probably guarded every day of his working life, by whoever had been inside it and was now out.

Time move on, as it always did, and the coroner arrived, as the coroner always did. He processed the scene, found the knife hidden under one of the blankets, photographed the arterial spray painted high on the wall and then left the prison for the day, to return to his labs. At the end of this day he returned to his rooms, his office, his own world, outside of the three prison walls and one door. That prison should not have been the scene of a death. That prison should not have been the scene where a hard working man died. That prison was a cell where mildly criminal people went. That prison was his only for the working day, to examine and note down. Inside his mind he had his own prison, and had lived in it far longer than the one he had just spent a couple of hours processing. While he could leave the shopping mall prison cell, just like the person who had killed the security guard had done, leaving the jail inside his mind, that could never be done. That was, impossible, and had been for a very, very long time.
  • Current Music
    Surrounded - Chantal Kreviazuk

Theatrical Muse: Week 286: Question 286

Name: Conrad Ecklie

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Word Count: 1344

Under what circumstances, if any, is it ok to break the law?

The laws of the United States broadly cover the government of action in many situations. There are regulations for who can own dangerous weapons, where they can operate them and when they may be able to use them. The same goes, widely speaking, for other circumstances, such as driving a car or defending one’s self against grievous bodily harm or the threatening of death. There are terms, some coined by law makers and some by lawyers, such as probable cause, and reasonable doubt, beyond all reason and circumstantial evidence, that are used to assess the guilt of the accused. There is a lot of lingo and jargon, some unnecessary and some much necessary, that I use and have used for many decades so that I may adequately and supremely fill my job as a public servant.

It is the nature of many accused people who wish to deny the wrongdoing that they have obviously done, to misconstrue the laws that keep most people safe from harm. The first, second and fourth amendments to the constitution come to mind, the rules of American society that help govern religion, expression, bearing arms, searches and seizures. Even at the level of mere descriptive titles, it is easy for anyone from around the world, to see how these can be pulled away from their true meaning. To most people, the right to bear arms does not equate to the stockpiling of weapons inside a person’s home, and freedom of speech does not mean burning effigies representing the topic of hatred in the street. To some, it does, and, to some, if it is deemed that through their actions they are breaking the law, they will be punished as people who have the power to punish, see fit. It is these people, who misconstrue, and the murderers I normally deal with, who down and outright flout the law, that I have a problem with, and therefore, here I am, in law enforcement, as it were.

If the law is looked at strictly speaking, without any room for leeway or otherwise interpretation, then perhaps I have broken the law occasionally. I have injured, I have sped, but that is to the extent where any snooping reporter could go to try and undermine my good character. To be honest, I have only sped when in pursuit of a suspect, and even then, it is not normal fare of my job to do so, and I was in the lines of what was expected of me in the situation. The same goes for injuring another person, which I have been forced to do a handful of times over the years, as it was a probable thing, at the time, that they may have otherwise killed me in a fit of accusatory rage or drug fuelled anger.

Under normal circumstances there is no reason to break the law, as it serves and protects the very people it is designated to serve and protect. I am one such person who uses their knowledge of the law to their best ability in order to perform with a high level of excellence in their job. I am however, aware of the certain periods and circumstances where normal conventions of law can be stretched, but not to any adverse situation, in the end. Police cars speed, but they speed in pursuit of a suspect who is evading arrest. There is always an explanation for anything that I do that could be considered law breaking.

But without reason though, without any proper circumstances such as those concessions given to the police, no, there is no excuse for breaking the law. A man who speeds to get his pregnant wife to the delivery room before she gives birth in the car may usually be let off, as far as the news is concerned. All very well, but what if the same man crashed his car and killed his pregnant wife? The media would not be very forgiving then; at least, I hope they would not be. The reason goes, that the laws of the United States serve to protect American citizens and all people living or visiting within our borders. When I come to a murder scene, I do not only have a murder, I have a criminal act which has resulted in the death or injury of one or more people. I have a direct example of how people can severely disregard the laws that have been well crafted and honed over years of political inquiry and procedure, to function together as a well oiled machine does. I have displayed before me in all the grisly appearance of death, one more person who has passed on, one more life that no longer exists and has been extinguished, in most if not all cases, before its due time.

Looking at a robbery case even, and it is obvious why laws exist to protect and to serve people. I dealt with several consecutive Robin Hood styled robberies several years ago, the final one, which as any interesting story goes, ended in a murder. Oh yes, the criminal may have been doing good deeds in some eyes, by stealing from rich gated estates, and giving the proceeds of the crime to the poor. However, he still broke the law. Doing things for noble reasons that break the law, there is no excuse for it. It got that person not very far, because in the end they ended up killing someone. By mistake, admittedly, but it was the breaking of several laws that lead them to the accident in the first place.

No, there is no excuse for breaking the law. There is no excuse for dismissing the laws, the rules of modern society, as something which does not apply to this person or that person, that woman or that man. There is no excuse for breaking the law and it is grossly inappropriate for the criminal to be holding the thought that such laws apply to everyone but themselves, but one single individual who deserves punishment. In a just society, people who commit criminal acts are punished, whether through fines, jail sentences, tied in with arrest and a possible trial if it is warranted. While I think that the breaking of laws is one of the most severe and brutally ugly acts a person can commit, while I may work very hard to ensure that criminals are caught and duly convicted, there are still horrible people out there. While I may think and feel that there is no excuse for breaking the law, while I hardly ever, while I never could condone it, the world is, unfortunately for this case, not perfect. For every rapist I help put in jail, there is another one there, bred through indifference and the learning of respect for human life and individuality, rendering it an indistinguishable thing that can be warped for any particular person’s advantage.

A man breaks a window in a house on fire to rescue a woman, a baby, a cat, something. By normal circumstances, he has broken the property of someone else, and should be punished. But he will not be, because he has reasonable reason to go through with such an act, and the law makes room for that. By some definitions, a person may indeed appear to break the law, but by looking closer, they have not done so. The thing about the breaking of laws is that, just as they can be misconstrued by the obviously guilty, the laws can also be interpreted in many different beneficial ways. That is the essential factor, the knowledge of and ability to, interpret the law. By interpreting the law, there may be several different ways one law, one act, governs society. A person could do one act in several different variations, and the law still protects them. It is when the law is ignored or misconstrued to a point of clear disregard, that people begin to get hurt, that people are killed and begin to die in the dozens, or more.
  • Current Music
    Surrounded - Chantal Kreviazuk

Theatrical Muse: Week 285: Question 285

Name: Conrad Ecklie

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Word Count: 787

What have you done to make ends meet when you were broke?

In circumstances some might describe as fortunate, I have never been very poor, very broke, none of those terms used to describe monetary lower class living. In their deaths, my parents both had life insurance, so I went to a good school and lived in a comfortable house with enough food to eat and clothing on my back. I was not a child who wanted many toys, nor an adult, as I am now, fond of every new shiny gadget. I have a computer, which I update every few years, and a laptop, which follows much the same tradition. As my aunt no longer works, I help to support her, just as she worked to make our household functional when I was young. I have a house, the ownership of which has long since passed into my hands, and I have a car, which I care for well and keep running, even though it is getting old. I am quite a thing and tall man, so I by way of habit I eat very little. I live by myself to I use very little water for washing, and not as much electricity as some larger families might. My bills are small and my work does not require large amounts of travel at my expense.

Contrary to so many inhabitants of Las Vegas, I have not succumbed to the temptation to become a gambling addict. I do not gamble for pleasure, and in fact I never gamble except for a few charity poker games that I participate in every now and then for the sake of the lab. I have never been a big believer in the need to spend money in order to obtain happiness, which is, after all, something else I do not indulge in the same way as other people do. I do not feel happiness as the result of the things that most other people seem to find the cause of such emotions, and therefore, to spend money in excess is for me, pointless, and a circumstance that never happens. It never happens unless it is for a good reason for it, and aside from minor things like tire replacements and replacing minor household appliances when they cease to work, the amount of money I spend in one go is rarely significant.

Oh yes, I do indulge sometimes. I do eat on the job when I do not make myself lunch to take to work, but those are simple almost necessities. I buy books and sometimes magazines, I maintain several journal subscriptions, but while these may not be a matter of life or death, they are simple, unselfish things in life, not things that cause great pleasure, that I obtain so I can learn more, or so I may be more efficient in getting back to my job or my household duties. Yes, maybe my monetary circumstances are fortunate in that I work hard and earn a highly moderate wage, I may be fortunate in that I spend little and save much, but that is only money. Introduce the rest of life, and the fact that I sit on a bank account with a satisfyingly reassuring sum in it, fades away into almost inconsequential insignificance. I am a widower, I am an orphan, I may have money but that damn well doesn’t make up for an inch or a nose tip of everything, every single fucking thing that life has taken away from me.

Money does not buy happiness, it only, for those it can bring happiness to, provides a simple, temporary high. Not even having as much money as I do, makes me happy, because it seems worthless, absolutely fucking worthless in the face of everything I do not have, that I once have, and have lost forever. No, if we are talking about money, I have never been broke, but if we are talking about everything else, I have long since been broken and have long since been past repair. I make ends meet, I always make ends meet, but that is a mere function of life, spending money to keep the wellbeing of my person, my house, my objects, my possessions, high and settled. I manage my money efficiently, as I do every other thing in my life, and that is all there is to it. Working as long as I have, working as hard as I do, I earn money, I do not have to worry about being broke, and I have never been broke, so yes, I lead a comfortable life. While I may never have gone hungry or without shoes, I am still aware, I still know, that there are far worse things. That is the absolute truth.
  • Current Music
    Surrounded - Chantal Kreviazuk

Theatrical Muse: Week 284: Question 284

Name: Conrad Ecklie

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Word Count: 1586

You’re fired! Talk about a time you were forced out of something.

“You’re leaving.”

The tone of voice was blank, uninflected, uncaring even, but the way his pronunciation put emphasis on the last word betrayed any attempt at being completely uncaring, at ignoring the totality of the matter and the invisible burden it seemed to create. The invisible weight between them, which had so long been a viciously swinging pendulum of vehement dislike and audacious displays of disregard, now teetered almost motionless on the end of a near to snap string. While the displays and the dislike had been mostly Ecklie’s animosity towards Grissom, mostly his way of defending himself against a near equal, Grissom too had his own victories against the Assistant Director. Where Ecklie stood to defend his own pride, his own reputation, his own work, over the years the Nightshift had frequently put his reputation, his whole career, on the line for the greater good of the victim or the co-worker. He was ultimately liked more because of that, because he was a likable person, who had faults, whereas Conrad Julius Ecklie, was the stern authoritarian voice of utter control replete with icy tones and steel like grips. With the entire exception of his aunt, Grissom was one of the only people who chose of their own free will not to wish him untimely death or gruesome injury.

As happened so often in their select single meetings with each other, silence consumed the attempt at conversation and Grissom cocked his head curiously, tiredly also, lids creating docile half closed eyes. While the pendulum was no longer swinging, the weight of their work was still there, different cases with similar themes they had all experienced. Blood, gore, rape, murder, pillage, homicide, attempted murder, disembowelment, decomposition, between them they had seen all that and so much more. Together, yet always separated by their own shifts and schedules, they had seen so many unspeakable tragedies that no human should have to describe, but which they assigned themselves to speak about, their job entailing it to be so.

Eventually the Nightshift just nodded, opening his eyes fully and righting his head to stare at the other man, the one behind the desk, straight backed in his chair, stiff as always. He tried to read emotions off the balding man, off the person he had worked with for so long, but Ecklie betrayed close to nothing, almost nothing at all.

“Do you envy me Conrad?” the Nightshift said suddenly, aware already of how almost familiar these conversations felt. How almost familiar this situation felt, the way they were seated across from each other, totally alone with the weight of accumulated misery thundering over their heads, threatening to drown out their civilised attempts at conversation.

Ecklie grinned then, shattering the stilted silence with a mockery of happiness, the edges of his lips twisting upwards like the outreaching tendrils of a poisonous vine.

“No, I don’t Gil.” he said, quickly interrupted as Grissom, more awake, jumped into the conversation.

“Why not?”

It was a question that under any other circumstances none of them would have asked or answered, but this was one of the final showdowns, one of the final conversations they would have as Nightshift and ultimate superior, as co-workers.

“If I envied you Gil, I’d have to show it. Under my rules, I’ve always been the better man, because let’s face it, the rate of kidnappings, murders and injuries to my team was almost nonexistent. The number of complaints directed towards myself is of a different degree to yours, and hell, I follow the guidebook more than you ever have. I file my paperwork immediately, I follow up immediately, my desk is always free of clutter.” the old Dayshift began, conveying across the old habit he had formed over the years of summoning lectures out of thin air. Once more, the familiar silence resumed residence, and the invisible weight of years and accumulated pain pounded at their ears.

“Damn, Gil, if I envied you, if I wanted exactly what you had, do you think I’d be this man? No, I’d do what the rest of your team has done, I’d lose whoever I loved, and moved on, what you’re doing right now. However, even you know, I have not got anything left to go to, no one out there I want to seek after. I’m a realist, Grissom, I can’t envy what others have when it is not possible for me to have anything like it.”

More silence, shorter this time as the Assistant Director nodded his head slightly forwards on razor edges shoulders, and drew in breath.

“You’re going free, you’re escaping this often unimaginable hell hole. Even if I wanted to leave, where would I leave to? You have Sara and her worries to go to, you get to leave and go find the same damned girl who has been lusting after you since before she first got here. Even if I left, it’s not like Michelle is waiting somewhere, because she isn’t, so the best chance I have of achieving what you are about to do is to die, and I find no ability to hold envy towards you over that. I don’t dream like that.” the man said, ending the sheer assault of words as suddenly as it had started, and into silence the air once more fell.

Opting for the quicker answers, Grissom tilted his own head forward, a perfect display of his usual intense curiosity, and quirked a smile at Ecklie.

“Really Conrad? Is all that honestly true?” he said, interlacing fingers completing the picture as they both tried a hand at attempting one last battle of wits.

Out of character, Ecklie rolled his eyes, a childlike action unusual on a face largely accustomed to stoic displays of nothing.

“You’re leaving. You asked if I envy you, and I’ve explained that I don’t. Gil, to me, you have always been inadequate, because your weakness is that out of depravity, you have found not only exhaustion, but happiness. Out of all the murders we see, you speak for the victim, and I speak for the victim, but we are still two different people. You’re leaving because you have a chance to do so, the will to do so. You have realised that you have something worth fighting for, as the adage goes, and you’re going off to do that. If you want honesty, yes, maybe I do hate that you are leaving, maybe I do hate that you have a relationship with Sara, that you have a better life to lead than just staying here to wait out the days until burial.”

More breathing this time, deep breaths, one two, as the old flicker of flame burned within him, the old flicker of something not quite envy, but not quite nothingness either.

“All these years, you have known that you are doing good work here, but you also knew that if the time came that you could break the ties and leave. Any chance I had of leaving started to die with the murder of my parents, and was finished off completely with the violent raping and murder of my wife. I don’t envy you in the way you may want. I don’t hate you because you have something I could obtain, because I can’t get it. I dislike you because you stand for everything I have spent a lifetime accomplishing without happiness. You get your job, but you get solace in it. I do my job, and I still go home, falsified. But my unreality, what I am, what I have become, this thing...”

His voice trebled for a split micro second, and was fixed when he began to raised it into a raised impertinent almost shout.

“It is the only thing I have left. Don’t you get it Gil? All these years and you can still leave. I was born into this place and I was never even given the chance because the nature of our job consumed me long before I had the chance to decide otherwise.”

Ecklie’s lips twitched just then, and he quietened, breathing slightly more rapid than usual, heart a dull but slightly quicker thud in his ears, his ribs burning not with any real physical pain, but with the banging of that pendulum weight. The weight that now just rocked silently, sullenly, and would soon quieten forever, mostly, as the Nightshift left and moved further away. The venomous grin reached across his face, spread like wildfire and settled into a grimace.

Reaching forward, the two men shook hands briefly, but nothing changed. It was true, they would see each other again a couple of times before Grissom departed, and more words would be exchanged, but not of such a confidential kind. There would be a time, probably, certainly, definitely, where Grissom would give Ecklie a very similar exchange of confidence, and then they would be over and done with. Grissom would leave and Ecklie would stay and in this finality his hatred of the man would be absolutely vilified and ascertained as true. Grissom could leave, Grissom could escape and Ecklie could not, he would never, and as he rose from his desk and swiftly exited his very own office, leaving the Nightshift behind, that was part of the reason he moved in such a way. It would be, had always been, part of the reason he hated the man so very, very much, why in some way, he envied him, and in other ways, he could not.
  • Current Music
    Surrounded - Chantal Kreviazuk

Theatrical Muse: Week 283: Question 283

Name: Conrad Ecklie

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Word Count: 1052

What languages do you speak?

I am fluent in speaking, reading and writing English, Greek and Spanish. English is a given, considering I live in America, and work as a public servant, in a position were language fluency is essential. I know Greek because it is part of my heritage, part of the culture I grew up with, that surrounded me in my childhood and beyond. It is a language that I feel deeply to be my own, even though I am a Las Vegas native, because my aunt made an especial effort after the death of my parents, to enforce on me the importance of knowing it. It remains one of the few contacts I have back to the family I know very little about. Knowing Spanish is the result of the same basic reasons as knowing English, except of course, it was more voluntarily my choice to obtain knowledge about. It is very helpful to know many languages, because the ignorance of people who believe that English will always triumph when spoken, is large and profound in its ineptitude.

In the course of dealing with crime, I meet many living people, whether they are victims themselves, people who are witnesses to a crime, or those who simply happen to be relations of the person who has been affected by such an occurrence. Many people constantly move in and out of Las Vegas, at an astounding rate that the lax and the unobservant barely notice as long as their basic needs and wants are met. There are the short staying kinds of people such as tourists and visiting relatives, people who come and stay and then move on just as quickly, leaving almost no trace behind. Then there are the other people who move here for longer periods, or who have even been here from the beginning. Those people are those such as the workers of many variations who run the backbone of the city, including but not limited to public servants such as myself, and the other more easily recognisable and more numerous kinds. People like hotel employees and sex workers, the very later operating both within and outside of the confines of the law, providing the city with a different reputation than what it might have otherwise. Just as more costal locations do, we get our fair share of illegal immigrants and transitory migrants of a more unidentifiable kind.

Summing these kinds of people all together, not all of them come from backgrounds of great education and wealth, and even if they do, it does not always mean that communication with them will occur in English. Being that many people do speak English, usually it is not much trouble finding a way to get the word across, to converse and ask enquiries of this living victim or that specific witness. However, if English can not be used, there is still a good chance that Spanish has a relevance or potential ability to get the act of talking underway. As for Greek, well, if I put aside heritage and culture, it is still an important thing to know. Just as Spanish fails, I know of many employees of the lab who speak different dialects, and they can sometimes take the place of a translator. If, for instance, a murder occurs within the strictly Greek speaking section of Las Vegas society, I am generally more available and easier to find than a Greek translator may be. Being that I have grown up here in Las Vegas and know, so very much of the Greek community, both young and old, it makes it simply easier to call me instead, to get me converse with that past generation who didn’t care as much for the language of English that is my original tongue, and which I would have needed to embrace fully, even if it were not.

If I lived in a community that spoke only one language, and if the chance of my leaving such a community was very small, then I would probably only speak one language. However, I was born into and raised in a multicultural community, I was born of parents who spoke both Greek and English, who had lived here for so long that they also saw the point of passing on such knowledge to me in my infancy. I was not the child of parents who only wished to enforce one side of my heritage, who wished to force on me only my life here or a life that they would have liked me to have lead if we had lived back in the old country of generations passed by. My parents were not like that, and while my aunt was probably a good measure stricter than my mother, she was not a backwards person either. In my youth, she encouraged me to be educated well, and to speak well in many languages. Greek held a soft spot in her heart, and she passed the same liking of it onto me. I find no trouble in fluently speaking three languages, and knowing the rudimentary basics of many others.

I live in a city that moves, it feels, sometimes faster than time should really move. With this rapid shifting of life and society, it is needed of me, in the important public servant role that I am in, to try and help the public I serve as best I possibly can. As I can serve, as myself, better speaking three languages than I could just concentrating on one, I keep up my fluency in Greek and Spanish as best I possibly can. Las Vegas is no longer exactly the society my parents lived in, nor even the one I grew up in, and as crime continues, as I am still needed in my particular job role, it is still required that I try and do the best job that I can. If I am required to change with the times, then change I must, but even as life becomes faster, and so much more different, I will maintain what I know until death welcomes me with outstretched arms. Just because so much of Las Vegas moves in and out of the city in rapid motion, it does not require of me to become ignorant and minimalised in my obtained knowledge in the process.
  • Current Music
    Surrounded - Chantal Kreviazuk