CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Word Count: 669
"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" (Who watches the watchmen?)
Crouching on the top of the wall, he watched the procession of men below him, the careful organisation of their footfalls and their guarded faces, the way their guns were held high, flags raised against the upcoming battle. He had seen this before, and it wasn’t unusual, some drug fuelled man, his paranoia hyped by some new concoction on the street. The suspect had guns, people like this always had guns, they believed in their twisted fundamental rights after all.
The bottom of his coat fluttered in an empty wind as the man leapt down from his perch. The wall was not built that high and he landed soundly on his feet before blending in with the rest of the living shadows that stood watch nearby. There was nothing incredulous about the situation, nothing that surprised him, not after all these years, not after all the time he had spent watching and studying the stupidity of humanity. It was a simple thing, that situation, it was not new, it was familiar, it was, not a regular happening, but it happened enough that he knew of it and remembered the style of what was to come. The shouting, the negotiation, the touch and go persuasion of words against shouts, hands against guns, all of it simple procedure, the orderly absence of normal order and function.
The back door came tumbling down and bouncing lights illuminated a horrid inner cityscape constructed out of dirty dishes and piles of clothing, or rubbish, it could have been either. Heavy boots crunched over unidentifiable refuse on the floor, and the Dayshift briefly wondered if he would ever get the smell out of his shoes, the all pervading stench of rotten food, of waste and ignorance. The men ahead of him spread out, clearing rooms and stamping up stairs with him following close behind, not near enough to be the first one in, but the person who would follow soon after, able to relish in the action nonetheless.
They came across the individual of the hour in an upstairs room, his arms flailing themselves around rapidly as he worked some large metal construct that rested in the middle of time worn floorboards. Completely naked, he stood there, tool in one hand, gun clasped in the other, two women huddled in the corner, waiting, watching, hoping perhaps, for an imminent salvation. As long as they didn’t interrupt him, the suspect seemed content to continue work on his monstrosity, but the moment one of the living shadows moved forward, the second he made to touch the man’s arm, the addict lashed out. A whip quick fist containing a wrench launched itself into rapid motion, yet it was over in seconds, all the action, the fighting, the disarming, the handcuffing.
It was all so simple. For all the build up, as long as they got access to the person at hand, as long as they were able to corner whoever it turned out to be, the wait to move on with the process, it never took that long. The Dayshift finished his shift some hours later and went home, got on with doing his regular life, his daily schedule, and nothing changed. The criminals who were criminals today would be criminals tomorrow, except tomorrow, there may be, probably would be, just a handful more or a handful less, who knew. No one would watch him though, no one would shift against him, the ever watching man, because he was only one of hundreds of public servants, ever moving to restrain crime, to try and halt it and always, always, failing to snuff it out completely. In the grand scheme of things, he was only one part. He could do his own best, but his own best would never be enough to stop everything, it would only ever contribute to how it was managed. One man against many, one team of people, his team, against all that there was in their domain, and it would never, ever, be enough.