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We lie on our taxes and cheat on our wives


SGT. Reyes used to work homicide, but after upsetting a widow he was sent back to narcotics to help keep a new insurgency of gang violence down in the city. He despised the gangs, and started to despise the job he once held in such high regard.


One evening as his shift was drawing to a close he noticed a man in a red shirt (the color of the notorious bloods street gang) loitering in front of the DAV health clinic on Washington street. Reyes’ father was a disabled vet, and he couldn’t stand the thought of the gangs creeping east to the lower-middle income neighborhoods that until then was dominated by good people.


Reyes pulled his car against the curb and hit the lights. He jumped out of the car with an icy stare fixed on the gang banger. “What are you doing in this part of town you punk? I arrest pieces of shit like you around the high rise towers, but I’ll cripple your good for nothing ass for trolling in MY neighborhood”.


The gang member didn’t speak, but instead flashed a gang sign, squinting his beady eyes, attempting to look hard.


“I know you heard me, I didn’t stutter. I asked what is your business. I know you didn’t just flash a Westside at me. Those tattoos might not come off, but I can sure break those fingers.”


The gang member stared at Reyes for long moment, glanced away and back at Reyes once more. He brought his hands from his sides and flashed another gang sign…. and then another. Apparently this guy wasn’t just a gangbanger; he was a smartass to boot. SGT. Reyes burst into a quick rage. Producing his baton so quickly that it moved the wind as he raised it over his opposite shoulder, Reyes delivered a stern backhand to the gang member to the shoulder with his nightstick. The gang banger grasped his arm in pain, and his eyes grew wide with bewilderment.


Reyes: What the hell did I just say cream puff? I told you not to flash no gang signs at me and to tell me what the hell you’re up to. I’m a 20 year veteran on this squad, and I’d just as soon beat you until your ears bleed than to wear the oil out of my handcuffs by arresting you. Now I’m going to ask you one last time, what are you doing this far down Washington Street?


As soon as the officer’s mouth stopped moving the gang member started flashing more gang signs. This time he was mostly doing it with his one good hand, would use his battered arm to from time to time during the quick, but short, display of gang banging solidarity.


This final insult threw SGT. Reyes into fits. He hauled off and hit the gangbanger with the baton so hard that it sent him reeling into the brick wall behind him, and finally to the ground. Reyes continued beating the man into submission, rhythmically drawing the baton with one hand to his left, then right. He was a mad symphony conductor delivering a near death sonata. With each blow the defense of the gang member grew weaker and the blood started to pool faster into puddles near the building.


After nearly a whole minute of unsubdued violence the Doctor at the Disabled Veterans Clinic heard the commotion and stepped outside to see what the problem was.

“Hey!” said the Doctor. “Stop it right now. What the hell are you doing to Sam?”

Reyes stopped swinging, part from exhaustion and part because he couldn’t hear the doctor over his own rage.

“I’m doing you a favor doc. This piece of scum gang banger was probably driving away Vets who needed help, scared they were going to get robbed. He was disrespectful enough to repeatedly flash gang signs at me after I put my life on the line every day because of his kind.” Reyes exclaimed confidently as he wiped his mouth with his forearm, no doubt larger than it was before this last cycle of anabolic steroids.

“Sir, that is one of the local veterans, and he put his life on the line for 3 years defending a loser cop’s right to beat up criminals. And those gang signs you are talking about is called American Sign Language, you might try taking your dumbass to a library and researching it sometimes.”


Reyes was shocked, dropping his baton as his chest tightened. A million thoughts went through his mind as he peered down at the man he had just brutally beaten, coughing up blood and bleeding profusely. At that moment he heard a voice to his left:

“911. what’s your emergency?”

“I’d like to report an assault… well, an attempted murder. This cop just beat the shit out of this guy on Washington Street”

“I’m sorry sir; did you say a cop assaulted a man?”

“Yes. He beat him to death almost, he’s in bad shape…. you better hurry”

“I’ve dispatched an ambulance. Is the assailant still on the scene? Are you positive it was a Cop that beat him up?”

“Yes, he’s still here. I know it was a Cop, he’s in uniform and the lights on his cruiser are on. I taped it all on my cell phone… every second of it. He beat him up for using sign language”


The cop turned to see a teenager holding a cell phone stretched out to arm’s length, with the brutal scene framed up in the viewfinder. He looked back down at the man he had mistaken for a gang banger, who was now coughing up small amounts of blood as he rolled onto his side. The man raised his hand toward the officer and shakily, stretched his middle finger as close to the sky as he could.


So when you are burdened with troubles and your mind is full,

don’t rush up on strangers and lose all your cool.

There are always some things beyond your understanding,

you’ll pay for rush judgment and punches you’re landing.


Don’t worry so much, we live life to give.

The one and the many, it’s your life to live.

We lay our debts on heroes, and lie on our taxes,

You leave home as children, and ain’t been back since.


The news always scares you, the truth is quite bland,

princes aren’t as regal; pianos not as grand.

so turn off your TV and walk to the corner

Police beat the helpless, the poor just get poorer.


  1. January 18, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Great blog post with a good message

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