Cross the Line

Jarred Bacon had a tied-back ponytail formed from his flowing black hair that was once in a while drawn into braids depending on his mood. He noticed that it changed his appearance, and do to the nature of what he does, changed his appearance when he felt like it. He preferred to dress the part of a cowboy and wore blue jeans, cowboy boots, and his favourite tan leather jacket that used to be his father’s. Depending on how he wore the hair, he either wore a cowboy hat, or one of several ball caps.

Some times it was the Nike Swish symbol on it, other times it was a John Deere Tractor hat, he’d even wear a Team Canada Hockey hat once in a while, and there were others but those three were his favourites, it all depended on his mood and ability to blend in. His only scar was noticeable on his left cheek and he kept that hidden with a lightly shaved beard. The scruffy beard was all he could muster as he had a deep feeling that he was Metis, his dad mentioned it once when he was drunk and Jarred had mostly put it out of mind, but now and again the thought surfaced when he thought of his dad’s passing.

In the past he had come close to finding out the truth and had started by getting his heritage at the St. Boniface Historical Society. He never went to pick it up as his friends sidetracked him by persuading him to not know. Sometimes they would take him out and get him drunk and tell him that Indians drank, other times they‘d get him high and tell him that Indians smoked crack. He still occasionally thought looking into his heritage would be an enjoyable thing. In the mornings his dad would wake him with Wa-nish-ka… Wake up. He asked once what the language was and his dad grew teary-eyed, explaining that his great grandfather used to speak a dying language called Michif.

He secretly enjoyed the comfort of oven-fresh bannock and fiddle music, even if he couldn’t check off the Metis box on his Census. His radio continually played the country twang of old stars that had faded but never went out of style on CJOB, just like his already broken family used to do around the breakfast table on weekends before his mom left for greener pastures. Later when he grew up he was told, by her relatives, that she didn’t leave in a conventional sense. She had died of the big C, lung cancer. Jarred had wondered about the weakness she exhibited, and then there was the coughing, but to a three-year-old it had meant little, especially since they told him that mom was sick with the flu. Devastated that his father hadn’t told him, he confronted his dad and his father cried saying he could never admit it to himself never mind his kid, and had given up on God’s ability to help persevere.

True to his upbringing, he’d turn to music when down and blue and go for drives. Songs like Reckless, I’m in a Hurry, and Keepin’ Up by Alabama played regularly in the form of cassette tapes on his tape deck that he inherited from another vehicle one night while out drunk and feeling full of rebelliousness. When he was rebellious, he would listen to the Doors, or Bob Dylan and wonder if he would ever break on through to the other side, and if cannon balls would still fly, or if all would be opposite in the new age. He would feel bad, drink, feel the blues, then play Muddy Waters and wonder when love would come to town, or if the thrill would ever come back. That always led him back to the country music and his fond memories of Cathy, his sometimes girlfriend, who had left him because of his chosen profession, or at least that’s what he called it.

He would look forward in time and see children, wonder where they came from, think of Cathy again and play Don Williams and other Country Classics. He’d start with Good Ole Boys Like Me, and insist that he’d be just what he should be and think Cathy was getting what she wanted, a fresh man. Well, a newly minted man, not a recent Forever Husband, but the same man as something different. He always drempt of being with the same woman for enaction after enaction, throughout time… Past, present, and future. He always assumed throughout school that Cathy would be the one, the only, and they would join as Eagles did… For all of time. He had memories of being with her in the past… She must be Kaagigie… Forever Family.

Then his thoughts would drift back to the present and Bob Wills would play With Tears In My Eyes, and it would remind him she didn’t want him and he’d switch it up and play Crazy Heart by Hank Williams. Again he’d remember the fighting and realize that things had to change before she’d ever take him back, so he’d play There’s a Tear In my Beer, not the Hank Jr version either, but the magnificent ole gold of Hank Williams Sr. Then he would get depressed and think of his dad more, wonder if there was a Heaven, wonder if there was a Hell, wonder, wonder, wonder, and then he would give in, smoke a Coco-puff, or a coke-laced joint, and listen to Eric Clapton’s Cocaine. He wondered if Clapton had it right when he said she didn’t like cocaine. Is that what she was avoiding me for, is that all it was, was that the big picture?

His fundamental source of the blues was being single as the woman of his dreams eluded him because she didn’t want his punk ass to rot in jail while she raised the kids. Cathy Johnston was well known to him from childhood and felt an instant connection to him even back then. They had met because Jared’s parents were friends with her family. The two families always talked about them getting together like they were a Forever Couple and had paired off as Eagles already, not to mention as other forms. This seemed possible to Jarred as he felt a bond that transcended time, a connection hard to break, as if we married in other lives, and had lived together as other creatures. Jarred had scattered memories, of Northern White Rhinoceroses, of Albino Pythons, of White Heart Deer, of Elk, of Moose, and so much more. Jarred had the feeling that there was more going on, not that she was seeing anyone, but that he had done her wrong in time, perhaps in a past life. Maybe he had been an awful guy back then too, hopefully not too despicable, but still she soured of his tree.
Dating off and on again throughout Junior High School, they broke up when he dealt Marijuana. He eventually took her Virginity at a house party in High School when they rekindled their budding love over a mickey of Jack Daniel’s, but they split up just after graduation. He was only eighteen and thought he had lots of time to straighten out for romance and family. He had an exit plan that involved socking away money from his illegal income that he would launder at the Casinos of Winnipeg. He started with robbery and upped the anti to street dealing and finally ascended to dial-a-dealing as he made his name known in the streets of our fair city. He was usually good at sniffing out trouble, it must have been part of his animal nature or something, he would always know when to lie low and hide. He wouldn’t go out carousing with his friends when he felt it, the feeling gnawing on his heart, the despair returning. He likened it to the last time that Cathy broke up with him and how he felt, as if she was still with him, still testing him, still willing to give him a chance if he cleaned up, then it was too late.

He was out and about one night with about a half ounce of crack broken down and packaged as twenty-pieces, reminiscing the good old days, listening to his favourite song, Cocaine, when he ran into a routine check stop. Fortunately for him he had forgone the usual laced joint and had not even smoked any reefer. The police were kind, as usual, but this time he felt different, like something big was about to happen. Was this a sign from Cathy? Was this where he was to change his life and get those children? But how, if he got busted that would mean jail time, not a trip to Jamaica for his Honeymoon, not intercourse in his dad’s old Buick, and no more parties at which he’d sell pot and buy Jack Daniel’s getting laid. When the cops ran his licence and found it expired, he told them he had forgotten to renew it and he would get to it.

The officer holding his license informed him it was far to late to renew as they already caught him. Jarred stole a look at the glove box and looked back at the cop’s eyes, worried that they would search and find his stash. The officer was trying to explain that he wouldn’t tow his vehicle this time if he could find a valid driver to get it home. Jarred darted a glance at the glove box again. The officer seemed to pick up on this and asked him if there was something wrong. Jarred got flustered and responded that he was fine, just nervous about the ticket, and wondering who to wake up for a ride.

The officer told Jarred that things would be fine. It was only a two hundred and fifty-dollar fine as he had not had a licence for two months. Jarred seemed to settle, but he stole another peek at the glove box. Finally, the cop clicked that there must be something in there that Jarred was hiding and ordered him out of the car and said that they would search the vehicle before letting him go. During the search they found an old sawed-off shotgun in the trunk and the drugs in his glove compartment. There was a box of shells found in the trunk with the shotgun. Charged for possession of a controlled substance and unauthorized possession of a firearm they took Jarred into custody.

The cops held him in the lockup at the Remand Center and offered a public defender. After Running Jarred through the police database they discovered he had an open youth record. It wasn’t the longest, nor did it contain any violent charges, and the last charge led to a conviction for shoplifting for which he had served two weeks in Agassiz Youth Detention Center. Tested for Gunshot Residue and printed, the shotgun came back recently fired but wiped clean of fingerprints. A Gunshot Residue test on Jarred’s hands turned up nothing. Left looking for other leads, they applied a search warrant for his residence. When they searched his home, they found another box of shells that apparently had a sequential lot number. This box of shells was unopened and had non-matching fingerprints to Jarred, and the prints they collected didn’t come up as a match to any known felon when run through the database. The police couldn’t do much as the shells found in the trunk loaded yet again had dissimilar fingerprints, did not match the fingerprints found on the shells from the home, and again were not Jarred’s. There was also a scale that came back positive for crack and weed found in a drawer of the kitchen. Cleaned of fingerprints and only inked to Jarred through possession, like the assorted pipes and a bong also recovered from the house. The pipes tested and coming back positive for Marijuana, Methamphetamine, and Crack, while the bong came back positive for Marijuana alone.

Through interrogation they found he was a loner in life but held down a regular paying job from which he could source a legal income to cover bills. They asked him if he was dealing crack, as you packaged the rocks in street quantities, and were in his possession. The lawyer responded that Jarred frequently loaned out his car and thought it must have been one of his friends who had placed the drugs in question in the glove box. The lock mechanism was broken since he bought the car so anyone of the mentioned friends could have gained access. The interviewing detectives asked if he knew any of his friends to deal drugs. Jarred couldn’t recall knowing any drug dealers and never seen nor heard of his friends talk about drug dealing in front of him.

The detectives asked if he owned the shotgun or had placed it in the trunk with the shells. Jarred’s lawyer reiterated that the car, frequently loaned out, was available to any of his friends. They could have placed the gun and shells in the trunk, and Jarred had not looked back there for a long time. They asked him where he put his groceries when he went shopping. Jarred replied that he ate out most of the time, payed debit, so it should be easy to determine. The detectives switched focus and went over the evidence collected at the house. He denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of each of the items taken in as evidence again and again and again. He maintained that there was an open door policy around his house for about a dozen people and it could have been any of them coming or going that left what amounted to evidence.

The cops specifically asked about who used the pipes. Jarred denied ever using the pipes and replied that they were mostly for parties and anyone could have used them. He admitted that the bong was his and nobody else used it as he kept it hidden in his locked room. The cops by now frustrated and not any closer to understanding what was going on were ready to put him back in his cell, when the call came from higher up to cut him loose. His lawyer thought that was a good idea as he would get off with what would amount to a small fine, he had no prior criminal contact with the force other than his minor juvenile record, and the cops couldn’t prove the crack, shells, or the shotgun were knowingly in his possession. The stuff from his house amounted to paraphernalia and wasn’t a concern. If pushed to a court case, his client would most likely get off completely. That’s when Jarred changed his life and found a better way to make money. The young punk would learn how to avoid the law in less time than he’s been a criminal and will shift gears to become a new individual to straighten out others in society through enactments of justice.

Jarred thought he had gotten a break, a wake up call, and a new destiny all at once. He phoned Cathy to tell her what happened; It wasn’t as big of a mistake as he thought. She reiterated that he would make something of himself yet and wanted to go for dinner to feel him out. He decided on the fly to take her to the place where they had their first date, A&W, the one at Polo Park, where she had bought new shoes. He remembered them clearly; They had pink laces, weren’t a known name brand, but she had to have them anyway because Pinkie Pie, the My Little Pony, was on them. She raved about them for weeks and weeks and wouldn’t stop wearing them even when the seams rotted away. He remembered how she kissed him at the bus stop when he said the shoes suited her as the character’s traits reminded him of her and how she always sang along to the radio when they listened. Jarred thought things were looking up and celebrated, but with a fresh twist, not the old kind where he would spark up a celebratory joint. Instead, he went out and got a mickey of Jack Daniel’s, a small bottle of Triple sec, a couple of lemons, and some lemonade to try his hand at Lynchburg Lemonade.

He put on the Highwaymen and listened to the Highwayman to relax. It reminded him of where he had just come from and he quickly decided that he had been a highwayman too long, taken too much out of society and now it was time to give back. He thought he’d like to be a starship pilot, or a dam builder, but there were no star ships and they didn’t build dams everyday so with two drinks under his belt he explored his options. What was he good at? What could he possibly do with his talents? School wasn’t a ghastly thing, but he got bored easily and might not do so well after a couple months if he wasn’t seriously into it. Truck driving was always interesting to him since his uncle had taken him on a lengthy trip to Minneapolis and back to Winnipeg. He liked the open road but didn’t want the pot belly to go with it. Then he realized, what profession dealt with criminals?

One day he wanted to apply to the police academy in Winnipeg to become a recruit and went to get some information about joining, so he went to the nearest police station and inquired. The policeman at the desk told him it was a long time since he’d seen a crook so eager to turn himself around that he wanted to be a policeman. The policeman asked him if he had a problem divulging his criminal past and Jarred told him it was already mostly in the open and he had recently been in trouble. He told the policeman it was the turning point in his life, his epiphany, his wake up call, and now was the time to change. He said it was like the police force had always known when to catch him and to call him on his crime to spawn something from nothing. The policeman agreed that it might have meant something and told him there was the requirement of an in-depth interview complete with polygraph where he’d have to be completely honest, then he’d have to pass physical testing, and finally complete some schooling at the academy before being allowed into the field. Jarred agreed and filled out the application that day.

First up, like he was told, was the polygraph and interview. He told stories of getting girls out of prostitution and even paying off one father’s outstanding drug debts so he could get out of the fire and back to being a father. He told a story about dating an eighteen-year-old mother with two kids who had fallen to crime and lost her kids to the court system and how he had helped her get them back and turned her out of tricks and into being a good mother. He told them how he started a criminal enterprise to supplement his income from a crummy minimum wage job where he was under-appreciated and labelled a loser by society in his early adulthood because of the criminal nature of his youth. He had always tried to follow what his parents seen as just and avoided the people who put a lot of pressure on him to misbehave and disobey laws, but he gravitated towards criminals from an early age and in his youth he had learned to lie, cheat, and steal.

Before long he was enacting crimes of escalating magnitude including joyriding, shoplifting, and robbery. Arrested three times by fifteen years old, they held him once for joyriding, and twice for shoplifting. His mother knew he was up to no good. These charges resulted in summary convictions that amounted to fines and probation, but still the escalation was clear to his entire family. The fourth arrest, when he was sixteen, was for shoplifting and resulted in being tried, convicted, and sentenced in youth courts, leading to time served in Agassiz Youth Center in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. The only reason an indictment occurred leading to court was because he had an open youth record with previous crimes of a similar nature, so summary conviction was not an option in the eyes of the arresting officers. The courts, at least, want a second chance for young adults, who haven’t screwed up royally, and destroy records resulting from minor crimes. They should have lost his record through time, but it remained open because of the jail sentence.

It was easy to continue a life of crime spawned from the heyday of his youth because as he grew older he realized a few things about our society: the fact that once labelled a criminal you always will bear that label, the fact that once you’ve started something it is inductive and hard to change direction, the fact that crime is easier to enact then lawfulness, and the fact that people are gullible and malleable drawing them in what direction the criminal mind wishes. In his mind he could use the legal income to justify purchases and pay rent but could still afford the luxuries in life through the illegally made money. Then he told them how he had gotten caught and changed his life. Acing the polygraph and interview portion of the testing, they allowed him to carry on as a suitable candidate.

The physical testing was the easiest part as he had been a long-standing fitness nut who enjoyed staying in shape. He learned many basic procedures and protocols like interview techniques and how to approach a hostile suspect with your partner or alone sometimes. His favourite part was learning the ropes with their new tool, the electrified knife. The whole point was to get cut, without getting cut. To feel the pain but not to leave scars that were real. He carried this message all the days of being a rookie and applied all that he had learned as he did on-the-job training. He started as a rookie driving through the North District, a tough part of town, where there was much action to keep him busy during his shifts. His typical calls were battery involving drunk couples, noise complaints stemming from parties, and even involvement in the odd raid on a crack shack.

After a year of this he transferred to the East District where there was much less action and the calls involved crimes like shoplifting, bank robbery, and the odd assault. As he grew through the ranks, there were promotions through the constabulary and finally you could specialize to distinct branches of the force. He often thought of what position would be most suitable for him when he realized he was suitable through his uglier side to undercover operations. He had a rough network of old acquaintances from his time as a drug dealer in the mean city streets to build a good connection with the streets, this time to enforce and uphold the law, not to break it.

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