You Can’t Dance In Gumshoes

Dark streets.
A bloody dance of money, or love, or revenge.
A sudden sharp flash of violence, an inevitable mis-step and the music stops.
And two people is now one person and one corpse.
Running footsteps.
Time passing with trash-wind and a curious fox.
An interlude.
An early dog-walk-discovery leads to screaming and phone calls and sirens.
The sirens start act two.
Two cars. Two coppers apiece. A well rehearsed quartet.
To take a statement, and tape the pavement and patiently stave off the videotapers:
The instagram journalists, the twitterazzi and crime carrion,
The lorekeepers, engraving our passions and our past on tablets no longer made of stone.
An instant, international chorus that rounds out the sound and carries the song.
Wave them on, conductor, wave them on.

Morning traffic trickles and slows to a standstill stare.
No pulse, no paramedics. They’re done dancing, let them rest.
Forensics are late but awake.
Plastic bags and latex gloves.
Cameras and questions.
Words flying over the heads of the beat-cops.
A new dance begun, to a medical song.
Of angles, and blood-stains,
Incisions, contusions,
Of foot prints and finger prints and
Surgical terms.

At the edge of the ballroom, he’s waiting by the beat cops
Allowed past the tape, but barely inside.
He stifles a yawn, he’s been up since dawn,
And drinking before that.
He watches the blood and the flirting, uncertain
If the two young forensics are intimate yet.
He waits, and dispatches a beat-cop for coffee,
Wanting to join in the evidence gathering,
Desperate to eat something more dirty than pastry
And to sink his teeth into the case, and throw himself around the floor.
Still he waits for the news,
Because he knows
That you can’t dance in gum-shoes.

He’s a fighter, not a lover.
And when he gets the file, the day’s almost done,
But he’s just begun.
A DNA match.
He doesn’t know how it works.
He doesn’t much care.
It got him a name.
He’s a hunting dog.
And he moves without style.
Barely a dance, but with scent and with fury he prowls through the night.
Knocking some doors.
Kicking some in.
Knocking some people around.
Kicking some of them in, too.
Until finally, bruised and belligerent, he has his man.
In cuffs.
In the car.
Slam.

It’s late now.
The detective is tired, and tried.
A long night made longer by paperwork and pen-pushing,
Whiskey and writing out form after form,
After hours. And he’s done. He takes off his gumshoes,
He takes his applause and he blacks out and leaves the stage.
His race is run, and for him the show is over.

Somewhere a lawyer,
A crime commissioner,
A prosecutor,
A newspaper editor,
Twelve unsuspecting jurists,
A hundred unsuspecting citizens,
A thousand different people
Hear the music start.
And they begin to dance.

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