Dorian Shaw stumbled out of the bar, his stomach full from the barrage of bourbon he drank over the last 4 hours. The night had cooled and felt amazing on his damp skin. He hadn’t had a drink in nearly a week and that was cause for a celebration. The streets were quiet and empty as he headed somewhere not quite home. His defenses were activated suddenly by an unknown threat. Perhaps it was his time with the agency, years dedicated to alertness and paranoia, but it spread over him quickly and caused the hair on the back of his neck to stand. He strained to focus as he surveyed the street around him until they trained to the roof across the street. In the dark, he could make out the sign (TREVANT JEWELS) and there, shrouded in shadow, was a person.
He couldn’t see the details from the distance – man, woman, black, white – but they were there and then they weren’t, disappearing into the darkness over the store. He jogged across the street and peered through the glass door. He couldn’t see anything in the dark at first. He pulled the metal hand: locked. He cupped his hands to shield his eyes from the streetlights and waited. Seconds felt like minutes and he nearly wrote it off as the bourbon, until he saw the dark figure slink along the showroom floor.
“Freeze!” the voice yelled behind him. “Fuck,” he whispered to himself. He raised his hands in the air. “Turn around!” the voice barked again. Dorian spun on his heels. “It’s ok. I’m a federal agent,” Dorian said, desperately trying to sound sober. “I’m gonna show you my badge,” he said, his left hand lowering toward his belt. “Don’t move!” the cop said, his gun trained on Dorian center mass. “Listen, someone broke into this store. You need to call it in,” Dorian said. He had begun taking slow steps toward the cop. “Someone already called in a silent alarm and I found you,” the cop said as he removed his cuffs from his belt. From his experience in white collar crime, he knew he had only mere seconds left to intercept the real burglars and winding them down with a beat cop was not ideal. In one swift move, he grabbed the gun from the officer and hit him twice, knocking him to the ground. “I’ll keep this until you call for backup,” he said, holding the gun up.
The commotion out front killed the stealth tactic. He made his way down the alley and boosted himself up the fire escape of the adjacent building. His footfalls were loud and thunderous on the aging metal as he approached the roof. He scanned the view for a moment when he saw the thief scramble up the ventilation chute. “Freeze! FBI!” he yelled, aiming the gun across. They turned towards him slightly before taking off into a full sprint in the other direction. Close enough to make it, he thought as he gauged the gap. Before he could talk himself out of it, he was hurling his body through the air. He made the jump, rolling to break his fall before he stood again and continued his pursuit. He didn’t know if he was genuinely out of shape or if he was just excessively drunk but he found himself falling behind. “Shit!” he yelled, leaping another gap too soon and missing the ledge. He managed to catch himself on the iron fire escape nearly a floor below. He struggled to pull himself over the metal bars to collapse on the stairs.
Dorian downed his third cup of coffee in the last 30 minutes as he paced in front of the police tape. CSS had shown up, as well as an ensemble of detectives, officers and press. His boss had just arrived and he was eager to take over the case. He’d been on the bench too long. Deputy Director Janet Dorson shook hands with the detectives on scene before she approached her subordinate. She knew that Dorian would crack eventually from being on desk duty for so long, but she was still wary about his mental state. “Shaw,” she said, trying to ignore the smell of alcohol rolling off him. “Deputy Director.”
“What happened here?”
“I was in the area when I spotted a suspect on the roof of the jewelers. When I tried to investigate further, the beat cop stopped me before I could intercept. I pursued the suspect but I lost them.”
“And what were you doing in the area?” Dorian cleared his throat before answering. “I was visiting friends.”
“Oh, Jack and Jim?” Dorson said sarcastically. Dorian didn’t reply. “Dammit, Dorian…you CANNOT keep doing this.”
“I’m not on the clock.”
“You’re damn right you’re not on the clock! So you running through the streets, drunk, attacking officers is NOT OK! You should’ve called for backup.”
“It would’ve been too late.”
“So what happens when that officer fills his report about the drunk federal agent that stole his gun and chased after a perp NO ONE ELSE saw?”
Dorian chewed the inside of his jaw, knowing that she was right. Janet huffed and glanced at her watch. “Go home. Get some rest. We’ll discuss this later,” she said as she buttoned the top button of her coat. “But what about…” Dorian began when she interrupted him again. “Home. NOW.”
Sleep eluded Dorian for the rest of the early morning. He was out of the house and on his way into work by dawn. His mind was abuzz during his commute. He’d been out of the field for months and was out of shape, mentally and physically, however, last night gave him the jolt he needed. He was determined to get the Deputy Director to see his way. He sat at his desk, anxious and distracted from his normal filing reports. An hour had passed when his extension chirped. “She’s here,” said the voice of one of the junior agents. Dorian went flying out the door and straight to her office. Dorson was hanging up her jacket when he knocked on her ajar door. “Shaw, come in. Shut the door,” she said. Dorian followed the order as she took her position behind her desk. “Before we discuss putting you back in the field, we need to discuss YOU first,” she said, her fingers tented in front of her. “I’m fine. Ready to work,” he said as he sat in one of the seats in front of her.
“What happened last night is not the actions of a person that’s ‘fine’.”
“So, I had a few drinks. You can’t say you haven’t done the same.”
“Yes, but I also don’t drink alone or attack patrol officers.”
“I didn’t atta–” Dorian began when she put her hand up to silence him. “Don’t bullshit a bullshitter. You have a legitimate reason for being on edge. I mean, if I lost my family…”
“Honestly, that has nothing to do with this. I did the counseling, I’ve been on the sidelines for months. I think I deserve to be back out in the field,” he snapped.
They sat in steely silence for a moment before she reached into her bottom drawer and produced his weapon. She had benched one of her best men for nearly a year and it wasn’t one of her most brilliant ideas. “I’m not thrilled about turning you loose, especially after last night. I’m giving this back to you on a TRIAL basis. One, and I mean, ONE fuck up and you’ll be typing reports until Christmas,” she said, before she slid the gun towards him. Dorian managed to control his excitement as he took his weapon. “And the heist?” Dorian asked, adjusting the holster on his belt. Dorson eyed him hesitantly before producing a manila folder. “Special Agent Sanchez is lead on this. You can report to him,” she said, handing him the folder. “I was actually thinking…”
“NO. No rogue shit, Shaw, I mean it. You will report to Special Agent Sanchez and he will report to me. No exceptions, no excuses.” Dorian decided it would be better than to argue; a win was a win. As he walked out of her office, Dorson couldn’t help but think of the vodka she would have that night to ease her worry.