His abrupt habits used to annoy her, but it was Canon's way. He wasted no energy on the little things. He wasn't overly rude, he just didn't sugarcoat to save feelings.
"I need to go talk to my boss," she told CV. "I'll try to come by afterward, with an update on Don."
"Donnie's good people," he said softly, eyes drooping.
"I think so, too." She laid a hand on his.
Leaving quietly, she asked a nurse to keep her informed about CV and Don.
"Didn't think that cops would give a damn," the young, black woman said tersely.
"I'm not asking as a cop, but as a person who cares."
"Would you be as concerned about two men of color?" the woman snapped.
"Yes. I happen to believe life is important, regardless of the body it animates."
"Easy for you, Miss White Privilege," she sniffed disdainfully, tossing her head.
Eilene could have let it drop, but it struck a raw nerve. She'd met many people like this, who didn't look past the fact she wasn't black, jumping to the wrong conclusion. Already in a bad mood because of Oats, Eilene wasn't going to let this one go. Shifting her shoulders, she stood taller. It should have warned the young woman, but she wasn't very good at reading body language. Others around them, waited anxiously to see what would happen.
"You know why I became a cop? Because I grew up dirt poor. Holes in my shoes―when I had them. No coat in the winter. What food we had, we raised ourselves, or traded for. Some places in this country are more impoverished than the Hood. So, you wanna come at me with White Privilege? I'll trade you―anytime. Now, will you kindly update me about Mr. Carpenter and Mr. Winthrop, or should I ask someone more privileged?"
An older black woman overheard the conversation and came over. "You apologize, Maya. This young lady has been here half the night, watching over two strangers, from kindness."
"You think they're criminals!" Maya protested.
"I'll see you're called," the older woman said. "And you and me, Little Sister, are about to have a Come to Jesus."
"Thank you," Eilene smiled graciously.
"You're welcome. That old man has no one but that nice boy. Now he's hurt, too. We have to watch out for them both."
"Agreed. Here's my card. Thank you, again."
"I'm Nancine. If I don't call, I'll get one of the other girls to." She cut her dark eyes at Maya.
Nodding, Eilene headed to the elevator. She wasn't sure what time it was, only that suddenly, she was weary beyond belief. She met Canon in the lobby. They went outside for a coffee from the food truck, and settled at a table to talk. After she'd given her report, Canon looked her over carefully.
"You okay, Eilene?"
"Oh, peachy. Watched a man be assaulted, convulse, nearly die, and be resuscitated. And, I got accused of having White Privilege." She snorted a little at that insult.
"Hmm. Interesting, since you're full blood Cherokee, born on the Reservation."
"Didn't seem important to explain that to the angry, black nurse with an attitude. Not that little bitch's right to know."
"No." He paused a moment. "Shift ended hours ago. Go home and get some sleep. The paperwork is done. Now, I get to go nail Oats' sack to the wall, and watch him squirm." He rubbed his hands together with malicious glee.
"I wish I felt up to watching that."
"Want me to film it?"
Eilene chuckled. "I'm just tried enough to believe you would."
"If I thought I could get away with it...." He winked. "Need a ride?"
"Yeah, I came in the truck."
"I'll get you home. I don't trust you on the road."
"Me either. Thanks. My car!"
"That's a tomorrow worry. Ah, here's Newton. Right on time."
They walked over and were greeted by the new recruit. He and Eilene were the same age, but being a former Army Sergeant, he was newer to the police force. This was his third month with SWAT.
"Hop in, my friends!" He held the doors open for them.
Eilene was going to sit in back, but Canon insisted she take the front seat. Once settled, Newton took off. It took a moment for Eilene to notice that he wasn't driving a cruiser, but his own personal car. It was sleek and hard bodied, not too different from its driver.
"Stafford's place is further, so drop me first."
"Yes, sir." He took off briskly.
"I thought you were going in to roast Oats?" Eilene said.
"I'm tired. It'll keep. Let the sorry f**ker stew a few more hours."
Newton fed into traffic on the interstate, which was still busy at three in the morning. Trucks crowded him, but didn't bother Newton at all. Even when three cars ahead of him hit their brakes, suddenly, he merely swerved into the middle lane. He took a spot so tight, Eilene would never have used it.
"What was your job in the Army?" she asked after another abrupt lane change.
©2021 Dellani Oakes