Fandom: Due South
Character: Turnbull (cameos by Guy, Longfellow and Severn)
Timeline: Spring of 1994.
Summary: There are a lot of roles a front-line police officer has to be able to fill. A look at one of Turnbull's shifts.
"Bravo four-two-oh, control. I'll be ten-eight."
"Ten-four, bravo four-two-oh, twenty-two twelve."
The old highway 35 was often a favorite place of speeders, and on those occasions when he could, Turnbull liked to sit off of the road, only just visible, for an hour or two. On the chance that they saw him, they slowed down; when they didn't see him, he usually ended up writing a citation. Either way, he accomplished something: Those inclined to speed got suitably paranoid for a number of weeks afterward, waiting to see his lights start flashing in their rearview mirrors and drove slower even when he wasn't there to watch.
It was a one-man traffic blitz, and he couldn't deny just a little satisfaction at keeping them on their toes.
"Do you see? She always does this!"
"Sir, I strongly advise you to sit down, and I will get your side of the story as soon as I'm finished getting hers."
"But her side of the story is wrong!"
"Listen to the Mountie! You'll get your chance, windbag!"
"That's rich coming from you, you goddamn harpy!"
Turnbull closed his eyes for a bare moment of frustration, then pointed to the husband. "You," he said, sharply, "will sit in that living room until I am ready to get your statement." Then he pointed to the wife. "You," he continued, "will tell your story without unnecessary embellishment. Just the facts, please. Thank you kindly."
It still took another forty minutes to get their respective statements.
He never really liked it when his professional life and his personal life clashed, but being friends with Guy Laurent and acquaintances with Andrew Longfellow meant that it happened often enough that Turnbull had given up trying to dodge the inevitable.
He did not, however, give up on dodging beer bottles.
Most of the people in the bar room had the good sense to stop fighting when he came through the door, but not all, and after the bottle shattered behind his head and he stared at it incredulously, he turned a narrow-eyed look back on the thrower.
Drew was screaming all sorts of semi-coherent cursing, and indeed, some of it was Québécois, in the middle of a four-man pile up, all of whom were doing their best to beat him into a pulp.
"Sorry, man," Guy said, standing well back and holding a pool cue in one hand and a beer in the other.
Turnbull answered with a long-suffering sigh, and threw himself into the fray.
It was the hour of the wolf, and they had only just finished dealing with the bar fight that had dragged both Severn and Mitchell out of bed to back up Turnbull. Given just how many people they had to charge in the end, the paperwork from that would no doubt linger well after the dawn. The bruises certainly would, and for a few days more besides.
"All right," Severn said, into the phone, face set in solemn lines that made him look older than his years. "We'll handle it. Thanks, John."
Turnbull only vaguely heard the call that followed that -- hushed tones and quiet conferral -- but he could already feel some growing sense of unease building in the pit of his stomach, now that the adrenaline from the bar fight had worn off.
Twenty minutes later, he stood at his commanding officer's shoulder as Severn informed a woman that her husband had died in an accident over in Smeaton and wished he could go back to shake the husband and wife from the domestic call he'd handled earlier.
The reprieve of sitting outside of the school zone to monitor traffic was a welcomed one.
Buses, children, families. In the early light of morning, it was a bittersweet scene; few, maybe none, knew that last night a family had been fighting, a bar room had been taken apart and a man had died. Doubtless the adults would know at least two of those before the day was over; Nipawin was a small community and word traveled fast. But for now, there was just the steadiness of routine.
He ticked his thumb against the steering wheel and stood guard over it.
A mother and her son walked past the front of his cruiser, smiling and waving -- they did so every morning he sat here, familiar strangers with intersecting routines, one of his best reminders of why he was here.
Despite the night, Turnbull couldn't quite stop himself from smiling and waving back.
The hour marking the end of his shift came and went, and Turnbull was still doing paperwork.
The worst of their miscreant drunks, including Drew, had been released once they were sober enough to go home with summons to appear in court. Mitchell had gone home to try to catch a little more sleep before his shift started. Sandburg had come in and had taken his cruiser, then headed back out to deal with the day's calls now that the night was over.
That just left reports and the come-down from a long, busy shift.
Turnbull rubbed his eyes, then refocused on the typewriter, feeling both the physical and emotional bruises.
Severn set a cup of Saskatoon berry tea down on the desk, opposite the paperwork, then tapped Turnbull on the shoulder. "Finish that one and go home, Renfield. You can do the rest later."
The tea and the kindness made that last report far easier to get through.
It was a bright morning, and the sky above was clear; the air was still crisp and cool, but it promised to warm up nicely as the day wore on.
Turnbull planned on sleeping through most of it, so he took a little time to appreciate it now; drove the back way home, skirting the open fields of farmland at the edge of town, muddy and barren. Parked on the side of the road, carefully, and then stepped out.
He closed his eyes and breathed.
The air was clean; the vague scent of dust from the gravel road mixed with the cold earthiness of prairie land not yet ready to plant, warming to the sun that was heating up his shoulders and face even as the cool air nipped at his skin. He could still feel his bruises, but they didn't ache like they had.
He breathed and it was as much a prayer as it was appreciation; for those he'd encountered last night, for those he would encounter in the future, and for all of those he hoped he would never have to in an enforcement capacity. For the fighting couple, the idiot drunks, the new widow, the young family. For his detachment, for his town and for his strength.
He opened his eyes, smiling a little up at the prairie sky, and then he got back into his car and headed back home.
"Bravo four-two-oh, control. I'll be ten-eight."
"Ten-four, bravo four-two-oh, twenty-two nineteen."