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Officer O'Malley's Beat

by Jan Ackerson  
10/26/2006 / Short Stories

Officer OMalley decided to patrol the streets. It was a hard habit to breakeven after his retirement several years ago, he had continued his daily walking routine. Yesterday he had moved into a new, gated community where he felt perfectly safenevertheless, a spin around the neighborhood seemed like a good idea. The community was lovely, the weather fine, and although he had often been plagued by heel spurs during his stint of ten-hour days, those had mercifully vanished now in his retirement.

The day was bright and glorious, and Officer OMalley followed the street in a new direction. The homes here were large and lovely, and the smell ofwhat? apple blossoms?filled the air.

As Officer OMalley walked, a young woman approached him, grinning broadly and with a glow in her eyes. Officer OMalley? she said. Hey, welcome to the neighborhood!

He stopped, cocked his head, looked quizzically at the young woman. Im not sure I

She laughed. Of course, you dont remember me, do you? I was just a little girl whenwell, when the accident happened. But Ill never forgetyou were there so quicklyand you were such a comfort to my motheryou even prayed with her while they were putting me in the ambulance...well, anyway, its great to have you around!

Officer OMalley watched as she walked away with a bounce to her step and a happy flutter of her fingertips. He remembered the accident nowhow severe the little girls injuries had been, and how devastated her mother was. Wonderful to see the girl here, and to know that hed been able to help the woman. He resumed his stroll, whistling.

Down another street now, and Officer OMalley noted with satisfaction that this new section of homes appeared safe, calm, well-maintained. He was about to head backhe had recently discovered his voice and joined a choir, and it was nearly time for their next performancewhen a voice called out to him from a nearby lawn. Yo! OMalley!

OMalley approached the man. Tommy Hawkins? Well, Ill be! Howre you doing, Tommy?

Tommy chuckled. I bet you never thought Id be livin in a place like this, huh, OMalley?

I guess I didnt, Tommy. Seems like I was always hauling you down to the station for some kind of trouble or another. OMalley searched Tommys face for signs of the punk teenager he had once known. Didnt you do some time, Tommy?

Tommy nodded. I like to say I done lived in the Big House, and now I got me a bigger house. I aint such a punk no more, right, OMalley?

What happened to you, Tommy?

Well, I was in the right place in the right time fer once in my life. I got an incredible offeran here I am! Tommy gestured expansively at his home. Wanna come in?

OMalley hesitatedit would be nice to revive memories of the old neighborhood with Tommybut the pull of the choir performance won out. Another time, Tommy, okay?

Sure thing, OMalleyI got nuttin but time. Tommy grinned and headed back across the lawn.

OMalley quickened his pace, and set off toward the center of the city. He could hear voices raised in song in the distance when he felt a tap on his shoulder.

He turned, and found himself face-to-face with the teenager he had first encountered on his last day on the job. Memories of that day tumbled through OMalleys mind...

...A convenience store robbery gone horribly wronghostages heldshots fired, his partner on the pavementmore gunfirerushing in to find the shooter deadtwo barely alive kids, soda mingling with their bloodone teenager whispering Save my friendpleasescooping up the unconscious teen and performing CPR until the ambulance arrivedrunning back into the storetoo late, too late

He had wondered for yearsdid I do the right thing?

A youthful voice brought OMalley out of his reverie. Officer OMalley, Im glad I saw you! I just wanted to say thanks for rescuing my friend. He wasnt ready to die, and mewell, Im here, arent I?

OMalley nodded, speechless with gratitude. He grasped the youth in a silent embrace, then hurried off to join the singing voices. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw that a few steps ahead, a small chunk of pavement had broken loose. He picked up the nugget and tossed it gently into the air, where it sparkled golden in the brilliant Light of day.

Jan is a Christian who has traveled through sorrow and depression, and has found victory and grace. She dedicates all writings to her Heavenly Father. Check out Jan's website at
Copywrite Jan Ackerson--2006

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