For the rest of the day, Burke sat in his chair, thinking about what Ceebee said…and he was angry. Who was Ceebee to think he had the right to come over there and straighten him out?
Burke told himself that it was his life, his decisions and he didn’t have to justify his actions to anybody. But as he looked at the pint of Vodka in his hand, he thought to himself, “you son-of-a-bitch. Ceebee’s right. You’re throwing your life away one drink at a time.”
Sitting in the dark, he leaned forward, put his head in his hands and wept. He didn’t know if he was weeping for Slaughter or for himself and it didn’t matter. It was a release and it was a release that didn’t come from a bottle.
Being sober for the first time since he could remember, things were starting to come back into focus for him. He had forgotten how the soft glow of the street light illuminated his apartment.
The sounds of the city that had all but fallen silent were once again, audible. He noticed the putrid smell of rotting food and booze soaked carpet. He was no longer amused by the idea of having a pet cockroach the size of a large rodent.
Suddenly, as if having the “surge” he bolted upright.
He couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw Slaughter standing in front of him. He tried to speak but couldn’t seem to form any words. He tried to reach out to her but his arms were paralyzed.
He tried to walk but found himself crumbling like he was made of match sticks. He watched as she turned her back on him and disappeared.
When he awoke, he was laying in a pool of Vodka and shaking like a frightened little boy.
That was the turning point for Burke. He had been standing at a precipice and had come back from the brink of almost total self-annihilation. He had never been one to embrace a higher power or signs from the universe, but this dream had shaken him to the core and he believed it had meaning.
The next morning, he got dressed and went to the station. Mouths were agape as he walked into Captain Meade’s office. He said “I’m ready to come back to work, Captain.”
Captain Meade said “and you think that’s it, huh? You just waltz in here and tell me you’re ready to come back to work?”
Burke said “Captain, I just lost it for a while but now I’m back.” Captain Meade said “I don’t know what was going on between you and Slaughter and I don’t want to know but you let yourself get way too close. You and I both know that’s something that should never happen.”
“I know,” said Burke.
Captain Meade told Burke that he could come back to work but there would be conditions and those conditions were absolutely non-negotiable.
“I’m ready to do anything,” said Burke.
Captain Meade said “okay. You will be on probation for six months. I am going to require you to see a psychiatrist on a regular basis…and under no circumstances are you to be involved with the Ice Pick Killer case and I mean in no way, shape, form or fashion. Are we clear?”
Burke sat in silence. Captain Meade said “say we’re clear.”
“We’re clear,” said Burke.
To be continued_________________