Two years and as many partners later, Holly was now riding solo as a Sergeant. She was on her way to being the one everyone “followed.”
She inherited her childhood home and moved back to the old neighborhood. Everything was just as it had been when her parents were still alive. She even continued to sleep in her old bedroom. Changing anything would be almost sacrilegious and disrespectful to the memory of her parents, she thought. She preferred to let it reflect how her life had been and how blessed she was to have been raised by two such wonderful people
She and Earl had remained close and she often had dinner with him, Rachael and their two daughters who called her “aunt Holly.” Earl was no longer “on the beat.” He had moved inside and was working with the Domestic Violence Division.
She had honored her fathers’ legacy and had a reputation for being one of the “good guys.” She was caring and as her father taught, “treated people like they mattered.”
She was kind but again, was no pushover. The one thing she had no tolerance for was the selling of drugs, especially to or around children. Addiction was becoming an epidemic, even in her small town and trying to control it was like trying to put out a raging forest fire with a squirt gun.
Seeing people she had gone to school with, now addicted to drugs or alcohol or pain killers, was incredibly difficult for her.
One day she was called to a 10-76 scene. When she arrived, she didn’t even recognize the young woman until she asked her name.
Holly almost gasped aloud when she said her name was Tony Beck. She was one of the girls in high school, that Holly had been every shade of green with envy toward. She was the Homecoming Queen, president of the Student Council and like Holly, had high aspirations. She was going to go to Hollywood and become a famous movie star.
After months of sending photos and impromptu “acting” recordings to film companies, she finally caught the eye of a producer.
“Hollywood Is Calling” was the headline in the local newspaper. That was a big deal in that little town and reporters clamored for an interview. Being driven for the first “scoop,” the reporters bombarded her with questions.
Questions like “how does it feel?” Or “what were you thinking when you got the call?” The more they asked, the more irritated she became. The final straw was when a young stringer asked “what’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get to Hollywood?”
Her answer was an abrupt, “hire somebody to answer stupid, idiotic questions like these.”
The producer heard the interview and it went without saying that the next headline, although never printed was “Hollywood didn’t call back.”
Now she was an unrecognizable shell of her former self. She was addicted to Cocaine and living in a well known crack house with whoever would pay her for sex. One of the guys had beaten her up when she threatened to call the police after he refused to produce the agreed upon drugs for “services rendered.”
Holly radioed “10-23 for a 10-76.” She quickly requested an ambulance. She tried to get Tony to agree to press charges but she wouldn’t. “You do understand that he will do this again, right?” Holly asked. “Once a woman beater, always a woman beater and next time, you might not be so lucky.” Tony made excuses the way so many women do, who are the victims of abuse.
When the ambulance arrived, Holly tried to persuade her again. Tony said “it doesn’t matter. I didn’t even know his name.” Then she asked Holly if she could help her out.
Holly said “if that’s what you want, yes I can. I can get you into a shelter for battered women and then get you into a drug rehab program.”
Tony said “no. I meant, can you hook me up with some drugs? I’ll tell you anything you want me to. I’ll make up a name. Just hook me up, okay?”
Holly looked into Tony’s hollow eyes and said “you know I can’t do that.” She looked at Tony’s frail arms, riddled with the track marks left by needles filled with those liquid drops of death masquerading as Nirvana and knew that someday, those drops would take her life.
As Holly watched the ambulance drive away, she stomped on a needle laying on the ground. “What takes someone into that word?” she wondered. “Disappointment? Heartache? Heartbreak? Grief?”
She wasn’t one to judge or question the means chosen by others to deal with their brokenness. Like her father said many times, “there but by the grace of God go I” and she had her own demons. The two boys who killed her parents were her demons but they lay dormant…for now.
Three days later, she received a 10-63 for that same location. When she arrived, the only request she made was a 10-60 as she knelt beside Tony. She was quiet, still and as cold as a piece of marble in January. The needle was still stuck in her arm and her eyes were fixed on the sky as if looking for that illusive star she once wanted to be.
Once dreaming of laying on a bed with satin sheets in a grand house, the once Homecoming Queen now lay on a virtual garbage dump of used needles, smashed beer cans and broken liquor bottles, surrounded by walls decorated with graffiti.
She wasn’t Holly’s friend but she mattered. She was once a great beauty with designs of having fame and fortune. She died a shattered, unrecognizable junkie but still, she mattered.
Holly made a decision that day as she watched them take Tony away.
The place for her was the Narcotics Division.
To be continued_____________