Photo by Vito Fun
I’ve been a police officer for over ten years now. Soon I’ll be a supervisor, and I’m ready for it. I’m a big, tall guy with an authoritative voice and a large “command presence.” I carry myself well, I have a strong base of knowledge, and when I make a decision, I stick to it. Oh, and I also happen to be as gay as a sunset.
I enjoy being a cop. We’re not just here to catch criminals. We’re here to help the community and support the public. And the public can be a lot weirder than I am.
I had a call a few weeks ago to a dispute between two neighbors. A whole family of Latina women was claiming that the lady downstairs practices black magic and put a curse on them. They were terrified. I told them there wasn’t much I could do, since their claim had no physical evidence and no basis in law. People believe in big brother and aliens and all kinds of weird shit. I went to one guy’s apartment and every square inch was covered in aluminum foil—even the windows. He thought that it deflected the rays that the aliens are using to try and read his mind.
Another time we got a call because someone was screaming in an apartment. We busted in the door and found this guy with bloody scratches all over his face. He told us that tiny, two-foot-tall, half-man, half-animal creatures were attacking him. He claimed that they came out of the other room and tried to take him with them, and when he refused they jumped on him and mauled his face. He pointed at his bedroom, and I went in there. There was a bulge under his blanket. I have to admit, there was this little part of me that was really curious. I’ve seen too many movies, and I was kind of hoping to see a bunch of little half-man monsters under that blanket. I moved it with my baton: Nothing. Oh well.
Cockroaches are a major part of what cops have to deal with. There are always critters on the wall and overhead. I’m on a call one night to a domestic dispute, speaking with this lady in her hallway. Right in front of me is her kitchen, and there are roaches everywhere. There’s a frying pan on the stove filled with sloppy joe. While I’m talking with the lady, her son, maybe fifteen or sixteen years old, walks into the kitchen. He grabs the pan, which has about a dozen decent-size roaches in it, and taps the spoon on its rim until the roaches leave. Then he scoops some sloppy joe onto his hamburger bun and walks away chomping on it. It’s really hard to pay attention to a woman in distress when this is happening out the corner of your eye.
Of course we also see a lot of dead bodies. I got this call one time because a guy’s relative didn’t return his calls for a week or so. We go to his place and force our way in. We walk into the kitchen and we see the outline of a head and it’s coming from blood dripping through the ceiling. We go upstairs and there is this huge fat guy with his head in a pail filled with vomit. He’s decomposing. There are flies everywhere—crawling in the blood and leaving all these tiny red dots on his pillows, sheets, and lampshade. The guy has full-on rigor mortis and his mouth and the crack of his ass are filled with maggots. My partner at the time was a rookie. He can’t deal with it, so I tell him to go look around the house. I open the bathroom door and this scared and hungry cat just barrels out, tears through my legs, and runs down the stairs. I scream like a girl and my partner comes running in to check on me and we have a little laugh. I go downstairs to look for cat food, find one of those huge five-pound jugs and dump it all on the floor.
We finish the call and the dispatcher says, “Head for your meal.” The rookie couldn’t eat. He was like a squeamish girl. I just washed my hands and grabbed some pizza. Some cops use Vick’s Vapo-Rub under their nose, but I’m tough enough to deal with it.
I’m not completely out of the closet in my precinct. Some people I’ve told; some people found out.
I want to get to the point where I’m fully out, so if someone says something I can speak up and feel justified. But I also don’t want to be the gay guy in the room who people are looking for when someone tells a gay joke. I want to be able to defend the lifestyle as someone who is not stereotypical. Nine times out of ten, the gay people representing us are flaming. We need masculine people to represent us.
For now, I’m taking it one step at a time. My boyfriend has no health benefits, so we’re planning on applying to be domestic partners. Wish me luck!
OFFICER ROCK TRAVOLTA