An iridescent glow reflected off of his mirrored aviator sunglasses. He exhaled a plume of white vapor and studied its ascent into the clear, black night sky. The wharf was cold this time of year, too cold. A writer, one of those many conventional men no longer studied in schools, once wrote that the coldest winter of his life was the summer he spent in San Francisco. Some things refuse to change.
A wall of fog inched across the bay. It was late and the streets were empty aside from a few tired tourists meandering back to their hotel rooms. In his three years on the force, Officer G. knew the city well. Nightlife was restricted to a few well-known locations and it was rare to see a native San Franciscan wandering about after dark.
Officer G. leaned on the door of his squad car. The infamous pier stretched out before him and faded into the swirling black depths of the bay. An observant tourist could still see the shrapnel scars left on the outer walls of the adjacent buildings.
A wedding. A bloodbath. Thick smoke from the ensuing fire billowed for hours. Some type of bomb. The bride and groom were consumed in the blast at the moment of their eternal vows. Until death do you part. That was the old saying. While the rest of the country mourned, the people of the city saw it as a new beginning.
Later that evening, they stormed the office of the mayor. The mob, in its insatiable frenzy, tore through the corpulent bureaucrats with ease. The government had given them everything but their own lives. A familiar multicolored banner of every visible hue, ubiquitous around these parts, ascended and the mob cried out in prideful joy.
The vibrant standard ushered in an untold era of progress for the city. Subsequent weeks of looting and pillaging gave way to a nascent new order, an order founded on true equality. San Francisco became once again the shining beacon of light in the medieval darkness of the nation. Likeminded individuals of all breeds flocked to the golden city.
Fog crept onto the pier and Officer G. sauntered to the water’s edge. In the distance stood a foreboding island fortress. Churning, icy currents surrounding the fortress provided a formidable deterrent to any who dared escape internment. Citizens apprehended for reeducation were whisked away in the middle of the night and brought to the solitary island. Little was known about the curriculum, but educator positions attracted some of the brightest minds from nearby universities.
Officer G. glanced back at his squad car. The tourists had cleared the streets and a persistent silence fell upon the wharf. Behind him stood glimmering skyscrapers, graven monoliths of progress against the unbearable cruelty of nature. Tiny shards of light adorning their edifices housed the denizens of the proud city. Officer G. strolled back to the vehicle.
The car started with a meek electric hum. Officer G. backed out of his parking spot along the wharf and turned right onto Embarcadero. Night patrol was routine. Few emerged from their well-lit domiciles on these cold nights. Fewer still emerged during the day.
Since universal basic income had been signed into law under Governor Mark Z., there was little reason to leave one’s apartment. A living wage, thanks to the philanthropy of Silicon Valley benefactors, could be earned by viewing one dozen or so hours of targeted ads per day on a smartphone or tablet. Violent crime had dissipated throughout much of the state. However, San Francisco maintained a sizeable task force.
A shrill, crackling static noise from the car radio split the silence. Officer G. jumped in his seat and fiddled with the radio. A deep female voice filled the car.
Dispatch. Officer G., do you copy? Over.
Copy. What’s the situation, Captain? Over.
Battery in progress. Suspect was last seen on foot heading north on Hyde. Exercise extreme caution. Over.
Copy. Over and out.
A lanky, awkward man was climbing a steep slope somewhere around Russian Hill. At his side was a squat, rotund girl panting in strenuous effort. The two had been walking together for several minutes after deciding to leave the bar where they met that night. The man arrived at the door to his apartment and waited for the girl to catch up. She spoke to him in a hushed tone.
Thanks for bringing me out tonight. I really had fun.
The girl giggled and stared into the man’s eyes. She moved closer and embraced him. He craned his neck, and with a great deal of nervous apprehension, brought his lips towards hers. Right before their lips met, the horrible cacophony of screeching car tires caused them both to snap their gaze up the street.
Officer G. slammed on the brakes, and flinging the door of his vehicle open, drew his Glock 22.
The man stumbled away from the girl in shock and raised his hands. In the confusion, the girl ran with surprising speed down the street from the scene.
I said freeze!
The man placed his raised palms on top of his head but it was too late. Officer G. double tapped the trigger of his Glock 22, sending two .40 S&W rounds square into the groin of the suspect. The man keeled over, clawing at his crotch in agony before losing consciousness. Officer G. lowered his weapon and produced a portable radio from the pocket of his hot pink squad uniform.
Captain. Officer G. reporting. Suspect is down. Over.
Copy. Report to HQ for debriefing. Over.
Officer G. strolled back to his squad car, its standard issue rainbow paint job sparkling under the bright light of the nearby streetlamp. Slamming the door, Officer G. started the vehicle and pulled out from the curb. He switched the car radio on and tuned into his favorite music station. The Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.” started playing and he drove off into the dark San Francisco night.