Disclaimer: The Characters of Due South belong to Alliance Communications. No copyright infringement is intended.

This could easily be written for either fandom. (Due South or The Sentinel) Hmmm. Which one should I write it for? This is so hard. Grrrrr. Shoot. I suppose I could write it for each one...but...sigh.

Well, this is based on a true story...got it from the officer it happened to. Hmmmm. Okay, I've decided. This is a Ray Kowalski story. From his days as a uniformed officer. Heh. This is post CotW. Ray Vecchio has not yet gone to Florida, and is still a cop, but he is dating Stella, much to Kowalski's dismay.

Remember, this is all done for fun, not profit. The characters of Due South belong to their creators and the actors who portrayed them, as well as the companies that funded their production, and the production company. I am very grateful to them all for their creations. Without them, this wouldn't have been written.

Honest, It's True, Every Word!

War Story


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Friday night. It was late, but the bars were still open, and the cop bar was still serving food. The detectives of the two-seven had arrived almost en-masse. They'd been involved in a major drug bust and now they were ready to unwind. For some reason, the FBI and DEA had not shown up until after the arrests were made, both agencies now arguing over which one would get to take over the case. While they fought it out with the State's Attorney's Office, the cops had gone to O'Farrell's to get something to eat and drink, and to unwind.

Ray Kowalski was the first one there, with his unofficial partner Constable Benton Fraser, RCMP. They grabbed several tables in the middle of the room and shoved them together in preparation for the arrival of the rest of the squad.

Next to arrive was Ray's official partner, Ray Vecchio. Vecchio looked even more tired that Kowalski felt. It had been a grueling week, getting the tip, following it up, getting the warrants and setting up the raid had had them working overtime. Sometimes, Kowalski didn't even bother going home, snatching a nap at his desk or in the break room. Vecchio, on the other hand, insisted on going home every night, even if it was only for a shower and change of clothes before returning. Kowalski kept extra clothes in his locker and, since he didn't care all that much about his appearance, was able to work twenty or more hours a day until they made the collar.

Now, for the first time in almost a week, Kowalski was ready to settle down for a meal more substantial than vending machine candy, donuts, and coffee. He was haggard looking and he'd again lost weight he could ill-afford to lose. His partners, both the official and unofficial, had tried for two days to get him to take a break, but Kowalski was like a whippet after a rabbit, all determination and single-mindedness.

"Hey, you gonna finally eat something that can actually pass for food, Stanley?" Vecchio only called Kowalski by his legal first name to annoy him. He smirked at the scowl that his partner threw his way, but his smile dimmed when he saw the disapproving expression on Fraser's face.

"C'mon, Benny. It was a joke," Vecchio whined.

Fraser frowned, but didn't answer, letting the disappointment in his eyes speak for him. Vecchio sighed. "Sorry, Ray. You gonna actually eat some real food for a change?"

"Yeah. Now that it's all over." He looked over to the bar and called out, "Hey, Pat? Got any of that good pastrami left?"

Pat O'Farrell looked up from his conversation with another customer and smiled upon recognizing the standard 'after a good bust party' configuration of his tables. "Sure do, Ray. Want one?"

Kowalski grinned, tiredly. He raised an eyebrow at his partners in question. Both nodded. "One each, and an extra one for my hollow leg."

Pat grinned and nodded, turning to the door behind the bar that led to the small kitchen. He placed the order and returned to his earlier conversation.

Just then, the rest of the detectives started wandering in. Huey and his partner, Dewey, arguing over which one's turn it was to drive, followed by Lieutenant Welsh and Francesca Vecchio, their Civilian Aide. A short time later, other officers entered, the now off-duty uniformed officers who had been involved in the raid, along with the guys from Vice and Narcotics. There was a bit of animosity between the Narco guys and Welsh's men, they felt it should have been their operation. Unfortunately, the snitch involved would only talk to the Mountie, which meant that Vecchio and Kowalski had to be prime on the case. Fortunately, it didn't really matter, as there was glory enough to go around, especially since the Feds had been left in the dust.

Despite any differences, the group was boisterous, happy with the successful completion of the operation. The bad guys were behind bars, there was a hundred kilos of various drugs that would never make it to the street, and no one had been hurt. All in all, it had been an excellent operation.

As often happened, the party quickly degenerated to one-upmanship; each officer trying to outdo the others in telling war stories. Welsh sat in command, the commanders of the other divisions not having been involved with the operation. After a particularly lurid tale from one of the vice officers, someone noticed that Kowalski had fallen asleep. The narc next to him jostled him, nearly knocking him from his chair. He was so exhausted that he didn't react in his usual belligerent manner. He simply reached for his soda and took another sip.

"Come on, Kowalski. Tell us one," the narc beside him demanded with a feral grin. Fraser frowned in disapproval, but Vecchio added his own barbed encouragement.

"Yeah, Stanley, tell us a story."

Ray Kowalski glared at his partner, his scowl deepening when he noticed Fraser about to speak in his defense.

"You want a war story? Okay, I'll give you a war story. I was still in uniform. Got a call in the middle of the night for a suicide. I got to the house and the woman was hysterical. She practically climbed inside my coat, she was so upset. Her husband was a security guard. He was kinda despondent over not getting the promotion he was promised. He got home that night, got undressed for bed. She was sleepin' there. He sits on the edge of the bed and takes out his gun and," Ray demonstrated with thumb and extended forefinger to represent the gun, pointing it to his forehead, "He shot himself. The gun blast woke up the missus, and she called 911. By the time I got there, she was totally nutso."

The other officers were nodding their understanding. They'd all had to deal with hysterical survivors at one time or another. "Well, there's blood and hair and stuff all over the wall, he's laying there, sprawled across the bed, the gun still in his hand. His wife had blood all over her. He's starin' at the ceiling. She's screaming, still. I hear the paramedics pull up outside and I'm thinkin' I can pass her off to them. I'm tryin' to calm her down, but she's hittin' me and screamin', and cryin'. Just as the paramedics clear the door, the dead guy sits up and starts groanin'."

The other cops frowned in disbelief, a couple of them snickered at the very idea. Ray continued, after taking another drink from his soda. "Well, when the guy pulled the trigger, the bullet kinda snapped his head back and dug a pretty good furrow across the top of his head, bouncin' off his skull. Lots of blood, hair and skin. Poor guy. His wife, realizing he was still alive went nuts. From grief to fury in half a second. Instead of her trying to climb over me in grief, I gotta hang on to her to keep her from killin' her husband. Paramedics take care of him, and one of 'em tries to help me contain and calm down the wife."

Ray shook his head. "Guy took eighteen stitches to close up the gash in his head. He was really lucky, but he had the worst headache..." He took another sip of his soda, then picked up his half-eaten sandwich and took a bite.

There were several moments of silence, then Vecchio snickered. "That for real, Kowalski?"

Several other officers began to chuckle and grin. Welsh sat back with his beer and smiled. Francesca Vecchio was trying to stifle her giggles.

Fraser was smiling and rubbing one eyebrow with the back of his thumb.

"Hey, you can check it out. That Herb Caen guy wrote about it. Somethin' about 'Gun Owner of the Year Awards'. Goes along pretty good with those Darwin Awards, only this guy lived."

Ray smiled as the party continued. He caught Fraser looking askance at him and he winked at him. Fraser raised his glass of soda to him in a silent toast, and Kowalski clinked glasses with him, then sat back to listen to someone try and top his story, relaxing and letting the previous week's tension ease away.

The End

Yes, the story is true. I don't know if it ever made Herb Caen's column, but he did do an annual 'Gun Owner of the Year' award...One winner could also have won a Darwin, although he didn't die. He'd gone to the shooting range with his handgun and practiced for a while. Then, instead of putting his gun in its case or even unloading it, he stuck it in his waistband. He got on his motorcycle and rode home. As he dismounted, his gun went off, half-castrating him...I rather doubt if he was very fertile afterwards...but you never know...

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