In Defence of a Man

Andy McPherson was handling a case involving a street person, Jack Donovan. When she’d first been assigned the case, she was unsure which way to handle it. Then she met him. Andy was fearless, treading where angels feared to go. That’s what her friends told her with trepidation each time she went to the downtown location that housed many transient people. She wasn’t particularly frightened or concerned. She was there to do a job and follow through to assist however she could.

This was one occasion when she probably should have been wary. There wasn’t anyone at her back and a man began following her. She’d noticed him out of the corner of her eye and she was watching but nonchalantly. She’d locked all of her belongings including her purse in the trunk of her car and parked two blocks away, the only place she could find available parking. He’d picked her up a block and a half away and tailed her ever since.

Her friends used words like sloven, unkempt, dirty, filthy to describe some of the individuals and areas in which they lived. Again, it wasn’t their fault that life had thrown them a curveball and they’d somehow ended up here. She wasn’t here to judge, but to offer assistance to one man in particular.

As she gazed about ‘tent city’ as it was called, she noticed many living in dire straights and wished with all her heart she could reach out to all and magically change their circumstance. An unrealistic dream, but one she harboured nonetheless.

While she was searching the area, she noticed that the man was closing in and was only twenty feet behind her. She stopped abruptly and asked a man loading a pushcart if he knew who Jack Donovan was. He didn’t and she continued on, asking every person she came near if they knew, and either they didn’t or they didn’t want to get involved, especially if it meant trouble.

Andy was approaching an older man, tall, extremely thin wearing a baseball cap, two sweaters, worn-out shoes and two pairs of jeans. When she asked if he knew Jack Donovan, he became agitated and unable to control his emotions, began disruptive, flailing his arms around, pointing at her and yelling.

Before she could move, the man who’d been following her, grasped her elbow and yanked her out of harm’s way, literally and not a second too soon as the old man’s wild gestures nearly caught her on the chin before she could move out of harm’s way. It wasn’t as though he were about to attack her, she’d gotten too close.

Startled, she tried to yank her arm from the stranger’s grasp. He growled, “Come with me, Any!” Too shocked to respond otherwise, she stared up into beautiful brown eyes, noticing pitch-black hair peeking beneath a backward ball cap.

“Wait, who are you?” she again attempted to pull away but he held on tighter.

“You are in harm’s way. Come with me.” Since he had a tight grasp on her arm and wasn’t about to let go, she stomped along beside him.

“Let go of me!” she hissed, ready to attack with her stun gun.

“No need for that, Andy. You’re in good company. Jack Donovan, Police Department and an undercover cop.”

She was so stunned that she stumbled. When they were safely out of hearing distance of the general public, he pulled identification from an inside pocket and when she verified it was valid, she said, “What the hell!”

“I have information for you regarding the Sandeman case. The only way to contact you was to get you down here so you can meet the man in question. I can’t blow my cover and I needed you to see the truth of my words so you have a chance at the proper defence. Sandeman is not guilty of the charges and I can prove it.”

Andy was far from meek. You lost meek and mild when you became a public defender and she could stand her ground. After sizing him up, she walked to a park bench and sat down. “Ok, what’s this about?”

Jack Donovan explained in detail the case, the man, the circumstance and what he knew. He said she’d have to meet the man in question in order to determine which way to go with her defence. Sandeman was or had been a cop, and a damn good one, but he’d lost his job when his wife and kid were murdered in retaliation for his involvement in a well-known case. Basically, guilt had eaten away at him until he’d turned to the bottle and drank himself out of a job. He’d refused to get help or treatment and had ended up on the street.

Andy had witnessed far too many such cases over the years and knew that too many were either too proud too stubborn to seek help. After all, society told men they had to be strong, no tears, bury them, keep going. He had become a victim of that mistaken mentality and the guilt had eaten him alive.

She was even more determined than ever to find Sandeman and hash this case out. He obviously deserved better not only from the force but from mankind in general. He’d devoted his life to protecting the public, and as a good descent and honest cop, he deserved better than living on the street. It wasn’t too late, there were programs that could assist with his rehabilitation. She was determined to see that he got the assistance he needed.

Jack Donovan was wowed by this fearless woman who stood tall and determined, ready willing and able to help the downtrodden. He’d specifically sought her out, knowing she’d do all she could for Maxwell Sandeman, a friend and former partner on the force. He knew she wouldn’t give up on him. He was counting on it.

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