The Posture of Innocence, day 11.5

in writing •  4 months ago  (edited)

In the "Community Garden" freewrite, we saw Ms. Thornton's reaction to how angry Captain Lee becomes after he finds out that his own police department had been lying and covering up in the Soames case even more than Mrs. Lilith DeVille over 25 years, the difference being that the Big Loft police not only know who the murderer is, but he was in its ranks.

In day 11.5, we get to see Captain Lee's reaction from his own viewpoint, and why ... for those of you waiting on info about the captain's past, and his lost love (@owasco, I remember your specific questions), here it comes ...

To get totally caught up on The Posture of Innocence, here are the prologue, day 1, day 2, day 3, day 3.5, day 4, day 4.5, day 5, day 5.5, day 6, day 7, and day 7.5, day 8, day 9, day 9.5, day 10, day 10.5, and day 11!

And now, on into day 11.5 ...

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After Mr. Black left, Captain Lee gave himself a few moments to acknowledge his true feelings. Both his support group for vets with PTSD and his personal therapist had emphasized, again and again: “What you don't deal with, Captain Lee, you will act out. Deal with your stuff.” His cousin and best friend had said, “We're Christians, and God already knows anyway – just get it on out, and ask Him to help you deal with it.”

The matter was deeply personal to Captain Lee, and had formed part of the reason why he had gone into police work on its quiet side – cold cases and data management – instead of still quieter professions. He never was able to get from his mind that, had things turned out differently in his personal life, he would have had a Black son, 27 years old, a prime target of an unjust system that still wanted bodies – Black preferably – to make chattel of.

Captain Lee reached under his black uniform and pulled out, for just a moment, the gold chain, and the amber ring on it that his wife had once worn – Vanessa Morton Lee, whom he had described to his cousin Ironwood Hamilton as “dark as a summer night, kissed with the dew of stars.” She and their child had died in childbirth when she, and her cadet husband, were only 18.

Yet Cadet Lee had never let go of his love for his wife, and of what Vanessa had taught him about the country, and her people – his people by marriage, and because they had received him warmly after half of his famous family had shunned him for choosing to marry Miss Morton. One might say the good guys had claimed him when he was 15 years of age, and never let loose: he still flew up to New York to spend the weekend with the Mortons every couple of months.

The thing about Henry Fitzhugh Lee: he, personally, would take a lot of insults. Yet when you revealed yourself as an enemy to someone he loved or had charge of, he was going to get you. No ands, if, or buts about it. He was going to get you. His superiors in Special Forces had endangered the entirety of Unit 6 by bad orders based on inattention because their attention was on matters having to do with their corruption: then-Colonel Lee had made a lateral move into JAG with his cousin Major Hamilton and had bided their time... but the colonel and the major his adjutant had gotten all of them before both deciding, as they each passed twenty years of celebrated service, that it was time to make another move into the Army Reserve, and start unwinding the internal damage they had both suffered.

And yet, both had come home to corruption that exceeded that which they had left behind. Major Hamilton as Captain Hamilton of neighboring Tinyville, VA's police force was gentler; he fired the corrupt elements on his force, and then later just arrested them, along with 73 others at the Gilligan House Burning. Only 46 had been killed there, because he had commanded the stand.

That was a good thing. Captain Lee would have run it differently, having discovered that his own police commissioner, Orton Thomas, was one of the two masterminds of that whole planned act of domestic terrorism. The other mastermind – if it be fit to give that credit to a braggart whose whole role was to whip up the rage and hatred necessary – was Captain Lee's long-time personal enemy, Captain B.B. Bragg of neighboring Littleburg's police force. The two of them had been at each other's throats – literally – since five years of age, since at five years of age little Bragg had tried to bully little Lee, and at fifteen years of age, teenage Bragg had put together a little white supremacist gang bent on keeping one Vanessa Morton from getting anywhere near valedictorian honors.

Miss Morton would be valedictorian. Teenage Bragg and his entire gang would spend varying lengths of time in the hospital, and for teenage Bragg it would be the second trip, having gotten himself thoroughly beaten down at five years old by the little Lee he was trying to bully. By age 45, Captain Lee, always gifted for defense of himself and others, was past even being bothered, and told Captain Bragg so publicly.

But Commissioner Thomas … a superior betraying his oaths and all his subordinates … that had triggered Henry Fitzhugh Lee, who had not known about the commissioner's involvement until the corrupt commissioner had tried to corrupt him. That had set Captain Lee off, so much so that Lieutenant O'Reilly of Tinyville's police force had sensed the change in the normally mild-mannered captain, and was terrified of him.

Evidence, warrants, capture – Captain Lee knew how to get things done as a legal officer because of his time in JAG, and had moved in on the commissioner and two favorite deputies with devastating effect. The commissioner had unwisely decided to get his gun and start shooting back. He missed Captain Hamilton – still his cousin's adjutant on this day – on his one and only shot. That would be it. Captain Lee had the next shot, and sent the commissioner into eternity and his brains down the far wall. The two deputies were taken alive, but well roughed up.

That left two remaining deputies: Pendleton and Tate, hip deep in corruption, but upon which no evidence could be readily obtained. No matter. There were other ways to go about dealing with them, especially since they were absolutely terrified of the man who had swept away their superiors in one hour. He knew, when they could not figure out how to put him on administrative leave, that they were powerless. So, he just went to work... and bided his time, and let him break themselves on him.

When Acting Commissioner Pendleton's attempt to intimidate Captain Lee failed, he died of a heart attack from the stress of the attempt and the realization of the utter failure. Acting Commissioner Tate got caught in the preparation of his attempt – the voice of the person he thought he could handle was sufficient to frighten him such that he jumped clear through a plate glass window.

Again: Captain Lee knew how to get who he needed to get – now, his mind wrapped around these people who had robbed a family of 25 years of their lives, 25 years living in fear for a crime their father didn't commit, a family who had sons who could have been his son – Captain Lee saw red at the thought, and it was clear who needed to be gotten.

And then the moment ended, and Captain Lee recovered himself, calling on the Spirit of God to temper his wrath and his ability. Peace came to him, and with that peace, his mind put the matter in order. The first thing, of course, was to get Commissioner Scott to go on and sign off on the arrest of Officer Cadbury, then to get the warrants.

Judge Lorelei Brown would do it gladly – 67, still on the bench, still productive, but her knees struggled with the steep stairs of the county courthouse, catty-corner from police headquarters. She like to come in early and be gone early, so there were not many people available to help her. But then, Captain Lee, who also came in early, spotted her on his first day of work, and turned aside to help her. Every day of the week, he waited for her at the corner, 7:35am sharp, and she came up smiling to be helped across the street and up the stairs by the handsome young officer who reminded her of her own son, also a veteran, but killed in the second Iraq War. The two had thus become warm friends.

Captain Lee made his friends genuinely, and to purpose; he had cultivated relationships with several in Lofton County. His friendship with fellow insomniac Judge Joseph Bane Lofton had enabled him to get warrants on the three commissioners in the middle of the wee hours of a Saturday. Judge Brown would gladly provide warrants for her friend to mess up somebody's late afternoon.

Day 12 is up!

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