Curbchek, StreetCreds, Curbchek-Reload, and Hero to Zero
Curbchek-Reload is the third True Crime account written by Zach Fortier. Like the two previous books, Curbchek and Streetcreds, it is based on real events that happened to Zach Fortier during a thirty year career in Law Enforcement. Curbchek-Reload is a dark account of the final years of Zach's time spent as a cop, He is damaged and paranoid. Having survived frequent life and death battles. He is taking dangerous risks and pushing himself to the limits. Sprinkled with humorous events to lighten the razors edge descriptions of the daily shootings, stabbings and, rapes, Curbchek Reload has the highest rating of any of Zach Fortier's books. If you like your true crime edgy and dark take a look at Curbchek-Reload. You will not be disappointed
People talk a lot of trash about cops and all night donut shops and 24-hour convenience stores. I’ve heard it my whole career: if you want a cop, go to the nearest 7-11 or donut shop, and there they’ll be. There’s a reason for that; several, actually. Midnight shift is long, and you get tired. The more fatigued you are, the more you crave sweets.
I ate an amazing amount of gum and candy bars. They’d keep me awake and somewhat sharp after the rush of calls had ended at about 4:30 a.m. and we were left with the early risers, Daywalkers beginning to exit their homes and retake the city.
Some cops ate donuts, some candy, some fruit, but we all craved sweets to fight the fatigue. We all had a store that we staked out as ours. Sometimes it was that the coffee was better at that store or the clerk was someone you could talk to that wouldn’t ask stupid questions. But we all took a store asours to protect and watch over.
That, too, was the reality. We were there to keep them safe. Shit could break loose at an all-night store fast. The clerks weren’t able to defend themselves against the predators of the night. You never knew what would walk through the door, or when, if you were a clerk at one of the stores.
The clerks often offered free food or coffee if we’d hang out at the store. Sometimes guys abused the offers, and sometimes they didn’t.
The clerks were a wealth of information as to what was going on in my area. They could tell you the latest drug trends or who the newest hookers were in the area, and I’d frequently ask them questions, picking their brains about what was going on.
People came into the store all night, talking trash, drunk, high, and completely unaware of the information they spilled in front of the anonymous clerks. I took their input into my area’s trends very seriously.
Train the clerk to watch out for who you were looking for or better yet, find a clerk that was already aware of the street and you had a relationship that would benefit you both.
I learned a lot from the clerks. One guy explained to me why they were always out of the antifreeze testers. He said that they ordered them in by the hundreds and they’d be sold out in hours. I had no idea they went through so many.
He said that the testers were made of tempered glass, able to withstand heat. Crackheads and tweekers would buy them and empty the glass tubes, modifying them into glass pipes to smoke their drug of choice. (Street people referred to them as the “glass dick” and said that tweekers and crackheadswere slaves to the “glass dick”, referring to a look of relief and enjoyment that porn stars, crackheads and tweekers all shared during their oral relief).
I was amazed. I knew that they used the glass pipes, but I had no idea where they got them. Any automotive shop or 7-11 carried the testers, and they were always running out of them in my area. The clerks taught me a lot, upping my street IQ. I was always happy to learn from anyone who would teach me.
One night, we came out of briefing and hit the ground running. The calls were stacked up, and none were small or minor. The city was rocking, and we had to step it up to meet the challenge. We couldn’t gradually step into the street tonight. It would be a strange night.
Normally, we all met at an all-night convenience store and hung with Sergeant Duke. He was one of the few sergeants we all liked. He was one of us, and not admin. He took a special pride in his squad and made us feel like what we each did mattered.
This was a direct contrast to the Chief, who repeatedly told us we could be replaced by anyone and at anytime. He admitted to us that he was a “bean counter”, and it showed in his management philosophy. We, too, were nothing but beans to be counted, and nothing we did mattered or was special. The man was an idiot.
Anyway, this night we couldn’t meet at the store for our regular bullshit session before we hit the streets. It was a case of fate, and I wonder how things would have turned out if it had been slow that night instead of so frantic.
Meanwhile, the clerk wondered where we were. She had the coffee ready, freshly brewed. Minutes ticked past, and still we didn’t show. We were so busy, I wouldn’t hear about the incident that was about to occur ‘til the next day.
Some nights, it seemed to us that the city was infected with an evil disease, like on one of the popular zombie movies.
The city was alive with crimes in progress; shootings and stabbings. You could hear the sirens screaming and the patrol cars’ motors gearing up as we bounced from call to call, putting out fires and keeping the dark side of the population in check.
Tom Miller was a frequent client of the store, and we saw him nearly every night we were there. He was on Social Security and lived on a small amount of money in an apartment near the store.
He was one of the night people that Daywalkers are barely aware of. He was mentally disabled, but he appeared to us to be harmless. He’d often stop and talk to us as he stopped in on his nightly quest for a large Mountain Dew and candy. He never said one hostile word to us or to the clerk. We were aware of him, but he wasn’t perceived by any of us as a threat.
What we didn’t know was he was schizophrenic. As long as he was on his medication, he did really well; but for some reason, the voices got to him one day. They were a little louder.
Maybe he forgot to take his medication, or maybe he needed the dosage to be increased; I don’t know.
He started to hear the voices again, and they told him to quit taking his medication. He did quit taking his medication, and the downhill spiral was rapid after that. He became worse and more paranoid. He quit coming to the store at night and stayed in his apartment.
The night we were running throughout the city, trying to keep the chaos from getting out of hand, he was at his worst. The voices had spoken to him for days, telling him to go to the store and kill us all.
He had a shotgun, and he loaded it up and waited for the time we normally showed up at the store. He left his apartment, walking the two or three blocks to the store then walked in, shotgun loaded, finger on the trigger, safety off, ready to go.
We weren’t there. The clerk saw him and immediately dialed 911. He walked through the store, looking for us - but saw no one. He went to the clerk, who was on the phone, and started shooting.
He had no intention of robbing her or us. The voices were clear: kill them all! He shot the woman at point blank range, blowing her shoulder and left arm completely off. He reloaded and shot her again, then set the weapon down on the counter and waited for the cops to come.
Who knows what would have happened if we had been there? Maybe he would have killed a couple of us, maybe not. Maybe we would have killed him and the clerk wouldn’t have been harmed.
The “what if” shit drove us crazy. We felt responsible for her injuries, feeling guilty for not being there when she needed us. We had a relationship with her as a squad. We took care of each other.
Again, there was a feeling that we’d failed. You couldn’t be there every time, every place, everywhere you were needed. No matter how you tried, no matter how much you educated yourself in the ways of the streets, there was always random shit like this that was brutal and life altering.
We tried to go back to the store, but the guilt was too much. Our bullshit sessions were over, and no one said a word, but we all felt like we’d failed her.
The clerk somehow survived, but she’d be forever handicapped by the shooting. We started to meet at other stores and in smaller groups. We couldn’t face the feelings of failure that being in that store brought us.
We failed all night long every night to win back the streets. As hard as we tried, we barely kept the shit in check. We had to have someplace to go and feel that we didn’t fail, even if it was an illusion.
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