To the Lovers, Relatives and Life-Partners of Homicide Detectives and Intelligence Analysts: That Shit They're Doing Is Important, Stop Giving Them Grief

So you’re just about to exit the plateau phase and it feels like your whole body is about to sneeze just like the sex-ed books had described it all those years ago and there’s just enough sweat for lubrication between your bodies and your whole torso is a clenched fist of determination when her phone rings.

What do you expect her to do? Carry on serenading you with her moans all the way to Arcadia? Carry on like it couldn’t be important? Like it couldn’t be the pathologist with news that the lower third vertebra was not in fact dislocated from traumatic impact but malformed from an inheritable condition so her foul-play theory is that much less plausible and slamming her badge and her gun on the commissioner’s desk yesterday is going to look that much more adolescent now. Is your orgasm really that important? More important than her hunch that prominent businessmen and minor politicians have been covering up for someone out there who’s been mutilating so many teenagers, across so many jurisdictions, for so many years, that it’s a wonder your country can still get a beach-volleyball team together? What’s the matter with you? You’re blocked from Pornhub? You’re a three-dimensional character with a life of your own. You’re an emancipated, Scandinavian stay-at-home father. Finish yourself off!

Are you going to sulk for days now? Are you going to tell her you never signed up for this? What did you think it would be like? Did you think those days when she handcuffed you to the bedpost while she bounced on top of you and you both giggled at the police radio insistently summoning her to the abandoned industrial area would last forever? She was still in uniform then.

******

You have to understand your mother can’t just pretend like there hasn’t been a 17% increase in chatter within confirmed militant networks, and make it in time before the curtain rises. Have you walked into her bedroom recently? Have you seen the walls? They are full of black-and-white stakeout photos of people who look like they could be from anywhere east of the Danube. You should see the Post-it notes, the magic-markered arrows and circles, the triple question marks. The situation is more serious than you seem to realise. So what if she doesn’t go to the PTA! She’s obviously somewhere on the spectrum and she’s packing heat. And one day that will mean something to you. She spends all day watching live drone footage, waiting for an authorisation from you-know-who, and everyone looking at every twitch of her face for a sign of instruction. So what if she walks in distractedly half way through the second act? Can you blame her? You think these decisions are easy? You think she likes gatecrashing foreign weddings with Hellfire missiles? You think it’s just another day at the office for her, with the geopolitical axes shifting beneath her feet?

Are you listening to me? It’s a school play. The set design is derivative. The direction is incoherent. And you’re not as convincing a Hedda Gabler as you seem to think you are. You’re a twelve-year-old boy!

******

Yes, your brother’s children are a handful and maybe you’re right he should never have left them with you over the summer. And yes, it pisses you off that they seem to like him more than they like you even though he never calls them. But what do you expect? He’s gone under cover! Do you think drug cartels are going to infiltrate themselves? I think you need a bit of perspective on this. You’re his sister and it really isn’t the end of the world if you have to cover up for him when his ex calls and threatens to withdraw custody. Is it really such a big deal if he only sends them Amazon gift tokens? It’s not like DNA can’t be matched in a matter of seconds these days. You need to crawl out of your shell and watch some television.

I know you don’t really get it. I know you’ve never really seen what makes him so indispensable to the department. I know you were always better at these things, running and fighting. Have you ever thought that’s exactly the point? That he’s trying to prove himself to you? You’re in this deeper than you want to admit and maybe you should stop and think about that before calling his ex and asking her to come pick up the children.