Flashback: Chapter 3: Migraine

Chapter 3: Migraine
by MJ

November 5, 1984: 1030

The headache was a bad one.

A sudden aura… flashes of light… a persistent pounding in his skull. Then white-hot current slicing through soft brain tissue, leaving him numb with a paralyzing weakness…

Not now… please…

He bit down hard.

Martin had already swallowed four aspirins over the last two hours and still the throbbing continued… insisting… relentless… demanding his entire focus.

Harsh fluorescent lights brought on fresh waves of pain. He flicked them off and with a sigh of resignation, lay down on the lumpy sofa in the back corner of his office.

Things had not gone well so far.

When he had first arrived that morning, he had stopped by the front desk to check out the logbook of arrests before heading up to see the unit. He had noticed a “resisting arrest” case that involved the violent take down of a suspect and he asked the desk sergeant for the detective’s filed report.

“Oh, that’s Crockett’s case,” the sergeant had muttered. “He’ll get around to writing one sooner or later.”

“It should have been written up as soon as the arresting officer set foot in the door,” Martin told the sergeant angrily. “I want it on my desk within the hour.”

Castillo had seen it happen before. Things could get messy if a riled-up citizen decided to register a complaint of police brutality. The department needed to be prepared in case of legal action, and by delaying things this long, Detective Crockett had not only ignored procedure, he had unintentionally forced a showdown with his new superior.

Not exactly the best way to begin.

Thirty minutes passed before the pain had finally faded to a dull ache. He sat up, twisting his body around slowly and easing his legs to the floor. His personal belongings had arrived by messenger earlier and the box sat waiting for him in the shadows by the door. Slitting it open with a penknife, he began to empty the contents into desk drawers tossing anything that had outlived its usefulness into the wastebasket nearby.

One of the last things to appear was a tired looking bible with a badly scuffed leather cover that he placed carefully into a bottom desk drawer. There was also an unopened bottle of aspirin, which was soon to earn the unique distinction of being the only thing visible on his barren desktop.

It was the way he liked it. No photographs, mementos; no nameplate. Not even a pen. Castillo was a man who appreciated simplicity. He found peace in order. Order was control.

Martin glanced up at the clock on his office wall and saw it was already noon. There was a soft knock on his office door.

“Come in,” he murmured and Trudy Joplin appeared with a shy smile.

“For you, Lieutenant.” She handed him a stack of files, mail and several printed case reports. Crockett’s report was among them.

Finally, the detective had delivered.

Annoyance still nagged at him, but for now, he decided to let it pass.

He opened the manila file and let his eyes scan over the few pages quickly. Normally, reports were typed, but this one was handwritten in a bold, confident scrawl.

November 4, 1984
Metro Dade, OCB-Vice
Case #1446 -Rusack, Bruno
Charges: Assaulting a Police Officer, Resisting Arrest

Arresting Officer: Detective S. J. Crockett, Badge # 2449

He looked back at the officer’s signature for a moment.


The name struck a chord.

He had heard it somewhere; perhaps during his briefing with Lieutenant Madison who had been filling in for Rodriguez. Martin remembered that Madison had not been particularly impressed.

“Watch out for that one… he’s a renegade… a cowboy…


But then, breaking out of the mold was not always a bad thing. It showed a rebellious nature, but
it also demonstrated creativity. A man with fresh ideas could be an asset, capable of breathing new life into a dead-end investigation.

Point one for the rebel…

Another gentle knock on the door and Trudy poked her head in.

“Lieutenant, everyone’s waiting,” she said apologetically. “What would you like me to tell them?”

“Don’t tell them anything. I’ll be there shortly.”

“Right, Sir.”

He glanced over at the personnel files he had pulled earlier, deciding he would find the time to go through them later in the afternoon. Now was the opportunity to watch his officers interact while they brought him up to speed on their current cases. Hopefully, he would discover their strengths and weaknesses, determine the ones who were followers, and if he was really lucky, pick out the leader. Aligning himself with that one would be the key to gaining the staff’s confidence, and more importantly, a giant step toward winning their respect.