Humans are funny things. We hate, we love, we protect and we destroy. We are a race of paradoxes. Our existence is not defined by laws but more by whims. I find myself thinking about this more and more throughout my career. My job is to enforce the law but what if that law is nothing but a few arbitrary words created for convenience?
It was a Sunday morning. I hadn’t even checked into the precinct when I received a call from work.
“Congressman Moriarty has kicked the bucket,” Joe on the other end, had said. “Report to his residence so you can find out who pushed him there.”
Joe had never been one for politeness but it was no secret that he was one of many who despised the now late congressman. The same congressman who had sided with the banks against homeowners and the same congressman who lived in lavish Vinesprings while even the middle class were pushed into the gutter.
Even I could not help but dislike Congressman Moriarty but my dislike was never what was important. I had a job to do and my hatred was for recreational time. For now, I would do what I signed up to do.
I got dressed and took care of my ablutions. Lastly, I picked up my badge and gun – a Smith & Wesson 686. It would be a long drive to the congressman’s house. He lived in the rich area with all the fancy mansions. I was lucky to live in the area which I did but many were not.
Millions had lost their homes when the banks forcibly foreclosed on them. Congressman Moriarty had been the one to make sure that they got away with it.
I winced. Maybe it would be best to let whoever bumped him off get away with it. It would be justice. But I had investigated repulsive cases before and I would do so again. I am a professional. If there was one thing that I put above all others in my life, it was getting the job done.
The Moriarty house was a monolith. The front yard and the drive it took to cross it dwarfed even the apartment block that I lived in. What made it even more unpleasant was the fact that all this money was taken from the very people now living in squatter camps and on the street. It was enough to make me want to vomit.
Past the rolling sea of green, a huge glass doorway was framed by a gaudy and shining golden frame. Police cars were already parked outside, with officers keeping out the press. I stepped over a yellow crime scene tape and follow an officer to the scene.
Congressman Moriarty was a short man and like many short men, suffered from the insecurity that small men often did. Well, that, I told myself, was the excuse for his crimes. In truth, some men just wanted to be rich and didn’t care how they got there.
My line of work showed me many horrifying scenes: blood drenched children, mutilated retirees, disembowelment…. My life was one of staring evil in the face.
Moriarty never had to encounter any of those in his life. That didn’t change his demise. The Congressman did not look peaceful in his death. His face was torn open into a scream, drying blood pouring from the gaping wounds upon his face. His hands were nailed to the large painting behind him, his blood and excrement staining the masterpiece. His naked body had been cut into to form the words: Justice.
“Justice,” I whispered. Justice for turning a generation into peasants. Justice for holding power as a criminal. Moriarty had been slain. For justice? For vengeance? Most of the time, there’s very little difference.
I exited the room. A well-dressed and classy looking woman was crying. Her makeup stained her face with tears. It seemed as if twin black streaks had been cut into her face. Her eyes were red as she looked into mine.
“Inspector,” her voice was raspy and broken. “He wasn’t a bad man…”
I didn’t respond.
“Please, please find those responsible.”
“That’s my job, m’am.”
And I meant it. We live a life with too many paradoxes. There is no justice – only a thousand meanings for the same word. All I knew was that at the end of the day, everyone deserved a little justice.