Chasing dope, this time in one of the two projects in my district, and much earlier in my career.
In full uniform in the squad car, waiting to go, wanting to do a good job. Don't remember who I was working with, but I was the passenger, and therefore expected to get out and on the subjects as quick as possible.
I remember smoking a cigarette while the undercover officer waited to make the buy, close cover officer calling the dealer/buyer description of the transaction before our undercover's turn (Yes, the undercover had to wait for his turn to buy!) for our benefit.
Close cover gives a great description of a buyer and the sergeant (the same dick, though this was before he had thoroughly demonstrated his capacity for being one.) orders us to pick the buyer from the transaction before off.
It's always a good idea to get as much as you can on the dealer on operations like this, because something always goes sideways in the case.
Anyway, we're told to pick the buyer up in the alley and out of view of the dealer. The close cover supplies a tighter description, telling us the buyer has the dope in her right hand.
We enter the far end of the alley, and I can see, even from the other end of the block, how tight she has her fist clenched around the prize. She makes her latest mistake in the long list of life-errors; she stagger-trots across the alley, ending on the passenger side of the car. Closer to me.
Details emerge as we come closer: She's wearing a long-sleeved sweater, knobby knees poking through ripped gray leggings that sag, resembling nothing so much as dead skin peeling from her bones. She's super-model thin with no airbrush to touch her up, make her human again.
Hand on the door, I am ready to bound out on her. Dope here is packaged in balloons, and they have no hesitation when it comes to swallowing it.
She is studiously not looking at us, so I tamp down on the urge to get out in front of her. I wait, heart thumping. The car creeeps past her and I'm out and a step behind her. I reach out, grab her arm at the elbow, the one with the dope.
She shrieks like an animal in life-ending pain. The sound is so loud it startles me, and I clamp down the harder. The arm shrinks, feeling like a rigid garden hose in my hand, almost no flesh on it.
Her shriek gets even louder, something I hadn't imagined possible.
Then I feel it: A syrupy wetness, slowly spreading between the fingers of my hand.
We both look down. Horror. An almost-clear, reddish fluid is dripping down my hand.
She draws her first breath as I let go to stare at my hand, her other hand flying up to grab her injured limb.
"What the hell was that?", Dick Sergeant asks over the radio as I fling goo from my hand.
"Griffin grabbed the buyer," comes the response from the close cover officer, who is now with the undercover at the far end of the block, having made their purchase.
"Only Grabbed her? What happened?" the sergeant asked, not believing I only grabbed her. Like I said, he's a dick.
"Popped a hype's big, juicy abcess, I think," the cover officer says as he and his charge continue on their way.
Still fucks with me to this day, this memory.
The photo below doesn't do the crater in her arm justice, being, as it is, in a different location from that on my suspect.