“Gotham needs me,” Frank spoke to the mirror on the wall. The same mirror he had been speaking to for many years, but the image looking back at him had changed, and he no longer felt the same.
After twenty years on the force as a police officer in the big city, NYPD, he was no longer the young adventurous guy who first chose to be an officer of the law. His feelings had changed, his reasons had changed, but he still felt good about what he did because the need was so great, and somebody had to do it. You simply cannot have a civil society without laws and someone enforcing them. There were simply to many predators out there.
Without laws and those enforcing them, things revert to the wild wild west; only it would be even worse, because our guns are bigger and our horses faster. Also, respect for life had eroded away. Now days you can be shot and killed just trying to give out a speeding ticket. Frank did not like the direction society was taking. As a matter of fact, it scared him. Something in the air of our modern day caused a desperation in people he thought he would never see. The nights were becoming darker, even a gross darkness!
He did not fear for himself so much, although he did not want to die, but he feared for loved ones, which now included a new romance. His first love, Jane, had passed away with cancer two years ago. Their youngest child moved out two months ago. All three children now raised and flown the coop, an empty nest. The small house was so darn quiet.
For almost two years he had grieved, missed Jane, and buried himself in his work, which was easy to do and a lot of officers did it. But he knew he would eventually come out of it. He trusted the fates to accidentally meet someone. After a year or so, he kept an open eye, but was not seriously hunting. It would either happen or not. He could stay buried in his work if need be, and be happy. He did love the job, the thrill of the night, the city beat, helping people in real need, often life and death situations.
He had always worked at night. The real bad guys come out in the night. In the beginning it was the thrill as much as anything else, but now he understood the laws of the jungle, eat or be eaten, those predators having no respect for anything, anyone, or even life itself. They had to be stopped. They had to be stopped every night or no one could hope to enjoy a peaceful life, raise a family, enjoy the good things. Not even true love would be safe. Especially true love.
As he surveyed himself in the old mirror, taking stock of what it showed, he was aware of every weakness he tried to hide. Show no weakness to a predator. How much longer could he do this? There are younger officers. Maybe he should take a desk job? No, not ready for that yet. At forty-three he still had a lot to give. True, this job had beat him up a lot, but the thought of a desk job simply would not do. He was an aging Batman now, but he could still do it, it just hurt a little more. Okay, a lot more.
Finally leaving the mirror he turned to a nearby table and picked up the framed photo of Rachel. A larger framed picture of Jane still graced the table too, and he would never forget her. Could anyone ever even come close to Jane? He did not know as he put the picture of Rachel back on the table and turned to head out into the night, facing the foolish, the drunken, the desperate, and the predators.
Rachel was out there too, and his three children. Yes, he felt good to be a fighting force against a society that could so quickly turn jungle, if it were not for those still willing to take an oath and wear a badge. She would be getting off soon from her job at the coffee cafe. That was how he met her.
Rachel was a divorcee. Very sad story, really. Suddenly forced into the working world, she had landed the job at the cafe. She enjoyed learning how to make the different coffees and connecting with the regular customers. She was a natural for the job and content in her new life, but then they met. Frank knew he was falling in love again, but was she? He wasn’t sure. But time would tell and he was enjoying life fully again. It felt good.
Time to go.