lucas brown had always wanted to be a highway patrolman.
ever since he was old enough to be sat up in front of a television to watch “cops” on fox tv.
as soon as he was old enough to be asked - and in lucas’s world children were asked at a very early age, more because it was a conventional conversational gambit with a child than because anybody was really interested - he would answer promptly and loudly - “a cop!” or “on the highway patrol!”
lucas had a loud voice. he was socially awkward in many other ways as well, and was the object of other children’s humor.
but he was big and strong and ready to use his fists. since he could not hit girls, this meant he was more comfortable among boys, although he had no real friends.
he had an older brother, jed, who ignored him and a older sister, florence, who was profoundly embarrassed by him.
his parents were busy people and paid little attention to any of the three children. when lucas was ten, his mother disappeared and the father paid less attention to the children than ever.
lucas never wavered in his dream of being a highway patrolman, and after graduating from high school he became one.
life was good. his dream had come true, and how many people could say the same?
being a cop was not as exciting as tv had made it out to be.
but as lucas had grown up he had gradually realized it would probably not be, so he was not totally surprised.
it was actually pretty boring, but what job would not be?
that was life, and life was boring. what could you do?
you could fuck with people for a while, and then you died.
lucas hated a lot of things - almost all of his fellow humans, for one reason or another - but what he hated most of all was people who didn’t work - both rich assholes who were born with money and bums on welfare.
lucas preferred the night shifts, and after a few years he was allowed to work almost all the time at night.
it just felt more like being a real cop, like he had always dreamed of, to cruise the dark highways.
he also found from experience that people were more nervous at night, less likely to mouth off about their rights, and easier to bully and harass.
something about being all alone on the dark highway, with a big, mean cop like lucas.
not that lucas was a bad guy. his favorite expression was “i’m not a bad guy.” he used it, with the same wide-eyed expression, on anybody who showed the least sign of discomfort at being fucked with.
lucas worked mostly alone. after he had been on the force himself for a couple of years, sometimes he would be asked to show a new cop the ropes for a week or so, but mostly he rode alone.
lucas tried to keep his weight down. so when he took breaks during the night he stayed away from places like mcdonalds or doughnut shops where he could sit down and be tempted to stuff his face with massive doses of sugar and starch - which he would then have to work off when his shift was over, instead of sleeping peacefully or watching tv.
he preferred little convenience stores where he could just lean on the counter with a paper cup of coffee and munch on something healthy and nutritious like beet jerky.
little convenience stores like the stop-here. where he made the acquaintance of rob rogers.
lucas did not think much of rob. he was a white man, but not much of one in lucas’s estimation. lucas suspected him of being a fag, or even a liberal.
lucas would try to draw rob out - actually sort of interrogate him - on the issues of the day that lucas took an interest in.
lucas would say something like, “what do you think about these fucking feminists?” or “how about these assholes who want to take people’s guns away?” and rob would just shrug and say something like, “not much, i guess”, or "yeah, that's fucked up".
these were not adequate responses, so far as lucas was concerned.
rob never shared with lucas his dreams of being a vigilante, being afraid that lucas would laugh at him.
lucas probably would have laughed, but would also given him a few points for at least wanting to act like a man.
rob was on six nights a week. on wednesday, his night off, his place was taken by trevor, an old man and a vietnam vet - at least he said he was, though sometimes lucas suspected he was full of shit - who was a much more receptive audience for lucas’s observations.
in time, lucas also made the acquaintance of hutch. he didn’t like him. even though hutch enthusiastically responded to lucas’s thoughts on guns, feminists, and whatever, lucas just didn’t trust him. he thought he was a sneaky, weaselly little cocksucker, no better than a bum on welfare, even though he did have a job.
lucas was asked to break in a new officer - a young woman named melanie. lucas was a little surprised he had never been paired up with a woman before. even though in real life there were not nearly as many women cops as in movies and tv - where it seemed two thirds of the cops and even the detectives were female - they did exist. so what could you do?
melanie was not much to look at, and the last thing lucas wanted was to get “involved” with her, but she was still a human female and he was determined to impress her.