It started Wednesday with a phone call, "We've had a bunch of staff assaults. Can you help us out?" Oddly phrased: A bunch? Can I help? Quick shower and too fast drive, not sure whether I was being asked to investigate, to coordinate a tactical response, as extra security or replacing one of the injured officers.
Officers, friends in the hospital. One badly bitten by an inmate. Things haven't been finished in the chaos. I finish processing the inmate for disciplinary housing, talk him into agreeing to a blood draw. (Critical skill- if the source of a body-fluids contamination can be tested, it can save the victim a lot of worry and grief. It is, however, a medical test and can be refused. If the threat refuses it can take days for a court order to take a blood draw by force. Always better, faster to talk them into it, no matter how you feel on the inside.)
Successful... and then not. It will take two days to run the test, or about an hour in an ER. The local hospital refuses to test the blood unless they can register the inmate as a patient. They even say that they can use the blood we have already drawn, but the patient has to be present. There is no reason for it beyond 'policy', but policy is God. We have to do a dangerous, senseless and expensive transport for a stupid piece of red tape. We do it.
Then right to another shift at the regular job.
Then four hours of fitful sleep and a double shift, the first eight hours teaching rookies how to survive a fight. They do well and it's a good group. One is so bright-eyed and eager that it's like a puppy. In conversation he hears about a time when I threw someone using only his back hair for a grip. He glances at his forearms and asks, "Should I shave these? Should I start shaving everywhere? That sounds like it will really hurt." I start to tell him about a salon downtown and how he should go in and ask for a "Combat Brazilian wax" and they'll know what he means... but I can't keep a straight face. That would have been one of the best practical jokes ever.
It was good, too, teaching with Jose. We've shed a lot of blood and sweat together. The rookies listened hard as he told about the cost of mental errors, about fighting the wrong kind of fight.
The second shift, as I got tired, other people's vulnerabilities were glaring. It's a weird state- not so weird, maybe fairly common for me in an actual conflict- where I am acutely aware of weak lines of balance, exposed targets, perceptual locks or distractions in the people around me. It hits their emotions too and I can feel their insecurities, their fears. When I get tired it seems like my attention snaps on to any weakness. Usually, it's a big piece of why I can talk people down. I spent Thursday toying with and controlling the impulse to poke buttons.
Somewhere since then we moved fifty inmates, searched a dorm, did taxes and got a new cat.
And on and on.... almost four hours of sleep last night. Tonight should be better.