For the writer-folk. When I start a screenplay I like to write a couple of pages about each character from the first-person so I have an idea of who they are. I sometimes give them to the actor before we shoot, the way I gave this to Frank Lama before FOC2...(mildly spoilerish if you haven't seen FOC2)
My name is Dan Wickerman(pronounced Wih-KER-Min) Peters. I’m a grade one police detective in Maryland.
I grew up in Dallas, Texas. I was an only child. I had a happy childhood, or maybe it just seems that way when I look back through eyes warped by nostalgia.
My dad was a postal worker, but he was a big guy. Played college football so he was pretty imposing. Mom was the homemaker. Keep the house clean, do the laundry, and fix dinner. Old fashioned.
I was eleven the night we were mugged. We were in the city shopping but it got late fast. On our way back to the car some guy—he seemed old to me, but anyone over twenty is ancient to a kid—stuck a gun in our face and demanded our money.
My dad cursed at the guy. It was the first and only time I ever heard him curse. He said, and I remember it like he’s in front of me saying it right now: “You get the fuck away from us.”
The guy got agitated, starting waving the gun around. My dad tried to grab it. The guy clubbed him in the head. The sound of the metal barrel thunking dully into my dad’s skull was sickening.
My dad went down and didn’t move. I thought he was dead. The guy must have thought the same thing. He panicked, grabbed my mom’s purse, and ran off.
My dad was never the same after that. The gun cracked his skull so he needed eighteen stitches and two surgeries. But worse than that, it broke his will. I don’t know exactly what it was. The feeling of being helpless, of not being able to protect his family. Maybe of realizing you’re not as strong or unstoppable as you think you are.
Either way he was a beaten man after that. Mom and me, we tried to get him back to himself. We thought time would heal him, like it does everything else, but it never did. We did activities he could win, we encouraged him to enter contests, to play sports.
It was almost like he lost the will to live. The doctors said it was nothing physical. They recommended taking him to a psychiatrist. He recommended they shove it. One thing the mugger didn’t take away from him was his bull-headedness.
He remained oddly detached from us until he died of a heart attack when he was sixty-two.
I’ve always been interested in puzzles and mysteries. I read Agatha Christie novels incessantly in high school, always trying to figure out before the end who the killer was. I excelled in math—every problem was a mystery for me to solve.
I don’t know if losing myself in the mysteries was my way of dealing with my father’s detachment. Who can understand how a child’s mind works? I only know that when I think fondly of my childhood it’s because I remember all those stories and puzzles and mysteries I spent so much time solving.
When I was older I had thoughts of entering the FBI, but instead I entered the police academy right after college. I put my time in on the street, and the second I could I went for my shield. I made detective fast, and I’m one of the best in the division.
My clearance rate is an unheard-of seventy four percent. I live the job, which is one of the reasons I do so well. Even when I’m off I’m still thinking about the cases, moving the pieces of the puzzle around in my head until they start to fit.
I figured eventually I’d have a life, like a regular one. Find a wife, make a family, live happily ever after.
My doctor tells me I have less than a year to live now. And suddenly it seems like eventually isn’t going to happen. All that time I thought I’d have—gone in the time it took to get the test results back.
I can’t stop the regret. I try to push it back because it angers me, and anger clouds the mind. I’ve got nothing to regret really. I have the highest case clearance rate in the history of the state. I have more money than I’ll ever need.
But I can’t help thinking that I just never stopped playing cops and robbers. I never grew up. Always thought I had time—
And to make it worse…the year I have to live isn’t going to be a good year. My mind is going to begin to…deteriorate. The doctor made it sound a lot like Alzheimer’s. Least that’s what it sounded like to me.
My mind is what I’m most proud of. It sounds strange, I know. But I’ve worked very hard to become as intelligent as I could. I’m like a body builder who has spent years and years in the gym to perfect his physique, only in my case it’s my mind.
And now some bullshit arbitrary disease is going to take that away from me? Slowly and painfully I’m going to lose who I am, lose what I can do, and I’m not even going to realize it’s happening.
Not if I can help it.
Her name is Lynn Blodgett, and I felt something the first time I saw her. She was living in someone else’s house when a murder was committed two doors up. It turned out to be linked to her and a big nutcase named Doug Richardson, who liked to dress up like a clown and axe people.
I caught him and he was put away in a mental institution. He’s been there now for over two years. He tried to escape twice. The doctor reports say he’s still obsessed with Lynn. It appears her ex-husband convinced Doug that if he killed Lynn then all his mental problems would go away.
I can’t blame him, really. Would I kill to stop this disease from taking my intelligence? Who you got in mind?
Really, though. I had thoughts of asking Lynn out a long time ago, but she was in a relationship then, and so it all passed. Now it’s too late. Much too late.
But there’s something I can do. My last hurrah, so to speak. I can put that psycho in the ground where he’ll never bother Lynn again. I just have to figure out how to do it when he’s locked up in an asylum and I’m out here in the real world.