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     Teen Cops 'A Time for Redemption', p.10

       D Rossmaur / Actions & Adventure / Mystery & Detective
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Chapter 9
The morning arrived and we all felt guilty about leaving under a veil of secrecy without saying goodbye to our other friends, but it could not be avoided. Warden Ellis escorted us personally to the main gates, in case the duty guards started asking too many questions. Luis was waiting for us in a van. We loaded our belongings and were ready to start our new lives.
Warden Ellis whispered ‘Good luck,’ to us and closed the door gently to avoid making a scene.
‘Don’t forget if any of you screw up, you’ll be sent straight back to jail. That includes you too Luis,’ said the Warden with a smile as he stuck his head in the driver’s side window.
‘Thanks Warden,’ said Luis as he started the engine.
The Warden waved as we drove away heading for the highway to Portland Airport. As the van turned the corner we had a final look back at Mount Hood to say farewell. No offence, but we hoped it would be the last time we’d see the place. I’m sure the warden’s good work would continue without us and he should be very proud of what he’d achieved so far. We promised to make him proud.

There was one thing I’d promised to do when I got released and that was to have a good cup of coffee at the café in Gresham. I passed it on the prison bus when I first arrived at Mount Hood, but what was it called? I pleaded with Luis to make a detour on to North Main Avenue as I remembered the street name. Finally he relented after nagging like a spoilt child in the back seat.
‘OK Scott, but one quick cup of coffee then we have to leave for our flight,’ said Luis.
I could have kissed him right at that moment, but managed to refrain.
‘STOP, THERE IT IS. CAFÉ DELIRIUM,’ I shouted and, as we drove along North Main Avenue, Luis pulled the bus over to park and I jumped out. I could already smell the rich coffee aroma wafting along the side walk. I checked my pockets and realised I was penniless.
‘Err sorry Luis, but could you sub me a couple of bucks from my allowance?’ I asked with sad puppy dog eyes. It was pathetic I know.
‘Here take twenty five bucks and order coffee for all of us,’ said Luis as he handed me the money. I took everyone’s order and went inside.
‘And I’m watching you Scott, no funny business like trying to escape out the back door,’ Luis warned and he meant it.
I put my hand up to gesture that I understood, opened the café door and stepped inside to savour my first taste of freedom. ‘Mmmmmm,’ I whispered dropping my shoulders with pleasure as I approached the counter to inspect the coffee menu.
‘Can I help you sir?’ a young server asked shaking me from my coffee trance.
‘Sure, I’d like a good old fashioned steaming hot cup of coffee please, not one of those double mocha choca woka latté things, that’s what my friends want,’ I said pointing outside to the van.
The server recommended a local Oregon brand, Caravan Coffee.
‘Then I’ll have a large cup of that please. Oh and to go,’ I ordered.
I handed over the list of coffee requests for my friends, paid then sat to wait for my order. I signalled to the others that the coffees would only be a minute and Luis tapped on his watch impatiently. He would have to wait as good coffee can’t be rushed. Looking around I noticed the sign on the wall that read ‘Café Delirium, your home away from home,’ and that pretty much summed up the moment. I felt that Mount Hood had been my home away from home and the biggest turning point in my life so far. My order was ready and I took the coffee out to the van.
‘Jesus, his first taste of freedom is a stop for coffee,’ Josh groaned from the side window.
I opened the door and jumped in.
‘I love that place guys, just smell these coffees and it even has free WiFi,’ I said excitedly handing round the cups.
Josh rolled his eyes and said sarcastically, ‘Well that should be really handy given the fact that we’ll be living over a hundred miles away in Long Beach.’
He was such a spoil sport but I had my wish and sipped the coffee as we pulled away.
‘Feeling better now?’ Luis asked.
‘Much better thank you,’ I replied with another sip of my coffee.
Luis had managed to grab a bag of bagels from the Mount Hood canteen before we left and these tasted good with the coffee. Just as well as our next meal would not be until we reached the FBI Training Academy.
We were soon on the highway and picked up a little time as the roads were clear that Saturday morning. Because our identities had to remain a secret and since we still had criminal records on file, it meant we couldn’t fly with a scheduled airline for fear of alerting the local authorities. So Mitch had arranged for a charter flight to take us from Portland to Virginia. We weren’t complaining about flying in our own private jet although it did remind me a little of the film Con Air, only without the mass murderers onboard.
The flight arrived on schedule at Turner Field in Quantico Virginia, which is the nearest military airbase to the FBI Training Academy. As soon as we disembarked we were met by a military truck which Mitch had also arranged.
‘What no limo?’ Molly exclaimed as she walked down the aircraft steps, but sadly not.
‘Welcome to Virginia,’ said Corporal Ruben Shields who was our driver. We avoided too much small talk with the driver as loose lips sink ships and all that.
It did feel slightly overwhelming at first, leaving a prison one minute and arriving at the FBI Training Academy the next. The hard work started the moment we arrived at the academy. We were separated and assigned to different specialist training teams by the drill sergeant. I said a quick goodbye to my friends as we were whisked away by our team leaders. We were informed that it was a requirement for each cadet to participate in daily sports activities and, lucky for me, wrestling was on the rostrum so I had the easy option. Not so easy though, were the advanced computer studies and surveillance techniques classes that I’d been signed up for. I had to learn a whole bunch of new stuff about bugging devices, infra-red camera systems, code breaking and how to hotwire a vehicle, which was really Josh’s bag. The technical stuff was obviously chosen to be my specialist field in the new teen cop’s team and I wasn’t complaining. On top of our specialist training there were the boring bits too, like the mountain of paperwork that goes with the job, learning about the law and the latest law enforcement techniques. You’d think we already knew a bit about the law having gone through the judicial system a few times, but this was all very new. We had homework too and law books make wonderful bedtime reading. Not. The hand-to-hand combat and riot training exercises made Fridays the most interesting day. In fact everyone needed to let off a little steam by the end of the week and this was just the thing.
Mitch arrived at the academy on the Friday and watched us train. He looked pleased with what he saw, although I’m sure our skills paled in comparison to his own, being ex military and all that. He stuck around for a few days to speak with our instructors and to spend a little quality time with Molly. Our daily routines were very hard. Up at 5am for a team jog with the other cadets, followed by breakfast, a full day’s lessons or specialist training and then homework. It made me realise just how luxurious life had been back at Mount Hood, not that I’m complaining. Mitch joined the Saturday morning jog and arranged to meet up with us at the shooting range after lessons for a little target practice. So it wasn’t all work and no play. I doubt Mitch realised just how much Molly’s shooting had improved during her intensive training sessions as they had a friendly father, daughter shooting competition. I had a little side wager on Molly to win, but lost because Mitch was still the best sharp shooter, although it was close.

Brandon could also handle a gun pretty well and confessed the reason for this was because he used to go hunting with his grandfather every weekend. Jordan was another one as she’d carried a gun during her ‘drug lord’ days as I called them. As for me, well I preferred the Xbox version to the real thing, but also seemed to be a pretty good shot and let’s put that down to Modern Warfare 2. Luis was afraid of guns at first, but soon got into the swing of things. Josh on the other hand had no real interest and was the weakest marksman amongst us. He preferred the greasy oil of the police garage to the shooting range.
Josh spent most of his spare time in the police garage learning a few new motor repair skills and advancing his driving technique. He managed to teach the more seasoned officers a few driving tricks and would have made a great stunt driver, just what the team needed. It was ironic really, after spending most of his teen years boosting cars for fun and getting involved in high speed chases with the police, Josh was now racing police cars and improving their performance all in the name of the law.
Mitch had to leave after dinner, but promised to return to check on progress at regular intervals. We continued to train hard in his absence. During wrestling lessons I had to take on some of the biggest opponents I’d ever seen, managing to defeat all but one, my instructor. He was a tough looking guy by the name of Al Svetina, built like a train and affectionately known as ‘the muscles from the Bronx’. While I sweated it out on the wrestling mats, Brandon was relaxing with a leisurely game of Basketball each day. It was immediately obvious to the other cadets, that here was a guy who should be playing professionally and not training for the police force, which started to raise a few questions. Brandon headed these off by telling the cadets he’d suffered a career killing knee injury at school which prevented him from turning pro. Even I started to believe the cover story.

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