Skitters, D.A. – I Grew Up on These Streets


District Attorney Skitters stepped gingerly out of his car, sidled up to Deputy Chief Estrada, and rubbed against the policeman’s leg as much as was appropriate.  He’d always liked Estrada, and the respect between the two of them was mutual.  They’d both cracked a few skulls in the early days, young firebrands with ambition to fill and a hot city willing to serve it up to them.  The status quo said cops and prosecutors blamed each other for faults in the system.  Skitters and Estrada had little to say for the status quo.

“Hey, old man,” Skitters said.

“Hey yourself.”  He offered out his pack of cigarettes.

“I quit,” Skitters announced.

“Since when?”

“Since after four heart attacks and two strokes I’m down to just two lives.”

“The missus is always after me to quit,” said Estrada, stuffing the pack back into his trenchcoat.  “I tell her, ‘You want me to live longer, then learn to cook!’”

Skitters chuckled, but the grim landscape before them brought his mind back to business.  His pupils grew wide, enhancing his night vision.  The two of them stared out over the Unfriendlies, a broad section of town left to wither and rot after the manufacturing bust of the 80s.

“Two murders a week at least,” Estrada said.  “You could set your watch by it.”

Skitters’ ears clicked side to side, discerning far off screams, gunshots, and portable radios.  “What are the brass thinking?”

“The brass have their heads so far up their ass they don’t have to wait for their tummies to rumble before they know they’re hungry.  Cause they can see it.  Their empty stomachs.  It’s time for a new approach, but I’m going to need your help.”

Skitters nodded.  “You know I’m good for it.  I grew up on these streets.”

“Really now?” Estrada grinned.  “I never would’ve figured you for an alley cat.”

“Don’t let the three piece suit and pocket square fool you, I’ve had to scavenge a few meals in my day.  Hell, I never even knew my dad.  Half my litter got left behind in the first two weeks, mom had to move us around so much.  And when she died later that year, well….”

“You don’t gotta talk about it, man.”

Skitters sighed.  “No, no, it’s all right.  I got adopted by a nice family out in the suburbs.  They raised me right.  But the streets….they’re in my blood, Jose.”

Estrada exhaled one last stream of smoke and flicked his butt to the other side of the street.  “Then let’s fight for them, hermano!”

Skitters began to purr.  “You’ve got a deal.”