The last coyote

Chapter One

“ANY THOUGHTS THAT you’d like to start with?”

“Thoughts on what?”

“Well, on anything. On the incident.”

“On the incident? Yes, I have some thoughts.”

She waited but he didn’t continue. He had decided before he even got to Chinatown that this would be the way he would be. He’d make her have to pull every single word out of him.

“Could you share them with me, Detective Bosch?” she finally asked. “That is the purpose of—”

“My thoughts are that this is bullshit. Total bullshit. That’s the purpose. That’s all.”

“No, wait. How do you mean, bullshit?”

“I mean, okay, I pushed the guy. I guess I hit him. I’m not sure exactly what happened but I’m not denying anything. So, fine, suspend me, transfer me, take it to a Board of Rights, whatever. But going this way is bullshit. ISL is bullshit. I mean, why do I have to come here three times a week to talk to you like I’m some kind of—you don’t even know me, you don’t know anything about me. Why do I have to talk to you? Why do you have to sign off on this?”

“Well, the technical answer is right there in your own statement. Rather than discipline you the department wants to treat you. You’ve been placed on involuntary stress leave, which means—”

“I know what it means and that’s what’s bullshit. Somebody arbitrarily decides I’m under stress and that gives the department the power to keep me off the job indefinitely, or at least until I jump through enough hoops for you.”

“Nothing about this was arbitrary. It was predicated on your actions, which I think clearly show—”

“What happened had nothing to do with stress. What it was about was…never mind. Like I said, it’s bullshit. So why don’t we just cut through it and get to the point. What do I have to do to get back to my job?”

He could see the anger flare behind her eyes. His total disavowal of her science and skill cut to her pride. Quickly the anger was gone, though. Dealing with cops all the time, she had to be used to it.

“Can’t you see that all of this is for your own welfare? I have to assume the top managers of this department clearly see you as a valued asset or you wouldn’t be here. They’d have put you on a disciplinary track and you’d be on your way out. Instead, they are doing what they can to preserve your career and its incumbent value to the department.”

“Valued asset? I’m a cop, not an asset. And when you’re out there on the street nobody’s thinking about incumbent value. What does that mean, anyway? Am I going to have to listen to words like that in here?”

She cleared her throat before speaking sternly.

“You have a problem, Detective Bosch. And it goes far beyond the incident that resulted in your being placed on leave. That’s what these sessions are going to be all about. Do you understand? This incident is not unique. You have had problems before. What I am trying to do, what I have to do before I can sign off on your return to duty in any capacity, is get you to take a look at yourself. What are you doing? What are you about? Why do these problems happen to you? I want these sessions to be an open dialogue where I ask a few questions and you speak your mind, but with a purpose. Not to harass me and my profession or the leadership of the department. But to talk about you. This is about you in here, no