stakeout - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
Stakeout was about as exciting as sitting on a park bench for nine hours. In the movies they sit slumped over cold take out, but drama is never far away. Inevitable the bad guy shows up, there's a chase and the plot moves on. Real life stakeout is different. After a week of flicking radio stations you know every irritating quirk of every presenter and the popular songs feel like swallowing nails. The only thing the films ever get right is that if something is going to happen, it happens when you're taking a toilet break or being asked for directions.
As if made of the darkness itself, a cat appears, breaking the monotony of the stakeout. Theo sees Lisa flick her eyes toward it and gives her a barely perceptible shake of his head. No distractions. In the silence of the midnight world, a sudden yowl rents the air better than a gunshot. Five pounds of fur on lonely legs hurries forwards, amber eyes glowing lamp-like from a diminutive head. Lisa raises her eyebrows as if to say "Some attention for the cat would be better than it's noise." Theo nods with the enthusiasm he generally reserves for agreeing to clean the bathroom. The cat's claws pick at the fabric of Lisa's kevlar vest. Her eyes are down, her lips curled upward - the firefight begins. The "distraction" falls to the ground as she reaches for her holstered weapon.
I am almost done when there is a rustle in the rhododendron cluster. It isn’t light enough to be a bird. There’s someone in there who didn’t mean to make that noise. There are no vagrants anymore, not with the oversupply of empty housing, so this person is on stakeout duty for some gang. Tonight though they’re not my problem. The chance of them knowing I’m here is next to zero. I just have to finish my face, put my gloves back on and go. It’s just some dumb kid freezing his behind off to placate a paranoid gang leader.
Stakeout meant back ache and long hours of tense boredom. Mac tapped the dashboard in an ever quickening pace until Jen slapped his hand.
"Just stop it." She passed him a fresh bag of lemon drops and he managed a half smile.
"Ta." Mac took it, just hearing the brown paper crinkle as he stuffed it in the cup holder was enough to release a long sigh. "Close your eyes for a bit, Jen. I've got this." He glanced her way just long enough to see she was staring at something. Following her gaze to a man overdressed for a summer's night he knew the moment had come. Stakeout was over, the suspect had arrived.
"Surveillance," they called it back at the precinct, but it would always be stakeout to Mac. It was like living in constant twilight, stuck between day and night. Each time he sat in the cruiser with nothing but the police radio for chatter, the time passed like a bad dream, the boredom drilling holes in his eyeballs. This wasn't what he'd imagined his career to look like back at the academy. In his crime fighting daydreams there were more chases and thrills; but this is what he signed up for, upholding the law, following orders. And if he was right, then today was Gina's last day in the sunlight for a very long time.
But I want those drugs and I can’t give up my sugar to get it in trade, it would just cost too damn much. Now it’s my turn to be the dumb one freezing in the dark while I watch the old police station. It’s nothing like the steel and concrete monoliths around it. It was built back in God-knows-when with stones. The walls are as thick as a medieval castle and the windows almost as mean. There’s no flicker of light within and the thick wooden doors are closed as I expected them to be.
Found in Darwin's Ghost - first draft, authored by .
Stakeout duty meant a cold park bench and colder coffee. The paper cups gave up heat with as much resistance as a new cop gives the mob. Mac rocked his feet on the gravel, anything to get the blood moving. Years of surveillance had taught him to look as much like a hobo as possible. No-one even sees them. The homeless are like the blowing litter to the passers by, something inconsequential or else a "mess" the city should take "care" of. Adjusting his toque with rapidly numbing fingers, he caught sight of a cherry coat in the distance. He watched Gina's form growing larger. Were his lips less frozen he would have smiled almost as much as he had on his wedding day. Gina, at last. He sat upright, letting the two-way radio fall to his grubby pants, watching his team emerge from behind her. This was the moment. With the limb she'd given him he took three steps to meet her, to have the pleasure of watching the horrified recognition of who he was spread over her perfect features. Stakeout was over. Jen slapped on the handcuffs and lead her away, dipping her head into the police cruiser...
"Covert operations" had been such an easy sell; was there anything cooler than being asked to go on stakeout? Fred sniggered as he climbed into his bed and pulled up the duvet. In the morning he'd wear his dark clothes and sunglasses, stroll through the frosty park and collect the report from those idiots. He'd even throw in a breakfast sandwich. Idiots were two-a-penny, but loyal idiots were worth a spending a couple of quid on. Being a private-eye was suiting him very nicely; who needed time consuming police academy and following the law, how boring! Criminals were scary nut-jobs anyway. As his mind began to loosen, falling toward dreams, he saw himself smoking cuban cigars on an expansive patio. This surveillance of the judge was a piece-of-cake. What could possibly go wrong?
Another stakeout, another city, another rookie partner shooting the shit. If he tells me one more "brother" story I'm gonna commit a crime myself. Given my years of tracking suspects down to every stinking rat hole on earth, I think I'd stand a fair chance on the run. I pass him the binoculars, deliberately out of focus, that always shuts him up for a bit. My head rocks back against the seat and that's when our quarry shows up - little rat man in silk threads. This is the bit I live for, the end of the search, violence with the backing of the law. I swear if I wasn't a cop I'd have to be a criminal. One or the other; at least this option has a pension.
"The definition of stakeout is about as useful as cat vomit on dress-pants. It's like reading a menu card for food you've never tasted. The experience will light you up or shut you down. If you've got the heart of a hunter and the patience of a fisherman, come along. Otherwise I have better things to do. Think it over, newbie. The law's a big place, something for most folks. Surveillance just might not be your thing."
There's such a gap between definition and experience. Often times the only way to know what something is is to taste, touch or smell. Stakeout is like that. You might as well take the stakeout definition and make kitty litter from it. You want to know the meaning of stakeout? Go sit on a concrete wall in midwinter dressed as a down-and-out. Sit there until you have muscle cramps and you can't tell the difference between seconds and hours. Watch every damn thing whilst looking oblivious to even the snot that's dribbling down your own face. Sit there while your bladder feels like it's gonna explode because your shift ain't over. Your definition is to stakeout what black and white step-diagrams are to dance.