Fulfilled by Hollow Recognition (Long Version)

Here is this month’s winner for long story! You can find the original 25 version here.  I apologize for posting this late. I was distracted by the cherry blossoms here in DC 🙂


Every day at his job, Dmytro stood by the machine, watching for one of the coffee pods to be knocked sideways, or to snag on the steel guarding. The engineers designing the machine skirted around him as if he were a prop. He was overwhelmed with ideas and solutions, but since he couldn’t speak English, he had nothing to offer. He’d fled Kiev less than a year ago, and had only managed to learn I look for jobs and Where is bathrooms. He’d always preferred numbers to languages.

He liked to eat lunch in the park four blocks away, where the cops would meet outside Wilborne’s Diner. Dmytro had never wanted to be a cop before, but he missed the presence he’d once had that the cops exuded. He watched people dodge around them, not because they were unnoticed, but because the immensity of their power created a halo of caution around them. People always acknowledged them, with a nod, or some brief greeting Dmytro couldn’t have deciphered, even if he’d been within earshot. Those officers never seemed to wait for a table, even on lunch hour, when the line was out the door.

After a particularly long day of mindless monitoring, Dmytro noticed the police were hosting an auction to raise money. They were selling an old Crown Victoria, for $3,000. Dmytro had $3,312. He bought the old black and white, stripped of lights and decals. He’d have no authority, but everyone would double take when he drove by.

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