Anybody who thinks I have a cushy, overpaid desk job can kiss my ass, quite frankly.
I was up most of the night last night. Not because of my celebrated caffeine addiction, either, but because of a complex client file I’m currently working on.
I’ve been doing this job for fourteen years now. I have heard pretty much everything, by this point. I’ve dealt with drug dealers, child molesters, woman haters – you name it. I deal with the angry, the disadvantaged, the addicted and the mentally ill daily. Most of them I can simply let go at the end of the day. Some of them I feel great pity for. Some of them need treatment. Some of them are just assholes. Some of them are vulnerable, and misled. Some of them are just regular people who had a lapse in judgment, or were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But a very, very, few are monsters.
I’m only on my fourth monster in 14 years. If I had to deal with monsters every day, I’d have burnt out a long time ago.
See, monsters get in your head. Monsters play games with you. Monsters want to know your name. Monsters have secrets. But worst of all, monsters always want to be perceived as being smarter than everyone else. Monsters question your motives and your intelligence, until you start questioning them yourself. Monsters mimic your tone of voice. Monsters are punctiliously polite.
Worst of all, monsters do terrible things to the innocent and defenseless, and think that they are justified in doing so, because of their superior monster status. Monsters lack any empathy whatsoever.
And I have to work under the presumption of innocence. I have to treat monsters as if they were just like people, regardless of whether or not I feel they deserve it. Civil rights are for everyone, not just people we like.
I can’t share my monster stories. Monsters are protected under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, just like everyone else. Sometimes, though, it would be helpful to let it out, to vent and scream and expose them. I can’t, I can’t, I have a duty as a public servant to protect their confidentiality.
So instead, I lie awake at night. There are no monsters in my closet, or under my bed. They’re back in my office, in the video camera.