Thursday, July 23, 2015

Character of the Week: Joe from Trajectory

"No one knows what it's like/To be the bad man/To be the sad man/Behind blue eyes. No one knows what it's like/To be hated/To be fated/To telling only lies. But my dreams/They aren't as empty/As my conscience seems to be/I have hours, only lonely/My love is vengeance/That's never free."

The Who's Behind Blue eyes is the perfect song (although his eyes are brown, but we'll let that go) for our character this week: Joe Davis from Trajectory.

Joe is a man who is very much trapped in his own head. He's a police sniper. Some have deemed him to be a killer. Other applaud his bravery. Very few fully understand what he does, and how deeply his own work affects him.

Joe comes from a military family. His father was a soldier in the Army. He vividly remembered all of the times his father would ship out and leave the family while he toured. He was a sniper, and thus in great demand. Joe was proud of his father, and they spent a fair amount of time together when he was home. He taught Joe how to shoot. He taught him how to be a soldier. He taught him how to be a man.

There was one tour that he never returned from. Young and vulnerable, Joe and his mother were now on their own. At twelve, Joe was young enough to have felt a tremendous impact from it, and old enough to see how difficult life became for his mother.

There was always a chasm in his heart left by his father. It was started the first time his father went away. Each time after that, the chasm grew. When his father died, the chasm became a canyon. Desperate to find any kind of connection, Joe went into the Marines. He could only imagine the pain he was causing his mother. But his pain and disconnection from his father was far too great for him to ignore.

Joe was a very successful Marine. He graduated at the top of his class. He was an excellent marksman, just like his father. He received several medals, and moved up the ladder quickly. He was a well decorated and well respected military man,

After the Marines, Joe returned to Detroit and became a police officer. He worked patrol and served as a police officer for 6 years. His dream, though, was to join SWAT. The intensity of it, the significance of it, the correlation to his father were all too lucrative for him to resist. Many officers try for SWAT, and Joe was one of the few who was accepted.

Another man made the SWAT team when Joe did, and that was his best friend, Pete. Joe and Pete actually met in the Marines. They found camaraderie in each other since they were both from Detroit. As time went on, they forged a strong friendship. Joe finally met someone who understood him. Pete was like the brother Joe never had. He knew he could trust Pete completely, and he did. Pete was the only person in whom Joe confided that he was bisexual. He was afraid. The stigmas, misunderstandings and prejudice that many bisexual men face caused Joe to keep that a secret. Pete understood. He respected Joe. He never judged him. The bond that Pete and Joe shared was incredibly strong.

Prior to becoming a SWAT sniper, Joe visited his favorite coffee shop one day. He ordered his coffee. When he turned around, he noticed a beautiful woman painting. Curious, he came closer to her. He was quite impressed by the scene she had on her canvas. He told her that he liked her work. When she looked up at him, he melted. He was instantly infatuated with her. He asked for her business card. Her name was Claudette - it was a name he would never forget. Within a couple of days, he called her...for a date.

Thus began a rather unusual romance. Two very unlikely people found themselves deeply in love with the other. Their connection was strong, but they both enjoyed their quiet time as well. Joe and
Claudette maintained their romance for years. They complimented each other. They balanced themselves out. They both got what they needed from the other. Theirs was the perfect relationship.

That is until Claudette felt motherhood calling her. Though she was a strong and independent woman, she loved the idea of raising children. She wanted to teach, and learn, and love. She felt she had a lot to offer children, and she whole-heartedly believed that Joe would make the perfect father.

The idea caused Joe to stop dead in his tracks. Children? Children! Children who would grow up without a father like he did. Children who would lose their father at an early age and be left with the same broken heart that his father left him. No. There was no way he could do that. He refused to subject children to that. They shouldn't suffer the same way he did as a child.

Thus ended their relationship. Sort of. Neither was able to truly let go of the other. Claudette came around and helped Joe with his cat, Gertrude, when he was out on calls. They would talk on occasion. They both enjoyed the other's company and conversation. Joe couldn't bring children into this world knowing that they would hurt the way he was hurt. But he also couldn't bring himself to let go of Claudette.

Life continued on. Joe did his best to make sense of it all, which wasn't always easy.

One specific call changed everything.

It was a call to a known drug dealer's house. A sixteen year old kid who sold out of his house when his parents were away for two weeks every month. Narcs had their eyes on this kid for a while. It was time for SWAT to come in, and hopefully take him down.

For days, Joe sat in observation. Behind his gun, watching this kid's every move. After three days, the police decided to send in an under-cover agent. That's when things got bad.

It didn't take long for the kid to realize something was up. SWAT stormed the place. Shots were fired. When there was finally a clearing, Joe shot, and the kid went down. After all the smoke had settled, the kid and one SWAT officer were dead.

Pete, Joe's best friend and confidant was gone.

Joe was shaken to his core. Nothing made sense any more. Everything was strange and confusing and meaningless. Joe couldn't make heads nor tails of life. He needed to get away from himself. So he went to the one place where he knew he was safe: Claudette's apartment.

He ran back to her, gripping tightly (both literally and figuratively). He felt as though he had lost everything, and he could not bear to lose her again. He went to her that night, hoping for a better outcome.

Joe Davis is a tremendous man. He's dark and mysterious, and yet incredibly vulnerable. He is a strong, sensitive, wise character. His story is one that I still find to be incredibly potent and poignant.

Favorite quote from Joe: "The media swarmed around us like hornets. Today was a big day for them. Pieces of meat for them to fly around and gobble up, like the maggots they were."

Happy reading!

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