| "King of All" |
POD: c. 15th Century CE
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Affiliations:||Hawthorne drug squad|
Ralph Sandars was a Detective with the Hawthorne, California drug squad. He had previously served in the Army but had been discharged twelve years earlier. He had been married but had divorced some five years earlier and lived by himself in a one bedroom apartment in an older part of town.
It had been a slow day at the station with Sandars finishing up his paperwork right at quitting time. As he said to his partner Willie Payne, this was the first time he could recalled finishing his eight hour shift in eight hours. When he finished typing his report, he tossed it on his boss' desk, Lt. Joe Peroni, and headed home.
When he arrived home, he turned on his TV set in time for the six o'clock news which he watched as he prepared his supper. The big story was a drug bust on a tramp freighter in San Pedro Harbour. The Libertad was registered in Panama but sailed from Colombia and was discovered by Federal Agents to be carrying 100 kg of caffeine, with a street value of $8,000,000. The captain Rafael Ramos, the first mate Jorge Antonio San Martin and three others, all Colombians, faced smuggling charges.
The newscast then began a special report on caffeine. It first gave a history of the drug and then how it was grown and refined in Colombia. Despite himself, Sandars was impressed how, for once, the media were accurate about drugs. The news report then turned to Dr. Louis Goldman of the UCLA Medical Center. While the doctor acknowledged there may have been some slight benefits from using caffeine, he felt the risks far outweighed them. When he stated that test animals had died from large doses of the drug, the reporter challenged him, asking if any people had died. Goldman reluctantly admitted that there have not been any substantiated cases of human deaths but there had been anecdotal reports of smugglers dying when condoms filled with the drug they had swallowed had burst.
The report ended and the newscaster stated that the next part of the report would cover activists who advocated for legalization of caffeine. Sandars turned off the set in disgust, thinking that whatever good had come from reporting the dangers of the drug would be cancelled by the media romanticizing caffheads and their lifestyle. He also reflected that the medical problems were only the tip of the iceberg, that the underground economy caused casual disregard for the law and the crimes committed by dealers fighting for territory and users stealing to buy their next fix.
Sandars ate his super, then listened to the baseball game on the radio and went to bed. In the morning, he woke up and was stuck in low gear. He couldn't seem to wake up and was constantly yawning. He showered, shaved and got dressed and head off to the station. On the way, he stopped off at a McDonald's where he ordered a sausage McMuffin, some hash browns and a large Coke. The Coke woke him up and he felt ready for the rest of the day.