A police officer's uniform is just a work tool. Most police officers treat it as such, it's just something that has to be endured not an object of desire. Paul had worked for 14 years as a cop, he was a normal bloke, 36 years old, thinning on top, starting on a spare tire, found of his sport but playing it less and drinking through it more. Paul's uniform was something he wore; he takes no trouble over it.
Jez was Paul's mate. Uniform was an object of desire for Jez and he'd picked his job in the Force IT department so he could see uniform all day and every working day. Jez was shy about his sexuality, non committal and private. Jez was part of the furniture, co-operative, helpful, everyone's mate. Jez lived on his own in the town centre a few minutes' walk from the station. He worked long hours but the main reward was not his pay check. Struggling with wires under desks around the boots of cops was Jez's idea of a good day.
Jez and Paul often had a pint or two after work, nothing flash, nothing exciting. Paul did most of the talking recounting his day, pressures and concerns. Jez occasionally dropping in a few helpful or appreciative comments.
"Damn, it's the shift night out next week and I'm on afters, I'll never get back to the station and into town. I was really looking forward to a good drinking session with the boys", Paul said as his started on his first pint. No one is up for a shift swap and I always get those last minute jobs when I get back to the nick, he continued.
The germ of a sly idea slipped into Jez's mind. "Why don't to finish your shift over at my please, get changed into your civvie gear and drop down to town from my place? It will save you an hour and you won't get lumbered with any last minute jobs", Jez dropped into Pauls moan.
"Great idea mate, I can leave my gear at yours on the way to work in the morning and come straight off shift at yours." Paul responded enthusiastically. "Yeah and you could pick your uniform up at mine before your next shift", Jez added. "That would be a real help mate and I might manage to get away before the end of the shift and get down to town in time for a good few pints!" Paul laughed and warmed to the thought of an hour or so extra drinking time. "Look if you don't mind I'll be over next Tuesday night, and not a word to anyone."
Jez was nearly shaking with excitement; he could not believe that Paul was going to leave his uniform with him. Being careful to conceal his excitement he asked, "when are you due back on shift mate?" "Oh, two days off, I'm back on days from Friday", replied Paul. "Ok then it's a deal, you know where my place is just drop in anytime on Tuesday evening", responded Jez.
Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday the day rolled over in Jez's mind he could think of almost nothing else. He cleaned his flat, plugged in the air fresheners, bought a copy of Rugby Week to leave lying on the coffee table but most of all he thought about Paul's uniform. Paul's uniform; helmet, wicking black shirt, black stab vest, a bit grey and worn where he'd sat too many hours in the car with it on, leather duty belt, cotton trousers with PND book and half a dozen pens sticking from the many pockets and a well worn set of Altberg boots.
Tuesday came, eventually. Paul dropped in that morning and left a bag which as soon as he had gone Jez checked. Jeans, a patterned short sleeve shirt, a pair of sports socks rolled up and stuffed into some tan loafers a pair of CK trunks, some cheap shower gel and a can of Links spray deodorant. Jez worked late, no rush, right? He walked home, watched some TV and at 9 pm as dusk drew in he heard a rap at the door. It was Paul.
"Hell its hot mate, any chance of a tea said Paul" as he swept his helmet off and strode into Jez's kitchen.
No problem said Jez switching the kettle on and preparing Paul's builder's brew of strong milky tea. "Help yourself to the shower and give me a shout if you can't find anything."
"Thanks mate, it's been a hell of a day, I'll log off the radio just before I leave, in the meantime I'll get that shower" said Paul heading off to the bathroom and picking up his bag as he went. About 10 minutes later he reappeared in his jeans and patterned shirt clutching the tea mug.
"Right that's me ready, this has been a real help mate" grinned Paul. He pulled out his wallet removed a roll of notes and then stuffed his empty wallet into his bag. "I'll drop by for this on Friday morning."
"OK enjoy yourself and don't get too drunk!" Said Jez as he followed Paul to the door, "and I want a full report when I next see you."
"Ok mate and thanks again."
Closing the door Jez put the bolts in place, closed the blinds and quickly undressed before turning to Paul's bag. As he pulled the zip back the strong sent of cheap body spray and sweat hit him. First came Pauls wicking shirt with epaulettes attached, damp from a day under body armour, a cheap set of white cotton underpants and some worn black socks. The first thing Jez reached for however was the spray deodorant which he used before pulling Paul's uniform on. Everything was faintly damp until he reached into the bag and retrieved Paul's trousers, heavy with pocket note books, message slips and pens.
Sitting on his sofa Jez laced up Paul's battered boots and from the bottom of the bag the body armour, duty belt and helmet. Having seen it done a hundred times in the office Jez had little problem with the Velcro and zips of the body armour. The Radio was still attached to the top left hand loop of the armour and the black ear piece slipped comfortably into his ear.
For a while Jez just stood there, quietly admiring himself the uniform. Jez could feel the damp sweat of Paul under his arms, down is back and across his stomach. He flexed his toes in Pauls' boots and socks and checked the pockets of the vest, trousers and duty belt.
Finally he picked up Paul's wallet and pushed into his back pocket. Next Jez switched on the radio, and as he'd heard it a hundred times, gave Pauls' call sign and reported he was going to finish his shift up on the Common. It would be dark and in the shrubbery Jez could finish Paul's shift in style, as a final touch he pulled on Paul's black leather gloves and locked the flat behind him!