For maximum feels effect, listen to 'Not a Real Cop' from the Zootopia soundtrack while reading.
In other news, the reporter on the radio said, Hero cop, Officer Judy Hopps, is returning to her hometown later this week. It is believed that Chief Bogo has temporarily transferred her to her local police station to keep her out of the public eye for a time after the peace-rally-turned-riot last Tuesday. It is unknown when Officer will return, but we all wish her a happy journey and a restful time back home. For those who wish to-
Nick slammed the dial in so hard his paw hurt, but the reporter's voice was no longer echoing through his head, so it was almost worth the pain. Almost, if only the memory of Judy trying to call him back at the police station would stop replaying in his head. He'd gone over the memory so many times he was certain that, had it been a letter, it would have fallen apart by now. He closed his eyes and saw her in his mind's eye, crying as she called him back. He couldn't bear the sight.
He opened his eyes and groaned. No matter what he did, she haunted him. Sitting next to the radio, purposefully placed just out of reach, was the carrot pen, untouched since he'd set it there two months ago. He hadn't even bothered to erase that stupid confession she'd managed to get out of him. With a sigh, he reached for the pen, pausing next to the radio just like he had at least twice a day, every day, for the last two months. He almost pulled back, but the memory of what the reporter had said sent a shiver up his spine and he decided it was time.
The orange plastic was nearly smooth with ago and use. The pause button along the side rattled a bit, and Nick wouldn't have been surprised if the button was broken. His finger hovered over the button that would erase everything. He could hit it, and it would be as if nothing had ever happened. He hit the 'play all' button instead. Might as well hear that confession one last time for kicks.
Happy birthday, Carrots his own voice came blaring from the tiny speaker. He nearly dropped the pen. Look, the recording continued, I know you've got another dozen or so siblings turned 12 now too, and don't worry, I got something for each of time. But I saw this the other day and thought you could use when you're solving crimes. I've still got the instructions manual back at my place, but I'll give them to you the next time I see you. Anyway, I've also told your parents that they're to bring you and your siblings down to Crystals and Cream for ice cream and shakes. I'm paying. I hope you like the gift; you can throw it at me if you don't. I'll see you in a bit. Nick bit his tongue to keep the tears back. He thought she'd erased that message years ago. The pen kept blaring at him.
Carrots, I know you're going to be mad when you find out I took your pen without asking, but I wanted to give you a message and a card didn't seem right. Happy fourteenth birthday, kid. Nick put an arm over his eyes.
Judy, what did I tell you? You did it! I just heard that you got accepted for the criminal justice program next year, despite still being a junior! Mom said you hadn't heard yet, but that's good because I wanted to be the first to say congratulations. You did it. I knew you could. Keep smiling bright. Keep your chin up. And no matter what, never let anyone tell you that you can't be a real cop, because believe me, you have what it takes. I'll see you later, your friend, Nick.
Nick's finger stopped hovering over the erase button. Part of him wanted to run back to the police station. He wanted to find Judy and tell her he'd been wrong. It wouldn't be the first time. But it was too late. Judy wasn't transferring to Bunny Burrow police department. Nick knew her well enough to know that. She was doing just what he'd said she should do and she was never coming back. If only he'd kept his mouth shut. The pen kept on talking to him, but he could barely hear it over the sound of the memories he'd tried to stuff into a box in the back of his mind. Hopps kids never had taken well to being put in boxes. He kept the pen on until he fell asleep, curled in front of the radio with a worn carrot pen in his hand, and tear tracks on his face.