Undercover Work is Stressful

It’s a well-worn trope of mystery-thriller fiction that someone working undercover is going to have to blow off steam from the stress of maintaining a persona. Usually, the stress relief reveals their real self; often, someone catches them at this and goes and tattles, or blackmails the undercover person, or just gets suspicious and investigates further. It’s not necessarily a bad plot device, because even though it’s a cliché, it’s a genuine occupational hazard.

But here’s a good twist on the story:

A federal indictment charges alleged members of the Gangster Disciples street gang, including a DeKalb County police officer, with racketeering activity…

The indictment said Vancito Gumbs, 23, was a member of the Gangster Disciples while also serving as a DeKalb County police officer. It was not immediately clear whether he had a lawyer who could comment on the charges.

Horn said someone made a complaint about Gumbs using illegal drugs, and that’s how the investigation of his activities started.

So instead of the cops having an undercover guy inside the gang, the gang has an undercover guy inside the cops, helping to tip them off about investigations and so forth. Pretty useful, and a nice reversal of the usual story. Gumbs is obviously under stress, because he spends most of his daily life pretending to be someone else. So he goes and smokes a joint, and just like in the normal version of the story, someone becomes suspicious: he’s a law enforcement officer, what’s he doing using drugs? It would probably make more sense if it were cocaine, because nobody in Georgia seems to give a shit anymore about people smoking weed, given its prevalence at Atlanta-area street festivals.

I’ll follow this story as it develops, because it genuinely would make a good piece of crime fiction. A subplot in a novel, is what I’m thinking.

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