Character sketch of Detective Vartann; his life is more complex than it seems

This was written in a reponse to a free writing prompt "Write for 20 minutes (without editing) in any style: using "Parenthetical" as the title. (Be divergent.)" This is what I came up with (although I did edit it somewhat after the first draft) and while the first paragraph might refer to any number of fictional tv cops, the rest is based on what might be I imagine Vatann's backstory might be. He seemed like such a gentle, laidback officer when we met him in "Grissom Versus the Volcano" but he's angry and somewhat bitter by "Dead Ringer"; something must have changed in his life.

I haven't seen the later episodes yet (came later to CSI than CSIM) so apologies if anything is now not cannon. Oh, and he's a Scorpio purely because the actor portraying Vartann, Alex Carter, was born in November.


He doesn't think of himself of old, though he's no longer young (40 something). He's a detective (homicide). A Scorpio (not that he cares). He's soft spoken (with those who deserve it), well dressed (that is, dresses like a cop), responsible (at work, at least), in control (hides his bitterness - most of the time). Sometimes he longs to overstep the boundaries (though he wouldn't know where to start).

He's a cop (like his father) and he doesn't know how to be anything else (other dreams, long gone, are almost forgotten). His wife left two years ago (it took him two days to notice) and he took off his ring too quickly, gave up (but isn't that what she wanted?). He isn't married to the job, the way a captain is to his ship, but it's too much a part of him to let go of and she never understood that (still, sometimes he wonders, if he'd fought for their marriage, would she have come back?).

He remembers when she told him she was having an affair, had been for six months (a valet, for God's sake); "some detective" she said (her scorn couldn't hurt worse than the betrayal). He imagines her in bed with the bastard, wearing the white lace negligee he bought her for their honeymoon (was that the last time they were happy?). He moved to Nevada to get away from her (but even the bells and whistles of Vegas can't drown out the memories).

He's a good cop (damned with faint praise, merely not corrupt nor incompetent), a nice guy (what do they know?), a "straight arrow" (an archaic expression, is it a double edged compliment?). Sometimes the fa├žade slips, the rage shows through (and why can't he have opinions?), he tells it like it is (or ought to be) even to his superiors (in rank, not by any other measure).

He lives his life aware of the dichotomies (the perceived versus reality, what could be as opposed to what is) but he's helpless to do other than he does, to be other than who he is. Women are allowed (expected) to be complex, and many faceted, unpredictable, mysterious, incomprehensible (fickle, unreliable). Men have no such luxury, expected to be reliable, one-sided, constant (monotonous, dull?).

That's why his life is parenthetical (lived not in the light but hidden in the brackets, in the shadows, the margins).