Friday, May 21, 2010


This is the city. Overcrowded, people commence to push and shove; tempers flare. Things can get out of hand quickly. This is where I come in. We were working the day watch out of Homicide Detail. The Chief is Captain Welch. My partner is Frank Smith.
My name is Friday. I carry a badge.
It was cold in Los Angeles. The phones were quiet. Frank was on a roll repeating a joke to anyone pointblank in earshot about the laughing cow with milk coming out of its nose. Funny, each time I heard Frank tell it the inflection in his voice would embellish a certain word differently, but it would still be just as funny.

Things can change in a wink. This chilling call came in at 11:04. Two officers down at a routine traffic stop with three suspects on the loose. One officer, Dan Willow, was dead; now it belongs to Homicide Detail like any other. Before we reached the scene we were diverted by a radio call with information on one of the suspects. It was 11:45. An eyewitness recognized the shooter and knew where the punk lived. Luckily we were in the immediate vicinity.
We rolled the car silently up to the curb fifteen yards away from the suspect’s address. Rather than wait for backup, Frank grabbed the shotgun and covered the back. Gun drawn, I cautiously approached the front. It was 11:57. Two slow steps up to the front porch, I hear a shotgun blast from the rear of the two story. When I get around back, Frank, blood spattered on his nice suit, calmly says, ‘I called for him to halt. He pointed it right at me Joe.’ Then, with voice breaking, ‘like a cornered animal, Joe.’
‘It’s alright, Frank.’


I stood behind Emily Willow with my hand on her left shoulder as she looked through a brown paper bag half full of items from her husband’s locker like a wide-eyed archeologist finding treasure. She wanted me there. Being single, Dan and Emily had welcomed me to a good home cooked from time to time. I’d always hear Emily singing in the kitchen. They were childless, so I guess I…I don’t know. Nothing good ever lasts.
‘These fish, Joe.’ She ran her thumb over them twice.
‘Yes, Emily?’
‘Scales of Justice.’


Blogger nana_ang_poppaphil said...

Very good, from start to finish, what a great ending.

"These fish..
Scales of justice"

5/21/2010 11:55 PM  
Blogger The Crusty Crone said...

Excellent. Kept me reading, waiting to see what was going to happen. Scales of justice. Good.

5/22/2010 12:25 AM  
Blogger joanny said...

Wow -- you have done it again Phil --very entertaining, well written (magpie) tale.


5/22/2010 3:18 AM  
Blogger Berowne said...

Excellent -- I remember the old program well.

5/22/2010 8:54 AM  
Blogger brenda said...

Highly engaging Magpie. Joe Friday's got nothing on you!

5/22/2010 9:39 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

i was "hooked" from the start. good writing

5/22/2010 10:04 AM  
Blogger Helen said...

A trip down memory lane with Detective Friday ~~~ this is a great Magpie Tale ... kept me 'there' through every word.

5/22/2010 10:09 AM  
Blogger kathew said...

well done-kept me on the edge my chair!

5/22/2010 11:01 AM  
Blogger willow said...

Gosh, Phil, I raced to get though this one! Super writing as always. Brilliant "scales of justice" ending.

5/22/2010 12:12 PM  
Blogger Tumblewords: said...

Excellent read. I hear the sounds and see the scenes.

5/22/2010 2:09 PM  
Blogger christine said...

A good read and I was there, poor Frank... I am waiting to read if Joe Friday will live to tell another tale!!

5/23/2010 12:46 PM  
Blogger Lena said...

What a fabulous spin of Magpie. Fin-tastic....*sorry*

5/24/2010 9:15 AM  
Blogger Brian Miller said...

wow. nice magpie. i took my turn ont he scales justice this week as crafted this to a fine point there at the end.

5/24/2010 9:29 AM  
Blogger The Bug said...

I want a collection of short stories from you!

5/24/2010 11:49 AM  
Blogger Peg said...

Kept me reading - like the ending!

5/24/2010 10:00 PM  
Blogger Suz said...

So many questions...
but I loved it
to the end

5/24/2010 10:13 PM  
Blogger RNSANE said...

Great magpie brought back so many memories of sitting in front of the t.v. watching dragnet.

5/25/2010 2:31 AM  

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