11,041 vagabonds plus:
the five percent
This is the city.
Most people behave themselves. Some jokers choose to tug on Batman's cape for mysterious reasons. Troublemakers. When they misbehave and are reckless as a demolition derby on an enclosed figure eight hurting The Innocents, I go to work. I carry a badge.
It was Tuesday, cold all day with a light mist, extending into the night. The Chief of Detectives is Thad Smith. My partner, Ed Romero. My name is Friday.
Ninety-five percent of police work is dull and routine. Paperwork, monotonous stakeouts long into sleepy sunrises, testifying in court, quick fried egg sandwiches, cigarettes and black liquid resembling coffee. I'm not complaining.
We were working the night shift out of homicide/robbery division. It was 11:23. Me and Ed were on stakeout watching a murder suspect's apartment complex front entrance from the dark shadowed back seat of our unmarked police car, low conversations in static over the police radio up front barely keeping us awake. Ed was having a rougher time of it than me having downed three fried egg sandwiches that his wife had stacked in a brown paper bag. I had half a cup of coffee leftover from the corner deli three blocks down, having poured the first half against the back seat window as an excellent cleaner. Maybe when I retire I could get the formula, bottle it, and sell it at two in the morning during the late movie on channel four. My mind continued to drift until we heard our number, One-K-80, on the radio. Dispatch told me to call the Skipper.
The pay phone in front of the deli was closest, I got a nickel from Ed, slipped out the rear door staying low until I reached the next corner, then sprinted to the phone.
'Friday'? Sounded like he was having a tough go with a stale sandwich.
'Better change your position', he coughed.
He drank something and sounded more clear. 'Two calls already. Wait. "Suspicious pair ducking down", is what one reads. Mix it up, Joe. Maybe move over to Fairfax and lose your audience? You can do just as good there'?
'Sure. Sure, Skipper. Alright.' It started to rain. I lit a cigarette as the Skipper offered more suggestions as he coughed down another bite. 'Right. Ok. Thanks.'
Just as I got back to the alley where we were staked out, Ed said a call came across about a man attacking a woman in the apartment complex. The number - 203 - was a match. It was our man. A backup car approached, Carvis and Hatcher, good men, and we brought them up to speed just as we heard two gun shots. They covered the entrance as we burst into the place and sprinted up the narrow carpeted stairwell to the second floor.
We met him right at the fatal crossing of the figure eight face to face with only the one possible smashup result. Identifying our selves as police, I told him to freeze. He froze, then raised his weapon to aim. We dropped and rolled, came to a synchronized one-knee ready position and started blasting. It was over in mere moments, I was glad I wouldn't be checking the natural causes box on my report, then Ed lost his fried egg sandwiches. A neighbor lady in room 201, an elderly woman thin as a bean pole, came out into the hall and helped Ed inside, assisting him kindly to a dusty couch, covering him with a shawl saturated in cat hair.
work of art: Figure Eight (1952)
by Franz Kline
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