End Of Watch – Chapter Fourteen

His name was Robert (Bobby) Martin Morgan.  His End Of Watch came on a cold, snowy January night.  As the snowflakes gently fell onto his still warm body, they lay quietly as did he.  His still open eyes, glistened as the melted snow streamed down his face like tears.

Across from him lay his pregnant wife, Holly Redmond Morgan and their two-year old son, Bobby, Jr.  They lay on a bed of soft pink snow, colored by their life’s blood.

The deafening sound of silence was interrupted by a car revving its engine in the distance, followed by the ear-piercing, haunting wails of sirens responding to Bobby’s desperate last words…”officer down.”

Firefighters were the first to arrive on scene and stood motionless as they gazed upon the carnage that lay before them.  Despite the freezing temperature, the engineer paramedic took off her turnout jacket and cried as she gently placed it over the tiny, bullet-ridden body of Bobby, Jr.  She was unconcerned about being reprimanded for having potentially compromised the crime scene.  As she moved toward Bobby, she could see that his throat had been slashed almost to the point of decapitation.

Police officers arrived seconds later.  After assessing the scene, Sergeant Holbrook immediately called for the Crime Scene Investigators.  Lieutenant Foy, who never silenced his radio, heard the call and immediately had an uneasy feeling.  He had always called it “gut crawl.”  He made a quick call to Nedward and they were on their way.

Foy, never one to obey rules, tore through the familiar yellow tape and was trying to bully his way past the guarding officers, with Nedward close behind.  Holbrook knew Foy, and although he didn’t care for him, he told the officers to let him through.

“What have we got here?” asked Foy.  Holbrook said “we’ve got three bodies…or what’s left of three bodies.  This is one of the worst massacres I have ever seen.”

When Foy saw who it was, his lips tightened and the look in his eyes was frightening, almost like the look of a crazed killer.

Holbrook said “this was personal and somebody was sending a strong message.”

“Yeah, and I think we got the message,” said Foy.

“What do you mean?” asked Holbrook.  “Nothing,” said Foy.  Holbrook looked at him and said “if you know something about this, you need to tell me.”  Foy, true to character said, “I don’t answer to you and I don’t have to tell you anything.”

Rather than start a pissing match, Holbrook let it go.  He figured it was just Foy being Foy.  He had always been a hot-head and Holbrook made sure he heard him when he said “you’re still an asshole.”

Then he quickly turned and said “we need to notify next of kin.”  Foy looked at him and said “you just did.”  Holbrook gave him a quizzical look but again, let it go.

Nedward, kneeling beside an almost unrecognizable Holly, quietly fought back tears as the paramedics told him they needed to load her body for the coroner.

“Just a few more minutes,” he said.  The paramedics tried to be respectful and gentle when they said “I’m sorry, but we have to move her.”

Foy came over and told Nedward that they needed to go.  Nedward said “This shouldn’t have happened.”  Foy looked at him and said “hey.  Bobby knew what he was into.  Holly knew what he was into.  Don’t turn this into a guilt trip for yourself…or me.  Shit happens.  You know that but rest assured that we’re going to get the son-of-a-bitch who did this and I need you to stay focused right now.”

As they maneuvered Holly’s mangled body onto the stretcher, Nedward thought he heard a faint moan.

 

 

Te Nutunga.

End Of Watch – Chapter Thirteen

After a secret whirlwind romance, Holly and Bobby were married.  It was a simple affair, with Nedward, Lieutenant Foy, Senior Chaplain Phillips, Earl and Rachael in attendance.  Instead of the traditional wedding dress or facsimile, Holly wore her “suit of arnor” in memory of her late father.

There had been some playful banter before the wedding about Holly keeping her maiden name.  Bobby jokingly told her that he would leave her at the altar if she didn’t take his name.  When he struck a pose and said “my name is powerful and classy,” Holly would laugh and say “you have so many.  Which one are you talking about?  Nobody even knows your real name and I don’t want to be known as ‘Mrs. Who Are You Today’?”

Playful banter was all it really was.  In fact, Holly was proud to carry Bobby’s name.  She was proud to be his wife and they were the perfect couple.  Six months after they were married, Holly was pregnant.

Although she was elated beyond words, she knew that she was nearing the end of her career.  She would never be a Captain but somehow, it didn’t matter anymore.  She was going to be a mother and her hope was that she would be the kind of mother that her mother had been to her.

Just as Nedward had warned, Bobby was often absent, sometimes for weeks at a time.  Holly took it in stride and Nedward kept a close eye on her.  He was her stalwart and tried to keep her spirits up as much as he could.

They would talk about the baby and he would smile as she giggled and said “oh, Nedward.  I just can’t wait!”

The day finally came for Holly to deliver and Nedward was the one who took her to the hospital.  Bobby was furiously trying to get to her but was stuck in traffic.  He called Nedward and told him to tell Holly to “hold on.”

Nedward told Bobby to park his car and a patrol officer would come get him. Lighting it up, the officer got Bobby to the hospital just in time to see his little one come into the world.  The pride on his face said it all.  “Hello, my precious son,” he said.

Bobby had been orphaned when he was a little boy and Holly’s parents had been killed, so there were no bragging grandparents on either side but it was clear that this child was going to have several very attentive “uncles” in Nedward, Earl and even Foy.

There had never been any question that if it was a boy, it would be named after Bobby.  When Lieutenant Foy arrived, even that hard-edged, no bullshit man got misty-eyed, but only for a moment.  He walked over, patted Holly on the shoulder and said “it was good working with you.  Keep in touch, okay?”

Holly had told Foy that after the baby was born, she was dedicating her life to her child and her husband.  Before he left, Foy handed her a gold Captain’s badge.  “Put this in your memory book,” he said.  “Dreams do come true, you know.  Sometimes, they’re just different dreams.”

The next few weeks were almost blissful.  Bobby immediately took to calling Bobby, Jr. “little dude.”  He tried to be around as much as he could but his determination to bring down Roi Fantôme’s empire was still paramount.  Holly knew that and understood.  She leaned heavily on Nedward, Earl and Rachael and their bond was stronger than ever.

The inside word was that Bobby had finally cracked the ultimate layer of Roi Fantôme’s empire.  It had taken years for him to get that close and his newly acquired “sources” had given confirmation that the Ghost King did indeed live on an island, accessible only by boat or plane.

For the last ten months, Bobby had assumed the identity of a powerful drug lord, whose demands for product were far greater than his local supplier could deliver.  He had successfully worked his way inside with a promise to the King’s right hand man, that there would be untold wealth for the Ghost King.

He wanted to set up a meeting for a cool million initially and in the future, that amount would be weekly.  The caveat was that he would provide half up front and only after a personal audience with the Ghost King, would he deliver the rest and seal the future deal.

“Impossible” was the answer.  “Nobody meets the King in person.”  Bobby played it cool and asked if he didn’t think he should at least present the offer to the King.  “I mean, what is he going to say when he finds out that you eighty-sixed a potential five million dollar a month deal?”

Angered, the Ghost King’s right hand man said “I’ll get back to you.”  Bobby knew he was in.  He had news for Holly and that was cause for a celebration.  He didn’t know it at the time, but Holly had her own news.

They planned a night out, something they rarely if ever, got to do.  Rachael was going to keep “little dude” long enough for them to have a beer and was going to meet them after, to drop him off.  Bobby, Jr. had never spent a night away from home and although it would be late, Rachael didn’t mind meeting them.

Bobby decided they should go to “Grady’s.”  It had been and still was, the local bar where most of the police officers, active and retired, went to unwind.

It was a little hole in the wall, with a somewhat risqué decor.  The walls were papered with plump, nude women of a by-gone era when full figures were lusted after.  The bathrooms had the old fashioned pull chain toilets, which lent another layer of nostalgia to the place.  An old fashioned slop bucket sat on the bar and the regulars would take turns throwing in a twenty.  It didn’t matter if they drank one beer or five.  It always evened out in the end.

Bobby and Holly found a booth for two and ordered two beers.  When Holly declined the beer in lieu of a glass of water, she couldn’t hide the grin on her face.  Bobby teasingly said “what have you done?”  He knew that grin and it always meant that she was up to something.  She very calmly said “I didn’t do anything.  You did.”

Bobby was gobsmacked when Holly told him that she was pregnant.

“Seriously?” he all but screamed.  “Drinks on me!  My lovely wife is going to have a baby!”

Cheers were all around and now Bobby was the one with the grin on his face.  They held hands, talked about “what it might be” and laughed like they were newlyweds.

After Bobby ordered and drank another beer, Holly leaned over and said “don’t look now, but why does that man over there keep staring at you?”  Of course, Bobby immediately turned around.

“I told you not to look!” said Holly.

Bobby said “I don’t know but I’m sure he’s looking at you.  You are hot, you know.”  Holly said “I don’t think he’s looking at me.  I think he’s looking at you and it’s giving me the creeps.”  Bobby laughed and said “don’t worry about it.  He’s probably just schnockered.”

After she shuddered she said “what was your news?”  Bobby said “I can’t tell you too much you know, but just suffice it to say….I’m in.”

Holly was suddenly a bit pensive when she said “I don’t know whether to say congratulations or be scared.”  Bobby said “there is nothing for you to worry your pretty little head about.  I’ll be fine.  You know that.”

Holly smiled an obligatory smile and looked at the antique clock on the wall.  “Oh goodness.  Look at the time.  I’d better call Rachael and tell her to head up this way.”  She smiled and said “then, when we get home and get little dude put to bed…..”

His arm wrapped around Holly and grinning from ear to ear on the way out, Bobby threw in another twenty.  He looked at Holly and said “for good measure and for good luck.”

After a few minutes, Rachael pulled up.  When she got out of her car, she looked at them and said “oh my God.  You two are grinning like Cheshire cats!  What’s going on?”

Holly leaned over and whispered “I’ll tell you tomorrow.”  Bobby collected a sleeping little dude and they headed for their car.

They didn’t notice the staring man walk out of the door.

 

 

To be continued__________

.

 

 

 

 

End Of Watch – Chapter Twelve

Holly steadied herself, straightened her shoulders and headed straight for Bobby.  No man had ever before captured her attention the way he did.  For her, it was like that classic song, “Just one look.”  Yep.  “Just one look. That’s all it took.”

Without a moments’ hesitation, she walked up to him, looked him in the eye and said “yes.”

Bobby looked at her with a combination of “who the hell are you and what the hell are you talking about?” and said “yes, what?”

Holly said “yes, I’ll marry you.”

Bobby did one of the familiar drink spits when he laughed and said “I didn’t ask.” Holly turned, smiled and said “ah, but you will.”

As she made her way back to Nedward’s side, he noticed that Bobby never took his eyes off of her.  She didn’t have to say anything.  He was a seasoned body language expert and he knew instant attraction when he saw it.

After a few minutes he said “so, what about your plans?”  Holly stared straight at Bobby and said “what plans?”

Nedward said “you told me that you had plans to be a Captain one day.” Holly, still captivated by Bobby, cavalierly laughed and said “oh, that.”

Nedward said “yes that.”  Holly said “I might have to put that on the back burner for a while.”

Nedward looked her square in the face and said “you know what he does.  It’s a dangerous job and you are going to constantly worry.  You’ll have to make sure that it doesn’t affect your ability to do your own job.”

Holly said “I understand.”

Nedward’s voice changed when he said “I’m not sure you do.  There will be long stretches of time when you won’t see him and you won’t know where he is.  There will be times when he will be the central character in a dangerous drug deal.  There will be interaction with other women.  Are you really prepared to have that kind of life?”

Holly, with a deadpan face said “you’re right.  He needs to quit.”

 

To be continued____________

 

End Of Watch – Chapter Eleven

A year later, Holly had survived the usual “ripening” rituals and she was on her way.  She often worked with Nedward and found his experience to be invaluable but expressed her dismay with the outcome of so much of their work.

“We track them down, arrest them, lock them up and two hours later they’re back out on the street.  Why is that Nedward?”  He always shook his head and said “that’s the way the system works.  Sometimes it seems that the laws are in place to protect the guilty but we have to keep trying.  Some day it will even out.  You have to believe that.”

“Do you believe that?” she asked.  Nedward looked straight ahead and by not answering, gave Holly her answer.

She had slowly gotten to know Lieutenant Foy, and Jayce had been spot on with his cautionary advice.  Holly liked Foy but had a healthy fear of him, sort of the way she felt about God.  Believe in him, respect him, be honest with him and fear his wrath should you take a wrong turn.  He was the perfect dichotomy.  She couldn’t decide if he was a good bad guy or a bad good guy but she did know one thing.  He would have her back.

During one of their “real” stake-outs, Holly asked Nedward about the one officer she had yet to meet.  Nedward said “oh, you mean Bobby.”

“Yes,” she said.  “Why do we never see him?”  Nedward said “he’s deep under cover and for his protection, he doesn’t come around much.  He’s been under for more than three years, working the “Roi Fantôme” case.

Holly surprised Nedward as well as herself when she asked “what the hell is that?”  Nedward laughed and said “it’s French for “Phantom King.  He’s the largest drug lord in history and he has never been seen.  He has an army of thousands and no one has ever been able to break into his inner circle.”

“Word is that he lives on an island just off the coast.  The only access is by plane or boat and the security is so tight, there’s not a chance of getting there, but nobody knows for sure.  So, we just wait for him to make a wrong move, which of course is highly doubtful…or we wait for one of our own to finally work his way into his world.  We figure 99% of the drugs that infiltrate the area come from him.”

“One of our own.  You mean Bobby, right?”  Holly asked.  “Yeah, and if anybody can do it, he can,” said Nedward.  “I’ve never seen a better undercover asset.  The few times we do see him, we don’t recognize him.  He can be dressed as a motorcycle dude, a homeless man, a Wall Street Entrepreneur or even an old woman.  He’ll do whatever it takes and he’s determined almost to obsession, to bring the Phantom King down.”

Holly said “well, it would be a good collar, that’s for sure.”  Nedward said “it’s not about the collar for Bobby.  It’s a little more personal.”

“What do you mean?” asked Holly.  Nedward said “you remember the code, right?”  Holly said “of course.”

Nedward looked straight ahead and he so often did and said “Bobby had a little sister who got hooked on cocaine and after years of trying to recover, she overdosed.  Her heart literally exploded.  Bobby was the one who found her and after that, he made it his quest to bring down as many drug dealers as he could but focusing mainly on the Phantom King.”

“By the way,” said Nedward.  You’ll get your chance later today.  He’ll be in the office, filing whatever information he’s been able to document and getting supplies.”  He laughed and said “now whether we’ll recognize him, remains to be seen.”

“What kind of supplies?”  Holly asked.  “I’m thinking that you mean money?”

“You’re thinking right,” Nedward said.  “It’s hard to buy drugs with IOU’s.  Bobby comes by, collects the money and a nurse comes by to collect his blood.”

“His blood?” Holly asked.

“Yep.  It’s part of the game.  She “misses” two or three times to leave convincing track marks on his arm.  You know, the kind of marks a junkie has.  Then she gives him eye-drops to dilate his pupils.  Like I said, he does whatever it takes and he’s one of the best.”

“I’m impressed,” Holly said.  “You should be,” said Nedward.

Later that evening, they made their way back to the station.  Jayce and Luke were sitting on the corner of their desks, chatting.  Frank stood in the corner with his arms folded as if keeping watch.  Madeline was crouched behind her computer, computing or whatever she did.  Holly spoke to her but didn’t receive an acknowledgment.

They were all waiting for Lieutenant Foy and Holly was waiting for her first glance at Bobby.

Standing beside Nedward, Holly watched as Foy and Bobby walked in.  She suddenly put her right hand over her heart and put her left hand on his arm.  Nedward looked at her, looked at Bobby and then looked back at her.  He whispered into her ear, “are you alright?”

Holly, eyes fixated on Bobby said “oh, my.  I think I’m in trouble.”

 

To be continued__________

 

 

 

End Of Watch – Chapter Ten

Nedward and Holly stopped at the local “greasy spoon” and ordered the daily special.  “This place is great,” he said.  “It’s the closest thing to eating homemade food.”

Holly ignored what he said and told him that she was a little confused.  “Why did we give the notification, since it was clearly a homicide and not a drug deal “gone wrong?”

“I was just letting you get your feet wet,” he said.  “You needed to get one under your belt.  After we finish eating, I’ll introduce you to one of my CI’s.  You’ll need to know how to deal with them.”

Holly asked “do you pay them or just give them a sort of ‘get out of jail free’ card?”  Nedward, not betraying his whispering demeanor, shook his head and said “you’ve got a lot to learn, kid.”

They met with “Fuzzy” the CI, but he didn’t have any information about anything going down.  He was a strange, congenial little man with sparsely, ragged facial hair that posed as a beard, hence the nickname.

Nedward didn’t offer any background about Fuzzy and Holly didn’t ask and it didn’t escape her notice when Nedward slipped him a fin and told him to hang in there.  Given the way Fuzzy smelled and acted, Holly thought the money must be for a fifth.  Holly smiled as she suspected that their visit was just a ploy for Nedward to check up on Fuzzy.

She wondered what had happened in this man’s life that had put him on the street, essentially being a snitch in exchange for money.  She was glad Fuzzy had Nedward as a friend, whether pseudo or real.

It bothered her to see homeless people living on the street.  They all had a story that begged to be told and someday, hopefully many years from now, she thought she might entertain a second career writing about these people.  Even more, she hoped that many years from now there would be no homeless people.

Her thoughts were interrupted when Nedward said “let’s go.  Foy wants us back at the station.”  When they walked in, Foy all but ignored her and asked Nedward to step into his office.  As she waited outside, although not eavesdropping, the only thing she heard was “off the books.”

She knew better than to ask Nedward about the conversation.  He came out of the office and said “you’re going to take a ride with Jayce.  He needs to meet with one of his contacts to follow up on a lead.  It’ll be good experience for you.”

Holly was thinking “Jayce.  He’s the one they called ‘pretty boy’.  I wonder what gems he might have to teach me?  I wonder if he’s going to ask me to pretend to be a hooker?  Geeze.”

After about five minutes, Jayce came bounding in and said “let’s get moving.  Time’s a-wasting.”

They drove up and down back streets and alleys until they stopped in front of a run-down house at the end of a dead-end road.  Holly watched as Jayce got out and strolled up to the front door.  He was greeted by one of the most “bosomy” women Holly had ever seen.  She could hear her say “Hello Joe.  Wanna give it a go?”

What happened inside was left to Holly’s imagination but after a few minutes, Jayce came out and said “got a tip.”

Holly laughed and said “what was with the ‘hello Joe’ thing?”  Jayce laughed and said “she always says that.  She calls herself ‘Lady Marmalade’, you know after that song…’Giuchie Giuchie ya ya dada.”

“So what’s the tip?” Holly asked.  “Oh, you’re not getting in on this,” Jayce said.  “Why not?” asked Holly.  “Because you’re not ripe.  I’ll take you back to the station and they’ll probably put you with somebody else or send you on a stake-out.”

He laughed and said “you’ll never forget your first solo stake-out.  You’ll sit there for hours and hours, drinking cold coffee, having to piss like a racehorse and then, you’ll get called back in.  It’s something we’ve all had to do and I’m just giving you a heads up.  I guess they do it to teach us about discipline.”

Holly emphatically said “I am very disciplined!”  Jayce laughed again and said “oh, I believe you.”

Jayce was the exact opposite of Nedward.  Brash, bold, loud, a bit full of himself and yes, he was a pretty boy.  She understood how he so easily got scoops from informants…especially women.  She liked him and he could certainly turn heads but hers was not going to be one of them.

Holly casually mentioned that she had overheard Foy telling Nedward that something was “off the books.”

Jayce did a 180 and sternly said “okay.  You heard it and now you’ll forget it.”

He said “let me tell you something.  Lieutenant Foy is the kind of man who will always have your back but you never want to get on his wrong side. Believe me.  That would be a fatal mistake.”

“I’ve never even spoken to him,” Holly said.  “Jayce said “don’t worry.  You will and you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about.”

 

To be continued____________

 

 

End Of Watch – Chapter Nine

Holly and Nedward were an odd pairing.  She was a young, gung-ho go-getter and he was a placid, unassuming “calculating every move” veteran.

Their first “real” case involved what was described as a drug deal gone wrong in a seedy part of town.  When Holly and Nedward arrived on scene, a few uniformed officers were standing over a body.  After a few “how are you doing’s?” they turned the investigation over to Holly and Nedward.

It was Holly’s nature to take charge and jump in with “all six feet” as her father used to say.  Nedward stood back and said “tell me what you see.”

Holly, full of self-confidence said “I see a man who looks to be in his mid-twenties, holding a 9mm semi-automatic weapon in his left hand.  A large part of the right side of his head is scattered across the parking lot, like somebody dropped a pizza and dragged it.”

Nedward watched as Holly studied the victim as well as the scene.  He was impressed when she carefully looked at his hands.  She checked for identification and found a wallet which contained credit cards, a drivers’ license and a considerable sum of cash.

“So,” said Nedward.  “What do you see?”

Holly said “I see a well-dressed young man, who was obviously not the victim of a robbery.  I don’t believe he was an addict.  He could be a dealer but I don’t think so and I don’t believe he committed suicide.  I think it was made to look like he did.”

Nedward asked her how she made those determinations.  She said “he has a callus on the middle finger of his right hand from writing, yet he’s holding the gun in his left hand.  Clearly, he was shot in the left side of his head. Given the trajectory of the bullet and being right-handed, that doesn’t make sense.”

“He doesn’t have any track marks on his arms.   Nothing was taken from his wallet and he has a rather nice cellphone in his jacket pocket.”

“And?” asked Nedward.

Holly stood up and said “and, I think he was executed.  Maybe he saw something he shouldn’t have or maybe he was about to take a wrong turn, changed his mind and paid the price or maybe he got lost and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

In his soft monotone voice, Nedward said “okay.  Have you ever done a notification?”

Holly said “no, but I’ve been on the other end of one as you well know.” Nedward looked at her and said “let’s go.”

They got into the car and Nedward, looking straight ahead said “when you give notification, there will be all sorts of reactions.  Some folks will be numb.  Some will be hysterical.  Some will attack you.  And believe it or not, some of them will express relief.”

He went on.  “No matter the reaction,  you have to be prepared.  You can’t get angry.  You can’t get upset.  You can empathize and sympathize but you can never let yourself get emotionally involved to the point that you fall apart.  Death is part of our job and unfortunately, being the ones who have to tell someone the worst thing they can ever hear is part of it, too.”

“I understand,” Holly said.  She momentarily went back to that day when she was called to headquarters to get her “notification.”  She hoped that she could emulate Chief Morrison and Father Phillips’ calm, caring demeanor when she was the one delivering devastating news.

Nedward said, “you never know how someone is going to react.”  She didn’t know how she was going to pull off being the bearer of such horrible news but she did know that she was going to treat the people like they mattered.

As they walked up the long pathway to the address on the victims’ license, Holly felt as if they were walking in slow motion.  Nedward told her to take a deep breath and reminded her that it was just “part of the job.”

“Will it get easier?” asked Holly.  Nedward stopped, looked her in the eye and said “no.  It never gets easier.”

After the victim’s next of kin had been “notified,” Nedward saw Holly reaching for her card as she said “if you need anything, anything at all.” Nedward interrupted her and said “please call headquarters.  They’ll be glad to answer any questions you might have.”

When they left, Nedward gently admonished Holly.  “If you start handing out your card, telling these folks to call you if they need anything, you will be getting calls all the time.  Some of these people won’t know how to handle news like this and they will become very needy.  You have to remember, we’re not counselors or psychiatrists or priests.”

“You don’t follow up with these people.  You don’t check on them.  You don’t send cards.  You don’t go to funerals.  You do your job and then you let it go.  If you can’t do that, it will eat you alive.”

He gave Holly a serious look and said “if you think you aren’t going to be able to handle this, you need to get out now.  This job isn’t for everybody.” Holly straightened her shoulders and said “I can handle it.”

After a few minutes, Holly looked at Nedward and said “can I ask you something?”  Nedward said “you can ask but I can’t promise that I’ll answer.”

She hesitated and then said “how much death have you seen?” Nedward didn’t even look at her when he said “too much.”

Then as if starting a brand new day, he smiled and said “what do you say we grab some lunch?”

 

 

To be continued_____________

 

 

End Of Watch – Chapter Eight

Holly told her Captain about her plans and he supported her although he did ask her to carefully consider what she would be getting into.  “Remember. Narcotics is an entirely different animal,” he said.  “Training for that Division has specific requirements, some of which you already have but there’s intensive training in other areas.”

Holly wasn’t deterred or intimidated.  Her next step was to enroll in the local community college to pursue a degree in criminology along with a basic knowledge of the legal system regarding illicit drugs, communication and interpersonal skills.

No one could deny her strong social and interpersonal skills, nor her intelligence and willingness to do whatever it would take to stop the drug trade.  That was going to be her mission for the next few years.

Her fellow officers had always teased her about being some sort of ice queen.  She took it in stride and would sometimes say, “don’t misunderstand.  A few men who have turned my head and piqued my interest but I have goals and until they are reached, I’m single and I’m staying that way.  Being ‘upstairs’ isn’t going to change that.”

A wave suddenly came over Holly as she realized that moving to the Narcotics Division would mean hanging up her “suit of arnor.”  The suit she had wanted since she was a little girl because she wanted to be just like her dad.  She quickly recovered when she thought about how proud her dad would be, with or without the uniform.

One of her fellow officers laughed and said “as soon as you move up there, start wearing plain clothes and interacting with the public, I’ll bet that within a year, you’ll be married and knocked up.”

Holly loved a challenge.  She smirked and asked if he was willing to make it interesting.  He said “sure.  How about this?  It’ll be a mutual bet.  You win and I’ll shave my head.  I win and you’ll shave your head.”  Holly looked at him, laughed with confidence and said “you’re on.  You’ll look good with a cue ball head.”

It was a given that there would be a place in Narcotics for her.  She wasn’t yet a legend but her father and grandfather had been and by all rights, the title would be passed on to her.

For eighteen months, Holly went to class and endured the rigorous training to officially move upstairs and the day finally came.  After a short flight of stairs, she was met with a chain-link fence, opened only with fingerprint confirmation.  The Narcotics Division consisted of five in-house agents and one permanent “deep undercover” agent led by Lieutenant Foy.

There was Luke, Jayce, Frank, Madeline and Nedward.

Luke was the classic “average Joe.”  He was 42 years old, 5′ 9″ tall, 150 pounds, medium brown hair and nothing outstanding as far as striking eyes, bulbous nose or eyebrows that could have their own zip code.  He was the perfect type to blend in with crowds, quietly scouring the area with almost invisibility.

Jayce was a younger lad who was known as “pretty boy.”  He was 32, although he could easily pass for his mid-twenties.  His blonde hair and blue eyes made conversation easy with women, especially the local hookers. They were always good for information about certain drug deals and when and where they were going down.  In return for the information, Jayce looked the other way when it came to their profession.

Frank was the muscle of the group, known as the “gentle giant.”  He was 38 years old, stood 6′ 7″ and weighed close to 400 pounds.  He was more like a “closer,” in that he would charge in after the initial bust and scare the shit out of everybody.  Not too many people disobeyed when he commanded “hands where I can see them.”  He had been in Narcotics for more than ten years and had never fired his weapon.

Madeline, a woman most guessed to be in her late thirties (she never divulged her age) was the “nerd” of the group.  She stayed at the station, cracking security codes, passwords and tracking vehicles.  She had a knack for digging up information that would make most librarians envious.  It was commonly believed that she had Asperger’s, due to her social awkwardness and ability to focus so intently on the details surrounding the necessities of what the officers needed.  There was never any chit-chat, which is why she was able to function as well as she did.  The agents took it in stride because the bottom line was that she was brilliant at what she did.

Nedward was in his early fifties and immediately became Holly’s favorite. He was a little over 6′ tall,  slender and almost eerily quiet.  He always wore a toboggan and had a look of sadness on his face that Holly had never seen before.  When he spoke, it was almost in a whisper and as Holly watched and listened, his dark soulful eyes, revealed what she believed was a hard, troubled life.  She knew that he had earned every line, wrinkle and crease in his weathered face.
He wasn’t one to divulge much about his personal life but when Holly asked him about his name, a slight grin came across his face as he said “my mother couldn’t decide if the wanted to name me Ned, after my father, or Edward after her father.  So, she combined them and named me Nedward.”

He was the one who would be “showing her the ropes.”  He could tell that she was chomping at the bit to get her first big collar but he was wise and told her that for now, the most important thing she could learn was patience.  “Right now, you’ll be observing.  If we see a deal going down, we may step in or we may just ignore it.  There’s an old saying…’don’t waste your whole day trying to pick up pennies when a dollar waits right around the corner’.”

“Good advice,” she said.  “Reminds me of my father.  Who said that?”

Nedward smiled and said “I did.”

 

To be continued_____________