The kid must have spotted me the second I walked into the
pizza joint. He got up when he was halfway done with his slice and
headed toward the hallway leading to the back.
I flashed my
badge at the organ grinder behind the counter and asked him if there
was anyone else back there. He nodded no. I told him to take off.
I pulled my
Glock, stood just to the right of the hallway, said into the
microphone attached to my jacket, “got him yet Darnell?”
“He didn’t come
through the back door yet.”
glanced around the corner down the hall. The back door was straight
ahead, right under the exit sign. The men’s room was on the right, a
couple of feet down the hall, the woman’s room next, another door
beyond the bathrooms on the same side.
get in here.”
He came through
the door, his Glock pointed in the ready position. I motioned for
him to hold, walked down the hall, crouched low, and shouldered the
men’s room door opened. It had one urinal and one stall, the door
opened. I repeated the routine with the ladies room, same thing, a
stall in place of the urinal, the door also opened. We each took
positions on either side of the remaining door. I knocked on it.
“You’d better come on out Terence, there’s nowhere to
Darnell saved me
some knuckle skin and knocked, harder. “We know you’re in there
Terry, you’d better come on out son.”
“Plenty of food
in here mon. Think I’ll stay a while.”
I cocked the
slide on my gun, nodded towards Darnell. He did the same. It made a
most beautiful metallic sound that I was sure carried clear through
the hollow storeroom door.
you’re armed Terence. You know how we test those assumptions,” I
“Come on mon,
you know I’m not carrying.”
“I believe you
Terence, but I’ve got an unregistered .38 strapped to my ankle in
case I’m wrong.”
at me, muttered under his breath.
“Do you want to
kick the fucking door down?” I whispered.
“I can’t wait
till my transfer comes through,” he hissed back at me.
“I’m coming out
mon. Don’t shoot.”
through the door, his hands locked behind his dread locks. I frisked
him and put the cuffs on. “I’ll check the storeroom to see if he
ditched anything,” Darnell said as he put his gun away.
I led Terence
out the back door into the ally behind the pizza place. I stopped
dead when I saw what was happening to my car.
Mickey,” I said. I didn’t have to flash my badge; he knew I was a
straightened up from the back tire, walked over to the rear end of
the tow truck; put his hand on one of the levers that controlled the
“I told you to
unhook it Mickey.”
illegally in a loading zone.”
“I’m on police
business. I’ve got a suspect right here.” I pushed Terence in front
“This isn’t a
cop car,” he said, pausing on the lever.
“I had to use my
own ride. Our perp would have spotted an unmarked.”
about it for a few seconds. “I have my orders. It’ll mean my job if
anyone sees me unhook you.”
I looked around
the cramped, abandoned alley. “No one here to see you.”
“I don’t know
our bosses are feuding doesn’t mean we have to make trouble for each
It was the wrong
thing to say. He put his hand back on the lever. “Sorry, you’re
going to have to call a patrol car to pick your guy up.”
to laugh. I twisted his arm till he stopped. “Come on Mickey, I’ve
already paid so much to the Parking Authority I’m falling behind on
I can do until this mess is done.” The back of the car began to
levitate with the whirring of the winch. “Stay put,” I said to
Terence as I unlocked his handcuffs, placed his arms around a
telephone pole and relocked them.
“Cut me a break
Mickey, at least let me get something out of the trunk.”
He paused the
levitation act. “Sure Tolland, you know it’s not personal.” He
walked to the cab of the truck and picked up a clipboard.
I took my keys
out, opened up the trunk and removed my shotgun. I pumped a round
into the chamber, pointed at the back right rear tires of the tow
truck. The blast shredded both of the double tires. Mickey dove
behind a trash can. I walked to the front of the truck, blasted the
front ones, and continued around the back. This time I had to use an
individual round on each sidewall.
“I’ll call a tow
truck for you when I call for a black and white to pick up Terence
I picked up the
clipboard Mickey had dropped after the first blast. I looked down at
the top paper on the pile of documents. It was a list of numbers.
One of the numbers had a fresh coat of yellow highlighting it. It
matched the one on my license plate.
“How could you
Mickey?” I said.
up to me and said, “I guess I don’t have to wait for a transfer to
get a normal partner.”
I held the list
in front of his face. “See your license plate number
He gave Mickey a
hard look. I could hear incoming sirens.
The first two
uniforms came around the corner of the ally, guns drawn. Darnell
handed the paper to the first one. He cursed when he found his
number. “I’ve paid almost a grand to the parking authority in the
last three months.” He handed the paper to his partner.
“You saw what
that psycho cop did to my truck,” Mickey said to Terence.
“Got a touch of
the glaucoma,” Terence said as I re-arranged the handcuffs. Darnell
went over the controls on the back of the tow truck, lowered my
“What am I going
to tell my boss?” Mickey said.
Darnell pulled a
Swiss Army Knife out of his pocket, walked over to the spare tire
attached to the side of the tow truck, stuck it in. “Tell him to
start ordering tires in bulk.” ********************
the proof, but we can’t do anything about it. The Parking Authority
doesn’t own most of the tow-trucks. The driver whose truck you used
for target practice was a sub-contractor. There’s no way we can link
the list to the Parking Authority,” the Captain said after he had
reviewed the list.
“They own a
couple of them though, right?”
“Yeah they have
three I think. They use them for patronage jobs for big
contributor’s retarded brothers. They park them out in the municipal
parking lot out on Joyce Kilmer.”
“Do they run
them at night?”
“No, they do
most of their work during the day. I think they rely on contractors
for most of the night work.”
The jimmy I had made in my high
school shop class was too short to reach the latch on the tow
trucks, so I had to break out my lock pick set. It had been a while
since I used them, so it took longer than I expected.
“Hurry it up
Tolland, I’m starting to get nervous,” Reese said.
“Got it, that’s
the last one. We’ll use this one to tow the third truck. Help me
hook it up.” Darnell was a good partner, but he was too strait laced
for work of this type, so I had called in Resse, who had been my
first partner on the force. We had been separated after an internal
affairs investigation. They had nothing on us, but our supervisor
thought it would be better if we had different partners. He owed
more to the parking authority than I did.
“I don’t know about this
Tolland,” Reese said as we hooked the chains around the front tires
of the third truck. “It’s not like we’re stealing them, we’ll have
them back here in their parking spaces in a couple of
“How do you know
the guy who’s going to help us with this?”
“I went to high
school with him. I became a cop, he went into waste
Parking commissioner, slammed the Captain’s door so hard I was
surprised the glass didn’t break. The Captain came out after him, a
smile on his face.
“What was that all about?” one of the
“Someone took his tow trucks out for a little
spin last night.” He looked at me. “They returned them after running
them through a car compactor.” He motioned me into his office. I sat
down across from him. “Ever think about your salary
“Not as much as my ex-wife.” “I know your salary is
not your main source of income, but a lot of guys out there,” he
pointed out into the bullpen, “aren’t as resourceful as you and
Reese. The Parking Bureau brings in a lot of revenue for this
“They also take
a lot of revenue out of our pockets.”
“You’ve seen all
the construction that’s going on. What are they
decks. I don’t like it, but that’s the way this city is headed. The
only things that are gonna to be left standing is the Johnson and
Johnson corporate headquarters, Rutgers University and Robert Wood
Johnson Hospital, and they’ll be surrounded by parking decks. The
parking authority is gonna to be running this town. If you keep
affecting their revenue, there’ll be cuts. And it won’t be in their
“It’s not our
fault they didn’t plan for enough parking when they designed the new
“It’s not about the lack of parking.
There’s something between Zabar and the Chief.”
what it’s all about?”
“What are you working on
“The Verenichi murder.”
“I’m reassigning it
to McCarthy. I’m going to partner him up with Darnel. I’ve got
something you and Reese might be better suited for. We’ve got to put
an end to this before more city equipment gets fucked up. I want you
find out what this war is all
Zabar lived in the neighborhood
right across from Buccleuch park, along with half the other members
of the democratic machine that ran New Brunswick in a manner that
would bring a smile to Boss Tweed’s eyes if he were still alive.
Reese read from
the papers the Captain had compiled for us. “Jim Zabar, 54. Parking
Commissioner. Makes over 200 grand a year. First marriage ended in
divorce. Two kids, girl 24, boy 18. Second marriage to a woman
twenty years younger than him. Ten years older than his daughter.
Hobbies, busting the humps of New Brunswick’s finest.”
is. Lets roll.”
Zabar was dressed in Chinos and a button down
shirt. I hadn’t been to the parking authority building in a while. I
guess they had gone to business casual. His hair once black, was now
streaked with white. He was still pretty trim. Somewhere in the pile
of papers on Reese’s lap it said he jogged and played tennis. Zabar
unlocked his Saab and backed out of his driveway. We gave him a half
block lead, followed him.
“I don’t see how following Zabar to
work is gonna help us find out why he’s feuding with the
“Who cares why he’s feuding with the Chief? The way I
see it, that fuck owes every cop in New Brunswick. I want to get his
routine down so we can get some action, maybe a little
not gonna like it.”
“Of course the Captains gonna like it.
Why do you think he put our act back together?”
lets get this fuck.”
Zabar stopped at a bagel place on Easton
Avenue on his way into work. We parked a couple of spaces behind
him. Reese nudged my arm, pointed to guy pushing a small
three-wheeled cart in front of him. “What do you think they do with
all those quarters?”
The guy positioned the cart under a
parking meter, turned a cover in the back with a specialized tool,
and watched the coins pour down into the metal container. He held
his hand into the quarter waterfall and took a handful for himself.
Zabar walked out
of the bagel shop with a brown bag in one hand and a Home News in
the other. He parked in his private space at the train station
parking lot and jogged across the street to Ferren Deck Mall where
the Parking Authority has their office.
“Want to have a
little fun Reese?”
“What do you have in mind?”
those black kids leaning against the column outside Zabar’s office.
There has to be an APB out for two black kids in their early
twenties somewhere. Follow my lead.”
I bounced the car up on
the curb, hopped out with my Gock drawn, yelled, “on the ground,
everyone on the ground, police.” I pointed my gun at Zabar, made eye
contact. He dropped the bag and paper and fell to the red brick
sidewalk next to the kids, his hands behind his head. I stepped on
the bag, put my whole weight on it when I walked over toward them.
I held my gun on the kids while Reese put a set of handcuffs
on the two closest to us. I helped Zabar to his feet, brushed him
off after I put my gun away. “I wasn’t talking to you when I said
get down.” He picked up this paper. I handed him the bag. “You can
call the Chief if you want to recommend me for a distinguished
service medal. I hear you two are pretty tight.”
around without saying anything, walked into the mall’s entrance
toward his office.
sitting on the hood of our unmarked, his elbows on his knees; his
face in his hands. The two kids leaned up against the car, looked
like Reese had just frisked them.
“What do we have on the
coon brothers over here?” I said.
“I heard that asshole,”
from one of the kids.I went over to him, grabbed his arm right above
the elbow at a pressure point. “What did you call me
I felt a hand
surround the arm I was using to hold the kid, turned around. Reese
handed me a driver’s license. I recognized the last name next to the
kid’s face. It matched the name etched into the door leading to the
“I had this great idea, but my
supervisor wouldn’t go for it,” Officer Stillwell from Internal
Affairs said. He shook out a cigarette from the pack in his hand,
shimmied one out, handed it to me. “We’re not supposed to smoke in
the conference room, but rules are made to be broken. If they
weren’t we wouldn’t be chatting here, right Tolland?”
it for me.
“Your idea?” I
“I suggested we transfer you and Reese into the
Internal Affairs Unit so we can keep a closer eye on
The Captain walked into the conference room without
knocking, grabbed the cigarette out my mouth, threw it into the
trashcan. “My office.”
I followed him, closed the door behind
“I actually like having a guy or two like you on my shift
Tolland. I recognize there are some assignments that require a man
with your temperament. I hope some of you rubbed off on Darnell when
you two were partners. I’d call your union rep if I was you. Badge.
I placed them on his desk.
“Throw down piece
too. I don’t want you going Columbine on us.”
I took the .38
out of my ankle holster, placed it next to my Glock.
drop the .38 by your house after work. You’re in enough trouble
without it showing up in the evidence room. This is the biggest
screw up since that asshole Donne fucked up the Narcotics Squad.
I’ve heard of some stupid things in my life Tolland, but making
racial epithets against the Chief’s son after nearly running him
I walked towards the door, turned the
“At least the
feud between Zabar and the Chief seems to be over now
they’re united together in ending your career.”
I hit the brakes hard, stopping
the van around an inch from the entrance. Reese jumped out the back,
pointed the shotgun at the bulletproof windshield of the armored car
parked in the loading zone outside the store.
didn’t look too concerned, probably didn’t realize Terrence had
padlocked the back door of the jewelry store shut a little before I
blocked the front entrance with the stolen van, locking his partner
in with the kikes running the place.
I had spent my new found
excess of free time shadowing the guys who collected the money out
of the parking meters. The Parking Authority used to have the city
cops ferry the coins to the bank, but with the bad blood recently,
they had begun to use a private armored car service. I learned their
route better than the paper route I had as a kid.
I put the
brick of modeling clay on the hood of the armored car, stuck a
pointed plastic pole in, unrolled a wire from a spool, walked
backwards towards an ally. I heard tires screech as Terence pulled
his stolen van directly behind the armored car.
holding his gun on the guard, placed the sheet of paper on the
windshield so the driver could read: ‘C2 Charges, I used half this
amount to blow up an Iraqi tank in 91’.
The driver threw his
piece on the sidewalk before he came out. I ran out of the alley and
zip tied his hands behind him. We opened the back door, transferred
the bags of cash and coins into Terence’s van. The weight of the
coins caused the body of the van to scrape against the wheel wells
when we pulled away.
“Sure you don’t mind drinking
with a coon?” Darnell asked, but he was smiling.
taken out of context. You’re a scotch drinker right? I had the bar
owner order a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue, just for us.”
Captain walked through the door of the Court Tavern, sat down next
to us in the seat held together with the least amount of duct tape.
The bartender put the bottle on the bar along with three rocks
glasses filled with ice. I poured all around.
“To tell you
the truth it doesn’t look good for you Tolland. They’ll probably
take Reese back after his suspension but with your
“I had to put
cash up for the bottle Tolland, $135. You’re developing expensive
tastes,” the bartender said.
I brought my backpack up to the
bar with effort, took the jar out, placed it on the bar.
go to be fucking kidding me,” the bartender said.
there, I even put in a thirty dollar tip.” The bartender picked up
the jar, shook it in his hands, listening to the clink of the
quarters.“You’re gonna have to get used to it, I had to break into my
piggy bank now that I’m unemployed.”