“Hey Steve come here and look at this picture.”


“Wow is that Joey?” Steve asks.


“Yeah can you believe that he is in third grade?” Neal asks.


“No way partner it just seems like yesterday and doesn’t he have a sister now?” Steve asks.


“Yeah she is almost a year old I think.” Neal replies.


“It still bothers you doesn’t it?” Steve asks.


Neal takes a deep breath. “The pictures and the letters bring it all back and I wonder ‘what if’ a lot but when I think about the alternative I thank god that I have this much.”


“At least she kept her promise to you.” Steve points out.


“Yeah she did and that changed my whole perspective of her as well and she’s happy now. Happy with a normal guy and when it is all said and done that is all that I wanted for her and Joey….to be happy.”


“Well it’s odd that you bring up Joey because that is the case I wanted to talk about.” Steve replies.


“What a coincidence.” Neal says.


“I can pick something else….” Steve offers.


“No don’t do that you know sometimes it’s interesting to go back and see how far you have come….”


“And then you realize how far you still have to go right partner?” Steve says.


“Right partner.” Neal sighs. “Well we better get started you know how the Department feels about us wasting tape.”


“It started like this….”




                                                           V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7








“Detective Perry.” Steve says as he answers the phone at his desk.


“Detective Perry it’s Detective Schon.”


Steve puts the file aside he was looking at. “Hey Neal.”


“Hey yourself Steve how’s it going?”


“Oh you know it’s either feast or famine.” Steve replies.


“And it’s been feast right? I’ve been trying to call you….” Neal says.


“Yeah man I got your messages but I’ve been busy with a liquor store robbery where the clerk was killed and when I closed the case file on that one I had a grocery store hold-up….sorry man.”


“Oh hey it’s cool at least if your busy then I know you’re staying out of trouble! Girl trouble that is!” Neal says as he laughs.


“You know man it’s a sorry state of affairs when you are too busy for women. I miss women Neal.”


Neal laughs.


“So Neal how’s the City of the Angels?” Steve asks.


“Smoggy and crowded I had forgotten how much I love Oceanview that is until I came here.”


“Well you sound great, happy actually; did that family emergency thing work out okay?” Steve asks.


“That is why I’m calling, Steve, can you do me a favor?” Neal asks.


“Yeah sure man what is it?”


“I plan on being home on Sunday and I’m bringing… a guest with me.”


Steve noticed the hesitation in Neal’s voice. “Guest? What kind of guest?”


“I’ll have to explain all of that later but I was wondering if you could go to the grocery store for me….”


“Sure Neal no problemo is the list on the fridge?” Steve asks.


“Yeah and there is sixty bucks in the cookie jar and could you also get a few extras?” Neal asks.


Steve takes out his notepad as he holds the phone with his shoulder. “What should I get?”


“Hotdogs and hamburgers….”


“Uh huh.” Steve says as he writes.


“Macaroni and cheese….”


“Uh huh.” Steve says again.


“Ice cream….”


“Okay what else?” Steve asks.


“Cereals.” Neal says.


“Cereals? What kind of cereals?” Steve asks.


“You know the kind that you like.”


Steve continues to write. “Neal what’s going on?”


“I’ll tell you later and oh yeah get some Ovaltine.”


“Ovaltine….okay got it. I’ll go by the store Saturday and the place will be ready when you get home.”


“Thanks man I really appreciate it.” Neal replies.


“Neal you sound really happy, I mean like after you have seen Ruby happy, can’t you give me a hint?”


Neal laughs. “No man you’ll just have to wait.”


“Ah damn okay.” Steve says.


“See you Sunday partner and watch your ass.” Neal says.


“Later man.” Steve says.






“Knock, knock man can I come in?” Steve asks.


“Yeah sure Steve, where you been, I was expecting you an hour ago.” Neal says as they give each other a quick hug.


“I stop and got some beer.” Steve holds up the bag and Neal takes it from him and he sits it on the table.


“Maybe you should have stopped and got some root beer.” Neal says as he winks.


Steve stands with one hand on his hip as he points at Neal with the other. “Neal you promised to tell me what’s going on.”


“I will but first I want you to meet someone.” Neal then goes over and he opens the door to the bedroom and he sticks his head in. “Joey come on out.”


Neal opens the door wider and in the next minute a little boy, with light brown wavy hair and hazel eyes, wearing a t-shirt and overalls comes out of the room and he stands next to Neal and then he looks up at him. Neal smiles down at him.


“Joey this is Steve remember I told you about him?” Neal asks him.


“Hi Steve give me five man!” Joey says as he approaches Steve holding out his hand and Steve laughs and smiles as he slaps Joey’s hand.


“Hey Joey!”


“I’m five years old how old are you?” Joey asks as Neal and Steve both laugh.


“Way older than five!” Steve says. 


Wanna play catch I have a ball and a glove.” Joey asks Steve.


“Sure Joey I would love too.” Steve says as he gets down on one knee in front of him.


“Neal said that you would like to play with me because you’re a big kid.”


Steve glances up at Neal. “Oh he said that did he?”


“Yeah but I don’t know what it means.” Joey replies.


Steve stands back up as Neal puts his hand on the top of Joey’s head. “Joey I made a sandwich for you it’s on the counter.”


“Peanut butter and jelly with bananas? Joey asks hopefully.


Neal smiles. “Yes and Fritos on the side.”


“Cool!” Joey runs off to the kitchen but before he gets there he stops and turns around. “Can I take it down to the beach?”


“You stay where I can see you and don’t go near the water, got it Mister?” Neal says.


“I promise!” Joey says as he runs off into the kitchen.


A few minutes later they watch as Joey holding a plate with a sandwich on it and Fritos comes out of the kitchen and he runs to the front door and he opens it.


“Remember what I told you.”


“I will Neal I promise and it was nice to meet you Steve!”


“Nice to meet you too Joey.” Steve says as he waves at him.


Then Joey went out the front door leaving it open as he did so. Neal walks over and he shuts it then they walk out to the balcony where Neal can watch him and a few seconds later they see him come into view below them down on the beach.


“He’s a good looking boy Neal.” Steve says.


“I think so.” Neal says as he looks down at him.


“So who does he belong to? Oh I know you’re babysitting.” Steve says as he snaps his fingers together. “And I’m still waiting for whatever you wanted to tell me….so give.”


Neal smiles a big smile. “Steve Joey is my son.”


Steve looks at Neal then he looks down at Joey. “What! Boy Neal you work fast you were only in L.A. for a week or so! Joey is your son? How is that possible?”


Neal gives him a look.


“Alright, okay I know how it’s possible but I meant how’s that possible? I can’t believe it that Joey is your son!”


Neal laughs. “I couldn’t believe it either but he is.” Neal looks down at him.


“So that is why you sounded so happy and Neal you look really happy too.”


“I am and don’t think I have ever been so happy in my life.”


“So Neal tell me what happened.”


“Remember when I told you about Kathleen and we were married for about a year and a half?”


“Yeah.” Steve says.


“Well a couple of months after the divorce was final Kathleen found out she was pregnant.”


“A couple of months after? Why did it take her so long to figure it out and why didn’t she tell you?”


“Kathleen always had problems, you know female problems and stress just made it worse and when we broke up and got the Divorce, well we weren’t very nice to each other. I thought we fought a lot when we were married but breaking up was worse.” Neal sighs. “We couldn’t agree on anything and we each did a lot of finger pointing at the other and honestly I don’t know where it came from. So if she was late or whatever she didn’t think too much of it and for not telling me sooner….I don’t know. By that time she was back in Oregon but Steve the past doesn’t matter all that matters is now and Joey.”


Steve pats Neal on the back. “Well congratulations and I always thought you would make a great father.”


“Really why?”


“Oh come on Neal I’ve seen how you look at the kids when we get up a game of touch football or that time when that little girl was hit by car. Kids like you and they look up to you.”


“Well then Steve you would make a great father too because you just described yourself.” Neal says.


Steve leans on the railing as he looks down at Joey who by now had finished his sandwich and Fritos and he was throwing rocks into the ocean. “Well I’ll admit I am just a tad jealous.”


Neal reaches out and he puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder. “You know when she first called me she told me that she wanted to see me and I haven’t heard from her in years. I didn’t know what to expect you know and she couldn’t tell me on the phone it had to be in person and the tone in her voice….maybe Steve all along I kind of knew.  On the drive down there I was running all kinds of scenarios thru my head.”


“Are you two going to get back together?” Steve asks.


“Oh no I don’t think so I mean Steve she isn’t the same woman I was married to. She’s changed and so have I.”


“So where is Kathleen?”


“Back in Los Angeles finishing up some work and when it’s all done she’ll be here and she’ll be looking for a place to stay here so I can get to know my son better.” Neal smiles. “My son I can’t believe I have a son Steve. I have to introduce him to Ruby and she’ll just love him and then I’ll have to introduce him to Captain Reynolds and everybody at the station! I’m going to be going to PTA meetings and school plays and open houses….!”


Steve laughs. “Neal isn’t he a little young for school?”


“Oh no there’s preschool and he is smart as a tack! He already knows his letters and numbers and he can even read a little.” Neal says proudly.


“Wow really?”


“He can already pick words out of books and magazines.” Neal says.


“Does he know that you’re his father? I mean he called you Neal.”


“Kathleen and I sat down with him and told him, I mean, he’s only five and we explained it to him as best we could and we told him that he could call me Neal if he was more comfortable with that. To make it easier on him you know.”


“Whose going to watch him while you’re at work?” Steve asks.


“Ida and I didn’t even have to ask she volunteered.”


“That was nice of her and Neal I think Joey wants us to go down there.” Steve says as they watch Joey waving madly at them.


“You know I think you’re right. Let me grab his glove and ball and we’ll play catch with him.”


“Good idea.” Steve says as Neal goes into the bedroom.








“Come on man I wasn’t doing shit!!”


“Yeah right Ricky.” Neal says.


“I was just walking up the street man!” Ricky protests again.


“You were running up the street man.” Steve says.


“Minding my own business man!” Ricky says.


“Oh yeah Ricky so I guess you threw away that purse because it didn’t go with your outfit man?” Neal says.


“What purse man I don’t know what you’re talking about!”


Neal walks him around the car to the passenger side then he opens the car door.


“Get in the car Ricky.”


“Screw you man!!!”


“Ah now Ricky that isn’t….Hey Neal isn’t that car getting a little close?” Steve asks from the other side of the car.


“What?” Neal says to him over the roof of the car.


“I said Neal isn’t that car….oh shit Neal!!! Gun!!”


Neal looks to where Steve is pointing at the green sedan that is coming at him and Ricky and in the next instance they see the passenger in the rear point a rifle out of the window and as the sedan comes abreast of them the rear passenger fires. It is loud and quick and the noise is deafening as Neal falls backward into the back seat of the car and he pulls Ricky in with him. From where Steve is on the other side of the car he sees Neal and Ricky fall and he yells at the top of his voice Neal’s name as he runs around the car out into the street firing his gun at the back of the retreating car. Then when it is lost in the distance Steve runs back to the car replacing his gun back in it’s holster.


“Neal! Are you alright? Neal!” Steve asks as he peers into the back seat of the car.


“Yeah I think I’m alright but I can’t say the same for Ricky, he’s dead. Do me a favor and get him off of me!”






“Feel better?” Steve asks Neal as he comes into the locker room.


Neal finishes buttoning his shirt. “You know I never noticed all the blood before but that was before….”


“Joey right?”


Neal nods. “I couldn’t go home with all that blood on me the little guy would freak. You know I can’t figure out why anybody would waste the time and not to mention the bullets on a two bit punk like Ricky.” Neal shuts the locker.


“Partner did you ever stop to think that just maybe they weren’t after Ricky? Who did you piss off now?”


“You expect me to pick just one….” Neal says as he holds up a finger. “….Out of the probably 500 or so I have arrested over the years?”


“Oh is it just 500?”


“Give or take a 100 or so. Did you ever think partner that just maybe they were gunning for you?” Neal says as he points at Steve.


“I wasn’t on that side of the car and maybe they were after both of us. Did you happen to recognize the car?” Steve asks.


Neal shakes his head. “I never really saw it I had a dead man in my lap remember? You got a better look at it.”


“Well yeah I didn’t recognize it either and the kicker is it didn’t have a rear license plate.”


“Ah well that smacks of pre-meditation.” Neal points out.


“Neal how did they know where we were going to be? I mean it wasn’t a random thing; they just didn’t drive up the street and ‘oh look there’s Steve and Neal let’s pay them a visit’ sort of thing. They either have a police radio or they were dogging us all day.”


“Or there’s a rat in this cheese factory.” Neal says as he gestures. “Oh hell look at the time we better get started on the reports….”


“I already did them.”


“You already did them?” Neal says.


“Oh yeah all typed, in triplicate, proofread, signed and then put on the Captain’s desk. Go home partner and I’ll see you tomorrow.” Steve pats him on the back. “And oh by the way I’m glad you aren’t dead.”


“Yeah me too.”






“Steve can I have another hotdog?” Joey asks.


“Sure little man oh but wait how many have you had already?”




“Well Joey I don’t know.”




Steve smiles at him. “I guess you are a growing boy aren’t you?”


Joey nods in agreement at this.


“Okay one more hotdog it is and you know I think I’ll have another myself. Two more hotdogs, one with everything and the other just mustard.” Steve puts his money on the counter.


“Look Steve it’s a dog!!” Joey says as he tugs on Steve’s shirt which causes Steve to look down and then he looks over to where Joey is pointing. Of course Joey being his tender age was more focused on the dog and not on the lovely, young lady that was holding tight to the dog’s lease. But all Steve could see was the young lady and he could have cared less about the dog that was dragging the lady right into them.


“Stop Bruno! Heel Bruno!” The young lady was yelling at the dog that was by now licking Joey on the face. “Oh my I am so sorry! Bruno is just too friendly.”


“Can I pet your dog lady?” Joey asks happily.


“Oh sure go ahead.” She says as she looks down at Joey. “Is he yours?”


“Hmm what?” Steve asks just slightly distracted.


She smiles. “The little boy is he yours? I mean is he your son?”




“He is awfully cute just like his father.” She smiles at Steve.


Steve feels himself blush. “Ah well you know thanks. I’m Steve and you are?”


“Gretchen and you have met Bruno.”


“Well Gretchen….” Steve says as he moves closer to her. “….That is quite a lot of dog you have there.”


“Oh yes when I bought him they told me he was a guard dog! A killer!”


“Oh yeah I can see that.” Steve says as he looks at Bruno who by now was on his back with all four feet in the air as Joey rubbed his stomach.


“Well you know a girl nowadays can’t be too careful especially a single girl.” Gretchen says.


Steve perks up. “Oh yeah you know a single girl can’t be too careful especially when there’s a single guy around. So Gretchen how about you and I….” As Steve was just about to make his pitch he happened to look over Gretchen’s shoulder and he saw something that made him take more notice than Gretchen’s legs. It was the same green Sedan from two weeks ago and Steve knew it was the same one because it had a bullet hole in the back windshield that yours truly had put there.


Steve puts his hand on Gretchen’s shoulder. “Gretchen do me a favor….”


“Oh sure it’s 555-….”


“No not that. Get behind the hotdog stand.” Steve says.


Gretchen laughs as Steve watches the green sedan turn the corner in their direction.


“Are you crazy?” Gretchen asks.


“No I’m a cop!” Steve shows her his badge. “Now do what I say get behind the hotdog stand! Joey get behind the hotdog stand with Gretchen and Bruno! Do it now alright.”


Gretchen pulls Bruno to his feet and all three of them get behind the hotdog stand.


“Hey what are you doing? I can’t have a dog back here there’s a health code….” The owner says loudly.


The green sedan changes lanes and as it gets closer to the curb instead of driving by like Steve thought it would do the car jumps the curb and it crosses the sidewalk causing the people there to scatter like ants as the driver aims the car towards Steve. Steve dodges it but just barely as he does a tuck and roll onto the grass and when he gets to his feet again he sees the car making a u-turn, the tires churning up the dirt and grass as it comes back in Steve’s direction but on this pass by the passenger begins to shoot.


By now the people who had been standing there watching the action unfold hadn’t sense danger but when the shooting began they did and they ran. Steve could hear Gretchen screaming from behind the hotdog stand and he hoped that Joey wasn’t terrified out of his mind so Steve did what everybody else did….he ran.


He ran in order to get the car away from the hotdog stand and he ran in the direction of the wooden picnic tables and he climbed on one of them and he jumped off the side of it just as the car behind him plowed into it and rendered it into firewood. Steve hit the ground running and he wanted to lead the car away from the people in the park because what he was planning on doing was going to cause a big mess but the driver had other ideas.


Steve looked back over his shoulder and to his horror he saw the car abandon him and make a turn that took it on a direct path back to the hotdog stand. Steve ran as fast as he could to try and catch up to it but he knew that he would never, ever catch up to it, at least not on foot and getting to Neal’s car was out of the question so Steve stopped, planted his feet, drew his gun from it’s holster and he fired.


Steve aimed at the back windshield and he fired and this time the barrage of bullets he let loose was too much for it and it shattered and when the bullets found their targets the passenger and driver slumped over dead. When the driver was shot his foot was on the accelerator and when he died that was where it stayed and it was that good old ‘dead-man’s reflex’ because now the car was going even faster and it was still headed for the hotdog stand.  Steve gestured wildly, yelling and screaming as he ran in the direction of the hotdog stand and the hotdog vendor grabbed Joey and swung him up into his arms and then with Gretchen and Bruno close behind they left the once safe haven of the hotdog stand….they ran for their lives.


Steve watched as they ran away and soon Steve was forced to stop running himself and with each breath he sucked in the car picked up speed and the gap between the car and the hotdog stand lessened until finally it crashed thru it. The sound it made was deafening and the ground was rocked by the explosion that followed and pieces of hotdog stand, hotdogs, buns and anything else that was in the stand rained down.


“Steve! Steve!” Joey yelled as he ran across the grass to Steve who caught him as he jumped into his arms.


“Are you okay little man?” Steve asks as he hugs him.


Joey nods as they watch the hotdog stand and the car consumed by flames.


“Oh my god that was the bravest thing I have ever seen!!” Gretchen declares.


“Look at my hotdog stand!!!” The hotdog vendor adds.


In the distance they hear the wailing sirens of the fire trucks and police cars as they approach.


“Gretchen and uh….” Steve says as he gestures to the hotdog vendor.


“Fred….Fred Wilson.”


“I’m a Detective from the 9th Precinct.” Steve shows them his badge. “And when you two get a chance I will need you to come down to the Precinct and fill out a witness statement and Fred we’ll see what we can do about replacing your hotdog stand.”






“Two thousand five hundred dollars to replace a hotdog stand Detective Perry?”


Steve glances back over his shoulder at the Captain.


“Don’t be nervous son….” The Chief says to Steve.


“Yes sir two thousand five hundred dollars to replace a hotdog stand. It was a very well stocked and a very clean hotdog stand, Sir.”


“I also have a bill from the Grant Avenue Park Maintenance Department to replace a 50 year-old Palm Tree that died in the fire from the aforementioned hotdog stand, a picnic table, and various sizes of sod and that also adds up to about two thousand and some odd cents.”


“Sir there was three people and a dog hiding behind that hotdog stand and one of those people was a five year old child that just happens to be the son of my partner….” Steve replies as he stands up.


“Detective….” The Chief replies.


“I didn’t want any property destroyed but if that had to happen to protect those people then I would do it again!”




“Two thousand or two million I could really care! If you want me to give my paychecks to that Park Department whoever they are I will do that but all I cared about at that time were those people….”


“Detective I was going to say that the cost was worth the lives that you saved.”


Steve looks at him. “You were?”


“Yes Detective I was. I have a few statements here from the bystanders in the Park yesterday and of course the statements from a Gretchen Hunter and she says that you were very brave and the owner of the hotdog stand, Fred, appreciated your efforts to try and save his hotdog stand.”


“They said that?” Steve says.


“Yes they did Detective.”


“Well I was trying to lead the car away from the hotdog stand but they double back on me.”


“I am more concerned with the two men in that car, have you found out who they were yet?”


“No Sir not yet, my partner is trying to run that down.”


The Chief stands up and he extends his hand to Steve. “Detective Perry I just want to say that you did a wonderful job and I am going to put a Letter of Commendation in your permanent file.”


Steve shakes his hand. “You will? I mean you are….I mean you’re going to do that? Thank you Sir!”


“No thank you son for a job well done and your Captain should be very proud of you as well.”


The Captain puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder. “Oh yes sir I am.”


“Thank you Sir and Captain Reynolds and I should be going, I need to help my partner.” Steve shakes the Chief’s hand again.


“Be careful out there son.” The Chief replies.


“Thank you Sir I will.”






“Well this answers the question of who those guys were.” Neal replies as he looks at one of their pictures.


“I guess so but I don’t recognize them do you?” Steve asks.


Neal shakes his head. “Muscle from Chicago.”


“And what were they doing here in Oceanview?”


“No the question is who were they here to do?” Neal replies.


“Okay then let’s look at the people behind the hotdog stand because that was where they were headed.”


Neal reaches across the desk and he picks up a file just as Steve reaches for the same one. “Hey man.”


Neal shrugs. “Sorry.” Neal says as he opens the file and then he whistles. “I can see why you wanted this one partner, Gretchen Hunter.”


“Twenty-four, single, exotic dancer, 36-24-36, green eyes, long silky blonde hair and legs that go up to….” Steve looks over at Neal and he smiles.


“I see that you two have met.”


“Her dog introduced us.” Steve says.


“I don’t even want to know but I do want to know if she….”


“She didn’t.” Steve says.


“She didn’t?” Neal repeats.


“No she didn’t.”


“Not once?” Neal asks.


Steve shakes his head. “Not ever.”


“Somehow I doubt that.” Neal says.




“Nothing.” Neal says as he continues to look thru her file. “Never been arrested and her background is clean.”


“Pure as the driven snow!” Steve says as he winks.


“Somehow I doubt that too.”


“What?” Steve asks.


“Nothing.” Neal replies.


“I checked where she works The Pussycat Lounge….”


“Uh huh so that is where you were all morning ogling half-naked women while I was here, up to here in paper and I think I have a paper cut.” Neal says as he shows Steve his finger.


“Poor baby and for your information there were no women there, half-naked or otherwise and the owner came back clean as well. He never saw them before either; he doesn’t owe any money to anybody and as far as the city is concerned he is clean.”


“Alrighty then.” Neal says as he throws her file back on the desk. “What about Fred Wilson your friendly neighborhood hotdog vendor?”


Steve opens his file. “As you would expect he never saw them before either. Fred is so clean that he squeaks when he walks. All of Fred’s paperwork for the hotdog stand was current and in order and by the looks of everything, he too, is an upstanding citizen. Doesn’t owe any money to anybody….”


“So our two dead guys weren’t shaking Fred down for any money.” Neal says.


“I don’t see why they didn’t there is plenty of bread in the hotdog stand business!!!” Steve laughs. “Get it? Hotdog stand? Plenty of bread!!”


Neal just stares at him.


“You aren’t in a good mood are you?” Steve asks.


“Not really.”


Steve clears his throat. “Well then that just leaves Joey.”


“No that leaves the both of us.” Neal says as he points at Steve then himself. “Joey is a five year old boy. He didn’t let a kid in the neighborhood ride his bike and that kid took a hit out on him?! Come on Steve that is just crazy!”


“I didn’t say anything like that I’m just saying….”


“What?” Neal asks.


“I don’t know.”


“Those guys from the windy city were after us pure and simple.” Neal says. “I mean if Ricky hadn’t been there….”


“I know but Neal the closest I have ever been to Chicago is Chicago style pizza man!”


“You don’t know that!” Neal says as he stands up on the other side of the desk and he leans over in Steve’s direction. “If you eliminate the positives, Gretchen, Fred and Joey, then you are left with two negatives!” Neal points to Steve. “You and me!” Then he points back to himself.


Steve stands up and he leans in close to Neal. “You forget one crucial thing partner!”


“Oh what is that partner?” Neal says with the same tone as Steve.


“I wasn’t behind the hotdog stand but those three were!! That guy driving that car had me cold Neal!! I mean cold!! He could have shot me or ran me over but he didn’t! He didn’t! He chased me far enough away that he knew there was no way I could save those people behind that hotdog stand and Neal how did they know I was going to be in that Park? Huh? How did they know that?”


Neal points his finger at Steve. “Don’t say it….”


“Kathleen knew where we were….”


Neal reaches out and he grabs Steve around the collar of his jacket and he pulls him over the desk and as the objects on the desk find their way to the floor the other Detectives stop what they are doing and they look in Steve’s and Neal’s direction.


“Shut up or I’ll deck you!!” Neal warns.


“Do it! Do you think I like this idea in my head?”


“Kathleen loves Joey and she would never let anything happen to him!” Neal says loudly.


“Are you so sure of that….?”


Then Neal did deck him and his fist landed right on Steve’s jaw and Steve fell back onto the floor. Steve grabbed his jaw as the other Detectives came over to check on him. Neal stood there for half a second looking at Steve on the floor, Neal then grabbed his jacket off the back of his chair then he half-ran and half-walked out of the squad room.







“Neal do you have any idea what time it is?” Kathleen asked as she opened the door to him.


“Yeah I know it’s late.”


“Joey is already asleep.” She says as she shuts the door behind him then she goes over to the dining room table and she picks up the two wine glasses that are sitting among the papers scattered there.


“So did your date tuck him in?” Neal asks sarcastically.


Kathleen was halfway into the kitchen when she stopped and looked at Neal. “My private life is none of your business.”


She then continues on into the kitchen as Neal follows her.


“It is if it involves Joey.”


Kathleen puts the glasses in the sink. “It doesn’t and for your information it wasn’t a date it was a client. I am an Accountant you know.”


Kathleen walks passed him back out to the dining room table where she gathers the papers together.


“So had any interesting clients lately? Like these two?” Neal asks as he shows her the pictures of the two men from Chicago.


Kathleen glances at them then she goes back to the papers. “No I have never seen them before.”


Neal grabs her by her arm. “Look again and this time take a good look.”


Kathleen takes the pictures from Neal and she looks at each one carefully and after a few minutes she shoves them against Neal’s chest. “No I have never seen them before!”


Kathleen then grabs the paperwork from the dining room table and she hugs it to her chest as she crosses the living room and she places it in her briefcase then she closes the lid.


“Are you sure?” Neal asks.


Kathleen picks up Joey’s stuffed animal from the sofa and she holds it as she turns to Neal. “Yes I am sure and this is my house! So don’t you dare come here and start playing cop with me!! Questioning me like I am some….”


“These two men were in the Park with Steve the other day….” Neal replies as he crosses the room and he is standing in front of her holding the pictures up.


“Yes I know that….”


“They weren’t after Steve!”


“What?” Kathleen says surprised.


“I said they weren’t after Steve they were after the people who were hiding behind the hotdog stand!”


“So! They were after that man or that woman Neal so if you don’t mind please leave I’m tired….”


Kathleen turns her back to him and Neal grabs her by her arm and he turns her around to face him again. “Let me go!”


“No Kathleen they weren’t after that man or that woman!”


“What are you saying?!” Kathleen replies.


“Steve thinks they were after….”


“Steve is wrong! They were after him! They chased him all over that Park and they shot….”


“No he isn’t wrong and I wish to God that he was! Kathleen they were shooting but not at him! They chased him all over that Park and they had him dead to rights! They could have killed him but they didn’t! They chased him to make him think they were after him….”


Kathleen struggles. “You’re crazy! Joey is a little boy who would want to….?”


“And how did they know where to find Steve and Joey? How did they know they were going to be at that Park?” Neal asks as he looks at her.


Kathleen’s eyes widen as she finally understood what Neal was saying. “You bastard!!! You think I….? I’m his mother! Why would I do something horrible like that?”


“I don’t know Kathleen why would you?”


Kathleen finally manages to slip free and as soon as she does she slaps Neal hard across the face. “Get out!”


“Momma the television is too loud!”


Neal and Kathleen both turn at the sound of Joey’s voice to see him standing at the entrance to the hallway, his hair rumpled, rubbing one of his eyes and yawning.


“Joey sweetheart what are you doing out of bed?” Kathleen asks as she gets down on one knee in front of him.


“Neal!” Joey says happily as he runs towards him and Neal picks him up.


“Hey there short stuff.” Neal replies as he gives him a kiss.


“The television was too loud and it woke me up!” Joey protests.


“It was well I guess your mom will have to keep it down in the future, right Kathleen?” Neal asks Kathleen as she puts Joey’s stuffed rabbit into his arms.


“Yes I will and take Mr. Bugsy to bed with you.” Kathleen says as she smiles at him and she brushes the hair out of his eyes.


“Joey I think you should go back to bed now.” Neal says.


“Ah okay.” Joey says as Neal puts him back down on the floor. “Can you tell me a bedtime story?” Joey asks as he smiles up at Neal clutching his rabbit to him.


Even after the fight with Steve and now even after the fight with Kathleen it was all taken away and made better by the smile of a little boy. Neal found himself smiling back at Joey who was so cute in his footie pajamas with the flap in the back that if he asked for the moon he would have found a way to give it to him and Neal hoped that Steve was wrong. He glanced over at Kathleen who was also smiling down at him. Neal hoped to God that Steve was wrong.


“Joey now you know that I already told you a bedtime story.” Kathleen says.


“Ah I know but it was old boring Hansel and Gretel! I want to hear about Neal and Steve shooting at the bad guys Mom! Please! Please! I’ll eat all my vegetables tomorrow!”


Neal laughs. “Oh my goodness you must want to hear a story real bad then!”


Joey nods his head up and down. “Please.”


“Well Kathleen may I tell Joey a story?” Neal asks.


“Oh yes I suppose if you must.”


“Yeah!” Joey exclaims as he jumps up and down.


“But you have to promise to go to sleep right after.” Neal says.


“I promise!” Joey says.


Neal takes him by the hand. “Alright let’s go munchkin. Tell your mom goodnight.”


Joey waves back over his shoulder at her. “Goodnight mom!”


“Goodnight Joey and I love you I mean I really, really love you.” Kathleen says as she looks at Neal knowingly.


“Ah mom too mushy!” Joey exclaims.








“Hey.” Neal says to Steve as he walks over to his locker.


“Hey yourself.” Steve answers back.


Neal opens his locker. “How was the weekend?”


Steve sits down on the bench and he changes his shoes. “Oh you know they come and go.”


Neal nods. “So I guess the date with Gretchen didn’t go well?”


“Let’s just say that the lights are on but nobody’s home if you catch my drift….”


Neal smiles and they both fall into silence which for them is unheard of. Neal rummages around in his locker.






“Oh go ahead.” Neal offers.


“No you go ahead.” Steve counters.


“I just wanted to say I’m sorry about what happened on Friday.”


Steve stands up. “Neal it’s cool I was going to have that tooth pulled anyway.” Steve says as he rubs his chin. “I shouldn’t have implied what I, you know, implied. If you had said that about the mother of my son I would have hit you myself and besides what’s a few broken bones between best friends right?”


“I see the bruise is almost gone.”


Steve looks in the mirror that he pulls off the shelf from his locker. “Yeah darn it man it was giving me that gritty, cop look that I so long for!”


Neal laughs. “Still friends?”


Steve thinks about it for a minute then he shakes Neal’s extended hand. “Of course but you know the guys in the squad room are going to be disappointed they think that you and I have broken up.”


“They think the divorce is final?”


Steve laughs. “They already have me cleaning out my desk.” Steve closes the door to his locker. “She denied it didn’t she.”


“Loudly and with conviction.”


“Did you believe her?” Steve asks.


“The part where I am Joey’s father yes but the cop part of me….no.”


“Well the Muscles from Chicago are dead so maybe it ends with them.” Steve says.


“You don’t honestly believe that do you Steve? Hit men are like mice….”


“I know when you see one….”


“….There are others lurking in the woodwork.” Neal replies. “And they didn’t complete their mission so by now whoever sent them know that they screwed up.”


“And replacements will be coming. So lets hit the streets partner….”


“I would like to Steve but I just came in to talk to you Joey’s sick and I….”


Steve grabs Neal by his arm and he walks him to the door. “Then what in the hell are you waiting for? Neal go home to that little boy of yours and take care of him.”


 “I have to go and tell the Captain….”


“No you don’t I’ll do that.” Steve says.


“You’ll do that?” Neal repeats.


“Yes I will and I’ll call you later to see how the little guy is doing. So scoot! Get out of here!”


“Later man.” Neal replies.









“Nurse, nurse excuse me but I’m trying to find my friend….” Steve just happens to look down the hall and he spots Neal sitting all by himself. “Never mind Nurse I see him.”


Steve hurries up the hall to where Neal is sitting. “Hey Neal Ida just told me and I got here as fast as I could….Neal?”


Steve has never seen Neal so quiet and lost in thought as he was now. Sitting there looking at the tiles on the floor and more than likely counting them. Steve didn’t even think that Neal knew that he was there.


“Neal!” Steve says louder as he puts his hand on his shoulder.


“Hmmm what?” Neal says as he finally looks up at Steve thru glassy eyes. “Oh hey Steve how long have you been here?”


“I just got here! Ida told me that you have been here since you left the Precinct this morning, why didn’t you call me or something?”


“Call you?” Neal asks.


“Yeah man for the price of a dime you call everybody including your partner! What happened to Joey?”


Neal stands up and he wipes his hands on his pants as he walks over to the door that leads out to the balcony and he opens it and he goes out and after a few seconds Steve follows him out.


“Neal what happened to Joey?” Steve asks again as he puts his hand on his shoulder. “Neal please say something your scaring….”


“Joey has to have his tonsils out….”


Steve puts his hand on his chest as he exhales. “Oh God Neal by the look on your face I thought something bad had happened.”


“….They’re doing the surgery right now….Steve.”


“Tonsils aren’t serious….”


“….Steve I was going to give some of my blood for Joey in case he needed it for surgery.” Neal says as he looks out over the city.


Steve suddenly has that bad feeling again. “What….what do you mean? Did they stop you or something?”


Neal looks at Steve then with tears in his eyes. “Steve they told me….”


“Neal what did they tell you?”


“….That Joey….isn’t my….son.”


Shocked Steve puts his hands on Neal’s shoulders. “What? Oh no Neal their wrong or you didn’t hear them….”


Neal shakes his head. “I thought they were wrong too so I made them do it twice Steve and both times it was the same.”


“Oh god Neal it has to be a mistake.” Steve replies.


“My blood type is A….”


“Neal I know that….”


Neal closes his eyes as he takes a deep breath. “Kathleen is type A….”




“Type AB. The doctor told me there is no way I’m his father. Joey’s real father….”


“Neal you’re Joey’s real father!”


“….Is type AB. Steve the doctor’s right I can’t be….”


“Look Neal Doctors make mistakes everyday and this could be one of those days.”


“Kathleen lied to me, she’s been lying to me all these months. She called me up and got me to go to L.A. and then she lied to me! She’s must be hiding, running from somebody or something and she knew how much I wanted to have children….”




“She just wanted me to be Joey’s bodyguard so she lied to me, she knew that I would fall in love with that little boy, make him my own….son. That is why Joey didn’t want to call me Daddy because he already sensed the truth. He knew that I wasn’t his real father.”


Steve grabs Neal’s face with his hands. “Neal snap out of it!! Joey is a five year old little boy and he didn’t know any such thing he loves you Neal! You’re his father and it doesn’t matter what any blood tests say.


“Steve you’re type AB for all I know you could be his father….”


Steve drops his hands as he points at Neal. “Watch it partner you’re this close to me decking you! That was a stupid thing to say and you know it!”


“Jesus Steve I don’t know what I’m saying….” Neal reaches out then and he pulls Steve into a hug. “I wish Kathleen had never called me, I wish I had never known, sometimes not knowing is better than the truth!”


Steve takes a few steps back but still holding Neal by his arms. “Neal I….”


Then suddenly Neal looks to his left and Steve follows his gaze out to the hall where beyond the door Kathleen stands. She stands there, just from the office, her purse over one shoulder as she holds her briefcase tight with both hands down in front of her.


They don’t know how long she has been standing there or if she had heard anything thru the glass door but their postures and the intensity of the situation spoke volumes, and then Neal tried to shove Steve out of the way in his attempt to get to her. But Steve held tight to his arms as he moved with him blocking him with his body.


Steve gives him a good hard shake to get his attention back to him. “Neal this isn’t the time or the place for this!” Steve says as Neal looks at him.


“I don’t care what or how you tell her but get her away from here!” Neal replies.


“Neal she’s here to see Joey….”


“The doctor told me that nobody can see him until tomorrow and that includes her….” Neal says as he glances back up at her again. “Do it Steve if our friendship has ever meant anything to you….save her from me.”


Steve had never been afraid of Neal before or his anger that is….until now. Steve looks over at Kathleen thru the glass door.


“Stay here and I’ll take care of it.”


Steve slowly lets Neal go then he goes out the door to the hallway to the waiting Kathleen. Neal doesn’t move, watching the equivalent of a silent moving playing out before him on the other side of the door. As Neal watched Steve opened up the flood gates of his charm and it washed over Kathleen and even though she glanced in Neal’s direction more than once, his smile and winning personality won her over and whatever he said to her worked. He took her briefcase in one hand and with the other he held her hand as he walked her down the hall and around the corner and finally out of Neal’s sight.








“Wow Joey look at all of this ice cream! Let’s see you have chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, pick your favorite.” Steve says.


Joey picks chocolate and then Steve takes the lid off of it for him then he hands it to him. “There you go kiddo!” Steve watches as Joey takes a big spoonful of it then he smiles. “Good kiddo?”


Joey nods as Steve chooses the strawberry ice cream.


“Steve….” Joey says slowly after a few minutes.


“Joey you know you aren’t supposed to talk.”


“…Is Neal mad at me?” Joey says so low that Steve has to lean in to hear him and right then and there Joey seemed a lot older than his five years. Steve had always heard that kids pick up and understand a lot more than what adults give them credit for and Steve had never been witness to it….until now.


“Oh no honey of course he isn’t mad at you, why do you say that?”


Joey takes another spoonful of ice cream to help him talk. “Momma has been here and you have been here but Neal hasn’t been here….” Joey says slowly.


“Oh no Joey he has been here! He was here when you were having your tonsils out and he was there with you in recovery last night waiting for you to wake up and he’ll be here later today to see you.” Steve leans in closer to Joey. “Right now Neal is out there catching bad guys.”


“He is?” Joey replies wide-eyed.


“Yes he is and he is doing that to keep you and your mom safe.” Steve says as he touches Joey on his nose and he tries to laugh. “Neal loves you very much Joey and he’ll be here today to see you.”


Joey puts down his ice cream and then he wraps his little arms around Steve’s neck and he hugs him. “I love you Uncle Steve.”


“Oh Joey I love you too.” Steve replies as he hugs him back. “Tell you what kiddo, eat some more ice cream while I go and call Neal, alright?”


Steve tousles his hair as Joey nods his head.


Steve goes down the hallway to the phone as he digs in his pocket for a dime and rounding the corner is where he runs into Neal.


“Hey!” Steve exclaims.


“Oh hey man sorry….Steve!”


“Neal! There you are you idiot!” Steve says as he points at him. “Where in the hell have you been? Joey has been asking about you!”


“I’ve been thinking….”


“Thinking, you were thinking? That little boy in there misses you Neal and whatever problems you have with Kathleen they aren’t his fault!!!”


“I know that and you were right.” Neal says.


Steve points to himself. “I was right?”


“Yeah and it doesn’t matter who his father is all that matters is I love him and from here on out I’m his father and I want to take care of him.” Neal says as he twists the ears of Joey’s stuffed animal Mr. Bugsy.


“I knew that you would figure it out eventually, what is that?” Steve asks as he points to the stuffed toy.


“Oh this is Joey’s stuffed animal Mr. Bugsy.” Neal says as he holds it up.


Steve takes it. “Wow this thing has seen better days it looks like it has been through some surgery itself.”


“Yeah well Joey has had it since he was a baby and Kathleen probably had to patch it a few times. So Joey missed me huh?”


“Yeah he asked me if you were mad at him.”


“Oh shit that poor little guy, well I better get in there and see him and thanks Steve.”


“Don’t mention it man, later.”


“Yeah later man.” Neal replies.








Discharge day for Joey and Neal had arrived to pick him up and when Neal opened the door to his room he noticed that the bed was empty and devoid of sheets and that was when he realized that somebody had beat him to the punch.


“Excuse me Nurse what time was Joey Burton picked up?”


Neal asks at the Nurses’ station. Neal taps his fingers impatiently as the Nurse looks through the sign-out book.


“Almost fifteen minutes ago by his mother….”


Neal looks at his watch as he moves away from the counter. “Thanks Nurse.”


“….And by his father.”


Neal stops in mid-stride then he approaches the counter again.


“By his father?” Neal says surprised.


“Yes by his….hey wait you can’t look at that!” The Nurse protests as Neal grabs the book from her.


“Yes I can sweetheart I’m a cop see and further more I’m Joey’s father.” Neal says as he flashes his badge at her. “Not this Robert character!” Neal says as he thrusts the book back at her. “You people need to make sure who you hand kids over to!” Neal yells back over his shoulder at her as he runs down the hall.


Neal runs all the way out to his parked car and Steve who was waiting on him.


“Hey man where’s the little guy?” Steve asks as Neal jumps in the car.


“Not there!”


“What do you mean not there?” Steve asks.


“Kathleen and Robert already picked him up!” Neal replies as he starts the car. “Put the bubble light on the roof.”


“Why the bubble light and who in the hell is Robert?”


“Because I told you to and Robert is Joey’s father!!!”


“His father? Oh come on Neal….”


“I said put the frigging bubble light on the roof!!! Now!!”


Steve looks over at Neal and even though the day was warm he noticed a chill in the air.

“Alright man one frigging bubble light coming up.” Steve says as he places the bubble light on his side of the roof of the car his eyes never leaving Neal. “You think something bad has happen don’t you?”


“I hope not Steve I hope not. Let’s roll by Kathleen’s house first….” 








“What did you see?” Steve asks Neal as they make their way back to the car.


“Nothing how about you?”


“Less than nothing.” Steve replies as they get in the car and Neal reaches for the mike.


“This is Victor 7 come in Ocean.”


“Go ahead Victor 7.” The dispatcher replies after a few minutes.


“Vickie patch me thru to Captain Reynolds.”


“Standby Victor 7.” They hear the phone ring on the other end and they hear the Captain answer.


“This is Captain Reynolds.”


“Go ahead Victor 7.”


“Captain this is Neal we need your help.” Neal says as he looks over at Steve.


Neal explains the situation to the Captain and after they got the Captain’s word that he would help about ten minutes later they hear the dispatcher say.


“Attention all units! Attention all units. An A.P.B. has just been issued on a 1975 Gold Buick Skylark Coupe, license number, California Mary Victor George 175. The owner is a Kathleen Burton and she may have a five-year boy with her, visual only! No contact! I repeat visual only no contact.”






“I wonder what she’s doing here?” Steve ask as he looks thru the binoculars at the Bank.


“Maybe she’s here to take out a loan.” Neal replies sarcastically.


Steve drops the binoculars a little as he looks at Neal.


“Do you always have to do that?”


“Do what?” Neal asks.


“Do you always have to be an asshole?”


“Did you just call me an asshole?” Neal asks stunned.


“Yes I did because you’re acting like one! You do realize right that Joey is in that Bank too!”


“Maybe just maybe I’m wrong about this whole thing! Maybe that Robert guy is Joey’s father and they are here to get money or you know those Traveler Checks things that you take on vacations….why are you looking at me like that?” Neal asks.


“Because Neal in all the time I have known you your gut instincts have never been wrong and when you add up all the weird shit that has been going on around here for the past months it equals out to those two in the bank! Kathleen and Joey are in trouble and it’s up to us to stop it!”


“Well okay then let’s go in there and….” Steve grabs Neal before he can step out of the car.


“No we can’t just walk in there!” Steve says.


“Why not?”


“Because we don’t know what’s going on in there and if Joey sees us he might….”


“Oh yeah good point so do you have any bright ideas?” Neal asks as Steve looks thru the binoculars again.


“Oh yeah I think I just might take a look over there.” Steve says as he hands Neal the binoculars.


“What am I suppose to be looking at?” Neal asks.


“That car right there the one with the Company Logo….”


“You can’t be serious Steve they are….!”


“I know its brilliant isn’t it? Come on let’s go!! I get the one on the left!” Steve says as he opens the car door and he gets out.








“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this!” Neal exclaims.


“Why you look great in uniform just let me adjust your hat. There you go perfect! How do I look?”


“I don’t know Steve I haven’t seen too many bank guards with long hair.”


“Oh well yeah you know I’ll just shove it up under my hat, help me.”


Neal helps Steve to put his long hair underneath the hat.


“These pants are just a little too big.” Neal says.


“Tighten the belt.”


“I have and they are still too big.” Neal says.


“You won’t have to wear them that long.” Steve points out.


“I can’t believe we paid 100 dollars to those bozos for these getups! Man on man I hate rent-a-cops!”


“Neal bite your tongue they have to eat to you know! Alright you relieve the guy in the lobby and I’ll go and relieve the guy in the vault.”


They leave the basement area and once upstairs they go their separate ways as Neal headed towards the guard in the lobby and Steve makes his way to the vault.


“Hey man you’re late!” The guard says as Steve stands next to him.


“Sorry I got lost.” Steve replies.


“Where’s Philips?” The guard asks.


“He couldn’t make it man. Go and have a good lunch.” Steve says.


“Sure man I’m going to take an extra 15 minutes.”


“Whatever man fine by me.”


The guard gives Steve the once over before he leaves the vault. With the guard gone Steve scans the vault and where he is standing Steve can also see the place when they keep the safety deposit boxes and that is where he sees Kathleen and Joey and Joey sees him. Steve smiles at him and he brings one finger up to his lips to signal to Joey to be quiet and not give him away and Joey smiles back at him and he nods his head. Steve also notices two men with Kathleen and Joey actually they were more like two gorillas wearing suits, one of the men was holding tight to Joey’s hand while the other was with Kathleen.


“Neal.” Steve says into his radio.




“I got Kathleen and Joey in the Safety Deposit Box room.”


“Why is Kathleen in there?” Neal asks.


“Well you know it stands to reason she might be getting something out of a safety deposit box.”


“Wise acre. Are they okay?” Neal asks.


“They seem to be but Neal they aren’t alone.”


“Who’s with them?” Neal asks.


“I don’t recognize them but they look to be a couple of enforcer types.”


“Big guys with no necks and cauliflower ears?”


“You got it.” Steve says.


“Figures. Why do they always have to be bigger than us?”


“I think we should take vitamins oh wait Neal I think their getting ready to leave! How do we stop them?” Steve asks.

“How do we stop them? I don’t know you got us in here so you figure out a way to stop them!”


Steve looks around. “There are too many people in here Neal maybe we should let them get outside before we…”


Steve watches as all four of them enter his sight and just before they reach the lobby Joey tugs on the jacket of the man whose holding his hand and he looks down at him.


“I have to go to the bathroom.” Joey says.




“What?” Neal replies.


“Joey just told one of the goons that he has to go to the bathroom.”


“Oh he did did he?” Neal says.


“Come on kid can’t you wait?” The man asks Joey.


“No I have to go bad.” Joey says.


“Just take him and watch him.” The other man says.


“I’ll go with him.” Kathleen says as she moves toward him but the other man pushes her back.


“No you stay here Robert will go with him.”


“I am a big boy I can go by myself!” Joey protests as he turns and runs off in the direction of the bathroom.


“Hey!” Robert yells after him.


“And away he goes! Neal I have an idea….”


“You do what is it? Steve? Steve? What is it! Hello! Come in Steve!”


After Steve’s last transmission to Neal Steve turned his radio off and then he followed after them to the bathroom. When Steve rounded the corner he saw Robert knocking on the bathroom door and trying the doorknob.


“Hey kid! Open the door! Hey kid!”


“Is there a problem here Mister?” Steve says in his best security guard’s voice.


Robert turns and he looks at Steve and Steve felt Robert’s extreme dislike for anybody in a uniform and Steve hadn’t felt that in years.


“Well yeah the kid locked the door to the bathroom and now I can’t get in. You have a key to it right?” Robert asks as he eyeballs the ring of keys that Steve has attached to his belt.


“Yeah man sure, your son giving you a hard time?” Steve asks as he looks thru the keys.


“You could say that, could you know hurry it up man we have a plane to catch.” Robert says.


“Hey man no problemo, hey kid are you okay in there, kid?” Steve says as he still looks thru the keys.


“Hey man is this like your first day or something? Can’t you find the right key?”


“Huh what no you know man there are a shit load of them! Don’t look now you’re shoe’s untied.” Steve exclaims as he points to Robert’s shoe.


Robert looks down. “It is….?”


And that is when Steve hit him upside the head with the guard’s nightstick and Steve soon found out the old saying ‘The bigger they are the harder they fall’ was a lie. Robert holding the side of his head raises his eyes and he looks at Steve with murderous intent as Steve tries to back up and then Robert reaches out and he snatches the nightstick out of Steve’s hands and Steve watches in horror as Robert breaks it over his knee as if it was a dry twig.


“Oh shit!” Steve exclaims.


“When I get my hands on you I’m going….!”


Steve backs up the hall and he looks desperately to his left and right for some sort of weapon and when he spots the fire extinguisher on the wall he makes a mad dash for it and he yanks it off of the wall and he points it at Robert and he discharges it in Robert’s face. Robert lets loose with a yelp of pain as he covers his eyes then Steve advances on him and he hits him once again on his head with the bottom of the fire extinguisher and this time Robert falls to his knees and Steve holds the fire extinguisher at the ready if Robert gets to his feet but this time Robert falls flat on his face. To Steve it sounded like a building falling over.


“Uncle Steve.”


Steve looks up to see Joey standing in the doorway to the bathroom.


“Hey kiddo are you and your mom okay?” Steve asks as he holds Joey by his waist.


Joey nods. “They are bad people they hurt Mr. Bugsy!”


“Oh they did?” Steve asks.


“Mom’s scared but I’m not!”


Steve smiles. “Yeah Little Man you are very brave. Now go back out there to your mom and if that other guy asks where Robert is you just say you don’t know okay?”




“Neal and I will take care of everything, give me five!” Steve says as he puts out his hand and then Joey slaps it. “Now get going squirt.” Steve watches Joey walk away then he looks at Robert and then he spies the Janitor’s closet and he looks for the key on the ring as he gets up.


“There you are! What took you so long?” The man asks Joey as he grabs him by his arm.


“My zipper was stuck!” Joey exclaims.


The man looks around. “Where’s Robert?”


Joey shrugs. “I don’t know.”


The man looks around once more. “We don’t have time to look for him, come on let’s go.” The man says as he takes Joey by his arm and they walk out of the bank together.


“Don’t hurt him he’s just a little boy!” Kathleen exclaims.


“Shut up! Remember what I told you! We are supposed to be a happy family going on vacation so look happy! Got it baby!”


Kathleen looks at Joey. “Yes alright.”


Once outside they see another security guard standing at the back of Kathleen’s car as they approach it.


“Hey man is this your car?” Neal asks as he does his best security officer bit.


“Yeah it is why?” The man answers.


“Well because somebody just hit it and took off, see the dent?” Neal points to the dent with his pen.


The man takes a deep breath. “And so?”


“And so that is technically a hit and run and we have to wait on the police to get here….”


“No we don’t have time for that we have a plane to catch, both of you get in the car.” The man says as he walks around Neal and he opens the back door for Joey.


“Oh no mister you can’t go anywhere not until the police have talked to you the Bank here has very strict rules….”


“Screw the Bank and it’s rules!” The man says as he shuts the back door after Joey gets in. “I told you to get in the car!” The man says as he points to Kathleen.


Even though this guy could make four out of him Neal didn’t seem to care as he stood up to him. “Hey buddy watch your language there’s a woman and a little boy here you know!”


The man laughs. “And just who in the hell do you think you are you little pip squeak, fuck you!!!”


“Mom he said a bad word!!!” Joey says from the back seat.


Neal takes off his hat. “Who do I think I am? I’m your worse nightmare….” Then Neal lowers his head and like a charging bull Neal rams his shoulder into the man’s stomach and he runs him backwards until he trips over the curb and they both land in the grassy median. Neal is on top as they exchange blows the man connecting more than once and then the momentum changes as the man grabs Neal by his neck and he flips him over onto his back. The man is straddling Neal, one big hand around his neck as the other in the melee managed to grab Neal’s nightstick and now the man holds it above his head and he is just about to come down on Neal’s head with it when they head the sound of a gun being cocked.


Neal shifts his eyes away from the man and the nightstick up to Steve who was holding a gun to the back of the man’s head.


“Do you know what the three things are that I hate the most?” When the man doesn’t answer Steve asks another question as he shoves the gun harder against the man’s head. “Well do you?”


This time the man shakes his head.


“I hate people who pick on women and children and I especially hate people who mess with my partner! Drop the nightstick or I splatter your brains all over Neal.”


The man laughs as he holds Neal tighter around his neck. “You’re bluffing! You’re just a fucking security guard and you wouldn’t….”


Steve then moves the gun away from the man’s head as he fires a shot into the ground near the man’s leg and after their ears stop ringing Steve says, “Still think I’m bluffing scumbag? I’m a cop with the Oceanview P.D. and so is he….now drop it.”


The drops the nightstick as he raises both of his hands.


“Now get up and lay down over there.” Steve says and just as soon as the guy gets up from Neal Joey is running towards him.


“Daddy! Daddy!” Joey says as he jumps on Neal and throws his arms around Neal’s neck.


Neal puts his hands on Joey’s head as he pushes it back and he looks at him. “Son are you alright? They didn’t hurt you or anything?”


“No daddy they didn’t. Can I be like you when I grow up?” Joey asks with a serious tone.


Neal bites his lip as he fights back tears and he nods. “Sure son you can be anything you want to be.”


“I love you daddy!” Joey says as he hugs him around his neck again. Neal puts one of his hands on the back of Joey’s head and the other on his back as he sits up still holding him and he looks over Joey’s head at Steve.


“I love you too son.” Neal then kisses Joey on his cheek as Steve smiles in their direction.




“Here you go Neal coffee and Danish.”

“Thanks Steve.”

“Rough night?” Steve asks.

“You could say that. It took them awhile to talk but when they finally did they wouldn’t shut up.”

“Kathleen too?” Steve asks.

“Yeah Kathleen too. She finally told me everything including whose Joey’s real father is.”

“Jeremy Spencer? The name doesn’t ring any bells.”

“Well he was before your time and almost before mine.” Neal replies.

“Well it says here that you were one of the detectives on the case.”

“Not the lead detective I was regulated to asking questions and interviewing people.” Neal says.

“Where does Kathleen fit in?”

Neal laughs. “Jeremy Spencer owned and operated the largest, at the time, Import and Export Company in Oceanview and Kathleen was his secretary.”


“They had an affair.” Neal says.


“And Joey is the result of that affair.”

“So how did Jeremy end up in prison?” Steve asks.

“The Import and Export Company was a family owned business and when Jeremy’s father died he inherited the Company but he also inherited the debt and the wrath of the mob who wanted his business. His father’s brother was ‘Big’ Johnny Spencer and I am sure you have heard of him right?”

“Big Johnny Spencer? Oh yeah who hasn’t! He wanted to take over the Import and Export business.”

“Big Johnny was upset because he wasn’t in the Will and his brother promised him a controlling interest in the business which he didn’t get; his brother at his death stiffed him and Jeremy was using the Import and Export business as his own personal drug trafficking business.”

“He wasn’t!” Steve replies.

“Oh yeah he was and he got caught in a sting operation and he ended up going to prison for a
2 to 10 stint.”

“Wow why so low?” Steve asks.

“Because Jeremy offered to turn on his Uncle and give him up to the Feds.”

“What?” Steve exclaims loudly. “Was he crazy? What was he thinking of?”

“Joey. But of course at the time he didn’t know it was going to be a boy but he did know that

Kathleen was pregnant with his child.”


“So Jeremy was going to risk it and he did, he ratted them all out and they put him in a special, country club type of prison where he was protected 24/7.”

“It says here that he died in prison? Did he die naturally or was he helped thru those pearly gates?” Steve asks.

“The Coroner really couldn’t tell but suffice it to say Jeremy pulled the same trick his father had.”

“What do you mean?” Steve asks.

“The Spencer family didn’t know that in his father’s will it provided for any heirs that Jeremy may have.”

“You lost me….” Steve says.

“In Jeremy’s father’s will if Jeremy was to died without any children all the controlling interest would go back to the family but if Jeremy died and he had had children….”

“It would go to….”

“Joey….” They both say at the same time.

Steve feels the hair stand up on the back of his neck. “Jesus Neal do you know what you’re saying.”

“Yeah unfortunately I do and you were right Steve.” Neal says as he looks at him. “They were after Joey all along. They were going to….”

Steve stands up. “No don’t say it. Jesus you would have to be a bunch of sick bastards to hurt a little boy who has no clue….god what sort of people would do that sort of thing Neal?”

“Like you said sick bastards Steve.”

“Why didn’t they go after Kathleen sooner, I mean even before she had Joey?”

“Well it seems that Jeremy could keep his mouth shut about certain things and Kathleen was one of those things. After our divorce was final Jeremy set her away to

Europe, I thought she was in Oregon?”

“I thought so too at least that is what she told me I mean after the divorce was final I never heard from her again but after Jeremy was dead they somehow found out about Joey.”

“What was in that safety deposit box?” Steve asks.

“Oh you know the usual, stocks, bonds and a wad of cash that is big enough to choke a horse and a copy of his Jeremy’s father’s will and Jeremy’s will leaving everything to Joey….oh did I happen to mention that Joey is a rich little boy?”

“No you left that part out.” Steve replies.

“It will be held in trust until Joey is 30 years old and by then he could buy the City of
Oceanview and make us his private police force!” Neal says as he laughs.

“Neal is it over for Joey? I mean there could still be people out there….”

“I know Steve and hopefully they will realize that it won’t be worth the effort because they would have to go thru me….”

Steve puts his hand on Neal’s hand. “No Neal they would have to go thru us. How’s Joey doing? He said something about they hurt Mr. Bugsy do you know what that means?”

“Yeah, the key to the safe deposit box was in Mr. Bugsy and they tore him apart to get it out. Somehow Jeremy managed to get that to Kathleen after she had Joey in the hospital and Joey is doing great but Kathleen is really shook up.”

“Did she know anything about any of this?” Steve asks.

Neal shakes his head. “She said she didn’t know a thing and I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and just let it go. You know Steve I can’t hate her and I can’t even hate Jeremy because they gave me Joey and for that I will always be grateful. Steve I love that little guy so much and everything I do from now on will be for the love of Joey.”

“Did you tell your mom yet?”

Neal laughs. “She screamed like a banshee.”

Steve laughs. “I bet she was excited.”

“She always wanted a grandchild and she’s coming out next week to meet him. She wants to see you too; she’s planning a big dinner.”

“Oh lord every time I see your mother she is always trying to fatten me up.” Steve replies.

“Steve everybody is always trying to fatten you up.”

They both laugh then they are silent for a few minutes. “Steve I made a decision and I want you to be the first to know about it that is beside Kathleen….”

“You’re going to resign from the force aren’t you?” Steve asks him seriously and Neal could tell it was a hard thing for Steve to say. “I mean I don’t blame you and all I mean I will miss you….”


“I mean you and Ruby can get married now and raise Joey like your own and damn it Neal I think I’m jealous!”


“I mean how come you get a beautiful, sexy, hot woman and a great little boy and I can’t even keep a goldfish alive I mean come on it just isn’t fair….”


“And you’re probably move to that new sub-division they’re building out there and you’re have a split level house with a two car garage and automatic sprinklers and Ruby will have a gorgeous little girl and I’ll still be here….alone!”



“Before you have the kids going away to College and me pushing up daises I have to tell you that I am not resigning.”

“You aren’t?” Steve asks.

“No Steve I’m not.”

“Oh so what is the decision you made?” Steve asks.

“I’ve decided to adopt Joey legally give him my last name, make him officially my son.”

“Really! Oh my god Neal that is great news!! So that will make me….nothing.”

“I wanted this to be a surprise but this sort of thing you really can’t because of the paperwork involved….”

“What is it?” Steve asks.

“I want you to Joey’s godfather….”

“Joey’s god….?”

“Yeah you know just in case anything was to happen to….”

“Oh my god I would love to!!!” Steve then gets up and he runs around the table and he hugs Neal.

“Next week we have to all go to the lawyers….” Neal replies.

“Yes, yes I would love to!!!”

“You said that already.” Neal says.

“Neal I promise you I will raise Joey to be a good, upstanding citizen!”

“Steve I am not dead yet so give it a rest man.”

“I am so excited! I feel like Joey is my own son! Do I get joint custody?”

Neal laughs. “What?”

“I mean after you adopt him, we can work out a schedule. During the summer you keep him for about a month or so then I get him, and I get him for Thanksgiving, no wait you get him for Thanksgiving….I’ll get him for Christmas.”


“Hmmmm?” Steve replies.

“We aren’t married.”

“I know that silly boy but we are partners….”

“And that extends over into our so-called personal lives?” Neal asks.

Steve nods. “Oh sure.”

“So that mean if Ruby and I ever decided to tie the knot you’re going on the Honeymoon with us, is that what you’re saying?”

“Well, only if you’re going someplace good, like the
Bahamas or Hawaii but otherwise, no.”

“Steve you know someday you too could have a son or even a daughter, you know a lot of women.”

”I know but Neal they aren’t Mom material if you catch my drift and I wouldn’t take them home to meet your mother and I would like to be in a relationship you know.”

“A relationship?” Neal asks.

“Yeah you know married or even better living with them; I am an old fashioned guy you know.”

Neal puts his arm around Steve’s shoulder. “Yes I know.




“Steve here’s your mail.” Neal says as he tosses it onto Steve’s desk.

“Now how in the world do I get mail here addressed to Occupant? I hope you got something better.” Steve says with disgust as he tosses the envelope in the trash.

“I did get a letter and a picture from Kathleen.” Neal says as he holds it up.

“Oh let me see!!” Steve says as he races around the desk over to Neal’s side. “Wow who is that big guy in the picture with her?” Steve asks.

“Well if you give me a minute I’ll tell you, it says that there is Doug Campbell and he is her fiancé.”

“Wow her fiancée? She works fast!”

“They’re getting married in a couple of months and they invited me to the wedding.”

“Oh really?” Steve replies.

“They said I can invite two guests and I already asked Ruby so how’s about it? Ever been to

“Wow you want me to go too?” Steve asks.

“Sure you can visit with Joey.”

“Sure I would love to go! Boy old Doug there is really a big guy; you know he reminds of that guy on the can of beans.”

Neal laughs. “Well he is a Lumberjack.”

“A real, honest to goodness, axe wielding, tree cutting down Lumberjack?” Steve says.

Neal laughs as he nods. “Yeah an honest to goodness what you just said.”

“Huh, well she and Joey look really happy.” Steve says.

“Yeah they do don’t they and Doug is a nice guy, never been in trouble, his credit is good, the family business is stable….what?”

“Neal Joseph Schon you ran a background check on old Doug boy!”  

“Well of course I did and you would do the same! He is going to be around Joey so I want to make sure that he is okay and he is a hard-working normal guy.”

“Well Kathleen certainly likes big, strong, strapping type guys so what in the world did she ever see in your skinny, little ass!” Steve says.

“Women like a sharp-dressed man as opposed to Thrift-Store.” Neal says as he points to Steve.

“Hey I will have you know that I have had plenty of women tell me that I have a certain ‘It’ quality about me! They don’t know exactly what ‘It’ is but whatever it is I certainly got it! Watch this, hey Vivian don’t I have ‘It’?”

Vivian looks at a him for a moment then she makes a face. “Well I don’t know but if you do a shot of Penicillin will certainly get rid of it.”

Neal laughs hysterically as Vivian goes about her business. “Oh that is good man!”

“Ha-ha very funny, she was just pulling my leg that’s all. Time to hit the streets partner lets go.”

“Yeah let’s do it.” Neal says.


V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7


“So Joey is coming out this summer right?” Steve asks.


“And we’re going fishing right?” Steve asks again.


“We aren’t going to stay in that same cabin again are we?” Steve asks.

“Maybe why?”

“I hate that cabin.” Steve says.


“Because it was haunted and there was a spider as big as a horse living there! So get another cabin.”

Neal laughs. “Haunted my Aunt Fanny there is no such thing and if you see that spider again take your gun out and send it to spider heaven! Steve you’re a cop for god sakes and you afraid of spiders! And besides all the other cabins are booked up.”

“I never said I was afraid of spiders I just don’t like them!”

“Steve they are more afraid of you than you are of them.”

“That is a lie! While I was taking a shower there was a big, huge hairy spider checking me out! It made me nervous!”

“Maybe it was looking for a mate!” Neal says as he laughs.

“Ha-ha funny! Hey Neal look in that top drawer there I need some stamps.”

“Hmmmm okay.”

Neal reaches over and he opens the drawer and in the next moment you hear Neal scream, a chair hitting the floor, and a door opening and closing….and then you hear Steve laughing.

“Yeah remember Neal they are more afraid of you than you are of them!!!!”






©LAB and SRP & JRNY FANFICTION 2007 to 2008. All rights reserved. Steve Perry and Neal Schon’s likenesses appear only as characters. Any resemblance to any one living or dead is purely a coincidence. This fictional story is for entertainment purposes only and for the complete enjoyment of the author and the readers.  And for the love of things and people back in the day.    





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