THE DETECTIVES OF THE 9TH PRECINCT SERIES
BLACK AND WHITE
“You know Neal there is just something I will never understand.”
“Math?” Neal asks.
“Besides math.” Steve replies.
“Oh you mean women.”
“No Neal I understand women.”
Neal leans across the desk. “Not even a sensitive Aquarius type such as yourself who is in touch with his feminine side can understand women Steve. I mean I love Ruby but for the life of me I can’t understand most of what she does, like the fact that she told me before we got married that she was going to sell the club then after we got married she changed her mind. If you know so much about women Steve why did she do that? Huh?” Neal replies as he points his finger at Steve.
Steve leans over the desk in Neal’s direction. “Because Neal, Ruby is and will always be a business woman and that club is an important part of her independence and it gives her something to do instead of sitting around the house waiting on your ass to come home and besides it helps to pay the mortgage. Right?” Steve replies as he raises his eyebrows at him.
Neal leans back in his chair. “Maybe, so what is it that you don’t understand?”
“I don’t understand why people hate other people just because of the color of their skin! I don’t understand racism! Look at all the riots Neal! I mean these people are destroying their own cities! Why is the color of someone’s skin such a big deal?”
“Steve you know if I had the answer to that question I would be famous I don’t know why a person’s skin color makes a difference but it does. People are afraid of what they don’t understand. You and I both know what it feels like to be discriminated against, people didn’t like me because I’m Italian. Everybody thinks all Italians are mobsters or gangsters so immediately when they find out that I’m Italian….”
“Yeah I know and when they hear me speaking Spanish….Neal this sort of thing, this story in the paper about the riots, that couldn’t happen here, could it?” Steve replies.
“Steve you know this city just as well as I do, in fact you might know it better. Oceanview on the surface is a beautiful place to live but if you dig deeper you will see it has its share of problems. We have the manicured lawns of the suburbs, we have the ivory towers of the rich, we have the slums of the poor and we also have the racial tensions that other big cities have.”
“Neal I don’t care about the color of the person’s skin, I don’t see color why can’t other people do that?” Steve replies.
“Thinking about Linda?” Neal replies.
“Yeah.” Steve replies as he nods. “Right now and every time I go to the bank.”
“You know Steve maybe by the time Joey and Neal Jr. are grown the world would have changed, people will be different. Color will be an afterthought and where somebody comes from won’t matter. Everybody will overlook their differences….”
Steve thinks about this for a minute. “And you call me a dreamer. Do you actually believe that will happen?”
Neal smiles. “Yeah it will happen after my sons are grown, because Ruby and I are raising our sons to overlook color and to accept people….it has to start somewhere and why not let it start here….with me?”
Steve smiles. “I think Neal that is a good idea and as their godfather I agree.”
“Starting to feel better partner?” Neal asks.
Steve nods his head. “Yeah I think so.”
“Good let’s get started on the next case.” Neal replies.
“And you want this to be the next case, right?” Steve asks.
“Yeah I mean I think it will fit, don’t you?” Neal asks as he taps the newspaper that is on Steve’s desk.
“Yeah I do.” Steve thinks a minute then he replies “Neal….”
“Yeah Steve.” Neal asks.
“Maybe we aren’t alone; maybe there are other dreamers out there too.”
Neal smiles. “Maybe Steve just maybe but for now….”
“Yeah but for now….”
“It’s all about black and white….” They both say at the same time.
And it started like this.
ON DUTY SOMEWHERE ON THE STREETS OF OCEANVIEW:
“You know Steve sometimes I think we do our jobs too well, there is just nothing going on.” Neal replies as he looks around.
“Hey Neal take a look at this.” Steve replies as he shows the centerfold in the magazine that he had been looking at to Neal.
Neal takes the magazine. “Wow! That is just incredible!” Neal exclaims.
“Groovy no?” Steve asks.
“Groovy yes! Steve are those….real?” Neal asks as he points something out to Steve that is in the picture.
“Yes they are!”
“Wow!! You know Steve maybe I shouldn’t be looking at this.” Neal replies.
“Well because I feel like I’m cheating.” Neal replies.
“No you aren’t, you’re just looking and just looking isn’t cheating.” Steve points out.
“Then why do I feel….dirty?” Neal asks.
“Well I don’t know maybe because you have always wanted….”
“Oh don’t say it!!!” Neal replies.
“Are you crazy!!? Steve, you know what they say you get one of these and then everybody will want it! You can’t go anywhere without people staring and pointing, thinking those thoughts they all think when you have a beautiful….”
“You still want it don’t you?” Steve asks.
“No I love my lady but I still feel like I’m cheating on her.” Neal replies as he runs his hand lovingly over the dash of the car.
“Ah Neal….” Steve replies as he nudges Neal with his shoulder. “Ruby would look great in this car! Just imagine it! The top down, Ruby’s long beautiful hair blowing in the wind. She’s wearing that off the shoulder dress….”
“Hmmm?” Steve replies as he looks at Neal.
“I think you’re imagining way too much.” Neal replies.
“Just imagine the look on Ruby’s face when you drive up in this!”
“If I drove up in this Ruby would kill me!!” Neal replies.
“Why do you say that?”
“I say that Steve because that is a Mercedes Benz 450 Convertible! Look at the price! There is no way I could ever afford that car, not in this life anyway. She would wonder where I got the scratch to pay for it.”
“It doesn’t hurt to dream.” Steve replies as he looks at the centerfold.
“No, no it doesn’t. So why are you looking at expensive car magazines?” Neal asks.
“Because I have a tough decision to make….” Steve replies.
“Besides having to decide what ratty jeans to wear to work that day? Or what conditioner you have to use on your hair? Or which girl you feel like taking out to dinner or….” Neal looks over at Steve.
“Are you finished?” Steve asks.
“Like I said I have a tough decision to make.” Steve takes a deep breath. “I want you to be the first to know about this….”
“Wow Steve this does sound serious.” Neal then covers his mouth with his hand as his eyes widen. “Oh no! You aren’t going to…?!”
“I aren’t going to do what?” Steve asks.
“Oh no you can’t I mean that would be a travesty!!” Neal replies rather dramatically.
“What! What would be a travesty?!”
“Steve I never thought I would see the day.” Neal replies as he puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder.
“What!! What is it Neal? Tell me so we both know!!! Come on man!!” Steve replies as he grabs Neal’s arm.
“I know it had to be a very tough decision, I mean how will you cope?” Neal asks seriously.
“Cope with what exactly?”
“The decision you made to become….” Neal replies.
“Celibate.” Neal replies.
“WHAT?!” Steve replies as he laughs. “Who said anything about becoming you know?”
“Well I thought you did.” Neal replies.
Steve waves his hands quickly back and forth. “Oh no, no I didn’t. I don’t think I could even say the word let alone practice it. Why in all that is holy do you think I was going to say that?”
“Well I don’t know exactly I mean that would be a tough decision for you, I just thought you were growing tired of hot and cold running women, that revolving door that is on your bedroom, I just thought maybe you were giving up your hedonist lifestyle….”
“Neal I told you I’m Catholic not a Hedonist.”
Neal rubs his eyes. “Steve….”
“Before this conversation starts to run away with it self just tell me what this tough decision is you had to make.”
Steve takes a deep breath. “I’ve decided to….”
“Yeah.” Neal replies as he leans in closer.
“….Buy a car!!!” Steve says happily.
“Really?! So Steve what made you decide to buy a car?”
“Oh, oh I know! You’re tired of me not letting you drive my car!” Neal replies.
“Or maybe it’s the fact your girlfriends are tired of riding around in city issued vehicles.” Neal replies.
“Or just maybe you decided to grow up and get a car of your own!!” Neal replies.
Steve just looks at him. “Actually….old buddy old pal….it has to do with Gwen.”
“Gwen? Gwen?” Neal says then he snaps his fingers. “Oh Gwen! The girl that works in the motor pool! What happened did you two have a fight?”
“Not exactly, she transferred to another department….”
“Oh really, which one? Oh I know I bet she went to the Utilities Department!” Neal replies.
“Yeah….anyway she’s transferring and now her replacement is not as friendly as she was….” Steve replies.
“You mean her replacement can’t be swayed by your long eyelashes or by those tight jeans you wear that you think show off your skinny ass to perfection or that….”
Steve takes a deep breath. “Her replacement is a guy!!”
“Oh. So what was the point to all of this again?” Neal asks.
Steve takes another deep breath. “The point is I’ve milked the motor pool dry!!! So I have to buy a car or I’ll be walking unless….” Steve looks at Neal.
“I can borrow your car?” Steve asks.
“So I have to buy a car. Neal….” Steve gets that puppy dog look on his face.
“What? Oh don’t look at me like that!” Neal replies.
“Neal please I could use your help! This is the first car I’ve ever bought! I could use your expertise in this manner, so Neal please help me! Pppppllllllleeeeeaaasssseeee!!!!”
“Oh alright!!!” Neal replies.
“Thank you, thank you!!” Steve replies as he takes a notepad out of his pocket. “Okay now I need a list of what to look for.”
“What to look for?” Neal asks.
“Yeah you know what kind of car should I look for?” Steve asks as he waits the pen poised over the paper.
“Well….” Neal looks around as he scratches his head. “It should have a big back seat for stake outs and such.”
“Big back seat.” Steve replies as he writes it down.
“It should be powerful; I mean we need to chase the bad guys.”
“Powerful.” Steve replies as he writes it down.
“Nothing too flashy you know it has to blend in.” Neal replies.
“Blending in okay got it.” Steve replies as he writes it down. “Anything else?”
“Just remember this it has to be a lean, mean fighting machine.” Neal replies.
“A lean, mean….” Steve replies as he looks at Neal.
“….Fighting machine yeah.” Neal replies.
“Oh okay.” Steve writes it down.
Neal starts to pat down his pockets which cause Steve to look over at him. “Watcha doing?”
“I’m out of smokes, let’s go by Fred’s so I can get some more smokes and you can get a paper to start looking for a car.”
“I thought you were going to stop smoking?” Steve replies.
Neal takes a deep breath. “Don’t you start now.” Neal replies as he points at him.
“Ruby busting your chops?” Steve asks as he smiles.
“Yeah just a little but she’s right.”
Steve puts his arm around Neal’s shoulders. “There you go Neal quit smoking and with the money you save you can buy that Mercedes.” Steve replies as he winks at him.
“Yeah maybe in 1979.” Neal replies. “Come on let’s go to the store.”
FRED’S FINE LIQUORS AND FOOD:
Steve puts the newspaper on the counter along with a Coke and a couple of lollipops, one of which he puts in his mouth as Neal puts his cigarettes on the counter.
“You know those are bad for your teeth.” Neal replies as he points at Steve.
“You know those are bad for your lungs.” Steve points out as he continues to suck on the lollipop.
“Don’t….” Neal starts to say but he is interrupted by Fred coming out of the back room.
“Guys, guys I can’t believe that you’re here I was just going to call the Precinct!”
“How come Fred?” Steve asks.
“Yeah man it looks pretty quiet to me.” Neal replies as he looks around.
“Barbara these guys are cops it’s on the house.” Fred says to the girl at the cash register.
“No Fred we rather pay.” Neal says as he hands the girl two dollars.
“See Barbara I told you these guys are two good cops.” Fred replies.
“Fred let’s get back to why you were going to call us.” Neal replies.
“Barbara why don’t you take your break now?” Fred replies.
“Sure thing Mr. Williams.” Barbara replies then they watch as she goes into the back room and when Fred makes sure she is gone he says, “I’m going to be robbed!!” Fred says with conviction.
Steve and Neal look at each other then Neal looks at Fred.
“Okay Fred I’ll bite how do you know that you’re going to be robbed?”
“Yeah Fred how do you know?” Steve asks.
“Boys I have been running liquor stores when you two were just a gleam in your father’s eyes….”
Steve and Neal look at one another again.
“….And I know when something is up, I know suspicious people when I see them! I also know when people are casing my store! I tell you boys I’m going to be robbed!”
Steve takes his notepad out of his pocket then he asks. “Okay Fred how do you know they were casing your store?”
“How do I know? How do I know? They came into the store here and they wandered around the place looking!” Fred replies.
“Did they buy anything?” Neal asks.
“Yeah the big guy bought a pack of cigarettes and he bought the kid a bottle of coke and a comic book.”
“Kid, there was a kid with him?” Steve asks.
“Yeah he was about 14 or so.” Fred replies.
“Have they ever been in here before?” Neal asks.
“No never.” Fred replies.
“Are you sure?” Neal asks.
“I am 100 percent positive!!” Fred replies.
“How can you be so sure Fred?” Neal asks.
“Because they were black!!” Fred replies loudly.
“Black?” Steve replies as he raises his eyebrows in surprise.
“Yes black! He was a big guy with a….a….that big head of hair!!” Fred replies.
“You mean an afro?” Neal asks.
“Yeah that’s it and he had long sideburns and the boy with him was 14 or so and aren’t you going to write this down?” Fred replies as he points at Steve.
“Fred it isn’t a crime….” Steve replies but is interrupted by Fred.
“Well it should be! There should be a law! Why are they in my store don’t they have stores in their own neighborhoods? Why do they have to come over here?” Fred replies loudly.
Steve glances over at Neal.
“What? What’s the problem? They have their neighborhoods and we have ours! Have you seen how they live? Well have you? Do you want that to happen here? They should all go back to where they came from!
The next thing you know the Mexicans and Italians will move in here next!!” Fred replies.
“Neal you can stay and talk to this idiot but I have to get out of here.” Steve replies then they watch as Steve leaves the store.
“Did your partner just call me an idiot?” Fred asks.
“Yes Fred he did and furthermore he’s right, you are an idiot!”
“Neal come on you know me….” Fred replies.
“No Fred I thought I knew you and after all this time you don’t know me either!”
“Neal what do you mean that I don’t know you?” Fred replies.
“I’m Italian Fred!!” Neal replies loudly.
“Oh well Neal I know that I wasn’t talking about you.”
Neal crosses his arms over his chest. “Alright Fred what about Steve?”
“Steve, is he Italian too?”
“No Fred try again.” Neal replies.
Fred scratches his head. “Oh you mean he’s one of those Mexicans….”
“No Fred he’s one of those Portuguese!” Neal replies.
“Oh well I didn’t know that I always thought he was Mexican I mean he looks like he could be one of them. Now Neal do you know need any more information for your report?” Fred asks.
“No Fred there’s not going to be any report.” Neal replies.
“But….but why? I told you they are planning to rob me I just know it!!!”
“Like Steve tried to tell you before it isn’t a crime to walk into a store and look around….”
“But they were two black people in a white neighborhood store, my store!!” Fred replies.
“….And being black in a white neighborhood isn’t a crime either Fred!!!” Neal replies as he leans on the counter.
“Well just maybe it should be Detective!!!” Fred replies as he leans in closer to Neal.
Neal takes a deep breath as he grabs the items off of the counter. “Alright Fred see you around.”
Neal leaves the store and once in the car he hands Steve his newspaper and the rest of the lollipops.
Steve raises his hand to stop him. “I know what you’re going to say Neal; you’re going to say that I shouldn’t have let Fred get to me. I should have relied on my training and let it roll off of my back; I should have let my cop mode take over….”
“Actually I was going to apologize to you.”
“Apologize to me? Why you didn’t do anything.” Steve replies then he puts his hand on Neal’s shoulder. “You’re really upset aren’t you?”
Neal nods. “Yeah just when you think you know somebody then you find out you don’t know them at all. I started coming to this store when I was just a rookie cop, his wife for god sakes made sandwiches for us and I had no idea that Fred was….was….”
“A bigot?” Steve replies.
Neal looks at him. “Yeah a bigot and so when you became my partner I brought you here like my first partner did, it was like a tradition you know. He always makes donations to the Police Benevolent Association.”
Neal rubs his face. “I just don’t get it!”
“Neal you have to calm down here have a cigarette.” Steve replies as he holds the pack out to him.
“Thanks, you think you know somebody. You know you better not do that!” Neal replies as he points his finger at Steve.
“Do what?” Steve replies as he points to himself.
“Start spouting stupid bullshit like Fred in there if anything like that ever comes out of your mouth!”
“Neal you know me why would I say anything even remotely similar to that!?” Steve replies.
“I don’t know Steve like I said before I….thought….I….knew….Fred.” Neal replies as he grips the steering wheel as he looks hard at Fred’s store.
“Come on Neal let’s go and make the rounds okay?” Steve pushes Neal gently. “Okay?”
Neal looks over and he smiles a little as he nods his head. “Okay.”
“Victor 7 is available.” Steve says to dispatch. “So let’s go partner, we have many miles to travel and a little time to get there.”
“Right.” Neal replies as they drive off.
TWO DAYS LATER:
“Steve do you have any idea how many times I’ve called your….what’s that?” Neal asks.
“What does it look like?” Steve asks.
“A car?” Neal replies.
“Very good Neal! That’s why I like you because you are so smart!” Steve replies as he pats Neal on the cheek.
“Yeah yeah smartass the questions are why is it here and where did you get it?”
“Well you know I want to buy a car….” Steve replies.
“Oh….you didn’t buy this car….did you?”
“Well no not yet….” Steve replies.
“Whew that’s good.” Neal replies.
“Wait what do you mean that’s good?” Steve replies.
Neal laughs. “Well Steve look at it I mean it would not fit in at all, what moron did you get it from?”
“Willie? The same Willie that you and I arrested that you said has gone legit….” Neal replies.
Steve interrupts. “He has gone legit!”
Neal raises his hand to stop him. “….The same Willie that you got that last car from that died on us in 102 degree heat that we had to push!!”
“Well yeah but lookit this car is in great shape!” Steve replies as he hits the fender and the hubcap on the front tire falls off.
“Uh huh.” Neal replies.
Steve laughs. “That’s not a big deal.” Steve replies as he picks up the hubcap and he tosses it into the back of the car.
“Have you noticed that the car is missing something very important?” Neal asks.
Steve walks around the car looking then he stops and he looks at Neal. “What? What is it missing?”
“Steve it’s an El Camino.” Neal points out.
“Duh yeah I know that….”
“It doesn’t have a back seat!!” Neal replies.
“But Neal it’s a SS 454!!” Steve replies.
“It doesn’t have a back seat, where are we supposed to put our prisoners when we arrest them? Huh tell me that?”
Steve scratches his head. “Well….we could always weld a hook in the back and handcuff them to it!!”
“We could weld a hook? Steve do you know anything about welding?”
“Well no not exactly but how hard can it be?” Steve asks as he shrugs.
“Uh huh, it’s a no Steve.”
“But…but you haven’t even ridden in it yet!” Steve points out.
“It’s not practical for what we do and look at it this way Steve if you want to make time with a girl it would be awfully hard to do that in this car, what would you do throw a mattress in the back, tsk, tsk very tacky.”
“When you put it that way I see your point, I’ll take it back to Willie’s tomorrow and get another one to test drive.”
“Steve can I ask you a question about Willie?” Neal asks.
“Sure I guess so what is it?”
“Does Willie let all of his customers take cars home to test drive them like you do?”
“Just the ones that have arrested him in the past.” Steve replies as he gets in the car. “I’m going to park this in the lot and then I’ll be right back.”
“Hey wait who else has arrested him? Steve!!” Neal yells after him as he drives off.
TWO DAYS LATER:
“Neal what are you looking for?” Steve asks.
“The dead body.”
“What?” Steve replies as he looks over at him. “What dead body?”
“The dead body that is making that smell that is in this car!” Neal replies as he gets out of the passenger seat and he opens the door to the back seat.
Steve leans over the back seat. “Neal you big dope there is no dead body.”
“Could’ve fooled me.” Neal replies from the back seat.
“I will have you know Neal that Willie has the cleanest cars in Oceanview.”
“Yeah he wipes off all of the fingerprints but in this one he forgot to take the dead body out.”
“Neal that isn’t fair…” Steve replies as he shakes his finger at him.
“No what isn’t fair is that we have to ride around in this car.”
“You were quite happy with this car this morning when I drove up to your house.” Steve replies.
“That was because Ruby’s car is in the shop and she needed my car and at that time I was desperate and also at that time the sun had not been beating down on it for hours!” Neal replies.
“Okay if there is a smell in this car how come I don’t smell it? Huh? Tell me that curly-headed boy!!”
“Because straight-headed boy you have been in it longer so you are used to it that’s why!!”
“Hmmm.” Steve replies. “I know let’s get a second opinion!”
“From whom exactly?” Neal asks.
“Well….” Steve replies as he looks around. “We have a lot of citizens walking around let’s ask one of them.”
“And how do you profess to do that? Oh excuse me Mr. or Ms. Average Citizen could you please come over here and sniff our car?”
“Well yeah but first we introduce ourselves as police so they don’t think we’re weird.”
“Oh yeah Steve we don’t want anybody to think we’re weird.” Neal replies as he rolls his eyes.
“Of course not! Neal look….!!” Steve replies as he elbows him and then he points.
“What?” Neal replies as he looks at the person that Steve is pointing at.
Neal sits up. “Oh yeah it sure is.”
“Now he’s a citizen and we can get his opinion.” Steve replies as he starts the car.
“He isn’t a citizen he’s a criminal.” Neal points out.
“And he doesn’t recognize us.” Steve replies as he pulls out from the curb pacing Johnny as he walks along the sidewalk.
“Because we’re driving this meat wagon.” Neal replies.
“Be nice.” Steve replies as he continues to follow Johnny. “You know this is fortuitous.”
Neal looks over at Steve. “Oh fortuitous is it?”
“Yeah his Parole Officer is looking for him.” Steve replies.
“So how long….?”
“Oh about a month now.” Steve replies.
“How come we can always find these people and they can’t?” Neal asks.
“That is why it’s….” Steve replies.
“….Fortuitous I know.”
“Exactly.” Steve replies. “I think I’m going to cut him off at the pass.”
“There’s an alley right up here.” Neal replies.
Steve turned right into the alley and stopped just as Johnny stepped off of the curb.
“Hey! You sorry son-of-a-bitches didn’t you see me….” Johnny replied.
“Yeah Johnny we saw you.” Neal replies.
“Hiya!” Steve smiles and waves from the driver’s seat.”
Johnny takes a step back. “Oh hey guys you know I didn’t….you got another car?”
“Yeah ain’t she a beaut?” Steve asks.
“Get in the car Johnny.” Neal replies.
“Why?” Johnny asks as he takes another step back.
“Why?” Neal repeats as he looks over at Steve then he looks back to Johnny. “Because we told you too that’s why.”
“Come on Johnny don’t give us a hard time.” Steve replies.
Johnny takes another step back then he turns and he bolts like a horse leaving a burning barn.
“They always run.” Neal replies as he jumps out of the car and even before the door is closed Steve takes off up the alley.
Neal chases Johnny up the street ducking and dodging the other pedestrians as Steve negotiations the car thru the alley.
“Johnny stop!!” Neal yells after him as they run up the street.
Steve knew most of the alleys in Oceanview but this one was new to him so therefore he wasn’t aware that it was trash day and the businesses that lined the street had put out their garbage cans in the alley for pickup but he found it out the hard way. Steve rounded the building and he stopped just as Johnny came into view and when Johnny saw Steve he put on the brakes and once again he turned around right into Neal.
“Going somewhere Johnny?” Neal asks as he grabs Johnny by his forearms.
“I….” Johnny starts to say.
“Alright Johnny get in the car.” Steve replies as he holds open the door to the back seat.
Neal and Johnny turn but they both stop at the sight of the car.
“Steve what happened to the car?” Neal asks.
Steve scratches his head. “Wanna you mean?” Steve asks.
“What do I mean? What do I mean? Just look at it. It looks like an Italian Restaurant threw up on the car.” Neal replies as he points.
“Well the alley was narrow and its trash day.” Steve replies as he shrugs. “Who knew?”
“Yeah who knew.” Neal repeats as he helps Johnny into the back seat then Neal gets in next to him.
“Johnny you’ve been a bad boy.” Neal replies.
“Yeah Johnny you’ve been really, really bad.” Steve replies in kind from the driver’s seat.
“What? What did I do?” Johnny asks.
“Does the name Sam Roman mean anything at all to you, anything at all?” Neal asks.
“I….” Johnny replies as he starts to fidget.
Neal leans in closer. “Anything wrong Johnny?”
“Can, can I ask a question?” Johnny asks.
“Be my guest.” Steve replies.
“Did something die in here?” Johnny asks and immediately Neal looks at Steve and Steve can see Neal in the rearview mirror and Steve notices the smirk on his face.
“No why?” Steve replies with a slightly disgusted tone and that is when Neal started to laugh.
“What’s so funny?” Johnny asks as he looks at Neal.
Neal takes Johnny’s hand and he shakes it as Johnny looks with disbelief at Neal.
“Thank you Johnny.”
“What did I do?” Johnny asks.
“You proved me right that’s what.” Neal replies happily.
“I did?” Johnny pulls his hand away. “You guys are weird!”
“See Steve I told you, ah!!” Neal replies as he hits the back of Steve’s seat.
“Yeah, yeah.” Steve replies as he waves him off.
“You’ll take it back?” Neal asks.
“I’ll take it back.” Steve replies.
“He’s going to take it back Johnny!!” Neal replies happily. “After we take you back.”
“You guys are weird and scary!!” Johnny replies.
“Ah Johnny you say the sweetest things.” Steve replies.
“I’ll say anything you guys want just as long as I don’t end up like the last guy that was in this backseat before me!” Johnny replies.
“Johnny….” Steve starts to say.
“I’ve heard about you guys and I just thought they were bullshitting me but now I know its true!! You two guys are crazy just like they said!!!” Johnny replies.
Neal looks over at Steve who looks at Neal in the rearview mirror and all he does is shrug his shoulders.
“Johnny look man calm down….” Neal replies as he reaches out to touch him but Johnny jumps back in the seat.
“No! Don’t touch me!” Johnny says loudly.
“Johnny come on man I’m not going to….” Neal replies.
“No!! Leave me alone just….” Johnny replies but doesn’t finish because he suddenly collapses right on Neal.
“Neal?” Steve replies as he glances in the rearview mirror.
“Oh he’s still breathing I guess he just fainted.” Neal replies as he checks Johnny’s pulse.
“Fainted?” Steve replies.
“You know Neal if we get this response maybe I should keep….” Steve replies as he glances up in the rearview mirror.
“No.” Neal replies.
“No?” Steve replies.
“No!” Neal replies.
“Steve….” Neal replies but Steve doesn’t answer so Neal leans over the front seat and he touches Steve on the shoulder. “Steve.”
“Yeah.” Steve finally replies.
“It would be a keeper if it wasn’t for the smell.”
“Really truly?” Steve replies as he looks up into the rearview mirror and Neal can see just a hint of a smile.
“Yeah really truly.” Neal replies as he pats Steve on the shoulder.
“Thanks Neal.” Steve replies.
“Anytime Steve anytime, let’s get Johnny back to the Precinct.”
“Okay.” Steve replies.
TWO DAYS LATER:
“Steve have you ever looked up flashy in the dictionary?”
“What do you mean?” Steve asks.
“We have to blend in with the general populace of Oceanview….” Neal replies.
“Not stand out too much….” Neal replies.
“Steve we go undercover….alot.” Neal replies.
“Steve it’s red.”
“No that’s where you’re wrong it’s candy apple….red!” Steve replies.
“With a white stripe.”
“Well….” Steve replies.
“It’s a no.” Neal replies.
“Ah Neal it’s a Grand
“Ah but Neal it works for those other guys.” Steve replies.
“It’s a no Steve.”
“But before you take it back we could take a spin in it.” Neal replies.
“Really?” Steve asks happily.
“Yeah let’s go!” Neal replies.
“Cool!” Steve replies as he jumps in the driver’s seat.
TWO DAYS LATER:
“Steve this is Neal and yet again I am leaving another message, where are you? You’re supposed to be here at my house to help me with the yard work and if you aren’t here in an hour all bets are off and I’m coming to look for you….and if I have to yank that skinny ass of yours out of some girl’s bed I will be….” CLICK! The sound of the answering machine as it hangs up. “Damn!!!” Neal replies as he looks at the telephone receiver.
Neal takes a deep breath then he replaces the receiver back into the cradle and he goes outside. He decides that he will busy himself as he waits for Steve to show up so he goes to the garage and he takes out the lawn mower, cutting the grass will kill an hour and if Steve still isn’t here he will do exactly what he said he will go and look for him. Standing there looking at the lawnmower Neal lights a cigarette, thinking about the other times he had trouble starting these things. But this one was new so Neal reasons he won’t have any trouble so he reaches for the pull cord and he gives it a good hard yank and….nothing. So he tries again and still nothing and Neal was just about to try again for the fifth time when he was suddenly tackled from behind.
“Steve?” Neal replies as he slowly opens one eye as he looks up into Steve’s face.
“You were expecting somebody else?”
“What, what I’m doing on the ground?” Neal asks.
“I tackled you.” Steve replies.
“Most people just knock on the front door.”
“Yeah but you were smoking right near the gas can.” Steve replies as he points.
Neal looks in the direction that Steve is pointing. “You couldn’t you know just yell or something?”
“I didn’t think of it.” Steve replies.
“Where have you been?” Neal asks.
“When?” Steve replies.
“Now, today, you were supposed to be here about an hour or so ago to help me….”
“Not blow yourself up?” Steve replies as he laughs.
“So who was she?” Neal asks.
“Melissa?” Neal repeats.
“Melissa yeah but Neal she wasn’t the reason why I was late….”
“Oh?” Neal replies.
“No?” Neal repeats.
“It was Betty.” Steve replies as he smiles and his eyes have that glint that Neal has seen before.
“Betty?” Neal replies.
“Yes.” Steve replies.
“Yeah Neal?” Steve replies.
“Before this goes any further could you please get off of me before the neighbors start spreading rumors?”
Steve looks down and he realizes that he is indeed still straddling Neal in the middle of his yard.
“Oh yeah sure.” Steve replies as he gets off of Neal then he helps him up as he brushes him off. “Sorry. Neal I want you to be the first to know!”
“Neal I’m in love!!” Steve replies happily as he slaps him on the chest.
“Melissa?” Neal asks.
“Melissa?” Steve replies as he makes a face.
“Yeah Melissa.” Neal replies.
Steve shakes his head. “No, no it isn’t Melissa it’s Betty!!”
Neal crosses his arms over his chest. “Betty?”
“Yeah Betty!” Steve replies happily.
“Why is it I’ve never heard you talk about this Betty before?” Neal asks.
“That’s because I just met her this morning that’s why!” Steve replies.
“What? You just met her this morning and you’re already in love with her? Steve you have pulled some kooky stunts in your day but this ranks right up there! I can’t believe….”
“Neal.” Steve replies.
“….That you would do something like that! Oh, and I bet that Melissa was none too pleased! You spend the night with her and then the next morning you met another girl….”
“….Oh Steve you are a cad you are!!!”
“Betty isn’t a girl.”
“What?” Neal replies.
“I said Betty isn’t a girl!!!” Steve replies.
“She isn’t a….then Steve what is she?” Neal asks.
“Look!” Steve replies as he takes the newspaper out of his back pocket and he shows the page to Neal.
Neal makes a face as he looks at the page. “She’s a….”
“Yeah, yeah go ahead!!”
“Oh no Neal Betty isn’t just any car she’s a 69 Chevy Chevelle and she’s beautiful!! Come on we have to go!!!”
“Go? Go where?” Neal asks.
“To Betty of course!!!”
“Oh of course!!!” Neal replies. “Hey you didn’t get Betty from Willie did you?”
“Na she’s at the used car dealership a couple of miles up the road, I had to get there before he closed, he’s only open to on Saturdays. He let me drive her Neal; I want you to see her!” Steve replies.
“So you can get my approval huh?” Neal replies as he hits Steve on his shoulder.
“Well sure something like that.”
“What do you mean sure something like that? You do want my approval before you….Steve?”
“Neal I had to act fast but you don’t have to worry it fits all your requirements! It has a big back seat, it has get up and go, it’s in top shape, the engine Neal, you could eat off of the engine! Ah Neal when you see her you will love her just as much as I do!”
“So how much did you give him?” Neal asks.
“Two hundred and fifty dollars to hold her for me.” Steve replies.
Neal whistles. “Steve can you afford that?”
“Yah I gave him a post-dated check!”
“A post-dated….Steve is that a good idea?”
“He promised me he won’t cash it until the date on the check and when I get the loan from the bank I can pick her up!!! Neal I can’t believe it, I have my own car!!”
Neal smiles. “How much is he asking?”
“Oh 2,500.” Steve replies.
“2,500 that sounds fair.”
“Neal I’ll have to get a loan at the bank and I’ll never done that before, do you think….?” Steve asks.
“Sure I’ll help you.”
“Cool!! So you want to come with me and have a look at her!!” Steve asks hopefully.
“What about cutting the grass?” Neal asks.
“Oh pish posh the grass will always be here and this is far more important than yard work!!” Steve replies.
“You tell that to Ruby.” Neal replies as he points at him.
“Ah Neal come on!” Steve replies as he fidgets around.
“All right let me go and get the car keys.” Neal replies as he starts to walk away. “Oh by the way how did you get here?”
“Me oh I walked.” Steve replies.
“Walked? You walked all that way?” Neal asks.
“I was excited!” Steve replies as he smiles.
“I’ll get the car keys then we’ll go and look at Betty.”
“Cool!” Steve replies.
THREE DAYS LATER:
“Well did you get it?” Neal asks as Steve gets in the car.
“Yeah but Neal look at this, they ask more questions than we do when we’re interrogating somebody!”
Neal takes the papers from him. “This is nothing wait till you buy a house.”
“This looks very complicated Neal….?”
“Yes I’ll help you.” Neal replies.
“This will be for later.” Neal replies as he holds up the papers. “Now we have work to do partner.”
“Victor 7 we are available.” Steve replies into the mike.
“10-4 Victor 7.” Dispatch replies.
“Let’s roll slowly thru the west sector and shake some trees, what do you say partner?” Neal replies.
“I say let’s roll partner.” Steve replies as he smiles.
TWO DAYS LATER AT THE FIRST BANK OF OCEANVIEW:
With Neal’s help Steve was able to complete the loan paperwork in record time and now he was back at his bank to turn in said paperwork and now all Steve had to do was wait and keep his fingers crossed.
Steve was sitting in a comfy chair trying his best not to doze off when he heard a sweet sounding voice calling his name.
Steve stood up quickly and he turned around to see a beautiful, very well dressed dark skinned young woman with a slight afro holding a file folder in one hand.
“Mr. Perry did I startled you?” She asked.
“Oh no not at all.” Steve replies as he runs one hand thru his hair as he smiles his classic smile at her. He knows a beauty when he sees one.
“I’m Linda Russell and I’ll be handling your car loan, would you mind coming over to my desk?”
“Oh not at all.” Steve replies as he follows her.
“Please have a seat Mr. Perry.” Linda replies as he gestures to one of the chairs in front of her desk.
“After you Mrs. Russell.” Steve replies.
“It’s Miss Russell and thank you.” Linda replies as she sits down then Steve has a seat himself. “Now Mr. Perry….”
“You do have your loan paperwork don’t you?” Linda asks.
“What?” Steve replies.
“I said you do have your loan paperwork don’t you?” Linda repeats again.
“Loan paperwork? Oh! Oh yeah I do! Here you go.” Steve replies as he smiles handing it to her.
Linda takes the paperwork. “Now I just want to go over this with you just to make sure….Mr. Perry.”
“Hmmm oh please call me Steve.” Steve replies as he leans on her desk his chin resting in his hand as he smiles at her.
“Would you mind not leaning on my desk?”
“Oh, oh sure I’m sorry.” Steve replies as he stops leaning on her desk.
“Now it says here that you work for the city but you didn’t say what you do for the city? What is it exactly that you do for the city? Mr. Perry?”
“Maybe this is a bad time to do this because you seem distracted….” Linda replies.
“Would you like to go out with me and have a cup of coffee?” Steve asks.
“I said would you like to go out with me and have a cup of coffee?” Steve says again.
“Or maybe a piece of pie I know a great place to get pie and they have great coffee….”
“Mr. Perry….” Linda replies as she smiles.
“Oh my gosh you have a great smile and you are so beautiful so what do you say will you go out with me?” Steve asks.
“Mr. Perry I am flattered but….”
“But I don’t date….”
“You have a boyfriend right? I knew it a cool looking lady like you would have a….” Steve replies.
“No I don’t have a….”
“It’s the long hair right?” Steve asks as he holds out a strand of his hair.
“No it isn’t the hair.” Linda replies as she laughs.
“I’m too pushy right?” Steve asks.
“Maybe just a little but Mr. Perry I don’t date bank customers.” Linda replies.
“Oh I see can I have that back please?” Steve asks as he gestures to the loan paperwork that was on her desk.
“Oh of course.” Linda replies as she hands it back to him.
Steve looks at it then he quickly wads it up, as Linda gasps, then he throws it in the nearby trash can.
“Mr. Perry are you crazy?” Linda asks.
“Slightly but now that I don’t have a car loan here I am no longer a bank customer so you can go out with me, right?” Steve asks as he leans over the desk.
“Mr. Perry you have a bank account here do you not?” Linda asks.
“Oh sure I have a checking and savings account.”
“So technically that still makes you a bank customer does it not?” Linda asks.
“Technically I can always go and close my accounts and take them to another bank and then I will cease being your bank customer now won’t I?” Steve asks as he winks at her.
“Touché Mr. Perry.” Linda replies then she leans over and she takes the loan application out of the trash. “It usually takes about two weeks to process car loans, can you wait two weeks?”
“You mean after two weeks you’ll go out with me?” Steve asks hopefully.
“I like cherry pie Mr. Perry.” Linda replies.
“Cool so do I!!!”
“Now can we continue assuming that you still want the car loan Mr. Perry?” Linda asks as she smiles.
“You assume correctly Miss Russell!”
“Now what is it that you do for the City, Steve?”
TWO DAYS LATER AT FRED’S FINE LIQUORS AND FOOD :
“What a way to start a weekend eh Detectives?” The officer who was guarding the crime scene asked as he handed Neal the clipboard.
“What weekend?” Neal asked as he signed the sign-in sheet then he handed it to Steve who signed it then he handed it back to the officer.
“Can you give us the Reader’s Digest version?” Steve asks as he takes out his notepad.
The officer motions with his pen. “That guy over there was delivering the morning paper and on most mornings he goes in to talk to the cashier and get his cup of coffee but in this case when he went in he noticed the cash register was opened and nobody answered him when he called out. He said the hairs stood up on the back of his neck and he found a phone and the rest they say…is history Detectives.”
“Have him cool his heels so we can talk to him, right Neal? Neal….?” Steve replies as he elbows him.
“What?” Neal replies as he looks at the front of the store.
“I said have the newspaper delivery guy wait around so we can talk to him, is that cool with you?” Steve asks.
“Oh sure that is fine, just fine.” Neal replies.
“Neal are you okay?” Steve asks.
“Oh yeah I’m fine, just fine. Is Sam here yet?” Neal replies.
“Yeah he wanted you two just as soon as you got here.” The officer replies.
“Where is he?” Steve asks.
“Straight back in the storage room.” The officer replies as he holds up the crime scene tape so they can cross under.
The front of the store looked normal everything in its place and a place for everything the only things that looked out of place was the crime scene boys. They found their way back to the storage room to find Sam the Coroner Man down on one knee next to one of the bodies.
“Sam.” Neal replied.
“What have you got so far?” Steve asks.
“They have been dead only two hours or so, both of them shot in the back of the head, execution style.” Sam replies.
“Do we know who they are, any I.D.?” Steve asks.
For a minute there was silence then Neal replies, “His name is Robert.” Neal replies as he points to the body that Sam is kneeling next to. “He was the cashier and that was Tommy, he was the stock boy.”
“Neal you know them?”
“Yeah I mean I used to come in here a lot, remember?” Neal replies as he looks over at Steve.
“Oh yeah I do remember….Neal?” Steve replies.
“Steve why don’t you handle this while I’ll go and talk to the newspaper guy.” Neal replies.
“Sure anything you say….Neal?”
“Later okay later?” Neal replies as he puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder and as an answer all Steve does is nod.
Steve watches as Neal turns and he walks away.
“Complicated no?” Sam asks from his position on the floor.
“Complicated yes Doc.”
The words were barely out of Steve’s mouth when they heard yelling from out in front of the store.
“Stay put Doc!” Steve replies before he turns and he runs out of the storage room.
Once outside he saw Neal trying to get up from the ground holding his jaw and two officers holding back the owner of the store, Fred as the Press that had descended on the store was taking numerous pictures.
“You son-of-a-bitch!!!” Fred yells as the officers try to hold him back. “I told you! Oh my god I told you!!!”
“Neal! Neal are you okay?” Steve replies as he helps Neal to his feet.
“Get them out of here!!” Neal yells as he gestures toward the Press that were now yelling questions.
“Hey Detective! What happened?” One of the Press yelled in Neal’s direction.
“Yeah what’s the explanation?” Another one yelled.
“I said get them out of here!!” Neal yells as two officers move to disperse the crowd.
“Their dead now and it’s you’re fault!!! Tommy and Robert were like family to me!! You should have listened to me!!!” Fred yells as the officers struggle to hold him.
Neal rubs his jaw as he looks at Fred.
“Calm down you’re under arrest….” One of the officers replies but he is soon interrupted.
“No.” Neal replies.
“No?” Steve replies as he looks at Neal.
“No Detective?” One of the officers repeated. “But he slugged you!”
“I said no.” Neal replies again.
“You! You did this! I hope you carry this around with you for the rest of your life! Dear god in heaven why didn’t you listen to me?” Fred yells at Neal.
“Fred….” Steve replies.
“And you, don’t you ever think that your conscience is clear!! Tommy and Robert are dead because of you two!!!” Fred yells at Steve.
“Fred you don’t mean….” Steve replies.
“Don’t!! Don’t you even try!!! The next time you will hear from me will be on the nightly news!!!” Fred yells.
“Detective Schon are you sure? You don’t want him arrested?” One of the officers ask again.
“Yes dammit I’m sure!!! Just get him out of here.” Neal replies.
The officers turn him around to leave as Fred looks back over his shoulder still struggling as they drag him to one of the cars. “Son-of-a-bitch!!! I hope you rot in hell!!!!”
They watch him leave then Neal turns to continue to do what he came out here to do in the first place, to talk to the newspaper delivery guy, but Steve steps in front of him.
“Neal you can’t believe him!”
“Why not?” Neal looks back at him.
“Because it isn’t true that’s why!!! None of this is your fault!” Steve replies back to him.
“Get out of my way Steve.”
“We had nothing! It is not against the law to be black in a white neighborhood!!! We don’t even know if it was the same people that did this! It could be a coincidence….”
Neal looks at Steve. “Tell me Steve of all the cases we’ve solved over the years how many of those were coincidences? Huh….just…how…many?!” Neal replies as he punctuates each word by stabbing Steve in his chest with his finger.
Steve grabs his hand as he leans in closer to him. “It’s not against the law to be black in a white neighborhood! You know that!”
Neal snatches his hand away. “Go back in the store Steve we have work to do.”
“Speaking as the lead investigator?” Steve asks.
“Speaking as the lead investigator.” Neal repeats.
Perhaps for the first time in Steve’s life he had nothing to say as he turned his back then he walked back into the store.
LATER THAT DAY BACK AT THE 9TH PRECINCT:
“Nothing times nothing equals nothing!” Steve replies as he throws his notepad down onto the desk then he rubs his eyes. “I talked to more people in that area then I have in my whole life and nobody knows nothing!
They heard nothing, they saw nothing. I left my card at so many places I ran out!”
“We knew that was going to happen.” Neal replies.
“We can only hope now that the crime scene boys found fingerprints….”
“You’re joking right?” Neal replies.
Steve shrugs. “Like I said we can hope can’t we?”
“This robbery was well thought out and planned, they not only hit the cash register but they hit the safe as well. Whoever they are they have been watching this place for awhile.”
“You’re thinking about the description that Fred gave you aren’t you?” Steve asks.
“Yeah Steve how can I not?”
“It was generic at best you know that.” Steve replies.
“Yeah it was generic but it’s hard to hide.” Neal replies as he looks across the desk at Steve.
“Neal it’s not a crime….”
Neal raises his hand to stop him. “No it isn’t but color be damn if your there to do evil. When you talked to people before did you….?”
“Did I what?” Steve asks.
“Did you ask them if they saw any….?”
“No Neal I didn’t mention anything about color.”
“Don’t you think maybe you should have Steve?”
“But they didn’t mention….”
“Sometimes you have to be the first one to ask.”
“So what you’re saying is I need to go back and talk to them again, right?” Steve replies.
“I think it would be a good idea don’t you?”
“Speaking as the lead investigator?” Steve asks as he smiles slightly.
“Steve look I’m sorry about that….”
“No don’t be you are the lead investigator, what about Fred?”
“What about Fred?” Neal asks as he rubs his eyes.
“You have to talk to him to find out about Tommy and Robert’s backgrounds, they might have known the person that did this or they might have….”
“Oh fine he is already pissed off at me so why not make it worse by asking him if his two dead employees had a hand in this?” Neal replies.
“Sometimes you have to be the first one to ask.” Steve replies.
Neal smiles. “The next case we have I’m going to recommend that you take the lead investigator spot.”
“Really truly?” Steve asks.
“Yes really truly. I think you’ve been keeping your light under a bushel so now I think it’s time to let it shine.”
Steve wags his finger at him. “You’ve been reading Reader’s Digest haven’t you?”
Neal shrugs. “It’s in the bathroom you have to do something while you’re sitting there.”
Steve laughs at this. “I guess I better go and get something to eat then I’ll go back and talk to them again.”
As Steve walks by Neal he pats him on the shoulder.
Neal had places to go to as well and he had just gotten up out of his chair and grabbed his jacket when the door to the Captain’s office opened.
“Detective can I see you?” The Captain says using his authoritarian tone.
Neal crosses the room and he goes into the office.
“There is someone here that would like to speak to you.” The Captain replies as he shuts the door then he gestures over to his desk.
“Fred?” Neal asks surprised.
“Neal.” Fred replies as he gets to his feet.
“I can’t say that I’m happy to see you.”
“No I suspect not I wanted to apologize for hitting you.” Fred replies.
“Please let all of us have a seat.” The Captain replies as he sits back down behind his desk.
“Steve has hit me harder.” Neal replies as he sits down. “So you’re here because you filed a complaint and Internal Affairs will be in a minute is that it?”
“No Neal that isn’t it.” Fred replies.
“Oh you went to the newspapers and the local TV. stations and this is a heads up?” Neal asks.
“Detective Schon….” The Captain replies.
“No it’s alright he has every right to be angry or sarcastic.” Fred replies.
“Thank you Fred for allowing me that one thing.”
“I’m sorry Neal for what I said to you I realize now that it isn’t your fault.” Fred replies.
“Did your wife tell you to come here Fred?” Neal asks.
“She thought it would be a good idea.”
“I’ve always said that your wife is a smart woman Fred.” Neal replies.
“Yes she is. Neal I have seen you grow up from a beat cop to a Detective and you have come a long way and that day you came into my store with your partner I was hoping….”
“Hoping for what Fred? Hoping that I would take your side, a side that I never knew existed in you? I was shocked Fred and like Steve said it is not a crime for a black person to be in a white neighborhood!”
“Yes I know.” Fred replies. “I’m not going to the news media.”
“Oh really Fred that is good but I don’t think it will make a difference because that little display this morning was caught on film!! As in pictures and by the evening edition you and I and Steve will be on the front page!”
Neal raises his hand to stop him. “For now Fred we have to put our differences aside and we have to work together here. I have a job to do and you have to help me and the other can wait until later. Agree?”
“Yes I agree. What can I do to help you?” Fred asks.
Neal grabs a notepad and a pen off of the Captain’s desk. “First I need you to go back and give me a better description of the man and the kid that was in your store. Have you seen them since? Have you seen them anywhere? Did you notice a car?”
“The man was tall probably about 6’1 and he had those sideburns and a….a….” Fred replies.
“Yeah that’s it. The kid was about 14 and he also had an afro and he was wearing a striped shirt and jeans. I didn’t notice a car.”
“Did they ever come back to the store?” Neal asks.
“No not when I was there anyway.” Fred replies.
“Alright Fred I need to know some info on Tommy and Robert.”
“Well I knew them for years and they were hard workers.” Fred replies.
“Did you ever have any trouble with them?”
“No they were loyal employees.”
“Do you know any people they might have hung around with? Did they know that man and that kid that came into your store?”
“I don’t think I like the turn your questions have taken! You think that Tommy and Robert might have had something to do with the robbery? You think….?” Fred replies.
“Fred I have to ask these questions.” Neal replies.
“All of my employees are like family, they have been to my house over the holidays, and if they needed anything I was always there to help them!”
“Fred I understand that it’s just that….”
“Dear god how am I suppose to go back in that store after what happened? Their families trusted me and now their dead, how do I come back from this? How does anybody….”
Neal leaves his chair and he gets on his knees in front of Fred and he puts his hands on Fred’s legs.
“Fred you have to trust me okay?” Neal replies.
Fred nods. “I do trust you.”
“We’re find who did this Fred okay?”
Fred puts his hand on Neal’s face. “You’re good cops you and your partner. I’m sorry about you know before….”
“It’s alright Fred don’t worry about it. How did you get here?”
Fred rubs his face. “I drove here.”
“You’re tired let me take you home, don’t worry about your car we’re make arrangements to get it back to you.”
“Okay I am tired Neal.”
Neal stands up then he helps Fred to his feet.
“I know you’re tired you’ve had a rough day.” Neal replies.
“So have you but I fear it will only get rougher for you and your partner.” Fred replies.
“It’s nothing we aren’t used to, right Cap?”
“That’s right now Fred you try and get some rest.” The Captain replies as he opens the door to his office for them.
“Thanks Cap I’ll be back soon.”
“That’s alright Detective take your time we will be here when you get back.”
Neal looks back over his shoulder at the Captain and he gives him just a little smile.
THE NEXT DAY:
“You should be happy they spelled your name right.” Steve replies as he throws the morning paper onto Neal’s desk.
“Hmmm joy, Ruby told me we were on the nightly news at five last night.” Neal replies as he sips his coffee.
“Really, how did I look?” Steve asks.
“She said your hair looked better than hers.” Neal replies as he takes another sip of his coffee.
“Really.” Neal repeats.
Steve scratches his head. “I’ve had a thought….”
“Did it hurt?” Neal asks as he laughs.
“Sorry I’m a little punchy.” Neal replies as he rubs his eyes. “What was your thought?”
“That we get the news to help us; they already know the story so why don’t you make an appeal to the public. If anybody knows anything to contact us, you know you can tell them they can do it anonymously….”
“Wait I know I’m tired but did you just say that you can make an appeal….” Neal replies as he points at Steve.
“No I said you could make an appeal.” Steve replies as he points back at Neal.
“And that you can tell them that they can do it anonymously….” Neal replies as he points at Steve.
“No I said that you can tell them that they can do it anonymously.” Steve replies as he points back at Neal.
“You’re more photogenic.” Neal points out.
“You’re the lead investigator.” Steve replies.
“Farrah might be watching.” Neal replies.
“Neal you’re the best one to do this.”
“Give me one good reason why.” Neal replies.
“Fred.” Steve replies as he rests his chin in his hand.
Neal thinks on this a moment then he says, “Rat bastard.”
“What did the coroner say?” Neal asks.
“Changing the subject?” Steve asks.
“Just for a minute.”
Steve opens the file. “Sam said they both died from a single gunshot wound to the head and he was able to retrieve the bullets and he sent them to Ballistics. He said they died quickly….”
“They always say that but do they really know that for a fact?” Neal replies.
“The crime scene guys didn’t find any fingerprints….” Steve replies.
“The perps were wearing gloves not surprising.”
“But what was surprising was what was in the safe.” Steve replies.
“According to this it was 10 grand.” Steve replies as he checks his notes.
Neal whistles. “Wow. What did Fred have to say about it?”
“He was going to take it to the bank on Friday but things got busy.”
“How much was in the register?” Neal asks.
“There was a hundred dollars.”
”The perps got lucky on this one or….” Neal replies.
“….Or they knew when he went to the bank and when he didn’t.” Steve replies.
“So we’re back to the theory of an inside job?” Neal asks.
Steve shrugs. “It doesn’t have to be the victims you know there are other people that work there or it was just luck.”
“If it was an inside job it would kill Fred, those people have worked for him for years and he knows them….” Neal replies.
Steve raises one finger to stop him. “Ah you said yourself that we don’t really know people right?”
Neal nods his head. “Right.”
Steve reaches out and he puts his hand on Neal’s. “Right now I think this is where I’m supposed to say that you can’t be emotionally involved but it’s too late for that, isn’t it?”
“Fraid so partner.” Neal replies as he smiles slightly. “Let’s go and talk to the Captain.”
“About what?” Steve replies as if he didn’t already know.
“Your idea about going to the Media, they can’t always be the enemy, right?” Neal replies.
LATER THAT DAY:
“Alright Detective they are going to run the story again and then we come to you and the reporter interviewing you, got it?”
“Got it.” Neal watches as he places a microphone on his shirt.
“Are you nervous?”
“To be honest I rather have an armed felon pointing a gun at me.” Neal replies.
“You’re do great and we go in five! One! Two! Three! Four! Five!”
THE NEXT DAY AT
Like everything else it was a process and talking to people was a process. On this day Steve made a trip to
“Barbara.” Steve replied as he gets out of the car as he sees Barbara coming down the stairs of the school.
Barbara looks up at the sound of her name. “Yeah.”
“Hi Barbara do you remember me from Fred’s store?” Steve replies as he shows his badge to her. “I’m Detective Perry.”
“Yeah I think so, you like lollipops, right?” Barbara asks.
Steve laughs. “That’s right. Can I talk to you for a minute?”
“I guess what about?” Barbara asks.
“The robbery at the store.” Steve replies.
“Can I walk with you to your car? You were going to your car right?” Steve asks.
“Yeah I was going to my car.”
“Can I carry your books?” Steve asks.
“If you want.” Barbara shrugs as she hands her books to Steve as they start the walk to her car.
“What are you taking in school?” Steve asks as he glances at her books.
“Just the basics for now I haven’t picked a major yet. Did you say that you want to talk to me about the robbery at the store?”
“Yeah Barbara I do you see we need help…I need help.”
“I don’t know how I can help you I mean I wasn’t even there when it happened.” Barbara replies.
“I know but I was wondering if you remember the two people that came in that Fred was talking about, the black man and the kid that was with him. Did you ever see them again? Did you know them?” Steve asks.
“No I mean it was like he said, they came in and walked around the store and the man bought some things and then they left and no I never saw them before that day and I haven’t seen them since.”
“Are you sure?” Steve asks.
“Wait!” Barbara replies as she holds up her hand as they stop walking. “I get this vibe that you think I might have had something to do with this, right?”
“Barbara we have to follow up….”
Barbara snatches the books out of Steve’s hands. “Follow up? Follow up? You think I had something to do with this? You think I said something to somebody, right?”
“Wow are you a psychic or something?” Steve asks.
“No it’s written all over your face!” Barbara replies as she starts walking faster and Steve has to run to keep up with her.
“Barbara I’m grasping at straws here! Two people are dead and there is no one left to tell me who it was and you….” Steve jumps in front of her to stop her. “….work at the store!!!”
“So! So I work at the store does that mean I’m guilty of something?!”
“No I didn’t say that you were….” Steve replies as Barbara pushes him out of the way. “It’s my job to ask these questions!”
“Why don’t you find another job then?” Barbara asks as they stop at her car.
“Look I know you maybe upset about what happened….”
“Upset? Upset? There are two people that are dead at the place that I work!!! Fred is a nice man and I would never, ever do what you think I might have done!! Now excuse me I have to go!!” Barbara replies as she gets in the car and then starts it.
Steve stands at the driver side tapping on the glass. “Barbara can I leave you my card? Barbara please….”
“No I don’t want to answer any more questions! You’re mean….!” Barbara replies as she puts the car in reverse while at the same time sticking her tongue out at Steve.
LATER THAT DAY AT THE PRECINCT:
“All right and thank you.” Neal replies then he hangs up the phone. “Steve? Are you limping?”
“You should be a Detective.” Steve replies.
“Wait is that a tire tread on your shoe?”
“Ding! Ding! Give that man a cigar!” Steve replies.
“Ran over my foot with her car, she didn’t like what I was insinuating!” Steve replies as he gingerly removes his shoe. “If you can move your toes then it isn’t broken, right?”
“Right.” Neal replies.
“Any phone calls yet?” Steve asks.
“Oh sure a few, people are either turning in their neighbors that they don’t like, ex-wives turning in their ex-husbands and of course there are the little green men from outer space, nothing concrete.”
The phone rings at Steve’s desk. “Detective Perry, oh hello Linda, I did? That is wonderful, oh sure I’ve be there before you close to sign all the paperwork. Oh yes I remember that Cherry pie is your favorite, I look forward to that. Thanks Linda and I’ll see you soon, bye.”
“Cherry Pie?” Neal asks.
“I got the loan.” Steve replies.
“Really, congratulations! Now you can finally pick your car up, you must be excited but you don’t seem to be excited why aren’t you excited?”
“It’s just the timing I guess.” Steve replies as he shrugs.
“Sure.” Neal replies just as the phone rings.
“Transfer it over I’ll take it.”
Neal hits the transfer button then when it rings Steve answers it. “Detective Perry….”
TWO DAYS LATER AT THE 9TH PRECINCT:
“It’s going to take me some time to get used to it you know.” Neal replies.
“Me not having to pick you up to go to work.” Neal replies. “I found myself going by your place this morning.”
“I thought I saw your car.” Steve replies.
“Well like I said….oh look more messages.” Neal replies as he picks up the stack from his desk.
“Anything about Bigfoot or little green men?” Steve asks.
“Nothing that creative I’m afraid….you never told me how the cherry pie date went.”
“It was great we’re going to the movies tonight. How is Fred doing?”
“He’s decided to sell the store.” Neal replies.
“Oh I’m sorry to hear that.”
“He told me he didn’t think that he could go back there, for a few years now there has been a real estate development company that has been bugging him to sell. He always turned them down but this time he called them and with what they want to give him for it, he and his wife will do all right.”
“Maybe something good will come out of this after all.” Steve replies.
“I feel you know bad….” Steve replies.
“I know you do….”
“That gut instinct of mine….” Steve replies.
“Tells me this is the one that got away.” Steve replies.
“Maybe in this world but not in the next, do you know what my gut instinct says?”
“No what?” Steve asks.
“We’ll get them, it might take time but we will get them.”
“Now say what you always say.” Steve replies as he smiles.
“It’s going to be alright.”
Steve smiles. “Time to hit the streets partner.”
“Let’s go partner.” Neal replies as he grabs his jacket.
THAT EVENING 1603 W
Steve parked his car at the curb in front of the house and it was a short walk to the front door which Steve knocked on and it was opened by….
“Hi Steve come on in.”
“Thanks you look great.”
Steve takes her by her hands as he smiles at her. “I know I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to get here.”
“Since you’re so early would you like some coffee?” Linda asks as she smiles back.
“That would be great.” Steve replies.
“Well then come on into the kitchen.”
Steve follows her into the kitchen and he sits at the kitchen table. “This is a great house.”
“Thanks it’s been in my family for years; let me see just sugar right?” Linda asks.
Linda brings a tray over to the table and she sits it down then she joins Steve at the table.
“So you lived here with your parents?”
Linda nods as she takes a sip of her coffee. “I even went to the school that is up the street, the neighborhood was so different then. As I changed the neighborhood changed as well and not for the better I’m afraid.”
“I can see it worries you.” Steve replies.
“Oh not for myself but for my….”
The back door flew open causing Linda and Steve to look in that direction and standing there was a teenage boy, breathing hard as if he had a ran a great distance.
“Holy shit!!” The boy exclaims.
“Travis!” Linda replies as she stands up.
“I thought they were lying!!” Travis replies as he comes farther into the room.
“Lying? Lying about what?” Linda replies.
“They told me that they saw him come in here!!” Travis replies louder.
“They told me a honkey….!!”
“Travis!! I told you I don’t want you using that language in this house!”
“Travis I’m Steve.” Steve replies as he comes from around the table.
“I don’t care what your name is honkey! What are you doing here in my house with my sister?”
“I….” Steve looks at Linda.
“Steve this is my brother Travis, Travis we were going to the movies.”
The look of horror was quite evident on Travis’s face. “To the….with him? A white guy!!”
“Travis your sister is really groovy and I….” Steve replies.
“Watch it man you’re in the wrong neighborhood, you shouldn’t be here!” Travis replies as he points at him.
“Travis stop it!!” Linda replies.
“Go back where you came from white boy!!!” Travis replies as he runs off to the back of the house.
“Travis!!! Steve I’m so sorry about that….”
“So he’s the one that your worried about, here Linda sit back down.” Steve pulls a kitchen chair out for her.
Linda nods her head as she sits back down. “My parents died when Travis was nine and I was made his guardian and back then he was a sweet, little boy but now….”
“How old is he?” Steve asks.
“14 that’s a tough age.” Steve replies.
“I don’t know what happened to him; he didn’t used to be this way. He went to a different school this year and ever since that happened he changed….he’s filled with hate and rage.”
“Was he close to his father?” Steve asks.
“Oh yes he adored him and when they both died that way….”
“What happened?” Steve asks.
“A car accident.”
“Linda I’m sorry….”
“And now instead of being his sister I’m his mother, Steve….”
Steve takes her hands in his across the table. “You want a rain check on the movie?”
Linda nods. “I was so looking forward to it but now I think it would be best.”
Steve takes his thumb and he wipes away a tear from her cheek.
“I just feel so bad….”
“No Linda don’t it isn’t your fault, he’s a kid and he is right about one thing.”
“I am a honkey.” Steve replies as he smiles. “How about if you’re up to it we can have lunch tomorrow in the city, I’ll call you at the bank to see if you want to go.”
“Yes I would like that.”
“And if you need any help with Travis let me know, okay? I know a lot of good people.”
Linda nods. “Thank you Steve.”
“I know how important family is.” Steve replies.
“I’ll show you to the front door.” Linda replies.
“I know the way out you take care of Travis.” Steve leans over and he gives her a quick kiss on the forehead. “I’ll call you tomorrow, night Linda.”
TWO DAYS LATER AT THE 9TH PRECINCT:
“Hey Neal I’m glad that you could see me.” The man replies as they shake hands.
“I should be thanking you we need all the help we can get on this case. Let’s use the Captain’s office.”
“Where’s your partner?”
“In Ballistics.” Neal replies.
“When I saw you on the TV News I wanted to get in touch right away but things happen.”
Neal smiles. “I understand that, so how long have you been a Detective?” Neal asks.
“Eight years now and you?” The man asks.
“Going on six years, you know I’ve never heard of Harpersville before.” Neal replies.
“We are a couple of counties over and don’t feel too bad a lot of people have never heard of it.”
“So according to this you had a similar robbery at a liquor store in your city right?” Neal asks.
“Yeah about three months ago and it was the same scenario, two people killed, money from the cash register and safe taken, no witnesses….” The man replies.
“Or so you thought right?”
“Right.” The man replies.
“This Jack is bad.” Neal replies.
“I agree.” Jack replies.
“The more I do this job the less I understand and you know Jack for some strange reason I thought somehow it would be different.” Neal replies.
“You thought that too huh?” Jack replies. “I want to get these guys.”
“I do too Jack and again thanks for coming out this way.” Neal replies as he gets up from the desk and just then Steve comes into the doorway.
“Oh hey I thought I heard voices in here, interviewing for a new partner Neal?” Steve asks as he smiles.
“Are you kidding no one could replace you Steve! Jack this is my partner Detective Perry and Steve this is Jack Perkins, Detective Perkins he is from Harpersville Homicide.”
They shake hands as Steve replies, “Harpersville? Never heard of it.”
“Everybody says that we are two counties over.” Jack replies.
“Jack here thought he had some info to help us on our case.” Neal replies.
“Oh really? I would love to hear it.” Steve replies.
“I’ll let your partner fill you in I have to go duty calls you know.” Jack replies.
“All right Jack thanks for coming by and thanks for the info.” Neal replies.
“Yeah thanks Jack.” Steve replies.
“Hey if you guys like fishing give me a call we have some great fishing out in Harpersville, Neal has my card.”
“So Steve you were right.” Neal replies.
“Right about what?”
“About me going on TV and making an appeal it did work.”
“Tell me that after we catch whoever did this, what was Jack’s story?”
Neal hands Steve the file. “Three months ago they had a similar robbery and two people were killed….”
“This says there was a witness.” Steve replies.
“The clerk was a witness; the robbers didn’t count on him not dying right away. What did Ballistics have to say?” Neal replies.
“That there were….” Steve starts to say.
“….Two different bullets.” And Neal finishes.
“Yeah so that means there were two different people….” Steve replies.
“Well three….two robbers and the lookout.” Neal replies.
“According to the witness he said the lookout was a….” Steve replies.
“Yes I know.” Neal replies.
“The clerk also gave them a description and Jack and his partner couldn’t find them?” Steve replies.
“Nope but we will.” Neal replies.
“They done this twice now and gotten away with it….”
“So you’re thinking they might do it again?” Neal asks.
“Wouldn’t you? You’ve been to the cookie jar twice and nobody has slapped your hand why wouldn’t you go back a third time?” Steve replies.
“So the only way you’re going to find roaches….”
“Is to turn on the light and see where they run to.” Neal replies.
“Let’s roll partner.” Steve replies.
Neal grabs his jacket as he follows after Steve.
LATER THAT DAY AT 1603
“Travis!” The man yelled as he leaned on the car watching Travis play basketball. “Travis!!”
This time Travis stopped and he looked up much to the displeasure of his teammates. Travis tossed the basketball to one of them as he left the backyard basketball court walking towards the man leaning on the car.
“Hey Travis what’s up man?” The man asks.
“Not much you know.” Travis replies.
“I heard thru the grapevine that your sister had a white guy over here the other day, is that true man?”
Travis kicks a rock around with his foot as he looks down at the ground then the man grabs him by his arm pulling him closer.
“I said is that true man?”
“Why don’t you ask me Ronny?” They both look up to see Linda standing there. “Travis go in the house.”
“I was playing basketball with my friends.” Travis replies.
“I said go in the house Travis, I doubt your homework is finished.” Linda replies as her gaze never leaves Ronny.
“Go little man I’ll catch you later.” Ronny replies as he winks at Travis.
Linda looks back over her shoulder to see Travis’s friends disperse as he goes into the house.
“What are you doing here Ronny?”
Ronny gets to his feet standing in front of her. “I remember a time Linda when you couldn’t wait to see me.”
“That was a long time ago.” Linda replies.
“Oh yeah you went to that fancy white man’s school and you came back….white. Now you like white meat is that it Linda?”
“It was over between us a long time ago Ronny and I went to college to get an education.” Linda replies.
“And I stayed here and I got an education too.” Ronny replies.
“You went to prison Ronny that is where you got your education from!”
“It’s dangerous Linda to have whitey hanging around.” Ronny replies in her ear.
Linda pushes him back. “Stay away from Travis!”
“I’ve seen Travis grow up and he needs a man in his life he’s needs a father….”
“And it won’t be you!” Linda replies.
“And you’re thinking it’s going to be that long haired white dude aren’t you?” Ronny replies.
“That is none of your business Ronny, Travis is none of your concern!”
“Now you sound like whitey.” Ronny replies.
Linda laughs. “My father told me to stay away from you I should have listened to him.”
Suddenly Ronny grabs Linda by her arm and pulls her to him.
“Let me go!”
“You tell whitey if he comes back here there will be trouble! Got it Linda? Tell your lily white boyfriend that!! Tell him to go back where he came from and stay there!!! You will always be my woman Linda ,ALWAYS!” Ronny then pulls her even closer and he kisses her as she struggles after a few seconds Ronny pushes her away from him.
“Leave Travis alone Ronny.” Linda replies as she wipes her mouth. She takes a few steps backwards then she turns and walks back to the house.
THE NEXT DAY AT THE 9TH PRECINCT:
“Our sketch artist did a good job don’t you think?” Steve asks as they look at the front page of the newspaper.
“Yeah he did.”
“Now maybe somebody will recognize these jokers.” Steve replies as he leans on the back of Neal’s chair.
Steve turns at the sound of Alicia’s voice.
“Alicia you know you don’t….Linda?”
Standing next to Alicia is Linda clutching her purse by the straps.
“Detective Perry this lady would like to see you.”
“Sure…thanks Alicia.” Steve goes over and he takes Linda by the arm and he guides her to a chair. Steve grabs another chair and he sits down in front of her.
“Linda this is my partner Neal….Detective Schon.” Steve replies.
Neal leans across the desk and he shakes Linda’s hand. “Nice to meet you Detective Schon Steve has told me a lot about you.”
“I wish I could say the same about you, Steve didn’t tell me how beautiful you are.” Neal replies.
Steve’s and Neal’s eyes met then Steve’s eyes drift to the bruises on her arm. “I called the bank and they said you had called in sick, are you okay?”
“I don’t know what I am anymore; I found this in Travis’s dresser drawer.” Linda replies as she opens her purse and takes out an envelope which she hands to Steve. Steve opens the envelope and he looks inside then he hands it to Neal.
“Did Travis do that to your arm?” Steve asks.
Linda shakes her head. “There is no good reason why Travis should have that. Ronny did this to me and I think he’s the one that gave Travis that money.”
Neal counts the money. “There’s a hundred dollars here Steve.”
“Who’s Ronny?” Steve asks.
“We grew up together in the neighborhood, we went to the same schools, I guess you could say that we were boyfriend and girlfriend, Ronny always thought we would get married, my father never did like him.”
“What about you Linda?” Steve asks.
“Me?” Linda replies.
“Yeah you said that Ronny always thought you and he would get married, did you think that too?” Steve asks.
“No, Ronny always ran with a rough crowd and he was always getting into trouble.”
“Linda did Ronny ever go to prison?” Neal asks.
Linda just nods her head.
“Linda do you know what he went to prison for?” Steve asks.
“Armed robbery he held up a gas station.”
Steve and Neal look at each other then Steve picks up the newspaper from the desk. “Linda can you look at something for me?”
“Yes I suppose I can.” Linda replies.
Steve shows the newspaper to her. “Do you recognize anybody Linda?”
Linda takes the newspaper from him. “I….oh my god that’s Ronny!”
“Which one Linda?” Neal asks.
“This one here.” Linda replies as she points to one of the pictures.
“What about the other man?” Steve asks.
“No I don’t recognize him.”
Steve reaches his hand out to take the newspaper from her but she holds onto it. “It says here that they are wanted for the possible killing of four people?”
“Yes a liquor store here and one in Harpersville….Linda?” Steve replies.
“This picture here it looks like….Travis.” Linda replies. “But I don’t….”
“Linda the gunmen had a lookout.” Steve replies.
“A lookout? I don’t understand why Travis’s picture would be in the paper! Are you saying….? Linda replies as she looks at Steve.
“Linda….” Steve replies.
“Travis is just a baby he’s 14!”
“Linda a hundred dollars was taken from the cash register at the last robbery in the same denominations that were in that envelope that you found in Travis’s drawer.” Steve replies.
“Linda does Travis and Ronny have a relationship?” Neal asks.
“Travis was a baby when Ronny and I met and he saw him grow-up and Ronny was an only child so he took to him right away. After our parents died Ronny wanted us to get married, he said he would help me raise Travis. Ronny was so adamant about us getting married he came to the house one day with a ring, I had no idea where he got it or how.”
“That’s when he held up the gas station?” Neal asks.
Linda nods her head. “Steve I still don’t understand why Travis would have his picture in the paper?”
Steve looks at Neal then he takes Linda by her hands.
“Linda do you trust me to tell you the truth?” Steve replies.
“Yes I think so.”
“Linda, Ronny and another man have been identified as the two men who robbed a liquor store in Harpersville and they shot the two clerks that were there. One of them didn’t die right away he was able to give Homicide Detectives their descriptions and he also gave them Travis’s description.” Steve replies.
“Are you saying that Travis was there? That he robbed and killed those people?” Linda replies.
“No Linda he didn’t kill or rob anybody he was a lookout for them, Travis has been placed at the scene of a serious crime, he stood watch for them as they robbed the liquor store and as they killed those people.” Steve replies.
“And this was his payment.” Neal replies as he holds up the money.
“Oh my god why would Travis do something like that?” Linda replies.
“Maybe because Ronny asked him to….” Steve replies.
“….Or Ronny threatened him or….” Neal replies.
“Or?” Linda replies as she looks at Steve.
“Or he wanted to Linda.”
“Where is Travis now?” Neal asks.
“School.” Linda replies.
“Are you sure?” Steve asks.
“Yes I took him there myself.” Linda replies.
Steve grabs a notepad off of the desk and he hands it to Linda with a pen. “Write down the address of the school.”
“And Ronny’s address as well.” Neal replies as Linda looks at him which causes Neal to shrug. “Just in case.”
Neal grabs his jacket as Linda writes down the addresses then when she finishes she hands it back to Steve who in turn leans over and kisses her on the cheek.
“Alicia.” Steve replies.
“Keep an eye on her okay?” Steve replies.
“Yes I certainly will, come on Linda let’s go and have a cup of coffee okay?”
“Alright.” Linda replies as she takes Alicia’s hand as she stands up then as she starts to walk away she looks back at Steve. “Don’t hurt him he’s just a child.”
Neal glances over at Steve who was putting on his jacket. “It’s up to him now.” Steve replies.
“You can’t be surprised.” Neal replies as they go back to the car.
“I would be surprised if he happened to be here.” Steve replies as he gets in the driver’s seat. “For Linda’s sake I was hoping that he would be here.”
“According to the school he hasn’t been here for a couple of days.” Neal replies.
Steve shakes his head as he starts the car. “Neal….”
“Back at the Precinct you were shocked weren’t you?” Steve asks.
“Shocked, shocked about what?” Neal asks as he continues to write in the log book.
Steve reaches over and he takes the log book from him. “About Linda being black….”
“Don’t lie I saw that look on your face.” Steve replies.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Neal asks.
“Why should I have to?” Steve replies.
“I….yeah honestly I was. I don’t know why I was but I was.” Neal pauses then he says “I sound like Fred don’t I?” Neal replies.
“No Neal you don’t.” Steve replies as he puts his hand on Neal’s shoulder.
Neal nods. “Steve I’m sorry.”
“We can talk about it later but for now….”
“Let’s go and find Travis.” Neal replies.
“The elevator would have to be broken.” Neal replies as they climb the stairs to the fourth floor.
“Stop bitching you can use the exercise.” Steve replies.
“I…I can use the exercise?” Neal replies as he stops on the landing.
“Yes that is what I said you can use the exercise!” Steve replies as he pokes Neal in the chest.
As they stand there they hear laughing coming from a dark doorway. “Look at these two white boys.”
“Yeah man I think you’re in the wrong neighborhood.”
As Steve and Neal watch two punks come out of the darkness and one of them produces a switchblade.
Steve raises his hands. “Hey man you know it’s cool we don’t want any trouble.”
They come closer one of them holding the switchblade out in front of him in a menacing fashion.
“Just give us your wallets man and we’ll let you white boys live.”
Steve and Neal look at one another then they look back at the two punks.
“You know we really don’t have time for this.” Neal replies.
“And yeah you know I’m not really in the mood for this.” Steve takes a step closer to the punk with the knife. “Tell you what give me the knife and we’ll….let you live.”
“What?” The punk with the knife laughs.
Neal comes closer. “He said….oh look your shoe is untied!” Neal replies as he points to the punk’s shoe which causes him to look down.
Steve at that exact moment grabs a hold of the hand that is holding the knife and he quickly bends the arm back and high up between the shoulder blades of the punk’s back causing him to walk on his tippy-toes in pain. Neal reaches out and he grabs the other punk by his jacket and he swings him around on the landing then he ends up hanging him head-first over the third floor railing. Steve does the exact same thing to the other punk.
“It’s a long drop!” Neal replies.
“Hey man let me go!!!” The punk yells at Neal.
“If you insist!” Neal replies as he hangs him farther over the railing.
“No! No!” The punk yells.
“Does your mother know that you play with knives?” Steve asks as he takes the knife out of his hand then he embeds it deep into the railing then he breaks the handle off throwing the handle over the railing.
“Hey man you’re going to break my arm!” He yells at Steve.
“Who are you guys?” The other punk yells.
“We are nobody.” Neal replies.
“Yeah nobody.” Steve repeats.
“You didn’t see us got it?” Neal replies.
“Yeah you didn’t see us.” Steve repeats.
“Before we let you go we want some info.” Neal replies.
“Yeah info.” Steve repeats.
“Info about what man?” The punk that Steve is holding replies.
“We want to know about the guy in 4B.” Neal replies.
“Yeah is he home?” Steve replies.
“Does he have a kid in there with him?” Neal asks.
“Who?” The punk Neal is holding replies looking over his shoulder.
Neal gives him a good hard shake. “The guy in 4B is he at home!!”
“I don’t know!! Ow!!! Let go of my arm man!!” The punk yells at Steve.
“We….we don’t know the guy in 4B!! Honest we’re telling the truth!!”
Neal immediately slaps the guy in the back of the head. “You wouldn’t know the truth if it bit you in the ass!!!”
Steve lets go of the guys arm then he spins him around holding him by his jacket. “You better not be lying to us!!”
The punk shakes his head back and forth. “Oh no man I might be a thief but I ain’t no liar!”
“Yeah he ain’t no liar!” The other punk replies.
Steve looks at Neal then he says. “He ain’t no liar.”
Neal helps the other guy up. “You didn’t see us.”
Steve pulls the guy closer to him. “Have you ever heard of the Portuguese Mafia?” Steve asks seriously.
“No I don’t think so.”
“Well we have heard….of you!” Steve replies as he looks in his eyes.
“Now you two disappear….capice?” Neal replies as he pushes them toward the stairs.
“In other words get the hell out of here!!!!” Steve yells at them as they turn and run down the stairs.
“Capice?” Steve replies as he looks at Neal.
“The Portuguese Mafia?” Neal asks.
“Come on let’s go and see if Ronny is there.” Steve replies as he continues up the stairs.
Once they make it to the fourth floor they flank the sides of the hallway keeping away from the center of the door. Once at the door Steve knocks on it with the butt of his gun. “Pizza delivery.”
After a few seconds Steve tries again. “Pizza delivery!”
“Hear anything?” Neal whispers from the other side.
“Nada.” Steve replies.
“The kick and cover on the count of 3?” Neal asks.
“Let’s do it.” Steve replies.
From the other side of the door Neal silently counts to three and right on three Steve takes a step in front of the door and he quickly raises his foot and with a good hard kick he kicks the door open then he hits the floor as Neal steps into the doorway with his gun up and ahead of him.
“Oceanview Police!!” Neal yells. “Alright go!”
Steve gets up and he checks the kitchen and the bedroom that is just off of the kitchen.
“It’s clear.” Steve replies as he puts his gun back in its holster.
“It looks like old Ronny has been entertaining guests.” Neal replies as he points to the dishes on the table.
“Yeah I guess it’s the maid’s day off…..Neal.”
Neal looks over to the sofa where Steve is holding a sweatshirt.
“This is Travis’s sweatshirt.” Steve replies.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah he was wearing it the night I was at Linda’s house and look schoolbooks.” Steve replies as he points down to the sofa.
“So I guess that settles that Travis has been here.”
“But the question is where is he now?” Steve asks.
“Steve look at this notebook.” Neal replies as he picks it up. “What is it?”
“It’s a diagram of some kind.” Steve replies.
“Homework?” Neal asks.
Steve takes the notebook and he turns it another way. “Yeah but it’s not for school.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean its homework alright but it’s not for school….Neal it’s a floorplan!”
“A floorplan?” Neal asks. “A floorplan for what exactly?”
“It’s not the what I’m worried about but the where….” Then Steve’s eyes widen as he looks at the floorplan. “….And I know the where! Come on Neal we have to go!”
“Go where?” Neal asks.
“I’ll tell you in the car!!” Steve yells as he runs out of the door.
THE FIRST BANK OF OCEANVIEW:
“If he sees us he’ll send up a flare.” Neal replies.
“That’s his job.” Steve replies.
Neal looks thru the binoculars at Ronny’s car. “Steve what does Travis look like?”
Steve shrugs. “He’s a 14 year old kid, you know, t-shirts and jeans a short afro.”
“Does he have a mustache by chance?” Neal asks.
“No why?” Steve asks.
“You better have a look at this.” Neal replies as he hands Steve the binoculars.
Steve looks thru the binoculars at the driver in the car. “No that isn’t Travis but he does look familiar.”
“He’s the third artist’s sketch remember?” Neal asks.
“Oh yeah he sure is.” Steve replies.
Neal looks over at Steve. “Let’s get him.”
A FEW MINUTES LATER:
Neal knocks on the driver’s side window of the car. “Hey buddy wanna buy a rose?”
The man sitting in the driver’s seat jumps. “Get the fuck out of here!!!”
“Oh now that isn’t nice is it he just wants to make a buck.” Steve says from the other side of the car.
The man looks over at Steve. “Who in the hell are you?” He says as he moves his hands closer to the car horn.
“Touch that horn and I’ll blow your brains out.” Neal replies as he puts his gun near the guy’s head. “That is if you have any to blow out.
“We’re cops.” Steve replies as he flashes his badge at him.
“Cops?” The man repeats.
“Where’s Travis and Ronny?” Steve asks.
“I don’t know any Travis or Ronny.” The man replies.
“We know this is Ronny’s car now where is Ronny and Travis?” Neal asks.
“I don’t know man.”
“Come on get out of the car.” Steve replies.
“Why?” The man asks as he looks at Steve.
“Because we’re going to take you back in the alley and we’re going to make you tell us where Ronny and Travis are that’s why.” Steve replies.
At this the man starts to laugh. “You can’t do that I have my rights man!!!”
Steve opens the passenger side door then he bends over and he looks at the man. “Does it look like we care about your rights?”
Neal presses the gun closer to the man’s head. “Yeah does it?”
“Now tell me where they are before my partner’s trigger finger gets tired.” Steve replies.
“Their in the bank.” The man replies.
“Steve!!!!” Neal replies as he watches Steve run off. “Does Travis have a gun?” Neal asks the man.
“I….I don’t know!” The man replies.
Neal pulls the hammer back on the gun. “I said does Travis have a gun?”
“Yeah yeah he does. What happens now?” The man asks.
“You take a nap.” Neal replies as he knocks him out with one punch then he takes out his handcuffs as he cuffs him to the steering wheel then he runs off after Steve.
Steve ran around to the back where the custodian just happened to be taking out the trash and for a mere twenty dollars Steve got his hat, and the man’s coveralls and on the way into the building Steve grabbed the mop and mop bucket.
Neal walked in the front door of the bank and to him everything looked calm and normal so to blend in he walked over to the first table he saw and he from underneath he took out a deposit slip and he pretended to fill it out when from out of the corner of his eye he saw Steve.
Before Steve came out into the lobby he took a good look around and almost immediately he spotted Travis and Ronny who were standing at a table then he saw Neal who was standing at another table. Steve nods in Neal’s direction as he gestures with his head towards Ronny and Travis. So Steve does what any good custodian would do he begins to mop the floor.
Neal looks up at the clock and he notices that the bank will be closing in ten minutes and then he looks over at Steve who is vigorously mopping the floor right in the direction where Ronny is standing.
Steve mops the floor back and forth getting ever closer to where Ronny is standing and when he feels he is close enough he purposely slops water on Ronny’s shoe.
“Hey man what in the hell are you doing?” Ronny yells at him.
“Oh sir I am so sorry.” Steve replies as he reaches behind him to pull a rag out of his pocket.
“Hey I know you!!!” Travis replies as he points at Steve.
Ronny looks over at Travis. “You know him?”
Neal looks up at the commotion then he slowly makes his way over to where they are.
“Yeah he’s a cop!!!!” Travis yells as he backs away.
Neal slowly reaches under his jacket to his gun.
As Ronny reaches for his.
“Oceanview Police everybody get down! Now!” Neal yells as he pulls his gun out of his holster training it on Ronny.
As the people around them hit the floor they start to yell.
“Drop it Ronny!!!” Neal yells as Ronny brings his gun into sight. “I said drop it!”
“Travis!!!” Steve says to Travis who has backed up even more then he starts to run.
Ronny instead of heeding Neal’s warning raises his gun and he points it at Neal while at the same time taking a stance that Neal has seen numerous times before and then suddenly what follows is in slow motion.
Travis runs thru the bank and out the front door with Steve chasing after him and once Travis hits the sidewalk he stops and turns on Steve and from his pocket he takes out a gun and he points it at Steve.
In slow motion Ronny points the gun at Neal and without hesitation he fires and in turn Neal fires back.
In slow motion Travis takes the gun out of his pocket and Steve stops in his tracks and his training immediately kicks in as he grabs his own gun and he points it at Travis and in a split second he fires at Steve and in turn Steve fires back….
“Steve.” Neal says as he stands in front of Steve holding two cups of coffee.
“Thanks.” Steve replies as he takes one of the cups from Neal.
“How’s the arm?” Neal asks.
“Its fine how’s yours?” Steve asks.
“It’s fine too.” Neal replies as he takes a sip of coffee. “Steve…”
“Hmmm?” Steve asks as he takes a sip of coffee.
“He shot at you first.”
“I know that I was there remember?” Steve replies.
“It was a good shooting.” Neal points out.
“Yes I know.” Steve replies as he gets up. “I know all the rhetoric Neal….it was him or me, he was going to kill me, and I did what I had to do, my training kicked in….”
Neal nods his head. “Yeah Steve it’s all that and more.”
“That isn’t the point Neal!!!” Steve replies.
“What is the point Steve?”
“Yeah he’s fourteen and he had a gun that was bigger than he was! Steve he can’t even drive but he had a gun!! He had a gun and he was with an armed felon and they were going to rob a bank!! Travis graduated from being a lookout to bank robber!!”
“Now he won’t graduated from high school because of me.” Steve replies.
“Steve you don’t know….”
Steve and Neal look in the direction of the voice to see the doctor coming at them.
“Doc?” Steve asks.
“Well boys it was touch and go but he’s a strong kid he’s going to make it.” The doctor replies.
Steve immediately grabs his hand and he starts shaking it. “Thank you doc! Thank you!”
“That is great news doc!!” Neal replies.
They look over their shoulders to see Captain Reynolds coming towards them and by his side Linda.
“Linda!” Steve replies as they both walk towards each other and when he reaches her he takes her by her hands and they both hug each other.
“Oh Steve did you hear? Travis is going to be alright!” Linda replies.
“Yes I did hear.”
“Now it will take time but Travis will get better the bullet missed any vital organs but he did lose his spleen.” The doctor replies.
“Linda I want to say that I’m sorry about Ronny.” Neal replies.
“Oh no don’t be sorry I mean I knew that someday that somebody would kill him. It was just a question of when and where it was going to happen, I can’t believe that he would involve Travis is something like that, robbing a bank! My bank where I work! And Travis going along with it.”
“Linda I can say that we all are very happy that Travis is going to pull thru.” Captain Reynolds replies.
“Thank you Captain.” Linda replies.
“Now Detectives I need your service weapons and your badges.” The Captain replies. “As of right now you both are on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation into the shootings.”
“Yes sir.” They both reply as they both remove their service weapons.
“Wait what is going on? I don’t understand?” Linda asks.
“It’s just procedure Linda.” The Captain replies as he takes their weapons and badges.
“There’s going to be a hearing.” Steve replies. “It’s a review board just to make sure that the shootings were good.”
“It happens every time there’s a shooting.” Neal replies.
“Oh well how long will you be on suspension?” Linda asks.
“Oh it depends on how long the investigation takes.” Steve replies.
“It could be as little as a week or as long as a month.” Neal replies.
“I would like to help is there anything that I can do?” Linda replies.
“You will probably be called as a witness just tell them the truth.” Steve replies.
Linda puts her hand on Steve’s arm. “I want to tell you not to feel bad you did what you had to do. All of this has been a nightmare and I don’t know why it happened but you did the only thing that you could have done. And I will tell the review board the exact same thing.” Linda then leans over and she kisses Steve on the cheek. “I better go and sit with Travis for awhile.”
Steve nods his head but before she walks away Steve grabs her hand. “Thank you Linda. You must know I didn’t want to….he’s just a kid.”
“No Steve that is where you’re wrong after this he is no longer a kid. This….has changed all of us.”
Linda then lets her hand slip from his hand as she follows after the doctor.
Steve slips his hands into the pocket of his jeans as he watches her walk away.
The Captain puts his arm around Steve’s shoulder. “Probably by tomorrow Internal Affairs will be in touch with you two.”
“Yes sir.” Steve replies.
“That is to be expected.” Neal replies as he looks at the floor.
“I know you two don’t like having time off.” The Captain replies.
Steve shrugs. “A day might be alright….”
“….But any more than that the old mind starts doing loop-de-loops….” Neal replies.
“Yeah you start doing too much thinking.” Steve replies.
“Then think about this you two are my best Detectives and I rely on you two. I don’t have to worry about you because I know you’ll do the right thing and what you did at the bank….was the right thing. Steve you could have killed that boy but you didn’t and Neal you saved those people in that bank. You know this Internal Affairs investigation is just procedure and during this time off just think about all the people you have helped.”
“Alright Cap.” Steve replies.
“The doctor cleared you two to go back to work….” The Captain replies.
“Whenever that will be.” Neal replies.
“Yeah.” Steve replies.
“Let’s go back to the Precinct and by the way the Press is camped out front just waiting on you two.” The Captain replies.
“No comment.” Steve replies.
“No comment.” Neal replies.
“Very good boys. I think we should go out via the laundry entrance, right this way.” The Captain replies as he points up the hallway.
“No comment.” Steve replies. “No comment. No comment.”
“Steve what are you doing?” Neal asks.
“Practicing.” Steve replies.
“Good idea. No comment.” Neal replies.
A WEEK LATER:
“Knock, knock.” Steve replies as he knocks on the back door to Neal’s house.
“Hey come on in!” Neal replies.
“Wow what’s all this?” Steve asks as he looks around at the jars that were spread out all over the kitchen.
“Haven’t you ever seen anybody canning before?” Neal asks.
“Yeah but not you! Hmmmm that looks good!” Steve replies.
Neal slaps Steve’s hand away from the pot.
“Here use a spoon.” Neal replies as he hands Steve a spoon.
Steve puts the spoon into the pot. “Hmmm peaches!”
“Good huh?” Neal asks as he watches Steve reaction.
“They are perfect! Honestly Neal I didn’t know you did this.”
“Well I don’t have to tell you how crazy our jobs are and usually I don’t have the time but since we were put on administrative leave, Ruby thought it would be a good way to fill the time. That is after I cut the grass, weeded the flower bed, and cleaned out the garage.”
“Wow!” Steve replies.
“Not that I don’t mind you being here and all….”
“Yeah?” Steve replies.
“What are you doing here?”
“Oh well I’ve been cooped up in that apartment for a week now, I’ve rearranged all the furniture at least twice, cleaned out the cabinets, and vacuumed until there is no carpet left to vacuum….”
“How did you get out of your apartment I thought it was surrounded by the press?” Neal asks.
Steve scratches his head. “Well you know that palm tree?”
“Yeah the one outside your bedroom window….your two story bedroom window?”
“Yeah. I climbed down it.” Steve says a matter of factly.
“Climbed down it?”
“Well yeah.” Steve replies as he shrugs.
“Neal looks out of the kitchen window. “Steve….”
“Where’s your car?”
“Oh it’s back at the apartment.” Steve replies.
“How did you get here?” Neal asks.
“I took a cab and I had him drop me off a couple of blocks from here, you know, in order to elude the press!! I don’t know how celebrities to it! All that ducking and dodging! It must be awfully tiring!”
“How are you going to get back into your apartment?” Neal asks.
“What do you mean?” Steve asks.
“I mean how are going to get back into your apartment if the press is still hanging around?”
“Oh well….” Steve replies as he scratches his head. “….I’ll just climb back up that palm tree and climb back in the window! Simple!”
“Uh huh.” Neal replies.
“You know Neal all of this brings back memories my mom used to can.” Steve replies as he looks at a mason jar.
“Oh yeah that’s right she did I do remember that.” Neal replies. “Do you want to help?”
“Can I?” Steve asks.
“Sure, grab an apron. You can peel the tomatoes.” Neal replies.
Steve puts on an apron then he grabs a knife from the drawer and he stands next to Neal. “I used to help my mom too!”
“I know.” Neal replies as he smiles at Steve.
“Have you seen the newspaper?” Steve asks.
“Ruby hides it from me but I still see it, she also turns the news off when I come into the room.”
“You have a good woman Neal, she wants to protect you.”
“I know you’re going to say that this is a male chauvinist thing to say but I think it’s my job to protect her and that baby.”
“No actually I would agree with you.” Steve pauses then he says, “
“She heard about it all the way in
“Well it’s not everyday that a 14 year old tries to rob a bank you know.”
“True, what did she have to say?” Neal asks.
“For me to keep my head up and that she loves me and when all of this is over I can go and visit her.”
“I think that would be a great idea.” Neal replies. “And by this time next week everything will be back to normal. The review board would have handed down their conclusions and we’ll be back to work.”
Steve puts the peeled tomatoes in the pot. “I’ll be glad I’m not good just sitting around the house.”
“I know you aren’t.”
“Did you ever think…?” Steve starts to say but then he stops.
“Did I ever think what?”
Steve shakes his head. “Oh nothing it’s silly.”
“Well did you ever think the review board might find that we weren’t justified? That it wasn’t a good shooting?”
“Steve there is video from the bank, all the witnesses that were in the bank not to mention the people out on the street that saw Travis point that gun at you so the answer to your question is….no.”
“I was just wondering….Neal.”
“It’s going to be alright Steve.” Neal replies as he bumps him with his shoulder.
“How….how did you know what I was going to say?”
“Because you always ask.” Neal replies as he smiles.
“Oh.” Steve replies as he looks down at the counter.
“And I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Neal replies as he puts his arm around Steve’s shoulder.
“Don’t mention it, now help me clean this up and you can help me make dinner for Ruby.”
“What’s for dinner?” Steve asks.
“And potatoes?” Steve asks.
“And green beans.” Neal replies. “And of course you’re staying for dinner.”
“I never thought you would ask.” Steve replies as he smiles.
A WEEK LATER INTERNAL AFFAIRS ADMISTRATIVE HEARING:
“Captain! Captain!” One of the reporters yelled at the Captain.
“Captain Reynolds! How do you feel about the Review’s Board findings?”
Captain Reynolds raises his hand to silence the crowd. “I feel that the ruling was fair and right on the money! I have always felt from the very beginning that Detective Schon’s use of deadly force was justified in this matter.”
“What about Detective Perry?” Another reporter asks.
“There were numerous witnesses that saw the Juvenile point a gun at the Detective and fire it at him and Detective Perry responded as he was trained to do!”
“Detective Perry!! Detective Perry how do you feel? How do you feel being vindicated for shooting a child?” The reporter yells at Steve.
“He pointed a gun at me then he fired that gun, I didn’t want to but I didn’t have a choice!” Steve replies.
“So Detective Perry what you’re saying is if it had been a white child pointing a gun at you….” The reporter yells at him.
“Shut up!!!” Neal yells back. “What don’t you ask me how I felt shooting that bank robber?”
“Race is not an issue here!” The Captain yells.
“Yes Captain it is!! For a lot of people it is a big issue! A white police Detective was just vindicated of the shooting of a child….a black child!!!”
Steve takes a step forward as he points his finger at the reporter amidst the flashing of camera bulbs and the intrusion of television cameras. “That child was in a commission of a crime and he had a gun! What if you or your family had been in that bank that day and he had pointed that gun at you! Not only did he point it at you but he held it to your head and he fired it!! He fired it….”
“Look it’s the kid’s sister! Linda! Linda” One of the reporters yell and almost immediately they run off after her only the reporter who asked Steve that question remained.
“….Wouldn’t you want a police officer there to help you no matter what his color….was?” Steve replies as he looks at the reporter in her eyes. “Think about that then ask me that question again.” Steve replies then he turns and walks off.
“Detective Perry!!” The other reporters yell at him as he passes by.
“No comment!” Neal replies as he follows after him.
“Linda! Linda! How do you feel about the cop that shot your brother being vindicated?” The reporter asks as the others wait.
“Detective Perry did his job and he has nothing to be ashamed of now if you excuse me.” Linda replies as she pushes her way thru the sea of reporters.
TWO MONTHS LATER AT THE 9TH PRECINCT SQUAD ROOM:
“Mail call!” Neal yells as he drops mail onto Steve’s desk.
“Excuse me don’t you see that I’m trying to work here!!!” Steve replies.
“What are you doing anyway?” Neal asks.
“What does it look like I’m doing?” Steve replies.
“Cleaning your typewriter.”
“Very good you aren’t to be a….”
“A detective I know. Why don’t you take it downstairs and let the shop do it?” Neal asks.
“Gladys? You gave your typewriter a name?” Neal asks.
“Sure doesn’t everybody?” Steve asks.
“Sure. You were saying because Gladys what?”
“Gladys likes my hands.” Steve replies as he holds his hands up and he wiggles them. “I have the touch!!”
“Oh yeah you are touched alright.” Neal replies.
“Nothing. Why don’t you check your mail?” Neal replies.
“Occupant? How can I get mail at the Precinct marked occupant?” Steve asks.
“No not that one the next one.”
“Oh! Hey look it’s from Linda! Why didn’t you tell me?” Steve asks.
“You were busy with Gladys. Go ahead and open it.”
Steve picks up the envelope and using the letter opener he opens it and he takes out a letter and he begins to read it then after a few minutes he puts it back into the envelope.
“Well?” Neal asks.
“She thanked me for helping Travis; you know when I talked to the D.A.”
“Yeah he would have been on trial as an adult.” Neal replies.
Steve shrugs. “Travis was basically a good kid I mean he had never been in trouble before it was mostly the influences in the neighborhood and I just told the D.A. that.”
“What else did she say?” Neal asks.
“That’s she transferring to another bank to be closer to Travis during his incarceration and that she will always be grateful for my help….Neal.”
“I don’t know how I’ve helped her I mean I shot her brother.”
“Steve haven’t you always told me that things happen for a reason?” Neal asks.
“Yeah but I didn’t think you were listening.” Steve replies as he smiles slightly.
“I always listen to you Steve and what happened with you and Travis happened for a reason….you saved him from himself. For that moment in time Travis saw his future, someday Steve, when Travis gets older he’s going to thank you.”
“Thank me for what?” Steve asks.
“That he’s able to….get older.”
“Thanks Neal.” Steve replies.
“Finish up with Gladys and I’ll buy you lunch.”
“Tuna fish sandwich with little onions on wheat bread and mayo?” Steve replies.
“Sure.” Neal replies.
“And a root beer?” Steve asks.
“And Cherry Pie?” Steve asks.
“Let’s go right now!” Steve replies as he stands up.
“Alright let me put this file in the file drawer then we’ll go.” Neal replies as he stands up and he walks over to the file cabinet that is marked “Solved Cases” he opens the file drawer and he slips the file into the ‘R’s’ then he shuts the drawer.
“Now we can go.” Neal replies.
They meet up at the door to the squad room and they leave together letting the door swing shut behind them.
“Neal look.” Steve replies happily.
“Hmmm what is it?”
“It’s an invitation!” Steve replies.
“An invitation to what exactly?”
“Travis Russell’s High School Graduation!”
“Really? Let me see!” Neal replies.
Steve hands Neal the invitation.
“Wow look how fancy it is! Fancy lettering in gold and fancy, heavy paper! You know I don’t remember my High School Graduation invitations being made with this fancy paper.” Neal replies.
“You mean they had paper way back then?” Steve asks as he rests his chin in his hand grinning at Neal.
“Yes Steve mine was written on paper unlike yours that were chiseled in stone.”
“That was uncalled for I must say.” Steve replies.
“You started it, look it’s in about three weeks let’s put our time off requests in now.” Neal replies.
“You want to go?” Steve asks.
“Sure it says you can bring a guest I’ll be the guest.” Neal replies. “We should bring a gift too, what do you get an 18 year old boy?”
“An 18 year old girl! Ah!” Steve replies as he laughs.
“How about we give him a big whooping check? Money is always a good option.”
“Why?” Steve asks.
“Oh because giving money isn’t much of a gift I mean it doesn’t take much thought….what?” Neal replies as he looks at Steve.
“I gave you money last year for your birthday remember?” Steve replies.
“Oh yeah well….where do we get an 18 year old girl?” Neal asks. “We can always ask Ruby….”
“Where to get an 18 year old girl?” Steve asks.
“Sorry.” Steve replies. “I know I can call Linda tonight and find out what Travis would like.”
“But now we have another problem.” Steve replies.
“What is it?”
“I have to decide what clothes to take!” Steve replies.
“What?” Neal asks.
“Its summer and we’re going to
“I need to make a list! I need to take a certain shampoo and conditioner….”
“….Otherwise I’ll look like a big fuzzball….!!!”
“It’s Travis’s day remember.” Neal replies.
“Oh yeah sure I remember.”
“Come on we better go down to Personnel to get the time-off request forms.” Neal replies as he stands up.
“Good idea.” Steve says as he follows after him. “You know Neal you were right.”
“About what exactly?” Neal asks.
“All those years ago when you said that Travis would graduated from High School, it all turned out for the better.”
“Of course it did and when you see him he’ll thank you….” Neal replies.
“….For getting older.” Steve replies as he smiles.
“Right.” Neal replies as Steve follows Neal out to the hallway.
“What about a 19 year old girl?” Steve asks.
“Stop it and stop it now.” Neal replies.
“Okey dokey.” Steve replies. “What about a 20 year old girl? Neal….? Neal….?”
“This is Victor 7 over and out!”
©LAB and SRP & JRNY FANFICTION 2007 to 2010. 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. I have no permission from Steve Perry or/and the members of Journey to use their likenesses or names and this story is purely fiction and written solely for the love of things and people back in the day. No real rock stars were injured in the writing of these stories and I put them back when I am finish with them.