“So Steve how did the eye exam go?”


“Passed with flying colors these Hazel eyes are still 20/20!” Steve replies.


“That’s good man and speaking of eyes have you heard from Nadine lately?” Neal asks.


“Actually I went by on my way back from the eye doctor and she is doing great and the school is doing great also. Next month is the annual fundraiser and I told her that we would help again this year.” Steve replies.


“I am not getting in that Dunk Tank again!” Neal replies.


“Oh come on Neal why not the kids had fun and so did the adults I mean you put on a great show!!”


“I told you last year that wasn’t a show I was really drowning and nobody cared and yeah the adults had fun because of the stupid name you had on it!”


“What is wrong with ‘Dunk A Cop for A Buck!’ do you know how much money that brought in?”


“And do you know how many ex-cons showed up just so they could see me drown in the name of charity?” Neal replies.


“Neal it’s open to the public and unfortunately those ex-cons are the public and they had money.”


“Oh I suppose that if the Grim Reaper himself showed up you would take his dollar and hand him a softball and tell him to be my guest have at Neal because he is being held captive in a dunk tank!!”


“No I would charge him five dollars for all the softballs that he could throw.”




Steve laughs. “I’m joking! Okay I’ll make a deal with you no dunk tank this year….”


“Good so what are the choices?”


“Well let’s see Pie Throwing Contest at the Cop, the Water Balloon Toss at the Cop, and Darts.” Steve replies.


Neal takes a deep breath. “Why can’t I run the Cotton Candy Machine?”


“Because I am that’s why.”


“Okay what about the Popcorn Machine?” Neal asks.


“Because I am that’s why.” Steve repeats.


“You can’t do both!”


“Who says?” Steve replies. “They are right next to each other.”


“I want to do something that isn’t dangerous, gives me fungus or causes me to miss work later.”


“Okay, okay you big baby! We do need somebody to, you know, direct traffic.”


“Now that doesn’t sound bad where do I sign?” Neal asks.


“Right here.” Steve replies. “And you’ll need this too.”


“What’s this?” Neal asks.


“A card so you can get….”


“….My gorilla costume?” Neal replies.


“Oh did I fail to mention that you will be wearing a costume?”


“Yeah I guess that little detail did slip your mind!” Neal replies.


“Everybody that is directing traffic is wearing costumes; we have a fairy princess, a witch….”


“Do we have a jackass?” Neal asks.


Steve shuffles some papers. “A jackass? No I don’t think so….”


“Yes we do because I’m looking at one!!!” Neal yells.


“Oh that was just rude!!!”


“I don’t want to be a gorilla directing traffic!!” Neal yells.


“Alright what do you want to do?” Steve asks.


“I want to run the Cotton Candy machine….”


“Popcorn….” Steve says.


“Cotton Candy….”


“Pop….” Steve says doesn’t finish.




“Okay you get to run the Cotton Candy machine.” Steve says.


“Cool! Steve why every year do you get to run the Cotton Candy and Popcorn Machines? I mean this festival thing is a charity event but I never see you at all during the whole week so what gives?”


“Oh alright you’re going to find out anyway. Where the Popcorn and Cotton Candy Machines are set up is right next to the chain link fence.” Steve replies.




“So on the other side of that fence is a carwash.”


“So?” Neal replies.


“So that carwash is a Bikini Carwash!” Steve replies as he smiles.


“A Bikini….you mean with hot, wet bikini-clad women washing….cars?!”


“Yep!” Steve replies.


Neal laughs. “You sly old dog you! You’ve been holding out on me all this time!!! I bet you just sit there and drool!”


“Oh yeah man one year I burned a whole batch of popcorn because I was so distracted. Why do you think I go to the eye doctor this time every year?”


“Well you know Steve I can’t be mad at you I mean when I think of you not being able to see half-naked women at all so you know it’s cool.”


“Well thanks Neal and every year around this time I think about it I mean I still carry the scar.”


“I know you do so let’s talk about that case.”


“Good idea.” Steve replies.


“And you know what they say about Justice Steve?”


“It’s blind….”





V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7





Summertime in the city and Steve and Neal were ripping and running thru the heat chasing after two masked bad men and instead of sticking to the sidewalks they decided to go up top. On top of a building which luckily for everyone involved was only three stories high and this fact was not lost on Neal who decided to take the fire escape nor was it lost on Steve who took the stairs after them and even though Neal took the fire escape stairs two at a time Steve still managed to beat him to the roof and that would haunt Neal forever.


Steve made a big show of force by kicking open the door to the roof and after he did so he rounded the corner right into the arms of one of the bad guys and as they struggled Steve pulled off the stocking mask and their eyes met and then Steve was hit from behind by a lead pipe.


Neal was just getting to the roof when he saw Steve being hit and then he watched in horror as the man threw Steve over the side of the building to the ground that was three stories below.




Neal yelled as he fired his weapon and the man was shot in the leg but before Neal could fire again the man ran to the door that lead to the staircase and in that second the man stopped, turned and looked back at Neal and Neal made a decision, this scumbag or his partner, Neal chose his partner. Neal ran to the other side of the roof and he looked over the edge at Steve who had landed in a pile of boxes.




Neal wanted, needed to get down to him fast and the stairs were too far away so he eyed the dumpster that was right under the roof, three stories down and after the took a deep breath he jumped into the dumpster. After he scrambled out of the dumpster he ran over to Steve throwing boxes out of the way as he grabbed him in his arms and he got him down onto the ground.


“Steve! Steve! Please say something.”


Neal checked his pulse and he was breathing but he also had an ugly gash on his head and right near his right eye a bruise was already forming.


“Steve I know you can hear me!! Hang on man I’ll get you help!”


Neal reaches for his two-way radio that he was carrying with him.


“Victor 7 to Ocean! Officer down! I repeat Officer down! 800 Southwind! 800 Southwind the back alley!! Send an ambulance!! I repeat Officer down!! 800 Southwind!!!”


“10-4 Victor 7 all units Officer down 800 Southwind. All units officer down….” The dispatcher repeated over and over.


Neal looked at Steve’s arms and legs. “No broken bones but you do have a mean gash on your head. Steve talk to me.” Neal says as he holds Steve by his hand as he puts his other hand on Steve’s chest. “I know you can hear me. Listen Steve here comes the ambulance hang on man okay? Don’t leave me out here by myself alright? Please Steve wake up and talk to me….hey guys back here!!! Back here hurry!!! My partners….hurt! Come on!”


Neal had to stand back as they gently put him on the gurney and then into the ambulance and he rode with him holding his hand and talking to him all the way.








“Detective I’m Doctor Rosen.” The doctor says as he introduces himself to Neal.


“Doctor this is our Captain.” Neal says.


“Captain I will say that Detective Perry is tough even though a stiff wind is capable of blowing him away.”


They all laugh at this. “True.” Neal replies.


“Does your partner have any family?” The doctor asks.


Neal and Captain look at one another. “No Doc we are his family. I mean the police department is his family. He and I….” Neal says but doesn’t finish. “Is he going to be alright?”


“He’s awake now and he has a severe concussion what hit him do you know?”


“It was a lead pipe.” Neal replies.


The Doctor makes some notes on his chart.


“Doc come on what aren’t you telling us?” Neal asks nervously.


“He will need to stay in the hospital for….”


“Doc please….” Neal says as the Captain puts his hand on Neal’s shoulder.


“It is still too early to tell.”


“Too early to tell about what?” The Captain asks.


“Let’s go into my office and have a talk.”










“Hey yourself.” Neal replies surprised as he approaches Steve’s bed. “How did you know it was me?”


“Those damn squeaky shoes of yours that’s how.” Steve replies.


Neal takes Steve’s hand.


“Hey is that all I get just a handshake?” Steve replies.


Neal smiles and then he leans over and he hugs Steve. “Hey watch out for the bandages man.”


“Oh I see first you beg for a hug and then you get picky.” Neal replies as he pulls a chair closer to the bed. “How are you doing today?”


Steve reaches up and he touches the bandage that’s wrapped around his head covering his eyes. “Well the ringing in my head finally stopped but I’ll be doing a lot better when these bandages come off and I can see again.”


“Steve I want to talk to you about that.”


“About what?”


“About you being able to see again.” Neal replies.


“Oh well Neal it’s cool you know I’m just waiting for the doctor to….”


“Steve I told the doctor I wanted to tell you.” Neal replies.


“Tell me what? Neal stop beating around the bush and just….”


“Steve it maybe a while before you can see again.” Neal finally says.




“I said it maybe be awhile before you can see again.” Neal repeats.


Neal can see that Steve is mulling this over then he looks down at the sheet on the bed.


“What you’re really saying is I may never seen again right?” Steve says.




“Neal I guess you forgot about the part where we decided not to lie to each other.” Steve says as he raises his head and he looks in Neal’s direction. “Tell me the truth.”


“Alright Steve it is possible that you may never see again. Where that lead pipe hit you it caused severe swelling and that swelling is causing pressure on the optical nerve of your eyes and that is why you can’t see. Now when the swelling goes down and the pressure is relieved then your eyesight will come back.”


“Will come back or might come back?” Steve asks.


“The doctor says there is a good chance….”


“So if the swelling doesn’t go down then what?” Steve asks.


“There is an operation where they can go in and relieve the pressure….”


“An operation? Surgery on my eyes?” Steve replies.


“It is the last resort Steve they are going to wait and see if the swelling goes down by itself and if it doesn’t well we’re cross that bridge when we come to it. Steve a lot of people who have had this problem it usually corrects itself the doctor says.”


“Usually?” Steve laughs. “We both know there is nothing usual about me!”


Neal laughs. “Yeah I know.”




“Neal I don’t know if I can stand being this way for the rest of my life.”


Neal reaches out and he takes Steve by his hand. “Steve look at all the hard stuff in your life you have survived and adapted to. If anybody can do this you can.”


Steve shakes his head. “No Neal this is different if I can’t see I can’t be a cop anymore, I can’t work, I’ll lose everything. How can I live what would I do?”


“Steve remember we also decided to always take care of one another, who matter what happens and no matter what that entails.”


“No Neal this is different. I’ll be handicapped and I can’t expect you and Ruby to give up everything to take care of me that is just stupid and I can’t be a burden to you.”


Neal stands up and he puts his hand on top of Steve’s head. “Okay look we’re jumping the gun here I mean it’s only been a day.”


“I know but we have to make plans….”


“No Steve we don’t not right now there will be time for that later.”


“So what do we do in the meantime?” Steve asks.


“Wait, wait and pray.” Neal replies.


“Neal….” Steve says very low so low that Neal has to lean in to hear him.


“Yeah Steve.”


“I’m scared.”


“Steve don’t I mean everything will be okay.”


“You don’t know that!”


“As long as I am here everything will be okay you trust me don’t you?” Neal says.


“You know I do!”


“Then trust me when I say that everything will be okay.”


Steve holds tight to Neal’s arm. “I want to go home Neal I hate hospitals! Please can’t I go home?”


“Steve I think they want you to stay here for a few more days to watch you and then you’ll come home with me to my place.”


“Your place but I thought Joey was coming for a visit?”


“He is and I can put a little bed in my room for him and you’re get the spare room.” Neal replies.


“No that is your office and it was meant to be Joey’s room and see I’m messing things up already!”


“Steve calm down and no you aren’t messing anything up.” Neal replies.


“Stay here with me at least until I fall asleep I don’t want to be alone….in the dark.”


Neal feels his eyes begin to tear up and he sniffles.


“You aren’t going to cry are you?” Steve asks.


Neal wipes his nose. “I just might is that okay with you?”


“No because if you start to cry I’ll start to cry and I don’t want to get my bandages wet.”


Neal smiles. “I’ll stay with you as long as you want me to. We can listen to the TV together and I can read to you, I got the latest issue of Playboy.”


“You mean Playboy just doesn’t have pictures?”


“No Steve they have articles too.” Neal replies.


“Oh I never noticed.”


“It’s down in the car I’ll be back in a sec….” Neal says as he turns to walk off.




Neal stops and he looks back over his shoulder at Steve. “Yeah?”




“Anytime Steve anytime.”








“Alright Steve over here is a dresser and a chair and the window and of course the bed.” Neal says as he helps Steve into his room. “The closet is here and the sliding glass doors that go out to the balcony are here.”


“Yeah I remember.”


“I better go down and get your bags out of the car I’ll be back.” Neal replies.




Steve hears Neal leave the room and cross the living room as he manages to make his way over to the chair and he sits down and a few seconds later he hears the front door open again.


“That was fast.”


“Uncle Steve!!!” Joey yells as he jumps into Steve’s lap.


“Hey Joey! Wow I think you’ve grown!”


“I’m six years old now!!” Joey says happily.


“Wow you are!”


“I’m in the first grade now and I’m going to spend the summer here!”


“Yes I know your dad told me.” Steve replies.


“Daddy told me that you were in the hospital; did you have your tonsils out too?”


Steve smiles. “No honey I didn’t have my tonsils out.”


Joey reaches up and he touches Steve’s sunglasses. “Why are you wearing sunglasses inside?”


“Joey I thought you were at Ida’s” Neal replies as he sets Steve’s bags down on the floor near the closet.


“I was but I heard you come home and I wanted to see Uncle Steve!”


Neal lifts Joey off of Steve’s lap. “I know you do but Uncle Steve is tired and Ida has lunch already for you so you scoot and you two can play later okay?”


“Ah okay.” Joey replies as he kicks at the carpet.


“Hey kiddo I have some gum in my pocket do you want some?” Steve asks.


“Wow dad can I have some?” Joey asks as he looks up at Neal and he smiles his toothy grin.


Neal can’t help but smile down at him. “Oh alright but save it for after lunch okay?”


“Okay cool!!” Joey says as he takes the gum from Steve then Neal watches as he skips out of the room and across the living room and out the front door.


“He’s grown I bet huh?” Steve replies.


“Oh yeah I mean he looks different and Kathleen tells me every time she turns around she has to buy him new clothes.”


“He sounds very happy to be here and you sound very happy to have him here Dad!” Steve says.


“I just can’t get over it when he calls me dad I mean it gives me goose bumps.”


“He knew I had been in the hospital.” Steve replies.


“Yeah well I told him that, he wanted to see you so bad and I had to tell him you were in the hospital but I didn’t tell him why.”


“Oh.” Steve says.


“I’ll tell him if you want me to.”


Steve shrugs. “Sure.”


“Okay in the top drawer of the dresser are your shirts, in the second drawer your jeans and the third socks and underwear and I’ll hang the other stuff up in the closet for you.”


“Thanks Neal. Did you find the guy who did this to me?”


Neal turns from the closet. “No not yet I mean I did shoot one of them but I’ve been busy….”


“….With me right?”


“No not just with you Steve, there’s Joey and I have been running down some info on them but everybody has clammed up.”


“You said you shot one of them did you check the local hospitals and maybe the….”


“Yes Steve I did.” Neal replies.




“It’s alright and tomorrow I start tracking them down in earnest.” Neal replies.


“Well I guess Ida’s going to have two kids to take care of then.”


“Nope.” Neal replies.




“Nope tomorrow an instructor from the Oceanview Blind School is going to come over and….”


“A who from the what?” Steve says loudly.


Neal takes a deep breath. “I said an instructor from the Oceanview Blind School is going to come over and help you her name is Nadine….”


“Help me to do what exactly?”


“Steve calm down.”


“No I won’t calm down! I can’t believe you got somebody from some Blind School to come here to help me! I don’t need any help!!! I know my way around this apartment! I can dress myself and feed myself!”


“Steve this morning your clothes didn’t match, you needed my help to make sure that you hit the toilet and not the floor and if I hadn’t been there you would have boiled in the shower like a lobster and as for feeding yourself….”


“Alright stop it.”


“She’s going to teach you Braille and how to move around on your own using a cane….”


“A cane?” Steve repeats. “I thought you said this was a temporary situation.”


“Yes Steve I did but I thought you and I and the doctor decided that it would be best for you to learn how to exist in a non-sighted world just so you aren’t sitting around doing nothing and worrying….”


“Just in case you mean.” Steve replies.


“Steve stop it you agreed!”


“You caught me in a weak moment.” Steve replies as he crosses his arms over his chest.


“Ida is going to be too busy with Joey to….”


“Baby sit me….” Steve says.


“No not baby sit!”


“I don’t need a babysitter I can take care of myself!” Steve replies as he gets up from the chair and he attempts to walk out of the room but he doesn’t know that Neal has left one of his suitcases in the floor and Steve trips over it and Neal grabs him before he can hit the floor.


“You were saying?” Neal says.


“You did that on purpose!”


“Steve Nadine is coming over tomorrow and you better play nice with her, she is going to teach you what you need to know and if you run her off there will be more where she came from. Got it?”


“Oh alright I suppose.”


“Come on sit back down.” Neal helps him back to the chair. “Now in the closet hanging on the left are your dress shirts and pants and on the right your jackets and shoes on the bottom okay?”


“Yeah okay and how do you know do that with the clothes?” Steve asks.


“Nadine taught me.”


“Oh so that is where you were hiding out when you should have been with me in the hospital!!” Steve replies.


Neal takes a deep breath. “I doubt that you missed me what with the Nurses at your beck and call and having them doing everything for you it’s no wonder you don’t know how to do anything.”


“Why can’t you show me how to do things?” Steve asks.


“Because I don’t know everything that Nadine knows I was given a crash course. Nadine is very nice and she is very knowledgeable and you’re like her.”


“But….but she’s a stranger.” Steve says.


“Steve you’re whining.” Neal replies as he rubs his forehead.


“Is it working?” Steve asks.




“Damn!” Steve exclaims.


“Are you hungry?” Neal asks.


Steve nods.


Neal takes Steve by his hands and he helps him to his feet. “Okay now I’m going to turn around and you put one of your hands on my shoulder and I’ll walk you over to Ida’s.”


“Is this another thing you learned from Nadine?”


“Yes it is and you can learn a lot from her too.” Neal replies.


“Everything I know I learned from women.”


“Really?” Neal replies.


“Oh yeah everything from sex down to fixing dinner.”


“All the important stuff.” Neal replies.


“You know it. It’s still going to be alright isn’t it?”


“Yeah Steve everything will be fine.”


“I already knew that I just wanted to hear you say it.” Steve replies.


Neal pats Steve’s hand that rests on his shoulder. “Come on partner time for lunch.”








“My, my Wee Willie right in broad daylight you ought to be ashamed of yourself.” Neal exclaims as he leans up against the wall watching Willie watch a young lady across the way in her apartment with binoculars.


Willie looks back over his shoulder then he takes a few steps to his left.


“Ah come on man don’t run I’ve had a trying week.” Neal says.


Then Willie bolts.


Neal then looks up at the sky as he asks, “Why does everybody have to run?”


Then he takes off after Willie. He doesn’t get far before Neal is on him and when he catches up to him Neal grabs him by the arm and he spins him around and then he wrestles the binoculars from his hands.


“Hey man those binoculars cost five hundred dollars give them back to me!!” Willie exclaims.


“And where in the hell Wee Willie did you get five hundred dollars?” Neal asks as he holds them up.


“Don’t call me that my name is Willie!!” Willie exclaims loudly.


“Don’t the girls call you Wee Willie….Willie?” Neal asks. “Isn’t that why you have to resort to being a peeping Willie and then jacking off huh isn’t it?!”


“I wasn’t doing nothing fuzz but minding my own business!!!”


“Oh really scumbag!” Neal looks back over his shoulder to the girl’s apartment. “It looked like to me that you were minding her business and on top of your own apartment building Willie!!! Does your boss know what cha doing on his dime when you should be taking care of this place? You pervert isn’t there a toilet somewhere that needs to be unstopped?”


“It’s my day off fuzz!!! Willie spats back at him.


“Oh I didn’t know that perverts had days off do you belong to some frigging Union I don’t know about?” Neal asks loudly.


“Screw you! What do you want man?”


“Some information….” Neal replies.


Willie smiles, “Oh yeah man I bet I know what this is about! I heard about your boyfriend taking that header off of the roof.”


“Oh you did so what did you hear Wee Willie?”


“I heard that your skinny-ass boyfriend was tossed off a roof and he landed on his head and it split open like a ripe melon and that he died like a dog in that alley!!! Did he die Fuzz? Did he? I hope he did….”


Before Willie can finish Neal grabs him by his neck with one hand and with the other he tosses the binoculars over the ledge.




“Hey you fucking bastard…!” Willie barely croaks out with Neal’s hand around his throat.


Neal then takes one of his arms and he twists it behind Willie’s back as he leans him over the ledge.


“See that you fucking scumbag! My partner was tossed off a roof and no he isn’t dead but you will be when I toss your useless ass off of this roof! You know what they say Wee Willie it ain’t the fall that’ll kill you it’s that sudden stop!!! Falling twenty-five floors and after hitting the pavement your own mother wouldn’t recognize you!!!! So what do you say want to join those binoculars?” Neal asks as he leans him farther over the ledge.


“No man no!! Sorry man I didn’t know you and your boyfriend were engaged!!!”


“That did it!” Neal grabs a hold of his belt and he let’s Willie slid just a little.


Willie screams a blood curdling scream. “Oh shit man you’re crazy!! I’ll….I’ll tell you anything that you want to know!! I’ll even tell you where Jimmy Hoffa is buried just please man let me up!!!”


“Hey what in the hell are you doing to Willie! Let him go!!”


Neal looks back over his shoulder and Willie tries to at the guy who has come up the stairwell carrying a shovel. “I said let him go!!”


Neal looks down at Willie. “If you insist.” Neal replies.


“NO!” Willie yells as loud as he can. “Wilbur man it’s cool just go back downstairs!”


“It ain’t cool I’m going to go downstairs and call the cops!” Wilbur says.


“Cool your jets Wilbur I am the cops.” Neal manages to show him his badge. “Now get your happy ass back downstairs before I arrest you for Obstruction of Justice!!” Neal looks back over his shoulder at Wilbur who is still standing there. “I said move it!!”


Wilbur then turns and he runs back downstairs.


“Now Wee Willie I want to know who those two goons are that were on the roof. One was a big guy and the other is about my weight and height and they were wearing ski masks, an odd fashion accessory for summer don’t you think?”


“Okay, okay man I’ll tell you what I’ll know just pull me back okay?” Willie pleads.


“Say please.”


“Please man please!” Willie replies.


“Pretty please?” Neal replies as he lets him slip just a little more.




Neal grabs a hold of him and he pulls him back over the ledge and onto his feet.


“Now tell me about those two goons Wee Willie!”


“All I know man is that they are brothers or cousins or some shit like that from Oklahoma or Texas or some redneck place like that. The big guy is a bruiser and the little one has the brains and the big one sometimes he ain’t wrapped too tight, if you catch my drift man?”


“So what are they into?” Neal asks.


“Ah man I don’t know the usual shit you know, smash and grabs, dirty deeds done dirt cheap, mayhem at any price.”


“These two have names?” Neal asks.


Willie shrugs. “Mutt and Jeff?”


Neal grabs him again.


“Look man seriously I don’t know!” Willie says.


“What do they do in their off hours?”


“Ah man women, liquor, drugs and the little one he likes the ponies and that is all I know!” Willie says.


“Alright so who do you know that might know more than you?”


Willie shakes his head. “Nobody man.”


“You’re lying.”


“No man I….” Willie pleads.


Neal advances on Willie until he is once again back against the ledge and then Neal leans into him with his hands resting on either side of Willie and Neal moves in his face closer to Willie’s.


“Listen to me Willie and you listen to me good if I find out that you’ve been shining me on and giving me bogus shit I swear to god I will come back here and toss your ass off of this fucking roof just like they did to my partner I want those guys Willie. Don’t lie to me because the United States is not a big enough place for you to hide, you see, they hurt my partner and nobody does that and gets away with it! So spill it and give me a name….!”


“I will if you don’t arrest me.” Willie says.


“I won’t arrest you.”




“You mean Fat Ernie the one that runs the Pawn Shop?” Neal asks.


“Yeah man that’s him.”


“Alright man let’s go.” Neal says as he takes Willie by his arm and he walks-drags him along beside him.


“Where….where are we going?”


“To jail.” Neal replies simply.


“To….but you just said that you weren’t going to arrest me!”


“I lied.” Neal replies.


“What are the charges?”


“Well for one being a Peeping Willie….” Neal replies.


“Ah man!”


“And for another littering.” Neal replies.




“Yeah for throwing the binoculars over the roof and you know those things could have killed somebody down on the street and that might just be Attempted Assault!”


“You jackass you threw those binoculars off the roof yourself!!” Willie yells as Neal ignores him.


“And for Public Urination….”


“Public….?” Willie asks.


“Yeah man look at the front of your pants.”


Willie looks down at his pants which are wet.


“You have the right to remain silent….” Neal replies.




“Again you have the right to remain silent and I suggest you do it before I find something else to arrest you for!!!” Neal yells back at him.








“I’ll be with you in a minute.” Ernie says out loud when he hears the bell chime when the front door opens signaling a new customer.


“Well you know Ernie I’m in a hurry.” Neal replies.


Recognizing the voice Ernie glances up from the customer that he is helping to see Neal standing by the front door holding it open.


“Excuse me Miss but you don’t want to buy anything here.” Neal says to the customer at the counter who is looking at a necklace.


“Oh why not?” She asks as Ernie looks on with a worried expression.


“You don’t want to buy stolen property do you?” Neal asks.


The customer looks at Ernie and he smiles and as he laughs. “He’s….he’s just joking don’t pay any attention….”


“Detective Schon from the 9th Precinct and this Ernie is a raid, a shakedown, a roust so Miss if you don’t mind leaving.” Neal says as he holds his badge up for her to see.


The customer doesn’t hesitate as she clutches her purse closer to her and Neal holds the door open further for her as she leaves then he shuts and locks it, pulls down the shade and he turns the ‘Open’ sign to ‘Close.’


“What are you doing?” Ernie asks.


“You’re closed for lunch Ernie.”


Ernie glances at his watch. “It isn’t lunchtime Detective.”


“For you Ernie it is.” Neal replies as he walks over to the counter with his hands behind his back.


“You and I both know that there are no stolen items in this shop.”


“No Ernie I don’t know that.” Neal replies as he peers down into the display case.


“What do you want?”


“The truth Ernie.” Neal replies.


“The truth?” Ernie repeats.


“I know Ernie that for you the truth is a hard thing to grasp like selling items that aren’t stolen but I want you to try.” Neal says as he looks him in the eyes.


“If you have something to say just say it and stop beating….”


Ernie starts to say but doesn’t finish because from behind his back Neal reveals a lead pipe that he lays down on the glass counter.


“What’s that for?” Ernie asks.


“This?” Neal asks as he points to the lead pipe. “This for the time being is my new partner and it’s going to help me get the truth Ernie. Wee Willie sent me….”


“Willie?” Ernie smiles. “You know Detective I think you just broke your own ethics code by telling me who sent you here….”


Right then without batting an eye, Neal picks up the lead pipe and he swung it in the direction of a small glass display case that held watches that sat on the counter and when the pipe made contact with it the glass exploded, watches and shards of glass flew through the air. Ernie covered his head and he ducked behind the counter and then Neal was up and over it and when his feet touched the floor on the other side Ernie was flat on his back scooting backwards on his butt away from Neal holding up one hand as if to ward off a blow.


“Does it look like I give a good damn about Ethics?” Neal yells as he slams the lead pipe against the floor causing Ernie to jump. “Well does it?” Neal points the pipe at Ernie. “This pipe was just like the one that hit my partner up the side of his head and I want the guys that hurt him! One of them is a big bruiser of a guy and he maybe running with his cousin or maybe he’s his brother a guy about my size. They are from Oklahoma or Texas and Willie told me that you knew them.” Neal squats down over Ernie’s legs using the lead pipe to lean on. “Do you know them Ernie?”


“I….I know one of them. The little guy his name is Kenny and he’s been here just one time I swear.”


“What did he want from you Ernie?”


“Information mostly on where he could fence some high dollar stuff and I told him I didn’t run in those circles anymore….”


At hearing this Neal laughs.


“….But I did give him a few names that I thought could help him.”


“Did you sell him anything Ernie?” Neal asks.


Ernie shakes his head.


“Did you buy anything from him Ernie?”


“Yeah I bought a few rings, a watch, and a necklace.”


“When I leave Ernie, which by the way won’t be now, I will be taking those items with me. Is that okay with you Ernie?”


“Sure Neal anything you say.”


“I would also like his description and by the way do you know where they might be staying?”


Ernie shakes his head. “I don’t know where they might be staying. Kenny did ask me one more thing though.”


“And what was that Ernie?”


“He wanted to know about horse races, poker games, that sort of thing.”


Neal nods as he stands up holding the lead pipe in one hand as he hits it into his other hand.


“Get up Ernie and get those items for me and then you can give me a detailed description of Kenny right down to any gallbladder scars he might have and oh Ernie….”


“Yeah Neal?” Ernie asks with just a slight hesitation.


“Don’t jerk me around man because if you do and I find out about it I’ll come back here and I’ll pull this building down brick by brick and I’ll bury you in it.” Neal says as he points the pipe at Ernie getting closer to his nose with each syllable. “Nobody hurts my partner and gets away with it and Ernie if you aren’t part of the solution then you are part of the problem and I am the problem solver. Now get up!!”


Ernie with help from Neal gets up and he follows Ernie into the back office.








“Steve this is Nadine.” Ida says as she introduces them.


“Hi Steve how are you?” Nadine asks.


“If you want to know the truth I’ve been better.” Steve replies.


“Steve have you seen Joey?” Ida asks then she realizes what she just said and she covered her mouth in shock. “Oh I am sorry I didn’t mean….”


Steve waves his hand back and forth. “It’s okay Ida and Joey is the bedroom he’s watching television.”


“I’ll go and get him so you two can be alone, it’s was very nice to have met you Nadine.”


“Oh yes Ida you too and I don’t forget I want that cake recipe.” Nadine replies.


“Alright and I’ll talk to you two later.” Ida replies as she heads off into the bedroom and within a few minutes she returns holding Joey’s hand.


“Joey this is Nadine and she is Steve’s friend.”


Joey waves and he smiles. “Hi! Uncle Steve is my friend too, are you going to be his girlfriend?”


They all laugh.


“Joey!” Ida replies as Joey looks up at her.


No Joey I just met her man give me a chance okay?” Steve replies.


Joey thinks about this for a minute then he nods his head. “Okay.”


“Good man! Give me five!” Steve says to Joey as he puts out his hand and then Joey slaps it.


“Be good for Ida.” Steve replies.


“10-4 good buddy over and out!! Bye!” Joey says and once again they all laugh as Ida and Joey leave the apartment and they hear the front door close behind them.


“Today he wants to be a trucker but tomorrow who knows. I guess you can have a seat if you aren’t already sitting you know. Ida put out some tea and some cookies but I can’t….well you know I can’t see to pour it or do anything else actually.” Steve replies.


“That’s alright Steve I can manage would you like a cup of tea?” Nadine asks.


“No not right now lately I haven’t had much of an appetite for anything.”


“I understand.” Nadine replies.


“I know this is a stupid question what with you being from the Blind School and all but….”


“But?” Nadine asks.


“….Are you blind? I mean….” Steve runs his hand thru his hair. “….See that was a really stupid question I mean if you‘re from the Blind School then you are blind right?”


“No not yet.” Nadine replies.


Steve pauses. “Oh I’m sorry I didn’t know Jeez Louise I should just keep my mouth shut!”


“No it’s alright and you have every right to ask. When I was in College I found out that I had an inherited disease that is called Retinitis Pigmentosa….”


“Wow that is quite a mouthful.” Steve replies.


Nadine smiles. “Yes it is so from now on we can call it RP and RP causes the rod photoreceptors in the retina to gradually degenerate and that affects night vision, peripheral vision and eventually it will take away what sight I do have and leave me totally blind.”


“I’m sorry to hear that isn’t there anything that the doctors can do for you?” Steve asks.


“No I’m afraid not. They are doing research and testing to find a cure but so far there is nothing.”


“That’s terrible, you said that you found out that you had this disease in College, when was that?”


“Oh almost eight years ago now and you can ask, it’s alright.” Nadine replies.


Steve smiles. “Okay so how old are you?”


“Let’s just say that I am in my 30’s!” Nadine smiles back.


Steve nods. “Fair enough and for once Old Neal was right about one thing.”


“Oh what was that?”


“He said that I would like you and I do and I must say that you are a brave lady.” Steve replies.


“Why do you say that I’m brave?”


“Well because you are I mean I don’t know how I would feel if I knew I had a disease that was going to take my eyesight and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. You just sound so positive and upbeat not at all bitter. I just don’t think I could you know be that way….”


“Steve you’re the brave one here.” Nadine replies.


“How so?”


“Because you’re a police officer and you put your life on the line everyday and according to Neal you rarely think of your own welfare and you were hurt in the line of duty right?”


“Well yeah right I mean it’s what I do and it’s who I am….” Steve replies. “This sort of thing comes with the job and you don’t think about getting hurt or anything like that and I see the point….”


Nadine smiles. “And the point would have been what exactly?”


“That you didn’t have a choice and I did. I took the stairs and Neal took the fire escape and if Neal had taken the stairs then he would have been sitting here now.”


“Why did you take the stairs?” Nadine asks.


Steve hesitates. “Actually Neal told me to he knows that I don’t like fire escapes they give me the creeping willies so he took the fire escape….oh god you know I just realized that Neal probably feels bad for telling me….”


Nadine reaches out and she takes Steve by his hand. “It’s going to be alright trust me.”


“There’s only one person I trust.” Steve replies.


“Yes I know and Neal told me that you would say that.”


“Oh he did so what else did he tell you?” Steve asks.


“He told me about how you two met and your relationship and that you two have been thru a lot together on and off duty and….” Nadine replies.


“….And you probably think that two guys feeling that way about each other are weird and that we sound like we are gay….”


“No I don’t think that way at all.” Nadine says.


“You don’t?” Steve replies.


“No I don’t there is nothing wrong with having love for your best friend.”


“There isn’t?” Steve asks.


“No you two are in life and death situations everyday and it is important to have love and trust for the person that you work with and if it just happens to be your best friend will isn’t that the perfect situation?”


“Well yeah….”


“And besides loving him you like Neal as well don’t you?” Nadine asks.


“Well yeah I mean I have always liked Neal but then I realized I loved him like a brother and when you feel that way about somebody you don’t go back from there….I least I don’t.”


“Neal also told me about some agreements that you two have.” Nadine replies.


Steve rubs his forehead. “Oh god he told you about that well there are just some silly things we came up with….”


“I would like to hear them if you don’t mind.” Nadine replies.


“Well there’s the one where we only trust each other and the one where we never say good-bye to each other because good-bye is too final and why do I feel like I am talking to a….”


“….Psychiatrist?” Nadine replies.




“Maybe because I am….” Nadine replies.


“You are?”


“Yes I am.” Nadine replies.




“You didn’t know?” Nadine asks.




“Neal didn’t….” Nadine asks.


“No he didn’t.”


“Oh.” Nadine replies.


“But I thought you were an instructor….?” Steve asks.


“I am but I also help sighted people thru the transition of losing their sight and Psychiatry plays a big part in helping the person to cope, oh Steve I am so sorry I thought Neal told you or I wouldn’t have….”


“Oh don’t worry about it I am surprised that Neal didn’t tell you about that aspect of our friendship.”


“What aspect?” Nadine asks.

“How we are always messing with each other. You know playing jokes and pranks on each other and leaving out the littlest of details kind of like now, that putz wait until I get my hands on him….”


“Maybe it just slipped his mind.” Nadine says.


“No he usually leaves out little details when he thinks it would be better for me if I didn’t know he knows how I would react to certain things. He told me my lost of eyesight is a temporary thing but it doesn’t feel that way what with you being here helping me with the transition as you called it.”


“Steve everything that Neal and your doctor told me makes me think that it is a temporary thing and I am here to help you and if you don’t want me to teach you how to see with your other senses then I won’t I will be happy just to talk to you.” Nadine replies.


“What do you mean by see with my other senses?”


“People whether they are born blind or become so later on in life find that their other remaining senses such as taste, hearing, touch and smell become heightened and they take over to replace the lack of sight. I can teach you to move around this apartment or Ida’s and then I can teach you to move around in the sighted world.”


“Can you teach me how to move around the police station?” Steve asks.


“Sure I can do that.”


“How about teaching me to be a cop again?” Steve asks.




“What good is a blind cop? What if this is permanent Nadine what do I do then?”


Nadine gets up from her chair across from Steve and she sits down on the sofa next to him.


“You will do what hundreds have done before you.”


“What is that?” Steve asks.


“Live you will live and go on with your life.”


“And do what?” Steve laughs. “I can’t live here with Neal for the rest of our lives….Nadine are you leaving?” Steve asks after he felt her get up off of the sofa.


“I might as well I don’t want to waste my time on someone who doesn’t want my help and I have no patience for you and your pity party! It was nice to meet you Steve but I have other appointments.”


Steve stands up.


“My pity party??” Steve yells back to her. “You have some nerve lady!!”


“Steve do you know what you’re problem is?” Nadine asks.


“No but I’m sure that you’re going to tell me!!” Steve replies.


“You’re scared!” Nadine exclaims.


Steve laughs. “Scared? Are you out of your mind lady!! Do you know how many times I have been shot at on a daily, no make that an hourly basis and you think a little thing as me not being able to see very well will scare me?!”


“Yes I do and I think you’re so scared that you aren’t capable of learning the tasks that I need to teach you because your fear is holding you back and that is why you won’t try!” Nadine says.


“Now look….!!”


“You are so afraid I bet you can’t even walk over here to where I am!” Nadine yells to him.


“Ah I’ll bet that you’re wrong!!” Steve yells back. “I’ll bet you that I can walk over to wherever you are and I’ll even bet you that I can learn all those stupid tasks you want to teach me and I’ll be the best damn student that you have ever had!!!”


“Well what are you waiting for come on Detective!!! Follow the sound of my voice.”


As Nadine talks Steve follows her around the apartment and a few banged shins and a possible broken little toe later they both end up back at the front door.


“Oh you know you’re good….!” Steve says when the realization finally hit him that he had been conned. “Jerking my chain to piss me off so you can distract me and then you can get me to do what you what! Oh yeah you’re evil but you’re good!! You’re a female Neal!!!”


Nadine laughs. “See that wasn’t so bad was it?”


“No I guess not but I’m going to have one hell of a bruise tomorrow.” Steve replies as he rubs his shin.

“Well it might be better if you use this then.” Nadine puts a cane into Steve’s hand.


“A cane?” Steve replies.


“Very good Steve see you are using your sense of touch already.”


“Ha-ha now you really remind me of Neal. I’ll admit to you what I only admitted to only one other person that I am scared but Nadine if you just bear with me I do want to try.”


“Well I think that we have done well so far so why don’t we start out small and go for a walk around the neighborhood?”


“You mean out in public with everybody staring at me?” Steve asks.


“Steve if you can’t see how would you know if they are staring or not?” Nadine asks.


“Good point, okay I know a little Chinese food place up the block we can walk to that is if you like Chinese food?”


“I love Chinese food and we can work on another lesson while we are there.” Nadine replies.


“Alright let’s go!” Steve replies. “I feel my appetite coming back!”








“Hey.” Neal replies.


“Hey yourself.” Steve answers.


“What are you doing out here?” Neal asks as he sits down next to Steve on the sand and he takes off his shoes.


“Practicing using my other senses such as smell and touch and my hearing. You know Neal I don’t think I honestly have ever heard the ocean before like I do now. And the sand feels different and the smell of the ocean.”


“How did you get down here?” Neal asks.


“I walked.”


“You walked down here by yourself?” Neal asks.


“Well me and my new friend Mr. Cane.” Steve says as he holds the cane up for Neal to see. “Nadine and I walked over to the Chinese restaurant so she could teach me how to use this thing.”


“So she’s teaching you a lot?” Neal asks.


“Oh yeah and do you know what the first thing was that she taught me?”


“Nope what was it?” Neal asks.


“That it was alright for me to love my best friend even if he doesn’t tell me everything….”


“Oh so you found out that she’s a….” Neal replies.




“Ahhh yeah a Psychiatrist.” Neal replies. “I didn’t tell you because I knew that you would….”


“Freak?” Steve replies.




“And you would have been right….again. You were right that I would like her I guess because she reminds me of you!”


“Me?” Neal replies.


“Yeah she has your evil cunning!” Steve says as they both laugh. “So what’s the word on the streets?”


“Wee Willie heard that you were dead.”


“Dead?” Steve replies.


“Oh yeah and that is the consensus on the streets.”


“Why do they think I’m dead?” Steve asks.


“Well usually when somebody gets tossed off of a roof that person has been known to die you know.”


“Neal I’ve been thinking.”


“Uh oh did it hurt?” Neal asks as he laughs.


“Neal I’m serious.”


Neal clears his throat. “Sorry…”


“It could be you sitting here you know if it wasn’t for my fear of fire escapes….”


Neal puts his arm around Steve’s shoulders.


“Yeah I know and Steve if I could trade places with you I would. I wanted to kill that guy that threw you off the roof and when I find him I just might.” Neal replies.


“Are you any closer to finding them?”


“After I paid a visit to Wee Willie and Fat Ernie I am closer than I was yesterday….”


“Fat Ernie huh I bet he was overjoyed to see you partner!” Steve replies.


“He was overjoyed to see me leave after our little talk. I just came home to check on things and tuck Joey in and then I was going to hit the streets again.”


“Did you eat yet?” Steve asks.


“I think I remember having breakfast this morning.”


Steve gets to his feet. “Neal you can’t hit the streets without having some dinner first! I got you some Chinese food at the restaurant and the streets will still be there so come on partner.”


“Do you need help?” Neal asks as he gets to his feet.


“Na I want to show you how I use this cane. Nadine wants me to go to the school when I feel comfortable and take some classes there.”


Neal puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder. “Thinking about it?”


Steve nods his head. “Yeah thinking about it.”


“The Chinese food is from Mr. Wong’s right?” Neal asks.


“Would I get you Peking duck from anyplace but Mr. Wong’s?”


“Nope.” Neal says as he smiles.


“Neal I think I’m going to be alright.” Steve replies.


“Of course you will unless your skinny ass falls down these stairs let me take your arm.”


“Onward and upward.” Steve replies.


“Boy that sounds familiar who said that?”


“I did just now.” Steve replies.


“Oh yeah right.” Neal says as he shakes his head.








“Hold still damn it!!” Kenny says to Ricky as he cleans his bullet wound.


“It hurts man!!!”


“I know it hurts but at least the bullet went thru your leg, drink some more of that Whiskey that’ll kill the pain.” Kenny says to Ricky and soon after he takes a big, long swig.


“Fucking cop…!” Ricky says thru clenched teeth. “Did you see the paper?”


“Yeah man I saw the paper.” Kenny replies.


“That cop ain’t dead!”


“I know he isn’t dead.” Kenny replies. “Will you stop moving!! We have more important things to think about other than that cop.”


“Did you get a look at that jewelry store?” Ricky asks as he takes another drink.


“Yeah man and it’s a piece of cake like most things in this town. There’s a man and a woman working there and Friday is the day they take the money to the bank….there all finished.” Kenny replies as he gets up and he carries the pan of water to the kitchen sink then he goes back over to the bed and he pulls the covers back over Ricky. “Rest man there’s a poker game next door and I’m going to go and play a few hands so if you need anything bang on the wall okay?”


“Yeah sure those amateurs won’t know what hit them! You know Ken you did a good job of fixing up my leg Mom would be proud….”


“Oh yeah man if we could only just find her to tell her.” Kenny replies.


“I keep forgetting that you were just two when she left.” Ricky replies sleepily.


“And then when you were twelve pop took a hike and you raised me.” Kenny replies.


“Yeah man hey Kenny….”


“Yeah Rick?”


“You’re the best brother I’ve ever had….”


“You too man now go to sleep.” Kenny replies as he goes out the door.









“Morning Captain.” Neal replies as he pours himself yet another cup of coffee.


“Have you gotten any sleep son?” The Captain asks.


“Yes sir I caught a few hours on the sofa in your office.”


“You look like hell.” The Captain points out.


“That sofa is lumpy.” Neal replies as he takes a sip of coffee.


“You should go home and get some rest.”


“I can’t.” Neal replies.


“I should make you go home.”


“I won’t.” Neal replies.


“You would disobey a direct order from your superior son?” The Captain asks although he already knows the answer.


“Yes sir.” Neal replies without batting an eye.


The Captain smiles. “I wouldn’t expect anything less from you concerning your partner.”


Neal stares down into his coffee cup. “I feel guilty….”


“There’s no need to son.”


“If only I had been faster in getting there then all of this….I let Steve down and I swore that would never happen….again. Captain could I ask a favor?” Neal replies.


“Let’s go into my office son.”


Neal nods as they go into the Captain’s office.








“Shit!!” Steve exclaims as he sits at the dining room table trying to figure out the Braille lessons that Nadine had left for him.


“Uncle Steve you said a bad word.” Joey replies.


“Hey little man I thought you were at Ida’s?” Steve replies.


Joey pulls out another chair from under the dining room table and he sits down.


“Ah Uncle Steve she’s having a chicken party.” Joey replies nonchalantly.


Steve laughs. “She’s having a what?”


“You know a chicken party Uncle Steve! There’s a bunch of girls over there and I’m bored!” Joey says.


“Oh you mean she’s having a hen party!” Steve explains as he laughs.


“Yeah can’t I stay over here with you?”


“Joey I don’t know I mean I can’t….” Steve says.


“What’s that Uncle Steve?”


“This?” Steve touches the book in front of him. “It’s called Braille and it’s how people who can’t see read books Nadine left it for me so I can learn how.”


“Sorta like homework?” Joey asks.


“Sorta, give me your hand.”


Joey holds his hand out to Steve and Steve puts his fingers down on the page.


“Ewwww it’s all goose bumpy!!” Joey exclaims.


Steve laughs. “Yes it is and those bumps are letters. I think this one right here is the letter ‘A’.”


“Cool!!! Uncle Steve can I ask you a question?”


“Sure kiddo you can ask me anything.” Steve replies.


“Do you still have eyes?”


Steve is taken aback but he smiles. “Sure I have eyes why?”


“Because Amy who lives downstairs said that being blind means that you don’t have eyes and that is why you wear sunglasses indoors because it would scare people because you have two big holes where your eyes should be.” Joey says quickly.


“Joey come over and sit in my lap.” Steve says as he pushes his chair away from the table and then Joey climbs up into Steve’s lap and then Steve puts his arms around him. “Do you believe her?”


Joey sits there a minute thinking on this as he plays with Steve’s hair then he tentatively shakes his head as he shrugs.


“You don’t know for sure do you?”


“I told her that she was being mean and to be quiet I didn’t want a girl thinking that she knew more than me!!” Joey says.


Steve smiles. “Do you want to find out for sure and then you can tell Amy that she was wrong?”


“Sure!!” Joey exclaims.


“Do you want me to take my sunglasses off or do you want to?”


“Hmmmm you can do it.” Joey says as he covers his eyes.


Steve reaches up and he takes off the sunglasses and he sets them on the table next to him.


“Alright kiddo you can look now.” Steve replies as he smiles. “It’s okay I promise.”


Joey slowly opens his fingers and when he sees that Steve still really does have eyes he moves his hands from his own eyes. “I knew that old Amy was wrong!”


“Yep she was.” Steve replies.


“Do they hurt?”


“No they don’t hurt.” Steve replies as Joey looks closer then Steve takes his fingers and he opens them wider for Joey. “See anything Doc?”


Joey shakes his head. “You have nice eyes and they are brown like mine and daddies!!!”


“You, me and your daddy we have hazel eyes.” Steve says.


“Cool, Uncle Steve?”


“Yeah kiddo.”


“Daddy said that some bad men hurt you and that’s why you can’t see.” Joey says.


“That’s right kiddo.”


“Daddy said that you’re his bestest friend and that he’s going to catch the bad guys.” Joey says.


“Oh he said that did he?”


Joey nods. “I don’t like bad guys Uncle Steve.”


“I don’t either kiddo.”


Joey throws his arms around Steve’s neck and Steve holds Joey tight to him. “I love you and daddy the best.”


“Oh Joey I love you too little man.”


“Uncle Steve.”


“Yeah kiddo.”


“Can we go to the park?” Joey asks hopefully.


“Oh Joey I don’t think so I mean I can’t keep an eye on you.”


“Ah Uncle Steve I won’t run off or anything like that and I can push you on the swings and we can play on the teeter-totter and I know how to get there and how to get back….please. I have money for hotdogs and stuff.”


“You do?”


Joey nods. “Daddy gave me my allowance, I have two whole dollars!!” Joey says happily.

Steve laughs. “Wow two whole dollars!!”


Joey nods. “Besides Rachael and her mom will be there so she could watch after me too.”


“Rachael? Is this Rachael a friend of yours or is she a girlfriend?” Steve asks.


“No Uncle Steve I just met her man so give me a chance okay?” Joey says.


Steve laughs when he hears his own words used on him.


“So can we go to the park Uncle Steve I promise to be extra, extra good!”


“Alright Joey we can go….” Joey jumps off Steve’s lap and he dances around the room. “….But you have to hold my hand on the way there and on the way back, okay?”


“Yes Uncle Steve I will!” Joey says happily.


Steve stands up. “Do I look okay to go out in public?”


“You look groovy man!!” Joey exclaims.


Steve laughs. “Alright little man go into my room and grab my wallet and my shoes, I already have Mr. Cane here and on the way downstairs we can stop by Ida’s and tell her where we are going in case Neal comes home, we don’t want your dad to worry, he has enough gray hair.”


“Uncle Steve here’s you’re shoes and wallet.” Joey says as he hands them to Steve.


“Thank you little man.”


“Want me to hold your hand so you’re skinny ass doesn’t fall down the stairs?” Joey asks.


“Joey where did you learn such language?”


“Television.” Joey says.


“And who says television isn’t educational?” Steve says.


“Not me.” Joey says.


Steve smiles. “Okay squirt get the door.”


“10-4 Good buddy this is Victor 7 over and out!!” Joey says as Steve laughs.








“Hello Vickie how’s tricks?” Neal asks as he laughs.


“The name is Victoria and do you have to come in the front door like you’re a normal human being? There’s a service entrance in the back you know, you scare my clients away.”


“Ah Vickie I thought we had a thing going on here, you know, a love-hate relationship.” Neal says.


“You love me and I hate you or is it vice-a-versa I forgot.” Vickie replies.


“Come on let me see.” Neal says.


“Screw you fuzz!!” Vickie says back to him thru clenched teeth.


Then Neal reaches over the table and he grabs one of her arms and then he shoves the long sleeve of the robe up so he can examine her arm more closely.


“Hey you prick let me go!!” Vickie protests as she struggles against Neal who does the same to the other arm.


“Well I’ll be you’re clean.” Neal says with surprise.


“Yeah fuzz three months now.”


“Has it been three months wow time flies.” Neal says.


“Yeah man and in four more months I can get my son back and by then I would have saved up enough money to get out of this hell hole and go back home to my family.”


“So all has been forgiven I take it?” Neal asks.


“Yeah my mom and dad want to see their grandson.”


“Well Vickie I can honestly say I am happy for you but before you pack your bags and head back to the farm I need your help.” Neal replies as he leans on the table.


“Money talks and bullshit walks man.” Vickie replies.


Neal pulls a bill out of his pocket and he holds it up for Vickie to see it.


“Fifty bucks? Who do I have to kill?”


“Add this to your going home fund I need you to look at some pictures.” Neal replies.


“Pictures? All I have to do is look at some lousy pictures? Alright let me see them.” Vickie says as she puts out her hand for the money.


“No first you look at the pictures and you tell me what I want to know then you get the money.”


“Alright I don’t have all day.” Vickie replies.


Neal takes out two black and white mug shots out of his pocket and he hands them to her. “Look closely have you ever seen them before? Have either one of them been in here recently. His name is Kenny and his name is Ricky.”


“So this is about your partner?” Vickie asks.


“So you heard about that too huh?”


Vickie nods. “I am sorry that he’s dead, he was cute and he was polite, he called me Miss Victoria. And no I haven’t seen them, not here or anywhere else, sorry.” Vickie replies as she hands the pictures back to Neal then once again she holds her hand out.


Neal hands them back to her. “Look again and my partner isn’t dead.”


“I already said I don’t know them and your partner should teach you how to talk to women….”


Neal reaches out and he grabs her by her wrist and he pulls her closer to him.


“Neal you’re hurting me!!!”


“My partner likes to pick up strays, of which you are one, and I don’t have time to play footsies with you! These two slugs hurt my partner and I want them! Do you catch my drift….Miss Victoria?”


“I haven’t seen them Detective Schon! They didn’t come in here! Now let me go before I….scream!!!”


Until then Neal didn’t realize how tight he was holding onto her wrist until he let her go and he saw there was a bruise already forming.


“I’m….I’m sorry here’s your money.” Neal says as he hands her the money and she snatches it out of his hand then she steps back from the table.

 “Vick….Victoria I’m sorry I didn’t mean to hurt you.”


“You love him don’t you?” Vickie asks as she rubs her wrist.


Neal nods. “We’re closer than most brothers and I hate to see him….”


“He’s not dead?”


“If he was then I wouldn’t be here because I would turn in my badge because there would be no point in doing this anymore. Do you understand what I’m saying?” Neal says as he looks at her.


“Yeah I do.”


“I’m running on fumes here, my patience is nil and I don’t have time for bullshit I need to find these two before they blow town.” Neal replies.


“Neal I’m sorry I wish I could help you but I haven’t seen them.”


Neal slips the pictures back into his pocket then he hands her a twenty dollar bill.


“What’s this for?” Vickie asks as she takes it.


“To get you home quicker.” Neal replies.


“As soon as Steve is able tell him to come around see me before I leave okay? He gave me the courage to kick the stuff and I want to thank him.”


Neal smiles at her. “Sure Miss Victoria I’ll do that.”










“Hey yourself.” Steve says as he replies to Neal’s greeting.


“Something smells good.” Neal replies as he goes into the kitchen.


“Ida made a pot roast and we left you some.” Steve replies.


“You managed to leave me some?”


“It wasn’t easy man not when Joey is a growing boy and you thought I could eat!” Steve replies.


Neal laughs as he fixes himself a plate and then he joins Steve at the dining room table. “So where is the bottomless pit and what are you doing?”




“Oh so that’s Braille?” Neal says.


“Yeah and Joey is out like a light I guess he wore himself out at the park today.”


“Oh Ida took him to the park?” Neal asks.


“No I did.” Steve says.


Neal laughs. “You mean Ida took both of you to the park?”


“No I meant I took Joey to the park.”


“Wait you took Joey to the park by yourself?” Neal asks.




“You took Joey to the park by yourself?! Steve that park is like three blocks away and isn’t there a major street you have to cross?”


“Well yeah but Joey held my hand on the way there and on the way back and he knows how to use the cross-walk button!”


Neal gets up from the table. “Oh my god Steve I can’t believe you did that!”


“Neal you’re yelling!”


“Of course I’m yelling! You took my six year old son to the park and you’re blind!!! Holy Mary mother of god Steve! I can’t believe you did that!”


Now Steve gets to his feet as well. “Sssshhhh!! Nothing happened and Joey had a great time! Hell I had a great time!”


“Steve will you listen to yourself! It might be cute to be irresponsible when you’re the only one you have to take care of….”


“Wait did you just call me irresponsible?” Steve replies.


“Yeah I did because you are irresponsible! Taking a six year old boy to the park when you can’t even see!! What if he fell or he got hurt or worse somebody took him? You would never have known!”


“Neal it’s not your fault.”


“Jesus god almighty I hate when you do that!! I hate it when I am yelling at you for something and you get all….all warm and fuzzy and….and…. all psychology on me!!! And you’re going to hug me now aren’t you?”


“Yeah if you’re just hold still.” Steve replies as he walks over to Neal and he hugs him and Neal in return puts his arms around Steve.


“If only I had been faster….”


“No Neal don’t do that to yourself it wasn’t your fault. You haven’t eaten and you haven’t slept and I know you better than you know yourself….you’re taking the city apart snitch by snitch aren’t you?”


Neal nods.


Steve smiles. “Neal I think you just nodded cause I heard that pea rolling around in your head but man I’m blind remember?”


“Shit Steve I’m sorry....and your right I have been tearing the city apart.”


“I thought as much and you know I would do the same thing for you. Procedures and rules be damned. Sometimes you have to wait until they make another move and I think you’ll have to do that in this case.”


“And if they bolt?” Neal asks.


“Then they bolt but you know they can run….”


“….But they can’t hide.” Neal finishes.


“That’s right and I have been irresponsible where Joey is concerned. I mean he wanted to go so badly and Neal you don’t have to worry about that kid he has a good head on his shoulders, are you sure he isn’t a six-year old midget?”


Neal laughs. “As far as I know he is a six year old kid.”


“Well Ida was having a chicken party….”


“A what?” Neal asks as he laughs. “I don’t think this apartment building is zoned for chickens Steve!”


“Ida was having a hen party, you know, she had all of her women friends over and Joey called it a chicken party.”


“Oh….where in the Sam Hill does he get this stuff?” Neal asks.


Before Steve can answer the phone rings and Neal hurries over to answer it. “Yeah Captain? There has been? Where? Okay I’m on my way there. I will and thanks.”


“What’s going on?” Steve asks.


“I think our boys have been spotted at a liquor store….I got to roll.” Neal replies as he grabs his keys and his jacket.


“Hey man watch your ass.” Steve instructs.


“See you later.”






“What did you do Detective fly? You beat the Coroner here.”


“I know shortcuts John can I see the bodies?” Neal asks.


“Sure you know the drill sign in for me.” John asks as he hands Neal a clipboard.


“Is that the owner?” Neal asks about a man sitting on the curb holding his head looking as white as his apron with police surrounding him.


“Yeah and he had them dead to rights I mean the place is shot up pretty good but those two won’t rob anymore liquor stores, at least not in this life.”


“Here you go.” Neal hands the clipboard back to him then John holds the crime scene tape up so Neal can get under it.


Once in the liquor store Neal skirts his way around broken bottles of liquor, blood splatters and spent shell casings as he kneels down to check on one of the dead bodies and at first glance Neal knew that these dead, bad guys were the wrong dead, bad guys.


“Detective dispatch is calling you.” John says as he sticks his head in the door.


“Yeah thanks John.” Neal replies as he stands up and he slowly makes his way out to his car. “Go ahead Ocean this is Victor 7….wait what did you just say? Just now but how is that possible? Alright Ocean I am on my way.”








“Now Mr. Sandhill could you describe them for me?” Neal asks the owner of the gas station.


Mr. Sandhill grimaces as he holds the bloody handkerchief to his head. “There were two of them, one big and one small, wearing ski masks and oh yeah the big one was limping. The little one seem to be the boss because he was telling the big one what to do.”


“And you said that the small one had a shotgun?”


“Oh yeah a big shotgun.” Mr. Sandhill replies.


“How much did they get you for?”


“Five hundred in the safe and about a hundred in the till.”


“The safe?” Neal asks.


“Yeah I was going to the bank tomorrow.”


“Did you tell them that you had a safe?” Neal asks.


“No but they seem to know where it was and when the small wanted the combination I told him to go and screw himself and that is when the big one grabbed me and lifted me up like I was a sack of potatoes.”


“And by then you were happy to give it up.” Neal says.


“Yeah and then it was lights out.”


“Did you recognize them? Have they ever been in your store before?” Neal asks.


“I don’t really know….”


Neal grabs him before he hits the ground face first. “Alright Mr. Sandhill let me take you to the hospital.”


“I guess….guess I shouldn’t have refused that ambulance after all.”


“Live and learn let’s go.” Neal replies as he helps him to his car.








“Sorry.” Steve says to the Detective at the desk that he just ran into. Neal does a double take as he looks up to see Steve coming towards their desk.


“Hey Neal are you at home?” Steve says to him.


“Yeah man you’re doing great just keep coming.” Neal says as he stands up.


“Keep talking.” Steve instructs.


“You’re getting closer.” Neal says as he watches Steve make his way closer. “Good man! Your chair is right behind you.”


“Thanks.” Steve replies as he sits down then he puts his bag on his desk. “What’s a matter you guys never seen a blind cop before?” Steve yells out loud then a few seconds later the typical day to day noise of the squad room started up again.


“How could you tell they were staring?” Neal asks.


“Because it got quiet in here and you and I both know it is never quiet in here.”


Neal laughs. “True. You came up here all by yourself?”


“Yeah. I mean its good practice for me.”


“Steve what are you doing here?” Neal asks.


“I miss the old homestead and you okay? I was in the neighborhood at the Blind School Nadine walked me over. You sound like you don’t want me here.”


“No Steve it isn’t that I was just surprised I guess….”


“I also came by to check on you, you didn’t come home last night after the Captain called you and I’m worried about you.”


Neal laughs. “You can’t see and you’re worried about me?”


“You’re tired I can hear it in your voice.”


Neal rubs his eyes. “There was a double-event last night.”


“Yeah I know I heard it on the news this morning and we aren’t that lucky are we?”


“No they are still alive.” Neal replies.


“Are we sure it was them at the gas station? I mean how good is the owner’s description?”


“Mr. Sandhill is a retired cop from New York City….” Neal says as he reads from the file.




“Yeah so his observation skills are stellar even though he got a good whack up the side of his head. He works the graveyard shift just for this reason he told me, he doesn’t want his employees to get hurt.”


“He sounds like a sweetheart of a guy.” Steve says.


“He’s a nice guy.” Neal yawns. “Anyway he also pointed out that he little guy was very nervous, antsy, and as the big guy did all the work the smaller guy was hitting the candy bars like they were going out of style.”


“He either has low blood sugar or he’s a….”


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


“I’m betting on the latter and that’s just perfect man! He’s got money now so he’s going to be looking for a place to score and all we have to do….”


“Steve did you just say ‘we’?”


“Well yeah I did.”


“Steve has much as I would appreciate the help there is no ‘we’. Not yet anyway.” Neal says.


“I can still go with you! I can sit in the car and I can talk to people and hell just the surprise factor should be enough I mean they all think I’m dead!! You’re get a good laugh out of it.”


Neal reaches out and he grabs Steve‘s hand. “Steve you aren’t cleared to get back on the streets yet.”


“Neal I’m still a cop and I can’t sit in that apartment doing nothing!! This case involves me!! We can brainstorm you know like we used to do Neal I want to help. I need to help. I need to feel useful again. You know I can’t sit around doing nothing.” Steve replies as he grabs a hold of Neal’s hands.


“Alright buddy let’s go and talk to the Captain.”


“Thanks Neal.”








When Frankie came back to his room he noticed one thing right away that none of the lamps worked which made the room extremely dark and that he also felt that he wasn’t alone.


“Okay who’s here?” After a few minutes when no one answers he tries again. “Alright I know that somebody is in here you fucker you better speak up or I’ll….”


“Or you’re what Frankie?” A voice says from the dark.


“Who’s that?”


“Oh come on I’m hurt that you don’t recognize my voice Frankie. Here man let me help you out a little.” Steve reached over to the window that he was standing next to and he opened the blinds just enough for Frankie to see him. “How’s it going…?”


“OH HOLY SHIT YOU’RE DEAD!!!” Frankie yells at the shock of seeing Steve. “DON’T COME NEAR ME!!” Frankie yells again as he backs up towards the door. “DON’T….DON’T TOUCH ME!!”


Frankie turns and he runs to the door and when he gets to it he throws it open and standing on the other side of the door with his hands up on the door frame was Neal. “Going somewhere Frankie?”


“Neal! Save me man! Save me!! He’s dead but he’s here!!”


“Frankie man what are you babbling on about?” Neal asks as he comes into the room.


“Steve! I heard he’s dead but he’s here….” Frankie turns to show Neal but when he does all that is there is an empty place where Steve was.

“He was there!! I saw him….”


Then Frankie fainted and Neal caught him and he drug him over to the bed and using a magazine he waves it over his face as he lightly slaps him.




Steve opens the closet door and he sticks his head out. “What’s happening?”


“Old Frankie here fainted.” Neal replies.


“Oh he did?” Steve asks.


“Frankie come on man buck up!!! Come on wake up! Don’t get all girly on me!” Neal says as he continues to fan him with the magazine.


“Hmmmm what’s going on?” Frankie asks slowly.


“You fainted man.” Steve replies.


“Fainted?” Frankie says and when he looks in Steve’s direction he jumps and he grab a hold of Neal. “See I told you! He’s here and he’s dead.”


“He isn’t dead Frankie.” Neal replies.


“He….isn’t?” Frankie asks skeptically as he glances over at Steve.


“Hi ya toots!” Steve replies as he wiggles his fingers at Frankie.


“No he isn’t.” Neal replies.


“But I heard….” Frankie says.


“It doesn’t matter what you heard Steve isn’t dead.” Neal says.

“Frankie if I was dead do you think I would waste a good haunt on you? I would haunt Farrah Fawcett’s bedroom not this dump!”


“Frankie have you seen these two guys?” Neal shows the pictures to Frankie.


“I….I don’t know man I need more light if you know what I mean.”


“Steve can you open up the blinds some more?” Neal asks.


Steve backs up and he opens the blinds further flooding the room with light.


“Well?” Neal asks.


“This guy right here.” Frankie points to the picture of Kenny.


“When was he here?”


“Hmm early, early this morning man. He bought me out I guess he was planning on having a big party.”


“Smack Frankie?” Steve asks.


“Yeah man. Hey guys I want you to know that I got a real job, I want to go legit and get out of this neighborhood.”


“Really Frankie?” Neal replies.


“Yeah man what are you doing?” Steve asks.


“Working at a grocery store at night, restocking the shelves and stuff like that. But I still want to help you guys out when I can.”


“Well good for you man drop us a line whenever you find a new place to land.” Steve replies.


“Frankie did you notice was he driving or walking?” Neal asks.


“Walking and he took off East.”


“Did he happen to mention where he was staying?” Steve asks.


“Na man sorry.”


“That’s cool.” Steve replies.


“Thanks Frankie and good luck.” Neal replies as he gets up off of the bed.


“Yeah I need to get some sleep before work tonight.” Frankie replies.


Neal takes Steve by his arm and he steers him towards the door. “Oh by the way Frankie we took all the light bulbs out of the lamps.” Steve replies.


“There under the bed in a box.” Neal replies.


“Oh okay.” Frankie replies as he glances under the bed.


They both wave at Frankie as they go out of the door and once the door is closed behind them Steve leans up against the wall.


“Are you okay?” Neal asks.


“Yeah do you have my sunglasses it’s awfully bright out here.”


“No you left them in the car Steve you can see light?” Neal asks.


Steve wanders over to the window at the end of the hall. “Yeah I can feel it on my face and I can see a little light.”


“Steve that is great!!! I told you it was going to be alright!”


“It’s not permanent it comes and goes. Sometimes there’s light and other times there is total darkness.”


“Well that’s better than it was before. When do you go back to the doctor?” Neal asks.


“In a couple of days can you take me back to your apartment I have one hell of a headache.”


“Sure buddy let’s go.”








“Neal I took this message for you.” Vivian replies as she hands Neal the note.


“Thanks Vivian.” Neal replies as he reads the note then he runs over to his phone and he dials Victoria’s number.


“The number you have reached is no longer in service….” The recorded voice said to Neal over the phone and he throws the receiver down in the direction of the phone as he runs out of the room.








Neal did a quick look around the building and when he was satisfied that it was safe he kicked down the front door which was locked and with his gun drawn he entered.


“Oceanview Police! Victoria? Are you here?”


No answer. Neal continues cautiously up the hallway when the rooms are located, checking each one as he comes upon it until finally he comes upon the last room and this room had a door hanging off the hinges. Neal looks in and seeing Vickie lying on the floor he holsters his gun and he enters the room.


Neal gets down on his knees beside her and he brushes the hair off of her face then he checks her pulse. Even before he touched her he knew that she was dead. Neal hangs his head then he notices the card in her hand and looking closer he recognizes it as being one of Steve’s business cards.


“Oh Miss Victoria I am so sorry….so sorry.”


Neal gets up and he finds the phone and he puts the receiver back on the phone then he calls dispatch.


“Bonnie this is Neal….send the Coroner to 217 Rosencrantz….yes I am sure. Yes 217 Rosencrantz….I’ll be waiting.” Neal replaces the receiver then he goes back and he sits next to Vickie.


“I won’t leave you I promise. Steve and I we’ll get who did this to you….we’re get them….Miss Victoria.”








“Shit!” Neal exclaims as he trips over Steve’s suitcases.


“And they say I’m blind.” Steve replies.




“Hey yourself.” Steve replies.


“Daddy said a bad word!!!” Joey exclaims as he jumps into Neal’s arms and Neal gives him a big hug and kiss.


“Hey kiddo so what’s with the suitcases?” Neal asks.


“I was going to tell you but you didn’t come home last night.”


“Well no I was busy. Let me see you’re mad because I didn’t come home last night and now you’re running home to mother.” Neal replies as Joey laughs.


“Daddy that’s funny!!!”


“Yeah Neal I want a divorce.” Steve says as he laughs.


“No Uncle Steve wants to go home!!!” Joey says.


Neal looks at him. “Oh he does?”


Joey nods. “Can I go with him daddy?”


“No son I don’t think so.” Neal says.


“Why?” Joey asks as Neal puts him down.


“Joey, Steve can’t watch you when I’m at work.”


“I’m big and I can watch myself!! And I can help him!!” Joey says.


“Yeah Neal I mean he can help me with a few things….”


“No.” Neal replies.


“But Daddy….” Joey says.


“I said no!” Neal yells louder than he intended and he can see that he hurt Joey because right up until this minute Neal had never yelled in anger at Joey. Neal gets down on one knee and he takes Joey by his arms. “Son I’m sorry I just had a bad night last night but right now I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go and stay with Steve. Steve is going to go to school….”


“You mean the school where people can’t see?” Joey asks as he sniffles.


Neal smiles. “Yes honey to the school where people can’t see and Ida would miss you. You can go and visit alright?”


Joey nods.


“Uncle Steve and I have to talk and Ida told me that she made some oatmeal cookies for you so why don’t you go and get some alright?” Neal replies.


“About some secret cop stuff?” Joey asks as he goes over to Steve and he wraps his arms around Steve’s legs and Steve lifts him up and he hugs him.


“Yeah Son some secret cop stuff.” Neal replies.


“Okay I love you Uncle Steve.”


“I love you too Joey thanks for helping me.”


“Your welcome. Bye.”


“See ya later little man.” Steve replies as Joey slides down to the floor.


Neal watches as Joey leaves out of the front door and then he goes over and he closes it.


“So is it safe to talk?” Steve asks.


“Yeah he’s gone. So why are you leaving me again?”


“I think it’s time for me to go back to my own place. Nadine thinks I should get reacquainted with my old surroundings and learn how to live there. I mean my place has stairs and I should learn how to negotiate them you know.” Steve replies.


“You mean live there all by yourself? What if you need help? What if something happens to you? What if….?”


“That is a lot of what-ifs for you Neal. I am working on the theory that in the future I will be able to see again and if I don’t….what did you say….we’re cross that bridge when we come to it?” Steve replies.


“Yeah do you want some coffee I sure could use some.”


“Yeah sounds good. You know you were awful hard with Joey.” Steve says as they go into the kitchen.


“I know I didn’t mean to be it’s just….” Neal stops.


“What happened? You said you had a bad night?”


“Steve something happened yesterday.”




Neal puts his hands on Steve’s shoulders. “Steve Miss Victoria is dead.”


“What?” Steve replies shocked. “What….happened? Who would do such a thing?”




“Ricky? But he didn’t even know her you said yourself that she had never seen them before!” Steve replies.


“I know but something had change I had a message from her and she had some info about them maybe she found out where they were staying and somehow Ricky got wind of it. The place was tore up….”


“Oh god….” Steve replies.


“Here Steve sit down.” Neal helps Steve to sit down in a kitchen chair.


“She had a little boy that she wanted to get back….oh my god her folks I have to….” Steve replies.


“I already took care of it. I called them and they will be here in a day or so to take her body back home.”


“So that is what you were doing all night?” Steve asks.


“That and I paid a visit to every flea bag run down rat trap in Oceanview looking for those two scumbags and nothing….”


“Have you ever heard the saying ‘hide in plain sight’?” Steve asks.


“You mean they might be close by?”


“Probably so but instead of trying to find them why don’t you let them find….us?” Steve replies.


“Find us? What do you mean? Uh oh you’ve been thinking again haven’t you?” Neal asks.


“Neal it’s all I’ve been able to do and all we need is to have the Captain help us and of course for him to agree to it.”


“I won’t like this idea very much will I?” Neal asks.


“No probably not.” Steve replies.


“It has the potential for being dangerous doesn’t it?”


“Yeah probably but then again what have we done that isn’t dangerous, right?” Steve asks as he raises his eyebrows at Neal.


“Back then you could see….” Neal points out. “Okay so what is this big idea of yours….?”








“Times like these I am glad pop made us learn how to read.” Ricky says as he holds up the paper.


“You can take care of him right?” Kenny replies.


“Oh sure he’s a tiny thing just like that girl was.” Ricky replies.


“Do it Friday while I’m at the Jewelry store in the meantime we can follow the curly-headed cop and see where he leads us.”


“Good idea man! You know even if you weren’t my brother I would still want you as a partner because you are smart!” Ricky replies.


Kenny smiles, “Alright man I’ll let you have the last hit then we get to work.” Kenny says as he hands him the joint.


“Cool man cool and after Friday we can retire in Mexico!” Ricky replies.


“Remember what I told you about Mexico?” Kenny says.


“Oh yeah once we get to Mexico they will never, ever find us! We can live like kings!”


“That’s right man live like kings!!” Kenny says as he laughs.








“Alright Steve there’s one last step. You know I don’t know why I am telling you that you are doing great with that cane.”




Neal opens the car door for him then once Steve is in Neal goes around to the driver’s side.


“So what did the doctor say?”


“There’s improvement but if there isn’t significant improvement in two weeks he wants me to have the surgery.” Steve replies.




“I want to wait longer, you know, give it some more time but he’s the doctor and he knows best I guess.” Steve replies then he changes the subject. “How’s Joey?”


“He misses you.” Neal replies.


Steve smiles. “I miss him too.”


“Ever since you went back to your apartment all he talks about is you, Uncle Steve this and Uncle Steve that he really wants to come and visit you.” Neal replies.


“Not now….after.” Steve replies.


Neal nods. “I told him that we were doing some very important undercover police stuff.”


“I bet he wanted to help didn’t he?” Steve asks.


“Yeah he did.”


“You know Neal if this had to happen I wish it could have happened during the winter.”


“Why do you say that?” Neal asks.


“Because during the winter I’m not missing anything, you know, in the summer the girls are in their bikinis and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue comes out.”


Neal laughs as he gives Steve a gentle shove. “I see you haven’t lost your sense of humor.”


“You know Neal it’s lonely in the dark. The world is going on around me and I’m not apart of it anymore. I just feel forgotten.”


“Steve you are apart of it and if I have anything to say about it you will always be a part of it and you have a lot of people that love you so you will never be forgotten.”


Steve nods. “What time is it?”


“Almost two.” Neal replies.


“Step on it man!”


“Why?” Neal asks.


“Because Nadine will have a car at my apartment soon to pick me up.”


“Really? Well that is certainly nice of her to do that. Sounds like she is giving you extra-special attention.” Neal replies.


“She thinks that my psyche is extra fragile now.”


Neal looks over at Steve. “You’re….your psyche?”


“Yeah man my psyche.” Steve repeats.


“You know man I think you and her should get together.”


“Yeah but I think that she is married to her work but this also has taught me something else about myself.” Steve replies.


“And that would be what?” Neal asks.


“I focused too much on looks.”


Neal laughs.


“What is so funny?” Steve asks.


“Well it’s just that….” Neal continues to laugh.




“I never thought that I would hear you admit that partner.” Neal says.


“I was pretty bad then?” Steve asks.


Neal shrugs. “Probably not as bad as most people Steve but you had your moments.”


“Well when I can see again I won’t focus so much on the exterior.”


Neal smiles. “Do you want me to tell you what Nadine looks like?”


“No I’ll found out for myself eventually, right?” Steve asks as he looks in Neal’s direction.


Neal reaches out and he puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder. “You sure will partner and soon too, well here we are home sweet home man. Do you want any help?”


Steve opens the car door. “The more practice I have the better. If you could steer me in the right direction you know.”


“Sure.” Neal gets out of the car and he turns Steve until he is facing the front door. “There you go buddy.”


“Thanks Neal and I….”


“I know you do and so do I. I’ll wait to make sure you get in.”


“Okay.” Steve replies as he takes out his keys and finding the right one by the Braille tag on it he opens the door to his apartment and he goes inside.








“This will be even easier than I thought.” Ricky replies.


“Are you sure?”


“Oh yeah man no problem! He had the cane and everything.” Ricky replies.


“Alright man tomorrow night is a go. I have been watching and this week has been a big week for them so I know that bank bag will have a lot of money in it and when he leaves that place I’ll be waiting.”


“Good deal man and then onto Mexico!” Ricky says happily.


“Yeah man Mexico here we come!”








“Alright guys listen up! The word on the street is that these two guys….” Neal passes their pictures around. “….will hit a Jewelry store tonight! Now luckily for us there are only 3 major Jewelry stores in the city so I am asking for volunteers to work undercover in the Jewelry stores, I will be in one of them myself. I will be in Powell’s and the other two are Gilbert’s Fine Jewelers and Silverman’s & Sons Jewelers. So can I see a show of hands?” Neal asks.


“These are the guys Neal that hurt your partner right?” Nick asks.


Neal nods. “Yeah man….”


Then all at once everybody raised their hands. “We all want to help.” Nick replies.


“Yeah we want to get these guys just as bad as you.” One of the Detectives replies as the other’s voice their approval.


“I appreciate that guys I really do so Randy you will take Gilbert’s and Mark you will take Silverman’s and everybody else just stay close by in the area. Mark and Randy I want these guys taken alive if possible….lets go and get ready.








“Here you go Detective a nice cup of hot tea and some cookies.” Mrs. Powell replies as she sets them down in front of Neal.


“Thank you Mrs. Powell.” Neal says.


“No thank you Detective when you and your Captain came to talk to me yesterday I was so frightened! My husband’s family has had this Jewelry store in this same place since the 1800’s and not once has anything like this ever happened. But I guess sooner or later everything changes doesn’t it Detective?”


“Yes unfortunately it does Mrs. Powell.”


Neal takes another sip of tea and he was just about to reach for another cookie when he heard his hand held two-way radio suddenly erupt.




Neal puts his hand on Mrs. Powell’s shoulder. “Thanks for the tea and cookies and tonight evil passed you by. Officer stay with her!” Neal says to the uniform officer sitting behind the desk as he grabbed his radio. “Victor 7 is responding! ETA 15 minutes!”








“Mark! Mark! What happened! My god are you alright?” Neal asked after he made his way thru the mixed crowd of civilians and officers to kneel down by Mark’s side.


“I was coming out of the store with the bank bag full of fake money and even before I got a word out he drew down on me. He got me in the shoulder I’ll live but Neal man I’m sorry….your guy’s dead.”


Neal’s looks over Mark’s head to see Kenny lying in the alley his head and upper torso riddled with bullets his now dead eyes staring unseeing up at the night sky.


“Where’s his brother?” Neal asks as he looks around.


Mark shakes his head as he winces. “He was alone Neal.”


“Alone? Are you sure?” Neal asks.


“Oh yeah man I am sure he was all by himself.”


“Then I wonder….oh holy shit!!!” Neal exclaims as his eyes widen. “Mark stay here the ambulance is on its way I have to go….”


Mark watches as Neal gets up and he runs to the street. “Where! Where are you going? Neal!!!”


“ALL UNITS! ATTENTION ALL UNITS! PROCEED AT ONCE TO….” Neal yells into his radio as he runs to his car.






Even though Steve really didn’t need light to see he still, out of habit, had a few lamps on around the apartment and of course his lack of sight didn’t mean that he still couldn’t enjoy his favorite show, Charlie’s Angels which he could still listen to and he was doing just that upstairs in his bedroom relaxing on his bed practicing his Braille when the television went off and the lights in the apartment with it.


Steve closed the book and he moved it off of his lap and onto the bed as he slowly got off of the bed and he made his way across the room to the closet. This was a plan that he had thought of along time ago if trouble had ever come calling and tonight was the night.


Listen. Listen. All Steve had to do was stand in one place and listen. He knew every creak and groan of his apartment. He could hear the ocean and wind thru the palm tree and he also heard the creak of the rusty hinges of the front door as it was slowly opened downstairs. And now he was glad that he never got around to oiling them.


“Hey copper!!! Come out, come out wherever you are!!! What’s a matter can’t you see me!!!” Ricky laughs out loud. “I know you’re here cop! I know you didn’t go for a drive! I know you’re blind!!”


Steve can hear him moving around downstairs throwing things and just generally looking any place that he thinks that Steve might hide and Steve would wince whenever he heard glass breaking. And then there was….silence.


Silence until….Steve heard a heavy foot on a creaky stair and when Ricky kicked the door opened Steve came at him with a baseball bat and Ricky, not expecting this from a blind man, was caught off-guard and Steve took aim at where he thought Ricky’s head was and he swung the bat with such force that Ricky was propelled backwards and he fell head over heels down the stairs and he came to rest by the front door. Steve staggered out of the bedroom just as Neal tried to push the front door open.


“Steve!!! Let me in! What’s in front of the door?”




“Can you move him?” Neal asks.


“I don’t know I can try.” Steve replies as he slowly makes his way downstairs.


Once downstairs Steve tripped on Ricky who was right at the bottom of the stairs. “Shit!”


“What happened?” Neal asked from the other side of the front door.


“Nothing!” Steve managed to find Ricky’s hand in the dark and he slowly dragged him away from the front door. “Alright Neal come in!”


Neal slowly pushes open the door using his foot as he holds his gun in one hand and a flashlight in the other. “Steve?”




Neal comes farther into the apartment and he shines the flashlight in the direction of Steve’s voice who was sitting on the floor with his back up against the wall and at his feet Ricky.


“Steve are you alright?” Neal asks as he kneels down next to him.


“Yeah Ricky is dead.”


Neal checks his pulse and when he finds that Ricky is indeed dead he holsters his gun. “What happened?”


“He….ah….fell down the stairs and from the sound of it I think he probably broke his neck.”


“Steve you’re shaking did he hurt you?” Neal replies as he puts his hand on Steve’s arm.


Steve shakes his head. “No….no I surprised him. I was scared I mean I was really scared.”


Neal sits down next to Steve and he puts his arm around him. “It’s alright buddy I mean being blind and having a maniac in your house would scare anybody.”


Steve shakes his head as he breathes deeper. “No I wasn’t scared because I’m blind.”


“Then why were you scared?”


“My anger scared me Neal. I heard his voice and I was glad that he was here because I knew that I was going to kill him for what he did to me. I never felt that way before being glad to be able to kill someone. That feeling scared me. Have you ever felt that way Neal? Have you?”


“Yeah buddy I have.”


Steve rests his head on Neal’s shoulder as the sirens in the distance grew closer and louder.


“I’ve made a decision.” Steve says slowly.


“Yeah what?”


“To have the surgery I want to see again.” Steve says.


Neal closes his eyes. “I think that’s a good idea.” Neal says as he sniffles.


“You aren’t going to cry are you?”


“Maybe.” Neal replies.


“I’m the one that should be crying because after this I will never get my security deposit back!”


Neal wipes his eyes. “Always the frigging comedian.”


After a few minutes Steve says, “Neal say it again.”


Neal patted Steve’s arm. “It’s going to be alright Steve. “It’s going to be….alright.”






“Uncle Steve what is that word?” Joey asks Steve as he sits on his lap holding a three week old edition of the newspaper.


“Identify. It says, ‘Detective Perry told this reporter that he was able to identify his assailants that had blinded him and an arrest was expected soon.’”


“Wow! You and dad got them right?”


“We should did kiddo!” Steve exclaims.


Joey turned around in Steve’s lap and he rubs the small part on Steve’s head that was shaved for the surgery.


“It feels funny.”


“It feels funny because it’s growing out.” Steve explains.


“Does it hurt?”


“Not now but it did.” Steve replies.


Joey runs his finger over the newly formed scar.


“What is this again Uncle Steve I forgot?”


“It’s called a scar.”


“Scar….scar.” Joey places his forehead against Steve’s. “Can you see me better now?”


Steve smiles. “Yes kiddo I see you just fine.”


“I am glad that you can see me now because I wanted you to get better.” Joey says.


“Thanks Joey I wanted to get better too so we can play!” Steve says as he tickles him. “But playing is for tomorrow and tonight is for bed.”


“Ahhhh Uncle Steve!” Joey says as Steve stands up and he puts Joey on the floor.


“Ahhhh nothing kiddo! Go brush your teeth and get into your P.J.’S and I’ll be in to tell you a story okay?”


“Okay. A shoot em up bang, bang story?” Joey asks.


“Yeah a shoot em up bang, bang story, now scoot!” Steve watches as Joey runs off to the bedroom then he goes looking for Neal and he found him in the garage.


The car was parked in the drive and Steve leaned up against it with his arms crossed in front of him as he watched Neal in the garage. Neal was wearing sunglasses and using Steve’s cane in the garage.


“Watch cha doing….?” Steve asked.


Neal jumped and he snatched the sunglasses off of his face. “Do you always have to sneak up on a person?”


Steve walks into the garage smiling. “Neal what are you doing?”


“Okay man so is it a crime I just wanted to know what you went thru. I wanted to know how you felt; you know walk a mile using your cane!” Neal exclaims as he holds it up. “Is that such a bad thing?”


“No it isn’t and I appreciate it. So how’s it going?”


Neal rubs his shins. “The bruises are already forming.”


Steve laughs. “The landlord called me today.”


“Oh what did he say?” Neal asks.


“Next week I can move back in. They painted and tomorrow they replace the carpet.”


“Well that was nice of them so how much is all of that going to cost you?” Neal asks.


Steve shakes his head. “Nothing it seems the landlord owned the Captain a favor just like you do, right?”


“All I did was ask him if he could look the other way for awhile until I got those two guys.”


“I heard that Fat Ernie sold his store and he got the hell out of Oceanview.” Steve replies.


Neal shrugs. “He might have.”


“Wee Willie is gone too.” Steve replies.


Again Neal shrugs. “The village idiots went back to their villages, simple.”


Steve smiles. “Neal can I ask you what would have happened if I….” Steve looks at him.


“You know that big three bedroom apartment on the ground floor that’s vacant?”


“Yeah.” Steve replies.


“I was going to rent it….there was going to be a room for me and for Joey and a room for….you.”


“But Neal that apartment has to be at least twice as expensive as the one you have now how could you afford it?” Steve asks.


Neal takes a deep breath. “The Captain was going to upgrade me to Lieutenant it would have been more money….”


“But isn’t Lieutenant a desk job?” Steve asks.


“Yeah but Steve if you weren’t my partner anymore….what’s the point? I mean nothing would be the same….ever. I couldn’t be on the streets without you. That is where I disappeared to the day before your surgery; I went to see the Captain.”

Steve sniffles. “You would do that for me?”


“You’re going to cry aren’t you?” Neal asks.


Steve nods then he starts to cry.


Neal gives him a hug. “Don’t do that man the neighbors are going to think I am beating you up or something.”


“I can’t help it I am just so emotional right now.” Steve replies.


“Must be the full moon. Let’s go upstairs and put Joey to bed.”


“Okay. It’s alright Neal isn’t it?”


“Yeah Steve it’s alright man it is….alright.”





V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7





“Neal will you quit your bellyaching! You’ve giving me a headache!”


“Steve you lied to me!!”


“No I didn’t lie to you!” Steve replies.


“Yes you did!”


“No I didn’t!” Steve protests.


“Steve there were no hot babes in bikinis washing cars!”


“They were there last year!”


“When I think I stood in that hot sun for hours….” Neal says.


“You’re the one that didn’t want the Dunk Tank remember?”


“Well if I had known what I know now….” Neal replies.


“Oh come on Neal it wasn’t that bad!”


“Steve they were nuns and they were having a Bake Sale!!”


“So they had great Lemonade! Who cares if they were Nuns?”


“I do!!” Neal replies.


“Did you see Sister Eunice make that basket? That was just amazing and what is wrong now!” Steve asks.


“Don’t tell anybody that a Nun kicked my ass at basketball okay?”


“I told you not to go up against Sister Eunice she’s a maniac on the basketball court man!” Steve replies.


“Yeah whatever! So what are we going to do with all of this leftover popcorn and cotton candy?”


“Well we could go down to the jail and hand them out to the prisoners.” Steve says.


“You know that is a great idea!”


“Yeah you know prisoners need some sunshine too.” Steve replies.


“That would be good on a poster.”


“You really think so Neal?” Steve asks.


“Yeah….no it sucked like a Hoover.” Neal replies.


“Oh….and by the way you know Henry right?”


“Henry? You mean Henry from the Police Monthly Newsletter?” Neal asks.


“Yeah that Henry.”


“Well what about him?” Neal asks.


“He was taking pictures of you and Sister Eunice kicking your ass at Basketball for the Newsletter! Hey Neal where are you going?”


“To see Henry!!”


“But what about the popcorn and cotton candy?” Steve asks.


“Later man later the prisoners aren’t going anywhere!”


Steve laughs. “This is Victor 7 over and out!”










©LAB and SRP & JRNY FANFICTION 2007 to 2008. All rights reserved. Steve Perry and Neal Schon’s likenesses appear only as characters. Any resemblance to any one living or dead is purely a coincidence. This fictional story is for entertainment purposes only and for the complete enjoyment of the author and the readers. I have no permission from Steve Perry and/or 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.
















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