Summer in The County Ch. 03

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This story is part of an ongoing series. The chronological order of my stories is now listed in WifeWatchman’s biography.

Feedback and constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and I encourage feedback for ideas.

This story contains graphic scenes, language and actions that might be extremely offensive to some people. These scenes, words and actions are used only for the literary purposes of this story. The author does not condone murder, racial language, violence, rape or violence against women, and any depictions of any of these in this story should not be construed as acceptance of the above.

Part 11 – Photo Ops

“This is Bettina Wurtzburg, KXTC Channel Two News!” shouted the lovely redheaded reporterette from in front of City Hall at 7:00am, Monday, July 17th. “Channel Two News has learned that the County’s Inspector General, Horace S. Wellman, has closed all cases and complaints to him regarding the incident on Courthouse Square last Wednesday night, finding that the Police acted correctly in every way!”

“Social Justice groups are infuriated by the Inspector’s actions,” reported Bettina, “and Citizens for Police Accountability spokesman Jay Swenson has accused the Inspector General’s office of whitewashing the incident and covering up for the Police. Meanwhile, Town we cannot. This is Chief Sean Moynahan’s Police Force, and we just work in it. I’d better never, ever, hear such insubordination in front of other Police Officers like that again. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes sir.” said Teresa.

“Sit down, both of you.” I said. We all sat down. “Look,” I said, “I know there’s a lot of stress, and we’re being treated like shit by the politicians and especially the deeply corrupt Press. But whatever you do, both of you, remember that old TV commercial: never let ’em see you sweat. Keep your cool, especially in front of subordinates. Come vent to me if you need to, but never show anyone on the outside that they’re getting to you. It’s my job to deal with those asswipes on your behalves, so let me do so.” I saw a slight glimmer in Cindy’s eyes.

“I know what you are thinking, Captain Ross… I need to practice what I preach.” I said. “But let me be the one to take the Press arrows. You just do your jobs without fear of them, knowing I have your back.”

“May I speak freely, sir?” asked Teresa. I nodded and she said “Does the Chief have our backs, too?”

“Yes.” I said. “He made a mistake the other night. He’s already admitted it and apologized.”

“Can I say something?” asked Cindy. I nodded. Cindy turned to Teresa and said “Go talk to the Chief, Teresa. Air it out. Put it all on the table, leave nothing behind. Otherwise, both of you are walking on eggshells around each other, and there’s too many crowbars around breaking those eggshells to have that.”

“That’s a good idea.” I said. “Want me to arrange it, Teresa?”

“No sir, I’ll handle it.” Teresa replied. “What about Harlow, though? There’s no getting around what she did. I find her actions unforgivable, and will resign before I excuse it, no matter what you say.”

“I understand your feelings, but whether or not you excuse her, don’t do anything about it.” I said. The Chief has already handled that, and in about as formal a manner possible. As I’ve said, if Harlow gives either of you or your direct subordinates any shit at all, you come to me. Do not pass ‘Go’, do not collect $200. Come straight to me, and I will handle it… because I can.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Teresa knocked on the door to the Chief’s office. When she heard the “Come in!”, she opened the door and went inside.

“Chief,” she said, “can we talk?”

“Yes, we certainly cannnnn.” replied the Chief. “In fact, I’ve been expecting you to come in. Have a seat…”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

At 10:30am, Helena buzzed me. “It’s Councilman’s Lewis’s assistant, sir.” she said.

“Take a message.” I said as I examined the mass of papers on my desk.

A moment later, Helena buzzed me again. “Sir…” she said nervously, “the Councilman’s assistant asked when you were going to come to his office to discuss recent issues.”

“Good grief.” I said. “My answer is that I am not. And tell them to not call again about it.”

An hour later, the Duty Desk called. “Commander,” said the Duty Desk Sergeant, “Town Councilman Reginald B.F. Lewis is here and wants you to come see him up here.”

“I’m sure he does.” I said. Then I said “Wait five minutes, then sancaktepe escort have someone escort Councilman Lewis to my office. If there are any Press with him, they are not allowed behind the Duty Desk.” After hanging up, I called Cindy and had her come sit on the sofa. Teresa was still meeting with the Chief, so I did not disturb them.

A moment later, Councilman Lewis appeared in my doorway. Behind him was an aide, a young, tall black man in a suit and tie, as Lewis was. I did not bother to stand to greet them, but asked them to sit down in the ‘hot chairs’. I did offer them coffee or water, which was politely refused.

“Commander,” said Lewis, “my assistant called and invited you to my office for a meeting. And I did say on the morning news that I wanted to meet with you.”

“Well, Councilman, you’re here now, and we are meeting.” Then I said more levelly: “But let me be clear: First… I am very busy right now with my own job. Second… I am not sure what you could possibly want to meet with me directly about; I am certain that almost anything you want to discuss should be with the Police Chief, or perhaps the Sheriff. Third, and most importantly, I don’t play the ‘photo op’ game, and I’m not giving the Press that kind of satisfaction.” I saw Cindy try and fail to hide a smirk. Fortunately, I was the only one that saw it.

Lewis nodded thoughtfully. “You have a rare quality about you, Commander: unpredictability. You don’t play the Game the normal way.”

“I’m easy to predict, Mr. Lewis.” I replied. “As long as I am Police Commander, the law will be enforced in this Town and this County. Property will be protected. Violence will be stopped, and with as much force as is needed to stop it.”

“You don’t even consider the optics, do you?” asked Lewis.

“No, Mr. Lewis.” I said. “Because that is what you and the Press are counting on. You, and that’s the plural, not just yourself, are counting on me to show fear of how things might look or how the Press will spin it. Just like you, sir, and that’s the singular ‘you’, wanted me to come to your office to dress me down while the Press takes pictures of you scolding the big bad Police Commander. You are right about one thing: I don’t play the game your normal way.”

“You are not helping, Commander.” said Lewis. “My people are already afraid of the Police. Fear leads to Hate, and that leads to problems. I intended to discuss how we can defuse this situation, not escalate it.”

“I have a very simple solution.” I said. “Whatever your skin color, don’t break the law. Protest peacefully, preferrably with a permit. I’ll back up, and protect, any group that gets a permit and assembles peaceably. Follow the proper channels for the redress of wrongs. But violence? I’m the front line against that, with the lives of my Officers in the balance. I’ll do what I need to do. This really isn’t that hard, Councilman.”

Lewis got up, as did his aide. I did not bother to get out of my Command chair. “Okay, Commander.” he said. “I envy you your Utopian vision of the world. I grew up in a different one. Have a good day.” With that, he and his aide left.

“I wonder if they recorded that.” I said when Cindy and I were alone.

“Nope.” Cindy replied, holding up the gold disc that was the bug-killer. I smiled inwardly. I suspected they also were seeing what frequencies the bug-killer used. Cindy’s was behind mine in technology; they would find themselves still stymied if and when I used my device.

“So,” I said, “What did you think of that?”

“I agree with every word you said.” Cindy said. “He wanted a photo op where he appeared dominant over you. Maybe the Press would accuse you of being a racist, and you came to that meeting out of guilt. You called his bluff, and not only that, you told him that you were doing it, and why.” I nodded.

Cindy continued: “The only thing I don’t get… is why he came here. At all. I think he may have sincerely wanted to cover some ground and reach a better understanding with the Police, i.e. with you. Did we miss an opportunity to have a serious talk behind-the-scenes with one of the Black Community’s power players?”

“No.” I said, half in a reverie as I said the words. “Let’s play connect the dots. First, he gets on television and openly insults the Chief by saying that I’m in charge of the Police Force. Second, he demands a meeting with me, not the Police Chief, and not the Sheriff. When I don’t give ümraniye escort him the time of day, literally, he comes over here, and again comes to my office, not the Chief’s.”

I concluded: “We can infer two things from all this: first, they’re trying to anger and weaken the Police Chief, and make him look inferior; and second, they know of the strife between us and the Chief, and are trying to drive a wedge further between us.”

“As usual,” Cindy said, “you makes sense on so many levels. I guess the ultimate question is what their end goal is. Westboro could not make people hate you enough to get rid of you; why do they think they can now?”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Teresa finally came out of the Chief’s office just before lunch. I took my Angels to the Cattleman’s Club for lunch.

“It went well, I think.” Teresa said after we ordered. “Really well. He was darn good about getting me to talk about my career and my history; he really drew me out. In exchange, he talked about some of his military career and then about his team in Midtown. I now know some things about Molly that neither of you do.”

“Did y’all work it out about the other night?” I asked.

“Yes, and he told me some things that had not come out before.” Teresa said. “You’ll have to excuse me, but I promised to keep the conversation between him and me.”

“That’s okay.” I said. “So you trust him now? You can follow him, especially in my absence?”

“I guess.” Teresa said. “It’s hard to get my trust back once it’s broken, but if you tell me it’s okay, then I’ll try to move forward.”

“It’s hard to get your trust in the first place.” Cindy said. “And I speak from vast experience.” Both women then glanced over at me, but I made sure my face and eyes gave nothing away about what I was thinking…

Part 12 – Casting Lines

The hook and lure flew out over the lake, and the wheel made a high-pitched whistling sound as the line went out. Chief Griswold reeled it in taut, locking the reel down, then let the lure drift in the lake.

We were in his backyard. He was in his customary fishing chair, and had a huge picnic-table umbrella over him, shading him from the sun’s rays. I was sitting next to him in a high-backed metal chair, partially under the umbrella, and my full-brim Tilley Hat shielding me, as well.

“So everything’s good with Chief Moynahan again?” Griswold growled as he watched the line.

“Yes sir.” I said. “At least with us top brass. The rank-and-file are still gossiping, but that’s starting to go away, too.”

“Good.” said Griswold. “So now Harlow’s a big problem for you. Like Brownlee was… what is it about that Deputy Chief position?”

“I don’t know, Chief.” I said. “It is possible that there was some unofficial checking of Harlow and her husband’s finances, but nothing unusual came up. We do know she’s been meeting with feminists like Malinda Adams, but what really bothers me is that she’s been meeting with Briggs and Briscoe. I’m getting word that Briggs is disgruntled that he’s not a Captain after all of his years on the Force, and Briscoe really hates the Public Relations job… can’t say I blame him for that.”

“But that’s not why you came to talk to me.” said Griswold, most astutely.

“Not much gets past you, Chief.” I said with a wicked grin. The old Chief’s mustaches twitched with merriment. I then said “I was wondering what you’ve heard at the State level, Chief.” By that, I meant Governor Jared.

“Well, Crowbar,” said Griswold, “you’ve always been right about the Republican Party. They have lied to the People, the so-called ‘Grassroots’ as you call them, about promising to do things like help curb illegal immigration, lower taxes and reform the tax system, and repeal Democrat programs implemented in the past. But when the rubber hits the road, they show their true colors… that they’re in bed with the Establishment Democrats to keep blacks on the Government Plantation and keep them dependent on Government, to do nothing about the cheap labor provided by illegal immigrants, and keep Socialist programs in place as the law of the State.”

“Yes sir.” I said, knowing all this.

“Val Jared knows this.” said the Chief. “But he confided to me that he did not expect the sheer ferocity of attacks upon him. Not only by the Left, but by the Republican Elites. Collins and Hammonds really do want to impeach Jared, deserved or not. There are enough Conservative tuzla escort Republicans to prevent the two-thirds threshold, so it won’t go anywhere. But the damage is going to show up in the next elections.”

“Yes sir, it will.” I said. “But they don’t care: the Establishment Republican Elitists would rather lose to the Democrats than give the Grassroots, the People that make this State and Nation great, anything at all. And to that point, Chief… are you or the Governor hearing anything at all about U.S. Senator Russell?”

“He’s one of the Elites.” said Griswold. “He had money in the Pine Valley project, so he might have been on the edges of those white supremacists you and the FBI busted up. He hates Jared, and is working with the State-level Republicans to bring Jared down. But why do you ask about him?”

“Because his name keeps cropping up with things going on in this County,” I replied, “and the efforts to bring me down.”

The Chief’s eyes cut over to me, and found my gray eyes holding his look. “That’s new and different.” he said simply. He began reeling in his line as he let thoughts run through his head.

He cast the line again, then asked “So, Crowbar, why?”

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out, Chief.” I said.

“I’ll discreetly inquire with the Governor.” said Griswold. “He’s not the dumbass the Press makes him out to be, and he has some very good ways of finding things out… as most politicians do.”

“Thank you, sir.” I said.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“You wanted to see me, sir?” asked Mary Mahoney Milton, coming into my office at 2:30pm. She noticed Cindy and Teresa were sitting on the sofa.

“Yes.” I said. “Have a seat.” Mary sat down in a hot chair, and to her surprise, I came around my desk and sat in the other hot chair so that the four of us were in a circle of sorts.

“So,” I said, “you’re a full Detective, is that not right?”

“Yes sir.” said Mary. “Though I’ll have to re-qualify with my gun to go on any field missions.”

“I’ll make an appointment for you.” I said. “Captain?”

“Mary,” Cindy said, “have you given any thought to being a Detective in MCD or Vice?”

“Uhh…” Mary said. “Not really. I’m happy doing data work with Miltie.”

“Understandable.” I said. “But we’ve had some cases where your knowledge of the Punk world as well as the Underground Scene has come in handy.”

Cindy picked up the bit. “How would you feel about working in Vice for a while?”

“Uhhh… I don’t know if I’m up to speed on that.” she replied.

“You’ll get up to speed, and quickly.” said Teresa. “You’ve got the background, and you’ll only need to pick the other guys’s brains. You’ve got the personality to recruit C.I.s, you’ve got good instincts for this kind of work.”

“And you know it.” I said. “So don’t try to be modest with me.” Mary laughed, knowing I’d just read her thoughts, and crushed her not-yet-spoken objections.

“I didn’t know you guys needed someone in Vice—” Mary started. Then it hit her.

“Yes, that’s right.” I said, seeing the light change in her eyes. “We are not just talking having you work in there, but lead it. You work in there for the next few months. If things look good, you’ll be promoted at least to Supervisor. You’ll have to go to Police Academy Advanced Course, and we can send you in November or December. And if it’s all good, we’ll move heaven and earth to promote or brevet you to Lieutenant next February… your pregnancy notwithstanding.”

“How… how did you know?” Mary said, truly stunned. “Did Miltie tell you? We were going to have an announcement party—“

“No, he did not tell me.” I said. “I would have to be a very dull Detective to not take one look at you and know it. Congratulations, but that’s no obstacle.

Mary still looked shocked, but could see the opportunities opening up for her. “But… what about the data work, sir?”

“We’ll make do.” I said. “I admit that I will hate losing you, but you can still type on a computer from time to time. What’s more important is what’s best for this Police Force, and what’s best for my Detectives and Officers, including yourself.”

“Think about it. Talk with your husband about it.” said Cindy. “This isn’t a ten-minute decision. If you don’t want to do it, and want to stay where you are, it’s ‘no harm, no foul’. But it could be really good for you, as well as for us.”

“I… I’ll think about it, and talk to Miltie about it.” said Mary.

“Don’t talk to him here at Headquarters.” I said. “Talk at home. And Mary, very seriously: don’t worry about what you’d be leaving behind in Data. You’re ready to move forward, and grow, and that’s what I want for you.”

“Yes sir.” Mary said. I could tell that her one biggest objection… leaving her place as my data guru… was being overcome as I gave my blessing.

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