Another snippet from 'Seven Five'
The Duffel Bag Situation
We had just come from one of Diaz’s Bodega’s. After dropping Kenny off at his house and waving at his doting wife Susan, I watched through the rear view mirror as my tires lit up the quiet cul-de-sac. Wrestling my brand new red Corvette, I headed west to the precinct. Many folks had told me not to use the Corvette especially when traveling anywhere near to my place of work as it may be construed as taking the piss and putting a big red target on my back. All I had to say on this day was simply ‘My wife’s taken the Olds, and I sure ain’t gonna fucking walk am I?’ After navigating the rush hour traffic of downtown, twenty five minutes or so later I pulled into one of the spots usually assigned for the city’s Black & Whites. I was oblivious to craned necks and lowered aviators as various eyes registered my arrival.
Shutting off the V8, I put the car in park, and waited as the car jolted to a full stop. Exiting, I popped the truck and grabbed a black duffel bag. Heaving it onto my shoulder; I bounced up the concrete staired entrance into familiar territory. As I said, only an hour before Kenny and I had just parted company with a killer called Elvis. Elvis was a squat powerhouse who emanated the phrase ‘Don’t Fuck With Me’ along with a reputation that would have many stone cold killers pissing their pants. Elvis was one of Adam’s most trusted men and our go to guy. If we wanted anything, anything at all, Elvis was the man to see.
We had been told by Adam a couple of days before that a parcel was ready for collection at one of the many Bodegas’ he owned which was controlled with a rod of iron by the aforementioned Elvis. When we arrived we were always treated with the respect that was given to family. After handshakes and numerous greetings our food and beer orders were taken, the small stuff sorted we passed through the florescent isles of produce and were eventually directed by one of the many packing muscled staff members to go on into the back where the real business took place. We spent the last hour of our shift talking to Elvis, sipping beers and listened to stories of other drugs gangs trying to encroach on Adam’s turf. Normally we wouldn’t give a fuck about other crews, but one of the conditions of our newfound friendship was that we would come down on said crews with the full force of the NYPD, and disrupt any chancers thinking they were the new kids on the block. That was a whole other story which we will get to soon enough, but for now all we were interested in was the parcel being weighed and carefully wrapped for our pleasure. Three kilos of top quality product, if we treated it right it would fetch roughly ninety thousand on the street.
After hearing the news that a parcel would be in our hands shortly we had decided as a group that we would travel over to the Bahamas for some much needed R&R. It had been a frantic few weeks and we needed to cut loose and chill in the sun, maybe some hot chicks and gambling would be thrown in. I was supposed to meet the rest of the crew at the airport the following morning, Chicky was in charge of the reservations, Walter was responsible for security (If we needed it) and Kenny was just Kenny, but before all that could happen, I needed to sort some bullshit that had occurred with a freak who had jumped a red light, and after a detailed search of his vehicle had been found in possession of a loaded ’38 that ultimately had found its way into the evidence room at HQ, and my signature was now required on some paperwork. Hence, my presence at the Seven Five!
It was a pain in the ass that I could do without, but the powers that be wanted stats, and this was unfortunately one of those cases that would placate the higher ups. All I could think about was the morrow, when I would be drinking cocktails, counting cash and biting my fucking knuckles at the sweet asses that passed us by as we sat supping from tall glasses at the side of an aquamarine swimming pool. It made my adrenaline pump so hard, I two stepped my way up the concrete stairs, passing the many officers and civilians who had watched my arrival in my stark red Corvette. My answer – Through my coked eyes, I didn’t really see a problem. I just thought that these fucks were jealous of my success, but things were being noted by eyes that I could not, or did not want to see.
Entering the massive double doors, I headed toward central processing and nodded at the desk Sergeant who looked like his hands were already full with a Friday night’s full house of fun. Through the chaos he waved me through the first line of security into the bowls of the building. I passed by the locker rooms and raised my eyebrows at some of the night crew who were tucking crisp shirts into their starched blues and headed downstairs to the evidence room. Rapping on the wire meshed window, I waited for a response. After a while ‘Fat Pat’ my old trainer waddled into view with a beaming smile ‘Hey Mike, what can I do for on this balmy night?’ Pat had been transferred to the bowls of the precinct after taking one in the left leg whilst conducting a routine traffic stop not long after he signed me off and made me a full member of the Police ‘Hey Pat!’ I always liked Pat, even if he was relic. Buzzing me through I entered the forbidden place, there was enough illicit shit in this place to make your eyes water. I looked at the rows and rows of shelving that held everything you could imagine, from the best military hardware, unclaimed gold, antiques, clothes and every corrupt cops dream, tonnes of every variety of narcotics you only saw in Hollywood movies.
I made myself comfy at one the long steel tables that were used to explore evidence in full view of several security cameras, I plonked the heavy duffel bag I had dragged from the back of the Corvette containing the three kilos of cocaine Kenny and I had procured earlier from Elvis on the table with a thud. Fat Pat offered me brew from a Coffee pot that looked like it had been filling mugs for centuries, declining his offer ‘I’m good Pat. I just gotta sign some paperwork on a case’. Pat gave me a suit yourself look, and drained the remnants of his stained mug and refilled as I pulled my notebook from my the left breast pocket of my shirt, flicking through numerous pages I alighted on the details of the case in question ‘I need the docket 1-345 Hernandez’ I watched as Pat shuffled off into various isles and saw that his leg seemed more cumbersome than when I had last seen him. After hearing various cabinets closing an opening, he came back and offered a thin beige folder ‘Hernandez, docket 1-345’
I took the folder and thumbed through making sure this was the crap I had come for, it was. A 23 year old male Hispanic who had been stopped for a minor traffic violation, unbeknown to everyone but me and Kenny the real reason we had stopped this jerk-off was that we had been given Intel that he was carrying. Maybe drugs or cash, but that turned out to be bullshit – A mental note had been made to ask the provider of this bogus Intel some questions – and all we had found after an extensive search was a ‘38 loaded with bullets. With my usual flourish, I signed the evidence docket and formally entered the paperwork into the machinations of justice that would no doubt be used to send another disenfranchised American to the house for a long time. Shit happens! I had bigger fish to fry. Closing the folder I banged it on the steel surface and made it square before I handed it back to Fat Pat.
After the folder was returned to the one of the many steel tombs, Pat offered something more in keeping with my tastes. Standing in a blind spot he waggled a bottle of Makers Mark in my direction. Good old Pat. Nodding my approval I watched him pour two generous dollops into a couple of Coffee stained mugs, this time I was not so concerned. Walking into shot he placed the mugs on the table with a clink, touching ceramic we toasted to the ‘Seven Five!’ Wiping his sausage fingers across his mouth and fighting the smooth burn he enquired ‘So, how’s life treating Mr O’Dowd?’ Fighting my own burn as the liquid flowed down my throat, giving life to the few lines of coke I had ingested in the toilets at Elvis’ ‘Can’t complain Pat, but even if I did, who would listen?’ Clinking for a second time we spent the next half hour or so shooting the breeze, life, family and the mundane shit of everyday life.
I didn’t want to seem to be rude whilst I checked my Rolex (A present from Adam) with a nonchalant glance, but time was getting on and I had to be getting gone. It was almost twelve and I was cognisant that I had to meet up with the guys in another six hours and I should be making my way ‘Pat, it’s been a pleasure as always’ I raised my cup and drained the last dregs. Copying my efforts Pat held out his other hand ‘The pleasure’s all mine Mike, don’t be a stranger’ Gripping his fat fingers with sincerity I feigned an over exaggerated salute with my right hand. Exiting the buzzed gate of the evidence room, I made my way through the building into main hall. The same desk Sargent was still dealing with the various characters Suffolk County had to offer. I tried to catch his eye as I exited the building, but he was pre-occupied with a couple of hookers creating a scene by flashing their tits at those who wanted to notice. As someone once said ‘Welcome To The Land Of Fuck’.
I arrived home about thirty minutes after leaving Pat in the evidence room. As I pulled into my double garage (A far cry from the street parking that my parents had to endure) I noticed the house was still and my better half had probably given up on her hubby returning at a godly hour. Guilty for a only a moment, I shut off the Corvette, and listened as the engine cracked and popped as it cooled from the exertion of doing an average of 60mph. Holding my watch up to the dim light of the dashboard it was noted it was now getting nearer to one o’ clock and it would be only a few hours till we boarded our domestic flight bound for sunny climbs. A celebration was in order. Sliding open the change tray, I rescued an emergency wrap and gave myself two generous bumps, checking the mirror for residue I was satisfied I would pass a drug test. Pressing the button that closed the automatic garage door, I winced as the bulky metal locked into place. Waiting in the dark for a moment, I was relieved that my presence had not been noticed and all was well. Placing the keys to the Corvette on one of the many marble worktops which the wife had demanded be centre stage, I fumbled through the darkness and found the double door refrigerator, grabbing a bottle of beer I entertained the idea of heading toward the master bedroom and throwing back the covers and ravishing a sleeping beauty, but instead, conked out on the sofa like a drunken high fool.
Beep! Beep! Beep! - Reaching aimlessly into space, I knocked the offensive noise off the marbled living room table into the deep shag pile carpet. Wiping the crust from the corner of my mouth, I recoiled from the leaden light emanating through the blinds my wife had once again demanded for and finally found my cell phone amongst tangled fibres ‘Yeah?’ Walter’s thick accent greeted me ‘Hey Mike, you awake?’ I was now! ‘Walt, what time is it?’ Quick as ever ‘About fucking time you was on your way Mike’
After a shit, a shower and some hasty shaving, I kissed the wife goodbye with a wedge of cash that would hopefully lessen the burden of guilt as I closed the front door and loaded up in a cab bound for the airport for a weekend that would curl most toes. My driver, a man in his forties who just wanted a quiet life was instructed through dark Ray-Bans ‘Airport Senior’ We pulled out of the driveway with the forlorn figure of my wife in the background waving a wad of cash in the breeze.
Cutting it close, I and my tired and harassed driver arrived at the departure terminal to various looks from the guys. Walt tilted his flat cap as if to say ‘What the fuck Mike?’ As ever, I was bullet proof and my smile cut through the tension ‘Sorry guys, Police business!’ The ice broken, we headed through a packed concourse and grabbed seats at the first bar we came to. - You may think what the fuck Mike ‘It’s six in the morning’ - but we would all say in unison ‘We were on vacation!’
Chicky got the first of many rounds, by the time the flight was called forty five minutes later we were firmly in party mode. Bags stowed and asses seated, Chicky continued the rampage by ordering several bottles of airline champagne from a babe in a tight airline uniform, not the best in the world but a sign of things to come. Once we had overcome the vertical thrust of four jet engines I clinked plastic glasses with Kenny and motioned with a head flick towards the toilets. Taking the cue, Kenny extricated from the window seat and squeezed passed Walters massive frame and headed up the aisle toward the toilet cubicle. After patting Chicky on the thigh, he smiled and made room for me to squeeze on by and follow Kenny, tapping his snozzle ‘Save some for me Mike’ returning his beam ‘Gimme five and come join us’.
Passing by the throng of holiday reveller's, I arrived at the thin lavatory doors, tapping on the toilet door like a police officer trying to gain entry, Kenny recognised the timbre, clicking open the door he allowed entry into the tight space. Wasting no time, I produced an eight ball much to the amazement of Kenny ‘Fuck me Mike, how the fuc…’ Cutting him off mid flow ‘You’d rather not know Ken!’ Using the edge of the stainless steel wash basin I cut up several lines with my American Express, rolling up a hundred dollar bill I passed the makeshift straw and gestured to tuck in. Making sure that the connection was airtight Kenny doubled over and began hoovering, just as the burn rattled membrane we were interrupted by loud tapping on the Formica door, looking at each other we made haste and cleared up any incriminating evidence, losing a few precious grains along the way.
Trying to compose ourselves, I directed a response to the intrusion ‘Won’t be a minute’. Another loud burst of knocking got our blood pressures rising, looking at Kenny I signaled that we were in the shit, and the only reaction he could give was the beginning of the giggles. Slapping him playfully, I tried to convey the serious predicament we had found ourselves in. We were in possession of several uncut grams of cocaine and we were trapped in a tiny room thirty five thousand feet above the earth and some fucker was trying to gain entry on our party. Thinking as fast as I could, I produced my NYPD badge, shaking his head Kenny shot me down, I guess he was right. How the fuck could I explain away the fact that a member of the police force was entered into some strange behaviour in a tiny toilet somewhere over the Atlantic. As all of our dreams of a great weekend break evaporated, our paranoia was broken with the sound of Chicky’s broad New York accent ‘Mike?’
Thanks For Reading... More Of The Seven Five To Come...