Alex Teach on the beatalex teach on the beat
Officer Alex has a headache.
Not a good day on the streets for the clients.
He looked the victim straight in the eye, and crossed his white, scarred arms. “Yo bike was like five feet from the driveway, how was I supposed t’know it was yo’s?”
“It wasn’t yours, son, that much all three of us know.”
He looked at me, clenched his teeth, and spat at my feet.
“Never do that again. Never, ever show disrespect like that, or I’ll spank you, son, right here in the middle of Sixth Avenue.” A smile faded, and pursed lips replaced objective listening.
“Sheeit. You ain’t gonna do a #%&*in’ thing. I’m 17. Get the #%&* on out of here.”
He was right. About his age…but little else. He couldn’t help that, but it was a failing I had to help him with, and I readily admit—he had already gotten under my skin. My headache was worsening by the second. Millisecond. It was awful.
“You’re wrong. She saw you stealing her son’s bike. What I will now do is arrest you.”
I reached out and touched him with my left hand, cuffs in the right. He had lifted the bike over an eight-foot fence, and the owner hadn’t just watched him; she got in her car and followed him around. For half an hour, trying to get police there.
When we were called and caught up with him, the kid was standing in the street flipping her off. His oversized trucker cap was sitting crooked on his head, his eyes the slits of classic Southern inbreeding, narrow and stupid, but the kid was firm in his resolution. I’ll give him that.
His arms were now locked in their folded stance, and he was making choices. “You’re not putting #%&*ing cuffs on me,” he said, and my partner heard this and grabbed him from behind, poorly and with no tactical direction in mind. There was never a time for debate over this as is expected by the uninitiated liberal crowd, but then, they wouldn’t debate it if they’d ever had to deal with real people. At any rate, the “kid” now came unglued. A fight had begun roughly one second before he lost his feet and found the trunk of a Crown Victoria, and reasoning came to him as rusty steel clasps secured his hands. I was already breathing heavy; the kid shouldn’t have gotten to me so quickly.
I helped him upright as the victim warned against retaliation: “When you think of getting back at me, think twice—my brother’s a cop, and I’ll #%&*ing do you, kid.” He wrinkled his mouth and began to spit and I distracted him by knocking his ball cap over his head and holding his nape firmly while I whispered something personal in his ear (something not for you, avid reader, but me and the kid). He became strangely calm, and I took him to jail.
And afterwards? I thought on it all a bit. I thought about how I would have reacted to seeing that all transpire from the side of the road and I used it to do what I always do—remind me why people hate cops, hate their tactics, and love their results without ever knowing it. God, my head was still pounding.
The processing was quick because the attendants at Juvenile believed in what they were doing, unlike the rest of us, but they were nice to be around.
I went back, and looked for a cave to crawl into, thinking cool darkness would help, but it didn’t. Instead, I found a house being burglarized by a half dozen kids smoking weed and handing around a pistol.
I am funny, I am getting fat and I am getting slow, but those who underestimated me rethought things later after I caught two out of three as they fled from the porch of this technically vacant house, and put them both in custody—one 19, one 17. And me out of cuffs. Backup was nowhere in sight but that didn’t matter…it never got there right away in the real world anyway, and I was alive. And the people that underestimate me always look surprised when they go from thinking about the price of lettuce one second, then find me clamped around their throats the next with a grin that would make large men consider a new trade school, or living in their car for now on. Helluva trick, that, but it came naturally. How awful. It’s also why I pack such thoughtful restraint. Mostly. But I digress.
Someone showed up long enough for me to point at my clients and be relieved from holding their necks so I could go inside, and inside I went, around corners, checking closets, and finding a gun beading with sweat lying on top of a Sony PlayStation in a rear closet. The sweat was confusing—until I thought of the refrigerator door I’d closed in the kitchen before checking upstairs. The little bastards had been hiding it there, and while I had found it, I treat pistols like cousins or cats: There’s never just one around.
Weed…blunts…candy…by the pound. I found it all and a tiny hobbit-sized door to boot, which I quite naturally entered, into an attic area that was reminiscent of the World War II-era movies I watched as a kid. Slats separated by mortar, yellow newspapers in stacks…and a man hiding on his stomach holding both hands beneath his stomach, face still down, chest moving with labored respirations. As a backdrop, I could see three cops through a window on the sidewalk outside and below, talking and laughing. (I wished I were there.) Then I keyed up on my shoulder mic, and said, “I have one in the attic. Gunpoint.”
I wasn’t so interested in help as I was their faces. The ones on the sidewalk dicking around stopped in inevitable mid-sophomoric joke, and looked up at the window that had to lead to me. Then to their credit they ran. (OK…a brisk shuffle.)
Dude-between-the-beams still lay there until I finally challenged him. He looked up with no expression; this was bad. He stood up, and that too was bad. He was between the beams—but not for long. (Physics, you see.)
The cops coming in from the street met him as he stopped being between the beams, and fell through them and thusly into their path, but from above and not the side as is so commonly expected by the average person.
After the screaming, there was only laughter; my own, from the largish hole in the ceiling above them.
It was grand, and the day was half over. But my headache wasn’t.
Why won’t it go?