DEFUNDING…a short story

Feb 23, 2024 by

Recently, politicians on the ultra liberal side of the fence have suggested that their constituents might be better off if they had less contact with the police. They suggest “defunding” police budgets and allowing these citizens to resolve their own problems. Unfortunately, these politicians wouldn’t know a police necessity from the empty space between their ears.


(The following is based on a real incident. However, in that case, the police responded quickly and the situation was resolved. The actual disposition is noted at the end of the chapter.)

911 Operator: “Nine-one-one, what is your emergency?”

Caller: “I just had an accident and I need help. Please. I need help fast.”

911 Operator: “What is your location?”

Caller: “I’m at the intersection of Montauk Highway and Nichol’s Road in Blue Point.

911 Operator: “Is anyone injured?”

Caller: “I don’t think so. I’m not hurt and neither of my daughters are hurt. The other guy, he was on a motorcycle, he’s walking around and yelling. He’s cursing. He has a filthy mouth. I don’t think he’s hurt.”

911 operator: “Yes, ma’am. If no one is injured, why do you need help fast?”

Caller: “Jesus Christ, because these people are animals! There are four of them. One is with the man who ran the red light, turned in front of me, and I hit him. The other two are standing around my car. One is peering into the window at my daughters and making…sucking sounds. Good Christ, he has his nose pressed against the window!”

911 operator: “Sucking sounds? Does he have a sucking chest wound?”

Caller: “Chest wound? How would I know? He wasn’t in the accident.”

911 Operator: “I’m sorry ma’am, but because of the recent defunding of the police department and newly imposed restrictions on contact with the public, we’re not allowed to dispatch a car to assist with a motor vehicle accident without personal injury.”

Caller: “Then what the hell am I supposed to do? These four men are big and, as I mentioned to you before, they look like animals. They’re wearing demin jackets with the sleeves cut off. On the back it says, Pagans MC. I’m telling you, they look like animals.”

911 Operator: “Have you exchanged your license, registration and proof of insurance yet?”

Caller: “Are you crazy? You want me to deal with these thugs alone?”

911 Operator: “Ma’am, I suggest you use intelligent interpersonal communications skills and speak to the other person involved in the accident. Once you record his personal and vehicle information you can be on your way. Once you get home, I suggest you contact your insurance agent and report the incident.”

Caller: (Now sounding almost hysterical) “Why can’t you send a police car? For God’s sake, I need some help here?”

911 operator: “I have an idea, ma’am. Many times the members of motorcycle gangs have arrest warrants lodged against them. Why don’t you ask the driver of the motorcycle that you hit and his friends if they have any outstanding warrants? If they do, I can send a police officer to arrest them. If that’s the case, the officer can assist you obtaining the information you need for your insurance company.”

Caller: “Have I just stepped into the Twilight Zone?”

911 Operator: “Ma’am?”

In reality, a police car responded, within 2 minutes of the occurrence, the officers assisted the woman and her daughters, and after making data checks on the four members of the Pagans Motorcycle “Club”, arrested two subjects on felony and misdemeanor warrants. Within thirty minutes, the two remaining Pagans took custody of the motorcycle involved in the accident and that of the other arrestee. The woman, whose automobile was capable of being driven, resumed her trip back to her home in Sayville, New York, still shaken, but safe from any interference from the motorcyclists.

As an aside, the two arrested subjects were laid over a Xerox machine in the police precinct house by the arresting officers, where their distinctive tattoos were photocopied and forwarded to the Motorcycle Gang Intelligence Unit for future reference.

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CASHING IN…a short story

Feb 23, 2024 by

November 1974, Long Island, New York

I was standing behind the precinct desk holding the “gas board” talking to one of the desk officers while my partner pumped gasoline into our police car. One of the front doors opened and a cold breeze blew into the building. The two cops who drove the car adjoining our sector walked into the lobby with a prisoner in handcuffs.

As one of the officers gave the desk man some information on the arrest to be recorded in the tour blotter, the prisoner broke free and ran headfirst into a large bronze plaque hanging on the cement block wall to their left.

“Jesus Christ!” one cop said.

His partner ran over to the prisoner who had fallen to the floor.

I tossed the clip board to the man I’d been speaking with. “Hang onto this for me, Tommy, and give me some of those paper towels.” I then circled around to a door leading to the lobby to help the cop give first aid to the nitwit who just caused a one inch V-shaped gash to his forehead.

I knew the moron who had just done something I doubt anyone present could explain, having arrested him before or from having answered calls at his home when he decided it was necessary to tune up his mother or younger brother.

“Hold still, Joey,” I said, slapping the wad of soft paper against his forehead. “That’s a bitch of a cut you gave yourself. Press your hand against this and don’t let go. You’re gonna need stitches. ”

The young man looked at me and smiled. “Hey, Wayne, what’s happening, man?”

I shook my head. “What’s happening, sport, is you’re gonna be spending some quality time at the ER before you go into a cell.”

“Okay, man, no sweat.” He didn’t seem concerned at all.

The squad commander had come into the lobby and was standing over the three of us. “What the hell happened to this asshole?”

The lieutenant was tall and thin with a crew cut and light bulb-shaped head. He had sunken eyes with dark semi-circles under them. Everyone affectionately called him The Skull.

The other cop responded. “We didn’t do anything to him, LT, swear to God. He broke free and smashed his head into the wall.”

“You see it?” he asked me.

“Yep. That’s what I saw.”

Again to me: “You doing anything important right now?”

“Just gassing up, boss. What do you need?”

“You and Paul take this shithead to the hospital and take a statement from him when you get back. And make sure he doesn’t get any more cuts or bruises on the way.”

“Sure. You know that’s not our style. Ask the desk to get us clearance. We’ll be outta here in two minutes.”

To the other cop he said: “Write up the prosecution work sheet and a “42” explaining what happened. Use my office, and then get back on the road. When Shitbird gets back I’ll have a desk man do the arrest report.”

“Okay, LT.”

I helped the fool to his feet while he held the bloody paper against his head. “Let’s go Joey. When the ER doctor gets finished with you, they’re gonna be calling you Frankenstein Junior.”

My partner was waiting for me in our blue and white sector car parked next to the precinct gas pump. I told him about our assignment.

“Just what we need,” he said. “I really feel like babysitting this mutt.”

I shrugged. “We could always drop him off the South Ocean Avenue Dock. Hard to swim in handcuffs. Troubles over.”

Paul smiled and put the big Plymouth in gear.

Joey didn’t like the sound of that. “Hey, man, you can’t do that.”

“Yes, we can,” I said. “But we won’t. Your blood would only attract sharks. If one ate you, he’d probably die. I’d feel bad…for him.”

We parked in a “police only” spot outside the emergency room and walked the prisoner into their reception area. A night nurse supervisor was standing next to the clerk’s desk.

“Hey, Marty,” I said, “we’ve got a bleeder for you. Looks like at least six or eight stitches.”

“You do this to him?” she asked.

“Not hardly,” Paul said. “We’re just the taxi service. I don’t want to know anything about this.”

She was around forty years old, short with curly brown hair and with look about her that would have my partner in heat for the rest of the tour.

“Okay, bring him through,” she said, “but it’ll be a few. The doctor is looking at a guy who ran his car into a bridge on Sunrise Highway.”

“Peachy,” I said. “Joey might get us some overtime.”

“Lucky you. I’ll put a proper bandage on that and let you know when the doctor’s coming.”

Paul and I stood next to one of the exam tables in a curtained-off cubby hole at the rear of the ER. The stupid kid sat on the table, his feet dangling just above the floor. The antiseptic smell of the hospital mixed with the alcohol on the prisoner’s breath and his body odor.

“You doing okay, Joey,” I asked. “Not feeling dizzy or any of the other shit that goes with a head wound?”

“Nah. I’m okay. Hurts a little, but I’m okay.”

“Not for nuthin’ Joey,” I said, “but why did you do something stupid like that. Everybody saw you. It’s not like you can claim those cops brutalized you.”

He smiled. “Don’t matter. Haven’t you heard?”

“Heard what,” Paul asked. “You were declared legally insane?”

Joey shook his head gingerly. “You guys are behind the times. I heard about this from my cousin who got a super deal. A 3rd Precinct cop smacked him around for resisting arrest. His Legal Aid lawyer sent a complaint to the County Attorney saying my cousin intended to sue. They had a sit-down with some assistant county attorney who, right of the bat, offers him 85,000 bucks to settle out of court.”

“Eighty-five grand for a smack in the head?” I asked.

“The legal aid guy told my cousin that’s standard procedure now. They would rather settle than go through the time and expense of goin’ to court. Cool, huh?”

“So you figure that ding in your head is worth eighty-five large?” Paul asked.

Joey flashed another Cheshire Cat grin. “Yup.”

“Then you better take us to lunch when you get the check. These taxi rides don’t come cheap,” I said.

“I get eighty-five thou, and I’ll buy you guys a steak…Then you’ll be my friends.”

I looked at Paul. He rolled his eyes.

Back in the precinct, after taking a fairly innocuous statement from Joey, and before lodging him into one of the 5th Precinct’s finer overnight suites, I spent a few minutes at a typewriter in the uniform squad room and then walked into the Lieutenant’s office.

“Here’s your statement, boss.” I handed him two sheets of paper.

“What’s he say for himself, that bastard?”

“Something just as stupid as bashing his head into the plaque. He says, for the record, he got terribly upset over being arrested, something came over him and he wanted to hurt himself, and because the cop didn’t have a tight hold on him, he played battering ram with the wall. He blames the cops for not restraining him better.”

“That’s bullshit. What’s his point?”

“Read the second sheet of paper. It’s a UR 34. I wrote a supplement to the arrest. In the hospital he told us he knows the county will fork over eighty-five thousand for any notice of claim if the complainant will settle out of court. Christmas is coming. He wanted some extra pocket money and doesn’t care about having a scar.

“I figure you can send a copy of that to internal affairs, and the guys in 509 can give one to the PBA attorney so they have the real story—in case some intellect at headquarters decides to charge them with mistreating a prisoner.”

“Good job,” the lieutenant said. “Now quit screwing off and get back out there and do some work for a change.”

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So Long Bob, and Thanks for the Memories

Sep 30, 2023 by

On January 30th three inches of snow fell. Then it rained, and the world turned to slush. Then it snowed again, only to be topped by a smoky-looking Scotch mist. Overnight temperatures glazed the landscape.
Being one of those eco-conscious schmucks, I didn’t buy any rock salt. So I sharpened my ice scraper and ate a big bowl of Wheaties the next morning.
After hours of chipping and scraping and shoveling what looked and felt like tons of shaved ice, I opened my jacket to cool off. An invisible cloud of a goat-like odor wafted upward. I hung up my tools and headed for the shower.
After remaining under the hot water long enough to resemble a hundred-and-eighty pound cooked lobster, I dried my hair and ran to the bedroom for warm clothes.
My head popped through a cable knit fisherman’s sweater and I noticed a very large man sitting in a wingback chair in the corner of the room. He scratched his mustache with an index finger as he looked at me. I knew the face.
“How the hell did you get in here?” I asked.
“You don’t lock your doors.”
“Yeah, but don’t you knock?”
“Not any more.”
“I know you, but it’s not like we’ve really met.”
“Uh-huh, you can call me Bob.”
“Nice to finally meet you,” I said. “It feels like I’ve known you for years.”
“I guess I’ve had a pretty good run.”
“You think?”
He smiled and ran a hand over his crew cut in what I guess he thought to be a gesture of modesty.
“I heard what happened,” I said. “I’m sorry.’
“Thanks. Happens to everybody.”
“You have anything half finished?”
“Two things, actually, one in progress and one rough outline.”
I smiled. “Looking for someone to help tie up the loose ends?”
“I think Joan can handle that.”
“I thought she might.”
Bob showed me a big grin and nodded. The brown leather A-2 jacket he wore looked big enough to cover a VW beetle.
“You dedicated every book you wrote to her,” I said. “That was cool.”
“We’ve been together for a long time. Had a few rough patches, but she’s a good girl. She deserved all those dedications.”
I nodded. “End of an era, huh?”
“Yeah, I’m afraid so.” He spoke with a Boston accent.
“I’ll miss Spenser and Jesse and the black guy.”
“His name’s Hawk,” he said, and frowned.
“I know. I just wanted to hear you say that.”
He smiled. “Oh, yeah, now I get it. And don’t forget Sunny.”
“Yeah, I like her, too.”
“So do I.”
I began to wonder why my guest came to visit.
“I’m honored,” I said, “but why did you, ah . . . stop by?”
“Oh, yeah, good question. I guess I wanted to see a few people before . . . you know.”
“But for what?”
“I hear you’re getting impatient. Your first book’s not selling. Time to regroup. Write a new letter and keep trying. In this business sometimes tenacity trumps talent. But you’ve got something to say. Don’t quit now.”
“Yeah, easy for you to say.”
He laughed. “Everybody starts in the same place. I like your characters, and you’ve got a good line of shit.”
“You’ve read something of mine?” I sounded surprised.
“Can’t remember where, but yeah. I liked it.”
“No kidding?”
“No kidding.”
“Sure.” He stood up and stretched. “Listen, I gotta go.”
“Well, thanks for the pep talk. And it was great to meet you. Should have been years ago.”
“Your welcome, and yeah, that would have been nice.” He zipped up his jacket. “And good luck.”
“Thanks again. Hey, I’ll walk out with you.”
“That’s really not necessary. I don’t do things conventionally any more.”
“Oh, yeah . . . well, take care.”
“Okay, you, too.”
He walked out of the bedroom and turned to go down the stairs. I gave him less than ten seconds and followed. The door at the bottom of the steps was closed. I didn’t feel any cold air from it having been opened. I heard my wife on the phone in the kitchen. Bob was gone.

For Robert B. Parker
September 17, 1932 ~~ January 18, 2010
“Put the most meaning in the fewest words.”

For a list of his books and other credits go to

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Street Justice, a very short story

Sep 30, 2023 by

Jamal Willie Walker raped and murdered a six-year-old girl in a cracker box home on the seven hundred block of Taylor Avenue.

We traced him from North Bellport in Suffolk County, where the crime occurred, to the third floor of a six family tenement in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.

I kicked in the door and my partner covered the room with his revolver. As the door snapped open and slammed against the wall, Walker grabbed a pearl handled, “tuxedo” Colt automatic
from the dinette table.

“Two against one, Jamal,” I said. “Pull that trigger and no matter what, you’re dead.”

His eyes widened. He believed me.

“Whoa, Man. No trouble here. Ain’t my day to die.” He raised his hands, still holding the old pistol.

My Smith & Wesson stared at his chest and I looked down the barrel. “Paul,” I said, “Go outside and make sure those uniforms are covering the fire escape in case our friend bails out
that open window.”

“You gonna take his gun?”

“Close the door on your way out.”

“Lemme cuff him for you,” he said.

“Make sure those patrolmen cover the back. I’m good here.”

Paul gave me a questioning look.

“Go ahead,” I said. It wasn’t a suggestion.

My partner left and I waited fifteen seconds. “Jamal, you burned that girl with a cigarette before you raped and strangled her.” I shook my head. “Bad move . . . Sayonara, sport.”

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A Halloween Collar: A Sam Jenkins New York police story

Sep 30, 2023 by

“I’ve had a wonderful time, but this wasn’t it,” I said, and smacked the kid on the back of his head.
The ghoul mask fell from his hand to the floor.

“Up yours,” he said.

I grabbed his nose and put my face an inch from his ear. “The next time I hit you, you little stinkbug, you’ll lose your teeth.”

His eyes strained to look at me. I removed my fingers from his beak.

“I chased you four blocks,” I said, “and ripped my pants going over that fence. I am not a happy policeman. I’ll ask again. Where did you get those fireworks?”

“I forget.”

I smacked him again, this time a little harder.

His hand went defensively to his head. “I’ll have your badge for that, man.”

“I doubt that. Blowing up a mailbox makes you guilty of a felony. Where did you get the M-80s?”

An arrogant smirk crossed his face. “From my father, the chief inspector.”

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Something for nostalgia seeking Brooklyn Dodger fans.

Mar 31, 2020 by

By Wayne Zurl

On September 24, 1957, the Brooklyn Dodgers played their last game at Ebbets Field and I was there. Well, not exactly there—I watched the game on TV. I was eleven and had sprained my ankle the day before in gym class. My mother kept me home from school to let it heal.

The Dodgers’ second baseman Junior Gilliam just hit a high fly ball to shallow right field when I heard what I thought was a muffled backfire sound off close to our house. I looked out the window, but didn’t see a car running. Then a man about thirty or forty—as a kid, I had a hard time telling—slammed the side door at Mrs. Campbell’s house. It wasn’t Mr. Campbell. He jumped into a two-tone brown ’48 Chevy, one just like my father’s, and drove away. I went back to finish watching the game.

The cameras panned a small crowd of people scattered around the stadium. Vin Scully, the announcer, said only 6,700 attended—a drop in the bucket. The game ended when Pirates’ outfielder Bob Skinner grounded to short and Don Zimmer scooped it up and fired a bullet to Gil Hodges at first. End of an era. The Dodgers won the five-hitter two-zip, but no one in Brooklyn looked happy.

My mother was preparing a meatloaf when I pushed the curtains aside and saw two marked police cars parked in front of the Campbell’s house. As I peered out the window, a black ’55 Ford pulled into the driveway and an overweight guy in a gray suit and dark fedora stepped out.

I called to my mother, “Hey, Ma, what’s going on next door?”

She didn’t know.

Another dark four-door pulled up and two more suits got out. One carried a big Graphic Reflex camera and the other, a large tool box.

My mother stepped up behind me and looked over my shoulder.

“I’m going out there,” she said.

“Me, too.”

“You shouldn’t walk.’

“Sure I should.”

I hobbled after her and reached the sidewalk in front of Campbell’s home, just as a Nassau County patrolman left the house and approached his car. He looked short for a cop. His orange oval patch and powder blue tie contrasted sharply with the navy blue uniform.

“What happened?” my mother asked.

“Woman got killed.”

“She get shot?” I asked.

He looked at me for the first time and frowned. “Yeah, why?”

“I’ll bet I know who did it,” I said.

My mother stared at me like I was a Martian.

The cop smiled and shook his head. “Sure you do, kid.” He got into his car and drove away.

“What are you talking about?” Mom asked.

“I saw a guy run out of the house before.”

She grabbed my hand. “Come with me.”

The Campbell’s front door stood slightly ajar. Mr. Campbell sat on the sofa hanging his head. Mom knocked on the jamb and the overweight plainclothes cop opened the door. A gold shield hung from a leather fob on his jacket pocket.

“My son has something to tell you.”

He stepped outside and closed the door.

“This guy,” I said, “came out the side door and jumped into a car.”

“What guy?”

“I don’t know. Some guy. I never saw him before.”

“What time?”

“Not sure. Third inning?”

The detective looked confused.

I shrugged. “I was watching the Dodger game.”

“Oh.” He rolled his eyes.

“Was she shot?” I asked.

I must have seemed overly enthused. He scowled.

“Look, son, we’re pretty busy here. I hope you’re not fooling around.”

“He wouldn’t do that.” Mom always stuck up for me.

“What’s his name?”

I spoke for myself. “I’m Sam Jenkins. We live next door.”

“How old are you, kid?”

“Eleven and a half.”

“You look pretty big for eleven.” He pointed to the Ace bandage around my foot. “What happened?”

I told him, and then described the man I saw and his car.

“Okay, thanks. I’ll look into it.” The squad dick turned to leave.

“Hey, wait,” I said. “You want his plate number?”


If you enjoyed this short story about a young Sam Jenkins and would like to read more about his real career in law enforcement, how about a FREE copy of A NEW PROSPECT, the book that begins the long-running series? It’s won two awards and has over two hundred 5 star reviews. And the price is right. Just click the link and any eBook format is yours.
After that you’re on your own, and welcome to visit the squad room at Prospect PD anytime.

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