Garrison City Police Department, 8th Precinct
Second Floor Meeting Room
“Sit down and shut up, Fostern,” said Commissioner Patrick R. Troy. Andy said and did nothing as Fostern choked down his protests and accusations. “You’re lucky I’m not in here with a filleting knife ready to give your miserable hide to the families of three good police officers.”
The Commissioner turned to Captain Castillo, Angela and Andy. The three sat at one end of the table. The detectives flanked their captain. As always, Castillo was as readable as a granite statue.
“But, Sir,” sputtered Fostern.
“But nothing, Fostern,” said the Commissioner. He threw down a series of files. “Those men are alive only because Pope and Sheldahl told the ER team at the medical center what kind of chemical burns to expect. And not because of your ham-fisted efforts. If your friends up in City Hall weren’t bucking to keep you here, I’d have you up on charges before you could say ‘Hail Mary.'”
“Yes…sir…” Fostern shrank into his chair, melting under the Commissioner’s glare. Andy could almost hear his partner repressing a smirk.
Castillo folded his hands in front of him.
“Marty, you’re not one to mince words,” said the Commissioner. “But, I have to ask…are these reports you’ve given me as accurate as possible.”
“Yes,” said Castillo.
The Commissioner just nodded. “Then this is how it goes down. The Organized Crime Unit still has jurisdiction over operations regarding the Cusmano syndicate. But, its power to second personnel and operations from other departments has been curtailed due to gross negligence with those resources. Fostern, you can get access to their intelligence, surveillance and evidence, but that is all. If you want surveillance work done, or you want to carry out a few raids, use your own damn men.”
Andy almost cried out “Hallelujah.”
“With regards to the Begnini drug operations, they are now solely under the jurisdiction of the Vice department. Though, we expect you to share evidence and intelligence with the entire police department,” said the Commissioner. He ran his hand through his thinning hair. “Castillo, all the surveillance operations OCU seconded are now under your direct command again. Do what you have to go get this network down.” He sighed. “I wish I could help you with the warrants, but until being associated with Begnini and Cusmano’s money becomes more of an embarrassment than a benefit…”
“Understood,” said Castillo.
“Good luck, Marty,” said the Commissioner. “God be with you.”
“So congratulations! You won. You gonna eat that?” Lt. George Madison of the GCPD’s Major Crimes Unit pointed his fork at one of Andy’s buttermilk biscuits. Andy gave George a glare. “Whoa, man. No problem. Just asking.”
“S’okay,” said Andy. “I’m feeling possessive tonight. And…I didn’t win. It took cops nearly getting killed to move the brass on this. God knows what it’ll take to actually get the warrants we’ll need.”
Around them, the Marlon’s 24-Restaurant and Bakery bustled with cops. Finding a location just across the street from the 8th was a dream for the restaurant owner, who had a steady stream of customers and the best protection of any restaurant in the city. Andy and George went there for late dinners to talk about business.
“You’ll get them. You’re too stubborn not to,” said George. “Oh, thanks for the list. I won’t ask where you got it, but knowing the kidnappings we’ve been tracking weren’t random is a big help.”
“No problem.” Andy yawned like a lion, big and loud. George flapped his napkin in front of his face, coughing and sputtering like he’d sucked in exhaust from a ’78 Olds.
“Damn, Andy, when was the last time you brushed your teeth?”
“When I was home.”
“And when was that? Thirty six hours ago or something? Look. Do yourself a favor. Go home. Or at least, get a few breath mints and take nap in one of the video rooms. You’re smelly, you’re cranky and you need to get some sleep…”
Andy swigged the last of his coffee down. After a lifetime of caffeine, the small cup of bland American coffee did nothing for him but make him sleepier.
George was right. After dinner, the first thing he did was tell Angela he’d be on pager before finding a nice, empty SWAT van in the motor pool for a nap. Not the traditional place for tired police officers to nap, but the SWAT guys knew him and said he was one of the few guys outside their unit they’d let sleep there.
For the first time in ages, tension seeped out of his body. The last two days leached from his bones like old minerals from a limestone wall. The SWAT van, the sounds of the motor pool, covered him like a blanket.
And then his beeper screamed.