Seventeen blocks and three left turns brought me from my place to one of the few other places in my life, the Old 23rd. And it did look like a relic from an age gone by, dirty gray stone building, solid, swarthy, and seaworthy, my favorite detail, the two white globe lights that bookended the double wide wood doors. I was always amazed how those old white globes with the 23rd Precinct painted on them in Old English lettering had survived all these years. Everything else that could be broken in this decrepit neighborhood had already been replaced more than once, but those old white globes stood as testimony of the declining, but still lingering street ethic, "Don't mess with the cops."
Sullivan and his rookie partner were on the stoop getting their first smokes having just gotten off the midnight shift. They gave me a nod between puffs, but didn't give up on their conversation. I pulled on the one of the three slanted brass bars that served as the handle for the precinct doors, and immediately I was in the noisy bustle of shift change.
Huddles of officers were either giving thanks that another eight hours had bit the dust or moaning that their eight hours had just begun. Callahan was talking to Jersey Jerry, a local snitch who earned his living by eaves-dropping at the local dives. An old lady was given her report to the Desk Sargeant. Probably a purse snatching or one more complaint that spies were listening in on her party line phone. And there he was, walking though ... Captain Galloway, the poor man who had to live his life keeping me in line and out of the press.
I liked Captain Galloway. Good enough fellow, hard-working cop, a little too politically saavy for my liking, a whole lot more ambitious than my kind can understand. But still an honest guy who appreciates cops who makes collars and makes them stick. And doesn't ask questions that he does not need to ask. Married fellow, a wife who worked at the District Attorney's office, two kids, Muffy and Biff, or Missy and Bozo, something like that.
"MacKenzie. In my office! Now!"
With that, I was already in plan B for my day.