“Domestic Disturbance at 1153 Montrose Avenue, any nearby patrols please respond.” came the crackling voice over the radio.
“Sounds like somebody’s wife stepped out of line huh?” observed Rourke with a laugh.
“Montrose Avenue, that’s close by. It’s a really swank neighborhood too, not your typical wife-beater territory. Let’s check it out.” I said.
“What? Forget it man, that’s a uni’s job, why are we responding to a ten sixteen? We’re murder police.”
“It’ll take us a second Harry, we might be saving somebody’s life.” I said as I turned the car around.
“Fuck that, in that rich neighborhood we’d probably end up crashing an orgy or somethin’. Shit Tom.”
“Dispatch, Detective Harding here, badge number 1066, we’re close to the location, we’re responding.”
“Uh… Roger that Detective Harding, over.”
Truth was I just couldn’t stand wife-beaters and was hoping it would give me a chance to beat them back. They hadn’t said anything about wife-beating over the radio, but 99% of the time Domestic Disturbance meant that.
Rourke didn’t complain any more. I guess he figured, What the hell, if I wanted to play knight in shining armor, I could, besides, he probably thought it would give us a chance to see how these rich fucks lived, maybe even take a souvenir. And if we were really lucky, the damsel in distress would turn out to be a surgically-enhanced hottie in some state of undress. That’s usually how his thought process went.
“You’re always so righteous Tom. Step on it or our girl is gonna need another round of plastic surgery.”
We arrived at the address, 1153 was located at the end of a leafy cul-de-sac with long driveways and lots of hanging vines. Straight out of a Nouveau Riche fairy tale, there was a golden Mercedes-Benz SL in the driveway. Convertible of course, and next to it a silver Lexus SC 430. Both were 2-door vehicles, which probably meant no children. That was good. Things got uglier in domestic squabbles when children were involved, harder to rein the parents in and Rourke was right, this was not really our job. We investigated murders, not routine beatings.
“Alright, let’s see what we got here.” I said, stepping out of the car.
“You first my Prince.” Rourke didn’t hide the sarcasm in his voice, asshole.
Our footsteps crunched in the pebbled driveway. What was it with rich people and pebbles? Was their use compulsory when your bank account reached a certain milestone? The house was Grand Colonial style, lots of columns and white stucco on the façade, the inevitable animal statues guarding the entrance. In this case it was the venerable lions, indicating to the whole street where the king of the jungle resided. The owner seemed to take this title seriously, we heard some roaring as we approached.
“Better get in there quick before he hurts himself.” Observed Rourke.
I rang the bell, it made a nice ‘ding-dong’ sound, just what you would expect in a stately mansion. I kept pressing the button so that the sound now became and annoying staccato. “What the fuck?” I heard a male voice shout from inside. Footsteps, and then seconds later, the door was yanked opened by a middle aged man in a very expensive charcoal gray suit.
“What the fuck?!” he screamed at us. I held my badge out at the guy so he had to take a step back to see it and said “police, keep your voice down.” I shoved the badge in his face again, placed my free hand on his chest and, not so gently, pushed him as I made my way inside the house. Rourke followed.
“What the hell are you doing? You can’t come in here without a warrant!” The man kept on screaming.
“We got a domestic dispute call sir, we don’t need a warrant to come in. Now, I’ve asked you nicely to keep your voice down twice. I won’t ask again.” I told him, looking around for sings of violence. Nothing seemed to be disturbed, no overturned furniture or smashed ornaments. Maybe we’d arrived just in time, or maybe the breaking would start after we left, that was also quite typical. The delicate male psyche of wife beaters always feels betrayed when confronted with the police, as if they can’t believe their “defenceless” partners would stoop so low to try to protect themselves.
“Are you alone sir?” Rourke asked in a much friendlier tone than mine. All the money he was seeing in the furnishings and marble floors made him a little nervous. Rich pricks always had high-ranking friends at the country club that could make trouble.
“No, I’m not alone, my wife is here” answered the man in a little more subdued tone.
“Where is she sir? We would like to speak with her.” I said.
The man let out an exasperated sigh and yelled “Silvia, it’s the police, get out here!”
I turned a stony glance at the man, but he just looked at me with undisguised disdain. The guy was a born and bred country club cocksucker, I had met lots of guys like this. They thought that simply because they had a lot of money, the world belonged to them and everyone who wasn’t their equal was an inferior species and an indentured servant or a fucking slave. These people didn’t ask, they demanded, and most of the time they got it. I couldn’t stomach the likes of him and was having a really hard time keeping my cool. I heard the soft rustle of silk behind me and turned to see a beautiful young woman, presumably Silvia, standing at the threshold to the living room. She had long black hair, smooth coffee-colored skin, and a voluptuous body. Her eyes were red and puffy from crying and the left side of her face was starting to swell, no doubt from her husband’s attention. She’d be thirty at the most, I gauged. She was just standing there with her arms crossed across her chest as if hugging herself, dressed in a long white silk robe, a combination nightgown / pyjamas that only the very rich or very beautiful seemed able to wear successfully. She was stunning in it.
My face flushed with anger and I gritted my teeth. I detested bullies. They made my blood boil. People who got off hurting anyone weaker and needed to prove their superiority using violence or humiliation almost pushed me over the edge. The fact that this girl was so beautiful seemed to compound the murderous rage I felt. It was adding insult to injury that on top of bullying someone weaker than you, you were too ignorant to realize you were also destroying a work of art in the process. Or maybe you just didn’t care, which was even worse.
I spun on my heels and rounded on the man whose attitude hadn’t improved at all. I clenched my fists and took a step towards the man in the expensive suit. Rourke could see what was about to happen and grabbed me by the elbow, restraining me.
“Easy there tiger, take it easy.” Normally, Rourke would have let me put the fear of god into anyone I chose to, but this guy had a lot of money and that always spelled trouble. No telling how connected the prick was.
“Yes, officer, do be careful in my house.” the man said, offering me a chilling and sardonic smile.
I couldn’t speak for a while, I was consumed with rage. The only thought in my mind was how to hurt this asshole, and how much to hurt him without killing him. I let out a long sigh and said through clenched teeth “Actually, it’s detective.”
“Ooh, a detective. Should I be impressed? Do you people know who I am?”
“Oh, for God’s sakes Larry, give it a rest.” said the woman in a low voice.
“You shut your mouth.” the man yelled at her.
I turned my back on ‘Larry’ and went towards the woman. If I didn’t stay away from this bastard there was no telling what I would do.
“Ma’am, are you OK?” I asked her.
“I’m fine.” She said in a low voice.
“Would you like to come down to the station with us? We can help you.” I gently touched her arm, she flinched a little from the contact.
“I’m fine.” She repeated, a little louder this time.
“He’s asking you if you want to press charges, Silvia” the man told her. “Are you going to press charges, Silvia?” he asked, his voice dripping with fake sweetness.
The woman looked down at the floor, “No.” she mouthed, it was barely audible.
“Of course not.” Larry added.
“Ma’am, I’m guessing this is not the first time this has happened. Please come to the station with us.” I persisted.
“Detective, I am a lawyer. Now, you heard my wife say she will not press charges. And that everything is alright. That means you two need to get the hell off my property, right now!” the man didn’t raise his voice, just commanded.
I didn’t move. I felt I needed to do something. I couldn’t let this cocksucker get away with this, but I didn’t really have a choice. The fucking lawyer was right. I pulled out a card with my name and the precinct’s number on it, and offered it to the woman. “If you need anything, please call us.”
She didn’t move to take it, didn’t even raise her eyes. I put the card on the mantlepiece next to her.
“Now, *gentlemen*!” the lawyer said. The last word was pronounced as an insult.
Rourke patted me on the shoulder and said “Let’s go Tom.”
At the door, I turned and looked at the woman. She hadn’t moved. She was looking straight at me. I thought I saw loneliness and resignation in those dark eyes, but also something else. Perhaps defiance? Not at her husband but at their situation. She had the look of the martyr about her, someone who is determined to play the cards fate dealt her. Then all I saw was the door being slammed in my face by the asshole lawyer.
Rourke and I walked to the car and got in. I just sat there for a minute, staring ahead.
“C’mon Tom, let’s get the fuck out of here.” Rourke said.
“Fat lot of help you were in there.” I was still staring ahead.
“What the fuck was I supposed to do, Tom? You heard the girl, she didn’t want to press charges, end of story.”
“It’s definitely not the end of the story. Not for her, I can tell you that much.”
“Listen Tom,” Rourke began softly “I’ve been around the block a bit. I’ve seen these things lots of times. You just have to let them take their own course, sort themselves out. You get too involved and it all goes to hell and suddenly it’s your fault. You’re a bright kid, but you get too involved in things man, you take shit much too personally. This is just another job like any other. You don’t owe anybody anything and nobody owes you nothin’. Trust your uncle Harry, he knows. Now, can we please get the fuck out of here before we get sued by Mr. Hotshot ‘you know who I am?’ lawyer?”
“Fuck.” I muttered under my breath as I started the engine and peeled out of the driveway in a hail of fancy pebbles. I knew it was childish, but it gave me a little satisfaction to think that maybe a couple of those pebbles would ding fuckwit’s Mercedes.
Back at the precinct, I couldn’t stop thinking about the girl and the asshole lawyer. I slumped in the chair by my desk, looking moody while Rourke chatted with some of the boys. No doubt telling them about Silvia’s tits. I needed something to take my mind off it. How about working on an actual case? I thought. That should take my mind off this girl for a while and, oh, I don’t know, maybe do something useful in the process. Well, let’s start with the evidence… damn, that means going down to see Wasik, just what I needed.
“Hey Harry, you wanna take a look at the evidence from the Asian boy?” I called out a lot more cheerfully than I was feeling.
“Yeah, OK. Got nothin’ better to do anyway” Rourke answered.
We took the stairs to the basement where evidence was located. It wasn’t very big, but had enough room to hold evidence from hundreds of cases. The place was a maze; and like every good labyrinth, this one had a dangerous Minotaur. His name was Roland Waskowitz – Wasik to the boys in the station – a big old Pollack whose main pleasure in life seemed to be berating me. There was no avoiding Wasik. Every case had evidence and it all had to be filed in the same place: Wasik’s dungeon. The old bastard knew this and acted the part. Depending on his mood and who you were, he could be very expedient and get you what you needed quickly or drag his feet and make your life miserable while he made you jump through hoops and forms just to get a simple piece of evidence you needed. He seemed to be in top shape today.
“Well if it ain’t my favorite ‘Biscuit eater’.” said Wasik in greeting, “what brings you down here with the regular folk?”
“The pleasure of your company, naturally, Wasik” I answered with a honeyed smile.
“And we need some evidence.” contributed Rourke who seemed to have a high regard for the old Pollack, for some unfathomable reason.
“Young Dirtbag off to solve another case by himself again, is he Harry?” Wasik turned his attention to Rourke.
“Oh, you know he can’t tie his own shoelaces without me, Wasik. That’s why I’m here, to protect and serve our young prince.”
“When you two are done with the pleasantries, can we have the evidence for case number 99-16215.” I interjected, I didn’t want to get these two on a roll.
“Keep your panties on! I’m talking here. So, Harry, got any more of those special magazines you brung me the other day?” The special magazines were some titty mags that Harry collected. After he was done with them, he brought them to the precinct and distributed them around the office. He always saved a choice one for Wasik. It helped to keep the old bastard on good terms with Harry, but I was sure he really did it because, for some reason that I could not understand, Harry was actually fond of the Pollack. You’d think the old fucker was paralyzed and couldn’t get his own porn at the local kiosk. Maybe he was just too chickenshit to admit he was a pervert and had to wait for Harry to give him used porn scraps, yuck.
“Not yet Wasik. But I’ve got my eye on a new one. One of them ‘barely legal’ ones, you’ll love it. Guaranteed to give you a heart attack.”
“Very good, very good Harry. That last one you gave me was a doozy, wonderful quality all around… Now,” turning to me “what was that case number?”
“Here, let me write it down for you, I know your memory is blown to shit from all the booze and porn, not to mention you’re advanced decomposing.” I took a slip of paper and the pen chained to the counter by the evidence window. I had memorized the case number before coming downstairs.
“Memorized the number did you?” observed Rourke with something like disgust.
“I figured it was easier than carrying it around on a piece of paper. Besides, I gotta keep my mind sharp or I’ll end up like reptilian Wasik here.”
“Always the clever one. I hate clever” said Wasik.
“Oh, you don’t have to tell me. I know you stay as far away as possible from cleverness.”
“Fuck you!” said Wasik.
I made a reverence at the old bastard.
Wasik shuffled away with the piece of paper. I rolled my eyes at Rourke who just smiled. It was obvious that Harry enjoyed the ribbing that Wasik gave me. A couple of minutes passed, Rourke filled the silence with idle chatter, football scores, gossip about Sherry the receptionist, usual office banter. I wasn’t really paying attention, my thoughts kept going back to the lawyer and his wife. The whole thing had really bothered me. Hell, it was getting late. I just wanted to get out and take my mind off of everything related to work. Where was the old Pollack with the fucking evidence? He had probably already found what we needed, but was sitting in a corner just to piss me off.
“Take your time Wasik,” I shouted, “it’s not like we’re trying to catch killers or anything here!”
“Shut your fucking trap!” Came the answer from deep within the dungeon. Rourke just chuckled, he kept on blathering about Sherry, seems he had some bone to pick with her but I wasn’t paying attention. Finally, Wasik appeared with a large manila envelope, all the evidence gathered at the scene for case number 99-16215.
“That’s it?” I said. I had somehow expected there to be more. This didn’t look promising.
“Yeah, that’s it.” answered Wasik sourly, “Now sign the fucking thing.”
Rourke reached for the pen to sign, but Wasik put a hand on his arm.
“No, not you. I want shitbird here to sign for it. That way, if it gets lost, they won’t blame you Harry.” he said, patting Rourke’s arm while he smiled.
“Sheesh, let me see that.” I said. I signed the evidence slip and tossed the pen on the countertop. “As usual, a real pleasure, Wasik.”
“The pleasure is all yours, shitbird.” Wasik said. “Harry, don’t forget me now.”
“You’re next on my list Wasik, count on it.” Harry said with a wink.