As told by Dr. Mitchell Jacobs, Chairman of Media Studies who is substituting tonight for Professor Francis Neptune’s “Interpersonal Communication” class. Frankie is an adjunct liberal arts professor at a small local college. The students are mostly Criminal Justice majors. Frankie is attending a Racket (copspeak for retirement party) for one of his former colleagues from the NYPD.
“Professor Neptune tells you police stories from his years working in the NYPD that are usually funny. Tonight, I’m going to try talk to you as Frankie does with me in private conversation.” Professor Jacobs says to start the class.
Only by working around the clock driving a radio car in Manhattan can one encounter the weird assortment of characters, criminals, assholes and the good people Frankie talks about. But there’s more. I think it’s about time you heard some of the darker events Frankie encountered. Things he hardly talks about. Things that will probably haunt him forever.
It was a cold and dark winter night back in 1982. The housing development site at 444 Second Avenue in the confines of the 13th Precinct was filled with mostly good people. But those good people were punctuated by more than enough lowlife predators. At night the good people hid behind their securely locked doors. If something happened they’d call 911 anonymously.
Frankie was assigned to a foot post on Second Avenue because his partner Jimmy, totaled out an RMP in a traffic accident. The penalty: Both cops assigned to the car (driver and recorder) walk foot posts for a week. The Commanding Officer put Jimmy on a foot post on the other side of the Precinct so these two characters wouldn’t hang out together. Kind of give the civilians in the 13th Pct. a break.
Frankie hears a call come over the police radio: “10-10 FEMALE CALLS FOR HELP 444 SECOND AVENUE FIFTH FLOOR STAIRWELL.” Frankie happens to be right in front of that building as the call comes over. He immediately runs into the urine smelling lobby and jumps into the dirty elevator to the fifth floor.
As the elevator door slowly opens, simultaneously he hears apartment doors slamming shut, crying, and a girls muffled voice screaming “No...No...NO.”
By second nature, Frankie knows the stairwell light bulbs are intentionally broken by criminals creating a conducive environment to commit crime. Only ambient light will be illuminating the windowless stairwell landing.
Kicking the door open he can make out the forms of a young man with a knife to the neck of a young girl. The blade of the knife is shiny as it reflects the hallway light.
She was on her knees crying “No....No...NO!!!!!!.” He was forcing himself inside her from the rear.......“Quiet BITCH, he growled.”
Frankie, again, simultaneously shouts, jumps and grabs the man who at first is oblivious to Frankie’s presence. The young man then turns and plunges the knife towards Frankie.
Somehow in the dark and small stairwell landing, Frankie gracefully side steps the knife. (not having his gun out.) The sharp knife just misses his chest as Frankie reflexively clocks him with his police radio. (Back then the radios were made out of thick heavy metal.) The big yellow square battery flies out of the radio into the darkness, now making the radio useless.
In the struggle, the young man unintentionally drops his knife into the darkness but still violently resists. Blood is splattering everywhere. The violent fight continues. The girl huddles in the corner and assumes the fetal position while still crying.
Frankie subdues him and gets this guy into handcuffs. The suspect complained the cuffs were too tight. Always having a quick and slick response, Frankie, breathing heavily, said “Sorry, scum bag, that’s the way they came from the manufacture.”
Frankie led the bleeding suspect out to the light of the now crowded and cramped hallway. A voice in the talkative crowd yelled: “Po-lice Brutality!.... Let the brother GO!...No Justice No Peace!”
The self proclaimed “Voice of the Community,” confidently stepped to the front of the crowd. He was a tall young fellow wearing black eyeglasses, a colorful Dashiki, army green combat pants, combat boots and a black beret.
“YOU A RACIST PIG!” He said as he pointed to Frankie. Frankie just laughed and tells him: “Fuck Off, Asshole,” as searches his prisoner.
This young fellows indignant face immediately changed as he saw the crying girl exiting the stairwell pulling up her pants. He is momentarily silent as his jaw drops and he murmurs “Michelle?”
“Tommy, this cop saved me”. Michelle cries as she runs into her brother Tommy’s arms.
Frankie turns to the arriving EMS crew to fill them in as he is holding the bloodied perp against the wall. Like a flash, in one smooth move, Tommy pushes Michelle away and is standing close enough to quietly lift his stretched arm to shoot the rapist once in the ear with a small silver .22 caliber handgun.
POP........The whole event took Tommy less than two seconds.
The handcuffed individual falls to the dirty floor as a shocked Frankie turns his head.
“Fuck, what’s your fuckin’ name,” Frankie yells at Tommy as he grabs Tommy’s gun, “Jack Fuckin’ Ruby?”
“He be dead now,” Tommy whispers as he stares into oblivion.
“Fuck ME!”....Frankie is pissed, some true believer IAD investigator is going to say Frankie was responsible for the rapist death because the fellow was cuffed. But this one time, the community backed the police 100 percent. And EMS saw the entire thing as well. There was no way for Frankie to prevent this “tragedy.”
Anyway, this fellow (Cleavoris Johnson), was a serial rapist wanted by the NYPD Manhattan Sex Crimes Unit for the past year. The unit got to close about ten open cases. Frankie got a gun collar in addition to locking up Tommy for Murder. Tommy‘s Legal Aid lawyer negotiated a guilty plea of Manslaughter, so Frankie didn’t have to be bored at a trial.
The NYPD even gave Frankie a medal!
Everyone wins, except Cleavoris.
Jimmy was pissed because Frankie didn’t have his Roscoe (copspeak for revolver) out of his holster ready to shoot before he ran into the stairwell. “Fuckin’ Numb Nutz,” Jimmy fumed, “I can’t leave him alone for ten seconds! That’s how a guy like Jimmy expresses the closeness cops have with their partners.
“The dancing lessons my mother made me take when I was a kid probably saved my life.” Frankie would jokingly tell everyone.
But, in his deepest thoughts, Frankie seriously realized how he narrowly cheated death on Second Avenue.
Dr. Jacobs continued: “You have to understand, thirty years ago there were no cell phones, no computers and no real personal mobile instantaneous communications. No Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
If something happened in another city that required official notification in New York, the cops there would call the cops in New York City. The cops in New York City would send a radio car to officially notify the people concerned. This was NYPD Standard Operating Procedure.
It was Christmas eve in Manhattan. The night was crisp and holiday cheer was in the air. Jimmy and Frankie were on patrol in RMP 1715 of the 13th Precinct; designated as 13 Edward. The radio was quiet and the streets were crowded with happy people filled with the holiday spirit. Some of them even smiling and waving to the cops, saying “Merry Christmas.” Jimmy just kept on driving, ignoring everyone. The two cops were engaged in their normal conversation, you know, where they were going to have dinner, pointing out the good looking women, etc.
Frankie deviously was waiting for a break and some silence.........
Frankie smiled and calmly said to Jimmy, “Being this is Christmas time, I’m concerned about your attitude towards humanity, you being so cynical all year ‘round.” Jimmy, as usual, not aware Frankie was setting him up, quickly responded: “MY ATTITUDE!!!!!! What about your FUCKIN’ATTITUDE?”
Not missing a beat........
“We’re talking about your attitude, not mine,” Frankie said with a straight face....then Frankie broke out laughing, he got a rise out of Jimmy. That earned Frankie his usual punch in his upper left arm from Jimmy’s heavy St. Joseph’s college ring.
“ASSHOLE,” Jimmy grumbled.
“Fuck You Mr.Scrooge!” Frankie continued laughing.
The radio dispatcher called out a cheery Christmassy “13 Edward 10-2 and Acknowledge.” That meant they had to report to the station house. Jimmy growled a curt “10-4” into the radio.
“See what I mean,” Frankie said...... Jimmy hit him again.
They rambled into the station house. The Lieutenant on the desk was a drunk miserable fuck. They called him Pac-man, he was short, bald, stout and his white shirt was pale yellow, like the 1980’s video game character.
The Lieutenant threw a teletype paper over the desk. “It’s a Death Notification, all the info is there.” He belched and farted from his greasy chinese take out food and beer, then smiled.
So it’s Christmas eve and Jimmy and Frankie have to go tell someone’s parents their son was killed in a Los Angles traffic accident. Great.
The address took them to apartment 17D in an upscale building in Peter Cooper Village. It was Frankie’s turn to handle this. He rang the bell, the door opened and it was completely dark inside.
The lights came on, there were about fifty people yelling “SURPRISE!!!”
Frankie saw a sign that said “Merry Christmas and Welcome Home Mickie.” A woman came to the door and everyone quieted down to a conversational din. Frankie asked for Mrs. Anne Lombardo. “I’m Mrs. Lombardo, Merry Christmas, what can I do for you Officers?” She was about 50 years old, Dark hair with a few grey streaks and in a very festive mood.
A man immediately stepped up, sensing trouble and said, “I’m Anthony Lombardo, what’s going on?”
Frankie asked if they could talk in private. The cops were escorted into the kitchen. That’s where Frankie had to tell Anne and Anthony Lombardo their son, Michael, was killed in a vehicle accident in Los Angeles, on his way home to New York City, while driving to the airport earlier that day.
Anne cried and fell into Anthony’s arms. “Thank you, Officers,” is all he whispered. Jimmy handed Anthony the paper with all the information. Frankie said, “We’re sorry for your loss”. They left the couple alone in the kitchen.
Jimmy says Frankie was unusually silent for the rest of that night. He just vacantly stared out the RMP window. Jimmy believes this one somehow hit Frankie really hard.
I guess you can’t tell, Frankie will never admit it to anyone. But I know, for sure, every Christmas Eve Frankie thinks of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Lombardo and how he still shares their hurt from that 1983 Christmas eve in the 13th Pct.
Dr. Jacobs saw it was time for the class to be dismissed. Most of the students filed out silently. One student goes up to Dr. Jacobs and says:
“I guess that’s what Professor Neptune means when he says to us, So you wanna be a Cop?”
Dr. Jacobs just smiled, nodded his head and packed his briefcase.
Bio: Frankie Neptune (formerly known as Frankie Rembly) observed the transition of his city from its past wild days in the later part of the last century to the present sterile bubble that is now New York City. His insights from over twenty years as a NYC Police Officer share a rather uniquely twisted view. Visit his website to read more at www.notpcfiction.com