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TCUPS

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Back in 1984, Maggie was looking for some alternative world to study for her Journalism Bachelorette thesis. One option she considered was exploring her boyfriend Michaels’ impressions of driving a New York City taxi.  But Michael suggested exploring the Garment District cafeterias on Seventh Avenue. He had overheard the loud conversations of old Jewish men. They wove interesting tales of New York City in the 1960’s. Stories that might be lost to time if not documented. Michael thought that would be more interesting than those of a Taxi Technologist. Interviewing those men may give a new spin to the historical aspects of New York City.

But those topics did not fit her criteria for an alternative. Maggie sought a subset of the population that was unique and isolated. Seeing themselves as: “Us Against the World.” A brotherhood who trusted only each other.

She wisely drew the line at exploring the Hells Angels.

Her cousin Frankie was an NYPD Police Officer. Maggie remembered the funny stories he told at holiday gatherings. Frankie was always considered a bit eccentric. Even more so when at 29 years of age, he gave up a career in academia to become a Police Officer.

Maggie suspected with Frankie there was something more to his decision than just changing careers. The original story was he wanted to do the cop thing for only two years and then return full time to pursue his Ph.D. Frankie’s mother told Maggie that’s what Frankie told her. “YOUR COUSIN is prone to these types of things,” Aunt Annette sighed. “”He did it because it seemed the fun thing to do. But now, I’m wondering how long will this last? She added.

Maggie theorized there were many things that were left unsaid or became second nature to cops. Things that either intentionally or not, remain secretive. Known only to their world. She assigned that theory to Frankie as the motivation for his sudden and unlikely career change. Maggie didn’t buy the “doing it as a lark” theory Frankie floated as well. He must have known something and acted on it.”

After all, Frankie was the adventurous type. He postponed college after graduating high school at 17 years of age to go off and unexpectedly enlist in the military at the height of the Viet Nam war.

She knew the inquisitive Frankie was more than able to discern the overall pattern of the cop environment from the surrounding abundance of its enigmatic and/or conspiratorial details. He was very perceptive. He always liked keeping a secret.

***

Maggie approached Frankie with her inquiries. She was prepared to be ultimately disappointed with the outcome.

Then a glimmer of hope.

Frankie carefully listened and evaluated his cousin's impressions of the NYPD. Maggie was encouraged. She went on to discuss how the NYPD is of interest historically and currently. The public, literature, cinema, and television all have sought to discover that hidden fabric of the NYPD. She believed there was more to it than is currently known. Maggie insisted all those writers before she had missed the underlying essential key elements.

She wanted to know.

And she let Frankie know he was the perfect source.

Frankie smiled. “The NYPD is nothing like Yale’s “Skull and Bones Society.’ Some cops see it as just a job. There are good cops, bad cops, smart cops, stupid cops, dumb cops, compassionate cops, racist cops, brave cops, scared cops. Rich cops, poor cops, college-educated cops, GED cops, and the list goes on.”

“Some see this job as a ‘calling.' There are those who are cops because the police civil service test called them before the firefighter or sanitation test. There are also people who become cops that hate cops.”

As they sat alone in a corner away from the others at the family gathering, Maggie pressed on. She told Frankie he must have assimilated some values and attitudes unconsciously. The fledgling writer wanted Frankie to think as the outsider he once was.  By using what he has experienced in the NYPD, to discover what she was after.

Frankie struck a pensive pose. He placed his hands together with his thumbs under his chin. He then looked down. He looked like he was praying.

Five seconds of silence followed. She hoped it was a silent, self-reflection meditation. Frankie then spoke still in the praying position:

“So, you see Maggie, cops are just sociologically another ‘subset of the population’ whose members survive and adapt, like lawyers, doctors, teachers, taxi drivers and yes, even writers.”

Frankie then looked up and whispered: “TCUPS.”

Maggie questionably repeated: “TCUPS?”

Frankie continued: “Cops are unique because citizens, the media, politicians, and our own big bosses constantly shit on us. We just accept it. And when they say ‘What kind of Cop are YOU?’ we usually retort TECUPS:”

“They Call Us Patrol Scum - T.C.U.P.S” He announced.

“It’s no big deal to me, it’s just fun, only asshole cops worry about what other people think of them.”

Frankie then gave Maggie his classic comedic smile.

And Maggie finally realized, thinking to herself in Frankie’s own lexicon:

“He ain’t never givin’ up that shit.”

For a more diverse selection of short stories visit

www.frankieneptune.com

Stephen A. Murray’s novella “The NYPD Chronicles of Frankie Neptune” will be

available in  December at www.FrankieNeptune.com and www.amazon.com

 

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