Friday, November 10, 2006
Friends and Family
I push my way throw the captain's office door, like I'm a cop on TV or something and tell him and the lieutenant that I don't want to do this, but before I say it I already know that won't matter, so I say it, they look at me, I look at them, and I turn and walk back out and go upstairs to the strange little third floor room that is our locker room and many other things and I bang on the steel doors for a minute and then groan and light a cigarette and stare out the window at the Midtown skyline at sunset – it is stunningly beautiful from here – glowing golden just to the north, across the East River. It is the last moment of the day. I chain smoke three Camels and the final one glows against the dark night and the luminous mosaic of the world's greatest city.
"This is just a gun case," I say to myself. "I've done them before." I'm trying to sound like I know more than I do, like I've done more than I have. Convince myself first, I figure. I stick a fourth cigarette in my mouth and sit cross-legged on the table looking at the pictures in the thick file they've given me. Of course I can drop into this group. Of course. I close the file. I put it on the shelf in my locker. I take the nine off my belt and drop it on the shelf too. I grab the old five-shot .38 and wrap the holster onto my ankle. And then I drive home.
This will end badly. Yes it will. Not just because this is political. It matters to people. It's not just money involved. I know that. Everything else I've done this year is really just business. And this is more. But that's just part. And so is the fact that, well, I could just – possibly – know someone involved. The big part is the ambivalence. Mine. And the danger that in one critical second the wrong emotion will surface. I may be young, I may be an idiot rookie in way deep over his head in these deep cover jobs, but I know all this. The captain knows this too. The lieutenant knows too. Everyone does. But I know it more. And they know that I know it more, but they are using me anyway – because it makes the most sense.
For the next three months this will play out. I will even fly to London and take a ferry to Dublin and fly back to New York from there with a fake passport and a flimsy visa and back story I barely need to rehearse. Covering the bases. I will drink in the last pathetic remnants of Hells Kitchen bars. I will commit a few crimes, do some good drugs, sleep on roach-covered floors, and day by day get closer to all those guns – all reported stolen by the Metro-Dade Police Department as expected – that are aimed at people I have been taught are my enemies.
This will end badly. It will end in the kind of recurring nightmare I know I need no more of. Already. As young as I am. But it is the way things work. I am the person for the job. Of course.
Carolyn is watching LA Law when I get home to the little house on City Island. "You're early," she says. "Yeah," I grab a beer from the refrigerator, drop onto the couch next to her, kiss her a touch too deeply. "Yeah, nothing going on tonight."
copyright 2006 by Ira Socol