Monday, October 08, 2007

Bridge Work


They gave me the gold shield cause I could develop great databases. I thought, "you've got to be fucking kidding?" but this was true. All the shit I went through for them - all the desperate nights undercover - all the risks - all the injuries - all the collars that I made or that couldn't have happened without me - that got me nothing. I could'a stayed a Patrolman for ever. But, sitting in a strange little office with a computer, stretching out the recovery of a shattered knee, I had mixed a healthy appetite for Flight Simulator with a few simple approaches to recording crime data, and - presto! - they told me to come downtown and be a "Detective."

Actually, no, they did not say that. They called on a Tuesday morning and said, "How do you know this stuff?" "What stuff?" "How to program computers." "I don't know how to program computers." "Those databases." "That's not programming - I'm just making columns." "How do you know how to do that?" "Make columns? Don't know - It's easy."

This is why I never succeed in business.

Whatever. They said, "Come downtown and work on this stuff at headquarters." And I said, "Why the fuck would I want to do that. It's expensive down there. It's a long commute."

We argued over the next few weeks. But I was right. I worked fifteen minutes from my house. I knew everyone. They liked me. Why switch for nothing?

"Make me a detective," I offered. "Can't do that." "Why not, you should have made me a detective years ago." "Why's that?" "Look me up in your personnel files."

And I suppose they did.

"We'll make you a "Field Services Specialist-Detective Third Class." "Wow," I said, "that's a hell of an honor." But I went. The title came with five thousand more bucks a year, a complete lack of supervision, and bizarre little office with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The work was boring, more or less, but I would spend an hour on task, and then sneak out and wander Chinatown, or Little Italy, or just, if my leg hurt that day, sit in City Hall Park, or, especially in the dark winter evenings, drift out onto the bridge, embraced by the ribbons of light, and breath in the vast salt smell of the Atlantic tide pushing up the harbor from the Narrows.

And then I'd wander back to that tiny office, and rifle through cases, looking for ways to assemble patterns, or discover patterns. I was probably catching criminals. I really was, but I didn't feel like a cop anymore. But when I stood out on the bridge, in the depth of the winds, I really didn't care.
copyright 2007 by Ira Socol

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