The Police are on the radio. "Every Breath You Take." MTV is the thing you have cable for right now. Limelight, in that old church downtown, is the hottest club, and Liam and I know a few of the bartenders, so we get in. Imus in the morning on WNBC - "Hear the new excitement from Rockefeller Center, Sixty-Six, W-N-B-C" - and Howard Stern in the afternoon keep the day shift laughing but now we're flipping through FM, the volume loud, as if it could drown out the dispatcher.
I tell the guy I'm refusing to fight with to get lost. The sweat is pouring down my chest and back under the vest. we have no time for the kind of bullshit this moron and his buddies are trying to pull in the parking lot of the shopping center by Laconia and 2-3-3.
We climb back into the Gran Fury. Air conditioning is cranked to “max” as Chrysler describes it. The cold rushes across our faces, through our wet hair, we both shiver. Liam picks up his radio, but…
A fat beeping tone blasts through the speaker, “Any available in Four-Seven, shots fired, White Plains Road and 2-2-9, multiple calls.” “Seven Adam is going,” Liam responds, “We’re clear from 2-3-3 and Laconia.” “Any disposition?” “Uhhh, unfounded.” “OK Adam, anyone else in the Four-Seven going?” “Seven Sergeant will go Central, but we’re a long way.”
I’m speeding across 2-3-3, lights but no sirens. Never go to shootings with sirens, bad shit happens if they know you’re coming. The real radio begins to play “Electric Avenue,” our precinct’s theme song, and as I squeeze through traffic and spin left under the El a train heads south, sparks lighting up the scene in video game blue. “Down in the street there is violence. And a lots of work to be done. No place to hang out our washing. And I can't blame all on the sun, oh no.”
Between 231st and 229th there is no shooting but plenty of broken glass. Car windows, store windows. Two guys in Rasta hats and dreads lie on the east side sidewalk in a flow of blood, one face up, one face down. There are footprints leading away, someone has already snatched the guns from their hands. “Slow it down at White Plains Road,” I tell the dispatcher, “but we need the boss, and the squad, and the coroner.” And now we hear wailing. In the street an old Chevy sits crashed into an El pillar, windows open. My eyes go to the passenger door, one huge bullet hole ripped into it. Then through the window we both see the top of a kid's car seat.
Liam pushes the button on the radio, tells dispatch we need an ambulance fast. We run to the car, but we already know.
(copyright 2011 by Ira David Socol)