The Chief - Cover

The Chief

Copyright© 2011 by Robert McKay

Chapter 20

When I got to the station for roll call the next evening – early enough to glance over the most important papers on my desk – I found that not only had Mills and Cecelia gotten the warrant, but they'd taken the time to find out the exact address. Of course that had been necessary, but it would have been a simple matter to have a patrol officer check it out. Instead, the warrant paperwork described them going out personally to verify the address. If they kept on working like this, they were going to earn commendations.

Either they hadn't yet served the warrant, or there were no reports yet – I presumed the former, since there ought to have been at least a preliminary report by the time I got to my desk if they had served it, and there was none there. When they would serve it I didn't know, and I made it a point not to ask. Either they were competent to run the investigation themselves, or they shouldn't be investigators in the first place.

There being no trainees, I patrolled solo. I wrote a few speeding tickets, arrested one man who was driving in such a drunken state that he fell flat on his face getting out of his pickup, responded to a prowler call that turned out to be a tom cat who'd managed to get into the crawlspace underneath the house, scared myself flat to death by coming up on a dumpster while patrolling on foot and kicking a bottle I hadn't seen.

It was a quiet night. There was little traffic on the radio, and some of it was just joking around – cops have to keep awake and pass the time just like anyone else. When I went off-watch I called it in to Dispatch, drove home, got a shower, crawled into bed next to Cecelia, and crashed right into dreamland.

The next morning I got up with not enough sleep, but I couldn't justify going in late or taking off entirely after working the evening watch. If it had been the night watch, I could have done it, for I'd have been going off-watch about the time I was getting up, but in this case I'd manage. Cecelia was gone by the time I woke up, and the babysitter – though there's got to be a better term for someone who's there mainly to keep the house in gear rather than to watch a child – was there. She knew better, by now, than to offer me breakfast, though Darlia was chomping her way through a pile of scrambled eggs that would have been enough for me. She'd left her weights in Albuquerque, but with one thing and another she was still getting plenty of exercise, and on most of her days off Cecelia took her to a gym in Woodward where they both worked out, even when it meant that Cecelia had to cut her sleep short in order to be a cop. And that meant that her naturally healthy appetite remained so.

I put on civilian clothes, the only marks of my occupation being the hat device on my bullrider and the shield hanging on my belt. The gun on my hip might mean a cop or it might not, though few people in Oklahoma go around wearing one. For that matter few people anywhere do, though when I'd moved to New Mexico it had been the law that as long as the gun was in plain view and you had a license, you could wear it. Now they've got concealed carry, though some are trying to repeal that, as if taking away the right to have a gun in your pocket will keep the muggers away from you. But the last time I'd been around civilians who wore guns as an everyday thing had been the year I'd punched cattle on the OX Ranch. To those cowboys, a gun was a tool – for instance, if a rattlesnake spooked your horse, and he threw you and ran off with your foot caught in the stirrup, you could shoot the horse and get out of it with bumps and bruises instead of getting dragged to death ... drug to death, we'd have called it.

At the office I found Mills and Cecelia waiting for me. Cecelia had a thick folder in her lap, and though I couldn't read the label I knew it had to be the Rodríguez file. I'd seen it before. I waved them on into my office, got a vanilla Coke out of the refrigerator that Mary kept stocked for me, and went in to sit in my chair. "This thing ain't near as comfortable as the ones I got at home, C," I said.

"I did not emption it," she said, and then: "That look on your face is priceless. I thought I had exhausted the brief list of words I know and you don't."

"Maybe you have now, but that was a new one. It's a good thing the context is clear."

"Maybe to you," Mills said, "but I'm lost."

"She meant she didn't buy it," I said in explanation, and then changed the subject. "Unless they's a report here on top of everything else, which I don't see one, y'all haven't served the warrant yet."

"No, though we are now prepared to do so. We have been researching the title, which is rather confused; observing comings and goings – which are consistent with drug sales; and planning how to execute the warrant. We asked Judge Harker whether he would even consider a no-knock warrant on this matter, and he would not, so we did not ask for one – but that was as we expected. Our plan is here." And Cecelia took a sheet of paper out of the folder and handed it to me. I'd been sorting through my paperwork as she spoke, but there was no question who I was listening to – not only does she not sound like Mills, but he could never imitate her fancy English.

I took the sheet of paper from her and looked it over. "Looks good. You got the uniforms lined up yet?"

"We do. The watch commander and the Sergeant of the Watch have assigned us some good people."

"You need me along?"

"You do have more experience than either of us," Mills said. "I know you've been out of police work for a long time, until you came here, but you've been investigating for years. If you want to look the place over once we're in, we'd appreciate it."

"Okay, that'll work. What time you want to do it?"

"Everything's in place now," Mills said. "We can go as soon as you're ready."

I flipped through the paperwork. "Lemme sign a few things, an' I'll be with you."

They nodded, and waited. I signed what just couldn't wait, put what I'd signed in the out basket, and grabbed my radio. "Dispatch, Unit 1. Show me assisting India 5 until further notice." Mills' investigator's shield was #5, and somewhere since I'd left town the department had switched to the military phonetic alphabet, which – once I learned it – I preferred to the old style police alphabet. Ida 5 just didn't have the same professional sound to it.

I got out of my chair, put my hat on my head and my radio on my belt, and went out. I told Mary where I was going, and we all headed out the back door.

I parked away from the house, which was on the corner of Milk and Rooster – some developer, ages ago, had named streets after birds and beverages – and waited while the uniformed officers took up positions where they could observe, and grab anyone who tried to escape. Then Cecelia and Allen Mills went to the front door. There was a big window on the left, so they couldn't each take a side of the door. Instead, Cecelia went to the far side of the window from the door, and peeked in, or at least tried to – from where I sat I couldn't tell whether she was able to see in. Both she and Mills drew their weapons, probably the first time he'd ever had his out on duty and I knew for sure the first time she'd ever drawn hers. He beat on the door with his fist, since investigators don't carry Maglites on their belt.

He knocked a couple of times, and either got no response or else got a response which convinced him that someone was trying to hide or destroy evidence. He suddenly swung around and kicked beside the knob with his heel. My position prevented me from seeing if there was any give, but the door stayed shut, and he kicked it again. This time it flew open, and he went through it with his gun out in front of him. Cecelia followed, and it appeared, from what little I could see, that her training was working – it looked like he'd gone to the right side of the door when he entered, and she went to the left.

The source of this story is Finestories

To read the complete story you need to be logged in:
Log In or
Register for a Free account (Why register?)

Get No-Registration Temporary Access*

* Allows you 3 stories to read in 24 hours.