John and I have worked together a long time. We are the godfathers of each other’s children. Every year we get together with a group of guys for a fishing trip and we don’t shave for a week.
We are basically the same type of policeman but we like to kid each other. John kids me about how I carry three guns but we both know it might save John’s life someday since he only carries one gun.
We have kicked in some doors together but mostly we just come to work and go home. I would not say we are cynical but after seeing the underbelly of humanity we don’t believe in the Easter Bunny.
We investigated a death on West Wayne Street. A nice two-story townhouse with a parking space in back that was empty so we parked there. We drank coffee in the unmarked car for a while and then went in.
There was smell of smoke on the first floor and balled up wads of burned paper scattered all over. The fire department had been there. Now there were just uniformed police and meat wagon guys.
A body was in the second floor bedroom, a white man about forty named Robert Wisniewski. The consensus of the uniformed police was that he died from inhaling smoke.
Since liquor bottles were lying around in the bedroom we thought maybe he got drunk, passed out, and inhaled smoke from the burned up wads of paper. But who was it that burned those wads of paper?
We found three pages downloaded from an internet dating site, each page with a girl’s site profile, her picture, and her name, address, and phone number written by Robert Wisniewski. Great! Fantastic!
We talked to people in the townhouse complex. Did Robert Wisniewski have a family? No. Did he have a car? Yes. What kind of car? One guy said an old muscle car like maybe a Dodge Charger.
The large number of burned paper wads was the odd part. Somebody put time and effort into that and it made a lot of smoke. But burning the house down did not seem to be the idea.
Back in the car we looked at the dating site pages. Three good-looking white girls, Shari, Lexi, and Joy. After we read the profiles and had a few laughs John called Shari and surprisingly she picked up.
John said, “Shari, this is Detective Cronin from the police. Do you know Robert Wisniewski?” She said, “Um, not really, we just went on one date.” “Well, we’d like to come by and speak with you.”
Shari lived in a typical single girl’s one bedroom on Surf Street with photos on the refrigerator and shit. She was blonde, medium height, sunny disposition and a decent body as far as I could tell.
We introduced ourselves. Shari offered us coffee. I wasn’t sure about her body because she had on a giant sweater that went down to her knees. No shoes, fluffy socks. We declined the coffee.
I said. “Shari, Robert Wisniewski is dead and it looks like there was some foul play.” “Oh, that’s horrible!” “Well, it happens sometimes,” I said with a laugh. “You went out with Robert Wisniewski?”
I showed her the dating site page. “We found this in his apartment so I gather you met through an online matchmaking site.” She started to cry. “It seems so sordid and sleazy now! I’m so embarrassed!”
Then she got control of herself and said, “We went to Greek Town but it was hard to talk because the restaurant was so noisy. I could tell he liked to drink but I’m not much of a drinker.”
I asked Shari if Robert Wisniewski drove her to Greek Town. She said yes he did. “Do you recall what kind of car he had?” She said, “I’m sorry, I really don’t recall.” “That’s okay, no problem.”
John and I looked at each other. We stood up. I took out my handcuffs. John said, “I’m sorry Shari but we have to arrest you for the murder of Robert Wisniewski. Why did you do it?”
The expression on her face was priceless. We laughed and when she saw us laughing she laughed so hard she got out of breath. John gave Shari his business card and we left.
Back in the car I called the next girl, Lexi. She didn’t pick up but we went over there anyway since it wasn’t too far and you never know what you’re going to find.
Lexi must have had some bucks since her address was an apartment building on North Sherman Road with a doorman, a black kid, behind a desk in the lobby.
Being a black kid he very quickly picked up that we were cops and with that out of the way I mentioned Gene Girolometto of the doorman’s union whom I happened to know quite well.
The name Gene Girolometto brought a smile to the black kid’s face. The kid must have had something on the ball or else Gene Girolometto wouldn’t assign a black kid to Sherman Road.
Was the black kid fucking women in the building? Most likely he was. In any case when we mentioned Lexi it obviously rang a bell. I said, “Do me a favor, call Lexi on the house phone.”
When Lexi answered the house phone the black kid said, “There are two gentlemen here to see you from the police department.” I motioned for the black kid to give me the phone.
I said, “Hi Lexi, this is Detective Coyne and I’m here with Detective Cronin. We’d like to speak with you about Robert Wisniewski. Remember him? The online dating guy?”
Like Shari, Lexi had only a dim memory of Robert Wisniewski. Unlike Shari, Lexi asked if she could come down instead of us going up because her place was a mess right now.
“No problem,” I said and returned the phone to the black kid. John and I then bid him farewell and went to wait for Lexi by the elevator. We just waited. No words were spoken.
This was police work, talking and waiting. You have to like talking and you have to get used to waiting. Now we were waiting and in another minute we would be talking again.
Should we have been a little more inquisitive with Shari, the first girl, because she might be the one who lit the paper wads on fire? No, because Shari had obviously not done that.
Should we have wondered why Lexi, the second girl, wanted to come down instead of us going up? No, because there were a million possible reasons for that and you could go nuts.
Policemen learn not to overly speculate about things but just to move things along and see if things fall into place. Finally the elevator door opened and Lexi came out.
White woman, about five nine, thirties, dark hair, looked grumpy, like if her life depended on it she couldn’t crack a smile. Very different from Shari’s sunny disposition in that respect.
Running shoes, black stretch pants, sweaty black t-shirt, messy hair, but still a good body from what I could see. Possibly even an excellent body. Her breasts were her best feature.
She launched into a long-winded explanation of how she was in the middle of her treadmill workout and was not prepared for visitors at nine o’clock on a Saturday morning.
The long-winded explanation continued about how she owned a public relations business which was not a nine-to-five job and how precious her workout time was.
John said, “With the demands your job places on you, you probably don’t have time to meet guys. That must be why you got on the website and met Robert Wisniewski, right, Lexi?”
“Right,” she said. “But I only saw him once.” “Did you go to Greek Town?” I asked. She gave me a look of surprise like, “Are you psychic?” I said, “Just a lucky guess.”
“But Mr. Wisniewski is no longer with us,” I continued. “His corpse was found in his house when the smoke detectors went off. Would you know anything about that, Lexi?”
She laughed. “Yeah, I hate Greek food so I fed him a poisoned octopus. Just kidding, boys. If this is what you came to talk about I can’t help you. I know nothing about it.”
She wanted to get back to her treadmill. No problem. She kept herself in shape. “But there is still one way you can help,” I said. “What kind of car did he have?”
“Car? A Dodge Charger. He was proud of it but it was not my type of vehicle.
I like luxury cars, clothes, and restaurants. When I go to Vegas I stay at the Mandarin Oriental or the Bellagio.”
As experienced policemen we saw that Lexi, like Shari, was in no way responsible for Robert Wisniewski’s death. I gave Lexi my business card and we went on our way.
John and I have a system where, if one of us wants to call a woman, he will give that woman his business card and then the other one of us knows to back off.
When John gave Shari, the first girl, his business card I knew to back off and then John knew to back off when I gave my business card to Lexi, the second girl.
In general as luck would have it we have different tastes in women. So when John laid claim to Shari I was cool and he was cool when I laid claim to Lexi by giving her my business card.
Very rarely a situation will arise where both of us are attracted to the same woman. Then some discussion might ensue but that is unusual and we are grownups about it.
It’s the same way with driving the unmarked car or making phone calls. One day John drives and the next day I drive. Or if John made the last phone call, then I make the next one.
I was driving when we left Lexi and John called Joy, the last of the dating site girls. She picked up. “Hi Joy, this is Detective Cronin from the police. I’ve got some bad news.”
She said, “Who? What?” John had her on speaker. We were laughing. She sounded a little woozy, like maybe we just woke her up. “Robert Wisniewski is dead!” John shouted.
Then he said, “We’re coming right over!” and he cut her off. It was funny. Who knows what she thought. Maybe she would call the police. We were laughing about it.
Joy’s place was the top floor of a three-flat. She was around thirty, brunette, a bit on the heavy side, slightly disheveled, clad in blue jeans. Good body. Her ass was her best feature.
Joy let us in and after a brief exchange of pleasantries around the dining room table we made the nature of our visit known. Then there was the usual shock and gnashing of teeth.
There was also the usual dinner in Greek Town story, the disappointment Joy experienced around the whole drinking thing, and her ending the evening early in order to return home.
“Excuse me,” I said, “could I use the bathroom?” “Yes, it’s just down the hall.” “Thank you.” I did have to pee and after peeing I checked out the medicine cabinet. Nothing special there.
Returning to the dining room I made a side trip into Joy’s bedroom and noticed some keys on the dresser. One of the keys had a fancy Dodge Charger logo on it.
Back in the dining room I said, “You’re not working today, are you, Joy?” “No,” she said, “I work downtown nine-to-five Monday through Friday like a million other good little sheep.”
I nodded sympathetically and said, “Where do you work?” “I’m the office manager for a group of ophthalmologists called Paul Hurwitz M.D. and Associates Vision Care Center.”
At this point John knew something was up or else why would I be acting as if I gave a shit where she worked? I would only do that if I was playing cat and mouse with her.
I said, “When you went to Greek Town with Robert Wisniewski, did he drive?” “Yes, he did.” “But sometimes people take cabs to Greek Town.” “No, he drove his car.”
She gave me a puzzled and nervous look. John was having a hard time keeping a straight face. He knew I was playing cat and mouse but didn’t know where the cat and mouse was going.
“Do you remember what kind of car he had?” “No, I really don’t.” “Maybe it was a Dodge Charger.” “Maybe it was.” I took the keys out of my pocket and put them on the dining room table.
“God damn it!” she said. “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” She was pounding on the table. She was blubbering. What if she got hysterical? I sat down at the table. “What happened, Joy?”
“Fuck!” “Joy….” “Fuck!” “Joy…” She looked at me. Deer in the headlights. “What happened, Joy?” It was an intimate moment. I started to get hard. But she would have to do about eight years.
“He pissed me off so much!” she said. “A man should realize that when a woman goes back to his apartment with him the woman rightfully expects to get fucked!”
I didn’t want her to blow up again. I looked at John. It was his turn. “He wouldn’t fuck you?” John said. “He couldn’t fuck me! His prick wouldn’t work! He was too drunk!”
Now silence reigned except for her blubbering. We let her cry it out. Finally I said, “When he couldn’t fuck you, you went around lighting wads of paper?” “Yes.” “Why?” “To make a mess.”
That was it. She lit wads of paper to make a mess. It didn’t occur to her that Robert Wisniewski, passed out on the bed upstairs, might die from the smoke. That’s why it was definitely not a murder charge.
What charge would it be? Some sort of arson maybe. John and I did not need to sort that out. The Dodge Charger was in the forefront of our minds. It was parked down the street from Joy’s apartment.
Over the next few weeks several things happened. We determined the book value of the Dodge Charger and we offered to take it off the hands of Robert Wisniewski’s next of kin.
On the one hand the next of kin wanted to recoup what the Dodge Charger was worth. On the other hand they saw Robert Wisniewski as a bum and the Dodge Charger had his cooties.
Ultimately a desire on the part of the next of kin for the whole thing to be over and done with played into our hands. We paid them ten percent below book for the Dodge Charger.
After we had a little work done on the car we were able to sell it for like three times book. We shared the proceeds with our lieutenant and we took everyone else out to dinner.
John wound up fucking Shari and I fucked Lexi a couple of times. A lot of women are turned on by policemen if you’re in halfway decent shape, which John and I actually are.