Cruising down the West Side Highway, John contemplated on how to write the final chapter in the Crispin Pagnucci story. Brainstorming for ideas, e recalled the morning news reports and searched for loopholes that he could exploit. Officers, both men and women, applauded his efforts, putting the head of organized crime six feet under. A plan began taking shape. And he knew the perfect guys to bring it all together.
First, John got on his cell and dialed Zeke. “Gather the team for a meeting at the club within the hour,” he ordered. “I know how we can put this issue to bed once and for all.”
“Why? Laying Pagnucci in a coffin isn’t good enough for you?” Zeke snapped back.
“Actually, no. Sooner or later, somebody’s going to be sniffing their nose into our business and just might figure out how we were able to pull off what we’ve done. I can’t take that risk, So, just do what I told you and hit me back when it’s done.”
Next, John contacted Rocky Diamonds. “Hey baby girl,” he flirted. “I need you to dig up every bit of information you can on the 14th Precinct: rosters, profile history, building schematics, shift schedules, etc.”
“You’re not thinking of asking these clowns to join us, are you?” she asked
“Are you crazy, Rock?” John answered. “You know me better than that! The enema for law enforcement would stick the tube right in the middle of
that hellhole in Lower Manhattan! However, let’s just say that they’re going to finally prove their usefulness.”
The 14th precinct was ranked last in the NYPD rating system, having the lowest scores in public safety, community relations, and arrest records. They did, however, reach staggering numbers in corruption and police brutality. Morning shift cops are lazy and night shift cops are sleazy. Internal Affairs had been salivating for one wrongful incident to shut them down completely.
John then called a public broadcast station and stated that a drug bust was going down in the precinct sometime today. “This is unprecedented,” he sold to the amateur reporters. “Imagine the number of subscribers and likes your network will get?” They completely bought in.
And lastly, he dialed 14th precinct Captain, Carl Randall. Adding some extra twang in his voice, John pretended to be an interviewer from POLICE Magazine. “We’ve been searching for an officer to write a Pulitzer article on. And guess what pal? Your name came up on our computer!”
Thinking this article would lead to stardom, Randall was more than happy to comply. As he babbled on about his childhood, John’s voice switched to his infamous mesmerizing tone and gave Randall explicit instructions. “Listen to me very carefully.” The captain froze in place. “Later today, I’ll be coming with the State Police to raid your precinct and you’re going to voluntarily surrender. Repeat these phrases out to the public: we’re busted - I shouldn’t have done
it - we killed them all. Then in the interrogation room, you’re going to confess to committing a whole bunch of ludicrous crimes, especially killing Crispin Pagnucci. Do you understand me?”
“Yes,” Randall answered in monotone.
Thirty minutes later, John drove through the narrow streets by the
waterfront of Lower Manhattan known as the Club District, home of New York’s hottest nightspots. Every weekend these clubs would be crammed with college kids to middle-aged partygoers, all looking to get drunk or laid. He drove up
to a four-story establishment named Club Candy Cane, the reigning nightspot champion of the district. An afternoon strip bar that turned into a dance club
at night. Huge pink and white striped awning hovered over the windows and entrance doors. Black brick walls sealed in the hammering music.
Unbeknown to the public eye, the club was merely a masquerade, serving as a hideout for rogue cops of the Clucifx, aiding with the success of their many underhanded deals, and John had been given complete ownership of this building. A security guard held open the employee entrance door like a hotel doorman as his boss approached. John patted him on the shoulder and walked inside.
He got into his private elevator and rode it up to the second floor. The doors opened to a dark gray hallway and several red doors with gold-colored knobs. At the end of the hall was the conference room. Random cops sat and stood around the room, eagerly awaiting the details of their next operation. Rocky, Rusty, Harvey, and Zeke all present and accounted for.
Before starting the meeting, John wanted to talk privately with Zeke, who looked less enthused than the rest of the team. “Good job in getting the team here so fast,” said John.
“Not everyone’s here,” said Zeke. “A couple of our guys stationed in the
Bronx have their cell phones off and I can’t get a hold of them.”
“They’re foot soldiers. Clowns. What’s important is that you and Rocky
are here. We don’t have a lot of time for the formalities, so we have to plan this operation fast.”
“What plan? What are you talking about?” “Just a slight hiccup but nothing we can’t fix.”
“With what, another raid? C’mon John, this whole thing is getting out of control.”
“That’s what you say. But since we’ve started this movement everything has been in complete control. We knew they’d be some risks involved, but the pot
of gold at the end of the rainbow makes it all worthwhile. We’re so close to the finish line, Zeke. Don’t crack under the pressure now.”
“I’ve never cracked in my life, John. But just hear me out for a second, okay? I know this is about getting back at Goldberg for putting us in this predicament in the first place, but we are still police officers. Our job is to follow the law and rehabilitate criminals, not to just kill them off for breaking the law. Our badge still means something.”
“You’re right, Zeke: it means we have permission to kick the crap outta anybody we choose, whenever we choose. It also stands for how hard we’ve worked to keep this city safe. For changes to happen we need to make a sudden impact. It’s cruel. And it’s brutal. But it’s necessary. This is the only way those morons in City Hall will listen.” The look on Zeke’s face read that he’s had enough of this criminal lifestyle.
Sensing his friend’s dissension, John changed his dictator tone and tapped into his friend’s sensitive side. “I know how much you want to settle down with Naomi and live the ‘Beaver Cleaver’ lifestyle. If we see this plan out to the very end then you’ll be living like the Kardashians when all this is over. You’ll never have to patrol another street again. Isn’t that what you want? That’s what I want. That’s what every cop in that conference room wants. And I plan to give it to them. But I can’t pull this off without you.” John seemed sincere about making a difference, although his actions are definitively vile, perhaps terroristic.
The thought of having an insecure future struck a chord with Zeke. Should he let these years of riding dirty just go away without having anything to show for it? These guys have been rolling together since day one. Why would he want to walk away now? “Alright,” Zeke sighed. “Let’s get the meeting started.”
“Sure thing, officer,” said John, stepping aside for his right- hand man to
As Zeke stepped back into the conference room, Rusty Pipes came out and asked John if everything was okay. “This was a close call,” John responded. “We need to be airtight about our operations going forward. Zeke’s not buying our story anymore. Keep a close watch on him.”
“No worries, mate,” Rusty responded.
Rocky Diamonds’ curvy navy leather-wrapped body strutted toward the table while thumbing through a stack of papers cradled against her chest. She winked at John while laying the stack on top of the table. It was the information he requested earlier.
John approached his team like a general to his soldiers. “Listen up people! I’m going to make this short and sweet because we’re pressed for time. Those bums in City Hall demand action. Wanting resolution over our victory last night. Therefore, I say it’s showtime!” Indistinct chatter surrounded the room. John raised his hands to silence them before continuing.
“Now a lot more people will have to die sooner than planned – not that I care about such a thing – but it’s what’s best for business. Therefore, someone else will have to take the fall for last night’s raid. And it’s going to be the 14th precinct.”
“What?!” Harvey protested. “Man, how the hell are we supposed to take down an entire damn precinct in a matter of hours?! A firefight in Manhattan sure as hell ain’t good for business, dawg!”
“Relax, Harvey. Thanks to the beautiful Ms. Diamonds, we have all the Intel needed to make this operation successful. According to Internal Affairs, the 14th precinct is on the verge of being closed down. How many of those cops have already been suspended for police brutality? How many more are speculated in taking bribes? Let’s not forget the open cases against them for
sexual harassment on local schoolgirls!” Cops nodded in agreement, murmured over their distasteful behavior.
“They’re getting overzealous. Sticking their noses in our territories. Shaking down the drug dealers who I get my profits from? Hell no! If those cops run the streets then we got no dealers - no dealers mean no product – no product means no money - and I love getting my money ladies and gentlemen! The way I see it, we’ll be doing this city a favor.”
“Don’t give me that crap!” interrupted Zeke. “Let’s not sit here and sound like hypocrites. What they’re doing is no different than what we’ve been doing for years: undermining the law for our gain.”
“That’s where you’re wrong, Zeke. There’s a huge difference between them and us. Our operations are to make this city a better place. Every coalition we’ve taken down has been run by bad people, so we’ve been upholding the law to its fullest extent. However, these 14th cops are lazy. Selfish. Greedy. Perverted pigs that are a disgrace to the badge! This is a clear-cut case of either them or us. And you best believe it ain’t gonna be us. Does anybody have a problem with that?”
The room was dead silent. John looked over at Zeke, waiting for his counterpoint. Zeke folded his arms and leaned back into his chair. Delighted cops were dedicated to the new plan their leader has conjured, ready and willing to do their part.
Pleased to see the undying supported by his team, John mumbled under his breath, “This is too easy.”