Monday, May 19, 2008
The Good Cop excerpt by Dorien Grey
The following brief scene from Dorien Grey's The Good Cop, book #5 in the Dick Hardesty Mystery series focuses on the mounting tension between the gay community in Dick's city and its homophobic police department, which has just found a homosexual in its midst.
The Good Cop
GLB Publishers, 2002
Available in several e-book formats
At 2:36 a.m. Thursday morning, my phone rang.
Oh, Jeezus, not again! I thought, instantly awake.
"Dick, it's Jared," the voice said. "You might want to come down to The Central."
"What's going on?" I asked, considering all the possibilities, none of them good.
"The new police substation's on fire. It looks bad."
"I'll be right there," I said, and hung up, hurriedly getting out of bed and looking for my pants.
And what the hell was I supposed to do when I got there? God only knows: I didn't. All I knew was that lately my whole life had become a series of knee-jerk responses.
The substation was at the corner of Ash and Beech, and as I turned down Ash I could see the flames from several blocks away. A police car, strobes flashing, blocked the street a block before Beech, and I turned the corner and parked as soon as I could. Despite the late hour, there was a large crowd on Beech, mostly standing against the buildings as close to the fire as the police would let them get. Several fire trucks were pouring huge streams of water onto the two-story substation which was completely engulfed in flame, and another truck several doors down was trying to put out a sizeable blaze on the roof of a clothing store, apparently started by sparks showering down from the substation fire.
I spotted Jared and made my way through the crowd to him. He saw me, nodded, and returned his attention to the fire. Suddenly one of the fire engines gave three sharp blasts of its horn and began to back up quickly, running over one of its own hoses and pulling others as the firemen standing closest to the building moved back into the street. With a muffled roar, first the roof caved in and then the entire front of the building collapsed onto the sidewalk.
I made it a point to look carefully around the crowd to see if there was anyone there I knew or recognized—I was especially looking for guys I knew to be militant activists. I was mildly relieved not to see any.
"What happened?" I asked Jared as the firemen moved again toward the fire, continuing their efforts, though it was clear there was now nothing to save. The fire on the clothing store roof appeared to be under control and the billowing smoke was changing from black to white.
"I was at Pals earlier," he said, "and picked up a trick around 11. We went over to his place—he lives just down the block on Carter. I was headed back to my car around 2:20 when I saw smoke coming out of the substation. I knew Coffee & was open, so I went over there to have them call the fire department, but a couple guys already had, and the trucks and squad cars started coming a minute or so later."
"I just hope it wasn't arson," I said, knowing full well the odds were 99.9 to .l that it was.
Jared pointed to the parking garage construction site directly across Ash from the station. The wind had shifted slightly, clearing enough of the smoke away to show what someone had spray-painted in 6-ft high letters on the high wooden fence surrounding the site: "No 'Fags' on the Force, No Cops in The Central!"