Sonny G was going to do his 20 and out. Figured 20 years as a cop was enough. He'd collect the pension and then, maybe do some security work. Didn't work out that way. Sonny retired at the end of last month, more like 30 and out.
We're sitting at a diner. Sonny doesn't want you to know where. And you don't need to. He's in a mood to reflect.
"When I was new, I couldn't figure out how the crooks did it. And I couldn't figure out how fast we caught some of them. After I got promoted to Detective Third, it began to dawn on me."
Ears up, crooks, here comes the voice of experience.
Sonny takes a paper napkin out of the dispenser, fishes for a pen ("do you believe it? I still carry a note book and a pen everywhere I go. Retirement!") He draws a crude circle on the napkin.
"See this? You know what it is? It's a wheel. This is a cops' dirty little secret. We know what a wheel is. The bad guys? They think they invented it and we never seen it before. And they usually get it wrong. When we see a wheel, we know what it is."
Sonny has a point. Cops see the same crime over and over. They know what to look for. Or what to not look for. The bad guys -- they have reinvent the wheel every time.
"Guy sticks up a deli? We've seen that 500 times. We know what to look for. We find him, we cuff him. End of story. It's easier now with all those cameras. But it's really the same wheel, just rolled by different guys who've never rolled a wheel before. Or maybe thought they thought it up."
"You can tell the new driver from a block away. You know the stickup artist from the same distance. Sometimes it's like shooting fish in a barrel. "
But sometimes not.
Sonny has a couple of cold cases that bother him.
"I had a pal used to run this diner, Pete Acropolis" he says. "One night Pete closes -- it's maybe 2 in the morning. Empties the register into a white donut bag like he's done a million times before. Locks up and before he can get to the car, some guy rolls him. Okay, he's out a days receipts. But that wasn't enough. This guy beats him to within an inch of his life and leaves him there. Never found the sonofabitch. Burns me every time I think about it. And Pete? He got out of the hospital maybe a month or six weeks later and decided he'd had enough to do just getting around and wasn't goin' back to no diner."
"Burns me. Really burns me."
--Doesn't always seem that when you go to a funeral the sky's going to be grey? Does this mean anything? And what does it mean on those rare days when the funeral is held in sunlight?
--The deer are starting their annual march through the narrow woods behind the house. It's always strange to see them as we do each year. But, then, the Deer News has a very low circulation, so maybe some just haven't gotten the word: it's a housing complex now and the woods have been gone for several years.
--The bears have a better newspaper, or maybe its the internet. Haven't seen one in the Deer woods yet. Hope never to have to.
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them. (sm)
(C) WJR 2008