B&R116: A Piece of the Action
by Dee Gilles
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Benny & Ray 116
A Piece of the Action
Detective Elaine Franklin was "buried knee-deep in alligators" as her old Aunt Theresa used to say. As in `overwhelmed'. As in `overworked'. As in `shoveling shit against the tide'. She sat in her cubicle and worked her case files as the busy bullpen brimmed with noise and activity. The smell of scorched coffee wafted through the air.
Elaine and Micky had forty-two cases, beating Vecchio's old record of forty-one, and they really had no excuse since there were two of them versus Vecchio's solo efforts.
If Fraser hadn't volunteered and taken two cases from them this week, then it would have been a humiliating forty-four open cases. Crime was at an all-time high within the precinct these days.
So perhaps they could be forgiven if they hadn't exactly given the highest priority to the Domenico case because the victims weren't cooperating, all of a sudden. At first, they said they knew the guys who broke in and roughed them up--were all eager and self-righteous about getting their fair share of American justice.
The next day, when they were supposed to have come down to the station to go through some mug shots, all of a sudden, everybody got amnesia. Elaine had sent a uniform out to check on Matthew, see why he hadn't shown up at the station like he said he was going to, and he told the officer he really hadn't seen the guys at all. It was Joe Medeiros who seen the kid, officer. Not me. I didn't see nothin'. I swear.
Medeiros later claimed it was too dark to recognize the guys who beat them up, and that Andrew had probably seen the whole thing.
Andrew claimed he wasn't even in the room when the assault took place, even though he had a blackened eye that said otherwise.
Somebody got to them, scared them.
DeBenedetto and his lover had already been questioned and both denied any wrong doing. Micky was out following up on the possibility that DeBenedetto or his partner Massimiliano had sought some vigilante justice. If they had, then they were in a shitload of trouble.
And Elaine was doing her best to close a case so she and Micky could end the shame of having the most open cases of any detectives in precinct history.
She was pretty close today, to wrapping one up. She had Marg run some information for her while she reviewed some records of her own. Then, she could meet Micky on Division Street to make the arrest. She eagerly tapped away on her keyboard, searching the huge statewide database. Impatiently, she pushed her long curls from her face.
She had to hurry if she wanted to get this bust in today and get out of here at a decent hour, for once. Traffic was horrendous leaving the city on a Friday afternoon. She wanted to get back home, pick Evan up from daycare, and get to Old Navy to try to find some swim trunks for her son. Evan was going to his first water park next month, but first, Elaine and Ike had to teach him to swim. Ike was supposed to take him to his first lesson at the Y in the morning. But he had a major case to prepare for, so he was going to be at the firm all weekend. She wished Ike didn't work so much. Evan was getting to the age where his Dad was his one true hero, and if Ike kept at it like he was, he was going to miss out on a phase that would never come again.
Warm hands suddenly covered her eyes.
"Hey!" she cried in protest.
"Guess who?" a cheery and familiar voice said.
The hands disappeared. "In the flesh!"
"Hey, stranger!" Elaine turned and stood. Francesca had a huge grin plastered on her face. She looked so young, standing there in a simple pink T-shirt, stretched over her belly, and black pants. Elaine embraced her.
"You look great!" Elaine placed her palm on Francesca's prominent belly. "How do you feel?"
"I feel good! What's goin' on?"
"Oh, the usual. Work coming out of my ears. Overworked and underappreciated."
"Sorry to hear that."
"So what brings you by?"
"I was just in the neighborhood! I came by to see Ben, see if he wanted to go out to lunch, but I guess I just missed him."
"Yeah, he and Stan had to go to court."
"Oh," she said clearly disappointed. But she quickly perked up again. "So what are you doing? You wanna go to lunch?"
"Oh, it's such a hectic day. I really can't, although I'd love to."
"So, come on, then! Let's go and grab a sub. Take half an hour."
"Oh, sweetie, I just can't, I'm sorry...you remember how this place gets sometimes."
"Yeah, yeah. I remember. I kinda miss those days. The excitement, the tension...the drama. The thrill of the chase. Lockin' up the bad guys and throwin' away the key."
Elaine smiled. Not for the first time, she wondered if Frannie had missed her true calling. "Maybe we can get together some weekend, huh? Have a girls' night. Dinner and a flick?"
"Yeah, that sounds nice. It's a date."
Francesca sat. The two women talked for a few minutes, catching up on each other's lives and sharing gossip. They talked about what a shame it was about Ray and Ben, about Tommy's DeBenedetto's brutal beating, the Domenico's attack right after, and how the incidences had been all over the news for weeks. And they talked about the newest movies coming out that they'd like to see, and about the newest rookies to join the force, about her son and how big he was getting, and about Damon Fischer and Frannie's in-laws.
After the conversation wound down, Fran said, "Maybe I'll check on Harding, since I'm here. He around?" Francesca was the only person Elaine knew who had ever gotten away with addressing Lt. Welsh as `Harding'.
"Yeah, as far as I know. He was upstairs in Captain Miller's office earlier, but I think he's back."
"Oh. He in some kind of trouble?"
"No. Did you hear that Captain Miller's getting promoted to Commander?"
Francesca drew her head back in surprise. "No! Really? Who'd she blow?"
"Now, now...play nice. She's smart. She earned it."
"Well....rumor has it that they're going to ask Welsh to take her old job. But supposedly, he said if they offered it, he wouldn't take it, because he wants to retire in a year or two. I bet they're discussing it now."
"Harding retire? He's too young to be thinking about that!"
"What do you mean? The man's sixty-two or -three."
"Wow. I didn't know he was so old." She wrinkled her nose with displeasure.
"Well, he doesn't exactly have one foot in the grave just yet, alright?"
"I know, I know. It's just weird. So where's Mick?"
"He's out right now. Doing a little bit of undercover work. We think DeBenedetto or Massimiliano hired some guys to do work on the Domenicos, although nobody can blame them. Micky's out posing as somebody who needs some work done....see who pops out of the woodwork these days."
Frannie scoffed. "He's gonna find so many guys, he's not gonna know who's who." She leaned forward and whispered. "Got any names yet?"
"I can't get into those kinds of details with you!"
"Come on, tell me! I still got my old contacts, you know. I can check some things out for you."
Elaine grinned. "What are you telling me? You wanna piece of the action?"
"Why not?" Francesca said. "I got a whole month of nothing to do but waiting for this baby to come! Everybody's busy..." she threw up a hand in dismissal, "working all day, and I'm bored."
Elaine looked around. "Well...I know I shouldn't be telling you this but..." she leaned in and whispered. "We do have a couple of suspects." She stopped, stood and poked her head up above her cubicle like a prairie dog. She stuck her head in the hallway to make sure no passers-by were privy to her conversation. She whispered the names to Francesca.
Francesca's eyes grew wide in surprise. "Oh, yeah," she said. "I know those guys."
End B&R116: A Piece of the Action by Dee Gilles
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