I was sitting in the dayroom of the Sunnyvale Retirement Home in the early morning hours. The Head Nurse was Evelyn Ratched. My name is Friday. I used to carry a badge. Now I carry a colostomy bag.
My grandson Pete was coming to visit this morning. Pete was named after my friend Pete Malloy who had just recently passed away. Pete had followed in my footsteps by joining the LAPD instead of becoming a jazz musician like his idiot father. Pete had be a patrolman for ten years in the Rampart Division before becoming a Homicide Detective with my old friend Harry Bosch in West Hollywood. I looked forward to his visits. He always gave me the facts. Just the facts. Just the way I liked it.
Pete walked in to the dayroom. He was tall and well set up. Wearing a nice suit. Not a Robert Hall suit like Bill Gannon used to wear but still a nice one. He came over to sit next to me on the bench facing the window.
“Hey Pop how are you.” “Good. How is the job going?” “Not good Pop. In fact I have to tell you something. I am going to retire.” “Retire? But you don’t even have your twenty in yet. How can you retire?”
Pete grimaced. “It’s just not worth it anymore Pop. The Feds have come in and taken over. They have forms and regulations and they are looking over our shoulders over everything we do. After Ferguson that cops can’t do their job. The gang bangers are going to town. Illegal Mexicans are killing and raping and we can't even report them to ICE to be deported. They have more rights than any American. Every skell has a cell phone looking to catch you out and get you put up on charges.”
“But that’s the job son. That’s the way it has always been. What’s different?”
“Not the way it is now Pop. You see we can’t do our job. Every cop looks over his shoulder now. Look you know better than anyone a cop is just a human being with a badge. We make mistakes. Get scared. Do stupid things. If you make a thousand stops in year if only a small fraction go bad it is still a hundred times. Now everyone has a cellphone and every beef is publicized and put on Facebook. Every stop has the skell shouting that they have rights and they don’t have to comply with your directions. It is just not worth it. Especially the shades. It is just not worth it anymore.”
“You know I don’t like that kind of talk Pete. I didn’t like it when Bill did it and I don’t like it from you. We need to help our Afro-American Citizens. They are the ones who suffer the most from crime. They need our help.”
“But they don’t want our help Pops. They call us racist. They protest and demand that criminals be let out of jail just because they are black. It’s different now. You don’t pet a rabid dog. You sure as hell don’t take a job as a kennel keeper if you can do anything else with your life. I am moving out of LA and I want you to come with me. We need to get to God’s Country. Out of this cesspool.”
“But LA is my home Pete. It’s your home too. Our family has been here for over a hundred years. I don’t want to leave. You need to stay and fight the good fight.”
“No I don’t. I owe them nothing. I owe myself the chance to have a decent life among decent people. Away from the skells and the people who enable them. I want to live behind a wall Pops. That is what it has come to. We are sort of like Daniel Boone living in a blockhouse surrounded by savages. It’s back to frontier days. Not like the ride at Disneyland. Like the Last of the Mohican's. I need you to come with my Pops. Before the savages burst in here to get drugs and kill all the white people.”
“Can’t do it son. You go if you want to but I am going to stay here. I don’t have much time left. I will just sit here and dream of Julie’s nipples and the good times we had until she left me for that musician with the rusty trombone. My life is over. But you do what you have to do.”
“I am afraid I have to Pops. Along with everyone else in my academy class. They can’t get anyone to join up nowadays. I think they are going to have to use robots. Robots can’t be racist. That is what is going to happen and I don’t want to be here. I love you but I have to go.” Pete stood up and put his hand on my shoulder. He squeezed briefly and then walked out of the room.
It looks like this was the end of the Fridays on the LAPD. It was the end for a lot of families that used to be cops as a family business. I don't know were it will end. I just know that it won't be good.