Street Crime Short Stories # 1
This story is protected under U.S. Copyright # 1-4002347791-2017
During one of the times I needed respite from investigations, I went back to graveyard shift patrol. It was around 3:00 A.M. on a quiet fall night. I was riding the Bottoms AKA the Allendale neighborhood. A great cop, and a friend of mine, was my beat partner that night, Glenn Schach. Glenn was a barrel chested young man with thick, jet black hair, a mustache and one guy I never doubted would have my back to the end. As street officers, we worked many calls together that ranged from shootings, stabbings, family fights, street fights, rapes, robberies and burglaries. Off duty we duck hunted together every chance we had.
We had just finished running a group of drug dealers and prostitutes from the corner of Sprague St and Mary Court St., near the Sprague Street Hotel/Brothel. Several times a night we moved them along but it was like swatting mosquitoes. They never really left. Officer Michael Newman from the Downtown beat came to lend us a hand. We stood near the pay phone on the corner attached to the exterior of the hotel. It was the number the drug dealers and prostitutes used for business. Every time I drove passed this phone it was either ringing or someone had it stuck to the side of their head.
For years I knew the number by heart. On this night after the corner was cleared, the phone started ringing. Having spent a few years on the streets and versed in street talk, I mimicked a drug dealer. I lowered my voice and said, “Yeah, what you want?” The caller thought I was a dealer and asked what kind of dope I had tonight. I bit my tongue holding back my laughter as we conversed. I played him like a banjo for a few minutes before he realized I was a cop. Newman was standing close to me with the volume cranked up on his talkie. The radio traffic blared from his speaker. The dude on the other end of the phone hung up.
About that time a silent alarm at the Sun Furniture store alerted S.P.D. Glenn and I were dispatched. Newman tagged along to help. We checked the building and determined it to be secure. Headquarters called the alarm company and advised the alarm had reset.
Glenn and I decided it was time to slip down to Nan Kings for coffee. We each drove a single person unit. Glenn was the lead, I was second and Newman was third in line as we eased along Texas Avenue. We passed the Hanna Ford car lot. In the small curve of the street, a tiny 10 space used car lot was located on our left. The office was very small. It was only 20′ x 15′ with a glass front door, a big desk and office chair and a very small toilet room. At the same moment, Glenn and I saw a man seated at the desk. He appeared so comfortable, he could have been the owner of the lot working late. Glenn later joked, if he had just waved when we drove by, we would have simply waved back and continued to Nan Kings.
However, he did not wave. We all knew the big, fat, white guy who owned the car lot. This guy was skinny as a rail and black. He looked to be in his 20’s. Glenn and I stopped and backed up at the same time. Newman swerved to the far right lane to avoid rear ending my unit, “like keystone cops”. Luckily he missed me. Glenn and I bailed from our units as the suspect darted for the broken rear window of the office. He was very fast. We caught him just as he hit the small alley leading to the rear of the Municipal Auditorium.
Glenn and I grabbed the guy in a full run and stopped him. We struggled with him as he tried to pull away. Newman rolled up in his car and hit all three of us with his front bumper. We weren’t knocked down nor were we hurt but it scared the hell out of us. The suspect started yelling at Newman, “Man you f…….. g crazy!” Newman jumped out of the car and ran to help us force the cuffs on the guy. Newman was patting him down and yelling back at him asking the suspect his name. The suspect yelled back, “Michael Newman, Michael Newman man!” Newman grabbed him and spun him around. He asked him his name once again. The guy yelled, “My f……….g name is Michael Newman man, can’t you understand f……..g English man?”
Newman reached down and pulled the suspect’s billfold from his back pocket. He found the man’s drivers license. Using the unit’s head lights, we all looked down and saw the name Michael Newman printed. Glenn and I let Newman book Newman while we drank coffee, wrote the police report at Nan Kings and chatted with Margie and Ulim Fong the owners. Nan Kings was like our second home. Margie and Ulim loved S.P.D. and rarely let us pay for a meal or coffee. Needless to say, Nan Kings was the safest place to eat late at night as it was well protected. Whenever a disorderly person call went out from there, we rolled in force to help the Fongs. Ulim was a hell of pool player. He is one of the few men to beat the famous player from Shreveport known as Fast Eddie. Fast Eddie was made famous in two movies starring Paul Newman…lol, Newman again. In one Jackie Gleason played Minnesota Fats. In the second making of the story, Tom Cruise played Fast Eddie Felson of Shreveport and Vincent Lauria played Fats.
For years every time we saw Newman, we asked how his brother was doing. I always liked Newman, but at times he reminded those of us who worked with him of Barney Fife.
Barney Fife quotes, “Well, I guess to sum it up, you could say there’s 3 reasons why there’s so little crime in Mayberry. There’s Andy, there’s me” and he patted his gun.