It wasn’t exactly an out of body experience, but all the same, I sat back and watched as firefighters pulled my hide out of the deflated wreckage of Princess Paulina’s bouncy castle. Bryant came next, flipping out like a madman.
“I want this man arrested!” he hollered. “He’s out of control! I was just out for a breath of fresh air when this psychopath assaulted me and threw me off the side of a building, without so much as a…”
I watched as I gave the jerk a right cross, knocking him out. The remnants of the bouncy house broke his fall as well as mine. At that moment, I hadn’t considered the fact that knocking down that worm would bring me down with him.
Jeffries rushed over and undid the cuffs. Rosie followed, taking me by the hand, leading me away from the scene as cameras snapped away.
In my chair, I watched as Rosie led me past one of many finely coiffed, neatly pressed reporters on the scene. He looked into his camera. “I’m Alexander Guadalupe-Daniels and I’m on the scene at the Museum of Historic Antiquity, where renegade straw cop Mack Smasher just kidnapped a random, helpless, hardworking lobbyist and hurled him off the side of this building that holds some of our country’s most prized treasures. Public opinion on Smasher is that he’s a disgrace to the uniform and…”
Wham! I laughed and laughed as I saw my fist connect with the fool’s face. I grabbed Captain Braddock’s remote control and paused it just in time to capture a frame in which one of the reporter’s capped teeth went flying.
“Smasher!” Braddock said.
“Hold on, boss,” I said. “Let me run it back again. I want to see that prick get cold-cocked one more time.”
“I’ll have no more of your monkey shines, Smasher!” Braddock said.
“You ever notice that all of these reporters are whiter than snow yet they all have a Hispanic surname hyphenated onto their white bread last name?” I asked. “Seems like cultural appropriation if you ask me.”
“Cut the crap, Smasher!” Braddock said as he held up a stack of papers. “I just finished the fiftieth page, turkey. How do you like that?”
“What?” I asked as I grabbed the stack and poured through it. Every line had words written on it. “How did you do that? It’s only been a couple hours.”
“I told you,” Braddock said. “I’m the best of the best. Meanwhile, you’re the worst of the worst. What the hell are you doing? Kidnapping lobbyists, throwing them off buildings, punching out reporters.”
“I didn’t do that,” I protested.
My boss pointed to frozen frame on his TV.
“OK,” I said. “I did that last one. But that lobbyist walked himself out onto that ledge. He refused to leave it. I saved his life!”
“Yeah, well,” Braddock said. “You should have left the shithead out there until he fell off from exhaustion.”
“And you wouldn’t be chewing my ass out in that scenario?” I asked.
“Of course, I would,” Braddock said. “You do shit and I chew your ass out over it. Someone’s gotta keep your ass in check, Smasher. Speaking of checks…”
“Let me guess,” I said. “The mayor called.”
“You’re damn right he did,” Braddock said. Your ass just bounced a big, fat check and now I’m expected to pick up the tab. Smasher, the mayor’s head is so far up my ass that he just farted in my mouth and the smell was not pleasant.”
“It wasn’t?” I asked.
“Not one bit,” Braddock set. “It had a hint of skunk with undertones of onion and rotten tuna fish salad. Disgusting. And all that’s in my mouth and this paperwork? That’s the mouthwash.”
“Come on, sir,” I said. “It is not.”
“Oh, you’re damn right it is, Smasher,” Braddock said. “I’m going to swish this paper around, let it burn away at my oral rot, then spit it out and when I’m finished, you’ll be long gone.”
“Sir,” I said. “In my defense, I was asked to help on this one.”
“Bullshit,” Braddock said. “Don’t you lie to me, Smasher. You lie to me I will reach up into the heavens, pull down the spear of Aries and I will chop off your stupid head with it.”
“You can’t really chop anything off with a spear, sir,” I said. “They’re usually operated with a thrusting motion.”
“Enough gobbedly gook from your diseased sewer hole!” Braddock said. “Jeffries called me.”
“He did?” I asked.
“Oh yeah,” Braddock said. “You know what he said?”
“That he likes to wear women’s undergarments?” I asked.
“I don’t know anything about that,” Braddock said. “But screw you, bigot. It’s 2019. The man can wear any kind of underbritches he damn well pleases.”
“I didn’t mean to imply otherwise.”
“Jeffries said he had the whole scene under control,” Braddock said. “That the perp was about to voluntarily come inside when you waltzed onto the scene, threw your weight around, took over and tossed that shithead over the side, laughing all the while like you were having a grand old time!”
“Sir,” I said. “That is so far from the truth.”
“Neal Jeffries is a decorated department veteran,” Braddock said. “And a company man who knows how to take orders and not give any guff to his superiors. You, on the other hand, are a fart trapped deep inside a boll weevil’s asshole, just waiting to come out so you can impress the world for two seconds with your incorrigible stink until you fade away into the bleak, nothingness you deserve.”
“That book club is really paying off, sir,” I said.
“Are you calling Jeffries a liar?” Braddock asked.
“I am,” I said.
“You?” Braddock said. “A weak, sniveling, puss filled boil growing inside the urethra of a horny toad that’s been left out to die of thirst on a steamy rock, boiling under the crushing oppression of the hot, desert sun? I’m supposed to take your word against Neal Jeffries? Son, I would gladly karate chop your dick off and feed it to the devil himself if, by some sort of mysterious, predetermined arrangement, I would be able to trade you for Jeffries. Believe me. I would do it in a heartbeat.”
“I don’t know what to tell you,” I said. “He’s lying. I’m not.”
Braddock turned to his paperwork. He mumbled away as he wrote. “Offending officer lies like a rug, recklessly puts his life and the lives of others in danger and his uncouth, obnoxious behavior is probably just him trying to compensate for a tiny Irish penis.”
“My penis is gargantuan!” I said.
“Sexually harassed his commanding officer with inappropriate talk of his penis size,” Braddock mumbled as he scribbled away.
“I’m not even Irish!” I snapped.
The old man moved his pen. “Racist against Irish people. Told me in a direct quote that he wants to throat punch every red-headed bastard who would dare cross his path.”
“I never said that!”
The pen kept moving. “Contradicts his superior constantly.”
I stood up. “Whatever,” I said. “Let’s just both stick to what we’re best at, boss.”
Braddock looked up. “What’s that?”
“I’ll go save the world…”
I lowered my shades. “…and you keep that chair warm.”
“Wow,” Braddock said.
“Yeah?” I asked. “Good?”
“It gave me chills,” Braddock said.
“It did?” I asked.
“No,” Braddock said. “Now get the hell outta my office and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
I entered the hallway. Rosie was waiting for me. “How far has he gotten?”
“Fifty pages,” I said.
“Damn,” Rosie said. “He works fast.”
“He does,” I said. “But he’s still got ten thousand to go. I’ll be fine. Your boyfriend won’t be when I kick his ass.”
“My boyfriend?” Rosie asked.
“Jeffries,” I said.
“He’s not my…”
“Yeah,” I said. “I saw the way you looked at him.”
“I didn’t look at him in any particular way,” Rosie said.
“Who cares?” Smasher said.
“It sounds like you do,” Rosie said.
“I don’t,” I said. “But he’ll care when he’s picking his teeth out of my boot heel.”
“And why is he going to be doing that?” Rosie asked.
“He lied to the captain,” I said. “Told him the whole thing today was my fault.”
“He did?” Rosie asked.
Rosie stopped. “Smasher, this is simple. I was there. I’ll just go back and tell the captain…”
“No,” I said. “Women handle things by tattling. Men handle things with their fists. Next time I see that douchebag, I’m going to beat his face like it owes me money.”
Speak of the devil, Rosie and I bumped into Jeffries outside as he was heading up the steps.
“Jeffries!” I shouted. “You wang chomping shit flinger!”
The lieuntenant laughed. “Have a good time with el Capitan, Smasher?”
“You know I didn’t,” I said. “How could you deceive that old fart like that?”
“Easy,” Jeffries said. “Everyone loves me. Everyone hates you.”
“What?” I asked. “That can’t be true.”
Suddenly, a random man on the sidewalk pointed at me. “Hey everyone! Look! It’s Mack Smasher, the renegade straw cop that everyone hates!”
“Come on, everyone!” the random man cried. “Let’s all boo and hiss at him to show our displeasure in his misdeeds!”
Jeffries smiled. “I have to admit, it’s nice to be out of your shadow, Smasher. Everyone loved you for years. Everyone cheered and applauded when you beat the shit out of hoodlums but now that you’re going nuts over straws…”
“I saved your ass back there!” I said. “That guy never would have gotten down from that ledge safe had it not been for me!”
“Yeah,” Jeffries said. “But you screwed me over with Mo-Mo and I owed you one.”
“So,” I said. “Are we even?”
“Not by a long shot,” Jeffries said. “You see, Mack. When you screw people over, the screw is obvious. You punch people in the face. Shoot them in the head. Blow their shit up. I, on the other hand, know how to play the game.”
“The game?” I asked.
“Law enforcement is all one great, big game,” Jeffries said. “Shake a hand here. Kiss an ass there. And when there’s a dirty job around, get the filthiest cop to do it so you can keep your hands clean. I knew there was no way that imbecile was coming off that ledge without a cop willing to bring him down and better you than me.”
I clenched my hand into a fist. “Why, I oughta…”
Rosie pulled me away. “Come on, Smasher.”
I relented, for my partner’s sake. We walked away.
“Hey, Rosie!” Jeffries called out.
Rosie looked back. “Yeah?”
“Scrape this barnacle off before he gets so fat he drowns you, will ya?”
Rosie looked ahead. “Goodbye, Neal.”