Posts Tagged ‘physical confrontation’

(A few days have gone by.  Let’s update this crime novel in progress.  If it’s your first time here, welcome.  Please go to the July 16th post, They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), located in the Archives section.  Up to speed and wondering what’s going to happen?  Me too, and I’m writing the damn thing!  Let’s go, shall we?)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter  ( xxv ) continues…
     Becker took a left onto 1st Avenue, then another left on 9th Street heading west. He turned right on 3rd Ave and continued north to 34th Street. There he took a right and went about two miles to the Queens Midtown Tunnel ramp. He swerved to avoid the longer lines at the blue and white toll plaza, zipping into a queue with only three cars ahead of him, to pay the fee. He proceeded down the chute- like street, with its stone walls gaining height on each side of him as he approached the tunnel’s entrance. The white lights that lined the side walls of the tiled enclosure reflected in a continuous stream on top of the hood’s quarter- panels. Becker crossed the 1.2 miles under the East River.
      He thought about the encounter at the basketball courts that morning; how quickly a simple derogatory comment escalated into physical confrontation, and especially the wolf- pack mentality displayed by the insulted group, when they assailed upon their lone detractor. Trash- talk is omnipresent during these contests, a white- noise. Whatever Bank Shot‘s retort was, it struck a nerve with the others, something their collective egos wouldn’t let go unchallenged. The crowd around them had laughed openly in response to the smaller player’s remark. In the mind of an athlete, it’s one thing for another player to get the best of you during a competition, quite another to be mocked in any way, particularly in public. Reciprocation goes to base levels, rationalization goes out the window. Animal response was sparked, and the group’s mutual state of mind fanned the flame. Becker wondered about the chain around the young man’s neck. Did his orientation play a part in this; the banter crossing the line of what was deemed acceptable by his aggressors? Prejudice starts young, dies hard; the pressure- cooker atmosphere of the Cage the perfect catalyst for the rearing of its bigoted head.
      Becker squinted. The sun’s full brightness shone down in a flash when the GT exited the tunnel, and he put on his sunglasses to help his eyes adjust. He merged into I- 495 then took the exit for Route 25 and drove down the ramp straight onto Elliot Avenue, followed by the first right onto the twelve- lane behemoth of Queens Boulevard.
      He watched for pedestrians crossing the street from one median to the next in this commercial area, midst the vehicular congestion, recalling the moniker bestowed upon it by locals, as The Boulevard of Broken Bones. His right foot hovered over the brake, prepared, if some daredevil decided to attempt a run outside the boundaries of the designated white- striped grids. Becker noticed the car’s cabin getting toasty, and he dialed the vent’s fan setting up a couple notches to increase flow. The interior acquired the musky- sweet scent of the daffodils, as the air circulated throughout the closed- in area.
      The further Becker traveled, the greener the scenery developed. Places of business were framed by large trees, well maintained shrubbery edged along property lines. He turned right onto Continental Avenue, then left onto Station Square, with its red brick buildings and paver- lined streets. He continued straight about a half- mile, then steered right into the fully residential area of Fleet Street and Olive Place. He leaned against the constrains of his seatbelt and opened his glove compartment, pulling out a small sheet of paper containing the address and description of the house Terrance had given him the day before. A two- story white Colonial, sitting elevated on a corner, Becker remembered. Should stick out like a developer’s mistake, Becker thought, as he passed one Tudor after the next. He gave a low whistle, admiring the plush lawns and landscapes surrounding the attractive homesteads, sitting behind the Florida Dogwoods with their clusters of crimson berries, the yellow- brown leaves of the Red Oaks, the white- barked Maples, and the twisted trunks and zig- zagging branches of the low- hanging Eastern Redbuds; the street’s leafy canopy enclosed the hypnotic ambiance of peaceful solitude as the car crept along. Becker removed his sunglasses for all the shade they provided.
      The hushed tranquility was broken by the familiar boisterous roar of Terrance’s laugh, Becker heard bellowing from the corner lawn, just up the street to the right. Terrance and Parker were tossing a football back and forth and Becker beeped his horn to get their attention. Terrance wore a blue and orange jersey from his playing days at Syracuse, Parker a black top with Stallions embroidered across the upper chest. Both shirts bore the number 75.
      “Hey, hey,” Terrance said, motioning with his left arm for Becker to take a right at the corner and park in the driveway just behind the house, “look who finally made it.” Parker stood still on the lawn, his eyes never leaving the car, as he watched Becker bring the Mustang to a stop on the inclined pavement in front of the two- car garage.
      Terrance hurdled up on the front porch in one stride, then opened the door, “Lana,” he yelled inside, “Mase is here babe, meet us in the back.” He placed a hand on Parker’s shoulder and gave a little shake, breaking the mesmerizing spell his son seemed to be under.
Chapter ( xxxvi )
      “WELL LOOK WHO SHOWED UP,” Terrance said, as he and Parker crossed the side lawn and walked on the mortared slate path to the driveway.
      “Do all the police in Manhattan ride around in one of those?” Parker said, tugging on his father’s sleeve. Becker overheard the question as he walked to the passenger side of the car to join them. He extended his hand and shook with Parker.
      “Not all of them,” he said.
      “Just the nasty ones, and their big ugly partners,” Terrance chimed in with a toothy smile.
      Terrance’s hand met Becker’s with a meaty crack that startled the youth, like hearing a thunderclap near his head.
      “You get some sleep, Chief?” Terrance asked.
      “Not much,” Becker said, “couldn’t get settled.”
      “Been there myself,” Terrance said, “but I think I’ve got a way for you to forget all that for today.”
      Lana opened the sliding glass door of the family room and stepped onto the redwood deck, which spanned the rear of the house in length. She walked to the side edge, placed her hand on a rail and stepped down the stairs to ground level.
      “This must be the famous Detective Becker,” quickly gliding to the gate of the wrought iron fence that surrounded the backyard. She swung the gate open and approached the males with her right hand extended.
      “A pleasure to finally meet you, Mason,” she said, taking his hand in hers, then covering it with her left hand. “Terry speaks so highly of you.” Becker sensed a trustworthy nature projected by the firm handshake and Lana’s unwavering eye contact. “It’s good to finally have a face to go with the name,” she said.
      “The pleasure’s all mine,” he replied.
      “Shall we go inside and have a drink?”
      They began their walk toward the gate. Becker took in the landscaping of the backyard. The lawn was well groomed. Terrance had joked about his high speed jaunts on the riding mower, weaving around the oak trees and shrubs that bordered near the fence. Becker couldn’t picture his partner in the flower gardens, though. Definitely a woman’s touch and taste. Oh, shit.
      Becker stopped, “I almost forgot,” he said, turning back toward the driveway, “I have something for you two, in the car.”
      He unlocked and opened the door, leaned inside, and unbuckled the flower arrangement.
      “Just a small thanks for the invite,” he said, giving it to Lana.
      “That wasn’t necessary, Mason. You shouldn’t have,” she said, breathing in the fragrance. She gave a smile and wink, “but I’m glad you did.”
      Becker pulled the paper bag off the floor, “This should keep you busy,” he said to Terrance, handing over the package, then closing the door.
      His partner slid the book from the bag and leaned his head backward with a roar, after reading The Encyclopaedia of Jumbles on the front cover.
      Lana saw the title, “Mason, this man will never talk with me again, his head in that book.”
      She gave Becker a joking grimace of disapproval, “You really shouldn’t have.”
      “Mase,” Terrance said, “you ready for a beer?”
      “Sounds good.”
      “Let’s have at it then.”
      “I’ve got lemonade for you, young man,” Lana said to Parker, putting her arm over his shoulder as they approached the deck.
      “Like Gramma’s?”
      They entered through an oak door which opened to a mud room, just off the kitchen. The walls were finished with two- inch strip wainscoting, that matched the door’s light tone and grain, while the upper sheetrock was painted a deep crimson. The floor below was of bluish slate. Its naturally irregular shapes, meticulously pieced together like a stone jigsaw puzzle, exhibited the talents of the artisan who had laid them in place.
      Fixtures and furnishings were all antique: the pewter chandelier, discovered in New Hampshire, which had been wired for flame- shaped bulbs; the enameled basin and pitcher set atop a dry sink, found in Maine; the bench on which to sit, while removing garden– soiled shoes or snowy boots in the winter – a six foot, carved pew rescued from a forgotten church in Upstate New York.
      Terrance pointed to the row of brass coat hooks mounted on a wall.
      “You can hang your jacket here, Mase, then we can pop a cold one.”
      Becker hung the windbreaker’s collar over the porcelain knob at the end of the hook, while the others proceeded through an interior door into the kitchen.
      Becker followed and scanned the room, noting that it was just shy the size of his entire apartment. The cabinetry was all a simple white, with moldings that followed an Americana motif. Upper cabinet doors were each paneled with six beveled panes of glass, another of Lana’s ‘finds’, that were retrofitted onto the original cupboards. These, along with lower cabinets and counters, covered three walls.
      The flooring matched the slate of the mudroom, its wax coating polished to a hard shine. In the center of the kitchen ran a long island with butcher- block on top, equipped with a deep sink on one end.
      Unlike the woodwork, the appliances were state- of- the- art and predominately stainless steel. The gas stove set atop a double- oven, with a semicircular, domed exhaust hood directly above. The refrigerator had French dual doors on the upper portion, a large drawer freezer on the bottom, and Becker realized he found something that dwarfed Terrance. Mounted to the underside of upper cabinets at opposite ends were a television in one corner and a microwave in another, both adjacent to the outer wall. The two sinks, with a goose-neck faucet, sat in the middle of that wall’s countertop; above them a window overlooked the lawn and side street. The bottom sash was clear, while the top had been replaced with a stained glass piece that held stylized renditions of the moon, sun, and stars, set in a navy blue background.
      Becker started to wonder if Terrance moonlighted a a restaurateur. The island top had pans, platters, bowls, a double- boiler, and various utensils placed about it, unused. T’s going to be busy, he thought, with no hint of recent cooking in the air.
      “All right, gentlemen,” Terrance said, “we’ve got work ahead of us. Time to get cookin’…Mase, ready for that beer?”
      Becker looked down at Parker, whose wide- eyed star mirrored his own, then turned to Terrance.
      “When did I give you the impression I could cook?”
      “It’s all good, brother,” Terrance said, “I’ll give the both of you easy jobs.”
      “I want to change my drink order. You got any vodka?”