Authors: Dorien Grey
The Good Cop: A Dick Hardesty Mystery
By Dorien Grey
Copyright 2015 by Dorien Grey
Cover Copyright 2015 by Untreed Reads Publishing
Cover Design by Ginny Glass
The author is hereby established as the sole holder of the copyright. Either the publisher (Untreed Reads) or author may enforce copyrights to the fullest extent.
Previously published in print, 2002.
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher or author, except in the case of a reviewer, who may quote brief passages embodied in critical articles or in a review. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. The characters, dialogue and events in this book are wholly fictional, and any resemblance to companies and actual persons, living or dead, is coincidental
Also by Dorien Grey and Untreed Reads Publishing
A World Ago: A Navy Man's Letters Home (1954
Short Circuits: A Life in Blogs (Volume 1)
The Butcher's Son
The Ninth Man
The Bar Watcher
The Hired Man
The Good Cop
A Dick Hardesty Mystery
Everything has a beginning. Very rarely, it's something spectacular, like an undersea volcano suddenly breaking the surface and spewing ash to color sunsets around the world as it forms a new islandâsomething everyone is instantly aware of and always remembers. But most beginnings are small, and quiet, like an individual drop of water joining another drop, and then another to form a rivulet which joins other rivulets to become a stream, which eventually becomes a river. And people who sail up and down the river or sit on its banks hardly ever give a moment's thought to how the river got thereâof what went into creating it. And that's a shame, because every one of those drops of water has a history, and every today is built on all the yesterdays of the world.
I was thinking about that the other day when I came across a picture of my friend Tom. Tom was a copâ¦.
I probably should tell you right now that this might not be the story you're expecting. I know I certainly wasn't prepared for it. There's something to be said for a certain degree of basic predictability in life, butâ¦
Well, hey, nothing's perfect. Things were going okayâ¦maybe even just this side of okayâ¦and I was keeping fairly busy. My car was beginning to nickel-and-dime me to death and I was doing my best to set a little bit aside for the all-too-soon time when scotch tape and baling wire wouldn't keep it running anymore. But since I insisted on throwing my money away on such frivolous things as food and rent and insurance and electric bills, it was a long, slow process. That condo in Key West was just going to have to wait awhile.
I hadn't had a really interesting case in some time. Just routine, by-the-numbers stuff, and most of my assignments were still referrals from members of the city's gay Bar Guild. I'd been doing some investigating work, too, for a couple of local attorneys, which helped. But as for job-related excitement, there wasn't much going on.
Luckily, my social life kept me from getting too bored. The local gay community was blossoming, with new bars and restaurants openingâand closingâleft and right. The gay business area of town known even by straights as “The Central” was spreading out, and it was becoming possible, if one were so inclined (and I generally was), to shop, eat, and be entertained without leaving The Central.
Oh, and we had another new Chief of Police. Chief Robertson, who had replaced the rabidly homophobic and good-riddance'd Chief Rourke, had done his best to drag the police department kicking and screaming into the present; Robertson was a definite step in the right direction as far as the gay community was concerned. Things were beginning to change, slowly, and the department was developing a core of good people like Lieutenant Mark Richman, with whom I'd developed a nice working relationship over the course of a couple cases involving both me and the police.
But while the community was warily optimistic about the changes in the department, one of Chief Robertson's proposals to update the department involved building a number of police substations to make them more directly responsive to potential problems in various parts of the city. The first two to be built were in the Marshfield district, a largely black area which had been demanding better police protection for years, and in The Central. While Robertson meant it as a positive outreach to the gay community, most gays, accustomed to the department's long history of homophobia and former chief Rourke's storm-trooper tactics in particular, took it as a new form of harassment. But despite much muttering and suspicion, ground had been broken and construction had started when Robertson dropped dead of a heart attack in his office.
Deputy chief Michael Cochran, next in command, took over as interim chief. Since Cochran had been a crony of Chief Rourke and was a charter member of the department's hard-core old-schoolers, many of the advances made by Chief Robertson began to backslide while an inner-department battle raged between the hard-liners and the more moderates as to who would be appointed as new full-time chief. And construction of the Beech Division Substation, in the heart of The Central, was slowed by minor but consistent acts of vandalism.
As if the squabbling within the department weren't bad enough, there was the city's growing problem of gangs, which had become so severe that Chief Robertson had set up a Gang Control Unit to deal with them. But the gangs took full advantage of the bickering within the department to expand their respective turfsâwhich included Arnwood Street, where many gay bars were located. The incidents of gay bashing and robberies along Arnwood increased dramatically, and the department was too caught up in its own inner turmoil to do much about it. It definitely was not a priority for acting Chief Cochran, who was having enough trouble just trying to hold on to whatever control he had over the department.
So you see, I wasn't totally cut off from the world of the “Breeders,” as many of the more militant members of the gay community called heterosexuals. And a lot of the work I did for Glen O'Banyon, one of the city's most prominent attorneys even though he made no secret of being gay, involved at least some peripheral contact with his straight clients.
But I was going to tell you about Tom. Tom Brady. I'd known him since college. He was a year or two behind me, but everybody knew Tom. Tom was a Golden Child if ever there was one. He looked like the 40's movie star Tyrone Power and was probablyâand justifiablyâone of the most popular guys on campus. He came from an incredibly wealthy familyâhis father owned a national chain of high-class hotels, though Tom never mentioned it. The fact that he chose to attend a small liberal arts college over any one of the Ivy League schools that would have been glad to have him was a good indication that Tom had his feet firmly on the ground. He drove a six-year-old, beat-up carâit was a convertible, although, I remember, something was broken in the lowering/raising mechanism so that top would never come down.
Of course I had a huge crush on him, as did every girl on campus, and a lot more guys than let on. Tom had a girlfriend, Lisa, whom he'd been dating since grade school.
a tee shirt
once that said: “How dare you assume I'm heterosexual!” A lot of truth in there, and it worked perfectly for Tom. No one ever questioned his sexual orientation; it was simply assumedâby the straights, at leastâthat Tom was straight. Isn't everyone?
Tom and I were on the college boxing team and one night after we'd both stayed in the gym until it closed, he asked me back to his off-campus room and erased all doubts about where his sexual priorities lay. We became pretty good friends, and it was then that I found out that Lisa was lesbian. “Protective coloration,” he used to joke. The three of us used to hang around together, and often we'd go to campus social events with Lisa's “best friend,” Carol. After the event, Tom and I would go to his place, and Lisa and Carol would go to Carol's. I found it interesting even then that though the four of us were always together and everyone “knew” Tom and Lisa were a couple, to my vast relief no one really thought Carol and I were.
Ah, the stupid games we play. But there was (and regrettably often still is) something to be said for protective coloration, and I never faulted Tomâor Lisaâfor taking advantage of it.
After I graduated, we sort of lost touch, but I heard that Tom had moved to Reno to start learning the family business at one of his dad's hotels. I could imagine he was not too thrilled about it, because while we'd never talked about it directly, I got the idea Tom had other plans for himself. But then I lost track of him completely, though I never forgot him.
I was sitting in my favorite bar, RamÃ³n's, one Saturday evening having an Old Fashioned and a sporadic chat with the owner, Bob Allen. It was still relatively early, and Jimmy, the regular bartender, was also there, so Bob and I had some between-waiting-on-customers time to fill each other in on what had been happening in our lives since our last get-together. Bob had just moved off to the aid of a parched customer when I felt a hand on my shoulder and a warm voice I recognized immediately: “Now, as I was sayingâ¦” I turned around to seeâ¦Tom Brady! I practically jumped off my stool and grabbed him in a bear hug, which he returned, with hearty back-slapping.
“Tom!” I said when we finally broke our hug and withdrew to arms' length but without letting go completely. “When did you get into town? And how long are you staying?”
Tom grinned that glacier-melting grin of his that I'd only seen in an occasional erotic fantasy since our college days, and carefully looked me over from head to foot. “You're even better looking than you were in school. I didn't think that was possible.”
I grinned. “And you are still so full of bullshit your eyes are brown.”
We released our mutual elbow-hold, and he pulled up the stool beside me. We both sat down, facing one another. I had a chance to take stock of him, and there was a lot to take stock of. He still looked exactly the same as he had in college, as though the intervening years hadn't passed. And he was still drop-dead beautiful.
Before my crotch had a chance to put its two cents' worth in, I thought I'd get back to the subject at hand. “So what
you doing in town? And how long
you be here?” I repeated.
“A long story, but the gist is that we moved here two weeks ago, and with luck it will be permanent.”
The “we” wasn't lost on me, you can be sure.
Bob came over to take Tom's drink order, and I introduced them. They shook hands, exchanged a few words, and then Bob gave me a quick raised eyebrow and a smile, and went to get Tom's drink.
“Lisa and I,” Tom said, picking up where we'd left off. “We got married about two years ago.” He foresaw my next question and raised his hand quickly to head it off. “I know, I knowâ¦you always did have more guts than I did when it came to telling the world to go fuck itself. But it just seemed the easiest course for both Lisa and me. Her family expected it; my family expected it; we're best friends, and this way everybody is happy. Our lives are our own. We just live in the same place and get a break on our income taxes. Of course now the folks are starting to bug us about having kids, like
'll ever happenâat least not the âold fashioned' way. We've been talking about adopting, maybe, sometime down the road.”
Rather than letting my mouth get the better of my mind, I decided to drop that whole can of worms before it was even fully opened.