Vice Cop Ch. 13byAudreyHepburn©
Previously on Vice Cop, Police Lieutenant Isaiah Dante's connections to the Black Panthers became known and nearly cost the lives of Hudson Banach, Detective Mason Holmes and Chief Barry Hiller who were captured. Lexa infiltrated the Panther's headquarters and rescued them as well as NYPD.
This chapter has all the usual 1980's TV cop drama and action adventure elements. For those who love the sex scenes, read SCENE EIGHT and also SCENE FOURTEEN.
Hudson had made plans to go to Miami. It had been a long time since he saw Miami. His uncle Vitto had called him frequently, inviting him to his oceanfront home. There was a dock outside his home which overlooked the Atlantic waters and where he stationed his sailboat. He had invited Hudson to go sailing with himmany times but Hudson, despite the temptation, had prioritized his duties as a cop. He rarely took vacation time, and there had been at least one full year in which he did not takea single vacation. But now he was contemplating the matter carefully.
Life was short. He had seen friends and loved ones come and go. His best friend Kyle had died in the line of duty, he had the worstluck of any man with regards to finding a mate. There had been so many girls that had slipped through his fingers: Sonya Romandini, his first girlfriend, an Italian girl from his ownneck of the woods in Queens, who left him for the sake of a career that turned into high-class escort work, there was Candy Spears, a beautiful and naughty blonde bombshell who had used him but who he felt sure he could have saved from a life of crime, and the most noble and dear Cherry from China, who loved Chinatown and who lived simply and peacefully and had been his wife briefly. The tragedy of her death at the hands of the Chinese Mafia still haunted him. To the day, he could not go to Chinatown without thinking of her and of that brief and unforgettable marriage. And now he was thirty. He knew that if he didn't seize life like a bull by the horns, he wouldn't get anywhere. So after one more call from his Uncle Vitto, he finally consented to traveling south from New York to Florida to see Miami. He told Chief Barry that he would be gone for quite a while, at least two to three weeks and that he would return to his duties as vice copimmediately upon returning. He had invited Mason and Lexa but their own work at Homicide had kept them from going.
So he decided to make a visit to his old friend, Professor Ezra Goldstein at his quaint walk-up home in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It was not a long drive for Hudson, who was living in another part of Brooklyn, Bensonhurst. It was an entirely different place, with many Italian residentsand although Hudson felt comfortable there, he was getting the feeling that a seedy underbelly was growing under his nose, and for that matter, the NYPD. The Mafia was still a strong and operational entity in the city, and supposedly their territories included Bensonhurst, Middle Village and Little Italy, all of them areas which his family frequented. This made him very concerned.
Here where the Professor lived, quiet reigned and although children frolicked here and there and sometimes teenagers would raise hell, it was still a very pleasant neighborhood. Hudson walked up the stairs and knocked on the Professor's door. He opened the door, almost as if he had been waiting for him. It had been a long time.
"My boy, to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?" the Professor said, "I was beginning to think that you had forgotten all about me."
"It's not that, Professor," Hudson said, "I've just been too busy as you know. The NYPD is a harsh mistress."
"I suspect she is," he said, smiling," but do come in. I'll fix you something to eat."
The parlor had a new fragrance which to Hudson smelt like roses. On a record player was an album of Beethoven's 9 symphonies conducted by the famed Austrian conductor Herbert Von Karajan, the Professor's favorite. He had recently hired a housekeeper, something he had never done before. Hudson wondered if this was done as a way to make human contact. In his old age, the Professor had become a hermit. He didn't like socializing with the opposite sex or even with other men his age. He had never wanted to live in a retirement home for theelderly. He valued his independence and said he liked living alone. The girl who walked into the living room with tea had black skin spoke with an accent. She was very young, perhaps only twenty one, and she dressed in a very conservative way. Her long skirt had a flower pattern and her dark tresses were caught in a chignon behind her neck. She smiled at Hudson as she poured him his tea.
"I don't believe you know my house maid, Miss Jamira the Professor said, "she's from Jamaica."
"I am very pleased to meet you," she said to Hudson.
"This is Hudson Banach, he's a cop with the NYPD."
They shook hands.
"It is nice to know that the Professor keeps good company," she said, "a cop as a friend is a good thing to have."
She spoke as if she were royalty, which fascinated Hudson, her voice very calm and warm. She excused herself and left the room. Hudson looked at the Professor and sipped his tea. Hudson grinned.
"You think I hired her for company, don't you?" the Professor said, reading him.
"Well didn't you?"
"In part. She is a nice girl. She's new to the country, has a husband. And she's very dedicated to her job. She has taught me to speak a little of her language."
"Professor, I have a motive for coming." "Tell me."
"I'd like to take you away from New York for a while. Would you be interested in joining me on a trip to Miami to visit my Uncle Vitto? He has a home with two guest rooms and he'd be happy to have you visit."
"Oh that would be fine," he said, "very kind of you, my boy. When are you leaving?"
"As soon as I let the NYPD know that I'll be gone for almost a month. The Department has been issuing free therapy sessions for the officers. The incident with Lt. Isaiah Dante hadbeen very traumatizing. The cops were afraid of each other since they didn't know that itwas Dante and his Black Panthers that had killed the officers."
"Yes I heard about that in the paper, how horrible it must have been for you and your fellow officers. And the Panthers kidnapped you and held you hostage! If it hadn't been for the brave Miss Lexa O'Neil -"
"The event made the Department more aware of bad cops from within. So they made everyone take therapy to evaluate them. The purpose is to see if the cops are sane, competent and don'thave any issues like Dante did."
"Did you have a session already?" the Professor said, finishing his tea.
"I have always been interested in psychology. But I never made it into my profession. Now,then, I shall love very much to accompany you to Miami so please do let me know when wecan get the plane tickets."..............
Lexa O'Neil stepped into the office of Doctor Anne Ward in Manhattan. Ms. Ward had been appointed therapist for half the cops of the NYPD. The other was a veteran psychiatrist, Dr. Allan Wentworth. Lexa had never imagined she'd be seeing a therapist and she didn't like the idea, finding it uncomfortable to talk to a stranger about intimate and personal things. This was the same attitude everyone in the NYPD shared. The office was simple, two seats facing each other, a desk, a photo of Dr. Anne Ward and her diplomas and certificates as well assome bric-a-brac including glass figurines of animals and a bust of Siegmund Freud.
"Have a seat, Miss O'Neil," she said to her, gesturing with her hand from her desk, "I'll be right with you." She was a tall, thin blonde woman who dressed conservatively in button-up blouses and skirts or long dresses. She had a very professional and industrious appearance, she looked to be middle-aged and possibly of German or Austrian descent.
She approached Lexa and shookher hand. She was already poised to take notes.
"Miss Lexa O'Neil. You've been a police woman with the NYPD since 1982 correct?" "That's correct."
"Your father was also a cop on the NYPD, only he had been active in the 1950's through the mid 1970's. He is retired now?"
"Yes. Although -"
"Yes?" "He's taken an interest in returning to work for the NYPD. I don't wish to discuss it; but I can tell you that it does vex me. He brought many Mafiosi of the Dino family to justice. His aim is to finish what he started back in the 70's. It's very dangerous."
"And it bothers you to see him getting himself into these precarious situations because he is old? The NYPD issues many helping cops to assist him. It would be vice detective work, wouldn't it?"
"I know my father. His brand of justice is individualistic. Even with any help he'd get, he'd still find a way to do things his own way and alone."
"Let's talk about your career. 1982 you began to work as a uniform cop the same year you graduated from the Academy."
"You were the only woman training to be a cop at the time for the precinct you work for now."
"Has that ever been a problem? I know that the NYPD has hired many women since that time. It's now 1987."
"It has never been a problem. Except-"
"At the time I started working for my precinct, I encountered macho sexist attitudes." Lexa thought immediately of Hudson, of their former conflict and confrontations. Those scenes, which had seen them arguing, especially when they were paired up as partners, scenes full of screaming and biting words, had ended. He had changed. He was a lot calmer and he seemed to be more respectful of her.
"Were you sexually harrassed?" Anne said, curiously and looking at Lexa with scrutiny.
"No. Never. The men have always treated me well. It was one cop in particular. But now it's not like that. He seems to have finally accepted me."
"It takes time for some men to adjust to having a female officer as a partner or fellow cop. And I'm told you are living with a Detective Mason Holmes, is that correct?"
"Yes. He's a brilliant man. He's a novelist. Have you read his debut novel "Crime After Dark "? It's a best-seller. He's always admired me and has groomed me to be a detective, even when I was still a uniformed cop."
"Your rise from regular beat cop to detective was meteoric it would seem. You had already accomplished much in your early years so that by 1984 you had already been assigned to various assignments that only skilled cops or detectives could get. You have done undercover work."
"Yes; and usually with that cop who initially had a problem with me. But again, he's changed. I don't wish to give out his name."
"You don't have to. Now tell me about Mason Holmes. Are you two happy? Are you engaged?"
"Oh no. We have talked about it but we are both so passionate about working Homicide cases and we are married to our jobs. We find our relationship to be very comfortable but we have not really made steps toward marriage. We both like our living arrangement."
Anne Ward wrote down notes and after Lexa had finished saying this she paused. She straightened a strand of hair and looked at Lexa again. Lexa hated when people stared at her but she found that it was a very genuine look. At least these shrinks didn't give her any B.S. or was phony. She hated phonies.
"Is there any reason that owes to your reluctance to marry?"
Lexa paused. She thought of Hudson. She had wanted to tell her mother when she had visited her in Long Island about her feelings for Hudson, feelings she had tried to fight and was still fighting. It was not a good thing to live with someone, to be in a relationship with someone, and yet have feelings for someone else from a distance. Lexa wondered whether she should tell this lady any of this. Perhaps she'd blab. Who knows, Lexa thought, therapist or not, maybe she'd find someone to gossip with.
"Miss O'Neil, everything you share with me is in confidence," Anne Ward said, "and you don't have to feel ashamed, guilty or anything like that. I won't tell anyone what you tell me. The walls of my office are sacred."
"Well, you see, the officer that had issues with me being a cop -"
"I developed feelings for him."
"Yes. He's a very strong and good man. He has his flaws, Lord knows he does. But he's a man I'm attracted to at a certain level."
"Is it a physical attraction?"
"Yes. But I also find him to be a very dear person and well, we've been together in many missions and assignments and we have been such a great team. I'm with Mason Holmes to see if I can be just as compatible with him for assignments and also at home."
"And you are?"
"We are. But -"
"You think about that other cop. And you feel guilty."
"Miss O'Neil, you're an adult woman and only you can sort out your own feelings and come to a reasonable and very fair compromise. It is, however, very smart and wise for you to experiment. You have already done that by living with Mason Holmes. I can't tell you what to do. If you still have feelings for this office in a year or two, then I should think you ought to tell your significant other, this detective fellow Holmes."
"I will keep that in mind. But right now, I'm really very happy with him. Really. Can I leave now?"
"That is all, Miss O'Neil. I shall be seeing you for one more appointment discussing any traumatic or memorable experiences you've had working as a cop for the NYPD. I realize you're very busy so I'll have to schedule this next session for next month. Thank you so much for coming and good luck to you.".............................
Hudson walked into Dr. Anne Ward's and his session had been scheduled after Lexa's. They didn't see each other in passing however since Hudson had arrived late. From her sixth floor room window, she was able to see that it was his Camaro that had been the problem. He entered her room without knocking and was wearing a dark leather jacket, jeans and his cop sunglasses. He took them off and took a look at the psychiatrist with a sheepish smile.
He sat down instantly.
"Sorry I'm late, doc," Hudson said to her with a grin, "I had problems with my car."
"Yes, I saw," she replied, "I'd ask you to take a seat, Mr. Banach, but I see that you've already taken the liberty."
He was a bit nervous and the whole thing was very awkward. He had never been to therapy before and he didn't like the idea of a man or woman digging up memories of his or talking about his "feelings". He looked like he wanted to get the whole thing over with as quickly as possible.
"Now then, this is your first time taking therapy?" she said, putting on eye glasses and looking over some papers.
"Yeah. I wouldn't have gone but the NYPD is making everyone go."
He said that with humor but Dr. Anne Ward did not seem engaged. She continued looking at the paper on her desk which she took into her hands. Hudson crossed one leg over another and waited.
"You've been with the NYPD since 1980, and you have taken on many duties as a cop. First there was patrol duty, and you were also in the K-9 Unit. Your most recent work has been as a vice cop. You've been assigned undercover various times in sting operations and missions that have been very dangerous."
"Yeah. It's no secret. The Department uses me a lot. I think I do my job well. I like it."
"Can you tell me in a simple answer why you became a cop?"
"Yeah sure. I wanted to shoot the bad guys and serve my country within my country."
"But for many that would mean just uniformed cop type of work that doesn't involve the dangerous escapades of Vice or F.B.I. assigned work."
"I grew up listening to my dad and uncle's stories. My dad was a cop in Poland after the War and my Uncle fought mobsters in Sicily before briefly being an NYPD cop."
"How colorful a background you have. They must have influenced your decision then."
"Yeah. Listen, it's really very awkward to talk to a shrink. How much longer am I going to be here?"
"I want to talk to you about your attitudes that the Department talks about. They say you have no friends among your fellow cops, they don't care for your own brand of justice, your constant breaking the rules and your smugness."
"That's their problem. I do my job with a lot of heart and I'm willing to do a lot of things other cops wouldn't do in order to make people feel safe."
"Your precinct captain, Barry Hiller is very proud of your work and seems to be your only real friend."
"The Chief and I are friends, yes. We get along great."
"Have you any friends outside your work?"
Hudson moved a bit on his chair. The doctor was writing notes which made him feel a bit uncomfortable. She was a small woman and harmless but she was giving him the same kind of sickening feeling he got when Internal Affairs interrogated cops during the whole Black Panthers killing cops thing.
"I met a Music Professor once, Mr. Ezra Goldstein, and I took a music appreciation class of his. We have been friends since as long as I've been a cop."
"And your family? How is your relationship with them? Your mother, Isabella, your brother Angelo and sister Alyssa."
"They live in Queens and I'm in Brooklyn but I try to see them whenever I can. Lately, I've been too preoccupied with work to see them but I do enjoy my family."
"Any girlfriend or wife?"
"I was married to a little Chinese lady briefly."
"She was killed. She was kidnapped by a Chinese Mob and she died trying to save herself from an attack."
"I'm sorry to hear that, Mr. Banach."
"Doctor, where is this going? Huh? I'm not insane, I'm not some weirdo, I have had bad luck only in regards to women, but that's an issue I don't wish to discuss."
"Nor do I wish to discuss women with you. Ok, Mr. Banach, you seem like you have your head on straight. I don't think there is anything else we need to talk about."
"Alright, Mr. Banach, you can go."
"By the way, that's a very nice dress you're wearing." He smiled at her and she didn't say anything and didn't seem to care for the compliment.
Mason Holmes' first novel, "Crime After Dark" was already in paperback edition in bookstores in Manhattan.
Lexa had attended the first major book signing and heard Mason talk about the novel which he had labored so hard in making. It was a moment that signified supporting his talent and it was already known that they were both cops. But although curious fans wanted to talk to his female detective partner and girlfriend, she declined since it was Mason's moment in the sun. That was around the time that the American Ballet prima ballerina, Madeline Cavanaugh had beheaded Mason's friend, a Christian minister. Everyone knew that Mason had seen his share of spectacular homicide cases that could very well be used in his fiction.
But Mason had another thing in mind for his next book.
In their Manhattan apartment, Mason was seated and smoking a cigarette while Lexa finished washing herself after dinner. She sat down next to him and gave him a kiss.
"You look like you have been doing some thinking," she said, "I know that look."
"It's not about work. Well, sort of. It's about my next book."
"I suspect I'll be the first to know what it's about."
"Of course. "
Lexa opened a bottle of wine that was on the table and poured herself a drink, offering Mason a glass. She poured him some wine.
"So," she said to him, getting comfy on the couch, "what is your new book going to be about?"
"It won't be fiction."
"You mean you are going to write a true story."
"Yes, non-fiction it's called. It will be about my life as a cop so far, how I was with the LAPD for some years, how the Mafia were responsible for the murder of my wife, how I have an interest in bringing this same Mafia to justice."