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‘Don’t Get Smart with the Cops’

cop noir IIMichelle Rick

It happened several weeks ago, during a hard day’s night.

There was the usual raucous disturbance in the street below, when the bars begin closing and their liquored-up patrons spill out all drunk and disorderly. The area in question, lower First Avenue, leads uptown from that gauntlet of traffic lights that intersects Houston. Nearby, police cars almost always lay in wait, not to regulate barflies, mind you, but to collar motorists for traffic violations.

Such was the case that very night: the siren’s wail drew me up to the window. The squad-car’s bullhorn then came alive and demanded that the hapless driver shut off the motor and put his keys on top of the car. Considering how many drunken souls were out at this hour, it seemed a smart precaution.

But the driver was cogent, in fact, and had his license ready when the two officers strode up to meet him. What the policemen didn’t expect was the presence of three drunken young bravos who had just shambled out of the corner pizza joint.

They called out to the police from the crosswalk: first with whistles and catcalls, then appellations of the more insulting variety. This included one term which describes an orifice at the opposite end from our mouth, and an old-English noun which usually designates a female dog. These epithets were repeated again and again, just in case the two policemen hadn’t heard them the first time.
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