It had been a rough day in the squad room. Dee was finally getting the hang of where everything went, how the paperwork was routed and who the people were she had to work with. She had finally put names to all the faces, but of course when she got a handle on everything, the original PAA would be back from her surgery and Dee would move to a new precinct. Still, for three days into a new location, she didn’t think she was doing so bad. If only the kid that Rosenfeld and Shaw had brought in would shut up.
She’d known mouthy kids, had raised a couple, but this one took the prize. It wasn’t just the usual bluster. The kid’s mouth was foul enough to blister paint. He couldn’t’ be much more than twelve–still young enough to intimidate, she hoped. The cops didn’t seem to intimidate him much, but somebody’s mama might, even if she was the wrong color to be his mama.
Dee stood up and marched over to him. “Marshall Johnson!” She got his attention just using her voice. “You may think you’re all big and tough sitting here in this police station, but your mama knows better. Your mama knows you’re still her little boy. And, son, while you are sitting here in this room, I am your mama and you are my little boy. And I am telling you that if you do not stop all that filth coming out of your mouth right this instant, I am going to turn you over my knee and wallop your hind end until you can’t do a thing but cry like the child that you are. Do you understand what I’m saying, Marshall? You are not too big for me to spank, child.”
Scrunched down in his chair, his eyes big as dinner plates, the boy nodded. “Yes’m.”
“All right, then.” She gave a brisk nod and marched back toward her desk.
Rosenfeld started clapping. “You go, Big Mama. Straighten that boy out.” The others followed his example, more respectfully, clapping and whistling, but without ragging on her like Rosenfeld.
Dee took a detour past the man’s desk. She leaned over him and spoke in his ear where only he could hear. “And if you don’t show a little respect, Detective Rosenfeld, I may just turn you over my knee too,” she murmured. “You’re not too big to spank either.” She gave his ear a little thump and walked back to her desk.
She could feel him staring after her as she sat down and reached for her ringing phone. She looked over at him as she spoke to the person on the line. He still stared. She stared back, lifting an eyebrow, and he turned his attention back to the work on his desk.
Late that afternoon, after a still-subdued Marshall was turned over to juvenile and the second watch was coming in, Dee looked up from collecting her purse and totebag to find Detective Rosenfeld standing in front of her desk.
“Is there something I can do for you, Detective?”
“No, I just thought–would you like to go for coffee?”
Dee looked at him. Rosenfeld was no more than her own height, about five foot eight–her favorite size in men, truth be told. He had a sensitive, mobile mouth, a decidedly Jewish nose, and a hairline that had pretty much receded all the way across his head. That was what decided her. He was bald, he knew it, accepted it, and didn’t do any of those stupid-looking comb-overs.
“Sure.” She smiled. “As long as I don’t actually have to drink it. I’m not old enough to drink coffee.”
Given that she was well past forty, it was obviously a joke, and a dumb one, but he grinned anyway and opened the gate to the lobby for her. “Is tea okay?”
“Tea is wonderful.”
Over his plain black Columbian and her pot of English breakfast, they talked. “So, how’d you wind up in New York?” Rosenfeld asked.
“I’m seeing the world.” Dee smiled. With her down-South accent, it was pretty obvious she wasn’t a local. Her nickname in the squad room was “Texas.” “My husband died three years ago. It took me a year to recover and a year to get my youngest out of high school. After that, I sat down to think about what I really wanted to do. I mean, really, deep down. So I put all my things in storage and I started traveling. Slow, so I can see what there is to see and get the real flavor of a place. I work temp to pay my way.”
“Where have you been so far?”
Dee studied Rosenfeld a minute. The hair he had left was thick and dark brown, like hers used to be, and it curled in the back where it grew a little long. She liked the curl. He sounded sincerely interested in the places she’d been. So she told him.
(Excerpt word count: 845, Story word count: 8,411)