Rollie Chambers waved at his friend Jacob Tully as he entered the First Squad Bar and Grill that had become their regular hang out. The two friends had not seen or talked to each other for over a month. Rollie stopped at the bar got a beer, and joined Tully in his booth.
After greeting Rollie, Tully asked, "How's Ted doing?"
Ted Crowe was another friend and owned the First Squad Bar and Grill. He had been a patrol officer with the St. Louis Police Department and pulled the pin after 30 years as a cop. He and his wife, Donna, bought the bar, renamed it and added a kitchen. A large percentage of the First Squad's clientele were cops, retired cops, or cop groupies.
"He's pretty much healed up after those two beat the hell out of him," Rollie answered.
Riley and Shawn Dalton had assaulted Ted and demanded protection money. Rollie and Tully had been involved in their arrest. Later the men were killed by their boss and backer, Vito Rossi. Vito had betrayed his brother Frank, who was the head of the St. Louis crime family, by enlisting the help of an out of town 'boss' in a protection racket. This caused what Frank called a blood feud between the brothers. The feud was of short duration; Vito was found with a bullet hole in his forehead only two days after Frank found out about the betrayal from Rollie.
"Donna said she was glad to get him out from under foot at home," Rollie continued. "Said he was driving her nuts."
Tully laughed and motioned to Tina for another round. He watched as she set the beer down.
"Here you go handsome," Tina said to Tully. "When you get done talking to Rollie stop by and see me."
"Tina, I don't think I'm man enough to handle you," Tully replied with a big grin. Everyone knew that Tina was all talk; she had a steady boyfriend at home who she loved.
"Your loss Tully. You're gonna wait too long and I'll be taken one of these days." Tina slapped Tully on the shoulder, nudged Rollie with her hip, and went back to the service counter at the bar.
"I haven't seen you since you left the Department," Rollie said with a slightly accusatory tone.
"Yeah, I'm sorry about that buddy. I know it's a cliché but I've really been busy." Tully looked at his friend. "That's no excuse; I should have least called you."
"Okay Sarge, I know it's hard to remember things when you get old. I forgive you but you better call Jessica or she'll come looking for you."
"I'll call her tomorrow," Tully laughed.
After taking a big drink Rollie asked, "So what's been going on? Why did you pull the pin? I mean you fought with the Department and made them give you your job back after losing your leg in Iraq. I thought you like teaching the new officers the correct way to shoot and tactical procedures. Why quit now?"
"Well ... I've been thinking the same way you did when you quit. The Department is being run by a bunch of brass hats that couldn't find their asses with both hands and a road map. They seem to be more concerned about their careers, politics and not pissing off the special interest groups than they are doing police work."
"There are still a lot of good men in the Department Tully. It might take a while but things will get back to the real cops running things." Rollie studied the big man across from him. "That's what you told me when I was talking about quitting."
"I know, and you're right. And if I was young and idealistic I'd stay and do my part to make things better. But I've seen too much and done too much to put up with the bullshit." Tully grinned. "But what made up my mind was what happened about a month ago." He stopped to finish his beer and waved for another round.
Tina brought the drinks, flirted with Tully again, and went back to the bar.
"Don't leave me hanging. What happened?"
"Seems one of the newly promoted Captains wanted to use the range after hours. That wouldn't have been too bad but he had a lady friend with him. Apparently he thought shooting a gun would act like an aphrodisiac; again not too much of a problem, other than being after hours. The main problem was they were both drunk as skunks. It was amazing that they could even walk, much less safely shoot a weapon." Tully paused and laughed at the memory.
"Anyway when I confronted Captain Reece and stopped him, he was a little upset. He asked if I knew that his daddy was Colonel Reece, the new assistant Commander. He said he'd have my job for embarrassing him in front of his lady." Tully stopped and took a big drink of his beer.
"Well ... what did you say Tully?"
"I told him if he wanted my job he could have it. Handed him my badge and my gun and walked out."
"The next day Colonel Reece called me at home and apologized for his son. Said I should take a couple of days off and come back to work. I told him I didn't work for the Department anymore. Told him that if a piss ant like his son could get a real cop in trouble, it wasn't where I wanted to be. Then I hung up on him. Went down and put in my papers and haven't looked back."
"So what have you been doing that's kept you so busy?"
"I got a new job. Actually it's a new business," Tully said proudly.
"You didn't waste much time," Rollie said, glad that his friend was working. "Who do you work for?"
"More like working with," Tully replied. "My Captain over in the sand box just got out of the Marines. Ray Jenson and I go way back; we ate some of the same jungle and served in some of the same hell holes over the years. Anyway Ray and I are going to open a tactical training facility for police, military, and civilians; sort of like the GunSite Academy out in Arizona."
"Like you've been doing at the police range?"
"Similar, but we'll go into more depth than the Department training. Ray and me are both qualified instructors and we'll probably hire a couple of other old Jarheads to work with us." Tully smiled and finished his beer. "Course being one of the owners, I won't have to put in a full schedule. Normally I'll work two or three days a week unless we've got something special going on."
"I'm glad Tully. At least now you won't be sitting around getting old and fat on me." Rollie laughed and punched his friend lightly on the shoulder. "So tell me more about this academy."
The two friends talked for a while longer and Rollie left for home. His lady, Jessica Talbert, was waiting for him. Rollie walked into his apartment and Jessica jumped him from behind. She put her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist.
"Glad to see me, are you?" He said with a grin.
"I thought you were someone else," Jessica replied laughing. "I was going to try out my new Kung Fu moves on them."
Rollie pulled her around so they were facing and kissed her. "I don't know what this move is called but maybe we should practice it until we get it right."
"Yes, let's do that."
About an hour later Rollie sat up in bed. Jessica was lying next to him and he patted her on the backside. "You want to go out to eat or fix something and stay in?" He asked as he walked toward the bathroom.
Jessica sat up, stretched, and picked up one of Rollie's shirts to wear. "I'd rather stay here and watch you walk around in the all together."
"We may starve to death," Rollie said as he watched her slip on his shirt. "Cause I'd rather stay and watch you too."
After eating a light supper, they sat close together on the large comfortable sofa and watched TV; although the next morning neither could remember what programs they had seen. Rollie was the first to wake at 2 AM. He picked Jessica up and carried back to their bedroom. Laying down he spooned up against her, pulled a blanket over them, and went back to sleep.
"We certainly didn't get much accomplished last night," Jessica said when the alarm woke her and Rollie at 6.
"Oh, I don't know. We sure got those Kung Fu moves down pretty good. I told you we needed to practice until we got it right."
"Shucks, I'm late, I've got a big meeting this morning" Jessica exclaimed. "Make the coffee will you while I take a shower."
"Shucks? Nobody says shucks anymore." Rollie laughed and ducked the pillow that Jessica threw at him. "Okay, don't get violent. I'll make the coffee."
"How was your meeting?" Rollie asked as she entered their apartment.
Jessica didn't answer immediately. After a few seconds she said, "Let me get changed and then I'll tell you about it. Pour me a glass of wine will you?"
Rollie got her a glass of white wine, took a beer, and sat at the breakfast bar. Jessica joined him wearing a pair of jeans and a small white top. She almost grabbed the wine and took a large drink.
"So what happened at the meeting? You're all tense."
"Rollie, I've been offered a position as the Chief of Psychiatry."
"Thanks great Honey. I'm proud of you. When do you start?"
"That's just it. They want me to start in two weeks; that doesn't give me much time. I'm to spend a month or two sort of learning the ropes and then I'll take over. Assuming they're happy with my orientation period."
"I don't see a problem. Do you need more time to shop for new clothes?" Rollie asked teasing her.
"Rollie," Jessica said in a somber voice. "The hospital is Northwestern Memorial in Chicago." Jessica watched for Rollie's reaction with concern.
"Oh." Then after several seconds he said, "You're right that doesn't give you much time. I mean you have to get packed, get to Chicago, and find a place to live. Can't live in a hotel for long with the prices they get in a big city like Chicago." He opened his mouth to continue with his rambling.
.... There is more of this story ...