“Yeah, you’re kinda like a fish outta water here in the 60th.” The speaker was Sergeant Balanchuk of the New York Police Department.
“I dunno Sarge, I mean an Irish-Catholic guy that doesn’t speak Russian? I think I fit right in!” The other speaker was a brand spanking new graduate of the New York Police Academy, Officer Joseph Michael Reagan.
“Yeah right. They didn’t tell you in the academy to convert to Judaism and learn Ukrainian?”
“Missed the memo,” Officer Reagan took another bite of the ground meat and veggie filled pastry. The two officers were on a lunch break. “What’s this thing called again? It’s like a pirogi right?”
“Yeah more or less. It’s a Piroshki around ’ere.”
The 60th Precinct was generally known as Little Odessa, it was filled with immigrants from the nations that formed the old Soviet Union.
“To tell ya the truth Sarge, I kinda always figured they’d put me in the 18th like all the other Reagans.”
The sergeant laughed, “Yeah, but you know as well as I do that most of you micks have moved out of Hell’s Kitchen. The 18th is a cushy assignment Kid, full of yuppies. You’ll learn more here.”
As they munched on the Piroshkis, several folks wandered by and nodded a greeting to Sergeant Balanchuk. One old lady even came up and patted his arm, talking about something for a few moments.
“Hey sarge, can you hand me one o’ them jelly donuts?”
“It’s a Pampushky and you got two perfectly good hands, get one yourself.”
After doing so, “I thought cops eating donuts was a cliché Sarge?”
“First of all, it’s a Pampushky, and second; food that keeps all day and provides energy is just a damn good idea.”
Officer Reagan nodded, “And these taste better than food bars.”
“Damn right they do. Alright, I’m gonna go in and get a refill and then we need to get back to it.”
Officer Reagan watched as his training officer handed a elderly Ukraining gentleman his thermos and it was refilled from a gorgeous jug thing. It was decorated with metal relief and ceramic panels.
“All right kid, let’s roll.” Sergeant Balunchuk only slightly slammed the door of the cruiser for emphasis. He grabbed the radio, “Central this is 60 David, we are 98.”
“You know, you’re like the only cop I know that drinks tea instead of coffee on a beat Sarge.”
“The stuff at the precinct is crap and this is the real deal. When you make it with a samovar it’s just better kid. Most Americans got no idea. Corporate America feeds ‘em crap wrapped up in smart marketing, and they love it. Now shut up and drive smooth. You make me spill this and I’ll kill ya.”
Several misdemeanors and one suspicious guy convinced to “move along” with a well timed boop from the siren later, “So tell me about Iraq kid.”
“Nothing to tell Sarge. I was in the Military Police Corps, four years stateside, one year in the sandbox. Aside from convoy patrols and a few IED calls, it was pretty quiet. Some guys in my unit got into some firefights alongside the regular 11 Bravos, but I never did.”
“What the #### is an 11 Bravo?”
“Combat Infanty MOS.”
“So you served a year in Iraq and didn’t get shot at? Luck of the Irish kid, that’s what that is.”
“Oh I got shot at. Buddy of mine from Boston Southie got his arm blown off below the left elbow from an IED, so Luck of the Irish ain’t always good.”
“Any #### duty?”
“It’s all #### duty Sarge. It’s pretty much 24/7, sand gets everywhere, and if you’re not making the locals mad at you or standing detail at a prison camp… you’re writing citations for idiot 19 year olds playin’ grab### on base.”
“You were at a prison camp?”
“Well it wasn’t like Abu Ghraib, but yeah. Mainly a lot of standing around in the heat.”
“Then you got back stateside and went right into the Academy? That how it go down?”
“Yeah pretty much. It’s in the blood. Being an MP was pretty much completely different from all this though, barely any crossover.”
“Fair enough. So anyway I was…”
The radio blared to life “Central to all units. Got a 10-10 on a male, Caucasian or Hispanic, purple NYU sweatshirt, at a residence at 3726 Polar Street.”
Sergeant Balanchuk replied, “Central this is 60 David, we can take it.” Then “Hit it kid, that’s like 2 minutes from here. No siren unless we need to.”
When the cruiser got to the street in question, they saw the individual standing just outside a side window of the residence looking in. The cruiser stopped on the street to observe.
For several minutes the young man hunched over staring intently into a window. Sergeant Balanchuk sighed, “Get a load of this ######. Peeping Tom or what? Let’s go. Keep it holstered but take the snap off, he might have something in his belly pocket.”
“You got it sarge,” They got out of the squad car.
As they crossed the street, Sergeant Balanchuk placed his hand on his holster, “Hey guy… You lock yourself out?”
The young man spun around, eyes wide as saucers when he saw the two uniformed police officers. However, he unexpectedly started waving his hands and making a “shush” motion pointing emphatically to the window.
The Sergeant stopped, looked at the house, then back at the young man. He considered for a second, then pointed directly at the man, then pointed at the ground in front of his feet. Then followed it up with the twitching fingers that universally indicated, “Get your ### over here.”
The young man stole one more glance at the window, then loped over to the Sergeant, crouching down when he got there as if to make himself small. He kept glancing over at the window.
“All right. Talk kid. Make it good or I bring out the silver bracelets.”
“Officer I think there’s some kidnapped girls in that house.”
The Sergeant looked at the man then considered. “All right you come with us right now. If you’re ####### with me kid or you run I beat your ###, count on it. Reagan, let’s get back behind that Corolla over there.”
The two police officers and the man were now crouching behind a white 20 year old Toyota Corolla. “All right kid, talk, what makes you say that?”
The young man stole one more glance over his shoulder at the house, “Well all the windows are taped up except for that one, it’s got a place where the tape came loose in a corner. The light’s pretty bad and I don’t speak Russian, but I hear stuff.”
Officer Reagan glanced up at the house as well, he had a bad feeling about this. “Like what?”
“Well some nights… uh… just a lot of…. well there’s a girl in that room…and… and guys.”
Sergeant Balanchuk put his hands to his face, pinching the bridge of his nose. “####”
“Well sometimes I hear another girl from another room, and today I’m pretty sure I heard the girl get hit pretty hard. She was crying.”
Balanchuk took his hat off and ran a hand through his hair, “### ####### damn it.”
He grabbed his radio, “Central this is 60 David the 10 has turned into a 39, witness indicating possible multiple kidnappings, requesting backup while we go to verify.”