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Midnight Crew

Truth is stranger than fiction? Um, not in the Gutter.

Down here, its always showtime. Or as we like to say, Live from New York, every night is Saturday Night...

Midnight Crew by Frankie Rembly




Back in 1984, I had the opportunity to work a midnight tour with steady midnight police officer James McFadden AKA “Jimbo.” Our regular partners were both on vacation so they threw us together in an RMP (police car). It was either riding with Jimbo or police officer Tommy Hedrick AKA “Black Smoke.” Black Smoke had a habit of getting into shootouts and being that I was on the sergeant’s promotion list, I didn’t need any trouble. So I opted for riding with Jimbo. 

Jimbo was a twenty-five-year veteran of the NYPD with thousands of arrests and hundreds of medals. He was five foot nine and about two hundred and sixty pounds with a beer belly. Jimbo wore his gun belt holster in his groin so he could get to it while sitting in the RMP. Divorced twice, he usually slept in the station house lounge between tours after bouncing in after-hours clubs or collaring up (making arrests). 

Jimbo liked me because I was a Viet Nam veteran. He was a former Marine, serving in the late 1950s and pissed he missed the Viet Nam war. He called me “Frankie Boy,” in his heavy Brooklyn accent. 

At roll call, the captain said he had received complaints from the community council about the tranny hookers on West Street. That’s where guys from New Jersey go to get blowjobs from skanky he-shes after dark and into the morning. He wanted them all arrested, hookers and johns: “Don’t chase ’em, collar ’em!” 

The captain meant it this time. His ears were turning red because this was the latest area of the command becoming “gentrified.” People moving into expensive and trendy renovated industrial buildings didn’t like the noise at night and didn’t like the used condoms and crack vials on their street in the morning.

Problem: that stroll was in our assigned sector. Jimbo did not do bullshit arrests. Felonies only: guns, drugs, murder, assaults. Jimbo “couldn't be bothered,” he mumbled as we drove out of the parking lot.

First stop, you would think, would be for coffee. No. Jimbo stopped at a cuchifritos shop for some snacks. He then hit the bodega for a six-pack of cerveza. All on the arm (no cost). Then he drove to the stroll. I guess I was just there to keep the passenger seat warm. I really didn’t give a shit.

Jimbo and I notified all the trannies that they had to split or get pinched. They knew the deal. “All dressed up and no one to blow,” was the response of Black Beatrice, who always dressed like Diana Ross in black. We all laughed as Jimbo drove and I buckled myself in and put my cap over my eyes and dozed off.

West Street was clear by 0100 hours.


*

At 0145 hours, I awoke to Jimbo’s yelp of “Motherfucka” as he threw the RMP into park and turned on the turret lights. He was pulled up alongside of a red corvette. “Look at dat shit” Jimbo growled. “Cecil.”

Cecil aka Tyrone DeShaun Washington, Jr. was a six-foot-three inch, one-hundred-sixty-pound, thirty-year-old tranny hooker who always wore the same neon pink hot pants and tight halter top with his oversized multicolored Afro wig. Skanky of the snakiest, she was a crackhead who was always saying, “I’m stacked up over LaGuardia and I ain’t comin’ down for nobody.” 

Last time I encountered Cecil, she was in a dispute with another tranny named Daisy Dew. Daisy Dew claimed Hispanics made the best trannies. Cecil proudly objected and they had a “cat fight.” I split it up and they went on their separate ways. As usual, no collars.

But back to Cecil:

We had told Cecil to split earlier. Obviously she did not. She was now in this Corvette.

The strange thing is that Cecil was in the passenger seat and the john was going down on Cecil. Jimbo pulled Cecil out of the car, I got the john out and we put them against the Corvette.

The john was a male black, about twenty-five years old. I knew he looked familiar. His driver’s license confirmed it. He was a famous television comedian. When I asked what the fuck are you doing, he just smiled, laughed and said, “What can I say?”

The car was registered to a rental agency, he was a little bit buzzed and we told him to “get the fuck out of here.”

He did, quickly.

Now what to do with Cecil. So we devised a plan.

We cuffed Cecil and threw her in the backseat of the RMP. Then we drove her into Brooklyn, dumped her out in Red Hook, and threw her high-heeled platform shoes into the East River.

*

Back in Manhattan by 0500 hours, Jimbo wanted some drug collars. We went to Washington Square Park and he asked me to drive as he hunched down out of sight in the front seat. The assholes in the park knew me and knew I never collared up unless I absolutely had to. I drove around and when close enough, Jimbo jumped out and grabbed three drug dealers and one buyer. We stuffed them into the RMP and headed back to the command. As Jimbo processed them, I went out and got a loaf of bread and a pound of baloney to make sandwiches along with a big bottle of cheap wine for his prisoners. By the time Jimbo and his prisoners were on their way to Central Booking, they were all drunk and happy.

*

Epilogue:

I told this story though out the years to disbelieving civilians. Then, years later this famous comedian was arrested in Nevada for the same exact thing he did in Greenwich Village that morning (sans Cecil.)

I guess Nevada cops don’t fuck around.

My story was now believable.

The question then became: Did he swallow?

Frankie Rembly is a retired NYPD officer who observed the transition of his city from its past wild days to the present sterile bubble that is now New York City. He is new to writing and enjoys the renaissance of creativity in writing for television . But he agrees with millennials and considers himself a 45 RPM record in a digital music world, still trying to get the 1200 to stop blinking on his VCR.