Wednesday, April 21, 2010

East Coast - 4

John McFetridge

And we're back from the commercial break:

Moncton, New Brunswick – Northup Home

Jerry was flipping channels, a little Sportsnet – playoffs starting and it looked the Canadiens would get bounced in the first round again, but at least they were winning this game - a little news and a piece of a movie.

Isobel came into the basement carrying abig hardcover book close to her chest and sat down on the couch next to Jerry and said, here, look, “She was in my senior year,” and Jerry said, “Who?”

“Melody Goodwin.” Isobel opened the yearbook and held it in her lap. “That’s her.”

“She was in your class?”

“She’s not in the class picture, this must have been taken at the beginning of the year, she got pregnant and dropped out.”

“That’ll be Mickey.”

“I remember she brought him to school to show him off, he was so tiny.” Isobel was still staring at the photo in the yearbook. “Now he’s a big time drug dealer.”

Jerry said, not that big time, “But we’re hoping.”

“Then I saw her today in front of the hopsital, she has a handicapped daughter.”

“Yeah, and she’s got another daughter, twenty-three, she’s out west.”

Isobel said, “How do you now?” and Jerry said it was in Mickey’s file, “She’s a hooker in Vancouver.”

Isobel closed the yearbook and said, “I realized I’ve probably seen Melody dozens of times at the hospital, she’s been bringing that girl in since she was born, I must have just walked right past her.”

“I bet she’s changed.”

Isobel said, oh yeah, she’s changed, “She looks sixty years old, but she still looks like Melody, you know? She was just invisible to me.”

Jerry said, yeah, and it was quiet for a minute an dthen Isobel said, “And I was thinking, imagine if our kids were that old now, if they were all grown up,” and Jerry said that’d be all right, “We wouldn’t have to do everything for them, we’d have this place to ourselves.”



“Before Melody dropped out, a few years before, we were friends. Well not freiends, really, but we hung out with some of the same people.”

“These your wild years?”

“No, this was kids’ stuff. We were dressing up like Madonna, we were talking about boys not talking to boys.”

“So Melody had the wild years?”

“I don’t think so, not really. She got pregnant and dropped out and then I must have heard that she had another kid, but then I never really heard anything else. Her whole family was messed up.”

“That’s usually the way it is.”

“That’s so sad.”

Jerry didn’t say anything, he looked at his wife but she was a million miles away. She stood up and said, “I’m going to bed,” and he said he’d be up in a few minutes, just wanted to see if Montreal could hold the lead, but she wasn’t listening and she was gone up the stairs.

Moncton, New Brunswick – RCMP Offices

Jerry was in the office early and Edwards knocked on his open door and he said, “Hey, Ev.”

She stepped in saying he was in early and he said, “I had no idea there was so much paperowork.”

She said, yeah, and then didn’t say anything else so Jerry said, “What’s up?”

Edwards said, “It’s Mickey Goodwin.”

“What about him?”

“I had a meeting with him last night, he wants out.”

“What do you mean?”

“He doesn’t want to keep dealing with the guys in Montreal.”

“He has to.”

“He said he’d rather go to jail here.”

“I’m sure he would, but that’s not one of his options.”

Edwards looked around the office, still looking like Henry Bergeron’s, Jerry hadn’t changed anything and she said, “It’s what we would have done last week,” and Jerry said, yeah, “But it’s this week now.”

“He says he’s not getting anything out of the guys in Montreal anyway.”

“Well,” Jerry said, “Mickey never was one to stick with things. Look it’s going to take a while, he’s going to have to buy more. Get him some more money, tell him to buy four keys, we’ll keep two let him put two out on the street. He gets to be a bigger player they’ll trust him more.”

Edwards said, “He’s really not good at this,” and Jerry said, no, “But you are. Look, he’s in it, it’s what he does, you keep pushing him, stay on him but be patient, it’s not going to happen overnight.”

“Okay, sounds good, long-term planning.”

“Something new around here.”

Edwards said, yeah, something new, and walked out of the office.

Jerry went back to the paperwork, more overtime requisitions. It didn’t look like Bergeron had ever even asked for overtime, so worried about the budget.

Then Jerry was thinking it was about time they started worrying more about crime.

Moncton, New Brunswick – Loose Moose Bar and Grill

Alphonse Turcotte was eating chicken wings and telling the story about Jerry, when he was on highway patrol out of Bathurst and they sent him to serve a warrant on a guy who ran a scrapyard, “And, of course, was selling stolen car parts.”

Jerry was leaning back in his chair, beer in hand and watching Edwards and Leonetti and Whitney and a couple other cops and he was thinking they were coming together as a team already.

“So he drives as far in as he can, but the road is blocked by crap, car bodies and and old truck.”

“And a caboose, busted up into pieces,” and everybody laughed.

Al said, “So he gets out and walks up to the offuce, and I’m staying back,” and Jerry said, “Of course you are.”

“And I’m wondering why he doesn’t think, where’s the dog?”

Jerry just shook his head.

“So he gets all the way into the office and Buddy we’re coming to serve is there and now we see the dog, big German sheperd and he’s growling low and Buddy doesn’t say anything but he motions with his head, just a little, an dthe dog goes for Jerry and gets him b the balls.”

Everybody laughs and Al said, “Just enough, you know, holding on but not biting down, and Buddy says, ‘What do you want pig,’ like a tough guy and Jerry here pulls out his .38 and aims it right at Buddy and says, ‘Call of the dog or I’ll kill you,’ and Buddy looks like he dropped a load in his pants and called off the dog.”

Whitney said, “What the hell, then what?” and Al said, “Then Jerry shot the dog,” and Edwards said, “What? You shot the dog?”

“Damned right I shot the dog. I would’ve shot Buddy if Al hadn’t been there, I didn’t know him well enough them, if he’d turn me in or what.”

And everybody laughed and Jerry looked sideways al Al, knowing him well enough now, knowing he was telling these stories so they’d all bind with the new boss, Jerry finally realizing how good al was at the politics.

Then Jerry’s phone beeped and he looked at the screen, saw it was Isobel and stood up and walked away from the table to take it, saying, “Hey.”

Isobel said, “Are you still at work,” and Jerry said, “Yeah.”

“Can you get away.”

“What, now?”

“I called Emily, but she can’t stay any longer.”

“You were supposed to be off half an hour ago.”

“Jocelyn couldn’t come in and there was a car accident, we’re going into surgery.”

“How long are you going to be?”

“I don’t know, hours. We’ve done this before, Jerry, you were always able to get home.”

Jerry was looking back at the table, at Al telling the team another story. He said, “Yeah, I know but it’s different now.”

“Now that you’re the boss?”


Isobel said, “We’re going to have to talk about this,” and Jerry said, “Yeah,” and Isobel said, “But not now because I have to get into surgery,” and Jerry said, okay, fine, “I’ll take care of it,” and hung up.

He walked back to the table and Al said, “Everything okay,” and he said, “Yeah,” and picked up his beer and said, “Gentlemen,” and looked at Edwards and said, “and lady, here’s to doing a good job,” and he downed what was left and turned away form the table while everyone else was still drinking.

Al caught up to him and said, “Everything okay?”

“Yeah, fine, it’s just Isobel has to work late and we don’t have a babysitter,” and Al said, “okay.”

Jerry looked athim and said, “But the boss shouldn;t be the first one to go home, should he?”

“Even the boss has family life.”

Jerry said, yeah, that’s right, but he looked back at the table and knew it would be better if he could stay, thinking of all the things he was planning to ask of his team and how it wouldn’t feel right, him running out.

Still, he had to go.

Moncton, New Brunswick – Northup Home

The only light in the house was from the fridge, Jerry getting a beer, when the front door opened and Isobel walked in.

Jerry closed the fridge and watched her walk into the kitchen and she said, “Hey there,” and he said, hey.

She walked towards him but he moved to the other side of the island so she went to the fridge and got herself a beer. Opening it she said, “What a night,” and took a drink looking at him a she did.

“Yeah, here too.”

“Five people in a car and three in a pick-up in a head-on. One was DOA and two more died on the table, but the rest’ll be okay. More or less.”

Jerry said, “That’s great,” and drank from his beer bottle. The kitchen was a mess.

Isobel said, “I’m not quitting my job.”

“I don’t want you to.”

“And I’m not transferring to another department.”

“So now I’m going to have crazy hours, too.”

“You always had crazy hours.”

“Now it’s going to be worse.”

She said, it should be better now, “If you’re gonna be the boss you should delegate, you should work office hours.”

“It doesn’t work like that.”

“You just don’t want to give up the fun parts, playing cops and robbers with your buddies.”

“It’s not a game.”

Isobel walked out of the kitchen saying, “I’m not talking about this tonight, I’m too tired.”

And Jerry stood in the dark house and drank his beer.

Moncton, New Brunswick – Evergreen Park School

Jerry pulled up in front of the school still on the phone, saying, “No net yet... later today for sure... come on, Al, I’m on it... yeah, I know we need it today, it’s a report, we’ll submit it, don’t worry... yeah, yeah, I know as soon as I get in.” He flipped his phone shut and said, “Sheesh,” and from the back seat Sam said, “Didn’t you get your homework done?”

Herbie was still looking too serious and Jerry said, “It’s not homework.”

Sam said, “Will you get a detention,” looking sideways to see if Herbie was laughing. He wasn’t, but he was starting to smile.

Jerry said, yeah, “I’ll have to stay late,” and Sam said, “Will you have to write, ‘I will not forget my homework,’ a hundred times and then Herbie was laughing.

“Yeah, I will and I’ll have to clean out the cells. Come on, you guys are going to be late.”

Herbie slid open the side door and jumped out, running off, and Sam hung back and said, “So, are you and Mom going to get a divorce,” and Jerry said, “No, of course not, why would you ask that?”

“You slept on the couch in the basement last night.”

Jerry looked at his son and said it was nothing, said, “It’ll be fine, don’t worry.”

Sam said, “Okay, but are you sure? Because maybe our next dad will be a doctor and we’ll get a cottage and a boat.”

Jerry started to smile and then tried to look serious and said, “Get out of this car right now,” and Sam said, “Okay, I’m just saying.”

He got a few steps towards the school and turned back around and waved and Jerry waved and sat in the car and watched until both of his sons were inside the school.

Moncton, New Brunswick – east of downtown

Mickey Goodwin was standing beside his minivan, leaning against the hood not even looking around.

Kathie, the hooker in the mini skirt, halter top and five inch heels in the middle of the day was saying how good Mickey’s stuff was, “Really good, pure,” and Mickey said, “Yeah.”

She started to hand him the money but she heard a car and pulled her hand back and Mickey said, “Don’t worry about it,” and she looked at him standing there like he wasn’t worried about a thing and she said, “What’s going on?”

Mickey said nothing, “We’re good, come on,” and took the money.

Kathie said she could use more, she said, “I don’t have any more money yet, but I could work it off,” and Mickey said, sure, “what the hell, let’s go,” and walked around his minivan, looking at Kathie just standing there and he said, “So, get in,” and she did, still surprised.

Mickey drove to the lot behind the old train repair shop that had been closed for years and she gave him a blowjob. It took him a while to get it up and she said, “You okay,” a couple of times, but he finished and gave her four more eightballs and drove her back to St. George Street.

Moncton, New Brunswick – east end

After getting rid of another dozen eightballs in was past midnight when Mickey pulled up in front of the house he rented in the east end. His girlfriend had been gone three weeks, up to Toronto looking for work, trying to be a stipper but Mickey knew if she was going to make any money it’d be as a hooker, she just didn’t have the moves for the big city clubs, so the house was epmty.

Or, it should have been, but as Mickey got closer to the front door he saw someone inside.

He walked up the steps to the front door and looked in, then let out a sigh and opened the door saying, “Hey man, I didn’t know you were in town.”

Marcel Dagenais stood up from the couch saying, “Well here I am.”

“You wanna go out for a beer or something, I don’t have anything in the house.”


“No, sorry,” and then he saw the gun in Marcel’s hand, some kind of Glock it looked like and he said, “What the hell,” and Marcel shot him in the chest.

Mickey fell to his knees, wide-eyed, still couldn’t believe it and Marcel took a step closer and shot him in the face and then again in the chest and then walked out.

The street was quiet, no sound except for the car that slowed down to let Marcel get in.

Across the street a woman walking her dog saw him leave the house and the door still wide open and she walked up to see what was going on and saw Mickey on the floor. She didn’t scream, she just took out her cell phone and called 911.

Moncton, New Brunswick – Hospital Emergency Room

Doc Kovalchuck and three nurses were working on the body, elbow deep in blood, but they all knew it was too late.

Kovalchuck said, “Two entry wounds,” and Isobel said, no, “There’s another one here, and Kovalchuck said, yes, “And another.”

The monitor was giving them a straight line and Isobel said, “Are you going to call it?” and Kovalchuck poked around for another minute and then stood up straight, pulling his gloves off and saying, “Time of death, one fifty-seven,” and walking out of the room.

Isobel looked at the two younger nurses and nodded and then she walked out, too, taking off her gloves and cleaning up before walking out to the waiting room.

Melody was there, standing beside her daughter’s wheelchair, looking like she’d been crying for a while but stopped and got herself together a little looking at Isobel, a little bit of hope left and Isobel said, “I’m so sorry Melody,” and the crying started again.

Isobel said, “We did all we could, everything we could, but his injuries were too severe.”

Meldoy caught her breath and said, “He wasn’t injured, he was shot, he was murdered, they killed him, they killed him.”

“I know, Melody, I’m sorry.”

“They killed him because your husband pushed him into it, Mickey wasn’t a player, he never would have gone to Montreal on his own, he was just a kid.”

“I know.”

“You don’t know anything, you have no idea, your husband might as well taken my Mickey out and shot him the head himself.”

Isobel said, “Melody.”

“No, just stop it, stop it,” and she turned the wheelchair away from Isobel and sat down and put her hands to her face and cried.

Isobel went and got cleaned up and changed and drove home. It was the middle of the night when she got there, the house dark and quiet and the place still a mess. She dropped her coat on the back of the couch and walked down the hall to the bedrooms, stopping to look in on Susie, sleeping under her Kim Possible blanket. Isobel stood and looked at her and then backed out, closed the door and stood outisde the boys’ room.

She stood there for quite a while and finally opened the door, knowing the room would be a disaster and it was, clothes and toys and junk everywhere and Herbie and Sam in their beds. Looking at them she wondered if they’d ever each want their own room or if they wouldn’t even think of it. Her boys, still little boys.

She closed the door and turned to see Jerry standing in the hall by the open door to their bedroom.

She could tell just by looking at him that he knew about Mickey Goodwin and she wanted to be mad at him, she wanted to blame him and hear him say it was Mickey’s fault, he played with fire and he got burned and she knew that was true, but there was more to it, it was more complicated.

And Jerry didn’t say anything. Just stood there looking at her and she knew he understood, she knew he felt it, he wasn’t going to show it but he wasn’t going to brush it off like Mickey was nothing. She knew that.

They embraced.

(End of Episode - be sure to watch those credits flying by on the side of the screen, those people do a great job!)

Now, a question. Would anyone be interested in more 'episodes' of this series?


Dana King said...

Considering that I find about one book I'm interested in a year at Borders, I may not be personification of popular taste, but, yeah, I'd watch more of this.

John McFetridge said...

Thanks, Dana. It'll never be made into a show, but I might write more stories with these characters, I like them.

Steve Weddle said...

Loving it. Keep 'em coming.
My people lived in Moncton for a while. Weird connection.

Dana King said...

It's fun to see your style from more of the cops' point of view. The writing works just as well, but the topics discussed have a different slant on them, even when they're the same. Be fun to read something by you where the cops and crooks discuss the same thing among each other, in different scenes. Kind of a Canadian "Roshomon," with neither side knowing what the other is saying and the reader not sure which side is more accurate.

Barbara Martin said...

This is a great series, John.