Time and Again
Time and Again-
The Further (and Mostly Possible) Adventures of Cagney and Lacey.
A Cagney and Lacey story written by Joanne Siderius based on characters created by Barbara Avedon and Barbara Corday. I wrote this story for the enjoyment of Cagney and Lacey fans. I'd really appreciate any comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
The sun has burnt away the morning mist. The dark welcomes her as she touches the old bricks. They are cold and wet to her hand. Red clay bricks, delved from New York earth and fired in kilns well over a century ago. They have stood here - an underground artery - waiting, ever since. Here, where a small shaft of light braves the dark, the river throws light back to the wall- a shimmering dance where light and water are indistinguishable. For this is a river -channeled and buried; hidden and secret - but still a river - moving under the city towards the ocean as it has done since the last great sheet of ice retreated. Above her head the street lights are winking out and the traffic has woke - following its' own asphalt channels to the city centre. This river and others like it move forgotten through the storm sewers of the city. Underground rivers that channel torrents of rain water from roofs and city streets safely to the Hudson, and then to the ocean. A river that had started further upland - further upstate as a fresh water stream - now carrying the dust, dirt and oil that has been washed from a great, tired city. There had once been fish, dragonflies and otters sharing the dance of sun and water along the green banks of this river. Now only the occasional city worker descends the old iron ladders and edges along the narrow walkways - and others - who seek a refuge.
Colours. She had left colours and poetry on grey faceless walls - and then she had retreated from the daytime city to the soothing dark river that had always been here. She had felt safe here. But that, and many other things, had changed on that day so many years before….
Detective Christine Cagney slams out of Lt. Samuels' office and drops a large pile of manila folders dramatically - and loudly - on her desk. The rest of the squad is too caught up in its' own chaos and drama to notice. Lacey's coat is now on the rack - Chris turns on her heel and strides off in search of her partner. Anger can be so unsatisfying when there is no one else to appreciate the moment.
The door to the "Ladies" crashes open and then swings slowly shut, shaking a little on its hinges, as Christine charges into the room. She almost comes to a stop outside the stall occupied by her partner, but then she turns and starts pacing.
"Can you believe it?!" she says to the stall door, emphasizing every word with her hands. "Samuels has tossed us a pile of graffiti crimes - graffiti! - (she stops abruptly before the stall door, her hands on her hips) - "Are you listening to me"?
A heavy sigh precedes Lacey's statement: "Yes, Christine, I am listening".
Chris is off and pacing again: "Good, because you and I are stuck on these things until the mayor is satisfied that… anarchy… has been subdued in the 14th Precinct." Cagney leans against the sinks with her arms folded, facing the stalls. Frustrated at her partner's silence, she says sarcastically: "Well?"
Mary Beth emerges from the stall, walks to the sink and washes her hands. She turns to get a paper towel and gestures at the dispenser in disgust "Out again. You'd think they could manage to keep a supply of paper towels, wouldn't you?". Mary Beth turns, faces her glowering partner and answers the instant before Christine explodes: "Yes, Christine, I know it stinks. I know we have just come off a series of petty purse snatchings and I know you would rather be working on the homicide that Petrie and Isbecki drew. But, Christine, (she looks at her watch) it is still only a quarter of eight in the morning. Do you think I could sign in and pour myself a coffee before you chew my ear off?"
Christine throws up her hands as she wheels away "Fine!". She is well on her way out the door as she says "Hurry up. Samuels has us doing interviews this morning."
Mary Beth follows slowly - determined not to go racing through the morning in the wake of Cagney's discontent.
"Sir, are you sure you haven't seen anything? The graffiti is right outside your window." Lacey stands on one side of the open door addressing a couch wedged firmly in the doorway. "Nope." A male voice answers from somewhere to the right of the couch. A grunt follows as the couch budges slightly. "We're still moving in." a female voice answered from the other side of the couch. "Honey, I really think it would have been better to take the legs off…like I suggested?" Silence, then a short, terse answer: "I measured it. It will fit". The couch jerks as he pulls violently from the right. Lacey briefly contemplates unscrewing the legs for them, but years of marital experience councils against it. "Here's my card, Will you call me if you see anything?" "Sure". Mary Beth bends to hand her card to the female hand that emerges from beneath the raised end of the couch. "Thanks." Mary Beth turns as Chris joins her.
"How'd it go?" Cagney snaps her note book shut as she joins her partner. They continue on to the last door on the floor together. "Nothing. No one ever looks out their windows at night. You?" Chris shakes her head in disgust "I think those walls just …. (she raises her closed fists, opens them and wiggles her fingers dramatically) spontaneously generate colour!" Lacey smiles as she knocks on the door and says "Tell that to the mayor".
She knocks again. Someone is stirring on the other side of the door. The door opens slowly, but fully - there is no chain on the door. A small woman stands in the doorway -stale cigarette smoke and booze vapours pour from the room as soon as the door opens. The woman sways on her feet. She is dressed only in a large, torn and stained T-shirt. The expression on her face is as mean as that on any beaten dog. She peers suspiciously at the two women at her door. Mary Beth holds her badge out. "Good morning Ma'am- I'm Detective Lacey and this is my partner Detective Cagney. We were wondering if you have seen anyone painting the graffiti on the wall across the street - or if you knew anything about the situation."
"Cops? (she snorts derisively) Women cops? I don't talk to cops." She slams the door in their faces. Christine turns and falls back against the wall, arms folded, head back and eyes closed. She opens one eye to look at her partner as Lacey says "Lunch time?"
"This is a waste of time" Chris bows her head and runs her hands through her hair. Lacey looks in her empty coffee cup and reaches over to get Cagney's cup as she goes to the coffee urn "Well, Chris, interviews got nowhere and these incident reports are all we have left. Except for this character profile" She hands the folder to Cagney who looks up but doesn't take the folder. "I've seen it. Graffiti perps are overwhelmingly boys 12-19; generally poor; all races; above average intelligence and artistic. They like challenging authority. Usually without a sheet or at worst only minor offences." Chris sits up as Mary Beth hands her the coffee cup and says "Describes at least half the boys in the city." Chris sips her coffee and says "Up for some surveillance tonight?" Mary Beth says "Not tonight Chris - Remember? Harv and I have reservations at that new Italian place on 4th." She finishes defensively off Cagney's stare. "Our anniversary present from Murielle?" No response from her partner. Lacey finishes strongly: "I can't Chris. Tomorrow night for sure." Chris nods but doesn't say anything. They turn back to the incident reports for the rest of the afternoon.
This was a great way to finish a tough day - once you got started. Chris throws her head back to enjoy the cool breeze on her face. Running is a great way to let go - to loosen up. It does mean, however, that she has to be up with the sun or go running at dusk, after work. She pushes herself as she rounds the reservoir and turns at the foot bridge, and then down the home stretch-along the row of factories a mile from the precinct. And then it happens - the fresh paint dripping on the wall - the kid dropping the paint and - running. Chris doesn't stand a chance at catching the kid - but she doesn't hesitate "Hey! - Stop! - Police!" Chris throws herself into a full run, pealing around the wall - only to see the kid run around a corner behind the factory. Chris runs on, lungs burning, and reaches the corner to see - nothing. It's a dead end, still cold and dark without the sun. But there's no kid. Cagney looks up in the dark space between the buildings at the blue sky and can see nowhere the kid could go. Chris has no gun but she makes her way cautiously to the only possible hiding place - a dumpster halfway down the alley. She slowly makes her way to the front of the reeking metal box and swings around the corner - nothing. The dumpster lid is open, and sleepy, cold flies are buzzing around the lip. She sighs and, unwilling to leave any avenue of escape unexplored, pulls herself up the side of the dumpster. No one. Just ripped garbage bags and a rat that disappears as soon as her head pops over the edge. Chris drops back to the pavement, wipes her hands on her sweat pants and turns to jog slowly back to the precinct. She stops and looks back down the dead end as she reaches the corner. Still no one. Still nowhere to go. She shakes her head as she continues her run back to the precinct: "Round one to you kid - but this isn't over".
"No - no uniforms - Not until morning. I don't want to tip this kid off. Come with me on stakeout tomorrow morning. Please Mary Beth?" Mary Beth remembers Chris' late night call clearly. Now here she is -stuck out in the cold pre-dawn dew by the reservoir footbridge trying to keep her hands warm and her breathe from showing in the cold as she waits for the "graffiti kid". Chris may have started out hating this case, but given a tangible adversary she proves as tenacious as a bulldog. Or worse. A blonde Rottweiler. Lacey smiles at the image. However, Mary Beth mused, it was a good idea to nab this kid. Maybe given one good collar the mayor would be happy and Samuels would relent and assign them to at least one other "real" case.
Chris is in hiding near the recent graffiti, an officer is hidden at the dumpster and another stationed on the roof of one of the factories. Mary Beth shifts to ease her stiff muscles. Many hardened criminals didn't warrant this much police attention. Wait. Double click on her radio. Chris has seen the kid. Then Lacey hears running feet - She sees a kid running down the path, over the bridge and then drop over the side the bridge. A girl, about 10 years old, (so much for profiles) runs nimbly just along and above the creek and follows it - down the grate - into the storm sewer! Mary Beth is on her feet and running as Chris comes over the bridge in hot pursuit of the kid.
Chris stops and realizes she has lost the kid again. She does a double take as she sees her partner under the footbridge wedging herself between two lose grate bars. Chris orders the two uniforms who have followed her to stand at the nearest manhole cover and under the bridge and monitor the radio. Chris takes a flashlight from one of the uniforms, drops over the bridge, runs along the tiny ridge above the creek and follows her partner into the dark.
The dark blinds her and the air hits her face like a cold, damp, slap. The narrow ledge that serves as a walkway for maintenance crews is wet and slippery and Chris is tempted to turn on the flashlight, but she doesn't want to alert the kid. Chris finds Mary Beth waiting and listening a few feet down the brick culvert. Mary Beth lays her hand on Chris' arm - a signal to stay quiet. Lacey has spotted something further down the culvert - further in the dark. The silence drags on and then Chris hears it too - voices further down the culvert - and someone coming their way. Both cops have been crouched with their hands on their guns, but now both draw their weapons.
The kids comes quickly down the culvert, her face briefly lit by checkers of light as she passes below the manhole. Her voice is desperate as she whispers "Come on". Lacey stands and reaches out " Just a minute here kid…" A loud hiss "Not here! Come on! - Before they find us" Something in the kid's voice galvanizes them into action. Lacey makes way, pushes the kid between her and Cagney as Chris turns to lead the way from the culvert. Both guns are still drawn as they make their way back to the dawn.
The kid tugs at Lacey's sleeve. "Hide. Please, just trust me. We have to hide." Lacey waves to the uniforms to take cover. Even Cagney acts on the warning without balking. The two cops and the kid find cover in the shrubs Lacey has so recently deserted. They watch as four men - three barely older than teens, the fourth a man in his late twenties, emerge from the storm drain grate.
Cagney elbows Lacey to get her attention. She knows this guy - Benny DeNiro. Not even thirty and he's already beaten a murder rap - a cop killer - and several conspiracy charges. Bad news. Very bad news. Cagney pulls out her radio as the four men look around and head out in four different directions. Lacey places her hand over the radio: "What are you doing?" Lacey hisses. Chris pulls her arm away from Mary Beth's grip and hisses back "That's Benny DeNiro - I'm going to check for any outstanding warrants - then we can nab this guy." "Chris, we don't have enough backup…" "He'll be back" the kid says. Both cops start much as if a rock had spoken. They haven't exactly forgotten her, but their minds have been working in another direction. They are now very much aware of their original mission. "He'll be back. He has a stash in there." Cagney eyes the kid speculatively as she snaps the radio shut. DeNiro and company are now long gone. She takes one arm as Lacey takes the other. "Come on kid, let's get you back to the station. We've got a lot of questions. It would be in your own best interests to have some answers"
The kid - Amy Scionni - is wolfing down a sub at Lacey's desk. Cagney and Lacey are in Samuels' office watching her as Bert Samuels comes to a decision. Samuels is playing with his pencil and looking up at them periodically as he reads from a manila folder (their report) on his desk. He is annoyed and troubled - His two newest detectives, and females at that - have unearthed a possible drug connection to a character the department has been after for years. All this from some petty graffiti collar. This is going to be a high profile case - one that could blow up in his face. But, to be fair, he owes them a shot at running this operation. Well - time to see if they can handle it. He sighs and snaps the folder shut. "How are you going to run with this?" Cagney can barely restrain her joy, Lacey looks like a kid answering an exam question. Cagney jumps in: "Well, Lieutenant, we (nodding at Lacey, who clears her throat) are going to nab all of them when they come for the stash. Turn his three buddies and get him on a major distributing charge." Samuels nods and replies: "What if you can't turn one of the three - all this manpower for a simple possession? - granted, the quantity should go towards getting him convicted for distributing". Lacey speaks this time: "We could set up surveillance, watch him go to the stash and set him up to sell to a cop, sir." "That's good, Lacey." Cagney beams at her partner and Lacey smiles back, wiping the smile from her face as Samuels speaks: "OK, it's late, we'll pull this together at 8AM in my office"
Both turn to go.
"Hey - wait a minute you two - what about the kid?" Both detectives turn at the door. Cagney closes it again. "She's a witness sir. We gave her a warning on the graffiti charge. We notified Child Welfare and we have her in protective custody. She says DeNiro never saw her, but we don't want to take any chances." Samuels nods and waves them out of his office. It is already 7PM. Tomorrow morning will come very early.
It is as cold as a tomb waiting here in the dark for a drug dealer and known killer to show his face. They have located the stash in one of the larger alcoves located in the storm sewer. The stash was stored high and in moisture-proof bags. But DeNiro hasn't come back- it has been almost a week. Lacey is cramped and cold and more than a little discouraged. And she had thought all-night surveillance in a vehicle was mind numbing. She and Cagney have taken turns - tonight she is the one keeping an eye on the stash - Cagney is the one up top at the closest manhole cover, monitoring Lacey's radio. Petrie and Isbecki are riding back up on this one - co-ordinating the uniforms stationed on the outside. 3:15A.M. Lacey checks her gun again, checks the batteries in the big metal police flashlight, adjusts her black wool cap and signals to Cagney (four clicks) that the situation hasn't changed.
But the situation has changed. Further down the pipe, Lacey can hear someone moving. She can hear yet another person moving in from the grate below the footbridge. Two suspects approaching from either end. No cops would have grabbed them. They need to connect these guys to the stash, and then to nail them marketing the stuff. Lacey pulls further back into the recess in the wall and clicks on the radio twice: status - Alert. Cagney clicks twice in response and Lacey clicks twice in confirmation. It's all about to go down.
Lacey can hear rapid, shallow, breathing, and the light scraping of fingers on brick as someone works his way from the grate down the dark tunnel. She holds her own breathe as he moves past the alcove where she is crouched, his fingers touching the bricks over her head as he guides himself through the dark to the stash. Silence. He stops and waits as another figure joins him from the other end. Only two of them. Lacey crouches even lower as one turns on the flashlight and swings it around the storm drain. The beam sweeps over her head. Assured that no one is near, one of the suspects lights an acetylene lamp - throwing the faces of both men in light. What? Neither man is DeNiro. Something is wrong. These are two of DeNiro's henchmen - but where is DeNiro? Great. A week's work of surveillance and the whole operation is blown. There is no point in grabbing these two. Lacey tenses as her radio clicks twice: Alert. What now? Mary Beth muffles the radio in her jacket. She signals twice in response, waiting, not knowing what the warning is about. A third person emerges quietly from the dark - DeNiro. The light glints on his automatic weapon. Curses as the light is doused. Fire spews into the night. Men scream. Someone is floundering in the river. A frantic man falls at Lacey's feet, whimpering and crawling towards the faint light from the grate. Footsteps. Light from a flashlight follows, dancing rhythmically in the dark. The man's terrified face is thrown into relief. Lacey stands -yells "Police" into the blinding light even as a burst of automatic fire rips five bullets into the traitor's chest. Mary Beth can see only the blinding light. She fires. No more time - she pitches forward into a tackle and catches DeNiro in the midriff. The flashlight flies from his hand, -the bricks on the storm sewer roof are thrown into light and then into pitch dark as the glass in the flashlight shatters against the wall. Cop and killer are swallowed by the dark waters of the river. Mary Beth lands on top and struggles to stand in the shallow water. DeNiro pulls her down, throws her into the water and holds her under. Lacey rolls and squirms free -manages to gulp air before DeNiro grabs her hair and pulls her under again. Lacey bucks and knees him in the groin, as she snaps his head back with a hard blow from her elbow. Another pair of hands grabs him in a full Nelson - Cagney has arrived.
They haul DeNiro from the river. Cagney is frisking him while Lacey covers him. He spits in Cagney's face. She grabs him by the collar. Lacey has her hand on her partner's shoulder. "I'll find you both" he hisses. The storm drain erupts with shouts and light. Backup has arrived.
DeNiro dealt with betrayal by dealing out death. Cagney and Lacey have nabbed him for murder, conspiracy to traffic, trafficking, assault on a police officer and possession. Lacey has wounded him in the arm. Not exactly how they had expected things to go down, but Lacey and Cagney will take it, thank you very much.
"I can't believe it! Twice! Twice that bastard DeNiro has gotten away with murder" Cagney is outraged as the two detectives leave the courthouse. Her partner, equally outraged, has trouble responding. "No one else has been able to touch him. Five years Chris. We put him away for five years." "It's not good enough, Mary Beth."
Two manslaughter convictions - to be served concurrently. No doubt of Lacey's identification at the scene, or that he had killed two men. But DeNiro's lawyer has convinced a judge - on the finer points of the law - that DeNiro acted in self defence, and that there was no proof the stash was his - and that police actions with respect to the stash smack of entrapment. True, his presence at the scene was highly suggestive of illegal behaviour, but not enough for a conviction. DeNiro, convicted of manslaughter would walk in 5 years, it was after all, his first offence. No one faults Cagney and Lacey. Hard won and well-constructed cases are killed in court all the time.
But during their testimonies, DeNiro had watched them, amused and cool. He never spoke, but his eyes, and his manner indicated that Detectives Cagney and Lacey would pay.
Amy ducks out of the old storm sewer and into the soft light of a fine autumn day. She pauses, deep in reflection, as she watches the sun on the water. That should have been all there was to the story. It certainly had been the end of her part in the story - until very recently. The two detectives had made sure that a kid with talent got a few breaks and a helping hand. But things are never simple and the story had definitely not ended there for Cagney and Lacey. Two young detectives had nailed a vicious criminal, had brought him to justice - and drawn blood. Mary Beth and Chris had made a very dangerous enemy - a man who had grown very powerful over the years. Amy throws a blade of grass in the water and walks away from the footbridge for the last time. It had taken several years for the thread of that particular story to surface again…
"Hey, Waychuk, good to see you again - How's Erica?" Captain Christine Cagney, Head of Major Cases Squad, breezes into her busy squad room. "Lacey, see me in my office?" Lt. Mary Beth Lacey smiles and nods at Cagney as she speaks into the receiver : "Tomorrow will be too late, Singh. Well try, will you?…."
Chris is already absorbed in her work by the time Lacey walks in. Chris looks up as she enters and smiles " Hi Mary Beth - How was your weekend?" Chris takes off her glasses and leans back in her chair. Mary Beth doesn't sit - she is too excited. "We did it Chris, we booked the flight and the reservations." She pauses and smiles broadly. "We're going to Mexico". Harvey and Mary Beth have dreamed of taking such a vacation for years. Now with Mary Beth retiring in 6 months - at 60 after 35 years on the force- they have booked the vacation of their dreams. Chris looks at her partner with a fond smile. "I am so happy for you Mary Beth", Chris is standing by Mary Beth now. She holds her arms wide and hugs her partner: "You are going to have such a wonderful time." Mary Beth returns the hug. She is overcome - she has waited a long time for this vacation, but her retirement leaves her with mixed feelings. Chris breaks the moment: I'll bet Harvey has researched everything there is to know about the beaches…." Mary Beth is wiping her eyes. "Oh Chris, he wants to visit the Alamo on the way down…" She laughs ".. but we are going to spend time in the sun when we get there." Chris grins: "Hey, let's go shopping for bathing suits, eh?"
Mary Beth settles back in her chair as Chris goes back to her desk, puts her glasses back on and picks up a paper. "What's on for today, Captain?" Chris, all business now, hands the papers to Lacey. "This is what we've been waiting for - a break on this drug cartel. Take a look at this. A list of contacts from our undercover officer." " Follow these back and we'll get whoever is at the top, Chris".
They have been trying to crack this new drug ring for over a year now, but despite diligent surveillance and undercover work, they still don't know who is behind the ring. Someone has moved into New York, and is muscling out the established dealers - someone who is ruthless and knows what they are doing. The mayor, and therefore the police brass, are getting impatient for results.
"OK. Call the team together, Mary Beth, we're going to shift gears here. It's time to get a bit more proactive." Mary Beth stands and raises her eyebrows. Chris responds: "We are going to spread the word that not only do we know who this guy is - but that we are moving in. We're going to stir the hornets up and see where they go."
Christine Cagney closes her office door after taking the call. Chief of Detectives Patricia Hong had called her personally. Chris is not on the list to make Inspector- again. No more exams - these decisions are political. Cagney sits back in her chair and closes her eyes. Hong had put a positive spin on it, telling her that the list would be reviewed next year. But Hong had known, just as Cagney knows, that Chris will retire with captain's bars. She is a damned good cop, with 35 years on the force, but Chris is also 62 years old and only 3 years from mandatory retirement. They will be grooming someone to replace her soon. Chris opens her eyes, snaps open her laptop and buries herself in her work.
Lt. Lacey summarizes the team meeting: "Well, we've certainly stirred things up, Captain. But we still don't know who this guy is." Chris stands "Be patient. Everyone keep after their snitches, - your contacts. Someone knows something - And so will we. Get out there again, and meet here tomorrow morning." Captain Cagney dismisses her team and walks to her office. She grabs her coat. "Going out?" Mary Beth follows. Cagney turns as she pulls her coat on. "Yeah. Look after things for a bit, will you?" Lacey nods. "Keep your cell on." Cagney nods as she leaves.
Lacey watches Chris as she leaves. Obviously Chris didn't make Inspector - she would have told Mary Beth by now. Lacey worries - Chris has never really imagined a time beyond being a cop. What will happen when Chris Cagney wakes as a civilian? "Lieutenant?" Detective Riley repeats his question. Mary Beth breaks her train of thought to answer him.
"Captain Cagney! You're looking good!" "Thanks Louie. You're not looking so bad yourself." "And how is Lieutenant Lacey?" Louie is more than a small time hustler. He is a survivor. Cagney has given him, and then his kid Harry, many breaks - in exchange for information. It was an arrangement that had worked well for everyone. "Lacey is fine. I'll tell her you asked after her. Got a place we can talk, Louie?" Louie looks closely at the woman standing before him. She hasn't changed all that much. All business. Despite those eyes. He leads her into a dingy back room and closes the door. Louie sighs as he spreads his arms in an open gesture. "Look, Cagney. I'm trying to retire - While I'm still alive." Cagney stands with her arms crossed. Her eyes narrow. "Louie. This is the last time. This dealer who has moved into the streets - who is he?" Louie is scared. "This is big time, Cagney. This guy is vicious. He knows everything." "No one knows everything. Except maybe God." She looks closely at Louie. "Look. You want to retire. Do a good thing here, Louie. Help me get him off the streets. He doesn't play by the rules. He uses kids as runners - this is killing people - kids, Louie. Even more than the usual stuff out there." Louie thinks about it. He is so small time, no one might suspect that he has snitched. After all, he's not directly, not even remotely involved. He just listens good. But Harry. Harry could still get messed up here. "If I tell you what I know, - look after Harry?" Cagney nods. "If he isn't into anything major here, you have my word." "Naw, he's strictly small time. But the kids, you know. Just keep an eye out for him should his name turn up here. He isn't as smart as his old man." Cagney smiles and nods. She'll make sure Harry stays out of this.
Louie lights a cigarette and looks at Cagney: "DeNiro. Benny DeNiro. Left his business in Florida to his nephew and moved here. Likes it better here in New York, I guess."
Chris is going over old files later that evening after the day squad has gone home. "These just arrived, Captain." DeRosa, the desk sergeant, places a large bouquet of red roses on her desk. Cagney is distracted, but she smiles when she see the roses "Thanks, Sergeant." "Anything to please." He gives her a smile and tips his hat cheerfully as he closes the door on leaving. David must be back from Nigeria. Chris reaches for the card- and snatches her hand back dripping with blood.
Cagney is walking along the beach, tossing pebbles into the waves, but she doesn't really see the water. She picks absently at the fresh bandages on her fingers. A razor blade glued to the back of the card - a card that read - "What took you so long?" DeNiro. She has already thrown him a challenge by going after his cartel. It was only a matter of time before he came after them. Both of them. She comes to a decision, throws the last pebble out and turns back to the city.
Torn between worry and anger, Mary Beth throws her purse on the table and snaps: "Why have you dragged me here at this hour?"
"Lucky Louie says Hello". Chris finally speaks after the server has brought Lacey's coffee. Mary Beth notices the bandages but sits back and waits. Chris has her attention now. "Benny DeNiro is the head of the new cartel, Mary Beth". She raises her bandaged hand. "He sent me a razor blade hidden in a bouquet of roses as a greeting." Chris is quiet, watching her partner. Mary Beth is in shock. Lacey rests her head on the table without responding. She is afraid, and because she is afraid, she is angry. Why now? She is retiring in 6 months and already feels like she has one foot out the door. This is the fear, and the anger, that has stalked her dreams - that she has yearned to leave behind for years. Mary Beth is suddenly aware of Cagney's hand on her own. She gives herself another moment and then squeezes Chris' hand before raising her head. "Well, this has been a long time coming." Chris merely nods, watching her. This is Lacey's call. Cagney will act, with or without her partner. Lacey knows this and makes her decision. She lets go of Cagney's hand, pushes a stray lock of hair back from her face and says: "We need a plan."
"You have pushed me as far as I can go, I could lose my badge - never mind you two!" Chief of Detectives Patricia Hong is addressing Cagney, but she includes Lacey with an angry gesture. Cagney is leaning on the desk with one arm, gesturing with the other: "Chief - Pat - we have him where we want him. This is what we've been waiting for."
Hong gets up to pace behind her desk, ignoring them as she thinks. They have pushed this man as far as the law will allow in the hopes of pushing him into a mistake. In the past month they have mounted a full blown assault on DeNiro's operations - making any and all his drug transactions difficult. His name has been published in connection with drug trafficking as often as possible - even to the extent of courting libel suits. Cagney has been highly vocal in the press - has even been accused of being a glory hound by other officers. Many of her interviews were thinly disguised insults of DeNiro and his abilities. There have been uniformed officers posted outside his home, a mansion really, in a blatant attempt to antagonize the man. He had won a public battle for a restraining order - it has been as publicly circumvented. He even found a "bug" on his home phone.
Captain Christine Cagney had personally delivered a search warrant and then stayed to supervise the search on an evening when DeNiro was entertaining some very influential guests - guests who no longer felt comfortable associating with Benny DeNiro. Hong had pulled in several favours for that one. Still they hadn't enough to make any charges stick. Now they were going to nail him. They had leaked, subtly of course, plans for a major raid on DeNiro's largest operation. It was also leaked that Captain Cagney and Lt. Lacey would be personally over-seeing the operations. This operation is on DeNiro's old home turf. They have him cornered. But what Cagney and Lacey were proposing now? Hong shakes her head.
Hong leans across her desk, eye to eye with Cagney: "Fine, go ahead, take who you need. Take what you need. But Cagney, if this goes wrong, I will roast whatever is left of you - alive."
Squealing tires, and high beam headlights - Chris goes for her gun. Pinned by the headlights, still she waits, legs planted wide, gun held in both hands, facing the car. She yells: "Police!" She hears Lacey calling "Christine! - Cagney get out of the way!" Cagney fires - blinded by the lights but aiming for the windshield. She leaps to one side. But she is still blinded and her timing is off. The car broadsides her. She grunts, pain slicing up her leg as she rolls over the hood and lands hard on the wet pavement. The night is alive with gunfire and shouting. Out of control, the car banks off a wall. Metal screaming on pavement - the noise is so loud that she covers her ears. Lacey dives for cover beside her. The car bounces into another wall and explodes - spewing fire, oil and smoke into the sky. The two detectives finally raise their heads to watch - faces lit by the flames of the inferno. Sirens wail and uniformed officers and firefighters race by. "We got him, Mary Beth." Lacey is lost for words. She can only look at her partner.
"You can't do that." "Why not?" "Well, for one thing, Christine, you haven't explained what happened - (before Chris can interrupt) - and another thing - no one uses "The End" anymore."
It is a glorious autumn day. There is a light breeze coming off the ocean and the sun is warm. Mary Beth Lacey had been enjoying the sun at the cottage when Chris dropped by. Now she has finished reading Chris' manuscript and is offering her opinion. "I like the action, Chris, but you do have to let people know the whole story." Chris is as open to criticism as ever. She looks sullenly at Mary Beth and says: "I like leaving the audience wanting more" "More, perhaps but not confused, Chris." Chris says: "Well, how would you have written it?" Mary Beth looks critically at her old friend and realizes, that even at 73, Christine Cagney hasn't an iota of patience. "I'm not saying I would write it differently Chris, I just think you haven't told the whole story…
They had planned the trap well. They had set him up for the night before the raid. The raid was still on, but they were counting on DeNiro cutting his losses and leaving town - but coming after Cagney and Lacey first. He had nothing left to lose. They had been careful to stick together since releasing plans for the raid. They were under heavy surveillance at all times. Now, on the night before the raid -a birthday celebration at Denellie's. A mole, planted in DeNiro's organization, had made sure DeNiro knew of the celebration. He didn't know, of course, that the area around Denellie's was swarming with cops and snipers - and that they were waiting for him. This would be his last - and best - chance for revenge. They hadn't been prepared for him to try and run Chris and Mary Beth down, however. The trap was sprung - but he had almost gotten Chris. Cagney and Lacey - and Pat Hong - were relieved when his remains were identified in the wreck.
The story didn't end there of course. Chris had been hurt. Her leg was broken. Bones don't heal quickly at 63 - no matter how impatient you are. And they don't always heal well. She had only spent a day in the hospital, but the rehabilitation took months. Even now she walks with a slight limp when she is overtired.
Mary Beth had been so angry. And Mary Beth isn't great at hiding her feelings. They had driven out to the beach for a walk. "OK Mary Beth, What's wrong? Why are you angry with me?" They had stopped, facing each other. "Angry? Yes, I'm angry Chris. You stood in front of that car like the only thing that mattered was getting DeNiro - like you wanted to be hurt." Chris had stood with her mouth open. "Come on Mary Beth -" "Yes you did. There was enough firepower there to take out a tank. But you wanted to take DeNiro out yourself and you were willing to go with him." - before Chris can interrupt -"You stood there making sure you got a shot at him- throwing yourself away. You don't see it that way, Chris, - you didn't plan it that way, but that's how it was - " Chris snaps: "Has it ever occurred to you that I just misjudged - that my timing was off?" Chris walked away and Mary Beth reached out to touch her arm: "Chris, you're scared - about not being a cop anymore. I don't think you can see what life is like after that. "Mary Beth grabs her: "Tell me - What were you thinking just before you jumped out of the way?" Chris felt too betrayed - too close to tears to reply. She turned to walk back alone. Mary Beth sighed and followed. "Chris, wait - I have the keys." They had driven back in silence.
Chris had been impressive in full dress uniform as she accepted her second police combat cross medal. She barely limped as she walked to the podium - the only living cop in NYPD history to be so honoured. Lacey was awarded her second commendation three months before her retirement. Cagney had been placed on disability and then on disability retirement when it became obvious she could no longer complete the running requirements of the police physical fitness standards. Officers on disability are required to satisfy those requirements before being reinstated to full duty. Two months later, David, for the second time in his life, and from long distance- had made a frantic call to Lacey - Chris was not answering his calls and he was worried about her state of mind. Lacey had turned up at Chris' apartment to find no one there. To ease David's mind, she had removed Chris' gun. There was a single bullet in the chamber. Chris never explained where she had been for a week. Lacey didn't press the matter. Chris was livid when she found her gun gone and didn't talk to Lacey until well after her return from Mexico. In the meantime, Chris had finally relented and went with David on a trip to Nigeria.
Mary Beth recalled the day a full year later when she had returned the gun. Chris had held the gun in the palm of her hand. "I wasn't going to use it you know." "I knew that, but I wanted to make sure you knew that other people care what happens to you." Cagney hadn't responded. She had needed to know the option was there. It had been important. She snapped the gun open -surprised to see the lone bullet still in the chamber. "You left it loaded." She had said to Lacey. "No." Lacey replied. Chris regarded her friend for a moment, nodded and removed the bullet before snapping the chamber shut.
Mary Beth and Harvey had continued to travel. They came to this rented cottage by the ocean in summer. Kids and grandkids grew, traveled away and came back home for Christmas. Chris had become a partner in a securities firm for a few years, and had accompanied David on a few of his trips on behalf of Amnesty International. She was active in the police woman's benevolent society and she dropped in on the Laceys occasionally. Mary Beth had settled into a contented life. Chris was not unhappy, but she was restless, someone who had never really found what she was looking for. Mary Beth was surprised, but pleased that Chris was so enthusiastic about writing a police mystery.
Mary Beth sighs and looks at Chris. No, she supposes she and Chris wouldn't agree on where the story had ended. She puts the manuscript down. She knows very well that Chris has manipulated her into helping write this book - but only as Chris can - by letting you know how honoured you are to be manipulated - and how much fun it all will be. Besides, Mary Beth has enjoyed taking writing classes. This is an opportunity to see what she can do. "I might write this with you" She raises her hand as Chris breaks into an enormous smile. "But we get an editor, and you have to let me tell the story too." Chris is still beaming, willing to agree to anything - prepared to get her own way when the time comes. "I think the title is too short - who is going to know what "Cagney and Lacey" is about? Don't you think you've played up the action - I don't remember it being nearly so exciting -
Just then a car drives up and Chris eagerly jumps at the interruption. "Here's Amy." "Oh, Chris, I don't know about this documentary of hers. Look at my hair!" Mary Beth gets up from her comfortable chair to join Chris in welcoming Amy.
Amy puts the vid camera down in frustration. It is impossible to record an image as you feel it. She watches Chris and Mary Beth walk down to the ocean. She has admired these women for most of her life. But she doesn't really know them. Against the sun and the reflected light from the water, the two women are only silhouettes. In this image, they have no age- are only flickering shapes teasing the sunlight. Amy remembers Chris once saying that she was still the same person she was at 20 - it was only her body that was aging. There are some, she reflects, who say that time is not linear, but concurrent. What if it is true? What if we exist in all possible moments at the same time? She watches as the wind blows a page from the manuscript from the porch. It is embraced by the wind and flies, dancing, over the ocean and out to meet the water. Maybe the young cops, the experienced detectives and these wise old women are all the same - had always been and would always be. Amy shakes her head. Too much time spent in philosophy class. Or was it physics? She had better catch up to those two before she loses the light - or gets left behind.
Out on the ocean, a piece of paper bobs on the waves. It is soon lost to sight - carried by dazzling sun and water, traveling on to the horizon.
Snatches of conversation drift back from the beach:
"Pink! I can't believe you'd actually paint it pink! - Have you asked Harvey?"
"Chris, it's coral, not pink, and I like that colour in a bathroom."
"I know this interior decorator, Mary Beth -"
~Not Really the End~
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