The Glibening, Part Four:
Ramesh’s iPhone emitted the special chirp which meant that Google Alert had turned up a new hit from one of the websites his boss deemed troublesome. Crap. He grunted, then flinched as the cold water splashed up into his anus from the toilet bowl; he was glad he had pre-flushed and tried not to think about what germs were lurking in the water of the public toilet. Someday he hoped to have a corner office with a private toilet like his boss. Ramesh quickly cleaned himself and stood up. He raised his trousers, slid his arms into his suspenders, then buttoned and zipped his pinstriped trousers and put on his suit jacket. He pressed the flush handle with his shoe and exited the stall quickly before the toilet overflowed.
Practicality necessitated that public restrooms should have poop knives, but the security requirements of a federal courthouse prevented it. He walked from the innermost stall to the sink nearest to the door. As he reached the sink he heard water splashing onto the tile floor from the stalls behind him. Ramesh hurried through washing his hands – he counted to twenty as always, but much more quickly than normal. His phone kept chirping, not a good sign. He reached for a paper towel and dried his hands while looking back in the mirror at the stalls to check whether a stream of water was flowing his way – fortunately not. Finally he dried his hands and exited to the public corridor before checking his phone. A livestream from the Thought! Magazine commenters mocking the boss was going viral. He was going to be livid about that.
Ramesh quickly swiped through the door into the private corridor of the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. He walked down the corridor and into the conference room where the Multi-Agency Task Force on Political Subversion met. The weekly meeting was about to start and the boss was chatting with the New York State Police representative.
“What is it, Rami?”
“The chippertarians just put up a snarky YouTube video taunting you. It’s like a really bad Bollywood musical number. There is nudity. It’s going viral; over eight hundred views in five minutes.”
“Well, put it up on screen.”
“We’re all friends here, and have seen far worse.”
Ramesh sat down at the crappy old computer and brought the YouTube page up on the projector.
“It’s like the Christmas pageant at a retard school.” Coyle from the Port Authority police was his usual charming self.
“That reminds me of some off-off-off-Broadway crap my wife dragged me to last year,” said the state police representative. “The theater smelled like piss.”
Let Preet now come with,
Subpoenas by the pound,
Ken shall show that mutton-
Head the law more sound.
Someone stifled a snicker, which came out like a sneeze. Ramesh suspected the state attorney general representative.
The chorus line mooned the camera. Ramesh looked nervously at his boss who grimaced slightly but remained silent.
“Where is this coming from, Rami? I mean physical location?” asked the FBI man.
“I don’t know, Agent Waters.”
“I’ll find out. Can you text me the link?”
“Here’s the URL.”
The production number ended and the screen went to the static text “Fuck Off, Slavers.”
“A human pyramid with a swastika on top. Fucking Nazis.”
The boss looked at Ramesh and nodded ever so slightly at the NYPD man.
“Sergeant Murphy, the swastika is an ancient Hindu symbol which pre-dates Hitler by centuries, and the gentleman wearing the swastika headgear is dressed in the traditional manner of a village shaman of Gujarat in India.”
As far as Ramesh could tell, Murphy’s only job was to go to inter-agency meetings and report back to his captain on what other agencies were doing without letting the other agencies know what NYPD was doing.
“Nice friends you have there, Preet.” The state attorney general representative hated his federal counterparts with a passion. “Seems like you could go all Meese on them because of the mooning – I bet a frame by frame analysis would reveal something other than butt cheeks. A hundred dollars says they don’t have any proof of age forms or a designated Custodian of Records.”
“Guess what just came in to Manhattan 911?”
“Holy Shiva,” thought Ramesh. Murphy offering up anything was like Justice Thomas asking a question during oral argument.
“What is it, Mr. Murphy,” asked the boss.
“A call from a distraught young woman at Thought! Magazine. Says she’s the receptionist. And she’s batshit-crazy, or drugged. Claims someone was eaten to death by squirrels.” Murphy rolled his eyes. “Dispatch sent out an ambulance and a black and white. They are en route.”
“Today is our lucky day. Rami, get over there. If that’s okay with our NYPD friends, of course,” said the boss looking at Murphy.
“Of course, Mr. Bharara. Our federal friends are always welcome.” The NYPD might hate the feds on their turf, but the real enemy was the state. Goddamn Albany pukes trying to tell the mayor of the greatest city in the world how to run things. The mayor had more guns than the governor, but nowhere near as many as the feds.
“Switzerland, Mr. B,” said the FBI man looking up from his phone. “Those sons of a bitch are routing through Elektron AG. We could find out more, but then our state and local friends couldn’t come to the party.” The FBI man knew that the NYPD particularly hated being called locals.
“Rami, why are you still here?”
Murphy stood up. “C’mon, kid, you can ride with me, that will be quicker.”
Ramesh got up sheepishly and headed for the door on Murphy’s heels. So, he was to have a minder to make sure he saw nothing that NYPD didn’t want him to see.
“Where are you parked, Sergeant?”
“Down in the LEO parking spots next to the prisoner transports.”
“It will be faster to take the private elevator.” The courthouse had two small private elevators used by judges and prisoners alike, but you never saw anyone else; each elevator trip was direct end-to-end with no additional stops.
Ramesh used his ID card to unlock the elevator call button. Murphy was on his cell phone.
“Manhattan Dispatch, this is Sergeant Murphy of Liaison, badge number sierra golf tango eight six four two zero. I’m en route to the ten sixty eight at one ten Fifth Avenue. I’ve got a Deputy US Attorney with me. Instruct onsite units to have EMS hold off on the thorazine until we can talk to the caller… about ten minutes. Thanks. Bye.”
The elevator car arrived and they boarded; Ramesh pushed button P1.
“One ten Fifth Avenue,” said Murphy, “that’s the Vandersnatch Building, built on the foundation of the old Vandersnatch mansion that got torched back in the twenties by Frumius Vandersnatch’s crazy granddaughter.”
“You know the city well, Sergeant.”
“I worked security details there in the eighties. It’s a lotta snooty magazines there.” Murphy slicked his hair with his hand. “I was with Celebrity Protection Unit then, kid. Got some prime pussy. Perk of the job.”
Ramesh fumed at being called “kid” by a man he suspected of being a braggart and a hack.
“I used to date Morgan Fairchild back when she was just a soap opera star here,” said Murphy as he hitched his belt up. “Met her on duty.”
Ramesh was glad when the elevator slowed down and the car doors slid open with a ding.
Murphy exited first and strode over to the security checkpoint.
“Hey, Chris. Here to get my pistol back.”
“Sarge, Mr. Gupta.”
“I’m taking Ramesh downtown to an unfolding incident,” said Murphy as he fished a key with a round metal tag out of his pocket and opened one of the deposit boxes for visitors’ guns. Murphy removed his Glock and slid it into his shoulder holster under his suit.
“Have fun, Mr. Gupta.”
“Thanks,” said Ramesh, already disliking Murphy’s company.
Ramesh followed Murphy to one of the many cop cars in the deck, a white unmarked four door.
“Buckle in and hang on once I hit Centre Street.”
Ramesh couldn’t imagine not fastening his seatbelt, and was surprised to see that Murphy didn’t use his. Murphy started the car and backed out of the parking space and headed up the ramp and onto Pearl Street, the private street for the Manhattan court, cop and jail complex. He waited for the vehicle trap to go down and turned right on to Centre Street and activated the blue flashing lights in the front windshield of the cop car. Ramesh had always wanted to be a policeman, but Professor Gupta had other ideas so Ramesh went to Hazelwood Country Day, then Woodberry Forest, William and Mary, and finally UVA Law, all on full-ride scholarship. Deputy US Attorney was as close as he could get to police work without inciting the considerable ire of his extended, degree-heavy family.
As they approached the intersection with Worth Street, Murphy sounded the siren. A man in a wheelchair worked his arms furiously to propel himself out of the crosswalk onto the relative safety of the sidewalk outside Thomas Paine Park.
“Them wheelchair guys got some guns on them,” said Murphy. “Do you lift, kid?”
“I do some reps on the machines.”
“Better than nothing. Of course you federal prosecutors don’t collar a lot of perps. The ladies like it, though. You married?” Murphy turned left onto Leonard Street.
“No.” Ramesh was dreading the forthcoming trip “home” to his grandparents’ village in Gujarat to marry a girl he barely knew.
Murphy sped down the street with lights but no siren. A bike messenger rode in the right lane. Murphy eased off on the gas and drifted rightwards until his driver side tires were straddling the lane markers for the right lane. Twelve feet behind the cyclist he activated the siren for a brief whoop. The bike messenger raised his left hand with the middle finger already extended. Murphy simultaneously accelerated and did a quick wheel movement, swiping the cyclist with the side of the cop car and launching him curbward. Murphy then quickly swerved left, tires squealing, to move out of the curbside lane to avoid the rapidly approaching Jersey barrier closing the lane for a construction site. Ramesh turned to look at the speedometer, it was approaching forty and the needle continued moving to the right.
Murphy looked out the rearview mirror, then the side mirror. “Smooches, punk.”
When Ramesh could no longer see the messenger he turned and looked at Murphy. “You struck and injured the cyclist,” Ramesh said with a mixture of disbelief and loathing.
Not just any cyclist, kid, a bike messenger – they’re like rats on wheels. And I personally know that the little anarchist punk once busted a cop car window with his bike lock. Few scratches, maybe a couple stitches – he’ll be fine. You have to consider the totality of circumstances. Not all justice is dispensed in the courtrooms.”
“How will you explain that?”
Murphy said nothing and reached for the Motorola radio mic, moved it to his face and mashed in the button and started talking.
“Dispatch, this is Sergeant Murphy with Liaison, over.”
“This is Dispatch, go ahead Murphy.”
“I’m on Sixth between Prince and King and there’s a cyclist down. He was riding erratically and weaved into my lane as I was transporting a VIP with lights and siren… Yeah, an ambulance, too. Make sure they charge him with interference before EMS loads him up. And not wearing his helmet, poor kid …Probably. You can’t charge them if they’re not. Murphy out.”
To be continued…