Setting – Big Joe’s Pizzeria.
Detective Moss pocketed his cell phone, after speaking to Tommy Xo. The latest partner of Detective Frank Malone was not at all into these after work drinking sessions, and he had a wife and kid waiting for him. Frank was already on his sixth beer, and had finished off one of Big Joe’s Meat lover’s pizzas. With the ballgame up on the big screen, Frank was on a roll, and letting off some much needed steam. This was all too much for John Moss. He tossed down a few ten dollar bills, and then grabbed his coat. Frank glanced up at him with a drunken sneer.
“The little woman waiting, Moss?” Typically, Frank always seemed to dig at the fact that John was a married man and had a life outside the force, unlike Frank. Moss simply shook his head and finished putting on his coat. He hates seeing his partner like this, but he knew it wasn’t a good idea to leave him on his own – hence him calling Tommy.
“Yeah, and she makes better company than you, Frank. Do me and the department a favor and get some help? Okay? Tommy is on his way over, I gotta get going.”
Frank laughed loudly. Great. Tommy was having to come down. No doubt that was going to cause dramas with whatever lady he had been with that night. “I don’t need some god dammed baby sitter, Moss. I’m…perfectly fine. Joe! Another beer!” he sung out, though his words were starting to slur. Big Joe, named for obvious reasons came out and shook his head at his good customer and long time friend. “I thinka…you have enough, Frank.” He wiggled a finger at Frank, which only brought about more laughter from the Detective. “Now…now Joe. I can walk a straight line…and find my nose….if I had to.” Frank then tried to touch his nose…unsuccessfully.
“Good night, Frank.” Detective Moss said, turning to walk away, just as Tommy entered the Pizzeria. Course Frank saw him and rolled his eyes. It was not that he didn’t enjoy Tommy’s company, he just hated to have him give him the riot act.
Tommy sighed and then patted Moss’s shoulder as he passed him in the entrance. “I got this.” Tommy said, as Frank got up unsteadily from his bar stool and opened his arms out like a long lost brother.
“Tommy!…..You shouldn’t have come down here. I ….I was about to call a cab. Pizza?” He slurred, then offering Tommy a slice, as the reporter sat on down next to him. Tommy shook his head. “Just barely finished dinner and an argument with Tamika.” Tommy had had to leave the dinner that Tamika made to come rescue his friend, and there were some pretty harsh words said, along with a few broken dinner plates. Hearing this made Frank cringe. “Ah shit. Tamika cooked again?” he asked, getting out his wallet and tossing some notes down on the bar top for Joe.
“Dinner was a disaster from the get go, Frank.” Tommy admitted, before looking at his friend with concern.
“Dude…you gotta clean up your act. Drinking every night. Come on, you’re better than this.” It was the truth and both men knew it. Though to Frank, this was his way of coping. Big Joe’s was his buddy’s favorite haunt back in the day. Why, there were even pictures of the two detectives on the walls. It was a second home to both men….now, just to Frank.
“If only that night never happened.” Frank said, recollecting the night that his partner died. The look on Frank’s face was one of sorrow and regret. “I lost everything….that night.”
Tommy’s face became stern as he watched his friend. How many years had it been? Frank’s marriage, and his job as well as his reputation ruined. Tommy was constantly searching for clues and leads. it was why he went to those dark alleys. It was why he made friends with the homeless…the bottom ladder of the people of New York. To find out….who killed Detective Rory Lismore….and why? It led both men on a quest, but one that Frank was having trouble keeping focused on.
“I know what I saw that night, Tommy. I know it like it’s tattooed inside my mind. But no one believes me. They think I’m crazy.”
“I don’t, Frank. And together, we are going to solve this – if it’s the last thing I do.”
The two men sat in silence, as outside a shadow hovered by the doorway till spiriting away into the night.