Oscar the Grouch, the 23rd Precinct’s house cat. Photo by Amy Kellner
You know what it’s like to be a cop? It’s boring. All you do is drive around all day and occasionally go listen to some shitty liar tell you a cockamamie story about what just happened. Then you get back into the car and drive some more. If you’re lucky the monotony is broken up by a meal. If you’re not it isn’t. Here’s what we learned riding around with New York cops for 13 hours.
FIRST SHIFT 7AM-2PM
Precinct 24 - Harlem 7:00 We arrive at the 23rd precinct in Spanish Harlem hoping to catch roll call, which is like, the biggest deal or something. But the mean boss lady with the crisp white shirt and tight ponytail won’t let us watch. She asks us if we’re there with the DA or the police force trainee something-or-other. We’re all, “Um, neither.” “So you’re here on your own accord?” she asks. We nod. She shakes her head and walks away. We don’t get to see roll call. 7:15 There is a cheerful dude wearing a backwards baseball cap, big silver cross chain, and low rider jeans who seems to be really interested in talking to us. “You’re gonna have a great time today,” he says. “Probably at this time of day you’ll be seeing a lot of domestics” (as in violence). How does he know, we ask? “I’m an undercover.” Ah, that explains the bling. 7:30 We smoke a cigarette on the precinct steps and are officially loitering. No one cares. 7:35 We finish smoking and go back inside. Some guy says, “Aren’t you guys supposed to be riding today? I think they forgot about you.” We panic, but the desk person assures us that our guys just went to get gas or something and they’re coming back for us. 7:50 Still waiting. The station is littered with dozens of missing persons fliers. We are certain that the goth-looking kids from upstate are runaway junkie crusties hanging out in Tompkins Square Park, while all the young Rican girls are now hooking at The Point. There is a flier that says, “MISSING: Dorothy Rogers, Age 88.” Um, what? Turns out sometimes grandmas need to run away too. 8:24 Finally we meet Poncho and Frankie, our cops for the day. Poncho is 24, Hispanic, and quite a sparkplug. Frankie is 32, Polish, and more of the strong, silent type. They’re super polite to us, and if we are inconveniencing them (which we’re sure we are), they don’t show it. Poncho opens the back door of the car for us and tells us to hop in. We had been told that we were required to wear bulletproof vests and we ask where they are. Frankie laughs and says, “Sorry, can’t find ‘em.” We shrug and climb into the back seat, which is so cramped we can’t even fit our legs in and we have to sit Indian style. 8:32 We’re off! “Hollywood Nights” is blasting on the radio. We’re feeling pretty psyched up for this early in the morning. We’re ready to stop crime and save lives! Let’s go! 8:45 We’re crawling at 10 miles an hour down empty streets. Our initial buzz is wearing off in a major way. Poncho looks back at us and smirks. “Boring, no? Actually, I prefer it this way. Nice and quiet,” he says. Unfortunately for us, today is the first day of Spring Break so it’s bound to be a slow day. On a regular school day, Frankie tells us, we’d be called to the local public high school maybe three or four times for “disorderlies.” “They can’t handle their own,” he says. “We go and break up fights everyday. It’s ridiculous.” 8:56 At a red light, a cab driver starts waving frantically at us. Frankie rolls down his window and the driver yells in some sort of excitable Spanish dialogue. Turns out the woman in his cab is pregnant and her water just broke! Let’s roll, boys! 9:02 We race through the streets with the siren on as the cab follows us. We go through red lights. Cars ahead of us pull over like the waves parting for Moses. We even get to go down a one-way street the wrong way. Hooray! 9:09 We arrive at Mount Sinai Hospital and they load the pregnant lady into a wheelchair. For a woman about to give birth, she is very nonchalant. She’s texting people on her cell as water spreads out all over her Miss Sixty jeans. We’re guessing this is not her first birthing experience. Poncho and Frankie wheel her through the hospital like perfect gentleman, waving to every nurse on the way and knowing all of them on a first name basis, like, “Hey Gladys, you taking care of those rickets?” Pretty cute, right? The nurses come and whisk our mom-to-be away and we leave, trying not to step in any amniotic fluid on our way out. Ew. 9:20 Back in the car, we wait as our boys fill out all kinds of paperwork and reports and stuff. While we’re sitting there, we hear the dispatcher lady on the radio pronounce the car Hyundai like “High-unda” and we all crack up for a good five. 9:30 We’re cruising again. “Funkytown” on the radio. The 23rd precinct—or “the two-three” in cop talk—is the smallest in the city, extending from 96th to 106th Streets and from the FDR Drive to Third Avenue. We circle and circle and circle. We ask the guys a million annoying questions. Do they enforce jaywalking? Only in heavy traffic areas like Times Square where it could cause an accident. What’s their favorite cop movie? “Lethal Weapon is OK.” Is there a daily ticket quota? This question irks them. “It’s not like that,” they assure us. Do you get to choose your partner? Yes, you try out different people and then you basically propose to the one you want to be partners with. That sounds just like getting married, we say. “Well, we sure fight like an old married couple,” says Poncho. “Oh, mi amor, mi amor,” Frankie jokes back, patting Poncho on the shoulder. Next we ask about hooking up with lady cops (they are both single) and if that happens often. They just shrug their shoulders and say, “I guess that sort of thing happens wherever you work.” Touché. 9:50 As we drive around, Poncho and Frankie make sure to wave and smile to a lot of the neighborhood locals. It’s very Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and it’s very cute. “We like to know people by their first names around here,” explains Poncho. “It’s much nicer to say, ‘Is there a problem, Mario?’ then to say, ‘Is there a problem, sir?’” You get the feeling that these guys have wanted to be cops since they were little kids, ever since Joe the Policeman appeared on the “What’s Going Down?” episode of That’s My Momma! “I used to work in a pharmacy,” Poncho says. “Now everyday when I get up for work I’m happy and excited. I love this job. Something different happens everyday.” Poncho has slicked-back hair and shades on. He’s got a lot of love to give and you can tell being a cop isn’t going to stop that. 9:54 Frankie and Poncho pull up to another cop car parked on the street and start flirting with the two lady cops inside. It’s smiles for miles. The lady cops drop their tough facades and turn into two regular girls from Queens who just got their nails done. “Hey, don’t break my mirra!” the pretty lady cop says when our car pulls up too close to theirs, and they both break out in giggles. “Have fun! Behave yourselves!” the girls shout as they ride off. “Always!” Frankie yells back. 10:00 Lunchtime. Poncho and Frankie get the early lunch shift so that means lunch at 10 AM. Frankie has brought his own lunch today while Poncho is just going to work out in the precinct’s gym. They ask us what we want for lunch, if they should take us to White Castle or something. It seems like every 20 minutes they’ve been asking us whether we’re hungry or thirsty or need anything. They look out for us. We ask them to take us to McDonalds; it’s still early enough for the breakfast menu. 11:00 After lunch we go back to the precinct to meet our boys, but Poncho is running late. We wait with silent Frankie who’s just standing around, bullshitting with some other cops. One of the guys he’s chilling with is a big guy named Officer Doody. We’re dying. We take pictures of the precinct cat, Oscar The Grouch. Patches of his fur are missing and he is incredibly dirty, but the cops seem fond of him. 11:09 We squoosh back into the backseat. “Dust in the Wind” is on the radio. Frankie cranks it. They tell us that there was a call about a female being harassed in Central Park but we missed it because of lunch. Fuck. 11:22 Poncho and Frankie give a guy a ticket because his brake light is out. “Having a broken taillight can be potentially dangerous,” Poncho says. “Sometimes people only look at one of the lights, or sometimes the sun hits it in a way and you can’t tell whether or not the car is stopping. This causes accidents.” Can’t really argue with that. 11:28 After filling out what seems like an eternity of paperwork, they immediately pull another dude over for another broken taillight. These guys are on fire! They say it’s because they just gave the other guy a ticket for the same thing, so it wouldn’t be fair if they didn’t give this guy a ticket too. But really it’s because Poncho didn’t eat anything during his lunch break. He’s cranky. He’s got low blood sugar and is now taking it out on society. 11:42 Ticket given for a double-parking violation. “Poncho,” we say, “It’s time for you to get a snack.” He pulls over to a fruit stand and grabs a pear and some tangerines. Now what kind of lunch is that?| 11:55 We drive into a park. It’s fun driving in the park. They tell us that they get a lot of problems in the park in the summer. “People drinking, smoking, shooting up—and in front of kids. It’s not cool,” Frankie says. And it’s true, doing those things in front of kids is not cool. The park is like these kids’ backyard. It’s the only grassy area anywhere up here. So go shoot up in your own backyards. 12:03 We notice that there is a huge swimming pool in the park. “God, pool duty is the worst,” Frankie says. “I had it one day last year. Never again!” We ask him why. “The kids always try to push me in the pool. They think it’s really funny. Ha ha, push the cop into the pool. Real funny.” We look at each other and laugh, because it is pretty funny. 12:55 We have been circling the neighborhood for what feels like forevs. It’s warm out and we keep trying not to nod out in the backseat, but it’s so cozy and peaceful (and totally fucking boring) we can’t help it. “Jeremy” comes on the radio and Frankie sings along. It’s like he’s singing us a lullaby and we fall fully asleep for a good ten minutes. 1:06 We’re awoken by the dispatcher lady’s voice on the radio saying that there is a hold-up at Rite Aid! Yessss! Our siren goes off, and we are in hot pursuit. 1:12 False alarm. We walk into Rite Aid and there’s just an old lady buying Peeps and Rolaids. We’re crushed. 1:20 Poncho has a treat for us. He says that since we’re in Spanish Harlem, we can’t leave without trying some authentic Spanish Harlem cuisine. They take us into a small little Rican hut and buy us these things that look like super-deep fried pierogies filled with cheese and meat. “The best in the city,” they say. They also buy us Diet Cokes since we’re girls. The Spanish pierogies are actually pretty good, but all we’ve eaten today are Egg McMuffins and we feel like crap. The warm, melted cheese makes us even sleepier and even the Diet Coke can’t keep us up. 1:36 We pass a methadone clinic on 103rd and Lex and spot a grizzled-looking fellow puking in a trashcan. “Look, a guy puking!” we point all excited, hoping they’ll wanna check it out. “Nah, that’s quite common,” Frankie says. Poop. 1:45 Poncho and Frankie tell us they have to go to court at 2 PM for a traffic violation. Our ride is over. “Well, ladies, it’s been a pleasure,” they say. On our way back to the precinct, we pass an old woman walking with a little kid holding a balloon. “Happy Easter!” the woman waves to us. “Happy Easter!” Poncho and Frankie wave back. Just another sunny afternoon in El Barrio. Thanks Frankie and Poncho! AMY KELLNER & LESLEY ARFIN SECOND SHIFT 4PM-12AM
Precinct 23 – Upper West Side OK, before we even start this, we have to tell you about something that happened when we were applying for the ride-along permit. All you have to do to go on one of these things in New York is head for Police Plaza and wait in line. After the metal detectors you go up to a secretary and tell her what precinct you want. Simple. What we weren’t prepared for, however, were the other people in line. While we were waiting to go through the metal detectors the cops told us to step back a bit and, as we did, this grisly looking Puerto Rican homeless war vet moved to the front of the line. We made the mistake of saying, “Er, when the line moves back it usually has the same order as before so that would mean we’re next.” His response was to step into our personal space and say, “What the fuck you gonna do about it, faggot?” Can you believe that? He wanted to throw down at Police Plaza in front of half a dozen cops! After we threw our hands up in an “I give up” kind of way, he realized he was the alpha male of the situation and started mumbling things like, “And nice fucking scarf homo. You think you’re British? I’m way more British than you’ll ever be. And I’m smarter too.” Fine. Go ahead and be Sir Walter Smartypants if you want. We’re going to be standing way back here. When he got up to the metal detectors he removed: a large military canteen from his pocket (soup?), another huge canteen from the crotch of his jeans (booze?), and a few pounds of dog tags. When the cop asked him what he was doing there, he went, “I want to get a gun license.” The cop just blinked a WTF blink and let him continue in. When we got up front we said, “HE wants a GUN?” and the cop shrugged and said, “He ain’t getting no gun.” Anyhow, here’s the second shift… 3:00 We were told we could be there for roll call. It sounded too good to be true, and it was. Civilians can’t sit in on roll call, you dummy. That’s when they tell secrets like what color undercover cops will be wearing that day (so when you bust them they point to their pink belt or whatever and you go, “Oh shit, sorry bro.”) Radio station Hot 97 used to announce the color of the day, which is pretty heavy considering they could only have gotten that information from a cop. They got in shit for it, so they switched to paying women to slap each other. Then they got in shit for that too. Hot 97 rules. 4:15 They give us bulletproof vests (cool) and we meet our guys: Officer Jones, a short, funny bald guy and Officer Rodriguez, a nerdy Puerto Rican who looks like a badger. Both appear to be in their mid-20s and both appear to be good guys. We’re not allowed to take pictures or take notes or record anything, however, so you’ll have to take our word for it (we surreptitiously took notes on our Blackberrys—tee hee). 4:22 After a very brief tour around the Upper West Side, we have to go back to the station. A sergeant left his Taser in the car. The lowly privates can’t have Tasers in their cars. They’re too likely to use them, and that means litigation. Guns are far safer, because people with their heads blown off rarely sue. Thanks, lawyers. 4:27 OK, we’re back on the road now. The next few hours consist of very little action. We’re supposed to still be in Harlem, but we fucked up the application and now we’re actually on the other side of Central Park, which is the rich, white, and boring Upper West Side. There are still projects, though. And where there’re projects there’s action. We’re still optimistic that we will see someone die. 4:29 Jones is looking for drivers on their cell phones. He likes them best because they take the least paperwork and are easy to prove in court. You just describe the guy’s phone and you’re done. People still fight it, though. One guy recently argued he wasn’t on his phone—he was actually listening to a tiny radio. The judge cracked up. 4:34 We pull over a cabbie who did a U-turn for a fare. He hands over his “friend of the force” card, so we let him go. Wow, those things do work. Maybe the high prices on eBay are worth it. 4:37 We park just off the West Side Highway. We ask Rodriguez if he drinks in cop bars. “I don’t really hang out with officers to be honest. Too many of them are likely to go off. Cops can get pretty rowdy. Besides, it’s too risky drinking in public. Like, you can have one beer and if you get into an accident—even if it’s not your fault—you’re off to the farm.” (That’s what they call rehab.) It’s a moot point, anyways, because you have to have your gun on you at all times, and if you’re caught with a buzz and a gun you’re fired. Jones adds that he still drinks, but he does it at home. It’s not a very social existence, but at 25K starting salary, who can afford to have a social life? The conversation leaks over to the 25 grand a year. “It’s really bringing down the quality of applicants,” Jones adds. “Can you imagine the kind of person that wants to work for that? Shit, they’re taking people these days that have criminal records. When I joined, they grilled me for days about a fine I had on my record for drinking in public. Now they’re taking in guys that have fucking felonies! Can you believe that?” The NYPD has been bragging to the press that they are hiring an unprecedented number of officers. That is true, but there are also an unprecedented number of cops retiring. An entire generation of boomers is retiring in every field and the NYPD is desperate to replace them. That means lowering standards. 5:00 Now we’re talking about COMSTAT. It’s a statistics review board that tracks how many crimes are committed in each area. If there’s an increase in your area, the sergeant gets shat on. And shit rolls downhill. “I hate COMSTAT,” Rodriguez says angrily. “It’s a computer. It just spits out ‘murder is up 100% in Central Park’ but that might mean one person was killed there last year and two were killed this year. Now we have to waste all our time patrolling the park like a serial killer is on the loose. Or another thing they do is reduce charges to keep the stats low. An officer gets assaulted and the captain will say, ‘Fuck it. Just make it a misdemeanor. It’s not a felony.’ It’s the exact same as the Bush ‘No Child Left Behind’ thing where teachers are so determined their kids do well on the SATs they only teach them what’s on the SATs. We’re becoming slaves to computers.” 5:33 We have a call! Hit-and-run over on 96th! We’re on it. Jones asks for a “call back.” That means call them back and see if this thing is still happening, because we’re on our way. 5:38 We’re here. With only about 20 blocks to patrol, it would be hard to be anywhere in more than a few minutes. 911 is clearly not a joke in this town. Some guy in a black Volvo has been sideswiped by a guy who lives in the Bronx. He got the plate and we ran it. That’s how we know who he is. We beg the cops to go there so we can catch him, but it’s not their jurisdiction. Fuck. Piles and piles of paperwork ensue. It’s amazing how much paperwork these guys have to fill out. The NYPD has 5,000 different forms. That is not an exaggeration. Five. Thou. Sand. They sit next to each other in the car scribbling away and asking each other questions like two kids doing their homework together. It’s cute, but boring. As they’re doing this, we are staring incredulously at a rich kid sitting outside his illegally parked convertible. The cops tell him to get out of the way so they can park there to do their paperwork and he rolls his eyes like we’re bothering him. We ask, “What the fuck?” and Jones goes, “Rich people hate cops. Poor people are happy to see you, but rich people see you as a pain in their ass.” 6:12 The paperwork is finally done. The cop tells the driver they know who the guy is and he goes, “I don’t want to know. The less I know, the better.” What the fuck does that mean? Is he scared the hit-and-run guy is going to come kill him for being a stoolie? What a pussy. 6:15 We get a call about some guy doing illegal construction on the street. Some Mexican guy is renovating an apartment. We ask if cops have to enforce immigration laws and they say only if the guy was extradited and comes back. When we get there, we see one of the ugliest people we’ve ever seen. He’s a tiny Mexican man who’s so old he looks Asian and he chews on his dentures so much he looks like something out of the Star Wars bar. Then we go, “When we were asking about illegal aliens, we didn’t mean Mars.” That causes us to piss our respective pants. Jones references Pirates of the Caribbean. Now we’re dying. If you could smoke pot, this would actually be a pretty fun job. 6:15 Dinner is on the horizon. It’s amazing how much cops talk about dinner. You’d think it was the only joy in their lives. Jones has chicken primavera back at “the house” [station]. All he has to do is heat it up. Rodriguez is just going to get a slice at Perp Pizza. That’s what they call Mama’s Pizza on 106th Street because they catch so many bad guys there. Every cop at the 23rd precinct knows Perp Pizza and we could not find ONE who knew its real name. 6:28 Two minutes before lunch we get a call. Jones and Rodriguez cringe and say fuck like they just got immunization shots. We didn’t realize it then, but dinner had just been killed. Forever. 6:33 We’re at Duane Reade. It’s a shoplifting charge. Shoplifting is a huge part of being a cop. Usually junkies stealing razors or whatever else they can to sell to bodegas to get money for heroin or crack. They’re bad at it though, so they usually only steal about five dollars worth of shit and they almost always get caught. It’s truly amazing how much time and energy goes into such an irrelevant crime. No matter how little they steal, the police have to fill out a scratch complaint, then both officers have to put in the complaint number and the arrest number, then the arrest number goes to fingerprint, then they print out a summary, then they fax the booking sheet to the DA, then they have to take the perp to central booking, and wait for them to go through that. And that’s if things go smoothly. If the perp is sick, you have to take him to the hospital, handcuff him to the bed, and have him examined before doing all the above bullshit. Sometimes perps will let cops do all the bullshit first and then say, “I have diabetes,” at the last second--just to fuck with them. We’re pissed. Why can’t the cops just come in and scare the shit out of the person like in the 1950s? Better yet, why can’t the store security do that themselves and just put a Polaroid of the person by the door so they never come back? We’ll tell you why: Lawyers. Fear of litigation has ruined everything. We say this to the cops, and they agree. We are now bros. Bros with bulletproof vests. Anyhoo, instead of the usual crackhead, this time the perp is a 14-year-old Jewish American Princess. She stole some makeup and a plastic purple pen. Luckily this girl is underage, so they’re just going to call her parents and we can get out of here. Both cops are still pinning their dreams on dinner. 6:40 The girl is frantically calling her mother and her nanny. Her mother’s phone is turned off (typical). Eventually the police break it to her that we have to call daddy. She screams, “FUUUCK!” and buries her face in her hands, sobbing. It is very hard not to laugh at this point. Then she wails, “Can’t you just drive me home?” and her audacity sends us down one of the aisles cracking up. 6:42 The staff sergeant comes in (can you believe how much money and time this little cunt has wasted?) and verifies the complaint. Sarge takes us back to the station and Jones and Rodriguez take the J.A.P. over in their car. 6:44 Some lady almost cuts us off while we’re in the sergeant’s car. The captain who’s driving bawls her out. We press on. 6:51 The paperwork begins and we sit there for about an hour while our hosts fill out forms and wait for the parents. 7:23 The parents show up, and seem more worried about their daughter’s rights than the fact that she just cost the city about $2,000 in labor, wasted several hours of everyone’s time, and killed dinner for all of us. 7:30 Rodriguez explains to the parents that if he took the daughter to central booking, the other kids would have recognized that she didn’t belong there and would have kicked her ass. The parents are starting to understand that their daughter got off easy. They’re apologizing and we’re wishing Veronica or whatever her name is went to jail. 7:44 We’re back on the beat. Jones and Rodriguez have to wait for a new dinner slot. In this case, it’s 8:30. And that’s assuming nothing goes wrong. It does. But first, more bullshit. 7:52 We get a call about a man screaming for help. It’s only a block away. 7:53 We’re here and nobody’s screaming. We ask headquarters for a call back. Nothing. 7:55 We leave. 7:59 Noise complaint. It’s in this disgusting building with shared bathrooms and the smell of piss in the hallway. But all we see is yuppies walking in and out. A Ralph Lauren-type with a Starbucks cup sneers at us as we walk in. We go to the apartment and hear nothing. The call was anonymous so we can’t ask for more details. 8:05 We leave. 8:07 We park the car on the corner and wait for traffic violations. There is a crazy old black man yelling, “Praise Jesus” again and again and again like a robot. Jones goes, “Holy shit does that guy ever love Jesus.” A huge part of this job is riffing. 8:15 We start whining that there’s not enough action. Rodriguez and Jones say they like it this way. “I just want to make it home in one piece,” explains Jones. Then Rodriguez tells us about a time he had to wrestle a 6'5", 400-pound monster on crack. He called for civilians to help, which they did. It’s illegal not to help an officer in need. We ask the name of that charge. Rodriguez thinks it’s Disorderly Conduct but checks his Palm Pilot to be sure. He has all three Lord of the Rings movies on that thing. Who knew Puerto Rican cops were capable of such high levels of nerdity. 8:17 We get a call. Some woman was just robbed of $5,000. Jones goes, “You want action?” puts on the sirens, and we’re off. This is fucking fun. We are whipping through traffic at 50 miles an hour in a giant SUV. This is great news for us, but we can tell our bros are bumming. This isn’t even their sector and they’re losing dinner again. We find out later that the guys who were supposed to be in charge of this area were on a bullshit call like a noise complaint or something. That is not on. You’re supposed to abandon a call if it’s bullshit and you’ve got another call. Fuckers. 8:21 We’re there. Fuck that was fast. A chubby, cute black girl in her early twenties runs over to the car. She is completely hysterical and making no sense. She’s shaking and yelling something like, “Her mans, her mans does this all the time! How did her mans know—my cousin was—what? Officer, it was with my cousin! We have to—officer, they took it! My cousin—120 West 94th is a drug building!” Jones is telling her to calm down. “Just give me a description and tell me which way they went.” She says, “Three of them was tall and one of them was”—and she points at Jones—“um, the way you are,” which was funny. She says they went north, and about four undercover guys head north. Then she says they circled around the block and went south. It becomes evident that she knows the perps and she knows where they went, but she is hoping to avoid giving up that information. We go to the cousin’s apartment. It’s in the projects. The undercover guys go upstairs and we wait outside (under the awning, because people often throw shit at cops from their windows—they call it “air mail”). He’s not there. Doye. They’re gone. 8:32 The cousin shows up. Her name is Maria. Maria keeps repeating, “Shaniq, you got to call your momma.” Dinner’s not looking good. 8:35 We start driving around trying to find someone that matches the description. Good luck. What are they going to be doing, wandering around high-fiving each other? The lady on the cop radio keeps including the masks they had on their faces in the description, like they’re still going to have them on. Jones notes this and then sighs, “This one’s going to the detectives.” 8:40 We are back at the station. The two girls are being questioned separately and their story reeks. Here’s what we know for sure: Shaniq ran into her cousin Maria, whom she had not seen in a very long time. Shaniq shows Maria $5,000 in her purse, and they go smoke pot under the stairs in the lobby of some project (how about the fact that you can include pot smoking in your complaint and you don’t get in shit for it?). Soon after, they are robbed. Shaniq calls the cops—stoned. There’s nothing else for us to do now but play Columbo. It’s pretty fun, actually. You see it happening all over the station. Cops are sitting there unraveling various mysteries like it was on The Sopranos last night, only when they say, “I’m telling you—she knows these perps and the cousin is involved,” they’re talking about real crimes. Neat, eh? While Maria was being questioned, we got to ask Shaniq some questions, and vice versa. We weren’t supposed to, but could you resist? During our questioning, some problems popped up. Maria says they hit Shaniq with their gun. Shaniq didn’t see a gun. How did the perps know they were there? Where’d you get the money? Why were you going to go back to your mom’s to smoke pot if she’s on a ventilator? When we asked Shaniq what the money was for she said it was for college. Actually she said she it was “intuition money,” which is definitely something she desperately needs more of. Whenever Maria gets asked a question that she can’t answer, she looks shocked, fake cries (no actual moisture ever left her eyes), and says, “I was so scared.” It’s one thing to have to deal with liars all night, but these were some of the worst liars in New York City. Honestly. They lied like people do on sitcoms where you’re supposed to know they’re lying. Like, Jack Tripper style. 9:13 Maria’s sitting there fake crying and calls over to Jones, “Officer, can you go get me a tissue, please?” He gives her a paper towel and says, “That’s all we got.” Then she asks him for a cigarette. He says he doesn’t smoke. Then, about ten minutes later this bitch has the nerve to call over Jones again, point to one of the female narcs, and go, “Officer, I KNOW she smokes because I seen her smoke before. Can you ask her for a cigarette for me, please?” We stare at him with our eyes bulging out of our sockets. He rolls his eyes back at us and tells her, “She’s busy.” Can you believe this shit? Can we go back to Serpico days, please? Eventually we start seeing through the bullshit, and all the pieces fall together. Shaniq shows Maria her money. Maria then leads Shaniq to a well-known pot smoking spot and secretly texts the boyfriend something like, “We’re at the spot. Come rob us. Pretend I don’t know you.” Maria kept telling Shaniq “You have to call your mother,” but what she was really saying was, “Look, bitch. You know you can’t keep pretending that money was from your mother. You know you got it hustling, so if you’re going to blow up my spot, I’m going to blow up yours.” She was right. When we went up to the cops to give them our brilliant theory, they told us what the detective told them. “It’s simple. We’re going to call the mother. If she didn’t give nobody no $5,000, someone’s going to jail.” 10:12 Four crackheads are brought in and stand next to us. Two men and two women. Know why? Crack makes you fucking horny. Doing it with all dudes is like renting movies with a blind man. When you’re a multisexual group you can plug in to each other and give crack the biology it deserves. They’re wearing handcuffs. One of them pushes us aside and starts puking in the garbage. Then she pisses her pants. We asked one of the narcotics guys why she’s puking. Isn’t that a heroin thing? He says, “She’s drunk, too,” and walks off. The other crackheads are calm as nails. Have you ever done crack? There’s this weird part where you get so high and edgy you actually plateau and become calm again. That’s where they were. Sitting on top of Crack Mountain. 10:22 Rodriguez comes out. It looks like they’re going to be dealing with this for the rest of the night so we might as well go home. We ask them if they’re going to get a chance to eat. Jones goes, “Nope. What will happen is, I’ll end up eating the chicken tonight when I get home AND I’ll probably pick up some McDonald’s on the way.” Then he grabs his gut and shakes it before adding, “That’s why I’m so fucking fat.” Like a butterfly that flaps its wings on the other side of the world, that dumb cunt stole a pen and fucked up everyone’s life. 10:23 We leave the station and walk up to Perp Pizza. They’re closing up. We ask the guy if he knows his pizzeria is called Perp, not Mama’s, and he says, “Yes, we have very good food. We used to be on 96th. We have pasta and lasagna too. Very good.” GAVIN McINNES & JESSE PEARSON