The Night Before Christmas
Mark S. Halegua
He approaches the front desk, set on a platform, and the duty officer, Sergeant Muldoon, looks down/ “Hi Lieutenant. So, you got Christmas, huh? I thought you'd be able to get the day off.”
“No, Francis. Seniority still means something here.”
“How's your wife taking it? You working Christmas, I mean?”
“She's the granddaughter, daughter, and wife of a cop. She knows the drill. She understands, even if she doesn't like it. The only thing is, it's one year today since her father was killed, and she's a bit upset we haven't arrested the killer, Tony Minetti. He must have gotten out of town, nobody's been able to find him.”
“So, Sgt., what do you have to report? Busy night?”
“Nothing sir. It's been mostly quiet. I guess you could say nothing is stirring. Ha. We did get a call in from Northtown. Don't know what it's about yet. Probably some party making too much noise. Sent Toody and Cardona.”
“OK. Well, I have paperwork to do.”
“Unfortunately, I have some to add, Lt.”
Walking to his office, with Sgt. Muldoon following behind him with a sheaf of papers, Lt. Jim Halloran removes his overcoat and sits at the beaten old wooden desk on an equally beaten wooden swivel chair. On the walls hang framed pictures of a younger Halloran in a pitching pose, wearing the uniform of the Toledo Mud Hens. Another of him holding a bat.
On the desk a picture of him in a tuxedo and a dark haired woman in a wedding dress. Another picture with him in a police officer's uniform standing next to an older officer with Sgt. stripes.
Sgt. Muldoon looks at the pictures on the wall, “You know sir, it's a pity you hurt your arm. I think you would have made the majors the next year. I saw you pitch once. You looked like you could put that fastball wherever you wanted to. What a fastball! And your curve, twisted guys silly with that.”
Halloran looks up from the stack of papers on his desk wistfully. "It might have happened. But, I did get hurt. And now I've got this great job. I'm a cop. I met Mary because I'm a cop. I wouldn't have it any other way.”“Yes sir. I need you to sign these.”
Lt. Halloran signs the papers and Sgt. Muldoon leaves.
Half an hour later Muldoon crashes into the room, “you gotta come out here Lt. They got him!”
“They got who, Muldoon?”
Rushing out into the lobby Halloran sees three handcuffed men surrounded by cops. One of them is Tony Minetti.
“Minetti! Toody, Cardona, you arrested Minetti??!! Where, how?”
Officer Gunther Toody, holding the handcuffed Minetti, “well sir, we got a call to go to this house in Northtown, there had been an attempted robbery. So, we go there and these three are hanging off a streetlight in, well, uh, in Christmas stockings.”
Halloran raises his eyebrows in surprise, “What? Christmas stockings?”
Tony Minetti interrupts, “It was Santa Claus what did this! Santa Claus who stuffed us. Without him you would never have gotten me, coppers.”
Toody chimes in, “That's what the swells said too Lt. Santa Claus came down and well, uh...”
“The guy even put coal in the stockings wit us!”
“Coal. Well,” Walking over to Minetti. “You have charges more serious than attempted robbery on you Minetti. And you deserve more than a lump of coal for it. You killed a cop last year. For that, you're going to burn.”
Turning to Muldoon, “Lock him up. Tight.”
“You bet sir.”
As Minetti is led away he screams, “Santa Claus. Freakin' Santa Claus!”
“Muldoon, I'll be in my office. I have a call to make.”
He enters the room and closes the door, walks over to the phone on the desk and dials a number.
“Honey, it's me. Did I wake you? No, no. I'm fine. Sorry to call you so late. We got him. Merry Christmas.”