They called it the New England States-Maritime Provinces Narcotics Officers Drinking Club, a couple hundred cops taking over the entire Days Inn off the I-95 just outside Bangor for the weekend. By Saturday night they had a barbeque set up by the pool, the no glass rule was long gone and the saunas were co-ed. Music blasted, country mostly, a little R’n’B when the Fed from Boston got near the system.
The idea was an informal exchange of information. Rumours, innuendo, which dealers were on their way up, who was bringing in larger shipments, who was the biggest pain in the ass, who was most likely to get killed. All that stuff that couldn’t go in official reports, stuff that wouldn’t ever see the inside of a courtroom but stuff that would be good if the cops on both sides of the world’s longest unprotected border were aware.
In room 202 Staff Sergeant Jerry Northup, the highest ranking RCMP officer on the trip, laid his cards on the table and said, “Even in Canada we call that a full house.”
“You got a lot of time up there to play cards, don’t you?”
Northup pulled in the chips and winked at Sherriff Cousins from Worcester, saying, “Oh yeah, you know us, we’ve got no crime we just sit around in our igloos practicing moose calls and playing poker.”
“You’re in my backyard now.”
Jerry said, you know it, and dealt another hand. The room’s bed had been pushed out into the hall to make room for the table brought up from the restaurant, six cops sitting around it, maybe a thousand bucks would change hands. It was all in fun.
One floor down a naked Constable Evelyn Edwards was on top of a DEA guy from Portland, Maine, both of them very close, and her phone started beeping and the DEA guy said, “Whoa, you’re not going to answer that,” and she said, yeah, I have to, “I’m on duty.”
“You’re five hundred miles out of your jurisdiction, you’re in another God damn country.”
She was beside the bed then pulling her phone out of her jeans in the pile of clothes on the floor saying, we couldn’t all get the weekend off, then into the phone, “Edwards ... Yes, un-huh, wow, really?” She shook her head and the DEA guy knew they weren’t going to finish any time soon.
Edwards pulled on her sweatshirt and jeans and took off barefoot out of the room saying she’d be back and the DEA guy saw her bra and panties on the floor beside her running shoes and thought, hey, maybe they would finish.
In the poker room Sheriff Cousins was raking a pot, a big one, saying he knew his luck was going change when Edwards walked in out of breath, all the guys looking at her messed up hair and she said, “Sergeant Northup,” and Jerry said, “Hey Ev, you looking to lose some money?”
“No sir, it’s about, it’s Superintendent Bergeron.”
Jerry looked at his cards and said, Henry? What now, “Did he lock himself out of the office again?”
Cousins laughed like he knew all about that kind of boss and Edwards said, no sir.
“He died, sir.”
Jerry leaned back in his chair and looked at her. Shit.
Party’s over …
Praise for Declan Burke: “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – The Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “A hardboiled delight.” – The Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review). “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre, was ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL.” – Sunday Times. “The writing is a joy.” – Ken Bruen. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.
Friday, May 21, 2010
The Best Things In Life Are Free … Downloads
All three regular readers of CAP will be aware that John McFetridge (right) is a terrific writer, or at least good enough to be dubbed ‘the Canadian Elmore Leonard’, which is good enough for me and should be good enough for you too. His current novel is titled SWAP or LET IT RIDE, depending on which jurisdiction you find yourself, but he’s also just released a long short story via Smashwords, called ‘East Coast’. It’s free to download to the viewing mechanism of your choice here, with the frammis kicking off thusly: