Marvel at the thrilling adventures of classic noir detective Xavi: Possession Cop
I was playing with my blinds when I got the call. I liked the way the shadows played on my face as I fingered their folds, adding dark and slanty intrigue to my curious mush. I was curious as to why I had yet to attach the blinds to my wall, as it would be easier to play with them that way. I was also curious as to why my chief was calling me so late.
“We need our best man on the case, Xavi. The mayor has been running deep with the mob, gotten his fingers in one too many calzones, kapeesh? His wife’s been kidnapped, and you’re the man to find her.”
Italians. You always gotta peek under the sauce to check that it’s pasta, that’s what I always say. I told my chief that, but he said a calzone is really more of a folded pizza. I got dressed and turned up at the station so we could shoot the breeze. The chief was chewing down paper cups of coffee, which was absolutely the wrong way of drinking coffee. I didn’t correct him on his error, and asked him for more details.
“All we know is that she’s somewhere downtown, between 42nd and 3rd. Or 3rd and 42nd, we can’t be sure. We haven’t got an exact location, but we suspect she’s in one of these buildings.”
He showed me a map with four buildings circled. Together they formed a crudely misshapen defence that would be easy for a man like me to break through with some solid, patient passing. A younger man than me, anyway. Like me, for instance, when I was younger. I didn’t know if I had such a big case left in me anymore. I no longer had that burning ambition that drove a wedge between me and my wife. When she left me she asked me where I wanted to be. I said I’d always been aiming for top spot, that one perfect through-ball.
“I remember the first time you told me that. You were just one pass away from top spot when you met me. Don’t you see, Xav? You’ll always be just one pass away.”
That was the last time I saw her. She always used to say there was a third person in our marriage. A guy called Jack Daniel. After she left me, that left just the two of us, and neither of us were planning any trips to IKEA anytime soon.
“Hey, you gonna quit reminiscing or what?”
My chief was angry. I’d been writing my memoirs at the most awkward times, but I didn’t want to forget any of my hard-boiled, heart-broken prose as it occurred to me. I returned my notebook to my pocket.
“Where’s your gun?”, asked the chief, chiefishly.
“A friend’s looking after it for me.”
“A cop? A friend? Dammit, Xavi, cops don’t have friends, they only have other cops. So you definitely can’t have a friendcop. Here, take mine.”
He handed me a gun. The cold, smoothness of the barrel reminded me of the tensile surface of a football inflated to regulation size. That would be my weapon of choice. It always had been. The chief’s attitude was always ‘shoot first, ask questions later, maybe shoot again later than that if the questions didn’t go so well’. Me? I pass first, ask questions during. I find it confuses people.
“And Xavi? I need you to go long-ball on this one – no short passes. You gotta follow the book on this one! It’s my ass on the line here!”
I didn’t care. Sure, my methods were unorthodox, but they got results, as virtually all unorthodox policing methods tend to do, for some peculiar reason.
Later that night, as I found myself kicking footballs at buildings in search of the mayor’s wife, I realised that I was getting too old for this shit. I knew that my game had never been based on pace and the first yard had always been in my head, which meant I could expect to retire later than most of my peers might. Basically I was just tired. Eventually, some broad sees me, asks me what I’m doing.
“I’m here to chew bubblegum and pass a football around. Actually I’m just here to pass a football around.”
I turned to the broad, and I placed a face to the voice, which came from the head of my ex-wife, Jan. Not the wife that had just left me, another one. I don’t know why I kept getting new wives, I clearly didn’t enjoy them very much. But we spoke about old times, caught up on the new. She’d holed herself up with a guy from the wrong side of the tracks, had some beef with some notable Italians. I probed a little, playing neat one-twos with her, until she gave me the information I needed. She pointed out a building hidden in darkness, two blocks down. Big Petey ‘Little Petey’ Bareso had been seen coming and going. Up to no good I shouldn’t wonder. I thanked Sheila, which angered Jan, because her name was Jan and not Sheila. I told her to shut up. I had a mayor’s wife to find.
I jogged two blocks, and found the door open. I climbed the stairs quietly, following female cries for help. There she was, the mayor’s wife, tied to a bed, trussed up like a Christmas turkey. I musta had a thing for kidnapped women, because she was one hot hostage. I told her this and she liked it.
“I knew you’d find me. You’re the best cop in the city.”
“Eeeh, I used to be, kid. Not anymore. It’s all about the Wilsheres of the world now. I’m a spent match. A busted flush. Old news.”
She seemed to enjoy the way I pronounced ‘old nooz’ in a kinda Noo Yoik accent, because before I knew it she was bouncing down on top of me like a toilet plunger in a bowl, trying to push out all the shit within me. The failed marriage. The job. The mob. Everything. It was a sad orgasm, but not without its charm. I thanked her sweetly, but needed to get her out of there. She just wanted to talk. Typical broad.
“Xavi, do you fall in love with all of your clients?”
“Only the ones that look like footballs, toots.”
“What about me, do I look like a football?”
“Not even a little bit.”
“Your ex-wife did.”
“Don’t bring her into this!”
“Don’t let Adidas Tango change you. She just wasn’t right for you. Can’t you ever see yourself marrying again?”
“No dice, babe. I’m married to the game. The game of treating the crime game like another game. The game of football.”
Before I could light up a smoke in cool celebration of my hip rejoinder, a mob stoolie burst into the room holding a gun. I quickly counted his fingers. He had all of his fingers, so I knew it was likely he would shoot. As the mayor’s wife screamed in post-coital mortal terror, I did what I had to do. I’d do it again if I had to. I passed the ball, with perfect weight and precision into the feet of this guy, this hired gun. It seemed like everything had been leading up to this moment. Everything I’d ever done wrong in my dirty, stinkin’ life could all be undone with one pass of the football, and it was perfect. It was the perfect through-ball that I always knew I was capable of.
The guy looked at the football, confused. It didn’t seem to work.
He then shot three times. Three bullets – one for the ball, one for the mayor’s wife, one for me. As the lights dimmed, I could only see the carnage left before me, and could feel the salty warmth of grief rolling down my cheek. The last thing I was to ever see on this earth, and it was a travesty. Shot to ribbons in her prime. Once so beautiful, so graceful, and now motionless. That football had one day left to retirement. Blackness enveloped me, like a really big black envelope, and I slept a sleepy sleep…
The first face I saw when I woke in hospital was the chief. He had something for me, but it sure as hell weren’t no bag of grapes.
“The mayor’s wife is dead! You couldn’t resist playing one more pass, couldja? What do I always tell ya? Don’t get emotionally involved, Xavi. That ball doesn’t love you, it’ll just get you killed!”
His face softened, like a moist cake left on a warm windowsill.
“Dammit, Xavi. You’re the best damn possession cop I ever had. But she’s dead. You hear me? Dead! She’s not living anymore! Whenever the quacks let you outta here, the first thing you do is you see me. You hand in your gun, your badge, and your sense of tactical sophistication. My department has no room for mavericks.”
And just like that, he walked out on me. Just like everybody else does. Seems there just aint no room for a washed-up maverick no more.
Get your X:PC t-shirts here, you goddamn nogoodnik.