Wynn was bored. That wasn’t an unusual experience for her. Police
work tended to be boring. People didn’t seem to understand those exciting cop
shows they watched on television left a few things out. Like the interminable paperwork
you had to do if you arrested anyone on even the slightest charge. That could
easily take hours out of the day.
Of course, again unlike what the public might think from watching
television, police officers rarely actually arrested people. Most uniformed
cops might make three or four felony arrests a year. The rest of the time was
occupied by traffic patrol, refereeing disputes between neighbors, shopkeepers
and customers, and families, and taking reports on crimes discovered or
complained about to them.
Granted, Wynn was not ‘most’ cops. She was a member of the NYPD’s
Anticrime team. Or what used to be called Anticrime. They had been six hundred
officers scattered through the precincts, young and chosen for their initiative,
motivation, and resourcefulness, they were sent out in plainclothes to go after
known violent offenders, street gangs, and drug dealers.
It should have been a surprise to absolutely no one that they’d get
involved in a lot more shootouts and fights than the normal uniformed cop. But
New York’s mayor had used that statistic as an excuse to get rid of them a few
years back – before the citizens got rid of the mayor.
The city’s new mayor had brought them back – sort of. There weren’t
as many, and they were called Neighborhood Safety Teams and had to wear
identification. They were also under intense scrutiny, with an army of liberal
lawyers eagerly analyzing every use-of-force report in hopes of finding a new
client to sue the police.
Wynn wanted no part of it.
But there had been another, less publicized job for the plainclothes
cops, and that was to hang around high crime areas to catch criminals in the
act. That also included patrolling tourist areas to arrest pickpockets, purse
thieves, and fraud artists, and to safeguard the general happiness of a group
deemed important for New York’s hotel and restaurant industries.
Obviously, the new Neighborhood Safety guys were useless for this
kind of thing, so the precincts were given permission to put people in
plainclothes – and keep quiet about it. The liberals on city council and in the
media went crazy at the thought of cops not in uniform
That was currently Wynn’s job. And the only good thing to say about it
was she didn’t have to wear a uniform. Not wearing a uniform meant she got a
lot fewer stares than usual, could wear her hair loose, and wear more
Of course, she still got a lot of looks, mostly from men. Wynn had
an excellent sense of her surroundings and well-developed peripheral vision.
She was paranoid to a degree life and a lot of sexual harassment and bad dates had
taught her to be and trusted almost no one.
But she largely ignored the looks. She was used to them, and had
been for over a decade. She was wearing, as she often did, her favorite brown,
hip-length jacket with a black turtleneck sweater underneath. Not exactly
flashy and not meant to stand out or draw interest.
But she had an oval face with high cheekbones and unblemished ivory
skin, as well as platinum blonde hair dancing on her shoulders. And at six feet
tall, with an athletic body, she was eye-candy to males of all ages no matter
what she wore.
She had little fear of physical attacks. Her usual concern was simply
men hitting on her and trying to turn them down without being too much of a bitch. And she always turned them down. She had no interest
in strange men who could be anything or anyone.
Her stern, aloof demeanor did
not invite approaches by beggars, credit card salespeople, or horny males, but
it still happened, especially from the ever-hopeful last group. And for those
who insisted on interrupting her life anyway, well, she’d been told her jade
green eyes could make ice seem warm by comparison.
The problem with patrolling a given area like a subway station was
her usual brisk stride was… counterproductive. And strolling along slowly only
invited approaches. She’d had to develop a thicker skin than she’d already
possessed. And in a couple of cases show her badge and threaten to arrest men
who wouldn’t screw the hell off.
Horny bastards. All men were just horny bastards at heart.
The corollary to patrolling a small area like a subway station was
almost everyone passed through quickly enough not to notice. The ones who did
were generally shopkeepers and transit people upstairs. And they didn’t much
She yawned as she rode the escalator down, her eyes running up and
down the platform as it was revealed. She was looking for repeaters – people
she’d already noticed before, who, unlike her, had no good reason for lingering
on a platform.
She didn’t find any, and stepped off onto the platform, then
strolled along its length towards the other end, eyeing the throngs of confused
tourists arguing over maps and bored New Yorkers leaning against the walls waiting.
She was two-thirds of the way to the other end of the platform when
she heard a male voice raised in anger – something which almost always preceded
trouble. An instant later she realized it was two male voices. But rather than
arguing they seemed to be shouting the same words, which she hardly had time to
understand given their imperfect English.
Then the gunfire started. Guns going off were loud – much louder
than most people seemed to realize from the TV shows and movies. An enclosed
space with stone walls made the sound far worse and set her pulse racing. She
winced as she instinctive threw herself against the wall. Then after a moment’s
hesitation, she started running towards the sound.
Her partner Jared was upstairs. She could already hear him on the
radio in her ear calling for assistance as she pulled the Glock out from under
her jacket. There was a torrent of screaming and panicky running people coming from
all directions, only partly drowned out by the continuous gunfire.
As she got closer, she could already see people laying sprawled on
the platform with bodily fluids leaking out around them. She ignored it,
ignored them, her focus narrowing to the origin of those sounds. There was a
set of stairs ahead, facing away from her. She hugged the wall as she jogged
along until she was moving alongside them as they moved down, her head cocked
up and to the left as more and more of the stairs appeared through the stainless-steel
She raised her hands, Glock pointed unerringly to the top of the
railing. There was a man there holding a long-barreled rifle of some kind. She
had only an instant to recognize it as an AK-47 as she moved forward enough for
him to notice her and begin to turn his rifle towards her. But her Glock was
already trained on his head as it appeared over the top of the railing and she
fired rapidly as she kept moving forward and more of him appeared.
There were two men! The other was also turning towards her, his AK47
almost pointed right at her. Then the first man was thrown back against his
partner, knocking him back so that the barrel pointed up towards the ceiling as
he pulled the trigger.
Riding an adrenalin high Wynn’s Glock dropped down and fired
repeatedly into the second man as he tried to shrug off his partner’s body. He
grunted and was pushed back temporarily but yanked his rifle out from under his
partner and tried to bring it up again. She fired again, twice, before
realizing he had to be wearing some pretty heavy body
Her next shot took him on the bridge of his nose, and he stopped
Jared ran down the stairs, taking them five at a time, one hand on
the railing and the other on his Glock. She jerked her gun around towards him
before identifying him, then pulled it up and back, suddenly remembering she’d
She gulped in air and looked down at the two men sprawled across the
stairs as Jared reached them and carefully pulled the assault rifles away from
their bodies, putting them aside. The normal procedure was to handcuff them
even if you thought they were dead, but her bullets had taken both in the head
and it wasn’t like anyone jumped up and kept fighting after that.
She had heard virtually nothing but the gunfire until it stopped.
Now a rising babble of voices in various stages of pain, panic, fear, and alarm
began to rise from the people still on the platform. The conscious ones anyway.
She felt shaky as the adrenaline rush faded and she caught her
breath. She took three tries to get her gun holstered and only then remembered
to pull her badge out of her shirt and hang it down her chest from its lanyard.
Uniformed cops began streaming down the stairs shortly after that,
including at least two sergeants to take over the scene, she saw gratefully.
“You okay? You weren’t hit or anything?!” Jared demanded.
“No. They… no.”
“Fuckers were wearing body armor!” he growled. “It’s damn lucky you
got them with headshots.”
Luck had had nothing to do with it, she thought. The head was what
she’d seen first on the nearest gunman, and then the second had obviously
shrugged off her shots to the chest.
“Well, you wanted some time off,” he said with a half grin. “I guess
you’ll get it now.”
Wynn made a face at the prices pasted along the shelves. The cost of
food was getting crazy, and the cost of meat insane. She supposed she could
turn vegetarian if her stomach didn’t rebel, but even fruit and vegetable
prices were going through the roof.
She had a very well-paying job, one she had once thought was quite
secure and with a lot of promotional possibilities. She no longer thought that.
And she had been starting to lose interest in the job well before the subway
shooting. It wasn’t what it had once been and had never been what she had
thought it would.
The mayor had been delighted at the fortuitous presence of a cop
being able to end the shooting spree before too many lives had been lost. It
allowed him to brag about the NYPD and how safe New York normally was and what
would happen to anyone who committed violence on its streets. Or under them.
The two terrorists had been equipped with a dozen magazines each in
addition to the heavy body armor. They also had explosives in backpacks they
wore. They’d had no time to fire off even one entire magazine and no time to activate
their explosives. They’d been killed within thirty seconds of opening fire.
That was pure luck, she knew. She’d been lucky to be down there,
lucky to be, in essence, behind them and able to run up to approach them where
they couldn’t see her until she stepped back from the wall below the staircase.
And luck she hadn’t gotten shot.
After that had come interminable interviews with a variety of
people, including one of the department’s psychiatrists to evaluate her
reaction. Then in a spurt of good public relations, inspired, she was sure, by
the mayor, she’d been promoted to detective third grade.
Swell. She didn’t want to be a detective. Way too much paperwork
with that job. And she’d have to wear business outfits: blazers, dress pants,
and dress shoes. Ugh. It would also put her on computers and phones at her desk
much of the day.
Her parents wanted her to meet some nice man and settle down. Only
she didn’t like nice men, and she bored easily. Spending all day sitting at a
desk poking away at keyboards was not going to be her thing, even if it did
come with a bump in salary.
It would help ease her financial worries. But then so would a roommate
– one of either sex. If only she didn’t suck at the compromises needed to
sustain a life as part of a couple – married or platonic.
She wasn’t good at compromises, had high expectations of others, and
was never happy at ‘settling’ for anything less than she wanted. She was also,
according to a psychiatrist her parents had made her see when she was a
teenager, borderline sociopathic.
She preferred to think of herself as a realist. As a practical
person. She understood the law. She understood regulations. She just didn’t
respect them. They were overly complex and often failed to impart anything
remotely resembling justice. Wynn’s belief in justice was unshakeable, and not
reliant on whatever a judge or jury thought or said or wanted.
She’d had to fake her way through the psychiatric interview. She
knew if she told the guy she had no cares, concerns, regrets
or doubts whatsoever about killing those two assholes he’d just keep chipping
away at her, so she’d made some up.
She had no issue with lying if it was useful.
And hey, she needed nourishment.
She threw the steak into the cart and moved on.
She was considering her options in life as she moved into the
processed meat section. She wasn’t generally one to eat processed meat but had
never grown out of a fondness for hot dogs with the works. That was probably a
result of her time as a uniform buying lunches and often dinners from street
She would have been quite content to have worked in the eighties, or
perhaps any time before that. But things had turned sour sometime in the
nineties and it didn’t seem likely they were going to get any better any time
soon. Quite the contrary.
Her new boss was a fool, and his boss was a moron. The department
was led by a political hack with little familiarity with life’s realities and
whose only purpose in life was to make the mayor happy.
Wynn had always had a deep and unfailing love of justice. That had been
a major part of why she’d become a cop. But justice, aside from shooting people
in the head, was growing ever more elusive in an era where the people she
arrested were largely released without bail after processing. Not to mention
having their cases mostly dropped by a desperately woke district attorney who
thought ‘systemic racism’ was the cause of all of life’s problems.
She didn’t care if a criminal was white, black, brown, yellow or
red. If they did bad things, they should be punished. If the system wouldn’t
punish them then what was the point of its existence? And why was she wasting
her life in it? Aside from the money, of course. And the very occasional
benefit of getting to shoot assholes.
There were just too many rules put in place by too many idiots. And
she knew she’d have to find another department somewhere. The problem was they
were all pretty much the same unless she went out into the boonies with the
rednecks and hicks and religious nutjobs, none of whom she got along with.
Besides, she liked living in a big city. She was a city girl at
heart, and liked the rhythm and life of the streets. Too much quiet made her