A Red Letter Day
It was going to be a red letter day; the war on drugs was going to take a big step in the right direction. At eight o’clock that evening, Detective Laura Kimber had hurried the warrant to the home of the duty judge, and the detectives and detail officers gathered around the block near the intended target. The plan was simple, they were going to hit the hide out of a well known drug pin and complete a major drug bust. The wait wasn’t too long; they get the call from Kimber and then they head toward that target home on Ellis Street.
Two unmarked Dodge Chargers and six radio cruisers pulled up in front of a two story shit pile on the south side of the street, where police tumbled out and took the house in rough approximation of a NFL football team. Detective Chambers was the first through the front door, followed by two of Bridgeport Connecticut’s uniforms. Then O’Brien stormed in with several more uniforms in tow.
A fifteen year old boy wearing a New York Jets jersey meandered down the front hallway to answer the loud banging on the wooden door frame was now pressed against the flaking plaster, a uniform was shouting at him to shut the fuck up and keep still for the body search. A second teenager in a black sweat shirt with golden letters spelling out his favorite rap group, assessed the situation, and then raced back across the middle room shouting to the others that the police were here.
O’Brien yanked Paul Revere out of the doorway and pushed him against the side wall as Fuentes and more officers shoved their way down the dark hallway toward a room with a bright light. They kicked opened the flimsy wooden door and there they saw six young teenagers crowded around a small table with an aerosol cleaning product and a small box of sandwich bags in front of them. Only one of the six bothered to look up at the intruders and for that teenager, there was a moment or two of no recognition. Then suddenly, he began shouting wildly, running for the rear window. One of the uniforms caught him by the shirt as he tried to scurry out, then she bent him over a night stand and cuffed him.
The others were lost to the world and made no effort to move. One of them expressed his indifference by pressing the plastic bag to his face and sucked down a final blast. The chemical stench was overpowering as he just passed the bag to the boy next to him.
“I can’t believe it!” Shouted Chambers, shoving one kid over a dresser.
“What do you think about the raid now?” asked O’Brien, pushing another captive into a small chair.
“Sniffers!” he shouted. “There’s no damn drugs, just a bunch of punk kids who is going to get a shit load of ass-whopping from their mommas.”
From the second floor bedrooms; a cacophony of cursing from detail officers and screaming women, followed by more shouting from the third floor attic hit Chambers dead in the face. In twos and threes, the occupants were roused from nearly a half dozen rooms and marched down the wide, rotting stairwell into the center of that house. There were teenagers, small children, middle aged women, and grown men, all came down until they were assembled in the middle of the living room.
The crowded room was strangely silent. It was almost nine o’clock and a dozen of police were parading through the house, and the beleaguered residents asked no questions about the raid. It was as if they have reached that point when police raids no longer required reasons.
Detective Laura Kimber rushed in and saw the crowd, but there were no arrests, and no drugs.
“We got it wrong,” Chambers said.
Brown faces creased into sardonic smiles as the detail officers were already at work, taking names and dates of birth.
A full five minutes had past when a large dark man with white patches on his face spoke up. “What the hell you doing in my house?”
Chambers walked toward the exit door, and the heavyset man gave him a look. “You in charge here?”
“I’m one of them.”
“You got no right to come to my house.”
“I got every right. I got a warrant.”
“It’s a warrant signed by a judge.”
“Telling you to break into my house?”
Chambers jerked his head up and stared at the large man, but the only thing coming back was a look of remorse.
© 2014 Frank Atanacio
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