O’Malley walked ahead of the men and into a room with a small desk and two wooden chairs. He closed the door. “So now what is up with you, Jim? My boys are clean.”

“I know that, Duncan.”

“Then why are you here wasting my time?”

“What’s your waist size, Duncan? A 36 or a 38?”

“36. Why?”

“I just want to size your coffin.”

“WHAT? You boys have wasted enough of my time. If you think your idle threats will get money out of me and my brother, you’re dead wrong. First I’ll put the fear of God in the both of you and then I’ll go down and tell your grandparents about this.”

“Duncan, calm down. It’s not what you think.”

“You better tell me what I think.”

“I want to give you a job.”

“I have a job.”

“I need someone who can walk a beat and still be respected.”

“You want me to be a flat foot?”


“Well, I’ll have to think about it.”

Jim smiled and nudged the other officer. He opened his jacket and pulled out a soft brown paper-wrapped package and dropped it on the desk.

“Now what the hell is that?” Duncan asked.

“It’s your blue coffin. You start walking your beat tomorrow morning.” Jim dropped a tin badge down on the package.

“I didn’t say yes.”

“You didn’t say no.” Jim and the other officer turned to leave.

“Where is my beat?”

“Hell’s Kitchen, of course.”

The two officers walked out the door. O’Malley picked up the badge and ran his finger over the engraved letters  — NYPD.

A few minutes passed before Alex came bounding in. “Duncan!? What happened?”

“They got to me.”

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