"Alpha 816," Victor said into his shoulder pack, as he looked around the deserted alley in disgust. "I am at the location of Seventy-ninth and Biarritz, responding to a thirty-eight, but there's no one on scene."
"Alpha 816. Location was Atlantic Cable Company. Northeast Seventy-ninth Street and Biarritz Drive. White male with a knife; request for a unit to respond." The crackling static of the dispatcher's voice filled the alley, but then just as quickly dissipated when he hit the button to respond, reminding him that he was alone.
"Alpha 816," he said, "there's no one here. I've also checked the parking facility and both businesses at that location, but they are also clear. The scene is secure."
"Alpha 816. Will advise," dispatch responded.
"Alpha 816. I'll be at twelve then." It was 1:30 in the morning, and "twelve" meant that it was time for a dinner break. A nice, greasy burger to help him get through the rest of this shitty night was in order. Tomorrow was his day off-he'd just work it off with a few extra sets at the gym.
"Alpha 816. I'll have you at twelve until zero-two-three-zero," dispatch crackled back.
The radio went silent, and he was alone again. He headed back to his squad car, thinking maybe he'd head back down to SoBe and The Diner on 11th and Washington for a bite. Maybe get a good look at the mamis while he ate. Watch as they sauntered into Mynt from their limos in leopard-print cat suits and leather minis.
He opened the car door and sat inside. He had left the car running while he walked through the mess in the alley, so that the AC would keep the car cool. Though it was November, the temperatures were still in the eighties; the humidity at 90 percent. It was enough to make even a nice Cuban boy like himself gasp for drier air.
In September, MBPD Chief Jordan had ordered newfangled laptops be installed in all marked Beach cruisers-a sign of how progressive the department was. Never mind that the Florida Highway Patrol and the Miami-Dade P.D. had both had them for more than two years. They were supposed to speed things up-tag searches, driver's license searches, BOLOs (Be On the Lookout For), wanteds, report writing, obtaining interstate criminal information, and FCIC criminal warrants. The laptops scanned, emailed, and had Internet access to everything, including CJNet-the Criminal Justice Network. Broad-reaching technology that provided, in Victor's opinion, the ability to retrieve almost too much information, and hence-when someone like himself fucked up and missed something-the perfect excuse for an ass reaming by a member of the brass for not looking hard enough in the first place.
He hit the button on the screen to write yet another useless report on what he had not found in the alley, and the MBPD badge screen saver disappeared. When he read the words that stared back at him in bold-faced capital letters, glowing white in the darkness of his squad car, he was at first puzzled. Within a moment, though, they became all too clear to him. But by then it was just too late.