We're rapidly approaching the end of Detective Hussey's case files. Enjoy!
New Year's Eve is another big PO-LEECE holiday. Well, I guess they all are. Let's face it. In those days, any excuse to drink was an excuse. I remember the big party at Dewey Pollock's house one year. That was the year Hugh McCrorie told off one of the Majors and everybody got naked and went swimming in Dewey's ice cold pool.
We all had to be to work on the day shift the next morning (New Year's Day), and the party went until the wee hours. I left around six o'clock in the morning and had to be in briefing at seven-thirty.
I drove home, how I am not sure, and took a long hot shower. It didn't really help. I staggered back to my car, and drove the mile and a half to the police station. As I dressed, several other partygoers from the evening prior began to filter in. Nobody had much to say, everybody was still drunk, but now we were really tired. If we hadn't been so young, it would probably have killed us.
We made our way into the briefing room and took seats near the back of the room. It's hilarious to see seven or eight guys with Ray-Ban sunglasses on sitting on the back row of the room so the Lieutenant doesn't smell your breath.
"Y'all come on up a little closer," Lieutenant Grier said, rubbing his chin. Lt. Clarence Grier always rubbed his chin when he knew something was awry. Lt. Grier was one of the few black members of the department who had made it above the rank of Officer. He'd obtained his Master's Degree from Rollins College in Orlando, at a time when the "Law Enforcement Officer's Assistance Program" was in full swing. The theory was that if they educated the police, they'd get a more well-rounded, "thinking" kind of policeman. It idea took a long time to catch on. We were still in the "head-busting" mode.
As we all got silently out of our chairs and moved closer to the front, the stale smell of beer breath hit the L.T.'s nostrils. He forgot whatever information he was planning to put out, and suggested that we adjourn the briefing and re-convene at KC where we could sober up with coffee and breakfast. It probably wasn't a bad idea. I don't think there was a completely alcohol free policeman in the room, save Grier and his Sergeant. Thank God it was a slow New Year's Day, so we had lots of opportunity to nurse our hangovers and recover.
Another New Year's Eve brings back fond memories for me. It was one of the rare occasions that I threw a New Year's Eve Party at my house down on West Hancock Street. The year before, I had gone to Breathalyzer/Itoxilyzer School over in Haines City. I had become a state certified operator, and had administered a number of chemical tests to determine the sobriety of various drivers. My house was only a couple of miles from the Police Department. Most of the watch commandeers knew this, and without intent, I had become a favorite of theirs for call-outs.
On this particular evening, it was approaching midnight, and I had been consuming alcohol for several hours. We had a keg, and as was customary in those days, it was already floating in the icy water of the blue, cut off barrel which had been furnished by XYZ Liquor store owner, Leo Auger when he'd given me the free keg of beer.
The telephone rang around 10:30. Somebody answered it and after wading through the party guests, told me I had a phone call. This of course was before the time of cordless telephones, so I went to my bedroom so I would be able to hear.
"This is Lieutenant Elliot," the voice on the other end said.
"Hey Gold, whass up?" I slurred.
"I need you at the station to run a B.A. One of the guys got a drunk driver," he said.
"On New Year's Eve, imagine that," I said. "Look Boss, I've been drinkin' since before dark. I'm hammered."
"No shit." The lieutenant sounded disgusted.
"No, I'm serious, I'm wasted."
"Well, all right, let me make some more calls, thanks." We hung up hung up, and I went back to my beer and my guests.
It was closer to midnight, when someone yelled, "Hey Huss, telephone."
This time I staggered into the bedroom catching my big toe on the bed. Who the hell could this be? I thought. "Hello," I said.
"Mark, it's Elliot again, I called everybody, no one can come. I need you."
"Are you shittin' me? I told you, I'm plastered, and I got a house full of guests."
"Look, this won't take long, you don't have far to go. Come on down and be careful."
Before I could thing of anything to say the phone went dead. Holy shit, I thought. I didn't even know if I could get my car out.
Be sure to come back next Friday to see how this played out for Detective Hussey.