Niles opened the office at 7:25 in the morning. It looked and smelled clean. He smiled, “that’s a good start.” He tossed the department procedure and guideline book on the desk. He sat down and looked around. “Coffee maker, what the heck kind of police station is this without a coffee maker.”
“Barney,” Niles called out in fun, “where’s the coffee maker. Well, go buy one.”
Niles opened the files and glanced through them. After 15 minutes he concluded, “what I learned most from the records is that they didn’t keep good records.”
Niles checked his watch, 7:45. He looked out the window; the entire Brewster Harbor Police Department slogged up the driveway as if they just came in from a drunk and walked in.
“Good morning, gentleman,” Niles said. “Before I introduce myself I’d like to say you’re both 15 minutes late and that’s going to be the best part of this conversation. It’s all down hill from here on out, so if you wish to leave now turn in your badge and weapon. Write a brief statement that you resigned on this date and have all your uniforms returned within 24 hours.
They looked at each other.
“I really like working here.”
“Me too, until now.”
Tom mentally counted to ten. “Okay, I’m Niles Quinn. I’m the new chief. I’m your boss and you’ll never have a more loyal partner.”
“I’m Tom Portier.” Tom stood about 5 feet 5 inches, built like a fire hydrant. He had a graveling voice and belly that hid his belt. His black hair laid shaggy and greasy. He needed a shave last week.”
“I’m Sid Shulman.” Sid stood two inches taller. He shaved, but sliced himself a lot. He was thin, but solid. His head was buz shaved.
After shaking hands, Niles invited them to have a seat.
“First of all,” Niles said. “You have three uniforms. You wear a clean one, you have another clean one hanging up, and you have another one being cleaned. You have a procedure and guidline book just like this one.” Rich held it up. “In it is how to dress, there are no deviations.”
“Either you grow a beard or shave,” Niles said. “Don’t wear your breakfast on your face.” Niles rubbed his finger near his cheek and looked at Tom, “Eggs over this morning, right.”
Tom removed a hanky from his back pocket and wiped the egg away.
“There ya go,” Niles said
“Sorry, Chief,” Tom said.
“And, Sid,” Niles said, “you’re the worst, you should have told him.”
Niles stroked his chin. He started to say something, but held in his temper. “Let me just say you both look like crap. You’re both disgraceful. You should be fired, but I don’t know you and all I can hope is that I’ll see a change. I’m given you that chance.”
“Now, Tom,” Nile said, “Tell me how you came to be on the force.”
“I needed a little extra money,” Tom said. “I got hired and had to take an online course. It took be about two months. I got good grades.”
“You ever fire your weapon,” Niles asked.
“Yeah,” Tom said. “The ex chief, Kevin, took me out in the woods and we fired off a few clips.”
“What about you, Sid,” Niles said, “how did you happen to be on the force?”
“I heard they needed somebody,” Sid said. “I worked as a fire watchman in the backwoods and the guy before Kevin hired me. He said being a fire watchman was close enough.”
Niles slid open his desk drawer. He grabbed two soft bound books. “This is the basics of being a good uniformed officer, from writing a ticket, filling out accident reports, to breaking up a domestic altercation – read it.” He handed it to them.
“You’ll find a lot of stuff in there about being a man, not just a police officer,” Niles said.
“I’ve done some checking around,” Niles said. “A guy can stock shelves at the grocery or wash dishes for what you get paid here. It may take me a bit, but you can expect a raise. That’s if you work out and really want to be a part of the police force.”
“Thanks,” they said.
“Do you guys like being policemen?” Niles said.
“I like it,” Sid said.
“Me to,” Tom said.
“Do you like it enough to be full-time officers?” Niles said.
“We was kinda hopping one of us was going to be made chief,” Tom said.
“And the guy that didn’t get it would go to full-time,” Sid said.
“I don’t know if you can do that without the town council and mayor,” Tom said.
“The department procedures and guidelines are explicit,” Niles said. “I control salaries and the number of officers as long as it’s in the budget. Part of my job at the 10th precinct in New York was to find money for what we needed. I got real good at it.”
“People here are tight,” Sid said
“I guess I’ll have to loosen them up a bit,” Niles said. “My first official day is in three days. We’ll keep your present schedule until I get the money for you guys to go full-time.” Niles lifted his arm and pointed. “When I walk on the job Monday you guys better look like police officers or I’ll fire you on the spot. It’s all in the procedures and guidelines. I have incredible powers within the force.”
“We’ll be ready,” Sid said.
“Yeah, me too,” Tom said.
“You’re dismissed,” Niles said.
“What do you want us to call you?” Sid said.
“Chief and I call you Officer,” Niles said.
They exited the office.
“That’s a good start,” Niles thought.