Innuendo, couple of rude words, and some compromising scenes
After retiring from the city PD four years ago I found I didn’t like fishing nearly as much as I thought. Liked it so little I finally sold my boat and trailer. Nobody wants to buy old fishing tackle, so I gave that to charity.
Finished all the little fixups around the house I’d been putting-off while I waited for retirement. Never married, too late to do much about that, so that’s a hobby I won’t be taking-up any time soon. Don’t think so anyway. Did all the traveling I’d care to do when I worked for Uncle Chuck’s Navy. Nothing left suggesting retirement activity.
Found as much as I looked forward to retirement, my police career fairly-well defined me, made me jump out of bed mornings and exposed me to life and people enough to satisfy my simple needs. Many retired policemen go into “private police” work, one of three ways.
Senior officers pick-up handsome consulting gigs for private concerns. Sometimes as head of security. That requires a suit-and-tie attitude. A uniform is fine, but I’m uncomfortable in a suit, feel out of place unless it’s a wedding or a funeral.
Entrepreneurial types open private agencies doing background investigations, spouse surveillance, skip-tracing, that kind of thing. Comes across interesting, even exciting in a Hollywood way. In real life not so much.
Most beat cops unless they aspire to fame and fortune leading them into consulting or independent agencies, go to work in their afterlife as security guards. If they go back to work at all. Some might be content fishing five days a week. Whether they wear an insignia-labelled blazer or a uniform behind a badge, security work is similar – controlling facility access, protecting property, mostly just being a “presence.”
My last eight years as Shift Sergeant, in uniform, put me in contact with streetside policing now and again, but was mainly administrative. I got used to it, that’s what I preferred. Just to earn cigarette and whiskey money, I took a job with Dimmel-Klaghsen, an international contract security agency. It’s me or one of my associates you see at the desk or gate when you enter or leave a corporate facility.
Second shift at the Pettigonne Building suits me. First shift overloads you with people. Third shift is like watching a morgue. Second shift is the best of first and third, just enough human interaction to keep you sane and on your toes.
“Sue” was not an exceptionally good-looking woman. Then again, she wasn’t bad looking either. She was one of those ‘mystique’ women, the kind that don’t immediately make men act like idiots, but once men notice them, they have difficulty not noticing them every time they’re around. Bright red hair and what is called a “statuesque” build helped considerably. She started in HR on the ninth floor.
First paid attention personally when Sue signed in at my lobby desk after eight pm one evening “to file some state employment reports.” Fine. At eight forty-five, one of the eleventh-floor execs signed-in. Not my business to inquire why of an exec and he didn’t offer. About two hours later, the state HR reports apparently done, Sue signed-out. The exec signed-out shortly after. No office equipment went missing.
Yup. Went on this way every other week for a couple of months. Then the phone registry I work from said Sue had moved up to the eleventh floor. Now as Compliance Director. An executive from the fourteenth floor started to work from the office one evening a week. Sue signed-in usually first, though not always. State reports of a different sort I guess still required late night attention. Still no office equipment went missing.
For almost six months, Sue’s schedule of late-night report-filing overlapped executive work by the gent on fourteen. Besides becoming noticeably more attractive, Sue was obviously good at what she did. Professionally, I mean. She moved to the fifteenth floor as Assistant VP of Strategic Planning. All office equipment, on my shifts at least, remained safe.
Strategic Planning obviously requires a lot of hard work. One evening a week, usually Wednesday, Sue signed in. Since she was an AVP, I didn’t feel it necessary I be able to report I knew what she was working on. She didn’t offer. A twentieth-floor Vice President found Wednesdays the best night to put in a little overtime, too.
Two months into this new work schedule, Mrs. Twentieth Floor VP showed up at my desk one Wednesday evening about nine pm. She signed in. I dallied.
“Ma’am, if you’ll give me a minute, I’ll call up for your husband.”
“Policy? Why don’t I just go to the elevators and go up?”
“During the day, that’d be fine, but policy dictates non-employees be escorted by an employee after-hours.”
I called the VP’s number. Ten rings and no answer.
“Hm. No answer. Know he’s here. Maybe in the executive break room. Let me try that.”
I dialed AVP Sue’s number. On the fourth ring, Sue, seeming a bit winded, answered.
“Excuse me sir, Lobby Security here. I tried your office but got no answer, so I thought maybe you’d be in the break room.”
With the tiniest bit of confusion, Sue replied. “I’m not, um, oh, yes, I see, I guess.”
I continued. “Your wife is here in the lobby and would like to come up to your office. Would that be alright?”
Sue recovered. “Oh, yes! If you could just stall for a minute or two, that would be good. You understand?”
“Perfectly, sir.” Before the connection broke, I overheard sounds of people seriously scrambling around.
Addressing myself to Mrs. Twentieth floor VP, I said, “I’d best make note of this. Before I forget. Stickler for detail, my boss. Interrupting executives always best documented. Then I’ll personally walk you to the elevator.”
“Of course,” replied Mrs. Twentieth-floor VP.
My logbook had managed to secret itself under the evening inter-corporate mail pouch. Finally, I made careful notes of my brief incursion into executive affairs on the twentieth/fifteenth floor. I answered an un-ringing phone line twice to address questions from non-existent other late-evening overtime workers. Then I escorted Mrs. Twentieth Floor to the bank of elevators farthest from the main desk.
Mr. and Mrs. Twentieth-floor VP signed-out of the building twenty minutes later. Half an hour after, in perhaps the first conversation of any length she’d had with me, Sue expressed her appreciation for my clumsy but fortuitous intervention.
“That was quick thinking. You saved our asses. We both want to thank you but, the Missus and all you know, it’s rather up to me.”
“Not exactly sure why I did it.”
“But you did.”
“Yes. You’re adults. Not, I think, all tucked-in around the edges, but adults, and who am I to say?”
“Well, we appreciate it. Saved two careers. If ever there’s anything we can do for you, you let us know.”
“Well, I appreciate that. But I’m retired and in the slow-down lane. No axes to grind. Just passing time. Smoke a good cigar. A good glass of single malt. I’m pretty much satisfied.”
“I think we need a new head of security here. What do you think?”
“You know, we boot old whatshisname up the ladder and make you head of security. How about that?”
“Be okay if I think about it?”
“Why not jump at it? Job’s yours.”
“Paperwork, normal hours…”
“When you’re the boss you can shitcan all the paperwork!”
“Lemme think on it.”
“Sure. Take your time. Let me know.”
I did receive a nice box of cigars. Anonymously. Someone who knows a good smoke picked them out.
I’d hoped the participants had learned something from their close call. They did. How or why, I don’t know, but Mr. Twentieth-floor VP transferred to the west coast offices. Sue moved to the twentieth floor, as VP of Overseas Acquisitions.
Indeed, there are positions beyond VP. Sue continued to work on her career. Even with the staff support she surely had, occasional evenings were required of her. I guess exciting things were afoot at the company. Involved enough a senior board member worked alternating Wednesdays, into late evening when he did.
A soccer dad’s van t-boned my little compact one Wednesday afternoon weeks later. My car was totaled but I required only an overnight in the hospital for “observation.” A sub was dispatched to cover my shift. That shift turned-out somewhat eventful. I got the skinny when I debriefed the day shift desk man Thursday.
“Big Hoo-Ha here yesterday evening!” he offered as if it were prime gossip.
“Good looker on “Rug Row? The one with the big boomers on the twentieth floor was working late. So was one of the board members. You know the young-ish looking big dude?”
“Must have been some hanky-panky is all I can say.”
Board guy’s wife showed-up. Stormed past the guy working the desk to the elevators up to the twentieth.”
“Wife came down about twenty minutes later. Flew out the front door and disappeared. Police are looking for her.”
“Must have caught that looker VP and the board guy in a compromising way. Wife apparently shot them both. Cleaning crew discovered the bodies about midnight.”
“Yeah. Ain’t that something?”
I don’t believe I’ll be moving-up to head security any time soon.
© SP Wilcenski 2021