Nostrand Ave

Nostrand Ave

By Tony Ortiz | March 22nd, 2015

        Henry woke up and went through his morning routines as quietly as possible, so that he wouldn’t wake Dolores.  But no luck.  As usual, she barely got any sleep the night before.  Too busy worrying.  He graduated the Academy barely 6 months ago and has a late night to early morning shift during his patrol.

Did you put on your vest? She asked.

I did babe.  Don’t worry, he responded.

You know I can’t stop worrying until after you’re home, and still … hours later you’re gone again.  Said Dolores.

Come here babe, he told her as he sat down at the side of the bed.  I won’t be on this shift too much longer.  Once I hit the one-year mark, I’ll be able to put in for a transfer, Henry told her.   

The next six months can’t pass soon enough, she replied.  Be safe out there.  And call me every chance you get.

Will do babe.  I love you.  Try and get some sleep.

Out he went to his post, where he met up with his Partner.

Martineeez, he greeted his Partner.

What’s going on brother? He responded.

Not much said Henry.  Here, got you a coffee.

Who’s better than you?  Thanks man, responded Martinez.  The Lieutenant wants us covering the A-Line, and walking the perimeter of some of the red-zone stations.

Okay, cool.  Lead the way, responded Henry.

You’ll like it.  Ride some trains, look at the pretty ladies going to work, bullshit on the platforms.  Easy money, said Martinez.

On the other side of town, Tracy was being woken up for school by her loving mother.

Wake up you fat lazy bitch, yelled Ms. Walker.

Mom! What the fuck.  I’m up.  Damn.  Why you always gotta be so damn loud?  Tracy responded.

This my house.  I’ll be as loud as I want, she responded.  You aint gonna wind up like me[1], she continued while taking a sip of her morning cocktail (Gin & Sunny DeLight).

I hope not, Tracy said with an attitude.

Don’t make me slap the shit outta you.  Get your fat ass up and go to school.

            As she was leaving the house for her hour and a half commute, she asked her mom for some money for the train.

Where the fuck is your school Metrocard?

I lost it, Tracy responded.

Well, that sound like a personal issue, said Ms. Walker.

How am I supposed to get to school?  Tracy asked.

Figure it out.  And what you need to do is stop eating them damn candy bars and get you an apple.  That’s why you look like that, commented Ms. Walker. 

Whateva, Tracy said as she walked out and slammed the door.

        Tracy walked over to the Nostrand Avenue A-Line.  She went downstairs and pretended to buy a Metrocard at the machine, waiting for both the attendant to become distracted and for her train to approach the platform so she could try and hop the turnstiles.  Officer Martinez was taking a 15 minute john break.  Henry was there, but she didn’t notice him because he was a bit off to the side, and on his phone texting his wife; ‘Everything has gone smooth today babe, and my shift will be over soon.  Love you.’

Announcement: There will be a downtown bound A-Train approaching the station in approximately 2 minutes.

            Tracy looks around to access the situation, while more passengers’ swipe through the turnstiles.  The rumblings of the approaching train begin to crescendo as her heart rate elevates in unison.  She’s not the most athletic girl, and hasn’t really tried anything like this since she was a kid and her mom used to make her duck down underneath the turnstiles.  She fumbles it.  Telegraphed her intent to the attendant, who sounded the alarm before she began to hoist herself up and over.  Henry quickly ran over to meet her on the other side.

Officer! Officer! The attendant yells as he steps out of the booth to point Tracy out.  It was her.  Arrest her!

I aint do nothing, says Tracy.

Excuse me ma’am, do you have some ID? Henry asks remembering that his training advises he should always identify first.

No, I aint got no license I’m 16 and I’m in school, Tracy responded. 

I’m going to have to ask you to come with me and sit over here then ma’am.  We’re creating a bit of traffic, said Henry.

Tracy sizing up the Officer who was about her height and much thinner, says:

I told you I aint do nothin and I need to go to school.  That man crazy.

At this point the train had come and gone and there were less people around.

Arrest her Officer.  Giver her ticket! Shouted the attendant.

Fuck you asshole, Tracy shouted back at him.

You mother bitch, you.  Says the man. 

Henry is calling in this escalating situation on his radio, to alert his Partner.  This is the first time he’s alone and dealing with a something like this.

Sir, Henry tells the attendant, I’m going to have to ask you to please go back into your booth and let me do my job.

The attendant was visibly upset, but he obliged.

You gone make me miss my next train too Officer?  Shoot!  I got a quiz 1st period.

Ma’am I want to get you on your way as soon as possible, but I need you to work with me.  You’re getting a citation for jumping the train, he says as he pulls out his summons booklet.  So I need you to cooperate and give me your full name, date of birth and address, Henry stated.

What’s that?  A ticket?  Tracy asked.

It’s a summons.  You will receive a Court date in the mail to which a parent or legal guardian will have to accompany you and pay a fine, responded Henry.

Oh my god, are you serious?! She said with her throat knotting up and a tear swelling up in the corner of her left eye.  That man is lying.  Why you only believe him?  You know what my Momma will do to me if I get in trouble here?  Says Tracy.

Ma’am, this will go a lot faster if you cooperate.

Announcement: There will be a downtown bound, express A-Train approaching the station in approximately 4 minutes.

You hear that?  Do you want to make that train or do you want to miss your quiz and have your mom upset about that?  Asks Henry.

Man, I aint even gonna take the damn train then, Tracy says as she stands up and begins towards the exit.

Ma’am you’re not free to go, says Henry as he reaches for the wrist on her right hand.

Get off me!  Get your hands off of me, she yells calling even more attention to the situation.

        Henry gets in front of her and she slaps the summons booklet from his left hand and she tries to run for the emergency exit door next to the turnstiles, but the attendant disabled it.  Henry grabs her by the arm and reaches for his cuffs.  She’s hysterical.  Screaming and crying pulling her hands away as he’s trying to restrain her up against that exit door.

I can’t get in trouble!  I didn’t do anything.  Leave me alone.  Stop it!  Stop it!

       She knocks his handcuffs down.  Henry’s protocol now allows him to enact force.  He reaches for his club and she begins flailing her arms frantically.  She accidentally hits his firearm and removes the safety clip on his holster.  Henry hits her on the leg with his club to try and get her to the ground.  Several people on the platform have begun recording this on their phones, while chiming in:

“Leave her alone”

“She didn’t do anything, this is abuse”

“You can’t hit her.  Get her his badge number, this is brutality”

        Henry’s reacting to everything nervously and Tracy’s crying and shouting aren’t helping.  He hits her with the club again and she drops to the ground as the crowd gets more rowdy.  He grabs the cuffs and is able to get one on her right wrist. 

         The attendant is on the phone with 911, reporting the incident, and more units are on the way, including Martinez who’s near by.  Tracy continues to kick and scream wildly and winds up scratching Henry in the face, who’s having obvious trouble restraining her.  Martinez makes his way downstairs and is running over as Tracy hits Henry in the nose.  He instinctually draws his weapon.  It slips and he drops the gun.  Tracy and him both go for it instinctively.  One of their fingers is on the trigger and it goes off.  Martinez, close enough now to witness this, draws his firearm as well.  He sees his partner clinching his waist-side and falling backwards.  Tracy is screaming nervously and still holding onto Henry’s gun.  Without hesitation Martinez unloads 5 shots at her torso…fatally wounding the high-schooler.

            Within 24 hours, Dolores is weeping bedside in the post-opp Hospital room, while half a dozen of his brothers in blue, including Martinez, are in the waiting area, waiting for Henry to wake up.

            Two uniformed Officers were sent over to Tracy’s home to inform her family of what happened.  Ms. Walker all but attacked the Officers as she broke down crying.

You killed my baby!  You killed my little girl!  Nooooo, noooo.  You sons of bitches, when are you going to leave us alone, you evil devils. 

Ma’am we’re deeply sorry for your loss, said one of the Officers as he was able to get a word in edgewise.

She was a good girl, Jesus why?! She continued.

Mrs. Walker –

It’s Ms. you no good piece of shit, she responded.

Here’s the address to the Hospital where you need to go and claim your daughter, we can take you if you’d like.

I don’t want nothing from you, I can take myself, she responded.

Okay, well here’s our card.  Contact us when you’re sobered up if you’d like to make a statement, he said.

Fuck you! I aint drunk.  Get out of my home.  Get out! Ms. Walker responded.

        Several months later a woman walks into her neighborhood Police Precinct, in her Sunday Church dress, right after that mornings service.  She engages an irritated Police Officer that’s working the front desk.  He seems to be angry at life and she can smell alcohol on his breath as he speaks;

Yes ma’am, how can I help you, Officer Henry Kurth asked the woman.

Hello sir, my name is Tiffany Walker and I wanted to get a list of all of the after school Community Centers in the area, she requested. 

        It’s been several months, and although he still had nightmares of the incident, he didn’t make the connection as to who this woman was, right away.

All of the Community Centers in our jurisdiction, are posted over on that bulletin board over there, he responded as he lack-lustardly pointed at cork board by the entrance.

Oh okay, thank you, responded Ms. Walker.  Do you happen to have a sheet of paper and a pen I can borrow to jot down the names and phone numbers?

Hold on, he responded grumpily.  Henry rolled his wheelchair out from under his desk, and rolled over to the supply draw, to grab a legal pad and pen.  Here you go, he said as he handed them over to her.

Thank you kindly Officer … Henry Kurth, is it?

That’s right, Henry said as she walked over to the bulletin board.

        He looks at the nameplate on his desk, wondering how she knew his first name because the name tag on his uniform only shows his last name.  The nameplate on his desk reads: P.O. Kurth.  He looks up at her while she’s jotting down some of the information and she starts to look familiar.  He makes the connection, remembering her name from the loads of paperwork for the Tracy Walker case.  He’s immediately suspicious as to why she’s here.  Feeling that there has to be an ulterior motive.

         She walks back over to his desk and hands him over the legal pad and pen after ripping out the two sheets she used.  Smiling she says;

Thank you Officer Kurth.  I’m going to give this information to my Pastor.  See if we can get these kids engaged in some positive activities after school, so that we can avoid the inexcusable harassment that has been going on.

We do our best to service the productive members of our community such as yourself Ms. Walker, Henry responded.

As she was about to turn away and leave, Tiffany says:

I almost forgot, I’ve got something for you. 

She reaches into her purse, and Henry tenses up for half a second.

                        I recon you’ll be needing this more than I ever did.

She pulled out a stainless steel, liquor flask and places it right in front of him, on his desk.  He stares at it and says nothing.  She stops smiling, and leaves.




[1] Tracy’s father was an abusive alcoholic who left 3 days shy of her second birthday.  Leaving them without notice and with bills upon debt.  He’s the one that drove Tiffany Walker to drink.  And those are the only remnants he left behind. 

Tony OrtizComment