Carson was typical of many policemen in that he preferred action to filling out multi-copy forms.
An avid sports fan who liked to shoot baskets with his fellow cops each weekend, he looked upon the ritual of filling out case reports as the ultimate form of bureaucratic torture. Although most of his precinct’s records were now computerized, there were still some parts of his job which seemed unnecessarily bogged down in the tedious process of documentation. After each case was solved, Brad was forced to spend nearly a week completing report forms.
He had learned to hate paperwork with a passion.
Settling his lithe, muscular body into the metal chair behind his desk, the detective wondered what he had ever done to deserve being cooped up indoors. He belonged out on the streets, looking for trouble, instead of sharing some shitty office with a room full of civil service dorks. Even though he hated spending time indoors, Brad had to confess that the people in his division weren’t all that bad.
His professional colleagues admired Carson for his sound instincts and a solid track record in solving difficult cases. They liked the detective’s easy sense of humor. Even though they knew Brad could beat the shit out of anyone in the room, most of the people who worked with him were awed by Carson’s unique sexual charisma.
It was a strange form of animal magnetism which allowed Brad to wheedle valuable information out of the suspects he was forced to interrogate. Although women responded to him on an obviously sexual level, the handsome 35-year-old Sergeant also seemed to have a curious way of enchanting men with his laid-back masculinity.
As macho as Brad may have seemed to most people, his coworkers all knew the detective’s one weak spot. Big, black Sergeant Carson could never refuse a request from his younger sister, Vanessa (an extremely pretty woman who, after becoming an investment banker on Wall Street, had grown into a tough little cookie). With one simple sentence, Vanessa could wrap Brad around her little finger and leave him dangling there; hopeless and helpless.
Everyone in Brad’s department knew what to expect whenever Vanessa called. After a few minutes on the phone, the tough, macho detective with whom they worked would turn into a stammering fool. Vanessa never failed to get what she wanted. Therefore, it came as no surprise on this Wednesday morning that the people in Brad’s office started chuckling as soon as they heard a voice on the intercom announce "Telephone call for Sergeant Carson on Line 4. It’s your sister, big boy."
"Stand your ground, Carson," yelled Sergeant O’Malley.
"We’re ready with reinforcements, fella," added Lieutenant Kincaid.
Brad waved his middle finger at them, loosened his tie and reached for the phone on his desk (knowing all too well that the only reason Vanessa ever called him at work was because she wanted a favor).
"Hi, honey. What’s happening?" he asked.
"I need some of your time this weekend, Brad. Under normal circumstances, I would never ask you to do this for me. But Peter’s away in Tokyo finishing off some business deal and Saturday night is our subscription series at the Met," she cooed.
"What does that have to do with me? You know I hate opera," groaned Brad.
"It has everything to do with you, you big clown. I need a date for Saturday night and you’re my last hope. I can’t go to the Met unless I have someone tall and goodlooking who can escort me to my box."
"Well then, for Chrissake’s, why don’t you take your friend, Alexandra?" snickered Brad.
"Alexandra’s eight months pregnant!" replied Vanessa. "She’s carrying the baby so low she could drop it on the Grand Staircase in the middle of an intermission. And the rest of our friends all have tickets to Saturday’s ballroom dancing contest -- that big charity event for SWYSH."
Immediately, Brad tensed. He had never let on to his kid sister that he was bisexual and, even if she did suspect that he swung both ways, Vanessa should have known better than to tease him with a word like that. "What in the fucking hell is SWYSH?" he whispered, practically choking on his words.
"Society’s Watchful Yuppies Support the Homeless. It’s that group that’s been written up in the society pages for the past six months. Nearly all of our friends belong to it," explained Vanessa.
"Anyhow, benefitting SWYSH is not what’s important. What’s important is Saturday night. The bottom line is that I need you to go to the opera with me because no one else is available. And you’re not wheedling your way out of this one with any excuses about some big basketball game on TV."
"Oh, c’mon, Sis. You know I fall asleep every time I go to the Met with you," Brad pleaded.
"Who gives a flying fuck?" answered Vanessa. "It’s a one-act opera by Richard Wagner and half the audience will be sound asleep. All you have to do is meet me Saturday night at 7:30 near the fountain in Lincoln Center and promise that you’ll stay awake until five minutes after the house lights go down."
"C’mon, Vanessa. Do I have to go to the opera with you?" Brad whined.
As he dodged a spitball from Sergeant McKinney, a sudden burst of laughter caused Brad to look up from his desk. Across the room he could see Sergeant Norton, the department’s clown, placing a hand on one hip and hissing, "Oh, Vanessa, dahling. Do I have to go to the opera with you?"
Brad could tell that, by this point, everyone in the office had stopped work and was eavesdropping on his conversation. Meanwhile, Vanessa’s voice had taken on a decidedly meaner tone as she moved in for the kill.
"Listen, my big, butch brother. Before I cut your balls off and run them through my Cuisinart, perhaps I should inform you that if you don’t accompany me to the opera this Saturday night, you’re gonna be in some pretty deep shit the next time our family gets together for dinner at Momma’s house. Would you like me to refresh your memory about what happened the last time you stood me up when my hubby was out of town on business?"
"All right, all right. You win," moaned Brad. "I’ll see you Saturday night at 7:30."
Carson threw the phone back on its cradle and turned around just in time to see Norton, white handkerchief in hand, imitating Luciano Pavarotti.
"Are we working the Lincoln Center beat this weekend?" teased Norton.
"For someone whose brains are in his ass, you’re remarkably perceptive," snarled Brad. Then, raising his voice so that everyone in the room would be able to hear him, he fixed Norton with a look that could kill.
"Frank, old buddy, do you think you can do me a favor while I’m at the opera with my sister? Tell your wife that, due to circumstances beyond my control, I won’t be able to drop by and fuck her brains out this weekend while you’re busting your hump trying to earn enough overtime to pay for all the gifts she gave me last Christmas."
With a big smile on his face, Carson bowed to his co-workers and slammed the door behind him as he headed down the hallway to the men’s room.