Randy Parsons (Beat Cop 5th Precinct)

Officer Parsons was miserable.

He had left the Chicago slaughter yards and come to Saint Anthony to join the police force. He was young and strong, and happy to follow orders, but he had no idea what being a police in a city like Saint Anthony would mean when he came here, becoming little more than uniformed muscle, a pimp with a badge, less than that…just the pimps’ enforcer.

Three out of four weeks he worked the night shift on Lake Street, like a postman working through rain, sleet and snow, keeping the working girls busy, the brothels quiet, and making sure that the drug trade was uninterrupted.

His police salary allowed him to keep a small apartment on Dupont Avenue, a couple of blocks from the precinct. He took the cash that his captain doled out, the monies they received from the local crime bosses and stuffed most of it in a jar after giving up ten percent to the church.

He thought of his tithe as a way to do something good with the devil’s money, and he trusted the pastor at Joyce Methodist to do what was right with it, though he was wrong about that.

It was raining when Parsons clocked into the 5th Precinct; he passed Captain Dougherty in the locker room, grumbling in his brogue, harshly reminding him to keep the hookers busy during the storm.

Only the wicked got a break in Saint Anthony, Parsons thought to himself, and everybody else was expected to suffer for them.

He made note of what Captain Dougherty said, believing his work would be under scrutiny that night; he was determined to go hard on the girls, to set an example.

His partner, Sandy O’Rourke was late as usual, though no one ever bothered him. Sandy had been on the force for more than twenty years and had been busted down from Sergeant twice, but he was a personal friend of the Captain and so he could pretty much do as he pleased.

He was cheerful when he came in, whistling and smiling, and tipping back his flask.

“Its hot and wet out there,” he said as he winked at Randy. “We are on the beat from Nicollet to Chicago; so lets head out now.”

Randy didn’t have a say in the matter, he buttoned up his rain gear and followed the old man out the door, beating his night stick in his gloved hand thinking about how he might use it.