“Not that I know of,” we responded.
An officer rubbed at his chin.
“I had a cocktail and a smoke to calm down, and asked my friend to text my phone, because why not, who knows,” we continued.
The text had read: “Hey you have my friends phone … where are you?”
A few minutes later, a response: “This is the police. We just stopped these two guys with this phone.”
“We received a 911 call from a cabbie and two guys matched the description,” the cop explained. “One had two phones on him. We asked why he needed two iPhones, and he said, ‘That’s how I roll.’ But I was looking at the text messages, and the phone didn’t fit the profile of a black male, it fit the profile of a white male. And then when that text from your friend popped up, it only helped.”
The detective lifted his head out of the notebook. “Look,” he said. “The perps fit the description for guys who we’ve been after for months. Stealing wallets and phones all over here.”
“They work at the Forever 21 on Broadway,” another cop chimed in.
“We’re going to need your help to put these guys away,” said the detective. “Are there any other details you forgot?”
“Actually, there’s one more thing,” we said. “After they got a hold of my phone and wallet, the smaller guy started reaching up in here”—we smacked our palm up our inner thigh—“and started yelling, ‘No homo! No homo!’ as he patted around my crotch.”
Because he wouldn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea.
Around 5:30 the detective, along with his no-noise sidekick, had wrapped up questioning the driver, the sole witness. We shook his hand and thanked him—he had mentioned, in a solemn tone, that to hang around in a police station during prime club-departure hours is not exactly the best way to do business. No regrets, though.
“I watched, once outside my house, a young man get stabbed eight times, and I called the police then and saved his life,” the driver said by way of explanation. “I thought, maybe I would have to do this again.”
ANOTHER HOUR WENT BY as the last few loose ends got figured out. Without a wallet—the muggers had tossed it in the sewer or trash when they found it empty—we had no way of getting back save for walking. Even we didn’t want to walk home after a night like that.
A police escort would be the only solution.
“You’ll have to get in the back,” an officer said after handing us our phone. “Sorry about that.”
We climbed into the cage, the same type of crate that held the perps a few hours before. They would be in that jail for at least a week, when the prosecution would bring the case before a grand jury.
He cocked the gear shift and the cruiser shot out into the end of the night, through the Nolita streets that led to our haunted section of Delancey Street, and up back toward Houston, until we arrived home.
“Thanks for the ride,” we said. “Do you have a light? The guys grabbed our lighter, too.”
“Stopped smoking years ago,” he said, opening our door.
“Probably smart,” we said, scootching out of the back and onto the corner of Allen and Houston.
There were footsteps behind us, and we spun around. No one was there.
“Never been in the back of a cop car, actually,” we said.
The policeman hopped back in the driver’s seat.
“Well,” he said. “Let’s hope it never happens again.”
firstname.lastname@example.org // @nfreeman1234