Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Barney Miller and have not / will not make any money from this work. This is just my way of keeping the show alive.
After the smoke clears.
Missing scenes form episode 13: 'The Hero.'
Warning: mention of shooting death, and some strong language in this story.
Episode notes. In episode 13, Det. Chano Amenguale shots and kills two bank robbers after they have shot the bank's guard. They've also threatened to start shooting their six hostages if they are not allowed to leave.
In addition, this episode was a young Todd bridges first television appearance on a sit-com. He played an underage wa'na be mugger. He tires to 'stick-up' Liz, Barney's wife in an elevator. She grabs him and performs a 'citizens arrests.'
The end of this fic may explain what may have happened to Detective Chano Amenguale. Also, why such a major character as him just disappeared from the old one-two.
Detective Chano Amenguale has just been told by Inspector Lugar that after the first time he shoot and killed someone in the line of duty, he went home and cried his himself too sleep.
Inspector Frank Lugar leans a little closer as he tells Detective Chano Amenguale,
"Chano, before I start telling you my story you've got to promise me something. You've
got to promise me that you will not be repeating what I'm about to tell you to any
one else! Not even Barney, as long as I'm alive. I want you to promise me that you'll
wait until I'm dead before you repeat what I'm about to tell you. Understand?"
Chano is a little confused by this request and asks, "Inspector, can't I just wait until you retire from the force?"
At this point Lugar jabs his finger into the restaurant table and raises his voice slightly to emphasize his point as he says, "Dead and buried! A man in my position can not have this type of personal information being bandied about town!"
He then relaxes, and leans back in his booth seat. After several seconds, he then rolls his eyes and pleadingly says, "Look A-men-guale, if you can't make me this promise, then just say so! You'll still get your steak, ale and paid day off."
Chano puts his hands up in surrender fashion and says, "OK! OK! Only after you're dead! Until then", Chano then closes his mouth and acts as if he is locking it up, and throwing away the key.
Lugar, now satisfied, cautiously looks toward his left. At the other tables and booths that were quickly filling up. He wants to make sure that no one other than Chano is paying attention to him. Once he is positive that they are not being spied on, he begins his story.
"OK. I think that I was on the force about two or three years when this shooting, my first shooting, fatal or other wise, took place. This would have been about thirty or so years ago. It was this time of year. A cold spring day. I was on foot patrol. It was getting dark. About an hour until sun set. So there was still some fading light out."
"I was in the middle of the block. Walking between avenues when I heard a strange sound. It almost sounded like a gun shoot. Except that it was way to muffled. Besides, no one else on the street seems to have reacted to the sound. I thought that maybe I was overreacting. So I get to thinking that maybe it's a car backfiring. Or some dumb-kid playing with firecrackers. Or maybe even a thunder storm in the distance."
"As I look around I don't see anybody on the street shooting a pistol. I don't hear or see any cars backfiring. And I don't see any kids playing with fire-works. So I start looking up at the sky, looking for storm clouds overhead. Now, while I'm trying to figure out tomorrow's weather report, what I don't know is that about five or six stores down, a liquor store is being robbed."
"I found out later, after the smoke clears, that the degenerate creep who robbed the place pistol whipped the stores owner. And right before he opens the front door to leave, he decides to put a bullet into the poor guy, for no special reason."
When Chano hears this he interrupts and asks the inspector, "Did he kill the stores owner?"
Lugar closes his eyes slightly and shakes his head as he replies, "Naw. The creep missed him by a mile. Bad angle. He spun around and shot to his rear while moving. And he was hopped up on junk like most of these guys are when they do their dirt. So as the creep opens the store door to leave, he must have turned to run up toward my end of the block. And there I am, standing there with my head in the clouds. Looking like Johnny-Jerk-Off, pardon my French, to all the world."
As Chano pictures the scene in his head he can't help but to open his eyes and mouth wide in suspense. He hates acting like a small child listening to a bedtime story, but if this were a movie, the smart money would bet on the cop getting shot. Or at the very least, the crook getting away.
Lugar continues, "That's when I first noticed it. A faint odor of Gun smoke on the breeze. It must have gotten outside when the creep opened the stores front door. Funny, The first thing that I thought about when I smelled it was the Academy's shooting range. Then I had the feeling that someone was staring at me. Not just looking, but staring. I stop looking at the sky and glanced down the block, in the same direction that the original sound came from. And there he was, A bag of loot in one hand, and a smoking gun in the other."
At this point in the story, Chano asks Lugar, "Is that when the shooting started inspector?"
Lugar has a distant look on his face as he tells Chano, "No. Not yet. But we're almost there."
Lugar then once again looks back in time as he says, "Any way, the guy stares at me for a few seconds. And I'm staring right back at him. I guess we surprised the hell out of each other! Then the hold-up man looks over his shoulder. I can tell that he hasn't made up his mind whether to run away, or play cops and robbers, if you know what I mean." Lugar then shapes the fingers of his hand like a gun. He then moves his thumb up and down, like its being fired.
"At this point, I figure out that he must have shot someone inside of which ever store he came out of. That's why it didn't really sound like a gunshot. It was indoors. He's still a little to far away to get a good shot at. Too much risk of hitting someone down the block. Or someone coming out of one of these other stores in my line of fire."
"So I yelled at him to halt, and drop his weapon. No such luck!" Lugar takes a moment to tap some of the ash off of his cigarette into his ashtray before continuing. "What he does next is fire off a shot in my direction. The bullet passes so close to me, it sounded like a giant bumblebee going about one-hundred miles an hour! Now I'm way too busy to get too scared. But I remember felling my blood run hot and cold at the same time. And I was breathing so fast, my mouth went bone dry. And I remember wanting to be anywhere else but there. Then my Academy training kicked in."
"We're both still to far away to get a good shot at each other. However, I start thinking that if I don't get moving, he may just get lucky. So I start running from doorway to doorway. I'm slowly but surely trying to get close enough to take him down, with out hitting anyone else. All the while, I'm keeping my pistol trained on him. When I get close enough, I'll drop him."
"Just as I ducked into the recessed doorway of a store that I was going to start shooting from, the stores front door opens up from the inside. A woman with a big shopping bag in one hand and a baby in the other opens the door. She doesn't know it, but she is about to walk right into a bullet meant for me!"
When Chano hears this he become so excited that he cannot help but ask, "Inspector, didn't the woman and the other people in that store hear the shooting?"
Lugar just nonchalantly shrugs and taps some more ash from his cigarette as he answers, "We asked them the same thing when it was all over. Apparently, nobody heard a thing." Lugar then ruefully smiles as he says, "Life in the big city. People are so used to living around loud noises, they don't notice the ones that could kill them."
Lugar laughs a little as he continues, "Heh! You know women! When their shopping, you can fire off a nuke right in front or them. And the only thing that they notice is that pretty pair of shoes that are on sale!"
Just then, the two women that Lugar grossed-out when he first entered the place have over-heard the part about women only noticing pretty shoeson sale. After giving both men an icy stare for several seconds, one of the women turns to the other and says, "I hope those old lamps aren't the only things that get replaced around here!"
As the women turn away and leave the place in a huff, Lugar looks at Chano. He cups his hand near his mouth so that no one can over-hear him as he says, "Do you think that they were talking about us!" Before Chano can open his mouth to answer, Lugar continues. He says, "Geez Chano! They were in such a hurry, I sure hope that they didn't forget to wash their hands." Lugar then looks over his shoulder at the two women leaving. He tells Chano, "Heh, college girls!"
Before either man can say anything else, The Bus Boy returns with the pickles, mustard, pretzels and most importantly, the ale. He tells both men that the food will be arriving shortly. Chano and Lugar both tell him thank-you. He then looks over his shoulder as his walking away and says, "You know how to thank me! Don't forget The Bus Boy!"
Chano laughs and tells Lugar, "Your right inspector. He is a New York original!"
Lugar agrees, and suddenly remembers why they are there. He tells Chano, "Let me finish the story before the food arrives. So any way, the woman with the baby and the shopping bag bumps right into me before I can warn her away. She accidentally knocks me flat on my back. Now I'm lying on the sidewalk, right in that maniac's line-of-sight. I tell her to get back into the store. But she's drops her shopping bag, and grabs my free hand and helps me up. A split second later, she notices my service revolver in my other."
"I think that's when it slowly dawns on her that she just walked into an angry hornets nest. We both looked down the block just in time to see Mr. nut job pointing his pistol in our direction. He took aim and fired off two rounds at us."
Chano watches the inspector's facial expression change. He looks like he's aged five years just telling this story. Chano cautiously asks the inspector, "All of this happened on your first shooting!"
Lugar just looks at him with eyes that seem older and sadder then they should be and replies, "Yah. But wait. It gets worse. A lot worse"
Lugar continues, "Now I told you that she grabs my free hand right?" Chano says yes. Lugar then tells him, "Well, she never lets it go. Not when the guy started shooting at us! Not when I screamed at her to let go of my hand, and run into the store! Not even when the guy started running toward us for a better shot!"
"As a matter of fact, the only thing that she did do was scream at the top of her lungs for me to help her and her baby. Then of course, the baby starts screaming. Oh, I almost forgot, she also spun me around so that my back was now facing the man who wanted nothing better then too put a few bullets into all three of us. She's so hysterical with fear, she won't let go of me."
Without thinking, Chano moves a little closer to the inspector and asks him, "Your back to the shooter? What did you do inspector?"
Lugar just sits motionless without saying a word for a few seconds. He then reminds Chano, "Remember, not a word, till I'm dead and buried. Right!"
Chano, with eyes open replies, "Right! Dead and buried inspector!"
Lugar slowly nods his head up and down. He then looks at one of his mugs of ale. Grabs it. And downs it in one loud gulp. Once he can see through the bottom of the glass, he puts it back on the table a little louder than he wanted. He then looks back toward Chano and says, "You wan'a know what I did? OK, I'll tell. I gave up! That's what I did detective A-men-guale!"
Chano's is more then a little confused by this statement. He just looks at the inspector. Lifts his hands in a questioning manor as he asks, "I sorry inspector. I don't get it. What do mean 'you gave up?'
Lugar answers by saying, "I thought to myself, were all going to die. Maybe if I just toss away my piece and let this guy kill me, he'll let the woman and kid walk away."
Upon hearing this Chano drops his cigarette on the table as he bolts up in his seat. He is almost screaming as he says, "No, no, no! This guys a nut! And he's hopped up on junk! If he killed you, the woman and her kid would be next on his list, as sure as I sitting here!"
Inspector Lugar snaps out of his depression long enough to quickly look around the place to see if Chano has attracted any un-wanted attention. He then tells Chano, "Geez, calm down A-men-guale! I like this place, and I wan'a be able to come back here one day!" Both men settle-down. Chano picks up his cigarette as Lugar continues, "And since I'm alive and breathing here today, I must have agreed with you. And that's just what happened. I figured that this creep would kill me, her and the kid anyway. So, if I was going to be die, so I might as well die shooting."
"I still couldn't manage to get that screaming Mimi off of me. So, I leaned back on the ball of my right foot. I then shifted the three of us around, slightly to my right. I raised my gun level to the guy. At this point he's only about thirty feet away, and gaining fast. Funny thing, at that very moment I remembered something that the famous wild-west lawman, Bat Masterson once said. He mentioned that if you want to shoot a man in the head, aim for his chest." Lugar then looks Chano in the eyes as he explains, "You know how strong the kick from our revolvers recal is. It always knocks the bullet up-ward slightly. I wanted a chest shot, so I aimed for his belt buckle. I don't think that I'd have a chance because this woman is still pulling on me. I take aim. Hold my breath. Squeeze the trigger, and fire."
Chano asks, "What happen?"
Lugar grins as he lightly bangs a closed fist on their table and says, "Bulls eye! I was hopping for any hit. But I lucked out and got center mass. From the way he rag-dolled on the sidewalk, I knew that it was a fatal shot. I planted it right in his heart. Now don't get me wrong, I not a heartless basted. I think that he was, and still is one of the good lords creatures." Lugar closes the space between him and Chano as he finishes this thought, "But so is a mad, rabid dog. And there's only one-way to deal with a mad rabid dog. You put it down."
Chano now thinks back to his shooting. As much as he would like to disagree with the inspector, it looks like in both of their cases, the only option was the final one.
Lugar then tells Chano, "I'll fast forward a bit from here on in. A few seconds after I shot the guy, about half the cops in the city rolled up. A few of the storeowners must have called in the shooting. Even my captain rolled up on the scene." Lugar now narrowed his gaze straight into Chano's eyes as he said, "My captain patted me on the back and told my that he would personally recommend me for the Medal of Honor. Kind of like I did with you." Lugar sadly stares off, straight ahead, toward the front door as he tells Chano, "You'd think that I would have known better."
"So, he talks to me about taking a few days off. I tell him OK. I go back to the precinct to change back into my civvies. Everyone is patting me on the back and telling me, "Good work, and how does it feel." "
Chano angrily repeats the question, "How does it feel? Numb, that how!" He then picks up one of his mugs of ale, and downs it in one gulp. He places it back down on the table much quieter then Lugar did. But with the same emotion.
Lugar is a little taken aback the sudden angry emotion from the detective. However, he continues, "So I just tried to keep a stiff upper lip. I keep the details to myself. I get some take-out food, and went straight home."
"I understandably didn't have much of an appetite. But I eat my dinner while listening to the radio, just to have something to do. I wanted to do anything other than think about what happened to me earlier."
At this point Lugar looks past Chano as he goes back in time again, "I decided to go right to bed after I finished eating. That's when it happened. I went from a full-grown man into a little baby. I started bawling like a newborn that need a clean diaper. The worst part was that every time I worked-up the will to stop crying, I started doing it again, twice as loud as before. It got so bad that I wound-up putting a pillow over my head. I was afraid that if my next door neighbors heard all of that noise, they would call the cops." Lugar quickly rolls his eyes up toward the ceiling, then back toward Chano as he says, "That was the last thing that I needed!"
Chano taps some of his cigarette ash out as he says, "Tell me about it!" Chano then looks around to make sure that no one else is listening as he asks, "Inspector, I don't want to rush you, but what happened next?"
Lugar tells Chano, "Oh, yeah. So I finally go to sleep. When I woke up the next day, I was curled up in the fetal position. Like a new born. Also, I had dried-up tears all over my face. I was crying in my sleep." Lugar then thinks aloud as he says, "I'm not sure, but I think that in the middle of the night, I woke up screaming." He looks Chano square in the eyes as he says, "A-men-guale, I was a mess. I started thinking how the hell can I go back on the street like this. I was worried that I'd either wind up being so shaky-scared, I'd spend all day running away from my own shadow. Or, I'd turn into some crazy, hyperactive cop. You know the type, shoot first and ask questions later."
Chano, I was giving serious thought to quitting the force. Between the way that I screwed-up in that shooting, and the bad way that I was reacting to it the next day. It was starting to look like a good idea."
Chano interrupts and says, "Inspector, from what you told me, it doesn't sound like you screwed-up. Even back when you were on patrol, cops where taught to only pull out their weapons in a life-threatening situation. Not when they thought that they heard a gun shot. And even if you had your pistol un-holstered and started running down that block, you could have run right into that guy, and a bullet. Just as he was leaving the liquor store."
Lugar looks at the table as he shakes his head yes. He the looks back at Chano as he says, "I agree with you, now! But back then, right after it happened." Lugar shrugs as he continues, "Well, you know how it is when you're involved in a shooting Chano. You always second-guess yourself. Taking a human life is a serious mater. Even one that the world is better of without. I wondered if I could have taken him without killing him. Could I have been more forceful throwing that woman and her kid out of the line of fire."
Lugar rolls his eyes for the last part, "And of course, could I have waited till I was off duty before I started weather-watching?"
Chano looks at the inspector with suddenly sad eyes as he lowers his voice to confess, "Inspector, I was silently praying for those bank robbers to find a back-door out of there. So that they would just leave. And I wouldn't do, what I knew I had to do."
Lugar pats the younger officer on the arm as he says, "Nothing wrong with that Chano. When it came down to it, we both wound-up doing what we had to do. No matter what the cost."
Lugar continues, "Our food should be getting here soon. Let me get to the point.
I can't go the departments shrink. Not unless I'm sure I want to leave the force. Now days, you could get away with it. But back in my the day. If I told an NYPD shrink that I was crying in my sleep, and waking up in the middle of the night screaming, I may as well leave my badge and service revolver with the doctor as I left his office. Because it would be a career-ending move."
"I did have one final option, my dad was a retired cop. So I went and talked to him about this. I hated admitting any type of weakness to him. He hated weakness. He raised me to be strong." Lugar once again looks off into the distance past as his thinks about his father. Chano seeing that he may get lost there, gently brings him back. "So inspector, what did your dad tell you?"
Lugar come back to the present as he answers, "Oh yeah! Well I told him everything that I told you. He surprised me with his understanding. He never shot anyone. But he told me that he knew of one or two fellow officers who did. He said that it's normal for cops who have been through what I have, to experience all sorts of crazy emotions for a while. But he was confident that I would be OK. Then he told me something that I thought might help you. You will get better, but you'll never be the same."
Chano nervously looks around the nearby tables before he tells the inspector, "Inspector, I'm not sure I understand what you mean by that."
Lugar grins slyly as he explains, "Chano I've known you for a few years. I honestly believe that you'll be OK. You will get better. And by that I mean that tomorrow, when you go to work you won't think about leaving you service revolver at home. Like you thought about doing today."
Chano then nervously shifts his eyes from left to right. He then looks at the inspector and says, "I never told you about that! How did you know I was thinking about going on-duty with-out my revolver?"
Lugar smiles broadly as he answers, "You're not the first cop who ever did that either you know. Anyway, what I meant by saying that you'll never be the same againis that you are never the same after taking another persons life. And you shouldn't be. Your like a soldier that's been in battle. You are still capable of experiencing fear. But it just takes a hell of a lot to get you scared. There's more, but I think that I made my point. And that is, you're not the only one that's gone thought it. When I found that out, I felt better, a lot faster."
Detective Chano Amenguale takes a deep cleansing breath, and releases it in a long sigh. He then smiles as he tells Inspector Lugar, "Inspector, I've got'a tell you, I thought that I was felling better when I showed up at the one-two. But I feel even better after you telling me about your experience. By the way sir, I cried my self to sleep too. My next-door neighbors must have heard me doing it. When they bumped into me in the hallway the next day, they asked if everything was OK. I told them that last night I finally paid off a big bet that I lost on this year's super-bowl."
Both men laughed at that. Then Lugar suddenly gets serious as he says, "Chano, there is one more thing. The NYPD, like all police departments is more or less a gun culture. And by that I mean, because of you taking down those creeps, you just may in on the top of a short list come promotion time."
Upon hearing this Chano gets red in the face. He asks the inspector, "Sir! You didn't do anything to make this happen, did you?"
Lugar responds, "No! But even though the department does not like too publicly highlight its officer's involvements in shootings, it still has a habit of treating those officers, special. I promise, I did not hear or do anything. I'm just letting you know whats more than likely in store for you, in the near future."
Chano, still angry, asks the inspector, "You mean too tell me that I'm going to be promoted for killing those two guys? Inspector, that's just…crazy. And a little barbaric!"
Lugar remains calm as he informs his young subordinate and friend, "Relax Chano. It's not just because of the shooting. However, the shooting will get you noticed. Also, you have a great service record. And there is the fact that the department wants to have a force that, better reflects the community that it polices."
That does not help Chano's mood any. He then asks the inspector, "So what you're saying is that, I may get promoted not because I'm a cop who killed two armed criminals. But because I'm a Porto Rican cop who killed two criminals?"
Lugar thinks over his next response carefully. He replies, "Besides the occasionally brown noser getting through, I can tell you that when it comes down to promotions, the best cops tend to go at the top of the list. No mater what the race. But, your race and the shooting will help you stand-out."
Before Chano can respond, Lugar asks him a question, "Hey Chano. Tell me, are you a member of the NYPD's Hispanic Society? Chano tells him, "yes." Lugar then asks , "Are there any officers at those meetings that give you the feeling they couldn't police their way out of a paper bag?" Chano thinks about it say, "Yeah. Maybe one or two." Lugar then asks him, "If you were someone else, and it come down to the department having to choose between someone with your abilities and great service record, and one of those losers, who would you choose?"
Before Chano can answer Lugar tells him, "Don't answer that! Not now! Wait till it happens. You got some more time. I would think between one to three more years. If you accept, you can always change your mind later. Most people don't do that though."
Just then, The Bus Boy returns with a rolling table full of food. He places their order in front of each man. As he leaves he looks over his shoulder and points his index finger at both men as he says his now famous line, "Remember gents! I didn't for get you! So don't forget The Bus Boy!"
Once they are alone, Lugar looks at chano and says, "My mother and father were simple people. They did not stand on ceremony. But they each one rule that the family had too follow at the dinner table. My mother insisted that everyone wash their hands before sitting at the table. My father never talked about work at the table. We already washed our hands. I just need to make sure that were finished talking shop before we eat. How about it A-men-guale, you wan'a talk some more, or are you OK?"
After several seconds, Chano realizes that not only is everything going too be OK, but it looks like he has a guarding angel in the department. He finally tells the inspector, "I do have one question sir. Why is the urinal in the men's room filled with ice?"
Lugar needs a few seconds to mentally shift gears. He didn't think that he would be asked anything about this place. Once he gets his Barings, he looks toward the left hand side of the dinning area, toward the men's room. Once he realizes what Chano is talking about, he closes his eyes and rolls his head side to side and chuckles. He then replies, "Oh, that!" He then makes a wide circle with his index finger as he says, "It's the old plumbing in this place. Whenever the temperature hits freezing, the water pipe in the urinal freezes up. Since it won't flush, they just dump ice into it a few times a time a day. It keeps the stench down, if you know what I mean."
As Lugar cuts his steak, he winks at Chano while saying, "It's a good thing for the owner that no cops are eating here today. They could get a ticket for that."
Both men laughed at that as they began their meal.
Please let me know.