Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Barney Miller or Green Acres. Nor will I make any profit from this work of fiction.
Ten things that never happened on Barney Miller.
Sergeant Ron Harris places his cashmere overcoat on the coat stand after returning from a call with Sergeant Phillip K. Fish. He sits down in his seat behind his desk just as patrolman Carl levitt enters the detective's squad room and says, "Mail call Sergeants!"
Levitt closes the door before walking over to Harris's desk. He hands Harris one envelope and says, "Sergeant Harris, this came special delivery for you. From out of stateI had to personally sign for it!"
As Det. Harris takes the envelope he sees Levitt standing there waiting for some kind of acknowledgement of the extra effort he preformed on his behalf. Instead of thanking him, Det. Harris merely looks Levitt up and down and says, "Well thank you little Levitt. Do you accept cash or would you prefer a check?"
Levitt sways his head slightly as he disregards the insult and responds, "No need for a tip, or sarcasm Det. Harris. I was merely pointing out that your letter seemed important enough for me to drop everything else that I was doing at the time, and sign for it. I realize that up here, it's easy to forget the fact that we grunts in uniforms also have important work to do. We are human you know! A little thanks now and then would be nice!"
Harris listens to Levitt's rant until he appears to be finished. Harris then bows his head slightly and replies, "You're absolutely right. Thank you for signing for my letter Levitt. Also, I'm sorry that you had to drop everything to do it."
Harris then looks levitt up and down once again while smiling as he tells him, "The good thing is if you had to drop something, it probable wouldn't have that long of a fall…if you know what I mean."
Levitt smirks at this latest slight against his height, or lack of it. He then points an angry finger at Harris and says, "That's right, Yuk it up! You know what your problem is Det. Harris? You don't what it's like to live in this society as a member of a minority group!"
Before Det. Harris, who is African American can respond, officer Levitt moves a little closer. He nods his head towards the special delivery envelope and asks, "So, is it important or what?"
As Harris opens the letter he smiles and says, "Well, I guess I can tell you. While on a recent skiing vacation, I got into a friendly game of Backgammon with another vacationer at the ski lodge. After a few games we both agreed that it would be a little more interesting, if we…made a friendly wager on the next few games."
Harris reads his letter as he continues, "After that, we upped the ante, so to speak." At this point Harris stops reading the letter as he recounts the story to Levitt. His old wooden chair creeks a little, as he leans back in it. He grins as he says, "Now before either one of us knew it, my opponent was in the hole for a few hundred dollars. I offered to end the game then and there and let him pay me half. However, he said three words that changed my mind."
Levitt asks Harris, "Oh really? What three words were they?" Harris looks Levitt in the eye and says, "Double or nothing! And he lost!"
Harris then sits up a little straighter as he says, "Now my new best friend had a little cash flow problem. He didn't have enough to cover his wager. However, He offered to give me title to a small parcel of land with a run down cottage on it. He promised that it was worth several times more then what he owed me. However, it was on the east coast, and he lived on the other side of the country. It seems that it was given to him in a will from some distant family member that he hardly knew. He had no real attachment to it. And I thought that I may want to use it as a vacation home/tax shelter."
Levitt tries to fight his growing feelings of jealousy. He fails. He stands a little straighter, and nods his head from side to side, as he says, "two book deals, a sergeants badge and now this. It must be great being you."
Det. Harris laughs a little while replying, "Yes, it is!"
At this point Levitt turns toward the other Sergeants and tells Harris over his shoulder, "Well, I guess I should get back to handing out the mail to the other Sergeants. You know, the poor ones!"
Harris then picks up the letter again and reads it to himself while telling Levitt, "There is one thing though…" levitt then quickly does an about-face while saying, "Oh, bad news I hope…not!"
Harris seems to have missed Levitt's Freudian slip as he says, "Maybe. The lands former owner warned me that the cottage needed a lot of work before anyone can live in it again. Also, the only repair company close to this place is owned by some guy named Mr. Haney. He also told me that he never used this guy. However, on his one and only trip to the place, everyone warned him to keep an eye on this guy if he ever hired him to work on the place. I meet Mr. Haney when I went there to hire him. He seems ok. He promised to contact me when the work was done. Or, if he ran into any cost over runs. And it looks like he has."
As Harris reads the letter, he grows angrier by the minute. He then turns to levitt and says, "I've got'a call this guy right away!"
Levitt smiles as he tells Harris, "I hope everything comes out ok." Levitt then thinks to himself, I guess it does rain in southern California. And on Det. Harris's brand new cottage. Good! I hear it makes the flowers grow.
Harris franticly dials the out of state number for Mr. Haney. After several rings, the phone is finally answered by Mr. Haney himself. Harris tells him, "Hello, Mr. Haney? Ron Harris here! I've just received your letter. And I have just one question to ask you. Man, are you crazy?"
Mr. Haney replies in a deep country accented drawl, "Well now Mr. Harris. I'm sorry if I my letter wasn't clear about the charges for repairing your cottage. Maybe I can shad some light on the more… confusing parts for you."
Harris says, "Ok! How about the first line on the bill. "Repaired water pipes and replaced septic tank. $1,500. Cost to connect water pipes to out-side supply of water, and connect wastes water pipes to septic system $5,000." I thought that the original fee of $1,500 was for everything."
"Well-sir. The price we agreed upon was for repaired pipes, and a new septic tank. We never talked about connecting them to anything. Now if for some reason you don't want running water in your home, or a flush toilet, you can use the hand pump in your back yard. You can't miss it. It's about one hundred feet from the out-house."
Harris opens his eyes wide and looks at the receiver as he asks, "An out house! Man…have we met?" Before Mr. Haney can respond, Harris looks back at the letter and says, "Well get back to those things later. What about the new roof? You got three prices down here for that. One new roof $2,000. Removal of old roof $4,000. Disposal of old roof and replacing it with the new roof $9,000. Now explain that to me. I own one roof, and you're charging me three times to replace it. Just tell me on thing
Mr. Haney, did you or did you not make me a new roof?"
"Oh yes Sir Mr. Harris. I sure did. And if you don't mind me saying so, it's a beauty."
Harris relaxes in his creaky chair as he asks, "You did, Well, where is it?"
"Well, right where I left it. Sitting next to your house. Waiting for you to give me the ok to remove and dispose of the old roof."
Harris is speechless when he hears this. He can't believe that Mr. Haney would build a new roof before removing the old one. And then just putting it on the ground until further notice. Then he remembers the old roof. If Haney didn't have it repaired, or removed piece by piece already, how was he planning on having it removed now? Maybe he was planning to use a crane, or two.
Harris rolls his eyes as he sarcastically asks Mr. Haney, "While were on the subject of the old roof, where are you planning on moving it to? Or are you going to sell that leaky old thing to a children's orphanage?"
Mr. Haney pauses as he replies, "Oh no. No sir Mr. Harris…I won't make that mistake twice." Harris pulls the phone away in disgusts at Mr. Haney's answer. Mr. Haney continues talking, "Anyway, when you've made up your mind be sure to give me a call. You'd better be quick about it though. Judging by the number of hornets buzzing around your new roof, I'd say their about to set it up as a new hive…real soon. Then I'm going to have to tack-on a few hundred dollars to fumigate it. Talk to you soon, I hope."
Before Harris can reply, Mr. Haney hangs up. Det. Harris says a few cuss words to the dial tone. Patrolman Levitt looks on dispassionately and asks, "Problems with the help Sergeant?" Harris gives Levitt a dirty look as he replies, "Yes, but there's not much I can do about you! Mr. Haney on the other hand, I'm can deal with. If he thinks that he can mess around with me, like I'm just another local 'bum-kin', then has got another thing coming."
Harris hangs up the phone and picks up the receiver again. He pulls out a business card from his jacket pocket, and reads the name on it aloud, "Mr. Oliver Wendell Douglas, Esq." He then points the card at Levitt and says, "This was given to me by the owner of the local general store. I meet him when I went to see Mr. Haney, and the property. Apparently, this guy Mr. Douglas was a big time lawyer form here in New York City. Until one day, he just threw it all away. Then he and his wife moved out there to get away from the rat race. It looks like I'm going to have to take Haney to court. I just hope that this guy will take the case."
As he dials the number for Mr. Douglas, Harris thinks about hiring Arnold Ripner to take the on case. He shivers at the thought, and puts it out of his mind. After six rings, Harris looks at the business card again. It says that he should let the phone ring about twelve times before hanging up. Harris starts to hang up at ring number eight when a man with a deep, educated sounding voice answers the phone. He says, "Hello, Mr. Oliver Douglas here. How may I help you?"
Harris tells him about his recent call with Mr. Haney and asks would he mind taking the on case against him. He also asks if he is friends with Mr. Haney and would there be a conflict of interests. Harris has to pull the phone away from his ear because of the loud sound of Mr. Douglas's laughter. When Mr. Douglas is done laughing he says, "Friends with Mr. Haney! Mr. Harris, that made me laugh so hard, I almost fell off of the phone poll."
Harris is about to ask Mr. Douglas why is he on a phone poll. Then Mr. Douglas tells him, "Not only will I take the case, I'll only charge you half my normal fee!" Harris tells him that he will check into Hooter Ville early Saturday morning. They should meet then. Both man say good-bye and hang up.
Patrolman Levitt lifts his right eyebrow and asks Det. Harris, "Why do they call it Hooter Ville?"
Harris smiles as he thinks about the three young women that work in the local hotel that he stayed at during his recent visit there. He then looks toward Levitt and says, "I'm not sure. But I'll…look into it, and let you know when I get back."
PLEASE LET ME KNOW.