"Officer Needs Assistance"

...Cooper struggles to free himself...he manages to elbow the suspect in the face as Chickie unleashes a volley of baton strikes...

Cops have to believe that their fellow officers will be there for them when needed. They have to trust that another cop will have their back. Late one night in Los Angeles, Officer Cooper will be painfully reminded of this.

One night earlier.

Flashing red and blue emergency lights contrast with the yellow glow of street lamps. Small groups of black and brown faces have gathered in front of the modest homes to get a look at the police activity as a helicopter circles overhead.

" Son of a bitch," Detective Rene Cordero mumbles as he and his partner, Detective Lydia Adams cross the front lawn of an old duplex." Almost end of watch and we catch this."

" You got somewhere to be, partner? " asks Adams.

" A date, actually. This fine mamacita I met at the gym..."

" Sorry I asked," Adams sighs as she nods to the uniform at the door." What've we got?"

" Eunice Greggs, 87," the patrol officer replies, leading the detectives inside." She was sitting in her rocking chair when it looks like she caught one through the front window. Her granddaughter comes home a little while later and finds her."

Adams stares down at the body of an elderly black woman, a bloody hole in her chest, her pink nightgown stained crimson red.

Detectives Nate Moretta and Sammy Bryant are standing over the body, dutifully scribbling in their binders.

" What are you guys doing here? " asks Cordero.

" Sal put us on it," Bryant replies." Initial reports sounded like a drive-by and this is Rollin' 60's territory."

" Where's the granddaughter? " asks Adams, not breaking her gaze from the body on the floor.

" She had a breakdown," replies Moretta." R.A. took her to County."

Adams glances around the apartment. It is small, but tidy. Family pictures adorn the walls and shelves. Portraits of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. are mounted on the wall above the television.

Adams sighs.

" This just isn't right." she says as a photographer from S.I.D. trudges in with a camera.

" Blue suits are canvassing right now," Bryant says as he and his partner head for the door." We'll see if they've got anything."

As the detectives reach the sidewalk, a female patrol officer waves them over into the street.

" Found some shell casings, Detectives." she says, shining her beam down on several pieces of metal that glint in the white light.

Moretta kneels and shines his small flashlight down at one of the casings.

" Looks like .40 cal's."

He stands and he and Bryant stare at the duplex.

Bryant stares at the ground, then mimics a gun with his forefinger and makes a sweeping motion to the right.

The two detectives head up the driveway of the adjacent house. Moretta shines his light at the garage door.

" Bullet hole." says Bryant, pointing at the door. He inspects the wall to the right of the door." And another one."

" Okay, so..." Moretta turns and stares at the street." Whoever our shooters are aiming for is probably standing about there on the sidewalk and they open up as they drive past...this way."

The phone inside Bryant's jacket rings. He pulls it from his pocket and stares down at the display.

" Shit." he sighs wearily.

" Tammi? " asks Moretta.

" Yeah." Bryant nods.

" Handle it, bro."

" Tammi, I can't talk," Bryant whispers as he answers." Is this important? "

" Yes, it's important! " his wife hisses.

" What happened? "

" Are you still mad at me? "

" Tammi! I...damn it! That's what you're calling me for? Now? I'm working! "

" I'm sorry, Sammy! I just was worried that you're still mad at me and..."

" Okay, I'm hanging up now." Bryant snaps his phone closed and tucks it back into his pocket.

" Everything okay, man? " asks Moretta.

Bryant shakes his head as he walks back down the driveway.

" She's never okay."

XXXXXX

35 minutes later, Detectives Adams and Cordero are standing in an examination area in the hospital's emergency department.

Lucinda Greggs, a young black woman, is sitting on an examination table, her eyes are red and she is holding a hand to her mouth.

Adams clears her throat.

" Miss Greggs, I'm Detective Adams, this is Detective Cordero. We're very sorry for your loss."

" Thank you." the woman sniffs.

" I know this is a tough time for you, but if we can ask you some questions, it may help us to find the person who did this."

The young woman stares at the wall ahead of her.

" Okay."

" Where were you when this happened? "

" At the store down the street. I went to get some ice cream for me and my grandma."

" Can you tell me what happened when you got home? "

The young woman rubs her eyes.

" I...I came home...and I looked up and there were bullet holes in the window. So I...

...I ran inside and...and she was laying on the floor...and there was blood all over her nightgown."

" What time did you get home? " asks Cordero.

" About nine thirty."

Adams writes in her binder.

" What happened after you found your grandma? "

" I...I just called 9-1-1...and a few minutes later, the cops came."

" Are you affiliated? " asks Cordero.

" Huh? " asks the girl, puzzled at the inquiry.

" Are you in a gang? " Cordero continues." You live in Rollin '60's territory. This was a drive by. Anyone have a beef with you? "

" Me? " the girl appears upset at the accusation." No. I ain't in no gang. Nobody's got a problem with me. I don't know nobody who would want to shoot at me."

Adams looked up from her binder.

" Sorry. Just understand that we have to ask all kinds of questions."

The girl looks at Cordero and then to Adams.

" Okay...I understand."

" Do you know anyone in a gang? " asks Adams.

" Look where I live." the girl scoffs." Everybody in a gang."

" Anyone close to you? " Cordero inquires." You got a boyfriend? Does he 'bang? "

The girl stares at the floor and shrugs.

" Lucinda." Adams leans down so that she can make eye contact with the girl." Who's close to you that's in a gang? "

The girl looks up at Adams.

" My boyfriend."

" What's his name? "

" Andre Gwynn."

" What's his street name? " asks Cordero.

" Pee Wee."

Adams maintains eye contact with the young woman.

" Who does he roll with? "

" Rollin' 60's."

" Was he at your house tonight, Lucinda? "

Lucinda begins to cry and buries her head in her hands.

" He called my cell when I was at the store and he told me he was coming over. My grandma didn't like him. She didn't want him coming by. I was trying to get back home to meet him before he got there, but when I got home..."

She leans forward, resting her head on Adams' shoulder as she sobs.

" They must have been trying to kill him."

Adams looks up at Cordero as she wraps an arm around the girl.

" Who was trying to kill him? " asks Cordero.

" He said some boys from Eight-Trey were after him. I don't know why."

" Can you tell us where Andre is now? "

" I don't know," the girls sniffs, wiping her nose." I called him but he won't answer."

" We're gonna need to talk to him," says Adams." Can you give us his address? "

" Okay." Lucinda says softly.

XXXXXX

The next day.

Bryant stands before his bedroom mirror, fidgeting with his dark red tie. He can see his wife Tammi in the reflection behind him. She is gathered in the bed covers, staring plaintively at him.

" Do you really have to go? I mean, like...really, Sammy? " she pleads.

" Yes, Tammy. I have to go. I have to work. You know, I have a job and all..."

" Oh throw that in my face, why don't you? " she moans, throwing herself back on the bed and draping an arm over her eyes.

Sammy rolls his eyes.

" Tammy. I wasn't trying to say anything. I just...I..."

" Fiiiine. Go." she sighs.

He turns to face her.

" What is it with you and all of this needy shit all of a sudden? "

" Oh, so now I'm needy? " she replies as she sits up.

" Uh, yeah," Bryant slides his Glock into the holster on his belt and snaps it shut as he snatches his keys from the nightstand." I don't know where this is coming from. You keep calling me at work. You won't let me leave..."

Tammi throws her hands up, wearily.

" So I miss you when you're not here. Is that such a crime? "

Bryant stares at her and purses his lips.

" I don't have time to talk about this right now. I'm gonna be late. Something's going on with you, though."

He opens the bedroom door and Richter, their German Shepherd, trots in and hops up onto the bed.

Tammi wraps her arms around the dog and sighs.

" There's nothing wrong, Sammy."

" I have to go," he answers over his shoulder as he leaves." I'll see you tonight."

" I'll call you! " she shouts after him.

XXXXXX

" 6A43 and any unit in the vicinity, 211 in progress. 12147 La Cienega. A&M Check Cashing. Suspects are 1 male black and 1 male Hispanic, no descriptions, possibly armed with a handgun. Monitor comments for additional, Code 3 Incident 2132 and RD 0643."

Officer Ben Sherman picks up the mic as his Training Officer John Cooper accelerates.

" 6A43, roger."

Sherman reaches for the switch to activate the patrol car's siren when Cooper stops him with a raised finger.

" What? " asks Sherman." She said Code 3."

" We roll in there with the siren screaming and they're gonna bolt like cockroaches when the lights flip on," Cooper replies." Hit the siren to clear the intersections, that's it."

He sees the look on Sherman's face, mulling things over.

" Do you wanna catch some bad guys or do you wanna stand there with your dick in your hand while they scatter? "

Sherman clears his throat.

" Good point."

Cooper flashes a half smile from behind dark glasses as they roll around the next corner.

" You're catching on, young Jedi."

Several blocks away, Officer Chickie Brown guides a black and white Dodge Charger through traffic. Her third partner this month is a rookie named Franklin Hughes. Chickie is acting as Field Training Officer for Hughes, whose regular FTO is out sick.

" Hit the siren." Chickie orders as they approach the next intersection.

" Yes Ma'am," Hughes responds as he sounds a quick blast of the siren." Clear right."

They speed through the intersection and turn onto a side street.

" They may rabbit when they see us. If we have to chase them, you stay with me Franklin, understand? "

" Yes Ma'am."

" You don't have to call me that." Chickie sighs.

" But my regular T.O. makes me call him 'Sir'."

" Well, I'm not big on formalities."

" Okay, get ready." Cooper says as he and Sherman turn onto La Cienega.

A young African-American man wearing a blue flannel shirt and an Hispanic man wearing a tan sweater are walking briskly up the street towards Cooper and Sherman's black and white Crown Vic.

The sight of an approaching police car elicits the expected response. The two men run.

The African-American suspect sprints up the street past their patrol car.

Sherman's door is open before Cooper can bring the car to a full stop. He races after the suspect.

" POLICE! Stop! " Sherman barks.

Cooper peers back over his shoulder and rests an arm on the passenger seat as he backs the patrol car up the street.

The Hispanic suspect runs in the opposite direction, directly into the path of the second patrol car.

Chickie hits the brakes. The black and white's front bumper knocks the suspect's feet out from under him and he lands on the hood of the car, dropping a brown plastic shopping bag in the street.

" Oh my God! " Hughes shouts, bracing a hand against the dashboard.

The suspect slides off of the hood of their car and collapses in a heap on the pavement.

As Chickie opens her door, she notices that Hughes is still sitting in the shotgun seat.

" Get out! " she calls.

" Yes Ma'am! "

Meanwhile, Sherman is closing in on the suspect, his feet pounding the pavement as he draws closer.

Cooper is still guiding the patrol car in reverse behind him.

Sherman leaves his feet with a quick burst of energy and tackles the suspect. Both men land hard in the street. The suspect struggles to stand. Sherman presses his knee against the man's back in an effort to keep him pinned to the pavement.

" Lemme go pig! Lemme go! " the man coughs." I ain't did shit! "

Cooper exits the patrol car, then helps Sherman handcuff the suspect and pull him to his feet.

A quick pat down by Sherman yields a pellet gun that had been tucked into the suspect's waistband.

" Are you serious? A BB gun? " Sherman asks in exasperation." I could have shot you."

The suspect shrugs as he stares at the ground, breathing heavily.

Cooper takes the young man by the arm. He stares down at a crumpled pack of cigarettes that has fallen from the suspect's pocket.

" You ever wanna outrun the cops someday, you better quit smokin', dude."

The suspect stares wickedly at Cooper and sucks his teeth.

" Man, kiss my ass."

" No thanks," Cooper smirks." But when you get to County, if you ask real nice, I'm sure one of the homies will do that for you."

Sherman looks away and smiles before leading the suspect back to their patrol car.

After the suspect has been secured in the back seat, Cooper makes his way over to the intersection where Chickie and her rookie have the second suspect pinned against the hood of their unit.

" You need any help? "

" We got it." Chickie replies as she pats down the suspect.

Cooper nods to Hughes who is standing a few feet away, watching.

" Why don't you have the boot search him? He needs the experience."

" I said we got it," Chickie replies as she hands the handcuffed suspect off to her rookie." Put him in the car, Franklin."

" Are we gonna call an R.A. For him, ma'am? " asks Hughes." He's limping."

" That's what you get for playin' chicken with a cop car, dumbass! " Cooper calls, earning a piercing glare from the suspect.

Chickie stares at Cooper as she keys the mic on her chest.

" 6A47, show Code-4, two in custody. Requesting an R.A. for a male with a possible leg injury."

" You want us to hang around? " asks Sherman as his partner heads back to their patrol car.

Chickie waves him off as she snatches the plastic bag full of cash from the pavement.

" We're good. Thanks anyway."

Sherman nods and climbs back into the black and white. Chickie watches as they roll past, then returns her attention to her partner.

XXXXXX

" Slow, slow." Cordero hisses as Adams guides the silver colored Crown Vic down the street.

" I know how to drive." Adams replies coolly.

They are following a young African-American man as he makes his way along a busy industrial street.

The detectives have been looking for Andre Gwynn since the previous night and finally manage to locate him after receiving a tip from a friend of his that he frequents a liquor store nearly every morning on Van Ness Avenue.

They are closely following behind him after seeing him leave the store.

" Remind me again why we're still working this case," says Cordero." We should've turned this over to Gangs, let them roll with it."

" We will," Adams sighs." But you seen how backed up Gangs is lately? We're doin' 'em a favor."

" This is personal with you, isn't it? The grandma gettin' shot. You know we're not supposed to get personal with these cases."

" That's bullshit too, and you know it. And screw this creepin' nonsense."

She guns the engine as they speed forward. Adams pulls the sedan into a driveway right in front of Gwynn.

The young man freezes and stares wide eyed at the detectives as they exit their car.

Cordero pulls open his sport coat to reveal the shield on his belt.

" Andre Gwynn? "

" Yo, my name Pee Wee, man. "

" We need to talk to you, Andre."

" Yeah? 'Bout what? "

" You know what," Adams calls, staring at him over the roof of the car." Boy, get in the damn car."

The young man takes a step backwards and glances left, then right.

Cordero rests an arm over his door.

" Go ahead, pendejo. I haven't had my workout today."

Gwynn lowers his head and walks over to their car.

XXXXXX

Their prisoner has been booked and they are back on patrol before Sherman speaks up to Cooper.

" What's your deal with Chickie, anyway? "

" She's dangerous," Cooper replies, his gaze focused on the traffic ahead." She's not the cop she used to be. She's sloppy now. She's timid. She's needs to get her act together or that shit is gonna get her or another cop killed."

Sherman chews his lower lip as he stares out his window.

Cooper glances at him.

" You disagree there, boot? "

" She seems like she's doing better. She's had a tough time with what happened with Dewey and all."

" Dewey? " Cooper scoffs." She should have turned that turd in when she had the chance. She does that, gets her partner the help that he needs, all of that bullshit with him could have been avoided."

" So it's all her fault? "

" Not all of it, but you look out for your partner. You spend more time with your partner than you do with your family. You've gotta have their back, no matter what, and if they need help, you do something about it. She did nothing. That's what my 'deal' with her is."

" She caught the Canyon Rapist, ya know? That's gotta count for something."

" She did her job. The first sign of good police work out of her in months. Maybe she gets her shit together now, maybe not. All I know is that it's gonna take more than everybody patting her on the back before I'm convinced she's really got my back out there."

Cooper grimaces and shifts uncomfortably in his seat.

Sherman gives him a once over and shakes his head as he looks away.

" How's your back, partner? "

Cooper exhales and continues to stare out at the traffic ahead from behind his dark shades.

XXXXXX

Andre Gwynn sits at the table in the interview room, rolling a can of soda back and forth in his hands. Adams sits across the table from him. Cordero stands in the corner, arms folded, staring at him.

" Well? Whatchyou want? " asks Gwynn, defiantly, though he continues to stare at the table.

" You wanna tell us what happened last night, Andre? " asks Adams.

" Ain't no thing."

" Ain't no thing? " Cordero mimics him." Somebody tried to cap your ass, Andre. Your girlfriend's grandma is dead. She took bullets that were meant for you. You tellin' me that ain't no thing? Shit, holmes, that's cold."

" Who did this, Andre? " asks Adams." We heard you had a beef with some Eight-Trey Crips. What did you do to piss them off so bad that they came lookin' for you? Because to me, this seems to be more than the usual B.S. about two different sets goin' at each other. They went looking for you specifically. So tell me; who did this, Andre? Who wanted to kill you? "

Gwynn shrugs again, trying hard to avert his eyes from Adams' gaze.

" Look at me, Andre."

Gwynn turns his head to the left. Cordero steps up beside him, forcing him to turn his head.

Adams slaps the table.

" Look at me, damn it! " she demands.

Finally, Gwynn stares into Adams' eyes. The detective pulls a glossy photograph from a folder and slaps it onto the table.

" Look at that, Andre. You look at it! That's your girlfriend's grandma. Her 87 year old grandmother. She is dead now. She is dead because somebody came looking for you. You gotta do something here, Andre. You gotta do something to help us find who did this. You have to help set things straight or this is gonna weigh on your heart, it is gonna haunt you. Tell me, Andre. Who did this? "

XXXXXX

" Albert Perkins." Moretta says as he hangs up the phone on his desk.

" Who? " asks their supervisor, D3 Daniel 'Sal' Salinger, as he looks up from his desk over his reading glasses.

" Albert Perkins, AKA Pit Bull. He's an Eight-Trey Crip. Long ass rap sheet. Currently wanted for ADW on a P.O. as well as violating a gang injunction. That was Lydia Adams. She said they picked up the kid this morning who was the intended target. Some little buster with Rollin' 60's named Pee Wee. He's relatively clean."

" He's the boyfriend of the vic's granddaughter, right? " asks Bryant, biting into his sandwich as he sits at the desk across from his partner." So what's the story? If he's just some little poo butt why was Pit Bull lookin' to smoke 'im? "

" Pee Wee was lookin' to move up, I guess." answers Moretta as he tosses a french fry into his mouth." Last week he jacked the rims from Pit Bull's vintage Monte Carlo. Then apparently, the little dumbshit started bragging."

Sal chuckles to himself.

" Now you know, even though someone with the moniker of 'Pit Bull' is probably a fair and level headed guy, I'm sure even he couldn't let a transgression like that go."

" Oh yeah," Nate laughs, hands behind his head." You just don't mess with a man's spinners."

" Jesus Christ," Bryant sighs, wiping sauce from his fingers with a paper napkin." Old ladies gettin' killed over the wheels on a car. Sometimes I really hate this damn city."

Sal nods.

" Okay then. So let's get this asshole before Sammy's faith in our great city is shaken any further."

XXXXXX

" Goddamn, I hate domestics," Cooper sighs as he stops the patrol car on a darkened residential street." They're just too damned unpredictable. I'm contact on this one. You're cover, Boot."

" You got it." Sherman replies as he steps from the patrol car.

Headlights flash behind them as Chickie pulls the second black and white to the curb.

Cooper sighs as he watches Chickie and her rookie exit their unit.

Chickie switches on her flashlight and shines it's white beam over the address numbers above on the mailbox.

" Well, this is the right place. How are we handling it? "

" Let's separate the couple as soon as we can," Cooper replies as the officers cross the lawn." We'll take the husband, you guys take the wife. We'll get the husband outside and you can talk to the wife in-"

The door slams open and a massive Hispanic man with a shaved head, wearing a black tank top and shorts storms off of the porch.

" Hey! Get the f**k outta here! We don't need no cops! " the man barks.

The four officers instinctively take defensive stances, resting their hands on the guns.

" Sir! Back up! " Cooper orders." We just want to talk to you."

Sherman eyes the man, sizing him up, determining how he will best attempt to take down this towering man who appears to be 300 pounds of muscle, if he makes a move on his training officer.

" 6A47, requesting a unit to assist at our location, Code 2." Chickie says quietly into the mic clipped to her chest.

A young woman with long dark hair, wearing a pink bathrobe appears in the doorway.

" Hey, did those pinche' neighbors call the cops again? " she shouts." We was just talking! We don't want you pigs here! "

" Yeah! " the woman's husband growls." So get the f**k outta here, ese'! "

" Sir, I'm gonna ask you to calm down," Cooper lowers his voice." We received a 9-1-1 call. We have to investigate..."

The man charges, tackling Cooper and driving him into the ground. Sherman rushes forward and lands on top of the man. He is unable to get an arm around him and begins to punch him.

Chickie's rookie, Hughes, rushes towards the melee', but slips on the grass. Chickie runs past him, extending her ASP baton with a flick of her wrist.

Cooper's attacker beaks free of Sherman and throws him back onto the lawn, near the porch. Cooper struggles to free himself but is weakened by the searing pain that is shooting through his back.

He manages to elbow the suspect in the face as Chickie unleashes a volley of baton strikes. Hughes attempts to pull the man off of Cooper but is considerably smaller than the hulking attacker and his efforts prove fruitless.

As Sherman struggles to his feet, the man's wife runs off of the porch and throws a punch at him, connecting with the back of his head.

The man swings one of his tree trunk-like arms and swats the baton from Chickie's hand, sending it flying off into the darkness.

Chickie draws the taser from her belt and clicks off the safety.

" Hughes! Move! " she shouts at the rookie who is blocking a clear shot." Get clear, damn it! "

As soon as Hughes breaks free of the man's grasp, Chickie fires the taser gun. The darts find their target, square in the middle of the man's chest.

He freezes as 50,000 volts of electricity course through his body. The man's wife shrieks at the sight. Sherman tackles her onto the grass and cuffs her.

Chickie disconnects the taser and the man collapses onto the lawn.

" You okay, John? " Sherman shouts.

" John? " Chickie calls as she and Hughes handcuff the man." Talk to me! "

Cooper lays flat on his back, staring at the night sky. He is trembling from the crippling pain in his back.

He slaps the ground and grabs a handful of grass.

" Fine...I'm...fine..." he replies through clenched teeth.

XXXXXX

Moretta and Bryant sit in their unmarked sedan, watching a two story house on a darkened South Central L.A. street. A maroon 1972 Chevy Monte Carlo is parked on the front lawn.

" I don't believe it. Looks like your boy came through, Sammy." says Moretta, staring at the house.

" I told ya. You're not the only one with good C.I.'s," Bryant replies." This white boy has some reliable snitches in the 'hood too."

" I'll never doubt you again, bro."

Bryant stares at the house.

" I don't know what I'm gonna do about Tammi, Nate. She's driving me crazy."

" Dude, she always drives you crazy."

" Yeah. I just don't know if there's something wrong or if it's just-"

" Just Tammi being Tammi? " Moretta smirks.

" Exactly," Bryant nods." She called me a little while ago. Said she'd be waiting up for me."

" It's nice when they wait up for you, ya know? " Moretta continues to focus on the house." I don't like it when Mariella worries about me, but when I get home, and I see her smiling at me, all of the shit that we've seen during our day just disappears. She's all I see. You know what I'm talkin' about."

Sammy sighs as he looks down.

" Yeah. I know."

" Here we go."

The detectives exit their car wearing Kevlar vests and blue raid jackets. They jog across the street as the SWAT officers arrive, some in a black Suburban, the others riding on the outside of a Bearcat armored vehicle.

The members of METRO's D-Platoon take the house with lightning speed and efficiency.

" Los Angeles Police Department! Search Warrant! " the SWAT Sergeant barks as his team crashes through the front door with a battering ram.

Before Albert Perkins can comprehend what is happening, he is pulled from his couch and pinned to his living room floor by two officers in tactical gear.

After SWAT has deemed the house clear, Perkins is returned to his couch, this time in handcuffs.

" Hey Pit Bull," Moretta smiles as he holsters his sidearm." Nice car out there, bro."

" Yeah, real nice," Sammy says in mock confusion." Where's the rims? "

XXXXXX

Cordero slips on his coat and yawns.

" Man. What a day," he says, staring at Adams who has a slight smile on her face." What's up with you? "

She sighs contentedly and leans back at her desk.

" Gangs called. They got the guy. This one's down, partner."

" Good," he nods." You heading out? "

" Soon."

He lingers for a moment.

" You know...I'm sorry your old partner got stuck riding a desk. But I'm glad I get to work with you again. You get so involved with these cases...it's nice to know there's still a cop like that."

Adams shrugs and tosses up her hands.

" I'm nothin' special. Just trying to work my cases."

Cordero smiles as he shakes his head.

" See you tomorrow."

" See you."

As he leaves, Adams swivels in her chair. She stares at the phone on her desk. She stares for several long seconds before finally picking it up and dialing.

" Hello? " answers a weary sounding voice on the other end.

" Hey Russ," Adams smiles." Just wanted to see how you were doing..."

XXXXXX

Cooper takes one painful step after another until he reaches his car in the station's parking lot. He pauses and leans back against the car. He stares at the sky. He can actually see a star or two.

Sherman strolls out of the building and pauses when he sees his partner.

" How ya feelin'? "

Cooper takes a deep breath.

" Like hammered shit."

Sherman looks around, unsure of what to say.

" You wanna get a beer or something? "

Cooper shakes his head.

" No. Think I uh...might swing by Laurie's. See how she's doing."

Sherman nods.

" Okay. See you, partner."

Cooper waves as he watches his young partner leave, striding easily across the parking lot. He'd never admit to anybody that he envies Sherman, but he does. Just a little. He doesn't know what a day in constant pain is like. He hopes Sherman will never know.

" Hey John."

He turns to see Chickie standing before him, her blonde hair is resting on her shoulders and she is wearing a brown leather jacket.

" That was something tonight, huh? " she laughs softly." Never a dull moment."

Cooper grimaces and nods as he stares at the ground.

" It was something, yeah."

" Well, anyway." Chickie sighs, tossing her car keys in the air." Need to get home and check on the kiddo. See ya tomorrow, John."

He watches her leave. He has to say something. She saved his ass tonight. They both know it.

" Chickie..."

" Yeah? " she turns as she unlocks her car.

" Uh..." he tries, but the words don't come. Damn it, this night has just been too damned humbling for him.

She smiles. A knowing smile. A warm smile.

" I saw Ben's got a vacation day tomorrow. I'll ride with you, if you want."

" Uhhh...sure. Yeah. Sounds good."

" Okay. I'll talk to the Sergeant. See you tomorrow."

He nods and waves. Jesus, what a night.

XXXXXX

Sammy pulls into his garage and shuts off the engine. He wonders what to expect as he exits the car and closes the garage door. Richter greets him, tail wagging as he enters the house.

Will it be another argument? Will she be indifferent? Will she want to screw him blind? It was a mixed bag with her. Always has been.

He makes his way down the hall to their bedroom. He finds Tammi asleep, on top of the covers in his LAPD sweatshirt with the lights and TV on.

He leans against the door and watches her sleep. She's still the same girl that he fell in love when they were both kids. He smiles as he slips off his tie.

" Just Tammi being Tammi." he says quietly.

Sammy uses the remote on the dresser to turn off the TV, then switches off the lights. He gently closes the door, then heads to the kitchen to get himself a beer.

END