ROLL CALL 6:38 AM
"Okay. Okay. Settle down!" Sgt. Lucy Bates announces over the basement full of laughter during roll call.
Det. Neal Washington chews on a toothpick and shakes his head at the latest absurdity spoken.
Other officers calm down. Det. Mick Belker squints while sucking on a cigar.
Sgt. Bates smirks. "Uh, item twelve. Division has kicked out a host of assignments around town. There's a lot of work to be done in tandem with downtown. Det. Mick Belker will be working undercover and surveillance with Det. Neal Washington on…uh," She looks down at the clipboard. "…unnamed gallery between Franklin and Lafayette St. We're looking for a collection of paintings that might not be deemed kosher."
Belker closes his eyes in anguish. Various officers try to rile him up.
Monroe calls out, "Hey, maybe you can find a Warhol of fire hydrants!"
Belker growls at the officer.
Monroe yells, "See! See! I rest my case!"
The sergeant stands waiting with arms folded. She's in no mood to laugh during roll call. "Are you finished?"
An officer from in back speaks up. "Oh, come on Lucy. You used to laugh with us."
Another voice is heard saying, "Hope the kid has J.D.'s sense of humor.
Bates is startled by the remark. "Who said that?" She steps away from the podium. "I asked, who said that?" Zigzagging through the seated cops with her eyes, the sergeant spots one officer shaking his head in disapproval. She stands right over him. "Was it you, Garcia?"
"Me?" He answers.
Officers Andy Renko and Bobby Hill watch from a little ways in front. Renko says quietly, "Sarge is on the war path. Hormonal you think, Bobby?"
"You said it, Renko."
Bates turns her attention to the front of the room. "You got somethin' to add, Renko?" She walks over to stand over him in an intimidating fashion.
The sergeant goes to the front of the room, next to the podium. "You know, all you lunch-buckets have been givin' me grief since I took over as Roll Call Sergeant four weeks ago. I didn't ask to be pinned to desk duty! You think I like this? You think I'm gonna enjoy getting twenty pounds heavier in front of you people? You think I asked to get knocked up and then have the father die on me before this kid is even born? You wanna play twenty questions? Huh? How about you, Garcia? Renko? You wanna join in too? 'So, Sarge? How was he?' Okay. I'll tell ya. He was hot in the sack! 'What d'ya think it'll be?' I don't know and I don't care! I want it to be a surprise! How's that? For all of you talkin' behind my back on a daily basis who keep on saying you hope this kid is more like LaRue? Guess what, it's half me and half him. So live with that!"
Lt. Henry Goldblume stands next to the wall, feeling awkward. He knew how it felt to be chewed out by Sgt. Lucille Bates. Lt. Howard Hunter of the Emergency Action Team is beside him smoking his pipe, not bothered by the sergeant's yelling.
Bates continues to speak loudly. "Yeah, and I got a sense of humor. But you know what? There's a time and there's a place for it. We've got serious matters to deal with. If I gotta try out my parenting skills on you hecklers, then so be it. You wanna get to work or you want your diapers changed?"
Nobody says a word. Several officers bow their heads down in shame.
She says, "Alright. With that said… Item thirteen! Patrolling of Jefferson High School. I know a bunch of you got kids and I'll be joining the ranks soon too, again. I got one in high school and one on the way. People, we are looking for street punks that are trying to recruit kids as young as thirteen years old. There were two high school deaths in the past month. These are being looked at as possibly gang related. Look, we gotta keep these predators away from our kids. Nobody knows how bad this can get, but there are some high schoolers who can easily be swayed to join. Let's nip this in the bud, people! We're gonna have two sets of cops a day for as long as it takes. Rollins and Churnowsky. Monroe and Wayne. Garcia and Buchanan. Hill and Renko. All of which will be patrolling the outside perimeter of the school."
Hill and Renko look at each other.
Bates looks down at the clipboard again. "Item fourteen. Lt. Henry Goldblume will again be down here at ten o'clock to school some of the rookies. Be on your best behavior and please show up on time."
Goldblume nods his head in agreement after making eye contact with Bates.
"Item last!" Bates yells out. "The benefit for Jefferson High that's being coached by Dudley R. Hicks finally has a home. The rink is at the West End Arena. They're lookin' at a date to be announced. In the meantime, if you've signed up already, there are practice sessions so you don't hurt yourself on the ice."
Hill nudges Renko. "That's for you, cowboy. You've got your own extra padding for those landings."
"Oh, shut up about that. You won't be laughin' and makin' jokes when I make my victory dance."
"Okay. That's it." Bates says.
Officers start picking up trash after their breakfast, leaving nothing behind. The sound of chairs skid against the floor. Bates looks up, breaking the chaos.
"Since I'm Roll Call Sergeant, let's do it right. Let's roll…" She glances around the room where everybody freezes. "…and let's be careful out there."
The long line of officers make their way up the stairs. Hill demonstrates Renko's girth with his hands expanded out. His robust partner scowls.
Belker walks up to Bates, upstairs. "Sarge? I think you did a great job. I'm sure being pregnant and handling everybody isn't easy."
Bates can immediately tell that her colleague is only trying to butter her up.
"Thanks Mick. Now, what is it you really want?"
He rubs the back of his neck in nervous agitation. "What is it with some of these assignments though? A gallery? Can you see it, Luc? Really? Me?"
She exhales, trying to feel sorry for the diminutive detective. Closing her eyes for that one moment to gather her thoughts she says, "Mick. I don't make these up. I'm just the messenger. You need to talk with the captain."
Lt. Goldblume goes to her. "Lucy? The captain wants to see you."
Bates immediately makes her way to the office.
Capt. Frank Furillo waits for her.
"You wanted to see me, Capt.?" Bates asks in a timid fashion.
"Lucy, I heard about what happened at roll call. The outbursts?"
"I got a little too emotional when I was provoked."
"That's not how I heard it. There were a couple of remarks made and you flew off the handle. This being sensitive business, will this be an issue?"
"No." She looks down. "I have these crazy days where either I feel sick or hungry or just really emotional. I don't know where it's coming from. Ya know, I've only been this way over the past ten weeks."
"And you have thirty more to go." His eyes dart over to the half empty coffee mug. He immediately dumps the contents into a small potted plant next to his desk.
She looks back up. "I just feel like I'm boxed in. Like some kid who can't play in the rain. I know I can do more until I really show."
"Uh-uh. If you're referring to me letting you out on duty, I can't do that. It would be too much of a liability in case anything should happen to you. I don't want to jeopardize you or the baby."
"Milner was allowed to perform her usual duties up until she was at least four months pregnant. I don't see the difference."
"The difference is you're a sergeant. Higher ranking officers have to be looked after."
"Maybe I should consult the handbook?"
Furillo leans over the table with desperation in his eyes. "Please take my word for it. This would make things so much easier."
Bates nods back in reluctant agreement. "You're right."
She walks out of his office.
Lt. Hunter greets her.
"I've been doing some studying lately about pregnancy and birth. I must tell you, it is quite the fascinating journey. The woman's reproductive system that is. Besides the nine month gestation of Junior in amniotic fluid. Did you know at ten weeks your little hatchling is out of their pollywog state." He gives a huge Cheshire Cat grin. When he sees she's lost, he answers. "Pollywog? Tadpole?"
Bates tightens, stiffening. Her eyes show a hint of anger.
"Are you calling me a frog?" She leers at him.
Hunter takes a step back. "Bates. Now, I can explain…"
"Are you calling me a frog?"
The lieutenant makes a quick getaway.
She immediately goes after him. "I'm gonna whip you like a fly, Howard!"
Various officers watch the two disappear out of the squad room.