Arresting an Old Woman for Booking Numbers | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Arresting an Old Woman for Booking Numbers

I hated working Vice,
And I guess it's because my father played the numbers
And when the old man hit, he'd buy all the kids new shoes.
He didn't hit that often
But it was like Christmas when he did.
He worked in the steel mill for over fifty years,
Had the scars and burns to prove his time.
I was assigned to Vice
And one evening me and my partner Burgers got a search warrant
For Bookie Joe, AKA "The Shoe."
We hit his house
Before the number went off,
And his wife Bernie let us in.
I'm guessing she was on the downhill side of seventy,
I told her we had a search warrant:
"Where's The Shoe?"
She said, "He's in the hospital dying of cancer."
Sergeant "Allegheny Red" told her mean in a police voice,
"Sit down and don't move."
She sat down and trembled just like a little sparrow.
We searched the house and found
Stacks of number slips
And a stack of pay sheets.
I also found a box of money in the top drawer of a desk,
In stacks of small bills.
"What's this money?"
She said, "That's hit money."
I tried to put the money back into the drawer,
But Sergeant Allegheny Red heard.
"Take the money and count."
I counted over $5,000
And marked it on the evidence sheet.
Allegheny Red told me, "Cuff her and read her the rights."
I started to cuff her in the front.
He said, "Cuff her from behind."
I cuffed her from behind,
Read her, "You have the right to remain silent."
We took her to the station,
And I filled out her arrest report.
Sergeant Allegheny Red re-counted the money
And gave Burgers a high five.
Bernie started to cry.
She was arraigned and released to
Her own recognizance.
I came back
And finished my paperwork.
I asked Allegheny Red,
"Can I go?"
He said, "Sure, as soon as you tell me what's wrong."
I said, "Sergeant, you might get off arresting old ladies
That have old men dying of cancer, but I don't.
Can I go?"
He sneered, "Go."
I got my gun out of my desk and walked out thinking,
"I don't like this fucking guy.
I bet he never needed a pair of shoes when he was a kid
On Monday morning, Red and Lt. Blinky had
Me standing tall in front of the Superintendent,
And he handed me a reprimand
Asking for my transfer
And it was written in blue I was too immature for Vice.
I wanted to say,
But I said nothing.
The Superintendent read the reprimand and said,
"I knew your father as a good man and a hard worker.
How about if I put you back in Narcotics?"
We walked out of the boss' office.
I looked at Blinky and Allegheny Red, shook my head.
I winked and they fake-wished me luck.
I couldn't resist: "Don't get me wrong, boys, it's been a plumb pleasing pleasure."
Joe "The Shoe" died shortly after,
And I gave Bernie a break at the hearing.

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