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Beatts Me!

All Right, You--Get Your Paws in the Air

January 18, 1998|ANNE BEATTS | Anne Beatts is a writer who lives in Hollywood

First off, I'd like to make a written confession. I'm addicted to cop shows. I watch "NYPD Blue" on Tuesdays. I watch "Law & Order" on Wednesdays. On Fridays, there's "Homicide." If I'm really hurtin' for a fix, I can always catch "Brooklyn South" on Mondays and "New York Undercover" on Thursdays.

And at midnight every weeknight comes the toughest decision of the day: whether my bedtime story will be reruns of "NYPD" on FX or "Law & Order" on A&E. Somehow I can't seem to drop off without one or the other--but give me my daily dose of violent crime and it's off to dreamland for this gal.

Naturally, being as I spend so much of my waking hours watching these type of shows, it can't help but influence my pattern of speech and how I conduct myself in general. Take yesterday, for example. I was catching some zzzz's in the squad room when my beeper went off. Actually, it wasn't the squad room, it was my bedroom, and it wasn't my beeper, it was the alarm, but you get the picture.

I went into the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee. That's when I first saw the body. It was a male, avian, blue, about five inches from wingtip to wingtip. I secured the crime scene and dusted for prints. I canvassed the kitchen, but no one came forward as a witness. So I had to go by my gut. I liked the cat for it.

I asked the cat to take a ride with me, just to answer some routine questions. I was afraid I was going to have to pull the shades down, take off my watch, and threaten to beat the crap outta her. But the minute I got her in the box, she gave it up. I put the feathers I took off her into the evidence file for safekeeping, typed up my report and I was done. Some days it goes like that.

Then I had to catch a shower and, soon as I got in, the FedEx guy showed up. I told him over the intercom he was jamming me up, but he said he needed a signature so I cut my shower short, grabbed a towel and went to the door. I don't think he saw my butt, but I can't be sure.

Later I met a friend for lunch, and she told me she was having a tough time with her boyfriend in connection with his not calling her when he said he would and so forth. So I offered to reach out to him. She seemed to take that wrong. So I said this goombah she'd been skatin' together with sounded like a typical skel to me, and she probably should consider getting herself some police protection.

The next thing you know, she went off on me. I offered her a drink of water, but that didn't appear to help any, so I told her I'd keep a good thought for her and we said goodbye. It wasn't a long lunch, but then it don't take that much time to wolf down a street hot dog.

I needed a cup of coffee so I dropped into the nearest Starbucks. As per usual, this hump behind the counter messed up my order and I had to straighten him out.

"Look, there's an easy way and there's a hard way," I said. "What's it gonna be?" Ihad zero interest in jerking him around, but I knew if I backed down it would be all over the shop in no time. Sometimes you've got to break a few heads.

Next I hit the bank. The line was practically out the door, so I went over to the security guard.

"You've got a situation here," I said. "You want me to help out?" But he didn't know Iwas on the job, so he ignored me. I told him to take a hike, pal, under my breath.

By the time I got my hands on some simoleons, I was late to meet my snitch at a bar I know. The snitch had already split on me. I ordered a club soda, kicked back and relaxed. But I couldn't help thinking about the job. In all my months of working homicide, so far I hadn't closed any cases not involving the cat--or opened any either, to be exact.

But I figured it was only a matter of time. You take your average perp: You know sooner or later they're gonna slip up, say something, do something that gives them away. And that's when I'll be there to pick up the pieces. Then the only problem I'll have is figuring out what the crime was.

I was on my way back to the house when a uniform pulled me over. I don't mind telling you I was revved up. Finally I was coming up against one of my own, someone who could talk the talk and walk the walk. "Hey, I'm working a case here. So don't squeeze my shoes, man," I said. "Huh?" he said. And then he wrote me out a ticket.

Some days it goes like that.

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