Sunday, November 7, 2021

"Hold the Phone, It's the Cops"

By Jerry Zezima

The call came in at 1:54 p.m.

“We are at the location,” I reported. “Request backup.”

“Who is this?” the police dispatcher asked.

It was me, plainclothes officer Jerry Zezima, star of the new real-life cop show “CSI: Columnist Stakeout Idiocy.”

The premiere episode began a few nights before when my partner, Sue Zezima, who also happens to be my wife, lost her cellphone.

Thanks to some brilliant detective work, for which I must modestly take credit, it was determined that the item in question was stolen at the gym, where Sue had gone for the kind of rigorous training that not only cops must go through but also wives who routinely battle cumbersome vacuum cleaners, heavy soup pots and, worst of all, lazy husbands.

After calling the service provider to disable the phone, which contained such valuable information as shopping coupons and photos of our grandchildren, we traced it to an address about half an hour away.

Our next move was to go to our local police precinct and report the theft.

“We put a trace on the phone,” Sue told the desk sergeant.

“Where is it?” he asked.

When Sue gave him the location, the cop said, “Oh, shoot.”

Except he didn’t say “shoot.”

“That’s a rough neighborhood,” he informed us.

“What should we do?” I asked.

“Go to the location,” the desk sergeant said.

“I thought you said it was a rough neighborhood,” I stammered.

“It is,” he replied. “Go there, park down the street from the address and call us. We’ll send a car.”

“Will there be any cops in the car?” I wondered.

“Yes,” the sergeant assured me. “Good luck.”

The next day, Sue and I got ready for our first stakeout.

I wore black, the preferred color of those in special operations. I just hoped I wouldn’t need a special operation for gunshot wounds. I also wore shades, which didn’t help much because it was raining.

Sue wore a gray hoodie.

“You’re a girl in the hood,” I said.

“And you’re impossible,” she responded.

“Copy that,” I said before starting the motor of our unmarked vehicle. “Let’s roll.”

We drove to the location, parked a block away and called the cops. Half an hour later, a car showed up. Officers Gallagher and O’Leary got out and walked over. I rolled down the window.

“What’s going on?” Officer Gallagher inquired.

“We’re here to nab a perpetrator,” I responded.

“Huh?” Officer O’Leary said.

I explained the situation.

“It’s our first stakeout,” I said. “We’re rookies.”

“I can see that,” said Officer Gallagher.

“This is my partner,” I told the cops, pointing to Sue.

“And it was your phone that was stolen?” Officer O’Leary asked.

“Yes,” Sue replied. “It’s red.”

“You were at the gym, right?” Officer O’Leary said.

“Yes,” said Sue. “I was in a hurry to get home because I didn’t want to miss ‘Chicago Fire.’ ”

“Of course,” I added with a wink, “our favorite is ‘Chicago P.D.’ ”

“Of course,” Officer O’Leary said.

“We’re going to the address to check things out,” Officer Gallagher said. “You stay here.”

“10-4,” I said.

The officers got back in their squad car, drove down the street and parked in front of the house where the alleged thief resided. They knocked on the door, but I couldn’t see what was happening.

“I hope they crack the case,” I told Sue.

We waited for about 15 minutes. Finally, the cops drove back to our car.

“Did you get the phone?” I asked.

“No,” Officer Gallagher answered. “A nice couple lives there. They seemed like normal people. But we did scare the pants off them. The man even called his son, who wasn’t home. The son said, ‘Why would I go out of town to steal a phone?’ There wasn’t much more we could do.”

“I guess this is now a cold case,” I said.

“I guess so,” said Officer O’Leary, who handed us a report.

“I’ll call your precinct and put in a good word for you,” I said. “Maybe you’ll get a promotion to sergeant or admiral or something.”

“Thanks,” said Officer Gallagher, adding that he and Officer O’Leary see cases like ours every day.

“How come you don’t have your own cop show?” I asked.

“It would be pretty boring,” Officer Gallagher said.

With that, the men in blue drove away. Sue and I did the same.

The first and last episode of “CSI: Columnist Stakeout Idiocy” had come to an end.

“At least,” I said with a shrug, “I didn’t get arrested for impersonating an officer.”

Copyright 2021 by Jerry Zezima

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