The Expired Meter by Stephen Obler...

We were on our third of five evenings during this set of 4pm x 12am tours.

Back then NYPD worked around the clock.

No steady tours or Steady RDO’s (Regular Days Off).

They called it “The Nine Squad Chart”.

It really fucked up your body.

And it probably fucked up your head as well.

But then again, what kind of normal person becomes a cop?

Anyway, me and Jimmy were sitting in RMP (Radio Motor Patrol) 1715.

RMP 1715 was a blue and white Plymouth that knew every bump and pothole that existed within the confines of Manhattan’s 13th Pct.

That was us, our sector: known on the police radio as 13 Edward, aka “Lowlife”.

We were facing west parked on West 23rd Street west of Madison Square Park.

Back then Madison Square Park was a cruising stroll for Rectal Rangers.

I believe we were eating Ray’s Famous Pizza and drinking Coke.

I guess Jimmy had his Rum and Coke.

We had just responded to a 10-8 from the Lieutenant on the desk.

Translation: 10-2 meant return to command.

Translation: 10-8 meant 10-2 with a six pack.

We went to the Bodega for the six pack where everything was on the arm (Free).

The Lieutenant was an old, miserable, drunk, shanty Irish fuck.

But what do you expect; he was doing five midnight tours every three weeks.


It was a quiet Tuesday in the late spring of 1984, warm enough to have the windows open, but not hot enough to make the smells of the street unbearable.

Back then this area of Chelsea was dead weekdays after 9 pm.

Chelsea was not yet overrun with Liberal Douche Bag Yuppie Cock Breathes.

The radio was quiet and we were just chillin’ until we could take a slow mope back to the station house and go EOT (End of Tour).

I remember the quiet of the radio was broken by the monotone voice of the civilian dispatcher.

Emanating from One Police Plaza, Radio Zone Two, he spoke with total disinterest:

“In the 10th precinct, man with a rifle in the projects West 26 street & 9th Avenue, no callback…10 George?”  Then an anxious voice responded, “10 George, we’re around the corner and will take it.”

There were a few moments of dead air; then crackling over the radio as 10 George transmitted:

“He’s goin’ down 9th Avenue in a blue van.”  The radio transmission was punctuated by a loud whoop whoop of the siren.

“He’s makin’ a left on to 23rd Street.”  I then looked up and saw a van coming towards us followed by an RMP with the turret lights ablaze.

They’re about three blocks away.

Jimmy threw his pizza and “Coke” out the window, put RMP 1715 into drive and slammed on the gas in one swift and fluid move.

I switched on the turret lights, and finished my pizza (YUM).

We watched as the van made a right turn going downtown the wrong way on 6th Avenue.

10 George followed.

As we raced down 6th Avenue, the pursuit then turned east on West 20th Street.

As we turned on to West 20th Street, we noticed the van and the 10 Pct. RMP empty, with doors open.

Jimmy pointed out that there’s a guy running towards 5th Avenue.

We raced and jumped out of the car as he turned and ran uptown on 5th Avenue.

I tackled him and he started to resist, I cuffed his right hand.

Jimmy called over the radio “13 Edward has one perp at 21 and 5.” (West 21 Street & 5th Avenue).

Then we heard three loud booms coming from back where the van and the 10 George RMP were.

I looked at Jimmy, the perp was still resisting us, and so I clocked him with my radio and cuffed him to the parking meter.

Back then the radios were made of heavy metal, not plastic.

We then ran back to see what was going on.

10 George chased the other asshole into an alley, jumped him and diverted M-16 rifle as he pulled the trigger.

Turns out both these assholes were high on Angel Dust.

The adrenalin was pumpin’, as more units showed up.

Someone said to me, “Hey Lowlife, the 13 Sergeant is looking for you.”

Jimmy said to me, “Oh shit, the bonehead at 21 & 5.”

We got back to 21 & 5 and standing there besides the bonehead cuffed to the parking meter stood Sergeant Dicks.

Sergeant Dicks wore a tie and long sleeved shirt all year round.

Sergeant Dicks did not have a sense of humor.

Sergeant Dicks especially didn’t like us.

Sergeant Dicks thought “the job” (NYPD) was on the level.

Me and Jimmy believed the job was on the level like professional wrestling is on the level.

Most cops thought Sergeant Dicks was a congenital asshole.

As the Sergeant screamed at me and Jimmy, the cuffed asshole was rubbing his head and crying.

“You guys have done it now, wait until the Captain hears about this,” the sergeant said. 

I said, “Excuse me, Sarge."

I then held up my left hand, got a quarter out of my pocket with my right hand and put it into the parking meter the angel dusted asshole was cuffed to.

The Sergeant’s operator (driver) fell to the sidewalk laughing.

The Sergeant’s face turned red as he stormed back to his car.


We got called into the Captain’s office the next day we were back on day tours.

He knew Sergeant Dicks was L.O.S.T. (Lack of Sensation/Testicles)

Translation: A real numb nutz.

He had a big smile on his face and said…………….

“Steve, I hope you don’t get 10 guys like you in your squad when you become a Sergeant.”

Just another day in the 13th Pct.
Stephen Obler is a retired NYPD officer who is currently a security consultant, private investigator and an adjunct professor at a small New York area college. His work has appeared in SNM Horror Magazine, Death Head Grin and The Flash Fiction Offensive. He is currently working on a pilot for a reality show and a screenplay for an action drama television series.


David Barber said...

I felt like I was on shift with these guys, Stephen. Really liked this story and it's written in a pretty unique style that gave it something a little bit extra. Great work!

Bill Baber said...

That was great! I knew before reading Stephen's bio it had to be an inside job. Hell, probably a true tale to boot!

Phil Beloin Jr. said...

Great stuff Stephen...I really dug all the details...

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Man, that was some good shit, with a real sense of legitimacy to it. Reminded me of the movie "Brooklyn's Finest". Great job Stephen. The 25 cents in the parking meter was a great touch.

Erin Cole said...

I loved this - fun, humorous, and exciting, and I learned a few abbrvs. I'll have to test on the policemen in my family.

Excellent penning, Stephen.