Shad Michael had received a anonymous telephone call at 2:05 in the wee hours of the morning. The tip had reported a shooting on the east side of town. The part of town was called cockroach heaven because of the influx of bars, brothels, and hourly-rate motels. It was as if someone had drawn an invisible line through the town. On one side were the respectable citizens, while on the other were the dregs of society.
Shad was constantly amazed as he drove his old clunker, a brown 1957 Ford two-door, down this street, Lade Avenue. The blue smoke that emitted from his exhaust pie and the roaring of his damaged muffler, not only let people know of his approach, but also the sound announced his presence.
"If you are going to get laid, then what better place than Lade Avenue," Kenny King said, Shad's partner for the last twelve years on the force.
Shad lived four blocks to the west of this infamous street. It either was go out of his way to headquarters, or to risk life and limb by traveling this street. By going through the red light district, he could save time. Therefore, he went down the street.
"Anything to beat the heat." Shad said, as he was dabbing at the beads of perspiration on his head with a handkerchief that had definitely seen better days. The sweat seemed to run off his head in rivulets that made a bead line for his eyes. His shirt was sticking to his back like a second skin. Needless to say, he was miserable as he pulled into the parking space reserved for official use only.
The station was a three-story sandstone building built in 1934 by the WPA. Time and weather had smoothed off the rougher edges of the building. Stone steps, graced by glass globes on pedestals provided a sort of arch to the second floor. Windows were at the front and sides of the building, and to Shad's guess, had never been washed.
Of course, when someone wanted to look out, one took a dirty rag and wiped the window of its temporary glaze. The act of wiping the window caused streaks and one just rearranged the dirt, making the window darker. Three of the windows had fallen prey to some enterprising youngster, eager to show off his marksmanship with a B.B. gun or a slingshot. The remaining windows were horribly pockmarked by these missiles and looked like spider webs.
Shad parked his jalopy and got out. He arched his back and slowly trudged the stairs to his office on the second floor. When he reached his little cubbyhole, he surveyed his office. There was a scarred up desk, two rickety chairs, and his Goodwill swivel chair. His desk was cluttered with more ins than outs in the plastic tray. A wheel designed ash tray sat at one side of the desk. It was overflowing with cigarette butts and the tobacco from his pipe. I'm going to have to empty either that ash tray, or else put sideboards on it, he thought.
Shad's desk did look like an aftermath of a small scale riot. He often told people who
complain of it. "I am waiting for the President of the United States to declare my desk a disaster
area. That way, I can secure federal funds to clean it up some. ' sides, I know where everything
is, so I don't want anyone to touch a thing."
"Yo, Sarge," J. T., our information officer hollered, waving a piece of paper, "this is for you."
Shad was handed a piece of paper that had scribble on it.