Zelda Kravitz, from the episode Mayhem, makes a reappearance in the life of her favorite detective...

By Sally Stark (Joystar)

December 20
10 AM
At the 2-7

It was a typical holiday season in New York. For approximately two weeks out of the year, people were suddenly polite. Citizens involved in fender-benders wished each other "Merry Christmas" as they exchanged insurance forms, and beat cops walked by whistling "Silver Bells.". Even the street people had sprigs of pine needles tied to their carts or in their hats. Of course the crime rate didn't go down. Some things never change. On the whole, though...perps tended to be a lot more mellow.
An eternal optimist...Lennie Briscoe never seemed to lose faith in the Christmas spirit. Mike Logan was more practical. He believed that hot meals and dry beds as guests of the City had a lot more to do with it. Every year, Logan and Briscoe ragged each other about "Christmas Spirit". Lennie called Mike "Ebenezer," and Mike razzed back, cheerfully calling Briscoe "George," after the upbeat hero of It's a Wonderful Life.
This year, it looked like life was actually going to be wonderful: momentous things had happened in the lives of both partners. There were new babies at the Briscoes. ("Again", as Mike put it.) Two dainty daughters who looked exactly like their mom. Mike had also celebrated some milestones. He'd made Sergeant, turned 40 and been blessed with a child of his own. A tiny red-head with her father's eyes and a mouth like a fire siren. What a Christmas this would be.
Already, the 2-7 was buzzing with holiday plans. Collections were taken, packages were hidden in desk drawers, and Johnny Profaci was having a bumper year with the Toys for Tots campaign. One of the patrolmen had even found a pipeline for red and green bagels.
Then there were the regulars. The people who lived in the neighborhood. All precincts had them. The elderly. The lonely souls who just wanted to talk. The various street people who called the area home. Usually the "Officer of the Day" was the person who dealt with visitors, but nearly everyone had his or her devotees.
Today was Logan's turn. He was in the back clearing up paper work when he heard her. "Where's Detective Mike?" This was delivered in a loud braying voice that would take the paint off the walls. It was Zelda. Zelda Kravitz was one of the many street people who hung out around the precinct. A tall, weather-beaten woman with a voice like a foghorn, she ran her section of the streets like an Army drill Sergeant. No dealing, no panhandling and no hassling the locals . They had a good rapport with the 2-7, and Zelda wasn't about to let outsiders come in and screw things up. For the few who had tried, retribution was swift. People rarely crossed Zelda, and the ones who did quickly moved elsewhere.
Mike Logan genuinely liked Zelda. He admired her toughness, and there was a feisty, in-your-face attitude that reminded him of himself. Unfortunately today was not the day for a visit. Not with Lennie out sick and property reports up to his wazoo. He was trying to figure out a way to beat it when Profaci stuck his head in the door.
"Hey Mikey... ya'd better get out there," he said with a grin. "Zelda's getting kinda rambunctious".
Logan grinned back. "Ok, Profaci, just as long as you finish the prop reports."
By the time Logan got to the main office, he was beginning to wonder if somebody were pulling his leg. No Zelda. The only civilian in the place was a tall woman with short, snow-white hair and an eagle-beak nose. She was neatly but unconventionally dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt, and was anxiously scanning the room for someone. Suddenly, her face lit up.
"Detective Mike!"
Mike was astonished... "Zelda? Is that you? You look great." Zelda ducked her head. "I feel great. You know the lady you brought to see me? Elizabeth? She helped me to get into the Dorcas Center."
Mike took both her hands. "Zelda, that's wonderful. I'm very happy for you."
Zelda flushed. "Is there somewhere where we can talk? I gotta say something important." Mike looked around at the rest of the gang, listening to every word.
"Hey, Peterson -- sign me out for lunch?"
"OK, Mikey."
Logan and Zelda Kravitz started to walk down the block. "Ya know, Mike..." (Logan had finally gotten her to leave off the "Detective") "when you go into the House, one of things ya gotta do is find people ya might have hurt and make amends. I know I did some awful stuff..."
Mike knew what was coming. When Zelda was drinking, she had made passes. It wasn't anything that hadn't happened before; all cops went through it.
"Anyway, I talked to Elizabeth, and she said to just be honest, and tell ya straight. I want to show ya something." Zelda reached into her bag and pulled out a small locket. Inside was the picture of a 10-year old boy. "That's my Benjy," she said.
Mike was astonished. Looking at Benjy's picture was almost like looking in a mirror. Suddenly he realized what Zelda was trying to tell him. He put his arm around her shoulder.
"What happened, Zelda?"
"He got hit by a car..." Zelda started to cry. "He was all I had..."
Mike just sat there quietly, letting her cry it out. He shook his head at the irony of it all. He remembered his own mother. Mrs. Logan had hated kids, and taken it out on all four of them. Mike and his brothers and sister had all been beaten within an inch of their lives. Here was Zelda, on the other hand, who was eating herself up inside for the loss of a child.
Logan knew what he would do.
"Zelda, 'seems to me that we could help each other out. You need a boy, and I need a pal. Would you let me stand in for Benjy?"
Zelda Kravitz took Mike's hands and looked deeply into his eyes. She was silent for a long time, remembering another little boy with dark hair and a sunburst smile. She thought to herself that her boy would be just about the same age now. The same hair, same eyes and smile, and yet so very different...
For the first time since he he'd known her, Zelda smiled. A joyous, warm, satisfied smile. She reached up and gently brushed a lock of hair out of Mike's eye.
"Comb your hair, Detective Mike."
The two friends smiled at each other as they headed for the bus stop.



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