Watch out -- the Lenny in the first part of Leap of Faith isn't Briscoe ... she's Lenore, and she's an art restorer, caught up in a terrible crime, but about to meet the one and only Mike Logan. Settle in and take a "leap" with us.
Leap of Faith
By Chris McCann
When at night I go to sleep, fourteen angels watch do keep.
Two, my head are guarding...
Two, my feet are guiding...
Two are on my right hand...
Two are on my left hand...
Two who warmly cover...
Two who o'er me hover...
Two to whom 'tis given to guide my steps to heaven.
--The Children's Prayer
From: Hansel & Gretel
Two, my head are guarding...
Lenore Bevan sat hunched over her worktable taking great care to leave in tact the hawk-like angles, subtle shadings and patrician lines of Pope Clement's nose. Isolated in the windowless, artificially bright, climate-controlled depths of the Metropolitan Museum, Lenore could almost believe that outdoors summer reigned in place of the cold, gray of this late December evening. But idle conjecture about the weather aside, as one of the Met's most gifted art restorers, Lenore had more than enough to occupy her hands if not her mind.
An excellent, liberal education made possible by a devoted mother, eternally moonlighting father, and years of serious cheese paring, had laid the foundation for Lenore's very specialized training and a well-earned reputation in the field of art restoration. Proud of her solid, working class, Midwestern roots, she also knew that the most exciting and demanding work was being done in major museums or well-known auction houses. As a result, New York had been her home for nearly five years. Lately, however, Lenore had been feeling more and more like Jonah, swallowed whole, then slowly digested in the belly of the beast. As though she were gradually disappearing or, at the very least, changing into someone unrecognizable and not very nice. Even the considerable prestige attached to working for an institution of this caliber had worn thin and Lenore's pride and delight in her chosen profession was being rubbed away, bit by bit, like so many layers of cracked and yellowed varnish. Increasingly, she found her mind wandering, indulging in such random, often irreverent musings which, in this instance, reduced her skilled efforts on an extremely valuable Carravaggio to essentially "picking the Pope's nose". Never above engaging in a bit of light-hearted blasphemy, Lenore Bevan, the chic, New York sophisticate might have claimed she was simply jaded, afflicted with a passing case of ennui. Lenore Marie Theresa Bevan from Lombard, Illinois, knew she was just plain bored and maybe even a little lost.
The workroom's stillness was broken by Lenore's associate and current lover, Erich Keller, a native of Stuttgart who dabbled in social climbing when he wasn't elbow-deep in linseed oil. Over time, their relationship had gradually fallen into a well-oiled, frictionless routine and, while it produced little heat or light, they both seemed willing to settle for the tepid warmth it did afford. No, the earth didn't move, but now and again, on a good night, Lenore could anticipate a momentary orbital hiccup. Erich was a nice guy, in his stolid, Teutonic, predictable fashion and though not quite "something", was still much better than nothing in her estimation. Because Lenore knew that the city could be a killingly lonely place, she was grateful for Erich's safe, low-maintenance companionship.
"Darling, why don't you call it a day? It's nearly 7:00. You know you don't do your best work when you're tired. Go on home and I'll finish up here then meet you back at your apartment at around 8:30 or so. There's a new Thai place that I've been wanting to try. Oh, and don't forget that we have the Tamaki opening on Saturday. She'll be so disappointed if we don't come. You still want to go, don't you?" Erich asked.
They had met Koko Tamaki at one of those self-important, artsy-fartsy gatherings that Erich loved but which gave Lenore a migraine. In her estimation, these dreaded occasions were little more than an excuse for the socially voracious, ever-circling, Armani-clad culture vultures to swoop and soar. Unable to tell a La Tour from a Rembrandt, this crowd wouldn't know real art if it came up and bit them on the ass. What's more, Lenore suspected that, in this instance, Erich was not so much interested in the art as in the artist. Koko Tamaki, while possessing only marginal talent, more than compensated by being a sexy, stunningly beautiful woman. It was rumored by those in the know, that she had undertaken to single-handedly rewrite the "Kama Sutra" or, at the very least, add a chapter or two. Come to think of it, Erich had lately seemed a little distant, tense, more lost in thought than usual. Did he perhaps have cheating on his mind? Was her personal Prussian thinking of adding a footnote of his own to that woman's sex manual?
Reluctantly turning her thoughts from such carnal considerations to the pious gaze of Pope Clement, Lenore tossed off a very nonchalant, "Oh, Erich, I don't care. Whatever you want to do." While at the same time silently inquiring of the long-dead pontiff, "So whaddaya think, Clem, are my days with Herman-the-German numbered?" Lenore Bevan could not have known that the countdown had already begun.
Any further comment from Erich's quarter was obscured by the sound of rapping. Someone was knocking on the oversized double doors leading to an outside, lower level service/delivery area. As far as Lenore knew there were no deliveries scheduled especially this late in the day. As it was, she and Erich, working late, were the only employees still hard at it in the department. The others, those lucky enough to have something better to do, had gone home long ago to do it. Besides, everyone they typically dealt with knew that museum security strictly dictated that a guard, armed with sheaves of official paperwork as well as his weapon, be present during all pick up and delivery operations. Because at any one time, it was not unusual for the staff to be involved in the cleaning and restoration of artwork valued in the millions of dollars, the museum administration took security very seriously indeed. However, being herself more preoccupied than usual, Lenore decided that she had either misread the schedule or perhaps failed to consult it at all. She had gotten rather sloppy about such details. Still, when no guard appeared, it seemed completely out of character for Erich, usually such an annoying stickler for protocol, to quickly stroll over and unlatch the doors instead of first calling security. The result of this seeming lapse of judgment was to render Lenore Bevan unconscious, daubed and spattered with her former lover's blood and brain tissue like some particularly macabre work of modern art.
"Man, looks like this one's had it," announced a weary voice. "Hmmm, can't really see any entry wounds. Don't know how you can tell anything, she's so covered in crap. Christ, looks like she's been dipped in it. Head's bleedin' pretty good. Maybe a slug in her brain? Real shame. Looks young. Too young to be pushin' up daisies anyway." With a loud sigh the speaker added, "She ain't gonna like it but make sure Stahl knows we're gonna need her report first thing."
In Lenore's mind that voice might have been coming from another galaxy and it was with an oddly detached feeling of amusement that she slowly realized the speaker was referring to her. During the next few seconds, as her vision began to clear, sounds, smells and physical sensations followed in quick succession, penetrating the lovely, thick fog that had until now safely held her in its grasp. Struggling to sit up, Lenore was instantly rocked by an explosion of pain in her head. Surely something vital had been shaken loose and was now rolling dangerously about her cranium like an undetonated bomb. With eyes tearing and unfocused and a skull filled with thunder and lightning, the urge to vomit proved overpowering. Gagging, Lenore turned her head and deposited the undigested contents of her stomach onto a pair of well-worn, black wingtips.
"Jesus Christ!" the wearer of those shoes hissed as he gingerly hopped out of range just as Lenore's second and third efforts gurgled up and out, producing a sizable puddle beside her. While Detective Michael Logan wasn't known around the 27th Precinct for his sartorial splendor, he didn't particularly relish spending the rest of the night, and he suspected it would be a long one, smelling like the toilets at McCann's Bar & Grill.
Lenore's barely audible, "Sorry," didn't help much.
Even Logan's partner, the unflappable Marty Driscoll, appeared to be suitably startled and not a little impressed by Lenore Bevan's sudden resurrection.
"Well, she's alive anyway," Logan announced without much enthusiasm.
Carefully assisted by Detectives Logan and Driscoll, Lenore Bevan, still more than a little green around the gills, was slowly helped to her feet and into a nearby chair. At the same moment, a female paramedic bustled over with, "Hey, guys, she's in really bad shape. We need to get her outta here. You can question her at the hospital." Just one look from Mike Logan sent the well-meaning EMT on her way and out of their hair at least for the time being. With Lenore Bevan sitting propped between the two detectives, Driscoll did the honors, formally introducing himself and his partner and setting into motion the investigation with a gentle, low-key, round of questioning.
"Miss, uh, Bevan, I know you've had a terrible shock tonight, and that you need to be seen by a doctor, but we just have to ask you a couple of questions while everything's still fresh in your mind. Can you give us some idea of what happened here? Who did this to you? Your chief of security (a grim-faced fellow standing nearby wringing his hands and muttering to himself) already told us that it's against their policy to allow unauthorized or unescorted visitors into this part of the museum. There's no sign of forced entry so who let them in? Uh, Miss Bevan?"
Lenore Bevan, completely ignoring Detective Driscoll's questions, choosing instead to more closely examine the large, sticky splatters covering her smock, arms and hands, began to giggle.
Eyes rolling, Logan shot Driscoll one of his best, 'Oh yeah, here we go,' looks.
Their combined attempts to calm her resulted in even more laughter, sputtering giggles growing so rich and infectious that even Mike and Marty had to fight the urge to smile. Members of the Crime Scene Unit turned to watch as Lenore Bevan laughed, laughed as though her life depended on it. But just as quickly, the hilarity gave birth to sobs, deep, thick and choking, producing bone-rattling tremors that shook the young woman to her toes. Shivering, nose streaming, awash in blood, gore, and vomit, Lenore suddenly turned and flung herself into Detective Logan's unsuspecting arms, clinging for dear life, refusing to release him until she had been transported to the hospital and heavily sedated.
This was Mike Logan's lucky day.
Erich was dead. Detective Driscoll had told her. It was apparent that he disliked this part of the job but Lenore was grateful for his kindness and sensitivity. In fact, the older detective's quiet, down-to-earth straightforwardness and obvious decency reminded her a lot of her Dad. Mike Logan, Driscoll's partner, was another matter altogether. Much younger, he was all business, a blunt, cocky, good-looking hard ass that would never win a prize for Miss Congeniality. Growing up near Chicago, Lenore had known a lot of guys like Mike Logan. Street wise and tough, they either became cops or criminals. They were a type that had both frightened and secretly attracted her.
As if her thoughts had the power to conjure them up, both Logan and Driscoll suddenly appeared in the doorway. Lenore was dismayed to feel her face redden before the dark, unrelenting gaze of Mike Logan.
With a warm smile, Detective Driscoll pulled a chair to Lenore's bedside and said, "Hey, Miss Bevan, how're you feeling today? How's the head? You're sure looking 100% better than when we saw you the other night."
Logan remained standing, arms folded, casually slouched against the wall, silent and unsmiling. Lenore was relieved that it was Driscoll sitting so close to her. Logan's intense, piercing scrutiny made her feel intimidated, naked, like a bug under a microscope. Bolstered by the older detective's smile and relaxed friendliness, Lenore suddenly lifted her chin, and for just a moment glared defiantly back at Logan, while at the same time replying to Driscoll, "My head still feels like it's too big for my shoulders. Hurts when I move around too much. Doctor said I have a hairline fracture. But it's nothing that a little time won't take care of. All goes well, I'll probably get to go home by the end of the week."
Nodding, Driscoll replied, "Well, that's good news, isn't it?"
Returning his smile, Lenore said, "Yeah, my Dad always claimed I was one hard-headed woman." Glancing at Logan, she noticed the barest hint of a smile playing around the corners of his mouth. That is until he caught her noticing.
"Miss Bevan, did you ever get hold of your folks?" asked Logan.
This tiny expression of concern, especially coming from "the tall cool one in the corner," again brought color to Lenore's cheeks. "Um, yeah. I've spoken with them a couple of times. Told them that I was doing fine on my own. You, know, for them not to worry or anything. That I'm okay. I'd be fine...just fine..." babbled Lenore, feeling like a complete idiot. The look of amusement in Logan's eyes only served to intensify her embarrassment.
Pleasantries aside, another lengthy, more detailed round of questioning followed leaving Lenore exhausted, increasingly depressed and not one step closer to finding whoever was responsible for Erich Keller's murder and the theft of two and a half million dollars worth of art. Miss Lenore Bevan dropped off to sleep that night completely unaware that she was now Detectives Driscoll and Logan's prime suspect.
Two, my feet are guiding...
It was a stranger who returned to Lenore Bevan's apartment after a week's stay in the hospital. The young woman who had so blithely strolled off to work that December morning no longer lived here. She had moved out, and in her place resided a new tenant, a nervous, frightened, lonely woman whose orderly, sensible, well-managed life had been transformed by a moment's violence. As Lenore wandered aimlessly through its oddly unfamiliar rooms, handling objects that seemed to belong to someone else, she wondered if it were possible that she had ever felt safe, ordinary, boringly normal. And because the memory of those wonderfully ordinary times continually mocked her, she chose to view what remained of her life through a haze of sedation, curled beneath musty covers, wrapped tightly against whatever terrors might lurk beyond the bedroom door. When was the last time she'd washed her hair or showered or eaten for that matter? The fact was, it didn't matter. Not at all. And it was only because the loud, persistent knocking made her head throb like hell that she emerged from the relative safety of her cocoon to answer the door. After carefully checking the identity of her caller through the peephole, Lenore flung open the door with such uncontrolled abandon that it slammed against the wall with a resounding bang, revealing a very startled member of the New York City Police Department. Detective Michael Logan, his keen investigator's eye assessing the situation almost instantly, deduced that all was most assuredly not well with Miss Lenore Bevan.
"Uh...hi. Uh...Miss Bevan? Mind if I come in? I've, uh, just got a few more things to go over with you. If that's okay? Is this a bad time?"
Turning her back on Detective Logan and his stream of questions, Lenore croaked in a voice grown unaccustomed to speaking, "Where's Detective Driscoll?"
"Um...he's busy working on something else. I'm kinda on my own today," replied Logan.
Shuffling stiffly across the small living room, Lenore, with a broad, almost comic gesture, swept aside a pile of discarded clothing and assorted debris from a corner of the sofa. In a much stronger voice she said, "Well, then by all means. Do sit down, detective. Let's have an old-fashioned heart-to-heart, shall we?"
Hesitating for a moment, Logan nodded then carefully wedged his considerable bulk into the small space Lenore had cleared. At the same time he noticed his hostess busily arranging herself at the other end of the sofa. Lenore, with her wildly disheveled appearance and repetitive, strangely disjointed movements reminded Logan of patients he'd seen in a mental asylum.
When it appeared that Lenore had finally settled in enough to listen, he began, "Because the art world is relatively small and close-knit, we already have several leads we're developing. The market for this stuff is so limited it's almost impossible to fence. Uh, you know, to re-sell. Not too many Picassos hanging in the local pawn shop." Seeing that this small attempt at humor was completely lost on Lenore, Logan continued, "Yeah...well, anyway, if we find the art, it should eventually lead us to the thieves. We got Interpol and a couple of experts in on this so I'm thinkin' things'll start to break pretty soon. It's really only a matter of time." Shifting his bulk into a less uncomfortable position, Mike Logan placed an arm across the back of the sofa and leaning towards Lenore, fixed her with his large, dark eyes. In a deceptively soft, confidential tone he added, "One thing that still puzzles us. The thieves killed Erich Keller, but they only hit you on the head. Um...can you think why that might be, Miss Bevan?"
Lenore, instantly sensing the undercurrent of accusation in Logan's question, suddenly lunged toward the detective. Wild-eyed and within an inch of his nose she replied in a soft voice dripping with sarcasm, "Jeez, Detective Logan, I think I've told you all I can remember. Yeah, now let's see, I was working on the portrait so my back was turned to the door. There was a knock. Erich answered and, BOOM! (the word, delivered like an explosion and at such close range, made Logan jump for the second time that day) the whole fucking world exploded into technicolor. You see, Detective Logan, I don't know why they killed Erich and left me alive but I sincerely wish to hell it had been the other way around. Then you wouldn't be sitting here accusing me of God knows what and I wouldn't be sitting here not really giving a flying fuck one way or the other. So I'd suggest you take your stupid investigation and shove it up your stupid ass, Detective Logan." Unaccustomed to such outbursts, Lenore slumped exhausted into her corner for yet another bout of what substituted for crying these days -- an exercise in dry-eyed, silent, bone-shaking futility.
During his fifteen-year career in law enforcement, Mike Logan had witnessed more than his share of tragedy. Bad, sad cases that, with the passage of time, had been sorted, then neatly filed away under the heading: Routine Occupational Hazard. The darker side of the human species being his stock in trade, Lenore Bevan's bizarre behavior might have, if anything, aroused his suspicions but not much else. As a tough, experienced detective, Logan should have automatically stepped behind that carefully constructed veneer of professional detachment and gotten the hell out of there. Why he chose not to do so was to always remain a mystery even to him. For instead of being angered or repulsed by this uncooperative, foul-mouthed, scruffy, overripe bundle of misery, he felt strangely drawn to her. And despite the fact that Lenore Bevan topped his hit parade of possible suspects, he could not turn away, could not ignore her suffering. No, not this time. Unknowingly, this young woman had compelled a seasoned pro like Mike Logan to pause and look beneath her unattractive exterior and far beyond her importance to him as a suspect. In Lenore Bevan, he had caught a glimpse of something real. Something that not only made him choose to stay that day but to find good reason to return nearly every day thereafter.
The New York City Police Department's 27th Precinct isn't a place for the faint hearted. Called the Cop House by those who should know, it is a noisy, bustling environment naturally populated by the police, but also visited by a colorful, never-ending parade of the hapless, helpless, evil and occasionally insane. A perpetual stream of individuals suspected of or caught outright breaking the law as well as their victims. The arena where hunter and hunted alike do business. To ensure that this business is done in as smooth and timely a fashion as possible, there exists a pecking order and mode of operation that is vaguely military in flavor. It is an enormous, complex, at times unwieldy organization where those in blue work beside those in plainclothes to make the myriad abstract rules, regulations, codes and statutes of the criminal justice system a reality, at least in some people's lives.
As a particularly able, 22-year veteran of this hierarchical body, it fell to Captain Donald Cragen to guide and manage certain members of the precinct. Considered a "regular guy", Donnie Cragen had slowly risen through the ranks into his current position. Commanding respect and even a certain affection, he ran a tight ship, rule book firmly in hand. With energy, intelligence, fairness and humor, he had fashioned a tough, efficient, hard-working team of detectives whose consistently high arrest records were the envy of those not so enterprising. However, this was not Captain Donald Cragen's finest hour.
"We got bupkes! Negative bupkes! Nada! Zilch! Effing Zero!" Cragen's vast and colorful lexicon of words to describe "nothing" was legendary and, most times, viewed with a good deal of humor. Only now Detectives Driscoll and Logan were not laughing. Instead, they sat silently, side by side, before Captain Cragen's desk, as he berated them like two naughty schoolboys caught smoking in the washroom.
The captain was being heavily leaned on by the Commissioner, the Arts Council, and a senator. Even Hizzoner, Mayor Giuliani, had joined the fray. And since it's carved in stone somewhere that shit rolls downhill, another steaming pile had just that morning landed in Donnie Cragen's lap. It seemed only fitting that he toss a little their way.
"We got squat! Christ, it's goin' on six months now and so far all we got is one dead guy and a lot of very expensive merchandise floating around out there. I gotta tell you guys, this just isn't good enough. Why in hell aren't you out there shakin' something loose? Like maybe leanin' a lot harder on the only witness we got?" Fixing Mike Logan in his sights, Cragen gave the detective both barrels, "Hell, from what I hear, the only thing that's movin' in this case is Lenore Bevan's hips and you gotta know better, Mike. Jesus, she's still a suspect for Chrissake. Your job is to interrogate her not screw her! For the price of a ham sandwich I'd pull you off this case. Give it to someone who can use the head between his ears and keep the other one in his pants!"
Driscoll, demonstrating his usual grace under fire, could see from the set of Logan's jaw, and the telltale red flush slowly infusing it, that unless he missed his guess, an angry explosion was in the immediate offing. The pre-launch sequence had coincided with the start of Cragen's speech and the countdown continued to tick away. Sensing that "lift off" was imminent, Marty tried to ease the tension with a little dry Driscoll humor. "Oh well, with all this...ah...TLC Lenore Bevan's gettin' from Mikey here, at least she can't accuse us of police brutality." Unfortunately, neither Cragen nor Logan got the joke and, in fact, it proved to be the spark that launched Mike Logan into orbit.
Like a rocket, Logan leapt to his feet with that wild, dangerous look that friend and foe alike knew to fear. Scarlet faced, eyes spitting fire, Mike Logan had heard enough of Cragen's ill-informed bullshit to last him a lifetime. "Captain Bupkes" wouldn't recognize good police work if it came up and bit him on the ass. Ungrateful bastard! Slamming his chair against the office wall with a resounding crack, Mike bolted for the door.
Hard on his heels steamed Donald Cragen, shouting to Logan's back, "Hey, come back here and siddown! Now! I'm not finished with you! Hey, do you hear me, detective? For cryin' out loud, Mike!" Having grown accustomed to Mike Logan's impetuous, volatile nature, Cragen then continued in a calmer voice, "Hey, Mikey, siddown. Okay? Come on."
Head lowered and breathing hard, Logan hesitated for a moment at the door but didn't elect to turn around much less return to his seat as ordered. Instead Detective Michael Logan saluted his precinct captain with a hearty, "Fuck you, Donnie," then roared away from the 27th in a puff of smoke.
Logan's trajectory had directed him to a heavily populated, superheated expanse of Fifth Avenue and it was here he found himself standing, staring dumbly at that impressive architectural pile also know as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the hard, white glare of a late July sun, the building's facade appeared to ripple and shimmer. Logan felt dazzled and disoriented, a sensation undoubtedly the after burn of his recent angry blowout with Donnie Cragen and only intensified by a sudden inability to recall the details of the drive there. For all he knew, he might have just fallen from the sky. Crash-landed was more like it.
"Whew, too damned hot. Enough to fry your brain," he muttered under his breath. On unsteady legs, Mike Logan slowly climbed the museum's grand staircase. Breathing hard and dripping sweat, he entered the building's cool, hushed, elegant confines and, dropping heavily onto a nearby bench, rested his aching head against a reassuringly solid, deliciously chilly, wall. Struggling to re-gather his temporarily scattered wits, Logan sat for some time stitching together his strategy. 'Jesus, gotta get my ducks in a row before I talk to Lenny. Just gotta make her understand how it will have to be for awhile. Till this damned case is solved. Yeah, she'll understand. Lenny trusts me. Knows by now that I would never do anything to hurt her...that I love her. Yeah. I love her. I do. I really do. Well maybe now would be a good time to tell her that, you idiot.'
Lenore Bevan had returned to the museum's art restoration department in early spring. She considered it a small victory, just one of many she'd won since that December evening when her entire world had been violently shattered then recompressed into a space less than the size of her tiny apartment. Reconstructing Lenore had begun very slowly. Strangely, the cornerstone had been laid that bleak, winter afternoon when Detective Mike Logan had strolled into her apartment, brusque, official, threatening and most unwelcome. Armed with his usual arrogance and a laundry list of incriminating questions, Logan had seemed not in the least put off by her inability to provide the answers. Most astounding of all, his response to her rudeness, anger and all round craziness that day was to remove his coat and tie, roll up his shirtsleeves and begin setting her house into some kind of order. The man knew how to clean, she had to give him that, and how to do laundry. Mike Logan even seemed to know the kind of groceries she usually bought. Before leaving later that night, he even thought to run a warm bath (in a clean bathtub no less!) and make damned sure that she got into it. Departing with a, "Get some sleep. I'll see ya tomorrow," Mike Logan was as good as his word. By week's end, he had not only returned her apartment to some semblance of order but seemed delighted to see that it's sole occupant was looking a helluva lot better too.
As the days turned into weeks Logan's physical presence gave Lenore the luxury of feeling safe, reassured, at least while he was with her. She'd lost count of the nights he'd spent "standing guard", wrapped in a quilt, his 6 foot plus frame awkwardly draped over her tiny sofa. Or sitting with her over endless cups of tea, patiently talking through the bad dreams, his calm insight and intelligence a soothing antidote to the terror and irrationality of the nightmare. On one particularly restless, fearful night Mike Logan had taken her onto his lap and rocked her like a baby, singing in his soft, slightly off-key baritone, "When at night I go to sleep, fourteen angels watch do keep..." Lenore had grown to love that old children's song and the man who sang it.
Logan's nuts-and-bolts approach to life and its problems had provided a relaxed, nurturing, undemanding climate in which Lenore's general state of mind began to grow healthy once again, even to bloom. As far as she was concerned, this remarkable man had given her back her life, changed forever, but still hers. In fact, convincing her of his limitations had proven the more difficult task but finally Lenore had agreed to see Dr. Elizabeth Olivet, a therapist that Mike himself had worked with both professionally and personally. Still, there was simply nothing she could not say to him, had not said to him. He had been there through it all. Had cooked for her, dried her tears, changed her sheets, wiped her nose, rubbed her back, cleaned up her mess, saved her life. Mike Logan knew her like no one ever would again and she loved him with all her heart. Prayed that he might one day consider her love a suitable reward for his steady, uncomplaining, unconditional support during those bad times and as surety towards the good ones they could expect in future. Lenore Bevan prayed that she might be enough.
Lenore's love-struck musings were interrupted by the petulant whine of her new associate, Colin Whitacre. "Lenore, there's a Detective Logan here to see you."
Startled, blushing and grinning from ear to ear, Lenore Bevan nearly added a mustache to the twelfth century madonna she'd been working on. As she tore off her paint-stained smock, straightened her skirt, and quickly ran her fingers through a mop of curls that had enjoyed only a passing acquaintance with a comb, Lenore tried to calm herself. It just wouldn't do to turn up too quickly. Let him cool his heels awhile. Play a little hard to get. As she considered the pros and cons of such a romantic strategy, Lenore Bevan appeared a veritable blur, streaking along like a heat-seeking missile, leaving only a fragrant vapor trail in her wake. Taking the steps up to the main level two at a time, she rounded a corner at almost warp speed, nearly bouncing off a very startled Mike Logan. He stopped her forward momentum by holding tightly to her shoulders, spinning her round. Breathless, eyes shining, Lenore chirped, "Hi, Mike!"
Shaking his head, but returning her ear-splitting grin, Mike Logan marveled again at the wonder standing before him. Lenore Bevan was quite possibly the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. There was absolutely nothing about her that he didn't like. With her strong, little squared off jaw, soft, creamy skin, eyes the color of dark chocolate and thick, streaky golden hair that always reminded him of taffy, it suddenly occurred to Mike Logan that Lenny Bevan made him hungry. But this young woman was so much more than just a beautiful face attached to a noticeably curvaceous body. Lenny Bevan was tough. He had met her at the lowest point in her life, had seen her at her worst -- she had after all introduced herself by throwing up on his shoes -- but had watched with delight as she rebuilt her life, brick by brick, growing stronger and more beautiful right before his eyes.
Recalling those long, gray days, and the way Lenore faced each hurdle with courage and humor always brought an odd lump to his throat, made his eyes feel all prickly. And though she wasn't out of the woods yet, with that amazing openness and honesty, Lenore continued to work, to rebuild, best of all, to share every step in the process with him. She never shut him out or left him guessing. Unlike other women, it seemed Lenore had no secrets, no desire or need to play those coy, seductive, stupid games that he had once thought so sexy but which almost always ended with someone getting hurt. Mike Logan had been with a lot of women, had a rep for being one of the department's more sexually active bachelors, but this was different. She was different. Yeah, he wanted her, so badly at times his teeth ached, but he was willing to wait. He wanted everything to be just right this time. Anyway, to be Lenore Bevan's friend, to share the same planet with her, was more than enough for now because, in his words, she was the "real deal" and he loved her. Realizing that he had been standing there much too long, grinning like an idiot, Mike shyly replied, "Hey, Lenny...how's it goin'?"
Fully enjoying the moment and inspired by the glorious sight of the incomparable Michael Logan, Lenore gave him a friendly peck on the cheek and a casual, "Oh, it's goin' pretty good. So what's up?" Standing back, Lenore thought again, as she always did upon first catching sight of him, that there were times when he was so beautiful she almost felt the need to squint, to blur his image, to somehow blunt the power it had over her.
"Uh...Lenny? Why are you doing that with your eyes?" Mike asked, squinting back at her.
Chuckling and shaking her head, Lenore replied, "Well, sir, you're just lookin' so exceptionally dazzling today that I need my shades, that's all." She was surprised and delighted to note that Logan was glowing pinkly. "Oh, dear. I've embarrassed you. Well, I don't believe it. Michael Logan, you're blushing!" she teased.
Shaking his mop of dark hair, Mike vehemently denied it but couldn't look Lenore in the eye while doing so. In his best tough guy fashion he said, "I am not. I've never blushed in my life. Guys don't do that, Lenny. You must be sniffing too much paint thinner or somethin'. Besides with a schnoz like this stuck to my mug, I don't ever look too good." Logan had always claimed that his nose was big enough to qualify for its own zip code. That he was always catching dogs and little kids trying to get out of the sun by standing in its shadow. Lenore, however, considered the Logan beak, passed along as a sort of paternal inheritance, to be utterly magnificent. That noble feature, combined with a full mouth (Lenore had a recurrent fantasy about that bottom lip), straight, white teeth, enormous, changeable, green-flecked, hazel eyes, framed by dark, expressive, finely-arched brows, comprised a face so rare yet unconventional in its beauty that Lenore's fingers itched to commit it to canvas.
Their banter continued for some time, complete with the affectionate poking and prodding of two people newly in love. It might have continued indefinitely if Mike, suddenly looking very serious, hadn't stepped back saying, "Well, I guess I'd better get outta here and let you get back to work. You must have better things to do than stand around here all day talking to me. I gotta get down to business myself. Caseload big enough to choke a horse and Cragen's been really crackin' the whip lately. On my back just this morning in fact. Doesn't think I'm earning all that big money the city pays me."
Surprised by this abrupt change in mood and the odd, fleeting expression that passed over Logan's face like a shadow, Lenore asked, "Is everything all right, Mike? You okay?" Sensing that there was more he'd come to say, Lenore suggested that they go somewhere for a cup of coffee. Besides, any excuse to be with him, if only for a few minutes longer, was valid as far as Lenore Bevan was concerned.
But with a sudden, dazzling smile that, sadly, never quite reached his eyes, Logan assured her that everything was fine, just fine and that he'd have to take a rain check on the coffee. Then he just stood there looking at her for as long as he dared, trying to memorize every detail, to somehow etch her face onto his retina, burn her image into his brain. Finally, tearing his eyes away, Mike tossed off a much too casual, "Well, gotta go. Hey, take care of yourself. Okay?"
Lenore, fighting an overwhelming urge to put her arms around him, instead playfully chucked him on the arm and replied, "I will if you will. Give me a call and we can get some dinner or something. Okay?"
Nodding, Mike Logan turned and walked out of Lenore Bevan's life.
Two are on my right hand...
Michael Patrick Logan was descended from a long line of survivors. His great-grandparents had endured famine and poverty in County Louth, Ireland, only to encounter more of the same in the United States of America. However, the grit of those blighted potato fields remained not only under their fingernails but ground into the very fabric of their character. Because they never forgot the hunger, it was with a certain stubborn determination, liberally laced with black Celtic humor, that they dug ditches, hauled trash, did other people's laundry. No matter, work was work however menial, and it was all done with a single-minded sense of duty and dogged perseverance. Their work ethic demanded that a job worth doing was worth doing well. Producing a priest and two of New York's finest were still considered achievements of the first order and viewed with a great deal of familial pride. The Logans were not quitters in any sense of the word. They couldn't afford to be. They might quarrel bitterly among themselves and try to drown their demons with drink but they were above all steadfast in their survival. In Detective Michael Patrick Logan, the apple had not rolled very far from the family tree. He had a job to do and nothing and no one, not even his darling Lenny, could stand in the way.
Coinciding with Mike Logan's renewed sense of duty and determination (along with a sheepish apology to Captain Donald Cragen), was an encouraging message from Interpol. After months of surveillance, inspectors from Scotland Yard had nabbed a man trying to sell a severely damaged Carravaggio to a private collector. Sir Antony Dowell, the prospective buyer, was a former principal dancer with The Royal Ballet and now served as its artistic director. Recently knighted by Queen Elizabeth, his reputation was above reproach and he was quickly cleared of any complicity. In fact, it was his rather courtly sense of duty and honor that inspired him to contact the authorities and which ultimately lead to the arrest of one Stephen Sackman, a small-time, petty criminal with a rap sheet as long as his arm. If Sackman's fingerprints matched those found by the police, he would be on the next plane to New York. Logan could feel his heart thumping harder. Yeah, the juices were flowing all right and he was back in action. Just deliver this jerk-off in one piece and he'd do the rest. In preparation for Sackman's imminent arrival, Logan and Driscoll gathered all pertinent evidence and documentation for review. They couldn't afford any screw-ups on this one.
Marty Driscoll was happy to see Logan back to his usual swaggering, full of beans, cock-of-the-block self. "Nice to have you back, Mike."
Logan responded to his partner's welcome by lewdly puckering up and blowing Marty a big, noisy kiss.
Driscoll, rolling his eyes dramatically, shot back, "Logan, you are such an asshole."
Dispensing with the concept of sleep, Mike Logan had recently acquired the habit of returning to his desk at the Two Seven in the wee hours of the morning. Driving in at dawn was pleasant enough, the air cool and far fresher than it would be in a couple of hours when the traffic and heat kicked in again. Finding the quiet of his apartment suffocating, Logan needed the round-the-clock noise and bustle of the Cop House to drown out recurring thoughts of Lenore Bevan. Beautiful, sweet, Lenny Bevan. If he wasn't very careful, her name rolled round and round in his head making it hum and ache producing a longing for her that felt like a hot stone lodged beneath his breastbone, nagging at his body until he wanted to scream. Alcohol only served to weaken his defenses, to make him vulnerable to feelings that, when allowed to surface, rolled over him in wave upon wave of hot, bitter tears. Sex was a thing of the past. There was no relief to be found there. Logan had tried, picking up a girl in a 42nd Street dive, bringing her home, then sending her away unsatisfied. He had not tried again.
To say Mike Logan missed Lenore Bevan qualified as the understatement of the century. Refusing to return her calls, he had, however, saved all the sweet, funny notes she had sent him. They broke his heart. Like the novenas he'd said as a kid in Catholic school, he read and re-read them again and again. But Logan could not face this woman he loved much less try to explain his absence from her life. Like some weird mantra, he repeatedly told himself that their relationship had jeopardized the case. That she was still, after all, a suspect. That his involvement with her just didn't look good. That he had sworn a solemn oath to uphold the law. All that was missing were a few bars of "Stars & Stripes Forever". Logan had even gone so far as to convince himself that he was actually doing this for Lenny. But when things got too quiet or exhaustion made him drop his guard, the truth would rear up and knock him on his ass. Mike Logan knew he was full of shit. Lenore Bevan could be trusted 100% -- he knew that better than he knew his own name. It was Mike Logan he wasn't so sure about. One thing he did know for certain was that, left unchecked, his feelings for this young woman possessed the power to color and warp his professional objectivity, to even deter him from doing his duty. That, if push came to shove, Mike Logan might be tempted to shove back, to protect Lenore Bevan at all costs even if that might mean breaking the law. He'd watched guys ruin their careers for less. No, he wasn't doing this for Lenny but to save himself and the dishonesty and selfishness made him sick. Lenore Bevan was being sacrificed to save his own sorry skin, his goddamned career, his fucking reputation. The New York City Police Department had always come first with Detective Michael P. Logan. It still did.
Because by New York standards, the wheels of British justice turn very slowly, Stephen Sackman was not delivered to the 27th Precinct until nearly a month after his arrest. The fact that Mr. Sackman's fingerprints were a dead ringer for those lifted at the crime scene and despite the valiant efforts and considerable clout of District Attorney Adam Schiff, matters slogged along at a maddeningly slow pace. The precinct was abuzz with rumors, running the gamut from improbable to bizarre. "Someone" had heard that the British government might decline to extradite while another "reliable source" maintained that the delay was actually the result of Scotland Yard having lost Stephen Sackman in some inept bureaucratic shuffle. Whatever the truth, Detective Michael Logan was quickly nearing the end of his emotional rope.
"This is bullshit! We got our guy only those limey assholes won't turn him loose. What the fuck do they think they're doin' with him? Buncha bastards! Damn it to hell! The creep belongs to us. Ah, what can you expect. Most of 'em don't even carry guns, for Chrissake. 'I, say, excuse me old chap, don't wish to be rude, but would it be all right if I arrested you?' Nothin' but a buncha faggots if you ask me. Jesus, they even got ballet dancers doin' their job for 'em!"
Mike Logan's loud, angry outbursts were becoming a regular feature of life at the 27th. Added to this exercise in frustration, was a tantalizing hint from the suspect that the museum heist had indeed been an inside job and that he would be quite prepared to wheel and deal upon arrival. This latest news flash had nearly sent Logan over the edge. His nerves were already rubbed raw, frayed down to the tiniest fiber. Too many lonely, sleepless nights coupled with an equal number of blisteringly hot, stinking, hectic days were taking their toll.
Held hostage in the grip of the worst heat wave on record, the citizens of New York hissed and steamed and occasionally boiled over with anger and violence. As the mercury climbed into triple digits it seemed to Mike Logan that New York had gone barking mad. August in the city was becoming just another way of describing life in hell. Dante would have felt right at home. But this misery would amount to a stroll in the park if Lenore Bevan were somehow implicated in the murder of Erich Keller. Logan dared not look at it too long nor too hard. There would be plenty of time for that later.
Lenore Bevan dragged herself into the bathroom. Even if she made the extra effort, and already knowing she wouldn't, she'd be late for work again. Colin had been on her case about it and, god knows, one didn't want to fuss Colin Whitacre. Colin, Erich's replacement and the resident bane of her existence, had become an implacable enemy after her rebuff of his amorous advances had escalated from a polite, "no thanks" to a hard slap. Since that day, Whitacre had made it his unpleasant business to annoy and hector Lenore whenever possible. Examining her face in the mirror, Lenore knew that Colin Whitacre wasn't the problem. His annoying presence was just a minor thorn in her side, nothing compared to the gaping hole Mike Logan had left. Lenore didn't give a damn if that sounded melodramatic, that's just how it felt. It hurt like hell and despite endless hours of self-examination, Lenore could find no reason for Logan's sudden, confounding departure from her life. She had tried calling him, leaving casual messages on his answering machine, dropping him silly little notes, and one hot, desperate night even camping out on his doorstep until 3 A. M. Until now, Lenore had drawn the line at confronting him at the 27th. Until now.
Exhausted, miserably hot, and still stuffed into the same stinking clothes he'd put on thirty-six hours before, Mike Logan was barely one step ahead of a fit. It seemed like he and Marty Driscoll had been up to their sweating armpits in some kind of stupid, weirdo bullshit or other for years instead of days. New York was becoming one giant asylum with its heat-crazed citizenry all going for each another's throats. People were shooting one other over the last bag of ice left at the 7-Eleven. Just that morning an eight-year-old had gotten popped in front of his corner bodega for lifting a box of Dreamsicles. But the dream was over for the kid at least -- he died where he dropped, melted ice cream mingling with his blood.
With his usual asperity, Driscoll groaned, "Hell, why don't they just give us striped shirts and whistles? We're not cops, we're fuckin' referees."
"Yeah, Marty, then maybe we could call a time out," Mike added wearily. Suddenly, there flashed into Logan's tired, overheated brain a bizarre image of Marty Driscoll decked out like a referee at a Knicks game, surrounded by a crowd of sweating, wild-eyed loonies, his hands frantically forming the signal for time out, blowing on a goddamned whistle like there was no tomorrow. This peculiar and unbidden vision inspired a smile, then a chuckle that eventually grew into a loud, manic cackle that turned heads and even dragged Profaci away from his box of donuts.
"So what in hell's the matter with him?" he asked, each word generating a puff of powdered sugar.
Pausing briefly to consider this phenomena, Logan decided that Tony Profaci looked like some fat, Italian steam engine, one of those "puffer bellies" the kids used to sing about in kindergarten. Laughter overtaking him once again, this time with a vengeance, Mike Logan began a serious flirtation with hysteria. Before a growing gallery of the amused and curious, he laughed. Laughed until the tears came. Until Marty Driscoll noticed that it just wasn't funny anymore.
"That's it. Show's over. Go on. Get outta here," he said. Turning to his partner, Driscoll asked, "Hey, Mikey, you okay? Whatsa matter? Want me to get you a glass of water or something?"
Logan, silent now, sat very still, face buried in his hands. Marty, affectionately patting his partner's shoulder, suggested, "Hey, I know, let's take a walk. Go some place where the air conditioning actually works. Okay? How about it, Mike? Profaci says there's a new pizza joint on..."
Marty's pitch was interrupted by Frank Doyle who strolled over to announce, as though Mike weren't sitting right there, "Uh, Marty, some girl says she's here to see Logan."
Nodding, Marty offered to see the girl himself if Mike wanted to take a pass. "Hey partner, why don't you go home? You know, clean up, get some sleep. I can maybe make a dent in all this damned paperwork then get back with you later. Okay?"
"Uh...no, that's okay, Marty. Thanks. Thanks a lot. I'm okay now. Whew, caught a monster case of the yips, huh?" Logan said with an embarrassed grin. Taking a deep breath as he wiped his eyes, Mike got up, did a painful stretch, then slowly walked out into the hallway. There on a wooden bench, shining like a diamond, perched Lenny Bevan. For a moment, Logan considered turning around and walking the other way, preferably into the path of an oncoming train, but realized that it was much too late for that. She had already spotted him and the love and concern in her large, dark eyes drew him like a magnet.
"Hello, Lenore. What's up?" Mike asked in a voice rubbed raw by exhaustion and his all too recent brush with "the crazies".
Lenore Bevan was startled then alarmed by the sound and look of Mike Logan. He was a wreck. The words, " walking wounded" sprang to mind. Suddenly standing, Lenore caught Mike completely off guard by kissing him on the cheek. Swaying as if he'd been struck, she could see his eyes, already red-rimmed and swollen, filling with tears. "God, Mike, what's wrong?" she asked, tears springing to her eyes in sympathy. Reaching for his hand, Lenny asked again, "Mike, what is it? What's wrong?"
Logan continued to stand there, slack jawed, speechless, struggling for composure. With arms aching to hold her, he instead replied, "Let's get outta here. Okay?" Stumbling forward, his hand lightly touching her arm, Logan steered Lenore down the hall and into an empty interrogation room.
"Mike, what is it? What's going on? Jesus, what's happened? You look awful. Are you okay?" Lenore realized that she was babbling but didn't give a damn. There was just so much that she wanted to say, needed to know, needed to hear from him.
Wearily, Mike lowered himself into a chair, head down, elbows resting heavily on the table. God, he was tired. Just so damned tired.
Reaching over to touch his arm, Lenore was stunned to feel him tense then pull away. Watched in dismay as his face settled into the hard, cold mask that Lenore always thought of as his "cop face". Taking great pains to avoid eye contact, Logan, completely ignoring her questions, instead asked, "Well, Lenore, what brings you here?" Even his voice sounded different -- cool, impersonal, the way it had been when she'd first met him. It was as though they were meeting for the first time. As if they had no history. And he had pointedly called her Lenore not Lenny.
"I've been trying for weeks to get hold of you, Mike. I've been worried," Lenore replied.
Nodding his head, not in agreement, but to keep himself from screaming, Logan said in a calm, careful voice, one that didn't begin to betray his inner turmoil, "What exactly have you been worried about?"
Incredulous, Lenore shot back, "What have I been worried about? Mike, I thought we were at least good friends. Suddenly I don't hear from you for weeks, and you have the nerve to sit there and ask me what I've been worried about? Even friends don't treat each other like this! Funny, but I was under the impression that we were just a little more than that. Guess I was wrong, huh?" Her anger fully formed, Lenore rose and moved closer to the still seated Logan. Leaning over him, she cried, "Why won't you at least tell me what's going on? What happened here. What did I do that was so wrong? God damn it, Mike, you owe me that much!"
Logan, massaging his throbbing temples, replied in a tight, irritated voice, "I'm a cop. Remember? This is my job, Lenore. The whole fuckin' city is comin' apart at the seams and I got things to do. Things you couldn't even begin to understand. Hell, most of it I don't understand. Anyway, I just don't have the time to sit around holdin' your hand, to be your personal babysitter. Like I told you before, I'm a busy man and now I gotta take care of business." With every lying, filthy, hurtful word that came rolling off his tongue, Mike Logan dug his grave a little deeper. Why he was so unable that day to tell Lenore Bevan the truth, the whole truth, was a mystery even to him. He certainly knew her well enough. Had implicit, absolute trust in her goodness, her intelligence, in her ability to forgive. Most importantly, Mike Logan now knew that Lenny Bevan loved him, had seen it shining in her eyes, heard it in her voice, felt it in her touch. That she, of all people, would understand his dilemma, would want to help. Lenny Bevan loved him. And though his heart was shouting, pleading, begging to be heard, its words never reached his lips.
For Lenore Bevan, Mike Logan's offhand little speech had all the bite and sting of a hard, well-aimed slap. A blow that made her ears ring, raised a painful lump in her throat, and brought tears to her eyes. She felt she surely must be bleeding somewhere. Swallowing hard, Lenore didn't cry, refused to allow it. She was already feeling foolish enough, thank you. Instead, struggling to stay calm, she replied in what she hoped was a neutral voice, "I see. Well. Thank you for clearing that up. Sorry to have bothered you. Goodbye, Detective Logan."
Only when he heard the metallic click of the door mechanism, did Logan dare look up. He sat for a very long time contemplating her empty chair, filling his lungs with air that still carried her scent, his heart pumping heavily with the loss of her and the crushing weight of all that pride. And if it is true that "pride goeth before a fall", then Michael Logan had just taken an almost fatal plunge.
That night Lenore Bevan climbed into bed beside an obscenely smug Colin Whitacre.
Two are on my left hand...
The long-awaited "bundle from Britain" had finally arrived and Detective Michael Logan, like a kid on Christmas morning, couldn't wait to tear into it with both hands. "Well, joy to the world and merry Christmas to me. I just hope this turns out to be a gift that keeps on giving and that the perp's favorite carol ain't 'Silent Night'," muttered Logan to no one in particular. He was talking to himself. Yeah, thinking about Christmas in August and talking to himself. This damned case was making him crazy and, God knows he'd been in bad enough shape lately to convince at least half the people in the department that he was certifiable. Hands in pockets, Mike Logan casually strolled into Interrogation Room #1 softly whistling "Jingle Bells".
Marty Driscoll was already there, parked directly across the table from the guest of honor, one Stephen Sackman. Seated to Sackman's right was his attorney, David Hayward. Assistant District Attorney, Jack McCoy was due momentarily while McCoy's young assistant, Molly Laughlin, present and accounted for, had the tape recorder cued up and all pertinent paperwork in order. Trust Miss Molly to always have her ducks in a row, thought Logan. She now sat quietly, fingers drumming on her briefcase, unconsciously tapping out the rhythm of "Jingle Bells".
To be as intimidating and annoying as possible, Logan chose to sit very near but slightly behind Sackman. The detective was literally breathing down the suspect's scrawny neck. It also gave Mike Logan an opportunity to finally study at close quarters the man who had helped wreak such havoc on so many. After studying his priors, Logan knew that, until this job anyway, Sackman had been small potatoes, a petty thief involved in a number of minor scams. He would be very interested to know why this small-time hoodlum had suddenly gotten delusions of grandeur and decided to graduate to the Bigs. Pulling off his best Jack Nicholson to date, Mike Logan breathed into Sackman's left ear, "Merry Christmas, asshole." Startled, Stephen Sackman snapped his head around only to be met by the dark, haggard, malevolent countenance of Detective Michael Logan. The look of shock and raw fear in Sackman's eyes delighted Logan. The detective, grinning like a demented jack o' lantern, was forced to postpone any further harassment due to the arrival of the Assistant D. A.
Jack McCoy came bustling into the room, coattails flapping, gray hair standing on end, looking for all the world as though a tornado had just deposited him on the doorstep of the 27th. However, his benign, tweedy, disheveled, absent-minded-professor appearance disguised a brilliant legal mind, and the consummate brass of a hard-nosed, savvy street fighter. Like Mike Logan, Jack McCoy took defeat very personally and together they possessed an exceedingly low threshold for bullshit. Every bit as persistent, ambitious, tough and abrasive as Logan, the two were frequent sparring partners. Cut from the same piece of rough-spun cloth, at their worst, McCoy and Logan could be just another pair of stubborn, opinionated, pugnacious Irish assholes. However, on those occasions when they were both reading from the same page, they were damned near unstoppable. McCoy, at last settling himself and nodding to those assembled, began, "Okay, what have you got to tell us, Mr. Sackman?"
To be honest, Stephen Sackman was rather enjoying all the attention. A small, slightly built man in his late thirties, he had the bright-eyed, sharp-featured face of a weasel. Surprisingly dapper and fastidious, he sat busily preening for his big moment, patting his dark curls into place, picking a bit of lint from his jacket. However, the primping was abruptly terminated by a sharp, resounding slap, delivered compliments of Mike Logan, to the back of Sackman's carefully groomed head. "Hey, asshole! You think your some goddamn celebrity? This ain't a meeting of your fuckin' fan club!" shouted Logan.
David Hayward immediately rose in protest, "I really must object to this kind of behavior. It's outrageous! My client has come here in good faith..."
Before he could launch into one of his pious, long-winded speeches about police brutality or something equally irrelevant, Jack McCoy interrupted. "Detective, you're out of order. Any further nonsense like this and I'll kick your ass out of here! Do I make myself clear?" Logan nodded but Jack McCoy knew from the thunderous expression on the detective's face that this could likely be a long, hot afternoon.
Once again, Jack McCoy invited Sackman to speak. Sackman, nervously glancing over his left shoulder to where Mike Logan lay in wait, said, "I don't like havin' that big bloke sittin' behind me like. He might smack me again."
Logan was smart and experienced enough to know that if he wanted this piece of crap to talk, he'd have to back off. Mike, leering menacingly, made a great show of standing, noisily scraping back his chair and then slamming it down with a bang at another place at the table. It was a performance that any petulant ten-year-old would have envied. "There we go. Everybody happy now?" Logan asked, grinning like a maniac.
Jack McCoy couldn't help but toss in a, "Delighted, detective. Now can we get this show on the road?" And for the next 3 1/2 hours Stephen Sackman, oozing cockney charm and possessing the talent of a born raconteur, happily took center stage.
Eleven months earlier, Sackman had met Gerhard Muller while enjoying a lager and lime at a pub in Brixton, a working class London neighborhood where Sackman hung his hat whenever he was out of jail and on speaking terms with his second wife, Doris. Yeah, it was his "local" at least when he was staying with the "trouble and strife" and before too long he and Muller were like a couple of old "chinas", "rabbitting" away "nineteen to the dozen". Liberally sprinkling his speech with indecipherable, British jargon and mystifying cockney rhyming slang, Sackman's confession quickly had his listeners in a state of utter confusion. What was worse, Sackman's verbal hi-jinks were obviously pissing off the "big bloke" in a big way. Sensing seismic rumblings emanating from Logan's side of the table, Sackman's attorney had the wisdom to caution his client against further use of such obscure, uniquely British forms of expression.
To this very civilized and timely admonition, Detective Michael Logan drawled, not quite under his breath, "Yeah, asshole, how do you say 'twenty-five to life' in limey lingo?"
Sackman, chastised but undaunted, continued his story. During the next few weeks, as the two men became better acquainted, Muller revealed his need to find a way to get a lot of money fast. Because Sackman had been involved in an assortment of scams and shady deals, and Muller professed ignorance of such matters, Muller began referring to Sackman as his "crime consultant". Flattered by the urbane, sophisticated German, Sackman took his consulting responsibilities to heart and the two men began discussing ways to scare up a large sum of cash. When Sackman's penny ante schemes failed to impress Muller, Gerhard himself casually suggested an art heist. Even Sackman knew that galleries and museums employed very elaborate and effective security systems and that they'd, in his words, "have about as much chance as a sparrow's fart" in pulling off such a job. However, Muller reassured him that security would not be an issue if they had someone on the inside to assist. Sackman's modest connections consisted of no one who worked in either a museum or gallery. But, again, Gerhard assured him that he might just have a connection in America, New York to be precise.
At the mention of New York, Logan's characteristically nervous hands suddenly dropped into his lap. All fidgeting ceased and, leaning towards Stephen Sackman, Detective Michael Logan sat silent, motionless, hanging on every word as though his life depended upon it.
The suspect rewarded Logan's patience and unusually rapt attention with a long, operatic sigh, jaw-cracking yawn and a very polite request for tea, preferably with a couple of "digestives" on the side if it wasn't too much bother. As all eyes turned to Mike Logan with the full expectation of a particularly spectacular eruption, Logan remained seated in stunned silence. Instead it was Jack McCoy who blew his top.
"This is absolutely ridiculous! We've waited nearly four, very long, very frustrating weeks to hear what you have to say, Mr. Sackman. If you were not aware of this before, please let this serve as a reminder and warning that you were not invited here to partake of high tea nor to demonstrate for us the more colorful vagaries of your mother tongue. So 'digest' this, Mr. Sackman: if you don't want to be drinking your tea back at Rikers, and have the additional charges of obstruction and contempt on your plate as well, I'd strongly suggest that you finish your goddamn statement and stop wasting our time! Someone get him some coffee, for God's sake."
Gingerly clasping his paper cup filled with Cop House sludge, Stephen Sackman returned, as ordered, to his story. "Muller got us these plane tickets to New York and I reckoned that I might as well go along with it because, well, I'd never been to the States and this might be my only chance to see it. Gerhard figured that stealing the paintings in America would be better than in England. We could pull off the job here, leave the country, re-sell the stuff in Europe and no one would be the wiser. Muller kept telling me that America was such a big place. We could get lost real easy like. He'd take care of getting rid of the paintings because he knew people that'd be very interested and willing to pay a lot of money for 'em. I'd be along to drive the van, help him load the stuff and then pack it up for shipment to South America. Muller claimed that he had someone down there who'd keep the stuff until things had cooled down a bit. Never did say what this bloke's name was..."
Again, Jack McCoy interrupted, "Fine. So who were your connections at the Metropolitan Museum?"
Sackman's attorney, answering on his client's behalf, reminded McCoy of their previous conversation regarding a possible deal in exchange for such information. "Before Mr. Sackman says anything further, we would like to know what he can expect from your office?" asked Hayward.
"He can expect fair and equal treatment under the law," snapped Jack McCoy. "Now, Mr. Sackman, once again, I'd strongly encourage you to answer my question because the meter is running, and your time here is just about up."
When Sackman hesitated, taking another sip of his coffee, Mike Logan repeated McCoy's question but in a voice so low Sackman had to lean towards the detective to hear, "Who are they? What are their names?"
Sackman, the memory of that slap still fresh in his mind, hastily continued, "Gerhard had this mate, a chap named Erich Keller, who worked on the paintings. You know, fixed 'em up and such. Well, Muller had arranged with this Keller and his girlfriend who also works there, to let us in late in the day. You know, when the museum wasn't so busy. They'd plan to work late, sort of hang about. Then me and Gerhard would drive a rented van down to the delivery area. They'd let us in. We'd load up as many paintings as we could, toss the rest about, just to make it look good, tie up Keller and his lady and be on our way to this motel somewhere in New Jersey. Course the van would be ditched and exchanged for another car and then we'd head south. Lay low for a bit, return to England then wait for Muller's South American connection to send the paintings on. Gerhard sells 'em, we're all richer than God, and no one gets hurt. Right?"
Stephen Sackman, taking another long draw from his paper cup and grimacing not only at its bitter contents but at the memory of what occurred next, continued. "Only it didn't quite come off like that. Oh, Keller let us in all right. No problem there. But Gerhard's only in the room for a couple of seconds and he pulls out a gun, silencer and all -- real professional like. Anyway, he blows Keller's bleedin' head off. Just keeps shootin' him. Then, cool as you please, starts examining the paintings like he's on a nice Saturday afternoon shopping trip down the Portabello Road -- all the time in the world. It's then I notice that he's wearin' gloves, you know like he's pulled this sorta caper before? Me, I'm scared shitless and I say, 'What the fuck do you think you're doing? Why'd you kill him?' Gerhard just smiles real cold like and says that it had to be done. Anyway, then he gives the gun to me, tells me to shoot the girl and be quick about it. Says we don't 'take prisoners in this war', and then proceeds, just as nice as you please, to cut some of the paintings out of their frames and roll 'em up. Strolls off to load 'em in the van and here I stand with a gun. Supposed to just blow this poor girl to fucking hell and back. I swear, I ain't never killed so much as a fly. I'm a lot of things but I'm not a killer."
Slowly, stiffly, Mike Logan rose and shuffled into the shadows at the far corner of the room. His seemingly calm demeanor and change of location were viewed with relief and gratitude not only by the suspect but the other occupants of the room. In fact, those who knew Logan well, were both surprised and impressed with his display of quiet, mature professionalism. With a voice that sounded like it was coming from the bottom of a well, Logan asked, "So, why didn't you kill her?"
Sackman's response was quick and surprisingly heated especially now that the width of Interrogation Room #1 stood between him and his nemesis. "I told you. I'm not a killer! That's not something I could ever do except maybe to save my own life. Maybe not even then. When Muller was out packing up the van, I hit her with the bloody thing. Hit her a couple of times. You know, with the gun. Was afraid at first I'd killed her but she was still breathing. As it was, she was already on the floor. She'd been sitting right behind Keller when Gerhard shot him. Keller must've just slammed into her real hard because she seemed pretty stunned. Maybe hit her head on the table. I don't know. Everything was happening so fast. Christ almighty, there was so damned much blood. Blood everywhere from Keller. The girl was sprayed with it when his head exploded, but I mopped up more with a rag and sort of painted her with it. You know, to make it look good. Like she was dead and all. Then I fired the gun a couple of times into the floor. Gerhard never knew, but from then on, I was afraid of him. Was careful to watch my back when he was around. Aneroid, we finished loading, then took off and did like I said before."
Painfully shifting his tired, bony backside into a less disagreeable position,
Driscoll asked, "So how'd you end up with the painting that got you arrested? I thought you said that they'd all been shipped off to Muller's contact in South America."
Sackman, smiling at his own cleverness, replied, "Gerhard was narked that I'd bothered to take the painting of that Pope, 'Claremont' or whatshisname. It was kinda torn up, splattered with blood and God knows what else. When we got to Texas, he told me to burn it. But I didn't. Thought that someone might be able to put it back together. You know, to fix it like. That way I'd still have a little something of my own if that sod Muller decided to cut me out altogether which, as it turns out, he did -- the bastard! See, by now I didn't trust him as far as I could chuck him. So I hid the painting in my case. Brought it home to England and tried to sell it to that faggot at the ballet. Would've given him a good deal too. Anyway, that's when the chaps at Scotland Yard paid me a call and here I am."
Molly Laughlin, managing to at last get a word in, asked, "Did you and Gerhard Muller return to Europe together? When was the last time you had any contact with him?"
To this, Sackman replied, "No. He came up with some daft excuse why we should travel separately, but by then I was happy to be rid of him. Like I said, he scared the shit outta me. Kept rabbitting on about all this political bullshit. Sounded like one of them skinhead bastards. You know, assholes who think it was too bad that Hitler and his missus roasted themself in their back garden? And that thing he said about taking no prisoners in this war -- what in hell war is he talking about? Sounded like a flippin' maniac. Anyway, I knew better than to get into it with him. He's a cold-blooded, evil bugger and make no mistake. When I got back home, I went to Ireland and 'got lost' for a month or so. Haven't seen or heard from him since that motel in Nogales, and don't ever want to."
Seizing the moment, David Hayward proposed that all murder charges against his client be dropped. That, in fact, not only had his client not murdered Erich Keller, but instead, had saved the young woman's life, and by so doing had seriously jeopardized his own. Furthermore, Gerhard Muller had misrepresented himself and his aims, duping Sackman and making him an unwitting accomplice to a far more serious crime than mere theft. His client had not contacted the authorities because he was afraid that Gerhard Muller would eventually find and kill him too.
Jack McCoy again interrupted the defense attorney's impassioned plea, his words carrying a more wry edge than usual. "Yes, David, but before you contact the Vatican to begin the canonization process, the facts still remain: at the very least, your client conspired to commit grand theft, and even if he didn't actually kill anyone, and we have only his word on that, he is still an accessory to murder. So Muller didn't fill him in on all the gory details beforehand? Too damned bad. As you'd say in your country, Mr. Sackman, 'in for a penny, in for a pound' -- only your pounding is going to be done on a rock pile at the state penitentiary. Oh, and need I remind you, counselor, it was your dear, sainted client that bashed in a young woman's skull then left her for dead. In my book that's called assault, maybe even assault with intent to kill. Furthermore, before you have him measured for a halo, your client also chose to hide out in Ireland instead of turning himself into the police. And to cap it off, upon returning from his busman's holiday, Saint Stephen here attempted to sell some very valuable stolen property. No sir, I wouldn't expect a miracle anytime soon."
Detective Michael Logan had remained standing, still uncharacteristically grave and silent, throughout most of the deposition. When he did speak, it was in a dry, emotionless monotone, "Did the girl say anything to you or Muller?"
"No. Not that I heard. Her boyfriend was the one opened the doors," replied Sackman. "Like I said, Gerhard went in first and started shooting almost straightaway. Come to think of it, neither of them said anything that I could hear. It all happened so bloody fast. She might of cried out. Wouldn't have blamed her. This was sure as hell more than she'd bargained for. I just remember the sound of the gun -- pop, pop, pop -- like that. Guy's head explodes. I'll never forget the look on her face as long as I live. Reminded me of a dog I once had. Got run over. Lorry smacked her in the road right in front of my flat. Something about the eyes -- you know, scared and hurt but still trusting. Jesus, I hated having to hit her like that. I'm not a violent man. So what's her name anyway? No one ever said."
"Lenore Bevan," Logan answered.
"Yeah? Is she...you know...okay?" asked Sackman.
This question was not answered, at least not by Detective Michael Logan. He had abruptly left the room and was standing outside in the darkened hallway trying to focus his thoughts on the job at hand, to drag his brain, kicking and screaming, up the next logical step. Scarcely able to keep at bay a mounting sense of panic, Mike Logan kept moving, pacing like a caged animal. Mind darting in one hundred different directions, he didn't notice Marty Driscoll standing behind him in the darkened hallway.
Logan jumped, startled by Driscoll's hand firmly grasping his shoulder. "Mikey, let me take Profaci on this one. It's better that you stay here. You shouldn't have to do this. It's not right. No one will think anything. Cragen doesn't even have to know. I swear we'll be real careful with her. I can promise you that. Just let us handle it. Okay, pal?"
Shaking as if the temperature in the corridor were 10 degrees instead of 90, Logan replied, "No, Marty. Thanks. Thanks a lot, man." Struggling to clear his throat and keep his composure, Mike added, "Hey, I really appreciate what you're trying to do here, partner, but we both know that this has to be my call. That it's gotta come from me. It's my job. I have to be there with her. Just wouldn't be right any other way. Please, Marty."
The short drive to Lenore Bevan's apartment was accomplished in a silence broken only by the usual steady hum of traffic and an occasional muttering rumble of distant thunder. It occurred to Mike Logan that what he was about to do was so wrong even Mother Nature was lodging a protest. Bracing himself for the disagreeable job at hand, Detective Driscoll took a deep breath and gently patted his partner on the shoulder. Illuminated by the harsh light of the entryway, Logan's grief-stricken face made Driscoll flinch. During the years he had worked alongside this young man, Marty had never seen such open emotion, such undisguised pain etched into the deepening lines of Mike Logan's face. Jesus God, the kid was aging right before Driscoll's eyes.
"Ready, Mike?" Driscoll gently asked. Not trusting his voice, Logan nodded and stepped into the elevator.
Meanwhile, Lenore Bevan sat on a comfortable sofa in the quietly elegant office of Dr. Elizabeth Olivet. This was not her usual appointment but, sensing the note of desperation in Lenore's voice, Dr. Olivet had readily agreed to see her after hours. Only a few minutes into the session, and already Lenore was speaking through intermittent showers of tears.
"I just don't know what happened...what I did that was so terrible...to drive him away. Dr. Olivet, you should have seen him at the precinct. He looked awful, exhausted, his eyes looked like he'd been crying...real shaky. Crazy even. But when I tried to touch him, suddenly Robocop appeared and he got all stiff and official. It was scary and all wrong. Told me that he was a cop and had to take care of business. That he couldn't sit around holding my hand anymore. That he wasn't my babysitter, for God sake."
Stopping to blow her nose, Lenore continued, "Dr. Olivet, I know he works hard and has a lot on his mind. That his job is dangerous. I never expected to monopolize all his time. He'd show up almost every day on his own -- I never asked or demanded it of him. In fact, there were a lot of times when I couldn't figure out why in hell he even bothered. This just wasn't an issue between us before now. Oh God, if I thought he'd stuck around because he felt sorry for me, I'll die. I'll just...die."
Offering Lenore another tissue, Dr. Olivet, waited quietly for her client to regain her composure. To be completely honest, Liz Olivet was surprised then sorry that it had been, of all people, Mike Logan who had come to Lenore Bevan's aid all those months ago. She was well acquainted with Logan and while admiring his prowess as a detective, could never really bring herself to like the man behind the badge. Dr. Olivet had long ago pegged him as yet another tough, emotionally repressed male who routinely mistook machismo for strength of character and frequent sex with a variety of partners for intimacy.
Deeply conflicted, desperately needy, Mike Logan was hungry for love, acceptance and attention. His hands were already much too busy carrying his own emotional baggage to really be there for someone else, at least in the long term. A man with something to prove, and like many of his sex, more comfortable with what his did than with who he was. Dr. Olivet had gotten to know a more personal side of Mike Logan after the brutal murder of his partner and friend, Max Greevey. As a routine part of the NYPD's efforts to assist its officers in coping with such occupational hazards as death and dying, Logan had been ordered by his commanding officer to attend at least three sessions. No, he had most certainly not come of his own accord but had arrived under protest, grudgingly, sullen arrogance fully in tact. A skilled interrogator himself, he had managed to deflect most of Olivet's more probing questions, occasionally giving himself away in the process. Still, Logan was undoubtedly a slippery customer, difficult to pin down. Even coming too close elicited, at best a wary, evasive response, at worst, an angry outburst. Dr. Elizabeth Olivet vividly recalled his exact words during what was to be their final session: "Mike Logan doesn't need some damned shrink to tell him how to feel!"
However, Logan, for reasons of his own, had temporarily dispensed with his usual superficial, callous behavior towards the opposite sex and had taken pity on Lenore Bevan. And those feelings, whatever they were, appeared to have been genuine. Perhaps he viewed her as a sort of project that was now, in his estimation, finished. Or maybe his being so good to Lenore Bevan was Logan's way of atoning for being so bad to all those other women. Had he merely been doing some strange kind of self-imposed penance, a carryover from a dysfunctional childhood spent in Catholic school? Whatever his reasons, and Olivet conceded that it was mostly conjecture at this point, personal commitment was simply an unknown quantity to Mike Logan except in relation to his unswerving devotion to the New York City Police Department. Lenore Bevan needed to know this, needed to know that, in all probability, Detective Michael Logan would never change.
Arriving on the 8th floor of Lenore Bevan's building, Logan and Driscoll stood for a long moment in silence outside her apartment door neither wishing to make the first move. Glancing at his partner's ravaged face, Marty did the honors, hating what he knew they must do next but wishing to have it over and done with as quickly as possible. It was like plunging buck naked into freezing water. You took a deep breath, grabbed your balls, and dove in. Marty's unanswered knock both relieved and irritated Logan in equally maddening measure. He felt like he was being drawn and quartered. Much more of this and they'd be scraping him off the walls.
"Damn! Where in hell is she?" Logan asked of no one in particular.
"Well, we know she's not working. Already checked that out. Maybe doing some shopping? Hell, I don't know. Getting something to eat, out on a date?" Marty offered, but wished he'd left out the last part when he noticed the look of pain those words caused his partner.
"Yeah, Driscoll. That must be it. She's out on a freakin' date. Probably gettin' her drain snaked even as we speak. Gee, now why didn't I think of that, partner?" snapped Logan bitterly.
"Hey, take it easy! Aw hell, Mike, you know I didn't mean anything. I was just thinking out loud," sighed Driscoll wearily. He added, "Well, this is sure gettin' us nowhere fast. No point standing here all night. Might as well go back out and wait for her in the car. She's gotta come home sometime."
Trying to clear her mind, Lenore Bevan had decided to walk home from Elizabeth Olivet's office. However, she would need more than 32 blocks to sort out this mess. The earlier visit with the psychologist had only served to confirm her worst fears. Mike Logan was no longer interested. That much was clear. He wasn't being cruel, he simply was unable to stay in one place for very long. A seriously flawed man with a short attention span, except where his duty as a member of the NYPD was concerned, Dr. Olivet maintained that Michael Logan was a complex, emotionally needy person, hard to understand and probably impossible to fix. That, in light of the grim realities of divorce, suicide, and substance abuse within the police department, Lenore might eventually consider his departure from her life as a blessing. Lenore already knew that he was an intense, highly-strung, impetuous man of strong appetites. The son of an alcoholic, Mike Logan used and abused sex the same way he used and abused alcohol, food, work. In fact, he revealed to Lenore that he had actually taken pride in this excessive persona and had once relished his reputation as a wild man, as the "master of disaster".
That is, until he met Lenny Bevan. Until her goodness, honesty, concern and acceptance cracked him wide open making him want to come clean, to finally grow up and put his house in order. Making him feel safe enough to tell her anything, everything, and to make his confession knowing that complete absolution was a sure thing. Lenore Bevan had given him credit for helping her rebuild her life but Logan knew the truth. It was the other way around. She had brought out what was good and decent in him and, God knew, someone as good as Lenny Bevan deserved only the best.
As she rounded the corner on the last leg of that long walk home, Lenore Bevan could not know this. What she thought she knew was that, although Mike Logan had undoubtedly cared for her at one time, had wanted to help, it was over. For his own reasons, he'd done what he'd set out to do, looked upon her as a mission accomplished. That was all. No one to blame. End of story. While Lenore's mind acknowledged it as truth, her heart rejected it as utter bullshit.
Detective Michael Logan was out of the car and halfway across the street before his partner realized that Lenore Bevan had returned. Heart pounding and suddenly very short of breath, Lenore watched as a tired, grim-faced Mike Logan made his way to her side. His appearance saddened her. Much too thin, with eyes deeply creased and darkly circled, Logan looked like he hadn't eaten or slept in months. To her, he resembled someone recovering from a long illness, not quite sick enough to be confined to bed but certainly not well either. At a loss for words, Lenore finally broke the awkward silence, "Mike Logan. Well, this is a surprise. Just happen to be in the neighborhood or did you come to arrest me?" Distracted by the unaccountably stricken expression on his face, it took Lenore another moment to realize that she and Michael Logan were not alone. "Detective Driscoll. It's been a long time," Lenore said, sounding far more confident than she was feeling.
Driscoll's heavy-lidded, hound dog eyes looked even sadder than usual as he said, "Yeah, Miss Bevan, it sure has been a long time."
Glancing first at one then the other, Lenore searched each face for a glimmer of assurance that this was merely a social call but, with mounting panic, realized that it was almost certainly not.
Voice breaking, Mike Logan whispered, "Lenny, I gotta ask you to come with me. God, I am so sorry. Please, Lenny?"
Realizing again that it was far better to just do the deed and be done with it, Detective Driscoll quietly intoned, "Lenore Bevan you are under arrest for grand larceny and conspiracy in the murder of Erich Keller. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you at no cost. Miss Bevan, do you understand?"
Lenore, fixing Michael Logan with eyes that reminded him of those described by Stephen Sackman, slowly nodded her head. She suddenly understood it all, so clearly in fact, that the knowledge caused her to flinch in pain when Logan touched her arm. The detective witnessed an entire range of emotion flash through her dark, shining eyes, fear and pain, then anger, at last going flat and cold with distrust. Stumbling for a moment, but refusing either Logan or Driscoll's assistance, Lenore regained her footing and marched to the car. Pausing, Lenore slowly turned to Marty Driscoll and offered him her wrists.
"Aren't you going to handcuff me, detective?" Lenore asked calmly. When Driscoll hesitated, she added, "It's okay. I don't expect any special treatment...from you."
Logan felt a sudden aching heaviness in his right hand, and it was only after checking that his service revolver was still secure in its holster, that he convinced himself he had not been holding a gun.