Monday, September 28, 2009

Onwards and Upwards

Hey everyone,

The folks over at have been kind enough to give The Ryan Report a new home, so you can see all my new posts over there:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Movies and the Modern Mobster

So, I happen to be a big fan of gangster movies. The Godfather, Goodfellas, White Heat, The Public Enemy… I’m seen ‘em all. Maybe it’s some sort of a detective thing – in-depth research, you know? At least that’s what Esposito and I tell Beckett when we knock off early to catch the latest one opening day. Hey, she’s got her mystery novels, we’ve got our mob movies.

But one thing I learned on the job is that I’ve got nothing on the guys themselves. Mobsters love mob movies. They’re the biggest fans of the genre out there – pull a search warrant on a made guy and you’re gonna find the whole collection. And not only do they love ‘em, they try to live ‘em.

For example, when we pull some of them in for questioning, the paperwork’s a nightmare. Everyone’s got at least five nicknames: Shortstop Johnny, Frankie the Big, Jackie One-Time, Red-Eyes Rudy… The list goes on and on. Now, if that sounds like the restaurant scene from Goodfellas, that’s because it IS like that restaurant scene from Goodfellas. All those palookas saw that flick and started modeling themselves off it.

When you think about it, it’s not entirely surprising. Us cops have to attend the Academy, we have manuals and mentors and procedure – gangsters don’t have any of that. There’s no procedure or code of conduct, because that’s the point of being a gangster. There aren’t any mentors, ‘cause you’re too busy gunning your way to the top. Far as manuals go, there’s Puzo’s original Godfather book and gangsters (like most people) would rather see the movie than read the book…

As result, you’ve got a bunch of swaggering mobsters who model themselves after a bunch of actors. Actors who were just doing what a writer put down for them to do. A writer who was probably just putting down a modern version of those gangster movies he loved growing up. So it’s a vicious cycle of people making it up as they go along. Like making a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy.

So when you start dealing with these guys, what you find is a series of DeNiros and Pacinos imitations. Everybody’s full of bluster and big talk, but not the sharpest switchblades in the drawer. I mean, they can quote you lines from those flicks verbatim, but they can’t stop from brag about their crimes or remember not to pull off a truck hijacking in front of a security camera. Good for us, not so good for them.

Me, I think gangsters must have been a lot scarier before Jimmy Cagney and Edward G. Robinson got involved. Back then they weren’t compelled to parade around or talk endlessly about the “good old days.” The real gangsters, the guy who started everything back in the 1920s, weren’t interested in being some movie star ideal, living a glamorous life and getting a book deal out of it. The old-timers, they just wanted to get rich and not get caught.

Once this whole mythology rose up, that’s when things got complicated. See, movies end after two hours (well, three if you’re by Francis Ford Coppola), but real life goes on much longer. So being flashy and living a high-wire life is great for the biography, but they all end up the same place – in jail or dead.

Of course, those same gangster movies always end with the guy either dying or being arrested. So maybe these new guys can’t help it, that’s just what they expect. When’s the last time you saw a mob movie where the mobster got away with it? Result, is they simply couldn’t imagine it going otherwise in their own lives.

That’s probably another reason I dig on those movies – the bad guys always get theirs in the end. Doesn’t happen that way in real life, but I appreciate the movies letting me pretend that it could. And making the bad guys think there isn’t any other way, that’s useful too. Sometimes it makes my job just a little bit easier – when you’re stuck for hours in an interrogation room trying to convince Jackie “Short Eyes” Altasante to confess, it helps to have Hollywood on your side.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Tie and The Two Week Anniversary

I guess I’m what you might call a romantic. I don’t know if it’s because I was raised with two sisters who forcefed me romantic comedies since I could crawl or if it’s a reaction to working a job that tends to show you the less glorious side of life. Probably both, plus the fact I live in a city with some of the most beautiful women in the world. I'm telling you, when summertime hits, it's a challenge just to drive down the street and keep your attention on the road rather than the sidewalk...

All this is just to say that when I fall for a girl, I tend to fall hard. And fast. Which Esposito pretty much thinks is insane. To hear him talk about it, a relationship is something that fills up your calendar and basically just stops you from having any fun in life. Of course, this is coming from a guy who has girlfriends about as often as we elect Presidents.

Anyhow, I recently started seeing this girl and… well… I fell like I always do, hard and fast. We’ve only been out about four times, maybe five if you count the night we met, but apparently people don’t count that. But I think you could. Anyhow, it’s going really well. She’s smart and she’s funny and she’s really, really cute… and even though it’s only been, uh, two weeks we’re already doing the whole girlfriend and boyfriend thing.

So when she gives me a tie to celebrate our (two week) anniversary, I’m going to wear it – even though it’s not really my usual style. It’s sort of more… risk-taking than my normal wardrobe. By which I mean it’s bright neon blue with rainbow dots. Explosive might be a polite term to describe it. It’s not the typical thing I, or anyone who isn’t employed at the circus, is gonna wear to work.

So, of course, when I show up the next day I immediately get busted on by NYPD’s finest fashion police. By Beckettt, by Esposito, hell even by Castle – which is pretty rich coming from the guy who showed up on a recent raid wearing a bullet-proof vest with “WRITER” stenciled across it. They’re giving me static not just about the tie, but about the fact that I’m getting an anniversary gift for being two weeks into a relationship. Apparently the gift at the two weeks is being whipped and blah blah blah. But I ignore them. And you know why?

It’s ‘cause if there’s anything I’ve learnt on this job, it’s that life is short and unpredictable. One day you’re on top of the world and the next, you’re a corpse found rolled up in a rug. One moment you’re talking with your best friend in the laundry room, the next she’s stuffing your dead body into a dryer. Or maybe you’re just that person who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and never came home again.

Point is, when you meet someone you really like, you gotta to go for it. ‘Cause who knows what the hell will happen tomorrow. And if the cost of having somebody special is wearing a tie that’s so bright it gives off radiation, so be it.

Besides, despite all that crap I took off him, Esposito’s the one asking if my girl has a hot sister or hot roommate or hot co-worker. And that’s how Mr. I-Don’t-Need-A-Relationship got scheduled for a double-date with me this Friday. He may talk a tough game, but at the end of the day he’s a little bit of a romantic just like everybody else.

Well, the sort of romantic whose idea of a perfect double-date is us all hitting the racetrack to lose a few hundred bucks. But hey, it’s a start.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Telling From The Tells

My dad used to say you can learn a lot about someone by knowing their poker tells, but I never really bought into that. I mean, you can learn how to take their money, sure, but other than that I have no idea what you’d learn. I’m guessing Dad mostly used that line as a way of explaining why he spent so much time at the poker table – he was just “learning” about people. It wasn’t, however, a line that Mom bought much either.

Our regular poker game the other night got me thinking about that little theory of his. Castle had us all over to his loft – which, by the way, makes me wanna get into the bestseller business – and as a result, we got to do our game in nicer digs than the usual locale of Esposito’s bachelor pad. Plus, there was the added bonus of seeing Castle’s live-in mother, Martha, embarrass the hell out of him. Was almost enough to make me feel okay about having Captain Montgomery bluff me into folding three queens with his pair of fours.

Was ruminating on Dad’s theory because, even though I’ve picked up a tell or two of my poker buddys’, I couldn’t say a thing about what it ‘revealed’ about ‘em. The tells, however, are amusing enough in and of themselves.

Castle’s tells become obvious pretty early on in our game, since Martha had a nice habit of letting us exactly what they were. Clearly, the man has a nasty tendency to blink when he’s got a bad hand and to tap when he’s got a good one. Funny thing is, even though Martha was spilling the details to us, Castle got so worked up shushing her that he couldn’t focus on stopping from doing them.

‘Course Martha’s not one to brag either, her tell's an easy one to figure out – it’s whether or not she’s in the hand at all. She folds early on anything that isn’t good. So if she’s staying in, she’s got the goods and there isn’t any bluffing her out of the game. She’s in ‘till the bitter end, no matter how high you raise her.

If you’re playing with Captain Montgomery, you just gotta keep a look at the expression on his face. The man loves to pull one over on any of us – it’s his way of reminding us who’s in charge. So if he’s got a smile on his face, you know he’s bluffing. The Captain just can’t restrain his pleasure at knowing that he’s about to smooth talk you into throwing down your perfectly good hand. Of course, he’s sometime slick enough to wait until after you’ve folded to pull it out. Last game, I didn’t even need to see his cards. When he got that grin on his face after I folded, I knew I'd been conned.

What about my boy Esposito? Well, he never met a terrible hand he didn’t like. Or, to put it more precisely, he never met a terrible hand he wasn’t convinced that he could remake into a terrific hand by waiting for the flop, the turn, and the river. He’ll be holding a 2 and a 4, off-suit, and be convinced that he’s somehow gonna spin that trash into gold. All you need to watch for is that intense look he gets in his eyes as he stares at the cards – it’s him imagining the magical series of events that will occur to turn his useless pair of cards into a game-winning hand. And once you see that look, you can be assured that you’ll be making a nice chunk of change betting against him.

Which brings us to Beckett. Now, to be honest, I didn’t figure out her tells until recently. Every other time I think I’ve got them figured out, she takes a whole stack of my money and proves me wrong. It’s been a damn expensive learning process, I gotta say. Just last week, I was convinced that she was bluffing whenever she would glance down and tug on that oversized wristwatch of hers. So I put my money where my theory was… and came away fifty bucks poorer.

But by the end of the game, I think I’d figured out her “real” tell. See, she has this habit of glancing down twice at her cards whenever she had a real set of cards… and glancing down just the once when she had a hand that she was bluffing on. So next week, I’ll be smiling over a mountain of chips if my hunch proves right. Of course that’s what I said last week…. And the week before… And the week before that one too. Huh.

On second thought, I’m starting to think Beckett may have figured out my tell. It’s whenever I’m convinced I’ve figured out her tell. Hmm… Maybe this week I’ll keep that Beckett theory of mine on the theoretical level. And just fold whenever she stays in. But man, where’s the fun in that?

Y’know, maybe Dad was onto something…

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Sister Effect

It’s not something I’m gonna talk about down at the sports bar, but more and more I’ve realized that growing up with two older sisters was incredibly useful. I mean, it’s certainly helped me understand women and that comes in handy every single day. Being able to read subtle mood differences… Understanding that asking a question don’t necessarily mean you want an answer… Knowing that salmon is a different color than pink. All that stuff. It’s helpful in dating, it’s helpful in getting that old lady at the shoe store to give me 10 percent off, it’s even helpful when I'm working.

It’s an approach vector thing. Most of the guys I work with come into a situation at Mach Ten, and it gets them nowhere. They’ll be talking to a female witness or informant, but doing it all wrong. They'll push and they'll threaten, but all they’re doing is digging a deeper hole. Me, I try and look at it from her point of view. I make these women feel at ease and safe, then explain to them why this information is so important. It’s not really that complicated a method, but it works. See Karen and Stacy – your little bro was paying attention!

And it’s not just useful out in the field, but also in the precinct. A lot of cops, when they work with a strong, intelligent woman like Beckett it goes one of two ways. Either they resent the hell out of her or they fall in love with her. Neither approach tends to end well.

But for me, Beckett’s just another sister. Someone for me to give crap to, get dating advice from, and figure out how best to catch the bad guys. And if any dude tries to mess with her, I bring out the baseball bat. Y’know, your usual sister/brother relationship.

Ninety-nine percent of the time it works out perfectly. Like with my real sisters, I don’t ever ask Beckett about her dating life or how she spent her weekend. And unlike my real sisters, she never feels the need to tell me about any of that.

But… there are times where I somehow, some way, end up seeing Beckett in a different light. And it’s awkward. ‘Cause the fact is she’s not my sister. And she is, how do I put this, a very attractive woman. I mean, y’know – so I’ve heard.

Take this week. We’re out doing our job, scouting for the bad guys at a fancypants gala, and Beckett shows up in this… dress. Which, uh, didn’t leave much to the imagination. And Beckett, she’s not someone I tend to use my imagination on. As in, I don’t think about her like that. Naked, I mean. I don’t ever think about her naked.

You know what I’m trying to say here.

Anyhow, next day, we’re at the office, and she comes in as I’m trying to scrub that image out of my head. For a moment, it just feels... weird. Then, like any other day, she starts giving me a hard time, bashing the salmon (not pink) tie I've got on. And, just like that, we’re back to the usual. Just a couple of siblings out to save this city.

I tell ya, I must be working at the right place if Beckett can make my morning by telling me my tie must have been on sale at the dollar store.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fashion for the Single NYPD Detective

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life, it’s that everybody’s got their own way of doing things… and they’re gonna keep doing it that way, no matter what you’ve got to say. You just can’t tell anybody, especially not your friends, how to do anything. Nobody really wants to hear anybody else’s advice, whether it’s how to play foozball or which Rolling Stones album is the best (“Sticky Fingers,” btw). So when it comes to our different approaches on women, I gotta let Esposito do what he does. Trying to give him advice on that subject is like trying to stick the pin back in a grenade – I’m gonna look silly doing it and I’m gonna get blown up in the process.

Our man Epsosito likes to swagger in with a full head of steam to the girls who take his liking. He’s not afraid to show off the badge or tell a few war stories, even within the first five minutes. I like to say he comes from the S.W.A.T. school of dating – break down the door with excessive force and get ‘em before they even know what’s happening.

Me, I aim for the Homicide school of dating – no, not courting dead bodies. I’m talking about taking a slow and steady approach and spending time on the necessary research. Which is why my coffee table contains a Vogue here, a Vanity Fair there. ‘Cause, let me tell you, a little knowledge of the fashion world goes a long way in conversation with the New York girls.

So, yeah, I’m probably the only guy in the NYPD who can tell you the stylistic contrasts between Chanel and Fendi. Or why Kate Spade is different from Kate Moss. Or explain how they can sell those Gucci handbag knockoffs on Canal Street (‘cause they use “CC” for the initials instead of “GG” -- it's a homage, dude).

What can I say? It’s really fascinating stuff once you start looking into it…

But, yeah, I still get that “you-are-one-strange-dude” look from Esposito whenever I accidentally bring fashion stuff up in conversation – it’s not the sort of thing he’s ever gonna get. I could tell him that’s why I end up talking with the hottest girl in the bar all night while he’s stuck polishing his badge once the girls get tired of hearing his boring old war stories. It just doesn’t compute – I might as well be speaking Mandarin for all Esposito’s gonna hear about it.

That said, he didn’t complain too much when I used my fashion knowhow to bluff us into those Fashion Week parties this year. To him, all those out-of-town models were perfect – a group of pretty girls who hadn’t heard his war stories yet. So, yeah, even Esposito gets to benefit from it sometimes. ‘Course, I spend the whole party talking with an English designer about whether the pleated skirt would ever stage a comeback. Guess all those fashion magazines ended up getting under my skin more than I thought.

Monday, April 6, 2009

In The Land of Lost Things

So, the majority of the time doing my job means solving a Whodunit. When you show up to a crime scene, it’s typically pretty clear how the vic died. The big mystery is Who Did It – followed closely by Why and Where Can We Find Them Right Now?

But every once in a while we get a Howdunit or, more accurately, a What-The-Hell-Happenedit. In these cases the first priority isn’t tracking down who did the deed, but figuring out what actually occurred.

These are missing persons cases where the person doesn’t turn up dead, didn’t run away, didn’t pretend to be dead to avoid alimony – just straight up disappeared. I mean, most of the time, the vic turns up alive and gambling their savings away in Vegas. But every so often, you get a mindbender. A case where no warning was given, no note was left, no reasoning makes sense. And they’re the strangest calls I’ve worked.

I’m talking about cases straight out of a philosophy class. We show up and find the apartment deadbolted from the inside, windows closed and locked, the shower still running, and toast still in the toaster. If someone disappears and nobody can figure out how it happened, did it really happen at all?

It’s pretty hard for civilians to grasp, but this sort of thing occurs more often than you’d think. A case where there just isn’t any explanation. Just today, Esposito and I gave Castle the details on Dana Sullivan, a missing persons file we worked a year or so back.

Dana and her boyfriend leave a club in Soho around midnight on a Thursday. He’s a couple steps behind her ‘cause he’s talking on his cell, so when she turns the corner he’s just a few seconds before him. But when he comes around the corner, she’s gone. Street’s empty – no cars pulling off, no footsteps running away. Nothing.

Castle pinged on the boyfriend – clearly the likely suspect. But, like I told Castle, we brought the guy in, went over his story for hours. Examined every inch of their apartment, spoke to their friends, family, co-workers. Every angle we could think of. Then we pulled footage from a couple bank cameras that were located across the street where she disappeared.

First camera has her rounding the corner, then him doing the same. He comes into view of the second camera, but she never does. In the space of a few feet, she up and vanishes. That’s all there was to see.

In the end, everything corroborated the boyfriend’s story. Dana Sullivan just up and disappeared. We never figured that case out, never found an explanation where it all made sense. And if you go through our missing persons files, you’ll find hundreds of cases like that one.

I don’t know, maybe these people vanish to the same place where all those lost pens, remote controls, and socks go. That floating vortex of things that were here just a moment ago and aren’t anymore. Disappeared, vanished, never to be found again.

It’s enough to have you start believing in alien abductions, metaphysical wormholes, and little green men. One moment you’re hanging out at Quiznos, the next you’re in an intergalactic stadium waging combat against six-armed gladiators.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Art of the Roadkill Warior

So, first off, gotta use this space to do a little I-Told-You-So to my man Esposito over our fantasy baseball match up. It’d be mean to say my team was whuppin’ his team’s butt… but it wouldn’t be a lie.

See, whereas Esposito believes in hunches, instincts, and picking the dude whose baseball card lands face up, I am a man of science. I am a man of facts, details, and penetrating investigation. And I’m not just talking about skimming RBIs, ERAs, and all the usual jazz – I take it outside the batter’s box. I’m looking up which player was out partying the night before, which guy just had a kid and can’t get any sleep, and which dude has a contract negotiation coming up and needs to bring the fire.

Anyhow, just another example of how Esposito and I have our different methodology about the world. The man is good police and a great partner. When it comes to the job, there’s nobody I’d rather be working alongside and have watching my back. But when it comes to the ways of the world – y’know, Thai food vs. Indian, brunettes vs. blondes, 360 vs. PS3? We’re on totally different wavelengths.

Take the other day. While out and about on a case, we got into a convo about a classic New York practice: the art of scoring roadkill. For those who don’t live in our fair city, I’ll break it down for you. Basically, when you’re done with your old stuff here, you leave it out on the street for those less fortunate. Y’know, students, artists, former hedge fund managers. Like I told Esposito, it’s trickle down economics at its finest. A citywide version of the Leave a Penny, Take a Penny tray.

But my partner doesn’t get it, of course – Esposito’s a retail guy all the way. I tried to explain the fine art of the deal to him, but guy just stared at me like I was speaking Farsi. We’re a classic case of the quick fix vs. the savvy consumer. He figures why hunt for a cheap copy of The Best Of CCR when you can snag it for twenty bucks across the street? Why walk a couple blocks to the good hotdog place when we can grab one from the stand out front?

Me, I’m all about sidewalk book sales, vintage t-shirts, and secondhand cars. Hell, the couch in my apartment, the one where Esposito likes to chillwhen I’m kicking his ass at Madden? That’s a refugee from 54th and Lex. Dude freaked out when I told him that. Not like he had a problem crashing on it all those times before.

Point is, New Yorkers have been recycling way before little blue boxes and all that. It’s not like, we’re dumpster diving here. It’s just a way of passing along things to someone who needs it. The city helping those who help themselves.

In fact, that reminds me. On my way home from work tonight I'm gonna do a little roadkill tour, see if there are any coffee tables left out and needing a new home. Esposito accidentally put a huge crack in mine last Madden tournament – I think he’d appreciate me picking up a new one. Well, my kind of “new,” that is...

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Moronic

Now, I love my job. I get to play Cops and Robbers all day and get paid for it (although nowhere near enough). Plus, bumping the siren and speeding through a red light never, ever gets old.

But there are drawbacks, chief among ‘em having people figure they can do my job for me. See, just like TV shows have made everybody think they’re a lawyer or a doctor or, I dunno, a model, people now have no problem telling me how to investigate a case.

I’ll be in court giving evidence and I get a juror asking if we thought to use a spectral analyzer on the bootprints. Did we try a hi-res scan of the security camera footage? How about a UV scan on the murder weapon? Let me tell you, the NYPD’s hardly got the budget for a fingerprint kit, let alone the money for me to drive around with a Hummer and equipment straight outta Star Trek.

I’m not trying to bitch and moan here, it’s just a little annoying when I’m at Thanksgiving dinner and my uncle’s asking if we remembered to use that experimental laser array to check for gunsmoke residue. C’mon, I work for the NYPD, not S.H.I.E.L.D! Lousy coffee, yes. Experimental laser arrays, no.

Besides, we don’t need that kind of equipment to catch bad guys. More often than not, criminals do our job for us. A lot of the time they give us everything we need, right up to and including the smoking gun.

I mean, I’m sure there are some ‘criminal masterminds’ out there, but the majority of skells just aren’t that smart. That’s why they’re criminals, right? And, hands down, the dumbest of them all are drug dealers. I got more stories of moronic mopes from my time in Narcotics than the rest of my years in the NYPD combined. I mean, some of these guys should just have strolled into the precinct asking to be cuffed.

Where to start? Maybe with the dealer who lit up a joint during interrogation because we were “stressing him out?” Or how about the mook who used his glock to shoo away pigeons? And then there’s the goof who, after being arrested, asked for his crack vials back, since we “weren’t gonna be using them anyhow.”

Sometimes you look at these guys and think, for all that effort, you could actually have gone pretty far in the legit world. I mean, take the dealer who printed up flyers advertising his weekly specials. He even paid homeless guys to hand them out, get better “circulation.”

‘Course the flyers made clear exactly where he could be found dealing… We just strolled over there and cuffed him on our lunch break.

So the next time you’re watching one of those fancy police shows where they bring out equipment that’s on loan from NASA, just remember that most of the time you don’t need an infared thermometer or a spectral transmitter to catch the bad guys. You just need common sense. And criminals who don’t have any.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Unspoken Rules of the Laundry Room

Living in New York City has its benefits. In fact, there’s about a million of them. Being able to find a cool new bar by taking a different route home from work, breakdancing buskers on the subway, the sidewalk waffle-stand down on Fulton Street, 4 AM closing times… the list goes on.

‘Course, as with anything, where there’s good, there’s bad. Car alarms going off at five in the morning, the parade of weird smells, street mimes… and the fact that you’re living in close proximity to eight million other people. Close enough you can figure out the plot of the TV movie they’re watching and if they overcooked dinner.

The only way to survive this proximity is rules. Hard and fast rules that you can’t mess around with. Like only snag your neighbor’s newspaper if it it’s been there over a day. Like don’t listen to the same Hall & Oates song for six hours straight. And if you have a party, make sure and invite your neighbors or you’ll get a noise complaint in the first five minutes.

And then there’s a special set of rules that come into play with the laundry room because, let’s face it, that’s your most likely place to be forced to spend time with your neighbors. First place I lived in town only had two washers and two dryers, so you can bet we had to make up some stringent rules. Especially for Sunday night, humanity’s naturally designated Laundry Night.

Now, due to a recent case we were out on, I had to enlighten my man Esposito on the basic rules that come into play in the sacred confines of the room of laundry. As I explained to him, you leave your laundry in a dryer after it’s done, you’re giving the next laundrygoer free reign to place your clothes into a basket. It’s all part of the unspoken agreement we sign when we stick our quarters in and press start. That agreement’s the only thing keeping Manhattan from descending into anarchy, ‘cause there’s only so many machines to go around.

I mean, there’s no bigger buzzkill than lugging your laundry, your detergent, and everything else all the way downstairs to find every single machine occupied. It’s enough to make a hardworking city employee pull out his badge and commandeer ‘em. Not that I’m speaking from personal experience. Just putting forth imaginary scenarios, shall we say.

Anyhow, after this yet another day of serving the public interest, I headed home… and, of course, realized I had to do laundry. Put a couple of loads in, then flipped around stuck them in the dryers. After that, got caught up in doing some work and forget to head down on time. Okay, truth be told, I was hooked on finishing Castle’s WHEN IT COMES TO SLAUGHTER –the book has a killer scarecrow, okay?

Anyhow when I finally went downstairs, I found my laundry taken out of the dryer, placed in my basket, and folded up neatly. Folded? The rest I get – all part of that unspoken agreement. But folding it? That’s just too damn weird. Scary even. It’s enough to make a man consider dry-cleaning. Or at least just wearing the same pair of boxers couple days in a row.

…okay, so maybe that killer scarecrow got to me a bit.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Author Boy Watches The Detectives

All right, so I know that I usually write about my fantasy baseball team or review the latest 360 game I snagged or explain where the concept of tipping came from, but so many people have been bugging me to talk about my little “celebrity” encounter , I figured I’d put it all down in one place. Next entry, back to our usual menu of sports, gaming, and the world according to Kevin Ryan. But for now, here goes…

So, the other night I'm on the job and the scene we’re working is your typical Beckett case. Which means, basically, far from typical. As my boy Esposito puts it “She likes the freaky ones.” So what we get is a naked female vic – sunflowers on her eyes, rose petals scattered everywhere. Not exactly your usual pop and drop.

Anyhow, Beckett takes a look around and asks us if we’ve seen this before. Answer, of course, is no way. I mean, not exactly the sort of thing you’d forget. Turns out, Beckett has. At least in her mind’s eye or whatever. Girl’s an avid reader – that’s one of the reasons we get along – but she’s into mysteries, thrillers, that sort of thing. Me, I’m a non-fiction guy, so when she starts talking about the vic being straight out of a Richard Castle book, I pull a blank. I’ve heard of him, who hasn’t, but it’s not like I curl up with one of his murder mystery books after pulling an all-day shift trying to solve a real one.

Turns out, not only is the latest crime scene just like a book of his, but so was another from a couple weeks ago, this lawyer we found lying face down in the middle of a pentagram. Psycho, right? Anyhow, we pick up Castle at a fancy book party, bring the guy in. Not as a suspect, just for background. But instead of being freaked out, like most civilians are, Castle’s loving it. Wants to know all the details, get copies of the pictures, so on. A little weird, yeah, but also sorta amusing. Plus, the man really gets under Beckett’s skin and that alone is worth the price of admission.

Beckett’s convinced that the answer to the murders is somewhere in Castle’s books, which sounds pretty out there to me, but that’s how I end up spending my workday reading about a dude fending off a biker vampire gang in At Dusk We Die. Real informative and pertinent to the case, right? Although I gotta admit that it was a damn fun read. That scene where he blows away the vampire leader with the rocket launcher he made out of a propane tank? Bad-Ass. Gonna have to check that out sometime, see if it really works.

Author boy ends up tagging along for the rest of the investigation – says it’s the least he can do for the city he loves. Ha! Ask me, he likes playing detective even more than writing about one. Plus, with another dead body on our hands and the same killer as before, we’re taking any help we can get.

Anyhow, gotta admit that Castle did end up helping out on the case. The guy definitely comes at things from a different point of view… and that can be pretty useful sometimes. Not that I’d ever let Beckett hear me say that. I like having a job.

Funny thing is, it turns out Castle pulled some of his downtown strings and got himself assigned to consult with Beckett for the “foreseeable future.” Damn! Wish I could’ve seen the look on her face when the Captain told her that one.

Apparently he’s basing his next book off her – listen, you want a lead character, look no further than my charming self, just sayin’. Esposito and I got twenty bucks on whether she clocks him before the book gets published. Still, I gotta admit I can’t wait to check it out. I’ve been reading some more of the man’s books and I’m digging them. So I’m glad he’s gonna keep writing – even if it involves tagging along with real detectives for "inspiration."