Rivers of Gold

Rivers of Gold by Adam Dunn Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Rivers of Gold by Adam Dunn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Adam Dunn
Hillcrest. When the storm subsided as abruptly as it had begun, the death toll would be twice that of the 1993 Los Angeles riots, with untold numbers of wounded; property damage was estimated at half a trillion dollars. The media later reported that the most sought-after items from looted stores were iPhones, liquor, and Playstation 5s.
    Santiago had traced a meandering route along Fort Washington Avenue, around Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters, across Nagle Avenue to Dyckman Street, up and around Fort George Hill, down the western border of High Bridge Park, and back along St. Nicholas Avenue. He kept a wary eye on all the stairwells descending from the elevated Number 1 subway line, as well as the exits from the A train terminus at 207th Street. There wasn’t much he could do about the Broadway and Henry Hudson bridges, but he knew from his radio that squads from the Thirty-third and Thirty-fourth Precincts, as well as DOT teams, had set up twin checkpoints (later reinforced with some local National Guard units back from Iraq). Officially, Santiago was detailed to the bridge details; off the record, he was off the reservation.
    Santiago hadn’t done much reflecting about the riots or their place in the city’s history. Other than immediate thoughts of his family, he found himself remembering his days coming up in Traffic, long before his transfer to CAB, and his old partner Bertie Goldstein, a wizened old Jewish lady from Sunnyside, looking to see how big a pension she could rack up before the Department cut her loose. Santiago’d been a happy young buck in those days of boomtime, before the credit and real-estate busts. The city had revealed another side of itself to him then, one of infinite possibility and prizes there for the taking. He couldn’t wait to get to work in those days, nailing one stolen car after another, collaring joyriders, car thieves, and chop-shop couriers. He’d learned how to do research then, how to rapidly run down histories (criminal, credit, employment, or medical), how to find patterns in seemingly meaningless reams of data, how to spot a mope on the move from a great distance. It was so easy. He’d just drive to the nearest school, wait for the most expensive car to roll up, and pounce. He remembered once being chided by his partner for profiling, a concept he readily employed. “Bertie, honey,” he drawled, feeling oddly paternalistic toward the ancient dwarf sharing his radio car, “you call it like you see it. If you see some knucklehead barely old enough to shave behind the wheel of a brand-new SL95 AMG, you stop him on principle. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you either got credit card fraud or grand theft auto. If you don’t, you just say ‘Have a nice day.’ All it takes is a few minutes of time on your computer, and these badges we wear say we can stop whoever we want, whenever we want. At the end of the day, we get more collars, the city gets fewer people defaulting on their credit cards or using stolen or fake ones, and the department maybe even gets a few bucks selling the cars we seize at auction. Everybody wins except the knucklehead who deserves to lose anyway. See?”
    â€œ Nu , right you could effsher be, but as it is, boychik ,” conceded Bertie Goldstein. “Even verse, ven young you are, but since ven the vorld vuz easy? Esk any Jew.”
    Bertie Goldstein was always one for folk homilies like this. She never badmouthed anyone, never raised her voice, never cursed, and Santiago loved her for it. She was an oasis of warm harmlessness in a population bursting with anything but. He liked to give her “Goldbug hugs,” sincere embraces carefully designed for her tiny, delicate frame (he would have crushed her otherwise). But for all her kindness, Bertie Goldstein was beset over the years by a spectacular series of physical ailments—viral pneumonia, rheumatoid arthritis, acid reflux, tendonitis,

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