14 July 2019

Good Cop, Bad Cop: A Novel by Ellis Millsaps

Cover design by Bryan Chapman & Ellis Millsaps

Ed. note: some years back, several in fact, Ellis, "Da," wrote what I consider one of my favorite novels ever. A terrific book, with great characters, dialogue & plot, it reads so well & is one of those books that you might find yourself getting lost into to the point where it's maybe 2:30 in the morning & you're like - "oh shit, have I been reading this book non-stop for over five hours?"

Da, as a couple of you know is Editor Emeritus of The Chronicles & I often consult with him regarding many matters TPC & this was something we've discussed off & on over the last four years since he came on board as a Contributing Writer - the release of this fine work in a serial novella format of maybe the first 1/3 of the full piece; then, for those who've willingly entered this world & would like to continue the journey, the ability to order a signed copy of the future release from TPC Publishing.

To reserve your copy, please support our efforts of the forthcoming publication costs by donating to my PayPal account & referencing either Da, Ellis, Good Cop, Bad Cop (GCBC), etc. $20 for a reserved signed copy (will not be published until Jan. 2020)

So without any further ado, welcome to this wonderful world... - MBM 

August, 2000

Findo lifted his leg and peed on the metal pole of the chain-link fence – as close as he 

could get to a tree on the interstate.  A semi roared by, the backdraft of which almost caused him 
to lose his balance.  He finished and looked up at his master, awaiting instruction.

His master was officer Kirk Landeau of the Clinton, Georgia Police Department.  Officer Landeau, a large, good-natured young man was, like the two officers in the car beside his “canine unit,” assigned to the department’s Drug Task Force.  Most of its officers were young because they aspired to work for the Piedmont Regional Drug Enforcement Unit – more status, power, glory. At Piedmont everyone started out working undercover, and to work undercover and look like a user, being young was an asset.

Landeau wasn’t savvy enough to work undercover.  He’d probably have been a regular patrolman for the rest of his life but for his love of dogs.  He was so fond of the department’s drug-sniffing dog, Findo, that the officer assigned to the canine unit had gladly turned the dog over to Landeau then gone around chuckling to himself for days.  Except for Landeau, nobody wanted to ride around all day in a car that smelled like a kennel.

Landeau had gone through the required training at the school in Alabama and renamed the dog “Findo.”  The dog didn’t seem to notice the difference, and he loved Landeau, who talked to him and played with him a lot, but the name change brought his master much grief.

“Findo?” his co-workers would exclaim.  “That’s the stupidest name for a dog I ever heard.”
And Landeau would explain over and over, “It’s like Fido, see, except Findo is a finder, see, because he finds stuff, so his name is Findo.”

When Officer Landeau and Findo got back in the car, Justin Bledsoe stuck his head out the window of the other car.  “Hey Landeau, next time you and Findo need to go before you leave home.”
“It wasn’t me, it was just Findo,” Landeau said, then realized Justin was having fun with him.  Bledsoe was like that and sometimes his jokes were kind of mean, like the time back in high school when he’d put “Deep Heat” in Kirk’s jockstrap.

“Findo, what a dorky name,” Bledsoe said and rolled up his window.
At eight p.m. it was still over ninety degrees.  Bledsoe and Stevens were running the air conditioning but Landeau kept his windows down so Findo could stick his head out the window and sniff, something he loved to do.  A metal screen kept Findo in the back where the seat had been removed for his benefit, so that Landeau had to reach out his window to tousle Findo’s head. “Yeah, you’re the best dog in the whole world, Findo.  When we get home I’m –“
The car beside them activated its light bar and slung sand that stung Landeau’s cheek and made Findo yelp.
“Are you alright boy?” Landeau got out of the car to examine his dog’s face.  He seemed to be okay. “Its alright, Findo. It was an accident boy. You’ll be okay.”
He was kissing Findo’s forehead when Bledsoe came over the radio.  “Landeau, you working with us or pissing again?”

Landeau grabbed the mike.  “10-4, 219. K-9 struck by debris.  216 on route.” He put the car in gear and was about to activate his blue lights when he noticed a sliver of brown glass sticking in Findo’s ear.  He got out of the car to give his dog a more complete physical.

The Maxima had pulled over as soon as Stevens whooped his siren once.  Its driver sat perfectly still as Bledsoe approached. He had both hands on top of the steering wheel when Bledsoe shined his flashlight in the window.  Nothing in the car but a leather briefcase.

“May I see your license and proof of insurance, sir?”

The driver, a clean-cut, middle-aged man wearing an Izod shirt and laundered khaki slacks, slowly and conspicuously took out his wallet and removed his license.  “This is a rental car,” he said. “I can show you the rental agreement. Insurance is provided through my American Express.”
Bledsoe was looking at the license trying not to grin.  “Let me see those if you don’t mind, Mr. McKay.” He shined his flashlight on Ron McKay’s hand as McKay slowly opened the glove box, pausing to let the officer see there was nothing other than papers inside before he removed them.
Bledsoe took his time examining the papers.  Where was that idiot Landeau? “Mr. McKay, the reason I stopped you is you were going sixty-seven in a fifty-five mile per hour zone.”

“I was slowing down, Officer.  I just passed the sign where it turned from sixty-five to fifty-five.  Don’t you get a reasonable distance to slow down?”

“I understand, sir.  I need to run your license and registration.  If everything checks out, we’ll give you a courtesy warning and you’ll be on your way in a few minutes.”

Ron McKay felt a little better, but he was still worried because his driving history was a checkered one.  Not to mention that he had a criminal record and a pound-and-a-half of cocaine in his trunk.
He watched in his rearview mirror as the first cop handed the driver cop his license and started talking to him.  The driver cop was holding his license and grinning, but McKay had little time to worry about that because the first cop was coming back.

“Where you headed tonight, Mr. McKay?”
“Headed home.”
“You traveling for business or pleasure?”
“Me and you both working on Saturday.  What kind of business you in?”
“I make pottery.”
“No kidding.  You selling some down this way?”
“My sister makes pottery.  Mind if I see a piece of yours?”
“I don’t have any with me.”  The cop was grinning at McKay as if they were old buddies and McKay tried to match his expression.  “Officer, do you think I could go ahead and get that warning? I need to be getting on.”
“What’s your hurry?  You seem a little nervous.”
“Just tired of driving.”
“You know, Mr. McKay, we get a lot of drugs through here.  I see a man in a rental car, no luggage, tells me he’s been selling pottery but doesn’t have any, license says he lives in Towns County and he tells me he’s headed home from Augusta, but he’s headed due west when Towns County is due north, it makes me kind of suspicious.  You don’t mind if I bring a dog up here and just let him walk around your car, do you? It’ll just take a minute.”

The cop’s demeanor was unchanged but what he was saying now made the smile seem sinister to McKay, who tried to put on his most serious face as he said, “Yes, I do mind.”
“Well now, that just makes me more suspicious.  Would you mind stepping out of your vehicle for me?  Please keep you hands where we can see them.”

Ron McKay was careful to make no sudden movements.  He tried to look like a businessman annoyed at being delayed, but his heart was pounding.  He concentrated on breathing slowly. This must be some kind of set up. The convertible he’d been following had been going the same speed he was.

He leaned back against the trunk of the Nissan to steady his shaking, his arms propped well out from his sides, watching the two cops in the car behind him in animated conversation.  They kept looking behind them and back at each other.

He’d managed to slow his heart rate when a second patrol car pulled in behind the first, producing another adrenaline rush.  A third cop got out of this car and was putting a dog on a leash. Somebody had tipped them off.  He closed his eyes and said, “Oh, dear God,” preparing to face the inevitable.
The first cop with the flashlight got out of his car and walked up to McKay.  The other cop had emerged from the driver’s side when a yelping of dogs and a crashing in the undergrowth outside the chain-link fence drew their attention.  The first cop swung his light that way and caught in its beam a spectacular sight. The biggest buck Ron McKay had ever seen was clearing the fence in full stride, posed like one of Santa’s reindeer against the sky, soaring in an arc that would land him on a beeline trajectory toward McKay and the cop with the light.  His hooves struck the mown turf with a soft thud.

A lot happened in the next few seconds.

“Shit!” said the cop with the light and dove behind his patrol car.  His partner stood transfixed. McKay hit the ground and rolled under the back of the rental car.  The buck crossed the emergency lane, thundering between the Nissan and the first patrol car and onto the interstate, followed by the drug dog with his leash trailing behind.  The third cop was inanely screaming, “Find doe!”
The buck managed to clear the median just ahead of an oncoming semi, but the dog didn’t.  It met the truck’s huge bumper with a noise that sickened Ron McKay in spite of his own plight, and emitted the smallest of whelps as it bounced and skidded a hundred feet across the pavement into the emergency lane.  The third cop was now running in the outside lane, howling. Both the other cops were on their feet yelling at him to get out of the road. The second cop ran after him.
McKay raised up to see what was happening and struck his head on the underside of the car.  His cry of “Fuck!” caused the first cop to wheel around and draw his gun, but he didn’t see McKay.
“God damn it,” the cop said in a loud whisper and dropped to a prone position with his nine millimeter clutched in both hands before him.

“Don’t shoot, I’m right here,” McKay said and waited for the cop to spot him before he moved.
“Lemme see your hands motherfucker!”

McKay held up his palms.  The flashlight beam struck him in the eyes.

“I want you to crawl out from under there, real slow.  Make a wrong move and I’ll shoot your ass in a heartbeat.”

When McKay was clear of the car, the cop patted him down, then cuffed his hands behind his back.  McKay was too scared to protest. The cop had the crazy look in his eyes that McKay had seen in junkies overdue for a fix.  He was happy to see the other two cops walking back, one of them crying.
“I’m not letting you call an ambulance for a dog, Landeau; they’d have your badge.
Besides, if your dog’s not dead, he wishes he was.  You oughta let me shoot him.”

“No! We can’t shoot Findo.  He’ll be okay. We just have to get him to the vet.  I’ll call an ambulance and we won’t tell them it’s a dog.”
“You’re not calling an ambulance, Landeau.”
“Oh, please Lieutenant Stevens.”  He started crying again.
“Okay, Landeau.  What if I help you put the dog in your car and you take him to the vet– if you can find one on a Saturday night.”
“I’ll call Dr. Ledford.  He’ll come.”
“Okay, get your poncho and we’ll slide him on that.”

Landeau snorted a long mucas-rattling sniffle and beamed.  “Thank you, Lieutenant. I know we can save him.” He was already trotting to his trunk.

“Stevens,” the first cop said, “how ‘bout y’all carry the dog by the dude’s car and see if he alerts.”
“Are you as stupid as Landeau?  The dog’s dead, dickhead. It was hit by a transfer truck and knocked into Fulton County.  Get on the radio and have the county–no wait.”

Stevens came up to the first cop and whispered in his ear causing him to fish a cell phone out of the patrol car and walk out of McKay’s hearing.  Landeau came back with the poncho, bouncing anxiously from foot to foot. “Come on Lieutenant.”

“Just a minute, Landeau.”  Stevens approached Ron McKay and used his cuffs to fasten the already manacled motorist to the bumper of his patrol car.  “You sure you don’t want to consent to us looking through your car and save yourself some time, sir?”

“I’ll wait till hell freezes over, Lieutenant Stevens, but I’m not letting you search my property without a warrant,” McKay said, looking up from the pavement on which he now sat, then on a hunch added,

“You heard that didn’t you, Officer Landeau?”
“Yes, sir.”

“Sorry about your dog, man.”

Support the Publication of Good Cop, Bad Cop - A Novel by Ellis Millsaps
$20 for a reserved, signed copy
(book will not be published until Jan. 2020)


George Bagley
August 2000 

He’s my oldest friend, the person who goes back farthest in my history, aside from my family, but Ronny McKay is closer than family.  It was Ronny McKay I turned to when my dog, a Springer Spaniel named Clementine, was hit by a car and needed twelve-hundred-dollars worth of surgery.  My family, good Baptists, would have said, “Put that old dog to sleep and get another one.” I knew better than to ask. But Ronny McKay, ex-con cocaine distributor, had driven a hundred-and-twenty miles to put twelve one hundred dollar bills in my hand. 

It was during my first year of law school, the first (and only) time in my life I worked really hard for an extended time, and finals were coming.  The day I gently lifted Clementine from Millage Avenue, three legs severely broken and displaced from their sockets, she growled at me and bit my arm, poor thing, she was in such pain, probably shock.  She looked at me with one sad, frightened eye as I held her steady on her side in the back of a good samaritan’s pickup on the way to the UGA vet clinic. I told her it would be okay. I wouldn’t lie to Clementine. 

She had been with me for ten years, since my sophomore year in college.  She stayed with me through good trips and bad. From Shelly Ballew through Candice Payne, who both broke my heart and left me in too much despair to talk to people, she remained true.  She understood what I had to say, even if I couldn’t say it.

I know you’re saying, “She’s a dog; that’s her job,” but there were times I couldn’t stand myself.  She was a good dog. So I would have tossed my Torts book into the corner and said, “Screw it; I didn’t want law review anyway,” and driven the hundred and twenty miles to Hiawassee, Georgia to get the money for Clementine.

I told Ronny that and he said, “No way G-Bag, we ain’t sending you to law school to fuck off.  I’ll hop in the Vette and be there in two hours.”

“Do you have a license?” I asked, a reasonable question given his history.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said, and he’d taken that worry off me.  I finished the year in the top fifteen percent of my class with a dog I had to carry down the steps to pee.  A very good dog.

So when Ronny McKay called me from the Liberty County jail, I couldn’t say no.  I wanted to, I tried to. I told him I’d get him the best lawyer money could buy but he said, “No way G-Bag, you’re the man in Liberty County.  My co-residents here tell me you hung the moon and stars. Well, actually what they say is, “Mr. Bagley the man here. You be thinking ‘bout how fine your Atlanta lawyer sound when you doing your time in Jackson.’  You get your ass down here and get me out of this hell hole.”

I told him I’d get to work getting him a bond and we’d see what happened after that, but I had the sinking feeling I was in the case for good or ill.

My name is George Bagley.  As you have surmised, I’m a lawyer, a criminal defense attorney.  As the jail inmates told Ronny McKay, I’m good, damn good. This is no place for modesty; you need to understand my predicament if you’re going to understand the story of me and Ronny McKay.  He’s “Ron” to most people, but to me he is and always will be Ronny, the first friend I remember, Ronny and me in the crayon-scented basement of a Baptist church in Towns County, Georgia, looking at pictures of Jesus with a passel of kids in his lap.

I was always good--as a trial lawyer, that is--but labored in obscurity, as they say, until I defended a man named Jerry Davenport, a Liberty County Commissioner, in a sensational murder trial and got him off for killing his wife and her boyfriend.  I was more lucky than good in that trial, but I was already good; it was luck I was waiting for. Now people come from all over the state bearing big bucks, wanting me to keep their boy, who is a good boy basically--just fell in with the wrong crowd--out of prison.  More often than not, I do, and I couldn’t care less whether he’s a good boy so long as I get the money up front.

But I care, care deeply, about Ronny McKay.  That’s why I don’t want to take his case. Caring what happens to him might make me do something I wouldn’t otherwise do.  That’s why I try to avoid representing friends or even close acquaintances. I once represented a neighbor who claimed he’d had a few drinks after he left the scene of the fender-bender but before the cops came to his house, one of the more common lies you hear in this business, but since he watched my house while I was on vacation, I believed him and passionately argued his case at trial.  I pulled out every rhetorical trick I knew, bashing the young prosecutor at every opportunity. My neighbor did three months in the county jail when he could have pled out to forty-eight hours and a fine.
Right now, ten o’clock on a Saturday night, I’m already doing things I wouldn’t otherwise do.  To begin with, I wouldn’t have just finished talking to a jail inmate because nobody else could have called me from the jail.  They would’ve got the answering machine which wouldn’t have accepted the collect call, the only kind you can make while incarcerated.  And if a relative had called on their behalf I would have told them the standard working truth: you can’t get a bond on a Saturday night and, even if you could,  a bond for Trafficking in Cocaine can only be set by a Superior Court judge in open court and you’ll be lucky if he sets one then.
Ronny knew my unlisted number
For Ronny McKay I called Carlton Sims, the District Attorney, at his house and almost cried, telling him this was important to me personally.  I would post bond myself, he could put me in jail if Ronny didn’t show up for court; just please consent to a bond.  
“You’re lucky this isn’t an election year, George,” he said, and told me to bring him the fifty-thousand-dollar bond order and he’d sign off on it.
That was just the first hurdle.
After leaving Carlton’s house, I found the Hon. Althea Greer where the babysitter whom I bribed with a hundred-dollar bill said I would, with an Atlanta Falcon linebacker at the best restaurant in Clinton .  By then “Mr. Ray’s” had stopped serving dinner so she knew I wasn’t there for solitary dining.  
They were the last patrons in the dining room, sitting at a corner table conversing in low tones.  When she saw me, she removed her hand from her date’s thigh, a thigh clad in a tailor-made suit, a thigh as big as my waist, and looked down at her drink.  She may have been blushing. I don’t know. It was dark and so is Judge Greer.
Things weren’t starting off well. 
I stood there by her table holding a hand-written bond order, feeling like a heel.
“George, are you out for a nightcap?” she asked.
“No Althea, I’m a desperate man looking for a signature on a bond order.”
She just looked at me.  I shifted my weight and looked anywhere else, at her friend it turned out.  He was grinning.
“Hmmm,” he said in a very deep voice.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw the judge blink.  “George Bagley,” she said, “this is Curtis Brown. Curtis Brown, George Bagley.”
He stood, towering over me, and took my outstretched hand but did not rip my arm off and beat me with it.  “I’m familiar with Mr. Brown,” I said. “I’m just glad I’m not meeting him with a football under my arm.”
“I know who you are too, Mr. Bagley.  It’s a pleasure to meet you.” He held out a clenched fist and I returned the gesture, doing the ritual hammer tap, both of us smiling.
I turned back to Althea Greer, who wasn’t. “I don’t know that I ought to set a precedent of allowing lawyers to spring felons on a Saturday night.”  She was staring a hole in me. “I think you’d feel the same if you were in my shoes.” With that, she turned sideways and stretched out a bare, mocha-brown leg that would stop traffic.  On its foot was a black, suede, open-toed pump. It could have been funny, but it wasn’t. I could see she was just warming up to what an indignity this was.
“You know I got a couple of cousins,” Curtis Brown interjected, “that the Fulton County D.A. has indicted for what he calls ‘gang-related violence.’  They could use a better lawyer than the one they got.”
I was happy not to have to look at Althea.  “Well Mr. Brown, I’m flattered, but it takes a lot more money than it’s worth to get me in Fulton County court.  The place is a zoo.” I heard Althea’s chair scoot back and looked at her. Her eyes were wide and wild.  
“But,” I said, fishing a business card out of my pocket, “as a favor to you and Althea, I’d be glad to take their case.”
“Money’s no problem, you know,” Mr. Brown said taking my card.
“Don’t worry about it,” I said.  “You just pay any expenses we might incur.”
“Give me your damn bond order,” Althea said.  Her head bent over, pen in hand, I noticed the suggestion of a smile at the corners of her mouth.


A half hour later Ronny McKay sits in the passenger seat of my car, a free man on a warm
summer night.

“Nice car,.What happened to the Austin Healey?”

“I’ve still got it.  I’m saving it for Jim.  He’ll be the only kid in Liberty County driving a vintage Austin Healey.”

“Probably be the first kid in the county to wreck an Austin Healey if he’s anything like you and me were, G-Bag.  How is the boy anyway?”

“He’s great.  Make’s all A’s.  Has an endless list of things I ought to buy.”

“I guess this new Saab was on that list?”

“It’s not new.  It’s a ninety-seven.  I wouldn’t pay sticker price for a new car if I was Bill Gates.  Besides, only another Saab owner could tell it’s not new anyway.”

“G-Bag, the money-bags lawyer.  Too cheap to buy a new car. How’s Ursula?”

“She’s fine, I guess.  We’re separated. She’s living over near the college.  She got tenure last spring.”

“Separated.  Shit. Guess I’ll have to locate my old friend Ursula and see if I can get a little rebound action.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Why?  You think I can’t still kick your butt, G-Bag?”

“The day I can’t mop the floor with your ass ain’t never happening.  I just can’t see you getting anywhere with Ursula. Let’s just say you make her nervous.”

“Nervous?  That’s not nerves; that’s sexual tension.  You’ve had your head in a book too long, son.”

I laugh and shake my head.

“You can laugh now, son, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.”  With that he rolls down the window and stucks his head out, his tongue hanging out like a dog’s.  I think I’m supposed to think he’s a dog in heat. Then he starts howling at the moon.

“Get your ass back in here you hillbilly, white-trash, snuff-dipping fool,”  I say, pulling him by the sleeve. “We got cops in this town.” We are circling the Clinton town square.

“Yeah, I noticed.”  He setttles back into his seat.  “They seem to be kinda down on cocaine.  Put the top down.”

“I bought a convertible because I like the way it looks,” I say.  “I’m too old to go cruising around with the top down. You ever see an old guy riding with the top down on the convertible he can finally afford?  I’d look like a fool.”

“You are a fool if you’ve let Ursula get away.  Put the damn top down.”
I pull over, flip two levers, and push a button.  The top goes back and magically disappears. I point to the floorboard.  “Stuff that trash under the seat so it won’t go blowing everywhere,” I say, and head off at law-defying speed down Haygood Street.
I look over at my oldest friend, his thick brown hair rising and falling in the wind.  He has a look of daredevil bliss. We could be back in Towns County, 1969, throwing bottles at road signs with no ten year prison sentence hanging over one of our heads.
“Rock...and...Roll!” he yells and turns on the stereo.  Moby blasts the most fashionable street in Clinton. I’m gonna get my money back/ Sometime/ I get a hump in my back/ Sometimes/ I’m going over here/ Sometime.
“Hey G-Bag, I need to get some smokes.”
I make a few turns and pull in at the town’s only all night drug store.  The place is busy at eleven-thirty on a Saturday night.
We get a couple of Cokes and get in line to pay.  There are two lines, one long, the other short: one woman.  When we get in line behind her we find out why that is. She has a pile of coupons.
“You rang those up at a dollar twenty-nine.  The tag on the shelf said sixty-nine cents.”
“They’re scanning at a dollar twenty-nine,” the young cashier says.  She’s smiling but her tone says this has been going on a while.
“I’m sorry to be so much trouble, really I am, but if you’ll go look at the shelf you can see for yourself.”
She is short, middle-aged, wearing baggy black slacks, a black leather jacket, a black backpack and a black felt hat with a beaded band.  It’s August, you’ll recall.
We look over at the other line which has a half dozen people in it.  “You go get in the other line and we’ll see who gets there first,” I tell Ronny.
The cashier comes back.  “They’re marked a dollar-twenty-nine.  The sixty-nine cents is for the store brand next to them.”
“Well, it’s very confusing.  I want to see the manager.” She has not once looked behind her.  A woman who had got in line behind me moves to the other one.
When the manager gets there, Ronny has moved up to number three in his line.  “What seems to be the problem ma’am?” He’s wearing horn-rimmed glasses, a tie and has three pens inside the pocket of a short-sleeved dress shirt, one of which has leaked a nickel-sized circle of blue.
“I have this problem every time  I come in here,” she says, looking through her stack of coupons.  “This woman’s trying to charge me a dollar-twenty-nine for these bobby pins that are marked at sixty-nine cents on the shelf.  You probably get a lot of people who just go ahead and pay double but I won’t stand for it. The sign says Revlon bobby pins are a dollar-twenty-nine.”
“Ma’am, the sign says ‘Eckerd brand sixty-nine cents.  Compare to Revlon at a dollar-twenty-nine.’ Would you like me to get you the store brand?”  He’s looking over her head at a group of kids on the magazine aisle.
“No, I don’t want the store brand.  They’re probably as crooked as the management.”
He lets out a  sigh, looks down at her, shakes his head, takes a pen out and notices the stain.  “Damn Eckerd pens,” he mumbles and writes something on a small yellow pad, tears a sheet off and gives it to the cashier.  “I’m sorry you were confused, ma’am. I’ll comp these down to sixty-nine cents.” He heads off to the magazines.
“I wouldn’t be confused if you would mark things plainly. It’s false advertising,” she adds without turning and goes back to sorting her coupons.  I do a pantomime of whacking her in the back of the head. The cashier grins, rolls her eyes and goes back to ringing up her purchase. Ronny has reached the front of his line where I join him with my Coke.
A new sap comes in and lines up behind the woman in black, who says, “You rang those up twice.”
“Excuse me?” the cashier says.
“You rang those up twice. I’m not stupid.”
“No I didn’t.”
“Yes you did. I saw you.  You take it off right now.”
“You’re mistaken, ma’am.  Just wait till you get your receipt and you can check it.”
“I don’t have all night to go through receipts.  I want to see the manager.” The cashier takes one step back and glares at her.  She’s near tears.
Ronny leaves me to pay and walks over to the other line.  “Eckerd Security,” he says, and smiles at the woman in black.  “I think I can sort this thing out. Okay, this stuff is all Eckerd merchandise, am I right?”  He takes his arm and rakes her pile of purchases toward the cashier. “Now, you haven’t given her any money.  Is that right?” he says to Blackie.
“No, and I won’t until she gets my bill right.”
“And these are your coupons?” He grabs them up in one fist.
“Yes, those are my coupons and you’re wrinkling them!”
“Okay, you take this.”  He pushes the pile of goods a little closer to the cashier.  “And you take this.” He crams the coupons in the top of the backpack.  “Now, this line is closed.Take ten Amber Give me your closed sign sweetheart, 

Amber, whose name tag has given her away, reaches under the counter and hands it to Ronny, snickering as she does.  “Now, I think everybody’s even. Take ten minutes, Amber.” He turns to Blackie, who is hyperventilating. “That was a close call.  I saved your ass, lady. They were about to take every penny you had.”
“Let’s hit it, G-Bag,” he says and we set out into the night.  As our weight opens the automatic doors, everybody in the front of the store, including Amber and the manager, bursts into applause.  Ronny turns and gives a “Sergeant Preston of the Yukon” salute.
As we hop in the Saab, Blackie comes out the door screaming. 
  “You think she’ll call the cops?” Ronny asks.
“The cops would be on our side,” I say.
Support the Publication of Good Cop, Bad Cop - A Novel by Ellis Millsaps
$20 for a reserved, signed copy

(book will not be published until Jan. 2020)

Ellis "Da" Millsaps is a recovering Attorney but has worn many hats over the years: father, bus boy, stand-up comedian, novelist, wiffle ball player, rock'n'roll band manager, and at one time wrote a popular and funny column for The Covington News. A Fannin Co. mountain boy originally, Mr. Millsaps now stays at the mill village of Porterdale by way of 20 years in Mansfield. Usually funny and at times irreverent and subversive, he leans left in his political philosophy but can always be counted on for a pretty darn good write-up. The Chronicles are proud to have him involved... 

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