Michael   3 comments

Here is another little story. Remember these are fiction, at least to a point.

academy     It was the summer of 1968; Sean hurried from the subway station to the big building on East 20th Street. It was Sean’s first day in the Police Academy and he wanted to be there early.

As he rushed through the streets he thought back to the day he took the test for the Police Department. He almost left without taking the test when he saw how many people were there. The line for the walk in test stretched for two blocks. Bill, a friend he went to take the test with talked him into staying. Bill did not make the cut. Few of the hundreds of thousands who had taken the test would be hired. If your mark on the test wasn’t at least in the nineties you could forget ever getting appointed. Sean had written a 98 and was one of the first Police Trainees appointed from the test.

A sergeant at the security desk checked him in.


“Sean Peterson.”

He shuffled through some papers for a few seconds then pointed down the muster area.

“You are in Company N. Go straight back and look for the sign. If you can’t find it go home, this is the wrong job for you.”

“Yes sir.”

At the end of the muster deck he saw a group of six guys with one holding a sign that marked them as Company N. The man with the sign approached him.

“Are you in Company N?”

“Yes, where do I go?”

“I’m Derringer, Your Company Sergeant. Fall in with the others.”

Sean introduced himself to the other five. He was told that there would be thirty in the company. The group made nervous small talk as they waited for the rest to arrive.

Sean asked, “How much time does Derringer have with the Police Department? He looks as young as we do.”

Herbert Johnson laughed, “He was in front of me on the check in line. He was made company sergeant because he was the first guy from the company here.”

The first day was spent getting sworn in and then taking tours of the academy. You were expected to know the function and location of every office by the end of the day. We all took notes.

After the first day it was right to classes. We soon fell into a groove. There were hundreds trainees assigned to sixteen companies, hundreds more Police Recruits assigned to over twenty companies. Add to that Police Cadets, Administrative Aides, all the people assigned there permanently and the tours constantly going through and the place was really crowded.

It was only a few days later that Sean saw Michael for the first time. Michael worked as a cleaner. He had a mental disability and was hired under a work program for the disabled. He was always going around looking for anything that needed to be cleaned. He loved working despite only making minimum wage, $1.25 an hour at the time. We trainees made $2 an hour and felt under paid. The recruits made $6.

The company was in the cafeteria for lunch when Michael passed Sean’s table. Herb Johnson watched him work and started to laugh.

“Do you want to see something funny? Watch this.”

Herb had some change in his hand and tossed it onto the floor. When he heard the change hit the floor Michael started running towards the sound.

“Ooh, ooh money I heard money. It’s mine I found it. If it falls on the floor it’s the cleana’s and I am the cleana.”

Herb started laughing, “One of the guys from the previous class told me about it. He said they would have him running all over the place. He gets all excited and runs to pick up a penny.”

Everyone at table laughed and word spread to the other companies. Soon whenever Sean saw Michael he would be chasing after dropped coins.

Sean started feeling sorry for Michael. It wasn’t right to tease him like that. He wanted to talk to him and tell him not to let them treat him like that but there were always too many people around. Until one day he was assigned to bring some reports to the Ballistics Section. He ran into Michael alone in the hall.

“Hi Michael.”

“Hello, I’m sweepin.”

“Yeah, I know you do a good job.”

“Tanks, I work hard.”

“Michael, I see you chasing after change all the time. You shouldn’t do that, they are making fun of you. I am going to go to the Lieutenant and he’ll make them stop.”

Michael’s whole expression changed, “Don’t do that. I live with my Mother and we need the money.”

“But Michael do you really need it. I mean what is it two dollars a week? Is that worth them laughing at you?”

“I pick up over two hundred dollars most weeks and when new classes like yours come in sometime three hundred. They may laugh at me here but I laugh at them when I’m home.”

Sean suddenly realized that Michael’s speech had cleared up. Michael’s disability was not as severe as he pretended. With his pay and what he picked up from the students he was clearing more than a sergeant.

For the rest of his time at the academy Sean was laughing the loudest when Michael chased change but he wasn’t laughing at Michael.



Posted November 13, 2013 by kevingcox in Random Thoughts

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3 responses to “Michael

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  1. Pingback: Michael | bushwick83

  2. I love this story!!!

  3. If true- my hat is off to him !


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