Kicked in the Dick on Christmas Day
I hate Christmas. The fake spirit, the phony joy, it’s all a big farce. As a kid, when Santa Claus was motivating, I looked forward to the seasonal customs, but was always suspicious of how Santa operated. On Christmas Eve, my parents would encourage my brother and I to “go to bed” because Santa would not arrive with people awake. Then they would stay up with a houseful of guests celebrating the holiday Italian style -drinking jugs of wine, smoking cartons of cigarettes, eating seafood, and carrying on till sunrise- while we listened and choked on the fumes atop the stairs. Christmas morning we would drag my parents out of bed. Hung over and exhausted, my father would set up the old 8 millimeter camera, flood the room with studio style lighting, and blind his children while capturing silent films of us tearing into an overabundance of gifts. We truly were blessed. We always received what we wanted, and as an added bonus, my brother often had more fun playing with the boxes our gifts arrived in.
As an adult, though, Christmas sucks. Maybe it’s because I’m older now, but the holiday seems co-opted by big box retailers and clever marketing schemes. Black Friday is a shoddy embarrassment of American adulthood, devoid of religious meaning or seasonal cheer. Simply stated, Christmas is a shell of what it was years ago. Today’s fragmented families also deplete the Hallmark qualities from decades ago. Many neighborhoods no longer string lights across the Avenues for shoppers. Even Brooklyn’s pea coat and cap wearing Christmas tree vendors have been replaced by day laborers. Say what you will, but the feeling just isn’t the same.
I try to do my part though. While I won’t fake holiday cheer, as a civil servant I go to great lengths to be generous to others. My professional standard of showing ample discretion is heightened during the holidays- especially on Christmas Day. There’s no greater shame than forcing the wheels of justice (from the Judges, to District Attorneys, to court and corrections officers) to have to deal with some silly cop’s unnecessary arrest. I get the point. On a recent New Year’s Eve, I was demeaned by an entire party-hat wearing, horn tootin’ emergency room staff for escorting some young, drunk, and unconscious female off the streets just before midnight. But hey, shit happens.
In keeping with the holiday spirit, I often volunteer to work on Xmas day. After all, someone with kids should get priority over me on the holiday, so I will usually work for someone else that day. Working in Coney Island, winter holidays are a charm anyway. Coney in the off season is an interesting place, distinctly different from the madness of summer. Most visitors roaming the closed amusement district are homeless folks evicted from trains at Stillwell Avenue en route to the storage yard.
One Christmas I was volunteering my day and the crisp chilly night was picture perfect. The only thing missing from Surf Avenue was tumbleweed. I was spending my lunch hour at the front desk joking with the Desk Sergeant and his assistant when someone came barging into the station house yelling, “There’s a fight on the bus out front!”
UGGGH! I looked at the two on the desk, (Both on modified desk duty without a gun and shiel…another story for another day.) and they looked at me, loaded up and in full uniform.
“Ok, I’m coming” I said, wondering what kind of foolishness I was about to get myself into.
Looking toward the parked bus, I notice it swaying with commotion. Through steamed windows I see a woman flailing her arms like a windmill, swinging on everyone in her path, but connecting with nobody. Turns out, she was kicked out of her family holiday gathering for being drunk and obnoxious. Not wanting to spoil the mood, she took her cause to strangers on the bus. After many warnings from the driver, she walked up and began slapping him. Bystanders then became involved, giving the 22 year old amateur drunk other targets for insults and punches. As I arrived, she was being slammed into the rear exit door by the bus driver whose shirt was partially untucked, with his gut hanging out.
“I want her off this bus!” He shouted, massaging his forearm. I put the overserved girl in handcuffs while passengers reciprocated the holiday spirit with a barrage of joyous insults. Looking at the bus driver, I could tell he wasn’t in the mood for this scenario any more than I was. The driver kept looking at his watch until saying, “It’s my last run of the night, and I just want to get home.” At the same instant, from the front entrance of the bus, I heard a familiar voice blurting out something behind me.
“Assaulting a Bus Driver is an automatic arrest and a felony!” I turned to see Brian, our perpetually modified desk cop blurting out free legal advice. Glaring at my unwanted assistance, I suddenly had a vision. The vision was of a desolate central booking on Christmas night, with the lights dimmed and holiday music piped into the cells. Then I imagined all the assigned personnel, serving egg nog with Santa hats on, looking at me with sheer disgust for admitting this very unnecessary, loud, drunk chick. Suddenly I snapped back to reality. I turned to the driver and said, “If it’s alright with you, I’ll drag her into the precinct and take care of it from there.” He was elated to oblige and salvage the holiday away from paperwork, and go home.
Walking back across Surf Avenue and holding onto the cuffed perpetrator, I turn looking angrily at Brian. “Are you gonna process this bag of shit arrest? Of course you’re not, so shut the fuck up and let me handle the situation! I was handling it well enough without you…and why are you even out here without your gun and…OOOOOOOOOOOFFFFFFFFFF!”
While escorting the drunk, holding her rear cuffed and walking one pace behind, I turned my head for 10 seconds. During my tirade, she decided to mule kick me right in the groin. I nearly collapsed, but held on. A true test of professionalism, I fought the impulse not to lose my cool and punch the prisoner in the head. Luckily, the prisoner was drunk, female, and at the moment of impact, I would have preferred to punch my backup instead. She also missed the sensitive area and, thankfully, only nicked my Irish endowment instead.
She sobered up considerably in my company as I began walking upright again. Fortunately, she did not have any outstanding warrants. Thirty minutes later, with the blessing of the Desk Officer, she was given a disorderly conduct ticket, and tossed out into the cold. I haven’t been mule kicked by any prisoner since.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Eugene Durante is a veteran Police Officer in New York. He is a keen observer of the off-beat and a world class smarty-pants. Honest and upfront, “Gino” is well known for not stroking others and not getting stroked in the process.