[For this anthology I expected to get stories inspired by TV cop shows, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to use any, but RV Raiment’s tribute to the women of the classics I recall so vividly really blew me away with its blend of grit and lyricism.]
RV Raiment on "Chapel Street Blue"
This is the first time I’ve had the honour of appearing in one of
Sacchi’s books, and it is a very real pleasure. I find myself
snuggled between the covers with some very interesting and stimulating
writers, and it’s a pretty fine cover too.
So why ‘Lesbian Cops’? And why ‘Chapel Street Blue’?
Sacchi speculates a link with Hill Street Blues and isn’t too far off
the mark. NYPD Blue is in there somewhere, and no doubt other ‘Blue’
named books and series. And NYPD was controversially ‘blue’ in that
other respect too. Naked bodies – or the US TV versions of them –
abounded, and NYPD Blue went so far as to flash, I think, Jimmy Smits’
bottom on one occasion. What a shock it was to discover that not all
American males sleep and have sex in shorts after all.
‘Hill Street Blues’ had Robin, Belcher’s petite, dark girlfriend. Oh
how I lusted those many years ago. And the tall blonde sergeant,
Lucy. Those long, long legs…
Then ‘Homicide, Life on the Street’ and another blonde sergeant, but a
detective, played by Melissa Leo, only seen in uniform on too-rare
ceremonial occasions, and NYPD’s delightful selection of nubile and
delicious officers and detectives.
Nubile and delicious? And I’m talking about cops? Yes, but entirely
I admire cops. I admire anyone who has the guts to do, day in and day
out, the stuff that most of us would never dare to do. And female
cops demonstrate the equality that has always been fundamental to my
perception of women – they are at the very least as strong, as clever,
as courageous and simply as fine as any man could ever be. Such are
the women I choose to write about.
Even my cop’s lover, former denizen of the underworld, is a creation I
respect and a woman I would respect in real life. Few of us make
truly ‘free’ choices, and the choices of some of those society affects
to despise often require no little courage.
I love the paradox of the woman in uniform – police or military. Dressed in symbols of power and authority which also mark
them out as placing themselves consciously and conscientiously in
danger, the bodies beneath seem almost engineered for just the
opposite. The female body speaks, somehow, in every curve and line,
of qualities of nurturing, gentleness and beauty. It is there at
every age and in every conformation of the female body, yet the female
mind and spirit outweighs it.
Several times while writing this I have been drawn to a conclusion I
have sought, on some level, to avoid, and yet I think I cannot. It
really is as if female courage is somehow more overwhelming, more
inspiring, than that of men, whilst it is that of men which gains the
So I love and admire my women in uniform, and I salute them, here, in
the only way I know how.
R V Raiment
Excerpt from one of the grittier bits, and I do mean grittier:
“I hate Chapel Street.” Sally’s voice is sibilant with a darker passion than our own.
“Just routine stuff, of course. Caspar and Weiner were there from Homicide. Izzy Morgenstein and di Matteo called it in.”
“And the vic?”
“Some kid called Kassie. Short for Kassandra, spelled with a K.”
“Black?” “Yeah.” “Kassie who?” “Whitney.”
I try to remember, but the name means nothing to me.
“Dead?” The question is stupid, but we both know it’s a prompt.
“Couldn’t have been deader, poor kid.”
“Got any idea who did it?”
“Warm when they found her. Jism still leaking from her cooch. Caspar’s sure the DNA will be the killer’s.”
“She fucked unprotected?”
“Yeah. And her lipstick was kiss-smeared.” She is having a harder time with this than usual. Dead hookers are commonplace, scarcely making the inside pages anymore. She rolls onto her back. Something that was smouldering low down inside me starts to sputter with flame. So confident, you see. Just lies there. Her arms are folded behind her head, her breasts spread that little extra by gravity, legs comfortably, revealingly parted. What is there is to die for. “Todd was an asshole today.”
She’s quiet, thoughtful, just gazing at the ceiling. The fan up there rotates slowly, lazily. From low where I’m lying I can see the length of her curving lashes, the bright highlights from the window on the lenses of her eyes. “I suspect he’s not getting any.” Her lips are tight. Bitter.
“He’s married, isn’t he?”
“Sure. To his college sweetheart.”
“The cheerleader. Of course.”
“Yeah. His fuckbunny.” Her lip curls. I know all that shit makes her mad. “I wish he’d grow up. Over thirty fucking years old and his taste—really—is still for barely-post-pubescent- looking kids in rah-rah skirts and shiny panties.
“He started cracking wise this morning. Making jokes. And the thing is, there are jokes and jokes, you know?”
“Yes.” It’s amazing what some cops will laugh at, but that’s because there are times when it’s only the ability to laugh at something that keeps them going, that enables them to cope. A lot of folks don’t understand that.
It was as if she’d read my thoughts. “Just plain mean, his jokes were, this morning. Just plain mean. You should have seen Izzy’s face. He’s got kids, you know. Two girls, both about Kassie’s age.
“Todd really wound him up. Wound me up, too, the bastard. If he goes on like this, I’m going to have to try to switch to another partner.”
“It’s as bad as that?”
“Yeah. It’s as bad as that. I’d say you should’ve heard him, but I’m really awfully glad you didn’t. Bastard. And it’s something I’ve noticed about him before. He hates hookers. With a passion.”
“Probably his mother was one.” Sally laughs. It’s a nicer sound. “Fucking hypocrite.”
“Todd. Puts the squeeze on working girls any time he can. He likes to say, of sex, that he never has to pay for it. Fact is, that’s only ’cuz he’s good at squeezing freebies out of frightened youngsters.”
I can see the change in her expression. There are things going on in her head that she hasn’t given voice to. There’s a passion that doesn’t easily lend itself to words. Any moment and her eyes will moisten.
I love that in her. She is so very, very strong, so very, very confident. So very powerful. She speaks and others obey, her orders short and sharp as a whiplash, and there’s scarcely a man in the precinct she couldn’t knock down with a single punch. Still, though, injustice can move her to tears. And maybe the best part of that is that it means I get to baby her, to be part of making her feel better.
Her ankles move apart for me so that I can lie the length of her, my face level with her breasts. Her beautiful face above me.