A Cagney and Lacey fan fiction based on characters created by Barbara Avedon and Barbara Corday. I wrote this story for the enjoyment of others who, like me, miss these characters and others like them on television. I hope you enjoy the story: please send comments to email@example.com. Joanne
The room is dark - all but for the figure hunched in an aura of light. Obsession. He wears glasses. His face dominated by two hard orbs of light that flicker even as the screen flickers . A silver Mickey Mouse ring winks in the light. Mickey is laughing, large eyes twinkling in the computer light as fingers fly over the keyboard.
A message flashes across the screen:
"its not fair!
Rapid, shallow breathing - the rapid chatter of the keys:
"You need a big hug"
Brilliant pink letters march across the screen:
"no one understands"
"I do, sweetie, I do. And I can help"
Christine Mary Bernadette Donovan Cagney!
The captain of major cases squad starts. She looks up so quickly that her glasses slip from the top of her head.
(defensively, grabbing her glasses.)
(recovering) Mary Beth! You scared me half to death. The last time anyone called me that - I was grounded. (suspiciously). Who have you been talking to?
Lieutenant Lacey is leaning casually against the door frame to the captain's office, smiling. She walks into the room and places a sheet of paper onto Chris' desk.
Very flattering, Chris.
Chris takes the paper, looks at the photo, grunts and hands it back to Mary Beth looking up at her partner.
Where'd you get this?
On the NYPD webpage. You are the featured cop of the month, Chris. Very interesting biography. That name is quite a handle.
(less than graciously, looking back at the file she had been reading.)
Great. More glossy bafflegab from upstairs.
(reading from the sheet)
"A decorated law officer who has risked her life in the service of the people of New York , Capt. Cagney commands a squad as ruthlessly as she once chased lawbreakers through the streets."
Christine Cagney's interest is piqued - she looks up to listen.
This veteran officer has aged gracefully, still turning heads with her commanding presence and ..
(snatching the paper back)
(her voice raises an octave)
Why not just take me out and shoot me?
Young snit. I'll kill him.
(sitting comfortably in one of the chairs in front of Chris' desk)
I wouldn't. Hard to believe, but someone might miss him. (pauses, amused.)
I think he meant it as a compliment, Christine.
Anyway, you certainly got some fan e-mail from it.
I'll turn his head for him.
(picking up the manila folder she was reading as Mary Beth walked in.)
You and I have some real police work to deal with here, Mary Beth.
…including young girls interested in becoming cops; junk e-mail - some for Viagra, Lady Clairol; at least one proposal…and a proposition. (musing) How do you feel about hand cuffs?
(unlike her second whip - not at all amused)
Are you quite finished? Because I can arrange for the whole squad to hear your stand-up routine, Lieutenant.
You can put out a little hat for contributions to help with your retirement.
You're putting me on.
(getting up and standing beside the captain, handing her another sheet, peering over her shoulder)
No. See? (pointing) This one.
The cheerful pink words are her signature. He looks for them - counts on them being there.
"we could meet at the McDonald's on 12th"
"sure, sweetie, I'd like that"
"yes, me too"
"after school. 4 my mother is picking me up at 5"
"sure, sweetie, I'll be there"
Two 14 year old girls are walking out of the school doors and down the steps.
I'm going with you.
I want to meet him alone. (possessively) He's my friend.
(exasperated and showing it)
You don't know him. You don't even know if it is a him. Some old guy…
He wouldn't lie to me.
(marching on ahead)
This is stupid. I'm coming - just in case.
(grabbing Alice's arm)
Don't you dare tell your mom.
Slut. You little slut. You couldn't trust any of them. He could almost taste his own rage. Betrayed.
He hadn't expected her to bring a friend. He had trusted her. He had thought she trusted him. He could wait. He would have her to himself. Teach her some manners.
Bright cheerful colours and laughing cartoon figures on the walls. Orange plastic tables and chairs fused together - and cheerful plastic food. Shy boys slouched under ball caps practicing belligerence and shy giggling girls pretending to ignore the boys. School was out and McDonald's was in. Alice and Ashley have a table to themselves. Ashley is almost in tears, watching every adult male face that enters.
(taking a sip from her straw)
He isn't coming, Ash.
(fighting back tears)
He's just late.
Let's go. Huh?
You go. I didn't want you here anyway.
Alice shrugs her shoulders, but stays where she is. Meeting a strange man is something Alice would never do on her own - but she would also never desert a friend. Ashley needs her and Alice is still young enough to believe that nothing bad can really happen to her. Ashley has no one else: she was terrified of her father and seldom mentioned her mother.
Alice Christine is also a very observant young woman. She notices the furtive looks from the red-haired man smoking at one of the outside patio tables.
Hey, Ash - let's go now.
(no answer. Ashley cannot trust herself to speak without crying)
Maybe he left a message. You know. Why he's late?
It's been almost an hour and a half. Ashley nods and the two girls leave. Alice Christine looks casually over her shoulder towards the outside patio. He is gone. Only the smoke curling upwards from the ashtray shows anyone was ever there.
In a bright, white room with a window looking out over the city, Capt. Cagney is briefing the six detectives before her. Lt. Lacey is sitting to her right.
Typically these perps "meet" these young people - mostly girls - on Internet chat rooms. The perps are almost exclusively male. They are patient. Slowly set up a relationship with kids. "Understand" them when no one else does.
A father figure. Sometimes they set themselves up as a potential boyfriend.
Right. The bastard takes advantage of troubled girls - girls who need someone sympathetic in their lives.
Or girls who believe his romantic drivel.
Sometimes the kicks end there - but the worst of these creeps convince these kids to meet with them.
From there the M.O. varies. Sometimes it ends with a meeting, he believes his own crap- the girl gets bored with the geek. It ends. But sometimes the bastard ends up raping these girls.
-or murdering them.
(looking over at Lacey and nodding)
(standing up leaning over the table)
Detectives, Major Cases will be heading up a task force investigating several cases linked to Internet predators. Read up on this stuff (handing around sheets), visit a few of these chat rooms. Know the problem. I will make assignments tomorrow.
(nodding towards Lacey) The task force will be headed up by Lt. Lacey. Address any questions to her. I will be working closely with her in overseeing inter-squad operations.
See you tomorrow Detectives.
The others file out of the room. Cagney and Lacey stay seated.
(looks up from toying with her pencil)
I hate these cases.
(In answer to Lacey's look)
Wolves among the sheep. And we can't touch them until they hurt someone. If we ever catch them.
We'll monitor the chat rooms. Go undercover - write like a typical kid on the net. Know the M.O.'s of these creeps. Lure them in - trap the ones we want when they come - ripe for a meeting with another victim.
We might catch some. If the survivors can i.d. them. If the charges stick. (pauses)
I don't know Mary Beth. We're falling further behind. Are the bad guys getting smarter?
Maybe. Maybe we've always been one step behind. Perps get hold of the newest guns, the newest (she waves her hand to include the whole world)…toys - the Internet before we can stop them.
Yeah. And we can't take the place of parents, Chris. Where are the parents when these kids are talking to these creeps?
Com'on, Mary Beth. Do you know everything Alice Christine does on the net?
No. But I talk to her. I ask her what she's doing and I don't let her spend all her time on the computer. I talk to her, Chris.
(smiles at Mary Beth)
You're a great Mom, Mary Beth. But you can't protect her from everything.
No. No, I can't. But I can make her smarter - keep her from falling for guys like these, these bastards, Chris.
(smiles again at Mary Beth and without speaking puts her hand on Lacey's shoulder)
(After a moment she stands and picks up the files.)
Yes. Well, the creeps await, Mary Beth. Let's get to it!
She was smiling and nestled comfortably into a warm nest of blankets. Deeply and happily asleep. It took several seconds and several pushes on the door buzzer to wake her. At least another three before she found the light and stumbled to the door - one arm in her robe, the other arm flailing behind in a futile search for the other sleeve.
(after looking through the peep hole and unlocking several dead bolts)
ALICE (pushing past Chris)
Christine is still standing with the door open watching Alice, waiting for her to speak. Christine eventually realizes three things: she is no longer asleep and Alice is not a dream; the door is wide open and she still hasn't found her other sleeve. Chris locks the door, fixes her robe and then folds her arms, leans against the counter in her kitchen and looks expectantly at Alice.
(Christine can't remember when Alice stopped calling her "Aunt Chris" - around the time Alice decided she was going to be a cop. Chris doesn't mind, but she does hold back a smile.)
I think Ashley is in trouble.
(Sits on the couch and indicates that Alice should do the same.)
(Seriously, intently, Alice wouldn't be here if it weren't important.)
My best friend. (the words are tumbling out now) She went to meet this guy she met on the Internet - I know it. She wouldn't tell me, but I know. I snuck out tonight to make sure she was OK. But…I saw her leave with this guy… I think I know where they went…. I'm scared.
(With one hand on Alice's shoulder.)
Slow down. This guy, is he an older guy? (Alice nods)
She met him on the net? (again a nod, tears are trickling down Alice's cheeks)
You know where they've gone?
I think so.
(Takes hold of Alice's shoulders.)
OK. Now listen to me. You came to me for help - and I'm going to help. But you have to do exactly as I say. Do you hear me?
Alice nods. Chris is now fully awake. She pulls Alice close, kisses the top of her head and then jumps up to grab her cell phone. She hands it to Alice.
Call your mom. Tell her where you are. Tell her to meet us.
(Alice is about to protest. Christine stops on her way to the other phone and holds up a hand.)
Yes you are. She and Harvey will be worried sick when they find you're gone. If they aren't frantic already. And we can use her help. Do it. I'll phone for uniformed back up to meet us there.
Chris turns to leave, but wheels around almost instantly to come back to look Alice directly in the face. Speaking in the voice that "ruthlessly commands a squad":
You are coming because you can identify Ashley and this guy. The instant (her finger in Alice's face) - the instant I or your mother, or any cop tells you to stay put - you stay put.
Alice nods solemnly. She starts dial ling the cell phone as Chris grabs her clothes, watching Alice over her shoulder.
Chris retreats to her bathroom to dress - as much to leave Alice alone to talk to her mom as for any privacy. Chris doesn't wonder why Alice came to her instead of Mary Beth. At least she came for help. She shook her head - she remembered fourteen - You could still save the world at that age. Getting "grounded" should be your worst worry - not whether your friend had been abducted. Chris was ready and out the door with her namesake in less than five minutes.
The Lacey bedroom is a shambles as Harvey wanders around in his pyjamas, following a frantic Lacey and badgering her with questions as she dresses.
Go back to bed Harvey.
(Pulling at his buttons.)
She's my kid too. I'm coming.
(Frantically pulling on her shirt.)
> (Exasperated) Harvey. This is my job. It's enough that Alice Christine snuck out - is dragging around Manhattan after…after Christine Cagney in the middle of the night - without me worrying about you.
Go back to bed, Harv.
(standing in front of her waving his arms)
Why didn't Chris send her back home!
(one leg in her jeans)
Harvey! I'm in a hurry here!
Ashley has gone off with some guy she met on the net- Alice is the only one who can identify them.
(tying her shoes)
So she and Chris are trying to find them before…. Damn.
(pecking him on the cheek and shoving her gun into her holster on the way out)
Bring her home safe, Babe - You too.
(out the door)
After I kill her, Harvey. And Christine. Both of them - Damn!
It was a wet, cold night and Alice hadn't dressed for the cold. She was shaking from more than cold, however: the enormity of the situation was beginning to hit home. Ashley was in very deep trouble. And Alice was also realizing how foolish they both had been.
Despite her seat belt, Alice was tossed against the door of the squad car as they careened around the corner, siren wailing and tires squealing. She looked over at Chris. The older woman was grim - profile thrown alternately into red light and then into dark shadow by the light from the roof bubble. The streets were wet and traffic heavy, even at this time of night, but Chris drove like someone possessed - weaving in an out of traffic, leaning on the horn and using language Alice was definitely committing to memory. Alice had never seen this side of Christine Cagney - the intensity and the focus of a hard-edged cop. Had she not been heartsick for her friend, Alice Christine might have considered this the best night of her life.
We're close now.
(reaching over and switching off the siren and bubble)
Pull in the bubble, will you?
Mary Beth, too, was laying on the horn, speeding over the bridge on her way from Queen's. Her jaw muscles ached from the tension. She was leaning so close to the steering wheel in agitation, that she felt her neck might snap. A mother's nightmare - a child in harm's way - threatened by some anonymous crazy. This fear has haunted Mary Beth since joining the force. A small prayer: Keep her safe, Chris, keep her safe.
This is it?
Techno music poured from the door. A Rave. Several people were entering and leaving the dance. Great. She was going to have to take Alice in with her. They had no time to waste.
(grabbing Alice by the shoulders)
OK. This is what we are going to do. Are you listening?
You are coming in with me. Too many people in there to pick out anyone matching your description. I can't send uniforms in and your mom isn't here yet.
Cagney is putting on a jacket to hide her gun belt. She removes her badge, putting it in her pocket as she talks, never taking her eyes from the door of the building.
Stick by me Alice. All I want you to do is tell me when you see Ashley or the guy she left with. That's all. OK? (Alice nods)
I'll take it from there.
The uniforms will stay out of sight here. When your mom shows up, she's going to come in too.
If I send you outside, or tell you to hit the floor - Do it instantly - OK?
(Christine checks her gun and looks over at Alice - noticing the pale face.)
(softer) You OK?
Alice nods. Christine gives her a quick smile and then opens the door. Alice Christine follows.
The guy at the door gives them a funny look - not your typical rave couple. He merely nods them in, however, as Christine slips him a $50 bill. What the hell - no skin off his nose.
The room throbs with monotonous ear-splitting music. The dancing is robotic - but the dancers are oblivious, the beat carrying them even deeper than the drugs. Alice has a death grip on Chris' hand, her head swiveling in every direction - searching for Ashley or the red- headed guy. Christine is tense -watching in the dark, smoky room for anyone matching Alice's description. The crowd swallows the two, surging around them, the music throbbing, the lights beating hypnotically as they search for one lost girl and her abductor.
(Impatient) Com'on. Com'on. (forcing herself to be calmer) I'm meeting a friend inside.
Blonde and a kid? (moving aside to let her in)
Yeah. Thanks (runs past as she pays)
The door guy shakes his head as he lights another cigarette and picks up the cell phone. Too many kids and moms. He smelled trouble.
Alice grabs Christine and points. Ashley. Head rolling back, supported by a red-headed man. Christine pulls Alice to one side and makes sure she knows who Alice means. Now to get Alice out of here. Grab Ashley and the guy and not create a stampede in here. Where was Mary Beth?
Christine heads for an exit, pulling Alice along behind.
(To the a security person at the side exit - affecting a slur.)
Smoke. Need some air.
(He nods and opens the door, watching the two suspiciously.)
Christine and Alice walk down the street out of sight of the building- and the uniformed officers.
(She takes Alice to the squad car personally.)
(She waits for Alice's nod and then makes sure the officer understands that Alice is not to leave the car.)
Alice is safe. The uniforms have a better description of Ashley and the red-haired man and are watching everyone who leaves the building. Mary Beth is already inside. They can still get the girl - the bastard hasn't left with her yet. The captain of major cases walks back inside. Time to act.
He brushed the hair back from her face and smiled as Ashley smiled up at him. Yes, it was time. He picked her up in his arms and turned to leave.
He felt the gun in his ribs before he heard the voice:
Move even an inch and I will blow a hole in your gut.
He turned to face a pair of hard, brown eyes. The woman pressed the gun even deeper into his side.
Nice and easy. See my friend over there?
She nodded to his right, towards the exit. - towards a woman standing and staring at him, hand under her jacket. Another cop.
She's a real good shot. If I miss, she won't. Trust me on that.
Now, let's just go get some fresh air why don't we?
(as Lacey shoves him) Move, you bastard.
Two cops watching every move. The beat of the music and the pulsing of the lights feeding his euphoria. He was superman. He could fly if he wanted -they were mere insects. Pushing through the hot, sweating crush of bodies - by the glazed eyes and jerking limbs. The gun barrel ate into his side - spreading poison. The exit creeping ever nearer. Hard brown eyes not missing a beat. She could see into his head - he could feel her hate boring into his skull - and the other one, beside him now too. The red exit sign bled into his eyes as they crawled nearer.
Cagney had one arm and Lacey held the gun under his other arm, into his side. A large woman bumped them - knocked Cagney to one side. Chris had her balance and was back at his side before he could draw another breath. He was smiling, the whole time, smiling. Chris felt her skin crawl. This guy was nuts.
The security men were staring. They knew. Their eyes bored holes into him too. Everyone. All of them. Insects.
They are at the door. Ashley's head lolls to one side. The security man moves towards them.
Chris takes charge, talking the security guy down while Mary Beth and the perp step into the street. Cagney turns - to see the perp twist and fling Ashley at Lacey.
(shouting to the security guys, to the crowd)
He turns and runs as Lacey falls beneath Ashley's unexpected weight. Cagney sees a uniformed cop running up to Lacey. The captain turns and chases the perp as the doors open and people pour from the rave. Lacey and Ashley are safely pressed against the wall as people pour by - but Lacey has lost sight of the fugitive - and of Chris.
Alice can see them now. She bites back a cry as she sees Ashley in the arms of the red- haired man - now in custody of her mother and Chris. The officer puts a hand on her arm and smiles - firmly shaking her head. Her orders were very direct. Alice will have to wait to greet her friend. Alice turns back to watch just as all pandemonium breaks out.
(running full out)
She fires no warning shot - the crowd is spooked enough. The runner takes no notice - speeding around a corner and into an alley. Chris is joined by a running uniformed officer who runs down the side of the next building as Cagney takes the other side in an effort to head him off before he can leave the alley. Chris is in good shape - and this perp is no Olympic athlete - but Chris was definitely feeling the effort of a sustained, full out run. She slows a little, but makes it to the corner of the alley with no one getting by her.
She struggles to catch her breathe, back pressed against the wall, gun at the ready, listening. She can hear someone running in the alley - the uniform? Or the perp? She steps out into the mouth of the alley, feet apart, gun pointed.
The other cop skids to a stop - Chris sees the perp pop out from a pile of garbage and run back the other way.
(Pushing past the officer and back down the alley in pursuit.)
Damn! After him!
The captain and the rookie pound down the alley - the captain still holding onto her head start. Cagney signals for the uniform to go left as she runs to the right -
Looking for him?
- and almost directly into Lt. Lacey holding the suspect facedown in the street at gun point.
Cagney collapses against the wall and raises her face skyward and closes her eyes - breathing hard as the uniform, realizing what has happened runs up to join them. Chris straightens up before he arrives and walks over to join her partner.
(to the uniform) Cuff him and read him his rights will you?
The uniformed officer nods and pulls the cuffed man to his feet as another officer runs up to join them.
Cagney and Lacey walk slowly back through the crowd to the squad cars. The ambulance lights are flashing and music is still pouring from the building.
We got her, Mary Beth. Before he did. We got her.
We nailed him dead to rights, partner.
(as Chris looks at her - not understanding)
(Her voice husky) For acting when Alice came to you. For keeping her safe. For getting Ashley.
Cagney puts an arm around her shoulder.
You're welcome. (lightly) I think Alice learned a lesson too. (mischief in her voice)
She loved the lights and siren on the way here.
Just pulling your chain. She was one scared kid. But she showed a lot of sense coming to me.
I wish she had come to me.
Probably afraid you'd yell at her.
And you didn't, I suppose?
I did! Well sort of. I made her phone you. I wouldn't want you to yell at me either, Mary Beth. (laughing and giving her friend a tight squeeze)
Slow down a bit, will you? I think I pulled something (leaning on Mary Beth's shoulder as she rubs her calf muscle.)
(smiling and holding still)
You didn't stretch first?
(starting to limp forward again)
"she said, aging gracefully as she limped down the alley"
To hell with aging gracefully, give me a hot tub, and a massage.
The two women walk slowly down the alley followed by the two uniformed officers leading the cuffed suspect. Lacey returns to a daughter frantic with worry for her mother - and for Chris. There are tearful hugs, promises and some laughter. Everyone makes it home safely tonight. Lectures will wait for tomorrow.
"want to go to a party?"
The screen blinks, blank, waiting for a response. The cursor blinks in and out, in and out.
Words dance across the screen
"that would be fun"
The keys clicked as the letters became words.
"lots of fun"
"I'll meet you at the Burger King"
The room is lit solely by the screen. Mickey Mouse grinned and his eyes blinked as fingers flew across the keys. The chat rooms were busy tonight.
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