35 pages • 1 hour readMary Beth Keane
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It is Summer 1973. The Bronx is sweltering. Two rookie cops—Francis Gleeson, 22, born in Ireland and now engaged to Lena, an IBM technician; and Brian Stanhope, 21, engaged to Anne, a nurse born in Ireland—meet for their first day assigned to street patrol. The section of the Bronx they patrol has been rocked by racial tensions.
Brian and Anne are expecting their first child. Brian shares with Francis three mementos he keeps in the sweatband of his cap: a photo of Anne; a photo of his brother, George; and prayer card to St. Michael.
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They are dispatched to a robbery in progress at a grocery store. They arrive to find blood everywhere and the clerk on the floor, shot dead. They arrest the shooter, a T-shirted teenager who still lurks in the store. In the aftermath, Brian helps himself to a beer from the store’s refrigerator. Francis decides that he and Lena cannot live in the city.
By Mary Beth Keane