The Valley

Episode 4

Previously in "The Valley"...

Officers Mossier and Bond found a little girl who had been kidnapped and assaulted. They eventually arrested the suspect, but both officers were left shaken over the case. Pepper confessed to Yamata that he was considering early retirement. After being involved in a fatal shooting, he decided to quit the Department.

"Old Dogs/New Tricks"

It was hot in San Diego. Waves quietly lapped against the shore. Tony Pepper enjoyed the feeling of the sun penetrating his dark skin. He was, for the first time in a good long while, completely relaxed.

He stretched, shirtless in the lounge chair, eyes closed behind dark glasses. His wife Connie padded across the hot sand and eased down into the chair next to him.

" How are the kids? " he asked, not opening his eyes.

" They're fine. Watching a movie back in the room." she placed a cold bottle of beer on his chest, causing him to jump a bit as he grabbed the bottle.

She laughed and kissed his cheek before settling back in her chair.

" You having fun? "

He sat up in his chair and stared at the woman that he had married 12 years ago and

who seemed to get prettier every day.

" I'm excellent baby." he smiled, taking a sip of cold beer.

She turned her head sideways to get a look at him.

" Do you miss it? "

" Nope. Miss what? Wearing a bulletproof vest to work? Having drunks cuss me out and puke on my shoes? No. I don't miss the job." he squinted up at the sun." Might miss the guys maybe..."

" What do you think Tom's doing without you right now? " she asked, closing her eyes.

He thought on this for a second and chuckled to himself.

XXXXXX

" Right! Turn right! " Tom Yamata shouted as the patrol car sped down the street.

Alberto Reyes turned a hard right onto a dead end industrial street and slowed the patrol car to a crawl.
" Man. That burrito ain't sittin' right." Reyes sighed." I thought with Hub off I wouldn't have to have Mexican for lunch."

With Reyes' usual partner Hubbard on vacation and Pepper newly retired he and Yamata were riding together for the first time.

" Come on you little bastard." Yamata mumbled, ignoring him." Where did you go? "

They scanned either side of the street for a car stripping suspect who had just eluded another patrol unit.

A young Hispanic boy wearing an orange T-shirt and sitting on a bicycle waved for the patrol car to stop.

" What's up? " Yamata asked as the boy rolled up beside the car.

" You lookin' for Rodney? " he asked.

" I don't know. What's Rodney look like? "

" He got on a green shirt with a four on it. An' he gots an afro."

The officers looked at each other.

" Which way did he go? " asked Reyes.

" There." the boy pointed across the street at an older building with white crumbling paint.

" You know where Rodney lives? " asked Yamata.

" Nope."

" Okay thanks for your help, amigo. You'd better get along now."

" Uh uh. I wanna see you bust Rodney. He's a dick."

" You shouldn't swear, kid. Now get the hell out of here."

The boy made a dejected sucking sound with his teeth and rode off on his bicycle.

Reyes gave their location and called for backup as they stepped from the car. They drew their guns and approached the side entrance of a dry cleaning business. The service entrance door was open a crack. The shop was usually closed on weekends.

Yamata stood to the left of the doorway and peered into the store's interior that was lit by the early evening sun.

The officers cautiously entered the store room. There were stacks of boxes and bags of clothing along every wall as well as several large carts used for transporting laundry.

The door that led to the front room of the business had been left ajar. They scanned the room looking for any possible hiding spaces before moving through the next door.

Reyes took a breath. His stomach felt tight. He hadn't suffered a case of indigestion this bad in a long while.

Yamata nodded towards the three laundry carts lined up against the far wall, indicating that the suspect could be inside.

Reyes nodded back. He took a step forward and then it happened. He passed gas. Loudly.

Yamata whirled and shot him a what the hell was that? kind of look.

One of the carts shook and it turned over, expelling the young suspect who tumbled out in a pile of dirty laundry, laughing.

" Stay down! ", Yamata ordered." Keep your hands on the floor! "

He quickly handcuffed the suspect and pulled him to his feet.

" Damn! That was nasty! ", the suspect giggled." You farted man! A nasty cop fart! Y'all wouldn't have found me if you hadn't a made me laugh! "

" Uh…15A37, shows us Code-4 to the rear of 6846 Tujunga.", Reyes called into his lapel mike as he followed his partner outside." One in custody."

Yamata placed the suspect in their unit and then stared at his partner with a wicked grin.

" Tom…", Reyes led him away from the car so the suspect couldn't hear their conversation." Look, you can't…I mean, if the other guys heard about this…"

" Not to worry, Farty McGee.", Yamata rested his hands on his partner's shoulders." I won't tell a soul."

" I appreciate it."

" Of course. We're partners, man. Even if it's just for one shift. I've always got your back."

" Thanks, Tommy."

Yamata waved him off as they headed back to the patrol car.

As Reyes slid back in behind the wheel, the suspect leaned forward in the back seat.

" Hey man, maybe you shouldn't get in the car until you got it all out of your system. You know what I mean? ", the kid pleaded.

" Shut up." Yamata laughed as he slid into the backseat beside the suspect and closed his door.

XXXXXX

Friday.

North Hollywood Station.

" So then we went for a walk and he told me how much he loves me." Willie Bond gushed.

Her partner Andy Mossier nodded as he leaned back in his chair.

" Yeah, ya told me." he sighed.

" Well, geez. Sorry I'm boring you."

He leaned forward and sipped his coffee.

" I'm happy you found somebody, Willie, but you're like...I don't know...like some kind of Disney princess, all happy and cheery and shit. I think I liked you better when you weren't getting any and you were all surly."

" Fine. I can go back to surly." she replied, sipping her coffee." Ya dipshit."

" See is that so hard? "

She chuckled as a tall officer with a crooked nose and brown flat top haircut strolled into the roll call room behind several other officers.

" I don't believe it." Rich Hubbard called from the back of the room." What is that bastard doing here? "

The large officer scowled at Hubbard. Hubbard scowled back.

The officer smiled.

" Well, give us a kiss then." he sang with a British accent.

Hubbard laughed as he shook hands with the man and gave him a quick hug.

" How the hell ya been, Bulldog? "

" Brilliant! " he replied." Just transferred in."

Hubbard turned to his usual partner Reyes who had just walked in.

" Rey, ya gotta meet this guy." he said." This is Shane Burrows. Or as we used to call him down at Southwest, the British Bulldog."

" Hey nice to meet ya." Reyes said.

" Likewise." Burrows replied, shaking his hand.

" Nice accent." Reyes took a seat at the nearest table." Bet that's gotta pull in the chicks, huh? "

Burrows held up his left hand to showcase his gold wedding band.

" Married seven years, mate."

Yamata sat down at the table behind him, blueberry muffin in hand. Reyes shot him a quick glance, then turned around. He eyed the other officers suspiciously, wondering if Yamata had tipped any of them off about his gastrointestinal misfortunes

" Hey Bulldog! " Debbie Estrada called as she stepped past him." You coming up from Shootin' Newton? "

" Indeed I am, Debra. Nice to see you again."

" Same to you."

The PM watch officers took their seats at the collection of long tables as the two sergeants entered.

" Afternoon everybody." Sergeant Holt said as he stepped up to the podium and Sergeant Decker, who had just transferred in from Olympic Division, took her seat behind him. Holt pushed the glasses up on his nose.

" Let's get started.", he sighed." I know you're already loaded down with enough stuff, but the department is adding some new standard equipment that we have to carry."

The officers groaned their disapproval.

" I know. I know. But this is important. Here. I have one to display…"

He reached under the podium and retrieved a bottle of Beano which he placed on the edge of the podium. The officers erupted into laughter. Reyes tossed down his notebook and looked at Yamata who had a blank expression as he chewed his muffin.

" What? " Yamata asked innocently.

" No. Wait. Wait." Holt deadpanned." This is an important piece of personal protective equipment. You can't let the knuckleheads get the drop on you because you're cuttin' the cheese."

The officers really roared now and even Reyes himself was trying not to laugh.

" Headquarters has also advised us to stay away from certain beans and broccoli." the Sergeant continued." As well as Tommy's chiliburgers. Here, Reyes. You can have the sample model."

He tossed the bottle to him.

" Thanks, Sarge." Reyes sighed, catching it.

" Good thing Johnny Cochran's not around anymore huh, Rey? " Mossier called." He would've had a slam dunk police brutality case! "

The officers could hardly control themselves now.

" Oh, Mossier's got jokes." Reyes called sarcastically.

Hubbard leaned over.

" You had Mexican didn't ya? " he asked quietly.

" A Mexican who can't eat beans." Yamata called." I've seen it all."

" You racist bastard." Reyes chuckled.

" Okay, okay.", Holt smiled, flipping open his binder." Let's get down to business."

XXXXXX

After roll call, the officers filed out into the station's parking lot. Sergeant Holt decided to partner Yamata with Burrows as Adam-29. They crossed the lot, each officer carrying their war bag in one hand and a shotgun in the other. Burrows held the .12 gauge shotgun while Yamata carried the nearly identical bean bag gun.

" So I figure I'd drive until you know the division a bit better." Yamata said as he opened the trunk of their black and white Dodge Charger.

" Oh I live in Toluca Lake, actually." Burrows replied as they dropped their bags in the trunk." I know it quite well."

" Oh...okay." Yamata secured the bean bag gun and closed the deck lid." Well if you wanna..."

" Nah. Go ahead. I hate drivin', to tell you the truth."

Yamata nodded as they climbed into the car. Burrows locked the shotgun in place between their seats, then lifted open the unit's laptop computer and began the process of logging them in.

Yamata exhaled and drummed on the steering wheel.

" You okay there, partner? " Burrows asked, not looking up as he clicked away on the keyboard.

" I'm good. I just...uh...I rode with my old partner for three years. So..."

" Say no more, mate. Hard to teach an old dog new tricks? " Burrows closed his door and folded down the computer's monitor." I understand. Look, it's just for a month, right? We get sick of each other, we can part ways at end of deployment."

Yamata closed his door and started the engine.

" Works for me."

Burrows picked up the mic as they backed out of the parking spot.

" 15A29, PM Watch, clear."

" 15A29, clear." the female dispatcher replied." Good afternoon."

" Wait, did you just call me old? " Yamata asked.

XXXXXX

" You're contact, I'm cover." Estrada said as she pulled the patrol car to the curb.

" Okay." Royal Clayton replied as they stepped from the unit.

Estrada had told Clayton during their last watch that he needed to work on improving his field interview skills and she wanted to give him more opportunities to take the lead in certain situations. As they headed towards the apartment building, an old television set fell from a second floor window and smashed into several pieces on the lawn.

" Hey! " Estrada shouted as she and Clayton jumped back.

A blond man appeared at the window.

" Oh my God! I'm so sorry! " he called.

" Get down here now! " Clayton ordered.

" Yes, Sir. Sorry Officers."

As they rounded the side of the building, a door opened at the top of the stairs and the blond man stepped out wearing a tank top and green sweatpants followed by a small Asian man wearing a blue running suit.

The smaller man's face was bruised on the right side and his upper lip was swollen.

" We had a report of a loud argument coming from your apartment." said Clayton as they climbed the stairs." What happened to your face, Sir? "

The Asian man stared at his feet.

" I fell in the bathtub."

" I'm sorry we were so loud, Officers." the blond man said." We were having a disagreement and I'm afraid we got a little out of hand..."

" Show me your hands, Sir." Clayton replied as he took his flashlight from the sap pocket of his pants and clicked it on.

The man held up his hands and Clayton shined his light over them, searching for any signs of injury. He could see none.

" Why don't you step inside with my partner, and I'm going to have a talk with this other gentleman."

" It was nothing, really." the blond man replied." Just...we were fighting about money and..."

" Uh huh. Step inside with my partner, Sir."

The man complied and stepped inside. Estrada followed, closing the door partially. The Asian man leaned against the railing and stared out at the neighborhood.

" What's your name, Sir? "

" Nelson Palau."

" You have some I.D., Nelson? "

" It's inside."

" Okay, we'll check it in a minute, then. How do you know this guy? "

" He's my boyfriend."

" Do you live here? "

" Yes."

" What were you two fighting about? "

" I...I spent too much money at the store again. I...I always do that."

" How long ago did you fall? "

" Um..." the man stared at the sky, and then down at his feet, anywhere but at Clayton." Like an hour ago. I just slipped."

" Is that the truth? "

The man nodded.

" You sure someone didn't hit you? "

" I am sure."

" Look, I cant help you if you lie to me, and right now I think you're lying to me."

" No, Sir. I am not lying."

" Does he throw things around like that a lot? "

" Uh uh. Never."

" Do you want me to call the Fire Department and have them come take a look at your face? Startin' to swell up there and your lip's cut pretty good."

" No, no. I am fine. I don't want any ambulance."

" Okay." Clayton sighed." Sit tight for a minute. I'll be right back."

He stepped into the apartment. He glanced over at the blond man who was sitting on the couch with his head down. He led Estrada over into the dining room.

" What's he say? " asked Clayton quietly.

" They were fighting about money. Swears up and down that he didn't hit the guy." Estrada replied.

" Yeah, same here." Clayton nodded.

" What do you want to do? "

" Well, we can't prove for sure what went down. The other guy doesn't have any bruising or anything on his knuckles. We don't have P.C. for an arrest, so I say we F.I. 'em both and leave it at that."

" Okay. I'll take blondie." she said, nodding towards the door." You get him."

After verifying Nelson's Palau's information and filling out field investigation cards on both men, the officers left the apartment.

" Not too bad, Roy." Estrada said as they crossed the lawn to the patrol car." When you do the paper on this, remember to put it down as suspicious circumstances with a possible battery. That's the best we're gonna get outta this one."

" Wish we could've done more." Clayton replied as he opened his door and climbed inside.

" Not the first time I've seen it." she replied, closing her door." And we'll probably be out here again before too long. They don't want help, not much we can do but pick up the pieces later."

" 15X31, show us clear from our last call." Clayton notified the dispatcher.

He stared at the smashed television on the grass as they pulled away from the curb.

XXXXXX

" So how does a guy from England end up as one of L.A.'s Finest? " asked Yamata as they rolled through traffic.

" Well, I was a copper for three years in London." explained Burrows with a reflective grin." I loved being a cop. My father was a policeman, so was his old man. One night, we took a report from this American college student who'd had her purse stolen. She was beautiful. It was a real love at first sight thing, you know? "

" Oh yeah, I know all about that." Yamata said, checking his mirror." Payin' alimony to prove it."

Burrows nodded with a smirk as he looked out his window.

" So when her visa expired, I knew I couldn't stand to be apart from her, so I moved here and we got married. As soon as I became a U.S. Citizen, I took the test for LAPD."

" You miss it? England, I mean? "

" Sometimes. I used to miss my parents a lot but when my dad retired, he and my mother decided to move over here, in case we ever gave 'em grandchildren, which we did. They have a nice little cottage up in Santa Barbara. And I bloody well don't miss the weather. After I experienced my first 80 degree winter, I knew I'd found my new home."

" Typical." Yamata sighed." Everybody comes to L.A. for the weather."

A black, lowered Chevy Caprice pulled into traffic ahead of them. The occupants looked back at the patrol car and they suddenly slowed down.

" Well they look like honest, law abiding citizens." Burrows said as he flipped open the unit's computer and began to type in the vehicle's license plate number.

" They also seem to have an affinity for illegally tinted windows." Yamata replied, keeping a car's length behind the Caprice as they turned onto the next street.

" R.O. is last of Cardenal, first of Jose. Address in Panorama City." Burrows read the computer's display." Ah, and he's on probation for 594."

" Panorama? " Yamata said." We got a printout a couple days ago that there's a beef between Blythe Street and Vineland Boyz. One of the gang detectives told me it's some real West Side Story bullshit. Somebody from Vineland capped a kid from BST that was seeing his sister."

" So the Blythe Street chaps have demanded a little satisfaction? "

" They might not be involved, but what say we stop 'em, partner? "

" They did forget to indicate back there." Burrows flipped on the emergency lights.

" Indicate? "

" Sorry, I mean use their turn signal. You can take the boy out of England, but...you know..."

They followed the Chevy into a 7-Eleven parking lot where it pulled into a parking space. Yamata stopped the black and white behind the car, blocking it in.

" 15A29, show us on a traffic stop, Magnolia, North of Bakman." Burrows reported to the dispatcher before he and Yamata stepped from their unit. The red and blue lights played across the store's walls and windows.

Yamata kept a hand on the grip of his Glock as he approached the driver's window. Burrows flipped on his flashlight and shined it through the windows and over the car's three occupants.

" Evening, Sir. Can I see your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance? " asked Yamata as the driver lowered his window. A slight odor of marijuana drifted towards him.

" What'd I do, eh? " the young Hispanic driver asked.

" You failed to signal back there when you changed lanes, Sir. Also, your windows are too darkly tinted. Can I see your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance? Now."

" Okay, damn." the driver replied as he pulled the license from his wallet." I uh...I ain't got the other paper an' stuff. I left it at home. I was...cleaning, uh...cleaning out my car."

The young man in the back seat swiveled his head nervously as he looked back and forth at the officers. The passenger in the front seat stared straight ahead, despite the fact that Burrows was shining his flashlight beam directly on him.

" Jose, have you ever been arrested before? " asked Yamata, reading the license which indicated the young driver was nineteen years old.

" No, I mean...naw...no."

" Don't lie to me, Jose."

" I got busted for tagging a bus." the young driver relented.

" Anything else? You know I'll check."

" No."

" You're on probation for tagging the bus, aren't you? "

" Yes."

" You gentlemen smoke any weed tonight? "

" No way, man."

" Do me a favor and let's have everybody step out of the vehicle." said Yamata." You first, Jose."

The three young men stepped from the car and the officers directed each of them to face the wall of the store with their hands clasped behind their heads. After they searched them, Yamata checked the identification of the other two passengers, one of which turned out to be a juvenile.

" Hey man, this some bullshit! " snapped the man who had been sitting in the front passenger seat." We ain't done shit, ese."

" Calm down now, son." Burrows said calmly.

" Hey kiss my ass. I ain't your son, you pirate soundin' motherf***er."

" Watch your mouth boy. I'll give you the first one for free." Burrows replied." What exactly are three boys from Panorama City doing over in North Hollywood? "

" Nothing, Sir. I s...swear." the youngest of the three, who had been sitting in the back seat stammered." We was...we didn't do nothin'."

Yamata stepped from the car after checking their records. A second patrol car pulled into the parking lot. The light bar switched on as Mossier and Bond stepped out.

" You guys need a back? " asked Bond as they walked over.

" Yep." Yamata replied, nodding to his partner as he pointed at the driver and his front passenger.

" Mr. Cardenal, did you know that you and your friend Mr. Moreno are both under a gang injunction? " asked Yamata as he pulled the handcuffs from his belt.

" No, Sir."

" And did you know that under that gang injunction, you two gentlemen are not allowed to associate with each other? "

" We ain't in no gang, pendejo." Moreno, the front passenger spat." You makin' up shit, ese."

" I'm not making up those gang tats you boys have." Yamata said as he handcuffed the driver and led him back to their patrol car.

The youngest passenger began to sob, his elbows against the wall.

" Oh man oh man oh man..."

" Callate! " Moreno growled." Shut up, you little bitch!"

As Burrows attempted to handcuff him, he tried to run. Burrows grabbed Moreno's right bicep. Moreno swung at him wildly with his left arm.

Burrows dodged the blow and in one swift motion, knocked the man's legs out from under him with a sweep of his right leg. Moreno landed hard on his back. Burrows flipped him over onto his stomach and pinned his arms behind him.

He handcuffed the young man and pressed his face against the pavement with his forearm.

" I told you, only the first one's free, mate." he said quietly before pulling him to his feet.

" Motherf***er." Moreno sneered as Mossier led him over to the second patrol car.

The last young man continued to face the wall, crying.

" Take some deep breaths, son." Burrows said as he stepped over." How old are you, exactly? "

" Fif...fifteen, Sir." he sobbed.

" You roll with these boys? "

The boy shook his head.
" I...I wanted to..."

" You ever been arrested before? "

" No Sir."

Burrows looked over at Yamata who emerged from the black Chevy and placed a .45 caliber pistol on the roof of the car.

" Who's the gun belong to? "

" Smokey."

" Which one's Smokey? "

" The one you just threw down with."

" What were you boys doing out here tonight? "

The boy was racked with sobs.

" They...they was gonna smoke some fool from Vineland Boyz."

" Why? "

" 'Cuz they blew up one of the homies from Blythe Street. Please...I ain't did nothing! I don't wanna...wanna go to jail..."

" We'll see what we can do for you." Burrows said as he pulled the second pair of cuffs from his belt." We have to take you in right now, though."

" Okay." the boy sobbed." I'm sorry. I'm sorry..."

" Have a seat on the curb while we get another car out here."

The boy nodded and sat down on the curb. Bond stepped over to keep an eye on him as Burrows walked over to the Caprice.

Yamata emerged from the sedan with a .38 pistol and several joints.

" Looks like they were planning a little party." he said, removing the bullets from the .38.

" Oh yeah." Burrows spoke quietly." The little one just spilled everything. They were looking to clip someone from Vineland. You were right."

" Oh how I love hearing I'm right." Yamata smiled." Nice moves with the kid."

" Well, I was a boxer in my younger days." Burrows hitched up his belt." Plus, I'm good with my hands. Remember, us Bobbies in London rarely carried sidearms."

" Bobbies." Yamata pulled the clip from the .45 and ejected the round that was in the chamber." Why don't they ever call us Bobbies? "

" Well, this being Los Angeles and all, they'd probably call us Robertos, instead."

The officers chuckled while the suspects scowled at them from the backseats of the two patrol cars.

XXXXXX

" 15A45 show us Code 6 on Valerio." Reyes called into the mic as they pulled to the curb in front of the two story apartment building.

He pulled the shotgun from it's rack and followed Hubbard across the lawn towards the building. Hubbard made his way up the stairs with his pistol trained before him. Reyes followed cautiously with the shotgun at his shoulder.

The screen door to the apartment at the top of the stairs was open and the light from inside illuminated the walkway.

Hubbard crouched as they reached the apartment's front window. He motioned for his partner to stay low. He peered through the window to see a young Asian man sitting on a chair in the kitchen, holding a revolver. A blond man lay face down on the living room floor, a puddle of blood soaking the carpet beneath him.

Hubbard took cover near the doorway and pointed his gun at the man.

" Police! Drop the gun, put your hands in the air! " he barked.

The man looked up at him, almost in a daze. His right cheek was covered in blood.

" Drop the gun! Put your hands above your head! " Hubbard ordered again." Do it! Now! "

The man slowly placed the gun on the kitchen table and stood with his arms raised.

Hubbard moved forward into the apartment, keeping his gun poised before him.

" Get down! Lay flat on the floor, hands at your side!"

The man complied with the orders. Reyes moved in behind his partner, shotgun still raised. Hubbard dropped into a crouch, then handcuffed the man and searched him. A siren wailed to a stop outside.

" 15A45, show Code 4, we have one in custody. Requesting an R.A. unit for a gunshot wound." Hubbard called into the mic on his chest as he pulled the man up into a sitting position.

Seconds later, Estrada and Clayton entered.

" Hey guys." Reyes nodded, lowering the .12 gauge.

" Jesus." Clayton muttered, taking in the scene. He looked at the motionless body and then over to the man he knew as Nelson Palau, sitting on the floor in handcuffs.

When the man looked up at Clayton, his lip quivered and a tear rolled over his cheek.

" I told him to stop..." He lowered his head and heaved a deep sigh." He...he kept hitting me...I told him to stop...I begged him."

END

This is a work of fiction and is in no way endorsed by the Los Angeles Police Department or the City of Los Angeles. Any similarities to actual persons, place or incidents is purely coincidental.