Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Jacoby hadn’t planned to be a cop. When he was a young man he wanted to be an actor. He knew he would never be a leading man. He didn’t have the looks for that. He was more the Robert Duvall, Ed Harris type. It all started when he played Thomas Alva Edison in a junior high school one-act play. The first time he heard the applause he was hooked. In high school he appeared in productions of Ah! Wilderness!, Death of a Salesman and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. His dream to continue his dramatic studies at Penn State was thwarted when his father died suddenly leaving the family broke and forcing Jacoby to get a job to support his mother and younger brothers. His uncle had been a cop and he encouraged him to consider a career as a police officer. Jacoby easily passed his written entrance exam, oral exam and psychological screen and just weeks after his father was buried, he entered the police training academy at a full starting salary. He had planned to continue his acting in community theatre companies in D.C and Maryland but the academy was more demanding than he had expected. He gradually abandoned his dream of becoming an actor and devoted all of his energy to being a good cop.

That doesn’t mean he didn’t still have a flair for the dramatic. Sometimes he approached his cases like a Tony Baretta. Other times he was Theo Kojak. He found it was much easier to step into a role than do his job as Keith Jacoby.

It was just something he had done since high school when he discovered it was much easier to be a character than an awkward teenager. The role play afforded him the confidence he lacked. When he remembered his teens the image that usually came to mind was himself standing in the school cafeteria balancing a tray of macaroni and cheese and apple sauce and a carton of milk. He searched for a welcoming face but he often ate alone. It might have resulted from the frequent moves his family made. They never moved far. Just from one crummy housing project to another. Each apartment complex brought a new sea of faces, new schools, new bus routes, new teachers.

When he talked to Barry Jones, he was being Steve McGarrett.

Later that evening as Jacoby sat at his desk toying with the invitation he’s gotten from Barry Jones he decided his first meeting with Stuart Jaffe called for nothing less than the skills of Lt. Columbo.

Jacoby had known in the first ten minutes that Frances Britt hadn’t killed the tattoo lady. That would have been too easy. He never got the easy cases. He got the ones where sitting U.S. Senators are involved in multiple homicides.

He suddenly realized how tired he was. As he reached across his desk to turn off his lamp, Jerry Benson’s card caught his eye. He reached for the phone to call the attorney but decided it could wait until tomorrow. Right now what he needed was a beer, a burger and a good night’s sleep.



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