Partnered with Culkin two months on the overnight shift in Astoria, I’d said maybe two sentences to him. He’d gone on about the Yankees, his ex-wife, the Star Wars trilogy…
You’d think he’d have less time to talk on nights he drove, and you’d be wrong. Turning onto 37th Street for the fourth time, Culkin was saying, “…why he had to fuck with it. No way Han steps on Jabba’s tail.”
“Right,” I said, though I had no idea how it came up.
“But heck, you’re young. You probably think the digital shite is boffo.”
Edging away from Culkin’s roast-beef breath, I spotted three guys–looked about my age–pushing a car up the street. As we got closer, I saw the car was a beat-up Olds.
I tipped my head to Culkin, who said, “They’re not jacking that car.”
He anticipated my next question. “That’s a Delta 88. Piece-of-shit since the day it rolled out. Gotta be theirs.”
As we pulled up, I saw their faces.
“Black, Italian, Chinese,” Culkin said. “Minorities on parade. I saw them in the deli when I got my roast beef.”
Thank God and tempered glass they didn’t hear that. The Asian guy at the rear looked to be favoring his right leg. I waited a beat, then said, “Should we help them?”
“Sure. Roll down your window.”
I did. The guys stopped pushing and looked over. Before I got a word out, Culkin said, “Almost there, guys.”
He gassed the engine, but I still heard someone say, “Aren’t cops supposed to help us?”
When I looked at Culkin, he was chuckling. “Almost there. Get it?”
I shook my head.
“The Death Star trench battle, when all those X-Wings bite the dust…”