Never Forget, Never Forgive
A Matt Murphy Mystery - Book Five
The Village has always had a dark underbelly that the tourists never see. Sometimes, behind the neon lights and colorful images and characters, bad and evil things lurk, waiting to strike and hurt. No one is immune from it, not visitor nor those who live and work there.
Gabe Herschon left his club on Bedford Street late that night. He has been a long time and well known resident of the Village, especially among the art community. He is liked and accepted even though he is gay and Jewish.
However, a new evil has appeared in the Village. People filled with hate and intolerance intent on hurting those they deem subhuman. Unfortunately for Gabe, he came face to face with it. It almost cost him his life.
The police have few leads and less time and resources to investigate. They call Murphy in because of his friendship with Gabe. While Gabe lies in a hospital bed clinging to life, Matt Murphy, sets out to find those responsible and bring them to justice.
All except one.
Tuesday, West 9th Street, Greenwich Village, 3:30 AM
It was a clear night and still comfortable for the time of year. Traffic on the street was slowly waning, mostly cabs cruising for stragglers. The crowds had finally called it a night and gone home. Only the after-hour nightcrawlers and those not lucky enough to have hooked up still prowled the streets looking for a last chance. Most of the clubs were closed or closing.
The young uniformed cop walked casually along the sidewalk thinking that so far it had been a good night. Not too many drunks, fights or other issues. He glanced quickly into the open alleys as he walked along, looking for signs of trouble. He was about to walk past one when he heard something that sounded like a soft moan.
The cop stopped and looked more intently, placing a hand instinctively on his gun. At first, all he saw was several garbage cans lined up next to the building and the service door, dimly visible by a low wattage light at the far end. He was about to continue on his beat when he saw something move.
“Police!” He pulled out a flashlight, turning it on.
He cautiously stepped into the alley, his hand still on the gun. Holding the light shoulder high, he took several steps then stopped. Just past the last garbage can about twenty feet away, he saw the body of a man lying on his back. He passed the light over the man’s body and saw that he had been badly beaten. Bending down, he quickly examined him. The man was still alive but unconsciousness. His clothes were torn and his face was a mass of blood.
“Sir? Can you hear me?” he said, placing a hand on the victim’s, shoulder gently shaking him.
“You take it easy, I'm going to get help, okay? I'll be right back.”
The cop stood up and ran back down the alley to the sidewalk then turned and continued to the call box on the corner. Five minutes later, he was back in the alley.
“Help's almost here buddy, so hang on,” he said, softly as a siren wailed in the distance.
A moment later, a squad car came to a stop at the end of the alley and a plainclothes cop got out.
“Down here,” the cop called out.
“Rodriquez. Whatcha got?” the detective asked as he stood behind the cop.
“Looks like someone really kicked the shit outta this guy,” the cop said.
“Didn't look. Figure'd I'd leave that for you guys,” he said, stepping back.
The detective knelt down on a knee and started to check the man. He found a wallet and carefully pulled it out of the man’s pants pocket. He flipped it open and checked the contents. “Hmm. Wasn't a mugging. There's a coupla hundred bucks in here,” he said, to no one in particular. “Shit.”
“What?” the young cop asked.
“Huh? Oh, I know this guy. Damn. Okay. You get down to the car and call for the wagon. We gotta get him to the hospital, quick.”
“Yes, sir,” the cop said, then headed away.
“Gabe?” Rodriquez said softly, leaning down. “I'm a cop. Understand?”
“Uugghh,” Gabe moaned.
“Alright, take it easy. We'll talk later. You jus' lay there, okay? You'll be at the hospital real soon.”
A couple minutes later, the ambulance arrived and within minutes, the paramedics had the man secured on a gurney and were wheeling him into the back of the vehicle.
Rodriquez stood off to the side with a notepad in his hand talking to the cop.
“Jack Ross, badge number...” the cop started to say.
“Yeah, got it,” Rodriquez said. “So, tell me everything.”
Five minutes later, Rodriquez got back in the squad car. Officer Ross stood at the window, peering in.
“You did good kid,” the detective said. “I'll pass that along to your watch commander. Have a good shift.”
“Thanks,” Ross said as the car pulled away following the ambulance.
* * * *
Sargeant Gus Ferguson entered the squad room at 7:45, his usual time. In one hand, he carried a brown paper bag with an egg sandwich inside and a cup of coffee in the other. He was the lead detective on the day shift at the 6th Precinct on West 10th Street in the West Village. He had served here for the last fifteen years or so. He walked over to his desk in the corner.
“Mornin',” Manny Rodriquez said, behind him.
“Mornin',” Gus answered as he sat down and opened the bag. “Busy night?”
“No more than usual,” Manny said, pulling a chair over and sitting down. “Did get somethin' you might be interested in.”
“Yeah? What?” Gus said, unwrapping the sandwich.
“You know Gabe Herschon, right?”
He nodded. “Uh-huh, why?”
“Looks like he got beat up pretty bad last night, and I mean pretty bad. Beat cop found him around three-thirty this mornin' in an alley down by his club. I caught the call and checked it out. Whoever did this really did a fuckin' number on him, man.”
“Dead? Naw, but he ain't in a good way though. He was taken over to St. Vincent's. When I left, he was still out. Ain't he a friend of you, Abe and Murph?”
“Yeah. More Murph than us. They've known each other a long time,” Gus said. “Okay, write it up and give it to me.”
“You gonna tell him? Murph?” Manny asked, standing up.
“Yeah. I'll call him later.”