Callahan – A Dirty Harry Thriller – Lord Big Foot


Dirty, Harry Callahan burst onto the scene in 1971.  A tough, get the job done, San Francisco Homicide Detective.  Harry had his own style of policing and got results.   Several villains tried to finish him in various ways.  Harry proved to be more resourceful and resilient than any imagined.  Unfortunately, he became a liability for law enforcement’s changing face and was side-lined 25 years ago.

The story begins with Harry briefly reviewing what little he has done with himself since leaving the force.  An unexpected knock at his front door from an old Partner, Chico Gonzalez, leads to a US Government job offer.

Harry was politically incorrect at the best of times in the 1970s.  His methods always led to problems.  The events that rocked Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 would have to be considered tame compared with those Harry brought to the streets he worked in San Francisco.

As a man well past retirement age, he accepts the job at the Department of State.  The consultancy work in the Middle East, reviewing prominent American Corporate’s security protocols.  Advising them in the regions surrounding the many trouble spots is honest and fulfilling for Harry.

An incident on a flight from Pakistan is cast and unfolds in much the same way as his first act of extreme violence in the Dirty Harry Movie.  The scenario is in keeping with the current problems in the Middle East.  The final outcome; driven by different beliefs and circumstance.

Harry always gets the dirty jobs.  The willingness to act outside the law.  And do what is required for the greater good at the expense of Politically Correctness and accepted civilised behaviour was nothing new to Harry.  It was all about deniability for the President.  The Americans would always get the blame unless they could convince their friends and enemies they weren’t involved. Harry’s record spoke for itself.  Harry had always operated off the reservation.  He was uncontrollable both then and now.  And he could be thrown to the wolves if it suited.

The old Soviet tactical nuclear device went missing in 1997. Abu Bakr took the torch from Abu Musad, and the organisation had placed its best people in key positions.  The bomb had moved slower than could be seen.  So slow it appeared not to exist.  The brothers were the final piece of the puzzle; they had worked for ten years to make one moment happen.

New York had been hit once.  They would hit it again, and this time it would be final.  It would destroy an ideal, a whole way of life.  The end of the American Dream.  And it would be the greatest triumph in history.  The delivery mechanism was the ultimate act of deception and planning the old men of the desert had ever put together.

Harry would have to break all the rules if he was to find the slightest thread to follow.

Chapter One

Harry arrived in New York City, September two thousand and fourteen.  The Big Apple, not his favourite City, for no particular reason.  The traffic at home was just as bad.  In truth, one big American City was much like any other once you peeled the wrapper back.

Harry had pulled the wrapper clean off his own City, seen it at its worst.  But that had all been a long time ago.  He knew what went on then, and it wasn’t much different today, he reckoned.  Just each generation thought they’d invented it all for the first time.  That they were somehow doing it differently.  Better or worse at it or whatever hip phrase suited the times.  It was all the same to Harry Callahan, a punk was a punk, and the law was an ass.  But right was always going to be right.

Wall Street; the guys down there, they made the guys he’d dealt with back in the day look almost harmless.  Harry’s bad guys carried guns or knives and would accept they were bad guys.  They would do bad stuff because that’s how they got their kicks; got what they needed.  Or just did it because they were made that way.  Harry would catch up with them eventually. If they were operating in his precinct, then the outcome was always predictable.  Punks might drag out the inevitable with fancy lawyers.  They might even have the sense to change towns.  If they persisted, it ended one of two ways.  Jail was considered a better choice.  Alive or dead, it hadn’t mattered to Harry.  Some in the force had suggested the later was his preferred modus operandi.

By the end of the nineteen-eighties, twenty-five years ago, the politics of policing was changing.  Harry was a dinosaur.  He got results, but the press had his number, and he was becoming.  No, he had always been an embarrassment for the department.  The body count was just too high.  Desk jobs didn’t cut it for Harry.  He’d sat there for months, the paperwork piled up.  His colleagues tried to help him with some of the rudimentary aspects like using a computer.  The mouse and the clicking would take him deeper into the mess.  The machine would be unplugged, and he would go for long walks.

The weight in the shoulder holster always felt comfortable.  The trouble was, Harry’s radar never switched off.  He couldn’t even go out for fresh air without picking up the tensions on the streets of San Francisco.  Twice he’d intervened in street robberies and once in a road rage incident at the traffic signals, not a hundred yards from the precinct building.  Fortunately, he’d not shot anyone dead, and Harry rarely did wounding.  He just hated the paperwork survivors created.  Deceased was so much easier.

The road rage dude had been hanging out of his truck’s window and screaming at the pizza delivery kid.  The poor kid’s tiny little motorcycle pinned between his large fender and the car in front.  Harry had stepped up on the footplate, pushed the long black barrel onto the end of the guy’s nose.  The tip of the guy’s proboscis was in the barrel, the calibre being so large, and he soiled himself right there in his seat.

The following day the guy was in the station with his sweaty overweight lawyer, who could have been his twin.  He’d changed his pants, and his lawyer wanted blood.  The pizza kid had vanished soon as the truck had backed up.  Harry hadn’t bothered to file a report.  It was all about covering your back with paperwork.  Harry’s idea of covering your back was a good partner who knew how to operate the twelve-gauge Remington Pump.

The Captain had suggested Harry leave the gun in his desk. It would be like walking down the street without pants on for Harry.  Harry lived with the tool; to him, that’s all it was, a work tool.  A carpenter wouldn’t arrive without a saw; an electrician needed a screwdriver.  It was politely suggested he no longer worked on the front line.  Harry was a cop; how could he walk away from something wrong.

Unfortunately, it was the way for the brave new world.  It was changing and had changed forever.  A doctor off duty was now walking past a road traffic accident.  A bleeding person on the street would have to wait for the ambulance to arrive.  The sacred oath taken by doctors, the Hippocratic Oath to protect life, was superseded by political correctness: PC and the fear of litigation.  God help a passing medical practitioner who stopped the arterial bleeding of a man hit by a truck if later the guy got an infection in the wound.  Forget he fully recovered from the infection a week later.  The ambulance arrived after thirty minutes; the bleed out would have taken fewer than five.

No argument, one would think, but then the law always was an ass.  What chance did Harry have with his argument?

“Look, Harry, just leave it to uniform. It’s not your problem.”  The repetitive drone from the commander.  Harry hadn’t lasted much longer.  The department held a party, gave him a clock.  Several of the guys suggested some security firms who hired ex-cops.  Harry sat alone in the apartment on Jackson Street for days.  He still went for the fitness run every day and kept himself in good shape.  The problem was when he went out, he didn’t have anywhere to go.  San Francisco is a busy city; everyone is going somewhere to do something.

Harry didn’t have a life outside being a cop.  His partners had been ok; some he’d even liked.  The trouble was they didn’t live long. If they did, they stayed away from him.  So, Harry went along to several interviews with the security firms.  They were full of ex-policemen who pitched him about the merits of the job.  The glossy brochures handed over; he was losing the will to live within minutes on each occasion.

Harry had never spent his cop’s salary; he’d just banked it.  The Marines pension went into the bank account on top.  He was in no immediate financial crisis, he wasn’t a materialistic man, and he had what he needed. He didn’t want what he didn’t need.  No commitments, no car payments, no mortgage.  The apartment he lived in had belonged to DiGiorgio’s uncle.  Who, even when he was alive, hadn’t collected the rent.  The letter from the solicitor had arrived several years back.  The uncle had died and left the apartment to Harry in his will.  Why had he done that?  Harry didn’t give it much thought; maybe he should go and check on DiGiorgio’s widow one day.  Harry had seen her only once shortly after the funeral.  She’d been ok, but he felt responsible for what had happened.  He wasn’t, but then Harry felt responsible for most things that weren’t his fault.

Harry hadn’t taken up any of the employment offers.  Mall-Cop wasn’t going to cut it for him, even less sat on the reception desk of some firm he knew nothing about dressed in a fine and dandy uniform.  Collecting badges and stars for the foreseeable future, like some tin-pot African General.  Marching around some marble lobby telling people not to step on the cracks in the tiles.  Exercising pointless and needless authority over visitors in some feeble attempt to extend a pencil-sized dick.

It’s what most of the burgeoning workers in the private security world appeared to be doing.  Harry had once referred to a senior public official as ‘pencil dick’ in the Chief of Police’s Office.  He remembered that with his usual sardonic smile.  The only other regular activity these days for Harry was his weekly trip to the police range.  They still let him in for old time’s sake, his most significant weekly expense now ammunition.  Out of boredom, he’d found himself hanging around the shooting range, making small talk with the other shooters.

Most of the gunslingers were now using various flavoured autos.  They would blast away, going for quantity down the range rather than quality.  Harry watched some of the young officers unloading magazine after magazine.  They would pat themselves on the back if they hit the target anywhere respectable, even just the once.  Harry thought: he wouldn’t want to be on the sidewalk if ever one of these guys had to use deadly force.  The collateral would be extensive.  Harry had killed plenty of people, but only the ones he’d wanted to.

There was a time when he’d been recognised, even given some notoriety down at the range.  No one paid him any attention now. He was just the big old guy down at the end with the even bigger old gun.  Nobody knew he was even once a cop or how he came to be in there.  But when he took the firing stance and the rhythmic boom of the six shots rang out, shooters would start to watch by the third or fourth load.  The heavy calibre 44 magnum rounds just blew great holes in the crouched figure holding the rifle and coming on in an aggressive posture.

It was known as the NATO figure eleven target.  Harry could put them all through a single hole.  But he’d taken to using the rounds to saw through the targets in various ways to amuse himself.  It usually looked like someone had taken a chainsaw to the bodies.  The head would be severed, or the hips cut away from the body, or maybe the arms lopped off.  The line of shots was always perfect.  Straight and equispaced to mercilessly dismember the cardboard targets.

Harry had never been one for conversation, and there was little of his life he ever wanted to discuss with anyone still living.  So, the only small talk was weapons.  Occasionally, another shooter would try his piece; they never shot well with it.  Too heavy and not the right balance, though they never said it.  Usually, one pull of the trigger was enough for them to pass it right back.  They all, without exception, proudly offered up their pieces for Harry to try.  Generally, they felt small and weak, like little children’s toys.

Harry would let off a couple of rounds, get the feel of the recoil and the balance.  Even the most diminutive pea shooter was accurate in his hand.  He pointed without thinking, the gun was just an extension of his arm, and the bullets went where he pointed.  The autos all held more rounds than his forty-four.  So, after the first couple of shots, it seemed pointless to just dump more shots into the same hole, but he did it anyway.  The owners seemed to like to see the gun emptied every time.

Harry couldn’t see the point of endless lead into the same spot.  But then he’d not seen too many of the young guys hit the target, let alone get two in the same hole, so maybe that’s why they went for volume.  It was the mathematical solution of probability they relied on.  To be solved, he imagined some guys would need to look at much bigger magazines.

Out of pure boredom, he treated himself to a European manufactured auto.  Everyone had auto’s, so why not; he looked at several.  But he was already decided. He’d thought if he was going to modernise, he’d go the whole way, not just an auto but also a plastic gun.  He’d probably never need it for anything serious, but he had the money, and he was bored.

Harry bought the Glock Twenty.  It fired 10mm rounds, and the magazine held a respectable fifteen rounds.  He felt almost trendy as he walked out of the gun shop with the Austrian made high tech piece, with several spare magazines and a case of ammo.  Harry spent the next few years, not doing much.  He took a few holidays.  He even went to Europe several times.  London, Paris, Edinburgh and Switzerland.