Callahan – A Dirty Harry Thriller – Lord Big Foot
Dirty Harry Callahan burst onto the scene in 1971. A tough 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 the changing face of law enforcement and was sidelined 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 job offer with the US Government.
As a man, well past retirement age, he accepts the job at the Department of State; consultancy work in the Middle East reviewing large American Corporate’s security protocols.
An incident on a flight from Pakistan 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 outcome driven by different beliefs and circumstance.
Harry always gets the dirty jobs. The willingness to act outside the law, to 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, he had always operated off the reservation. He was uncontrollable then and now. And he could be thrown to the wolves if it suited.
The old Soviet device went missing in 1997. Abu Bakr took the torch from Abu Musad. 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; this time would be final. It would destroy an ideal, the end of the American dream. 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.
Harry arrived in New York City, September two thousand and fourteen. The Big Apple, not his favourite City, no 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 different. Better or worse at it or whatever chic 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; now 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 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 the 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.
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. 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, dead 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 proboscis was in the barrel, the calibre being so large and he soiled himself right there in his seat.
Next morning 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. Unfortunately, the pizza kid had vanished soon as the truck had backed up.
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 arriving 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 a few security firms who hired ex-cops.
Harry sat alone in the apartment on Jackson Street for days, months. 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. 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 we full off 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 and 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.
He 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 largest 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 where 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 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, by the third or fourth load shooters would start to watch.
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 of a couple of rounds, get the feel of the recoil and the balance. Even the smallest pea shooter was accurate in his hand. He pointed without thinking, the gun was just and 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 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, 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, 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. Switzerland, he liked; and those are other stories.