The Young Guns

The Young Guns

“There is no way you can get a permit to carry a gun in New York.” My friend, David said.
“Unless you are a cop,” Peter added.
“Well, we are stockbrokers, not cops,” said Michael.
The four of us were having lunch at a coffee shop on 49th Street in mid-town Manhattan.
“Maybe we can become undercover cops and keep our jobs,” I added joking.
This brought a good laugh from my three friends. We all worked at Bache & Co. on 5th Avenue and had been hired together recently in an attempt to rejuvenate the office. The average age in the office before we arrived was close to 60, and the four of us were in our mid-20s.  We were going to be the Young Guns of Wall Street.

David was interested in getting a permit, as his ex-wife, as a parting gesture, had reported David to the police for having an unregistered Nazi Luger, that he had inherited from his father. The police came one night and took his gun. David told them he didn’t have a gun, but the witch had told the cops where it was hidden, and they had a warrant. This was probably in retaliation for the miserly alimony David’s high priced lawyer negotiated.

A few days later David asked the rest of us to meet him in the conference room.
“I think I know a way for us to get gun permits,” David said.
“Really?” Pierre said.
“Yes, There is an Auxiliary Police Force in Manhattan. They have a mounted division and you get to ride a horse in Central Park,” David said.
“What about our job here?” I said.
“You get to keep it. The Auxiliaries work at night,  and on some weekends,” David said.
“Does it pay much?” Pierre asked.
“It doesn’t. Do you want a permit or not?”  David said annoyed.
“How do we get in?” Michael said.
“I’m going to the Police Station tonight to fill out some paperwork. I’ll let you know tomorrow,” David said.

A few days later David came into the office later than usual. He perched himself on my desk.
“You guys better behave, I can arrest you,” he said.
“You got in? You are a cop now?” I said.
“Soon. I have to get fitted for a uniform,” he said.
“How about the boots? The cops that ride horses or motorcycles have these incredible black boots, like the ones the Nazi wore in the old World War II movies,” Pierre said.
“Stormtrooper boots won’t be appreciated in the synagogue,” Michael said.
“No offense Michael. But they are hot looking,” Pierre said.
“The boots also have to be bought,” David said.
“This all started in order to get a permit to carry a gun in New York. Are you going to be able to carry one?” I said.
“In time I will. In the meantime, it’s good exercise and I get to ride every night in the park,” David said.
“My wife will go ballistic if I go out every night to ride in the park,” I lamented.

A few days later, and before I had the courage to tell my wife of my new plan to be an Auxiliary, she announced that she was pregnant with our first child. We were both ecstatic. I forgot all about being a cop until one day David showed up at the office in his shiny new uniform, sans a gun.

Michael and Pierre signed up that week, and before long they were all riding in the park three night a week. One night I decided to tell my wife about our friends riding in the evenings.
“David, Michael, and Pierre have signed up to be Auxiliary cops in Manhattan. They get to ride horses in the park in the evenings. That is such great exercise, and a good cause too. We get to help people,” I said.
My wife looked at me and shook her head. “Don’t bullshit me, Peter. That is not why you are doing this.  Besides you cannot do it,” she said.
“Why not?” I said getting annoyed.
“Because we talked about leaving the city when I got pregnant and in 4 months I’m going to have a baby. We are going to leave Manhattan. We both discussed doing this. Manhattan is no place to raise a family.” She said.
I had completely forgotten that conversation. But she was right. Too many distractions in the city. Having some trees around would probably be better for the baby, and us all.
The process required some planning. The idea of a commute would change a lot in my life. Gone are the spontaneous get-togethers late at night at Elaine’s. The club scene was also terrific. Just last night we had been to Le Jardin with some friends from Europe, and earlier in the week to Studio 54. I was going to miss all that. But she was right. To raise a family we needed peace and tranquility.

A week later I had narrowed the search for a home to a town in New Jersey close to the George Washington Bridge, that seemed to provide closer access to Mid-town than other suburbs. The town was Demarest. It was the third town north of the GW  Bridge. Englewood and Englewood Cliffs were closer but at twice the price.

A month later we bought a brown four-bedroom colonial in a cul-de-sac with a white picket fence. I had almost forgotten my friends riding in the park in the evenings. My evenings and weekends were now filled with all the things that go into moving into a new home and getting organized. My wife hated the Tuscany wallpaper, so there was a lot of painting to do. Besides this was my first home. I didn’t realize all the things that went into homeownership.

One Sunday morning I was sitting on the back porch enjoying the weather when the front doorbell rang. I wasn’t expecting anybody so I looked around the side of the house and saw a police cruiser parked in front of the door. Since I had only been in the house a few weeks I couldn’t imagine what I had done. I nervously opened the front door.
“Good morning Mr. Dunev, I hope I’m not intruding. I’m the Sherif of Demarest and I wanted to welcome you to Demarest,” the Sherif said.
“Good morning, please do you want to come in? I’m sitting on the back porch enjoying your glorious weather,” I said.
The Sherif followed me to the porch and we both sat down.
“As I mentioned I just wanted to welcome you to our lovely town. Is there anything I can do for you?” he asked.
“I don’t know, tell me about Demarest,” I said.
“This is a very safe and quiet town. We don’t get the traffic that they have in Englewood Cliffs. Our residents appreciate the quiet. Many of them came from New York and want peace and quiet,” he said.
“It seems lovely. We are very happy to have moved out here,” I said.

Then I had the flash.
“Yes, perhaps there is something you can to for me,” I said.
“I’ll do anything I can,” he said.
“I would like a permit to carry. Can you get me one?” I said.
The Sherif stopped and thought for a minute.
“The State license is hard to get, because of the proximity to New York City…” he said.
“But..?” I said.
“There is a way. You can become an Auxiliary Policeman, and I can issue you a license to carry,” he said.
“What are the requirements to be an Auxiliary Policeman?” I asked.
“None really. I can make you one immediately,” he said.
“What do I have to do?” I asked.
“Once a year we have a parade in town. Maybe you could walk around during the parade and wear a badge?” he asked.
I thought about how easy it seemed compared to Manhattan.  The Sherif mistook my slow response.
“Actually, if you don’t want to do anything, that would be alright also. Don’t worry about it. I’ll get you signed up and issue you a license tomorrow,” he said.
“That would be very nice and I do appreciate it,” I said.
“Well Mr. Dunev, if you don’t have any other requests from me I will be off. It has been very nice meeting you. Tomorrow one of my patrolmen will come by and bring you the forms to fill out. When is a convenient time?” he said.
“After six when I come home. I work in the City,” I said.
‘Thank you, Sir. If there is anything else please don’t hesitate to let me know. We are at your disposal,” he said, as he shook my hand and walked back into his patrol car.

I stood there waving, as he turned around and drove off. I walked back into the house. My wife was upstairs. I walked up to the bedroom.
“Darling, you won’t believe how nice the people in this town are. The Sherif just came by to see what he could do for us. This is a long shot from Manhattan, where nobody cares if you drop dead on the street,” I said.

The next evening a young patrolman came by with a manila folder for me.
“I will wait in the patrol car for you to fill them out and I’ll take them back for you. You should get the license the day after,” he said.
I went into the study and filled out the paperwork. Name address and stuff like that. Then I gave them to the patrolman and promptly forgot about it till the next evening when the same patrolman came by to bring me the permit to carry a concealed weapon.  Knowing that New York was very strict, I knew I was not going to carry a gun anyway, and frankly did it for the bragging rights at the office. The other Young Guns still didn’t have theirs.

A few months later I was in a cab with a lawyer friend of mine and we were stuck in traffic. While we were chatting about business, I noticed a moving van next to us. I observed the name on the truck, it was the name of the man who sold me the house in New Jersey. I mentioned the coincidence to the lawyer. He turned to look at me in the taxi.
“That was the name of your seller?” He asked.
“Yes, why?” I said.
“Do you know why he sold it to you?” He said.
“He told me he was moving to Las Vegas,” I said.
“And you don’t know who he is?” he said.
“I don’t know. Is he in the moving business?” I asked.
The lawyer started laughing.
“Where did you move to?” he asked.
“Demarest in New Jersey,” I said.
He started laughing again.
“What do you think of Demarest?” he asked between breaths.
“Well, the Police Chief is the nicest man I’ve ever met. He came to the house to welcome us to Demarest. He even got me a permit to carry,” I said.

The lawyer was crying with laughter. I had no idea what I had said, so I let him run out his hysteria. In a few minutes, he calmed down.
“Peter, Demarest, your town, is known for being the home of a couple of the Mafia families. The mob controls all of the moving trucks in New York. The man who sold you the house was moving to Vegas because he was getting a lot of heat from the District Attorney in New York. The good thing is that the Mafia doesn’t mess in their own town. Demarest should be incredibly safe. The Sherif thought that you were part of the family, or a Consigliere or something. That is why he was treating you like royalty. I hope he never finds out that you are just a gringo stockbroker.”
I just sat there and absorbed what he told me.
“Are you sure?” I said.
“Yes. Don’t you read the local papers? It’s been all over the news. Maybe you should think about selling the house. If the family finds out that you are impersonating a made-guy they will be very upset.” He said.
“I never said that I was anything,” I complained.
“Yes, but you didn’t dissuade them from thinking that either. And if the Sherif finds out, he will be very embarrassed that you tricked him in getting you a permit,” he said laughing again.
I was lost in thought the rest of the ride.

A week later we found a new house in Pound Ridge, New York, and put the house in Demarest up for sale. A couple of days later a man came by to look at the house. He didn’t say anything while looking around. When he was finished he turned to me.
“I’m gonna make you a deal. You did good in this house. I like the furniture. My nephew has bad taste and it showed here when he owned it. So I will pay you what you are asking, but you have to leave all the furniture.” He said in a very heavy Sicilian accent.
“Do we have a deal?” he said with his hand out.
“We have a deal,”  I said nervously, shaking his hand.


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