Coaches Needed! Make a Difference! Be a Girls on the Run Volunteer! Volunteering is truly a rewarding and life changing experience Sign Up. The Power of Self-Awareness At Girls on the Run, we believe that there is one simple shared reality that all parents and caregivers have. Gratitude on the Run These girls may not understand it now, or even think about it in the future, but they have each taught me something about every single one of the lessons we have discussed; about teamwork, about real beauty, about friendship, about positivity, about compassion, about physically and mentally healthy behaviors, and yes, about gratitude.
Help support Girls on the Run Donate to Girls on the Run today to help us provide scholarships to girls in our area! Read More. Girls on the Run International. No opportunites at this time. Please check back soon! The thought of it makes me squirm. They say a storm is coming, but for now, the sky is clear and cloudless. Dorsey holds the silence for a minute longer than necessary. He clasps his hands in front of him and his lips move as if in prayer. The guys start to get antsy. Vince clears his throat and Ron shifts from one foot to the other.
Dorsey looks up; hands me the urn. I open it.
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The burial is, I believe, what my father would have wanted. Short and sweet. No standing on ceremony. He is out on the water, the only place he ever seemed at peace. Dad always fidgeted like a schoolboy during mass. We always sat in the back so we could duck out before Communion. Dad claimed to hate the taste of the stale wafers and bad wine.
Even then, I knew he was lying. To the too-short life of Martin Daniel Flynn. Dad had just turned fifty-two when he skidded off the Montauk Highway while riding one of his motorcycles. It was just after two in the morning. No sense in pointing fingers now. End of story. With these guys, what Dorsey says goes. Of the four, Dorsey went up the ranks the fastest.
He got his gold shield first, then quickly pulled Dad and Ron Anastas out of Plain Clothes and put them into Homicide. Dad always called the Third a war zone. For him especially, it was. Dorsey and Dad went way back. Our families have been in Suffolk County for three generations. They used to joke that we were all probably related somewhere down the line. The men certainly looked it. Both were tall and dark-haired, with green eyes and sharp, inquisitive faces. My father wore his hair in a military crop his whole life. Dorsey, over the years, has had a mustache, sideburns, a shag.
We put out some lines and the guys tell stories about their early days in the Third Precinct. As plain clothes officers, they would show up to work wearing Vans and Led Zeppelin t-shirts. Glory days stuff. Just rolled out of bed and cruised around in unmarked beater cars, looking for trouble. They never had to look far. In the 3 rd , gangs were—and are still—prevalent.
Violent crime is high; drugs are everywhere. For all the wealth in Suffolk County, nearly half of the Third Precinct lives at or just above the poverty line. Dad used to say that there was no better training ground for a cop than the Third Precinct, which was why, when you looked at top brass of the Suffolk County Police Department, so many of them came up from out of there. Dorsey remarks that Dad was the toughest cop in the 3 rd , and the best teacher a young patrolman could ask for.
The guys nod in ascent. Dad had an unshakeable, almost evangelical sense of right and wrong. But there were contradictions. He loathed smoking and drugs but felt comfortable pickling his liver in scotch. He routinely busted gamblers but hosted a monthly poker game that drew district attorneys and a few well-known judges from around the Island. The criminals he most despised were abusers of women and children, but I once saw him strike my mother so hard across the face that a red outline of his hand was imprinted on her skin.
Dad had his own code. I learned early not to second-guess it. At least, not out loud.
There was a rookie fresh out of the Academy named Rossi. His dad was a judge and Rossi thought that made him a big shot. He liked to wear designer clothes to work—Armani and Hugo Boss—and that rubbed Dad the wrong way. Anastas sat up screaming and Rossi pissed himself, all over his six-hundred-dollar pants. After that, he shopped at JC Penney like everybody else. It feels good to remember my father as funny because he was, he really could be.
Dorsey and I exchange smiles. I nod, grateful. This is the way I want to remember Dad today. Not for his temper. Not for his sadness. And not for the alcohol, which had finally taken him out on a quiet stretch of wet highway in the early hours of the morning. Eventually, the sun dips low on the horizon. The sky turns an electric plum-toned blue. Dorsey decides it is time to head home. By the time we pull into the marina in Hampton Bays, night has fallen. These men, Dorsey especially, are the closest thing Hampton Bays has to hometown heroes.
The guys are good and sauced.
They talk loudly and repeat themselves and they hug me hard in the parking lot, not once but twice, three times. Anastas invites me to come home for dinner. He seems relieved. Ron has a wife, Shelley, and three kids. DaSilva is in the middle of a divorce. After another round of jokes, Anastas and DaSilva stumble off in separate directions. They both drive away in minivans, cars built for booster seats and lacrosse sticks and car pools. Dorsey points to the silver Harley Davidson Sportster that I rode over here. He bought it cheap years ago; restored it himself over time.
Dad had four motorcycles, or he did, before the accident. Now, I guess, there are three. His babies, he called them. Each one meticulously restored and cared for, swallowing up his off-duty hours like hungry fledgling birds. Dorsey married his high school sweetheart. He lost her in a car accident just a few years later. He never did remarry or have kids. Dad made him my godfather, a job he took seriously. All four of my grandparents have passed. Both my parents were, like me, only children.
I feel a pang of sadness. I never drink the way Dad used to, well past the point of sloppiness. At least, not in public. Like a lot of agents, I save my drinking for the privacy of home. The one he was riding, I mean. It seems like a relatively shallow thing to consider, having just lost my father and all.
Pretty clear it was an accident. I signed the release form for it. The bike. His eyes are glassy with tears. I nod, considering. Cole Haines still running it? Cole will take care of it. Glad you reminded me. For everything. I rev the engine and he turns back, giving me one final sad smile. I pull out of the lot before Dorsey does. It feels good to get moving after so many hours on the boat.
The cold air puts life back into me. I need to sell it. I have no use for an old house on the South Fork of Long Island, in a county that holds as many bad memories as good ones. Views like this cost a half-million dollars now, maybe more.
The house has about as much charm and space as an RV. I know that anyone who to buys it is likely only interested in the land beneath. It is a squat, weather-beaten box with faded grey shingles and cheap sliding doors. It has a wraparound deck with view of Shinnecock Bay to the north, and acres of rolling dune grass on either side. I hate thinking about someone bulldozing this patch of marshland just to throw up a McMansion with a pool and a tennis court.
I know my father would hate that, too. I came here a little over a week ago, after Dorsey called me with the news about Dad. I have no return date in mind. As of now, I have no job to go back to. My neighbors are young graduate students, prone to smoking weed and listening to EDM after midnight. Sometimes I can hear them fighting or making love, and when they play music, my walls vibrate from the bass. I think about complaining but I never do.
When we see each other in the hall, they nod politely and go on their way. I have to assume that if they knew I was in law enforcement, they might be more discreet about the weed. I have no pets, no plants, no significant other. I can fit most of what I own in a single large duffel bag. I wonder how long it will take for them to notice I am gone. Maybe they never will. Last month, I shot and killed someone in the line of duty.
His name was Anton Reznik. Reznik was known to his friends as the Butcher, for obvious reasons. Not someone I will miss. Still, killing a man is never pleasant and this time has been particularly hard on me. For one thing, a bullet nicked my shoulder in the exchange. I was lucky, technically speaking.
An inch to the right and it could have opened my brachial artery, almost certainly killing me on the spot. Instead, I traded my badge and my firearm for a couple of stiches, a paid medical leave and the business card of a Bureau-endorsed therapist who specializes in PTSD.
The Bureau thinks my head should be on straight, too. Maybe it never was to begin with. I drink quietly and alone, as I imagine he did most nights, until the last streaks of sunset fade and stars light up the sky.
I listen to the roar of the ocean and the faint shudder of music from one of the bars across the bay. I will never feel a gravitational pull back here, back home. Not for holidays or for birthdays or for weddings of people I once considered friends but no longer think about. I can burn his things; sell this house; never return to Suffolk County again. I lie back on the deck couch, put my feet up on the driftwood coffee table.
I close my eyes and let the darkness take me. They make the other houses in the area look like guest cottages, which is saying something. They have oceanfront pools and tennis courts. The lawns go on forever. One is studded with large, bizarre sculptures. A giant balloon dog made of shiny, magenta-colored metal.
A naked, obese woman cast in bronze. A helicopter lifts off from it as we approach, its sleek, silver form disappearing into an overcast sky. It was just a little fuck-you to the summer people, who acted as though this part of the island belonged to them and them alone. The park is a favorite spot for locals to bass fish and take their off-road recreational vehicles. My father loved it there, especially in the off-season.
In high school, my classmates would drive down to the park to drink beer and smoke in the dunes. I can envision the headlines already. The tabloids will eat this up: a dead girl, dismembered and buried amid multimillion-dollar oceanfront mansions. Once the press connects this case to the body found last summer in the Pine Barrens, the floodgates will open. A murder is one thing. Serial killings catch national news interest.
Web forums light up with chatter. Conspiracy theorists and true-crime junkies take notice. The killer himself might even crawl out of the woodwork, unable to stay away from the media circus. It might inspire him—or someone else— to kill again. Long Island has always been a breeding ground for men who hunt women. Joel Rifkin killed at least nine women back in the nineties. Robert Shulman killed five. The Long Island Serial Killer—said to be responsible for anywhere from ten to sixteen murders over the past twenty years—still remains at large.
I must look shocked because Lee turns crimson.
Too personal? Tom was my high school boyfriend. The first and perhaps most important relationship of my life. We started dating at the beginning of sophomore year and broke up at the end of senior year, right after I got pregnant by accident. Tom wanted to get married. I considered giving up my scholarship to MIT and staying put in Suffolk County so that we could get married. I stopped speaking to Tom, though none of it was his fault.
I stopped speaking to my father, too. I packed up my secondhand Civic and drove myself up to MIT without saying goodbye. He still lives in Suffolk County. They have twin girls, Hannah and Ellie, who wear matching outfits. He coaches Little League on the weekends. They have a rescue dog named Hester. They look, on social media anyway, well-adjusted and happy. Could I have been Mrs. Thomas Street? What if we had a little girl or boy, now ten years old?
Would I have felt trapped, like my father had? Or is it possible that, like Beth, I would be smiling in every photo? He was proud of you. Of the work you do. Dad came down to DC a few years back. We patched things up a bit. Not recently, though. Pine Barrens shook him up.
It was a horrible case. The girl was young. Just turned seventeen. Your dad took it real personal. He told me once that he felt like he was the only one who seemed to care that she was dead. Lee shrugs. She was a working girl from a bad neighborhood. You know. Same old story. Cut up and wrapped in burlap like a goddamn Christmas tree and buried way out in the middle of nowhere. Ria Sandoval was her name.
Animals got to her pretty bad. Told a friend she was going to work a job out east. Never came back. No one bothered to file a missing persons.