I was having dinner with Jason. I’d asked him to meet me so I could interrogate him about Bobby. He knew it as well as I did, but we’d spent an hour pointedly avoiding the subject. Jason was mid-sentence when my cell phone rang. I dug it out of my purse and swallowed my surprise as Bobby’s number flashed across the screen. I debated not answering, or telling him to piss off, but then held up a finger to Jason and hit the answer key.


“Hello?” said not Bobby on the other end. “Hello, Alice?”

At that moment I developed the deeply ingrained line between my eyebrows that I would come to attribute solely to Bobby’s presence in my life. “Yes—who’s this?”

“Alice, this is Greg Harvey.”

My body then performed an extraordinary chemical process that turned my blood to ice and my stomach into a raisin. I clutched the phone so hard I thought I might injure myself. “What happened?”

Across the table Jason’s eyes opened wide and he sat up straight in his chair.

“It’s Bobby—he got hurt. I think, I think he’d want to see you. Can you come down here? To Saint Vincent’s?” Greg’s voice was urgent but level; he was trying to disguise his worry and it wasn’t working. My mind flashed back to a tape I’d heard of Bobby during an interview, how cool and calm his voice stayed no matter how insane the situation he was in became—I thought that he would have done much better than his partner at breaking bad news.

“Is he ok?” I was gathering car keys and my purse and standing up. Jason was bewildered and looked alarmed. “What happened?”

“He got shot, Alice. He took two bullets, about an hour ago. He’s in surgery. Just get here, ok? I’ll be looking for you.”

“I’ll be there in ten minutes.” I turned off the phone and pulled a few twenty dollar bills out of my wallet to drop on the table. “Get up—we have to go to the hospital. Now. Right now.”


At eight o’clock on a Friday night the ER waiting room at the downtown hospital was slammed. I processed enough to realize there were people brushing against me as I paced impatiently, waiting for Greg—beyond the existence of other people, though, I wasn’t taking in information; the guy beside me could have been engulfed in napalm and I wouldn’t have noticed. My fingernails dug into the skin on Jason’s forearm, I babbled for a full five minutes about being responsible for everything, for being so angry at Bobby, and Greg was nowhere to be found. Finally we approached the security officer standing guard at the inside door.

“I need to go in there,” I stated, wringing my hands and chewing my lips to keep the tears in my eyes off my face.

“Sorry. Ma’am.” The man said with no sympathy for my plight.

“No, but…” my voice was quivering and on the edge of hysteria.

“We’re here to see a cop,” Jason submitted. This gained Officer Hard-Ass’s interest and I jumped in with as much clarity as I could muster.

“He’s a detective. His partner’s here, I just can’t find him.” I lost control over my voice and the impending storm of tears. “He got shot—Bobby, Detective Bowen. I need to see him. Please?”

He nodded and swiped a card in front of the sensor mounted beside the door. “Trauma surgery’s through there—take your first right, you’ll see the officers.”

Jason thanked him. I started running. Coming around the corner my eyes were beset with what appeared to be a thousand uniforms, badges glittering like little stars in the artificial light. Somehow Greg came out of the sea and put his huge hands on my upper arms.

“Breathe, Alice,” he said.

I shook my head, dismissing him. “What’s going on? Where is he? I need to see him.”

“He’s in surgery. We don’t know anything yet. We’re waiting for the doctor.” He smoothed down the hair on top of my head and nodded at Jason. “He’s gonna be fine, Alice; he’ll be okay. I just thought you should be here.”

I threw my arms around him and buried my face in his chest. “Thank you.”


For another hour I was offered (though I steadfastly refused) cups of coffee by about half the city’s police force as they came and went, all stopping to smile bravely at the crying, red-faced woman. Even the ones I’d never seen before knew enough to recognize their own wives’ and mothers’ faces in mine. Jason and Greg flanked me in the waiting room; I jumped every time I saw a lab coat, felt sick every time a doctor walked by. Finally a young Asian woman in dirty scrubs with a discarded mask around her neck entered the room, calling out for Mr. Harvey.

“Is the family here?” she asked when Greg stood and went over to her.

“There’s no family. I’m his partner. Our captain’s on his way. How is he, doctor?”

I leaned on Greg with my arm wrapped tightly around his as the doctor spoke. She let loose a stream of words that seemed likely to engulf me. Bullet, spinal cord, swelling, cut, destroyed, another operation. When she ended her diatribe with “he’s in recovery right now; in a few hours we’ll be moving him to a bed in ICU—you can see him in the morning” I let out a deep breath of relief and would have fallen over if not for Greg. The doctor inclined her head perfunctorily at us and started to leave. I called out to her and she turned back.

“Will he be okay?” Because he has to be—because if he’s not then I’m going to die, right here in front of you—and if you can’t save him then what in the hell are you here for…

“He’s doing as well as any of us could hope. It just takes a little time.”


“He just wanted to talk to the guy. There was no reason for any of this.” Captain Conelly wiped a hand across his bald head; he looked sick. “Bobby went up into the guy’s place, asked Greg to stay down in the car. You know how he is. He’s up there ten, maybe fifteen minutes, and Greg hears shots. Calls for back-up while he’s taking the stairs. He sees the guy in the hallway, still got the revolver in his hand and he’s running for the stairs at the opposite end of the hall. And he won’t stop, so Greg takes him down.”

“He shot him?” I turned on my heel to face Greg. “You shot him?”

Greg nodded.

“Good. Fucker. Is he dead?”

“I wasn’t aiming for his feet, Alice.”

I was filled briefly with utter elation. Some man I’d never seen or heard of had bled to death in a hallway and that knowledge made me happy. I’d always feel dirty remembering that.

The Captain knew people on the board of directors and had more information than Greg and I had been given.

“They took out his right kidney,” he continued. “They’ve got him hooked up to some kind of dialysis machine, just for awhile. The other bullet almost went into his spine. It, ah, ‘grazed his spinal cord’. When he wakes up, he won’t be able to feel anything below where the bullet went in. They said he might recover from it, though—fifty percent chance.”

Greg muttered fuck under his breath.

“He’s paralyzed?” I started crying again. He’s going to die—he won’t be able to live like that…

“Calm down, Alice, please. They said they can’t tell yet if it’s permanent. They think maybe he’ll be fine. They just can’t tell yet.” He put his hand on my shoulder. “They let visitors into ICU at eight a.m. Supposed to be family only—you and Greg’ll have a pass from the board chairman. You can see him in a few hours. It’s going to be fine, ok? He’ll be fine.”

I sounded like a tiny little girl when I said, “I want to see him now,” as I sank back into the unyielding plastic chair. The captain patted my shoulder again and stood up, excusing himself to go speak with two of his men who’d just come in.

A little while later Greg left for home, saying he’d be back at eight to see Bobby and telling Jason to take me home. Jason hugged me and promised he wouldn’t try and make me leave. We sat there together for hours, watching as the uniformed officers came in and out. I tried to sleep, with my head on his shoulder, but I heard gunshots in my mind, reverberating forever. I was in a trance of sorts, fueled by anxiety and remorse, when Jason finally spoke up again.

“You love him, don’t you?” His voice was soft.

I looked up at him, too tired and sore inside to be coy or worry about my pride. “Yes.”

“Does he know?”

“No. I don’t think so. Fuck, I don’t know—doesn’t he know everything?”


I traced the veins on the top of Bobby’s hand. Greg stood behind me with Captain Conelly. I’d taken command of the sobbing and was standing under my own power. Somehow just seeing Bobby, even with him looking so terrible, made it all bearable—just as long as I could see him.

“He’s under heavy sedation,” the tall, young doctor said, indicating the glass vials screwed into the I-Med machine beside the bed. “Benzo’s; if he wakes up he’ll try and remove the tubing, so we’ll keep him under for a day or two. That’s a cycler—we’re trying to help the remaining kidney out, but it will adjust and take over on its own. His blood pressure’s a little high, but we’re watching it and we can treat it. We’ve scheduled another CT scan for tomorrow, to look at his spine; it’s possible we still won’t know anything for sure, but he’s on meds to relieve some of the swelling. He’s really doing well, all things considered.”

“The respirator?” I asked.

“Just helping. He’s initiating his own breath-- the machine just gives him a little push. There was a slight problem last night with his blood oxygen saturation so we didn’t want to take any chances.” He paused and looked into my bloodshot eyes. “He can hear you; he won’t be able to respond, but he’ll know you’re here. My name’s Dr. Slade; if you need anything or have any questions you can have me paged. I have rounds from midnight till eight in the morning. If there’s any kind of emergency, which I don’t foresee, you can call me on my cell.” He drew a card from a pocket of his lab coat and handed it to me. “He’s going to be okay.”

Greg and the captain made what I assumed to be the usual remarks of masculine encouragement for such situations and patted Bobby’s shoulder. Then they went back down to the waiting room where Conelly had a throng of reporters waiting for him. I stood beside Bobby in silence as the machines all around me sounded out a chorus of beeps and clicks, nurses came and went on orthopedic shoes and everywhere people murmured at bedsides, many of them praying. I watched his heartbeat draw green lines on the monitor and the medication dripping into his IV line.

This is my fault—why was I so mad at him? Why am I such a bitch? I did this—this is my karma, not his. God, what’s wrong with me?

“Bobby,” I bent down and whispered into his ear. “I’m sorry. I’ll make it up to you, ok? I promise. Just get better, please. Please, please don’t leave me, ‘cause I’ll never forgive you.”