St. Nick's Outlaws
By Jim Colombo
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Copyright 2001 Jim Colombo
A couple of weeks had passed and Foxie wanted to visit the kids and Ida Beaudine.
The children were wards of the court until a proper foster family could be found. Foxie
asked if there was something he could bring, and Ida told him that the kids needed clothes.
He told Ida that he had collected $150 at the Prescient. The donation was part of his share
of bribes for the week. She thanked him for the money and asked if he wanted to join her
and the kids when they went shopping. Foxie declined. Ida fascinated Foxie with her
figure and femininity. She dressed in typical African loose-fitting gowns that teased Foxie’s
imagination and flowed as she gracefully walked. Ida was more than a curiosity. She was
intelligent and independent and he admired her qualities. He was more interested with
her than the kids. Foxie could talk his way out of anything, but Ida had a spell on him.
Ida lived in Oakland and worked in San Francisco. She was involved in community
service with the pastor of her church who was concerned about the lack of sensitivity by
the Oakland police who didn’t understand the frustration of the residents of West Oakland.
Black leaders like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Medger Evers were organizing
blacks to vote and become part of the process. Ida was a militant lady who wanted to
make a difference in West Oakland, the older part of the city with squalor, vacant lots,
abandoned cars, homes with plywood covering broken windows, stray dogs and cats, and
a mood of helplessness. A disease common to blacks called sickle cell anemia was
becoming an epidemic. The Black leaders in Oakland wanted better housing, education,
and an end to police brutality.
Nationally, King and Evers were organizing blacks to register to vote. Civil rights,
Black power, and power to the people were their battle cry, and the Oakland police were
preparing for a war in the streets. The pastor of Ida’s church was very militant, and
believed that whites would have to be forced to relinquish power to blacks. He was ready
for what he called “The black man’s crusade to freedom.” He had invited leaders form the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference to speak and help organize the blacks of
A group of black men and women in Oakland believed it was time to take charge of
their destiny. A black man studying to become a minister was the guest speaker and was
challenged that night by a couple, David Hillard and Elaine Brown. How can a non-violent
movement over take a violent society? Why couldn’t Black citizens vote in the south. The
answer was obvious: there were more blacks than whites, and the white’s would have to
surrender power. The speaker ended the debate by calling on the group to join him in
prayer. Hillard asked, ”If God is so good, why has He let the Black man suffer so long?
The Bible say the Lord helps those who helps themselves. WE gonna help ourselves and
WE gonna fight back!” Hillard called the guest speaker, “Just another Uncle Tom,” and left.
Ida was impressed with their challenge and the guest speaker was surprised to see such
militancy. At the end of his speech the guest speaker thanked Pastor Franklin for his
hospitality. He noticed Ida and approached her. They spoke for a while then mingled with
others. Ida’s lady friend Caroline was attracted to the speaker. Ida wasn’t. Caroline
invited Jesse for supper the next night. Caroline must have been a good listener because
he stayed for breakfast.
A week had passed and Foxie was at Blackie’s nursing a warm beer. He wasn’t in
the mood for a blow of the good stuff. Blackie asked Foxie if he should call a priest, then
Blackie suggested that it might be menopause. “Hey Foxie, whenza last time ya got laid?”
“Buzz off. Old ladies get menopause. Christ, Blackie, you’ve been livin’ in this shit-
hole too long.” Foxie was thinking about Ida and he was thinking about being with a new
partner after C.J.’s transferred. Whoever his new partner was, he would have to set him
up and get him dirty, and find a way to put his new partner in a compromising position, and
as Foxie would say, ”I got his pecker in my pocket.” Foxie had a collection of peckers in
his pocket. It was how he stayed on top.
Foxie had Shin Wu by the balls because he could always blow the whistle on the
lot growing Marijuana. Foxie convinced Wu that the Commander knew about the lot
growing weed and was on the take with Foxie. Foxie lied to Wu and the Commander.
Wu thought that he had Foxie by the balls, but would discover it was his balls in the jar.
Things were changing in Foxie’s life. His mother had passed away two months ago, his
family no longer had time for him, and there were times when he felt lonely. The whores
no longer satisfied his needs and his wife avoided him because she suspected that he
frequented the whorehouses. There was a void in his life. He and C.J. were tight. They
knew stuff and had done stuff few cops would dare to do. They were a team. Soon Foxie
would be cruising the jungle with a stranger. He was starting to feel vulnerable. He
wouldn’t know if he could depend on his new partner until a situation happened, and then it
might be too late. Like C.J. said, “It’s getting close to midnight and Cinderella’s carriage is
gonna’ return to a pumpkin.” Foxie no longer felt bulletproof. He was getting older and
having trouble with his vision. He refused to wear glasses. If he and C.J. could make one
big score, but who could they squeeze? Foxie finished his beer and began to walk out of
Blackie’s. “Hey, Foxie, you okay?”
“Yeah.” Foxie left Blackie’s and drove to St. Cecilia’s Church. He parked by the
schoolyard behind the church parking lot and recalled the days of childhood fun and how
simple life was. He never planned on being a cop. It just happened. He finished St.
Nick’s and joined the Marines. He met C.J. in boot camp at Pendleton. They were in the
same platoon, and were sent to Guam in the South Pacific to fight the Japanese. When
they arrived they got their orders. Foxie was trained to become Military Police and liked
the power, the authority, and the control he had over other Marines. If he said shit, they
asked what color. C.J. saw some action until he got wounded by a grenade fragment, then
he was transferred to become a MP.
When the war ended Foxie was discharged, and joined the police department. C.J.
became a guard for a year on Alcatraz Island, a Federal Prison, then he joined the San
Francisco Police Department. He and Foxie were assigned to the same station, South
of Market Number Ten, and had partners who had milked the golden cow they called the
Tenderloin. Foxie’s partner was Slippery Jack Riley and C.J.’s partner was Big Bill
Monahan. Riley and Monahan concentrated on the docks of San Francisco during the war
were a black market flourished because rationing. Folks were allotted small quantities of
food, fuel, and clothing to support the war effort. A pair of silk stockings was equal to five
cartons of cigarettes or two bottles of Canadian whiskey. The Tenderloin was the red light
district of the city, a necessary evil to accommodate sailors, tattoo parlors, whorehouses,
backroom gambling, and strip joints. It was a forgotten part of the city, like Chinatown, that
was tolerated. Riley and Monahan retired three years after the war ended about the same
time that Joey Beans’ nightclub got torched. Two days later Joey was found floating in the
Bay perforated with ice pick holes. Someone took their time settling a score with Joey.
Foxie and C.J were their successors, and knew the lay of the land, who to roust,
who to squeeze, and who to fear. Chinatown was next to the Tenderloin, but another
world. It was a captive neighborhood that despised the police as much as the police
hated going to Little Hong Kong. The first time Foxie and C.J. went to put the touch on
a Chinatown warlord he told Foxie and C.J. that they were young and stupid. Chen Wang
controlled the gambling and prostitution in Chinatown and told them, ”I’ll forgive you this
time because you are fools. If you walk in Chinatown again, I’ll give you six feet,
vertically.” When they returned to the squad car two headless chickens lay on their seats.
Foxie swore that he would get even. I week later Wang’s restaurant was closed by
the Board of Health. The restaurant was a front for gambling and prostitution and the city
took its time reopening the restaurant. Time passed and other enterprising Chinese
businessmen opened their facilities for gaming and sex. Chen Wang lost his power, his
influence, his restaurant foreclosed, and younger aggressive warlords filled the void after
his demise. Foxie earned the reputation in Chinatown as the White Tiger. Reputations
have a way of magnifying and soon Foxie was King of the Tenderloin. He was the man
and C.J. was backup carrying a sawed off shotgun he called Bertha. The fifties were quiet
years of live and let live. Foxie and C.J. got a piece of the action and looked the other
way. The pimps, pushers, and players went about their business, and everyone
prospered. Foxie and C.J. had a nice stash in their safe deposit boxes. It was like
Prohibition in the thirties. There are certain vices that men need that were
misdemeanors. The Tenderloin was a nocturnal underworld that swarmed, stalked its
prey, and offered all of the forbidden fruits. The good citizens were protected from the
jungle, because the lepers of the Tenderloin knew that if they ventured beyond the
boundaries, they would get busted and sent to the joint. Foxie and C.J. were the gate
More next week...