Cest the Cop:the Beginning
by Mike Carroll Jr. ©1985-2001 All rights reserved.
The last night in the Cest residence
It was an unusually hot night in Pacifica, California during the summer of 1959. Located around 15 miles south of San Francisco, the Cest family lived in a modest two story house over looking the Pacific Ocean.
Bill Cest, married six years to wife Kathryn, owned a small grocery store in the small town district. They had one child, a little girl named Penny. Just turning five, she had a brown pony tail with blue eyes. Bill was 40 and Kathryn was in her mid thirties. SinTee was the family butler.
Bill was a staunch conservative and an active member of the John Birch Society, while Kathryn had more progressive leanings. She had been quite involved in the John F. Kennedy presidential campaign. This made for an interesting relationship at times, but Bill and Kathrynís ties to the church and persistence in raising their only child helped overcome these obstacles.
SinTee was hired originally to help Bill in the grocery store. They eventually brought him into their home when Penny was born to help at odds and ends. Immigrated from Kyoto, Japan after the Second World War, not much was known about SinTeeís past, other than he lost his only child during the war. This was probably why he and Penny had a special bond.
Most of the furniture in the house was about 10 years old, dating to around the mid to late forties. Downstairs in the living room, a couch sat on the other side of the room with a quilt blanket. Several large chairs sat on in the corners. On the wall, there were various religious pictures, including a framed print of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper". A large black and white RCA Victor television sat in the opposite corner next to the entrance. On the top of the set was a family picture of Bill, Kathryn and a one year old Penny.
Bill and Kathryn sat the couch while Penny sat on the floor fidgeting with her Barbie doll. The familiar faces of Chet Huntley and David Brinkley dominated the screen with a report on President Eisenhower inviting Nikita Khrushchev to America.
"That butcher!" Bill declared as he stood up.
"William...", Kathryn replied in an abrupt tone, grabbing his arm.
"Daddy!" Kathryn screamed.
Bill and Kathryn just looked at each other and then looked over at Penny.
"Iím sorry, Honey", he said sinking his head low, "I know I can get a little carried away."
"You never have to apologize to me, you old fool", Kathryn said as she began to caress his head. She then threw his head against the pillow. But Bill countered and playfully began to attack her. Penny began to laugh.
Out from the dinning room, SinTee emerged.
"You have a call, Sir Bill", SinTee said.
"Oh- thanks, SinTee", Bill replied as he grabbed the phone, "This is Bill Cest".
SinTee bowed. After a moment of silence, Bill repeated, "Hello?"
SinTee expressed concern, as if he sensed something wasn't right.
"Who was it honey?" asked Kathryn.
"I've been getting these lately", Bill replied and thought for a second. "Probably some Kennedy supporter who doesn't like my politics", he said jokingly.
"Watch it, Buster", Kathy shot back. Bill reached over and grabbed Pennyís arms.
"Does Daddy know how to get under you motherís skin or what, Kitten?" Bill said as he leaned toward a giggling Penny.
"Donít mind you father, sweetheart", Kathryn said with a devious smile, "Heís just out of step with the twentieth century."Echoing throughout the Cest residence, the old wall clock in the hall began its nine-ring charm. Everybody knew this was bedtime.
An hour later, all was quiet in the Cest residence. Everyone had gone to bed except SinTee as he walked the dark halls with an uneasy feeling. All of a sudden, the sound of broken glass broke silence. The sound of two strange men could be heard in the other room. SinTee ran into Pennyís room and grabbed her, pulling her into a walk-in closet off the foyer.
"SinTeeÖ", Penny started to cry.
"Hush, child ", he whispered covering her mouth - his face filled with terror.
In the other room, the strange voices could be heard along with heavy movement about the floor and furniture. Bill let out a short unnatural scream and then a short gag. Kathryn then made a similar sound. SinTee stood quietly holding a trembling Penny.
After a loud slam, everything became quite. SinTee cautiously opened the door of the closet and tip toed into the bedroom. As he slowly opened the door of the dark room, illuminated only by moonlight, he could only make out the bed. As he creaked in, he noticed a slight wind that was blowing the window curtains and glitter of broken glass on the floor. In a distance, the steady sound of crashing waves could be heard hitting against the coast. As he reached the bed, he saw two figures spread out in a contorted position. Bill and Kathryn laid lifeless, blood running down from both of their necks.
SinTee quickly ran out and into his room. He grabbed a bag that contained his most important belongings and back to the closet. As he opened the door, Penny sat on the floor sobbing. "Come, Penny", he said in urgency. He pulled the reluctant child out of the closet and toward the front door.
"I want to see Mommy and Daddy!" she cried.
Tears ran down SinTee's face as he pulled her from the house, bidding good-bye to his home of 6 years.
Scared and alone
SinTee spent most of the night driving around with Penny. For the first time in many years, he felt scared and alone.With little trust with the local police, he became more convinced that the intruders had something to do with the slaying becuase of Mr. Cest's far right pollititcal affiliations.
Several weeks ago, vandalism struck the family grocery store, the windows spray painted with the words: DIE JOHN BIRCHER!" As usual, Bill wrote the incident off to pranksters, but SinTee thought he had underestimated the uglyness of human nature.
Driving up El Camino Real, near South San Francisco, SinTee passed Kim's Photography, who his best friend of his owned. Kim also had came from the Jaspanise homeland, not far from where SinTree grew up and they were about the same age. Often, he spent time off with his Kim in Marin County (North of the Golden Gate) to take photos of nature. He recalled him speeking of fronting passports on the side to help pay the rent.
The light was off and the closed sign hung from the door, but looking in, SinTee noticed his friend at his desk running an adding machine.
He knocked on the door. Kim looked up and aknowleged his friend. He ran up and opened the door.
"SinTee", Kim said with a smile, "and who is the princess you bring?"
SinTee and Penny and just stood, their faces expressing pain and bewilderment. Kim sensed that this wasn't a social call and invited them in. They spoke for several hours searching for answers. Finally, Kim came to a conclusion.
"You cannot stay here SinTee", Kim declared, "Your boss was popular in the community, and we have a new ambitious DA that would like nothing more than to eat you alive. The police will want quick answers to close their books."
Kim gave SinTee a tour of his basement and some sofisticated photographic equipment.
"What is all this? SinTee asked.
"It is quite hard to pay the rent her", Kim admitted.
Kim expalined that he fronted phoney IDs and passports to suppliment his income.
"You need to leave the country imediately, SinTee, Kim said, "You have a brother back in the homeland."
"I had nothing to do with this, Kim" SinTee declaredas he sat down and began to think of the horrifing experience, "I stil cannot believe what happened. They were my family!"
Kim walked over to his equipment.
"You will need a passport, a plane ticket and new identification", Kim said as he started turning switches,"You have to go back to the homeland!"
I have little money, Kim" SinTee cried "What about Penny?
"You will need to send her to a relitive!"
"There are no relitives, Kim. I'm all she has!"
Kim paised back and fowarth, trying to determine SinTee's best move. SinTee just sat in holding his head in bewilderment.
"You will need to bring the little girl with you, my friend."
"But how do I bring a fair skinned, blue eyed child with me half way across the world without going unnoticed?"
Saying farewell to the United States
The following morning at the San Francisco Airport, men with suits and hats and women with gloves and long dresses roamed about, checking in luggage and waiting to board flights. A womanís voice came over the loudspeaker to announce the arrival of an incoming PSA flight from San Diego. On the North side of the airport near a TWA departure gate, SinTee and Penny sat in the center of a row of seats. SinTee was dressed in a chufures uniform. Kim had instructed him to expalin that Penny was being brought back to the XX Navel base in Japan to renite with her parents.
SinTee stared straight, red eyed and without emotion. Penny just shook and watched the people go by. The crackling of a loudspeaker could be heard. "Ladies and Gentlemen", said a man over the intercom, "This is the first boarding call for TWA, Flight 768 to Kyoto Japan. Passengers can now board at gate 19."
"Thatís our flight", SinTee said as he pulled the frightened little girl down the steps to the tarmac. As they boarded the Boeing 707-120, SinTee placed Penny in her assigned window seat.
"Good-bye Mommy and Daddy", Penny said as she looked out at the runways and the hills of South San Francisco against the fog - her face pressed against the window.
Over twenty four hours later, it was 9:00 PM in a small village 30 miles west of Kyoto, Japan. Outside markets lined the square. SinTee, Penny and LangTo, SinTeeís brother, walked along the thin walkway. SinTee had kept in touch with LangTo by letters through the years, but hadnít seen him since the end of the Second World War.
"Why did you bring her here, SinTee?", asked LangTo.
"I had no other choice, brother. The authorities would put her in a foster home. Iím the only family she has now. She needs to be with me."
"Thatís not an option, SinTee. The little one will not fair well here. We need to look at her best interest."
Penny's life in a Zen monastery
In the rolling hills of Kyoto, among the plush greenery, were many monastery. These peaceful palaces were rich with beautiful Zen gardens that promoted Buddhism, a religion originating in India in the 6th century BC. Its central theories are that human life is full of suffering due to worldly desires, illness, death and the loss of loved ones.
SinTee had decided to place her in Kinto, a monastery buried deep in the mountains who few knew about. This is where she would spend the next 16 years of her life. By the time she had turned 20, Penny had learned an inner piece taught by wise grandmasters. Penny had become a master at several styles, including Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, one of the world's oldest martial arts.
But one thing had been nagging her through the years: Who murdered her parents?" Unfortunately, the perpetrators were never caught. The police just assumed that SinTee was involved since he left he country so abruptly. Penny felt that if she could make it back to the States, she may help bring the murderers to justice.
It was a rainy February day at the temple in 1975. Penny was in a small room in the South side meditating. A door slowly creaked open. It was SinTee, who Penny hadn't seen since she was a little girl. He looked quite old and drawn. Penny got up and rushed over to him.
"SinTee", she cried.
"Child", SinTee replied trying to hold back his emotions, "My, youíre not a little girl anymore!"
"I've grown a little", Penny laughed as tears ran down her face. Standing at a slender 5í8", she had turned into quite a beautiful young lady, with long brunette hair and blue eyes. His face turned somber.
"I have to tell you, child. My days are numbered. I have established contacts with someone on a US Naval base. We have made arrangements to get you back to the United States."
Penny stepped back. This had been her dream all along, but the reality sunk in.
"This is my home SinTee", Penny said and thought for a moment. "Would you be coming with me?"
SinTeeís eyes locked shut. "I canít, Penny", he said, "Iím a wanted man there."
It was a week later at the San Francisco International Airport. Penny had just got off of her nonstop flight and entered the airport Customs area. It was quite different than she remembered as a child. There were few men wearing suits and none wearing hats. Most men had longer hair and sideburns. The women weren't wearing long dresses and gloves, but very short skirts. Even though Penny retained her English dialect, she noticed people spoke differently, almost less sophisticated than she remembered as a little girl.
SinTee had made arrangements for Penny to stay in a hotel in Downtown San Francisco on Jones and Eddy Street. A taxi cab pulled in front of the hotel. Penny got out, yanked out her suitcase and put it on the ground. Reaching into her purse, she gave the cabby his fare. As she looked up at the hotel, she noticed the building had not been kept up. In the large front window, there were several shabbily dressed people in the lobby sleeping.
As she walked toward the hotel entrance, she heard the sound of a loud motor roar from behind and stop. Penny turned her head and saw a heavy set blond man swagger out of a beat up pickup truck. He was dressed in levy's, engineering boots and a stained white T-shirt with a Harley Davidson logo across the front. A large chain stretched from his belt loop to the wallet in his back pocket. In the back of the truck, a large dog was chained to both sides of the bay.
"Hey!", the man yelled. Cest turned back and walked toward the hotel lobby. "Hey, Iím talking to you!" She sensed the man was unhappy about something and decided to find out what the problem was. As she walked toward the old truck, the dog began to growl, showing its fangs.
"Can I help you, sir?", Penny asked.
The man just stood there, belly out and an angry look.
"Honey, you workin' dames are a piece of work", he replied pulling out some identification. "SFPD Vice", the man barked out and quickly put the badge back into his pocket.
"Iím sorry, but what is an SFPD Vice?", Penny replied inquisitively
"Iím a police officer. To you women, that means god!" he replied in a burly voice. His dog began to bark.
"What does this all have to do with me? I've done nothing!" Penny thought for a minute and protested: "Hey wait a minute. I'm in America and have rights."
"The only rights you have is what a police officer tells you that you have ", he shot back as he pulled an old condom out of his pocket. "Look what I found in your purse, whore", he said waving the condom in front of her, "I'm bringin' you in for Prostitution!"
The officer pulled out a pair of handcuffs and reached for her hands. Penny's arms instinctively spun into an intricate pattern, eluding the clamp of the cuffs. He lunged toward her, but she quickly spun around and ducked, causing him to run into his pickup. Catching his breath breath, he looked back at Penny with a grin.
The man then opened his arms and ran at Penny with the full force of his large mass. As he reached her, she quickly maneuvered a hard kick into his stomach. He stumbled several steps back and was able to regain his balance.
"Bitch, don't you ever disrespect Law Enforcement", he yelled throwing a wild punch.
She grabbed his arm and used it as leverage to do a flip, ending up directly behind him. The man looked confused. One minute she was in front of him; the next minute she wasn't.
Penny tapped him on the shoulder from behind. As he turned around, she delivered three successive kicks to his face- so quickly her body appeared to define the laws of gravity- each knocking him back more. Penny then yelled out a loud cry and twisted into an unnatural position. As she unwound, her feet gracefully cut through the air at enormous speed. With surgical precision, she made a direct hit into the manís face, jerking it back. He fell straight back and hit the ground hard. The dog was yelping trying to break loose from its chains.
As the fat man laid in the gutter unconscious, she went into the hotel to call the police. About five minutes later, five squad cars squealed to a stop. As they got out, each officer drew his gun on Penny, ordering her on the ground.
"That man tried to attack me", Penny protested.
"Heís a cop", an officer responded as he shoved her head into the pavement, "and youíre in serious trouble."
Back at the police station, Penny sat in the interrogation room. There were mirrors on three sides and a large table in the center. As the door opened, a tall mustached man, about 34, entered. Neatly dressed in a dark suit, he had a badge with his picture attached to the pocket of his slacks. He was holding a folder with some documents.
"Iím Lieutenant Tony Berneti", he said as they shook hands.
"Penny Cest", she cordially responded.
"It says here", he said opening the folder, "that you attacked officer Kirkpatrick while he was attempting to question you."
"I'm sorry I caused so much trouble, Lieutenant, but I did nothing to provoke that man."
"I know what happened Penny", he said putting the folder down, "We've been having trouble with this clown ever since heís been here. The problem is every time he gets a complaint and the department tries to take action, the Union gets him reinstated."
"What I donít understand", Berneti said as he walked behind Penny,"is how a twenty year old girl of your stature managed to bring down a 350 pound man."
As the two talked, she explained who she was and the last 15 years of her life. Berneti immediately took a liking to her. He found redeeming qualities in this young lady Ė moral conviction and determination.
"You believe in your work, Lieutenant Berneti, " Penny said, "but you personal life is not whole."
Berneti just looked at her. This girl was so young, yet very wise. He walked over to the window and looked out at the parking lot.
"You would think I have it all", he began to confess, "a beautiful wife, a nice home..".
"You are beginning to realize that there are other things in life beside personal possessions. And the marriage is far from perfect. Your wife is not happy being married to a police officer."
"How do you know such things, Penny?, he asked in amazement. "I'm much older than you, but I feel you to be far beyond my years."
Penny walked behind Berneti and gently put he hand on his shoulder.
"A wise old master once told me", she whispered in a soft voice, "There are are no finite answers, just infinite questions."
Berneti's began to realize that there was alot more to this young woman than what meets the eye.
"Iím going to take heat from the brass on this", Berneti said, "Weíre not going to charge you, but there is one thing I want you to do."
"Whatís that sir?"
Berneti pulled a card out of his pocket and turned toward Penny.
"See this man", he said handing her the card, "He can get you into law enforcement. Thereís too many bad cops like Kirkpatrick on the force, Cest. You have a special gift, and we need someone like you here."
A change of life
In 1976, Tony Berneti's wife filed for divorce, taking his three children and the house. She could not deal with the stress of being married to a cop. She felt his priorities were with his job on the force and not their marriage. For about a year, Berneti's life began to slip. He moved into a rented shabby studio apartment in the Bay View-Hunter's Point area of San Francisco. He began to drink and get into meaningless affairs with women he met in bars. His superiors began to notice the change as his performance as a police officer began to decline.
It was a rainy morning in Chuck's Cafe, a small mom and pop restaurant on O'Farrell Street in Downtown San Francisco. Berneti sat at the counter, sporting a 5'o clock shadow and holding a cigarette. He looked down, staring at his coffee cup and trying to manage a throbbing headache from the previous night of drinking.
"Hey stranger", a feminine female voice said from behind.
He turned around and saw Penny Cest. As she noticed his sad eyes, she walked over and put her arms around him.
"What's wrong, Lieutenant?"
"You were right about my wife, Cest", Berneti replied. After he took a drag from his cigarette, he continued: "You were right about alot of things."
Penny down in the seat next to him.
"I still remember my parents", Penny said. "It was so long ago, but I'll never forget the love they had for each other."
"I'm sorry, Penny. That was a horrible thing you went through. Who am I to burden you of my problems?"
"Human", she replied with a sniff.
For several moments, they both looked down.
"Guess what?" Penny asked enthusiastically, "I'm taking classes in Law enforcement and should be eligible for the police academy in about a year.
"That's great!" Berneti replied with a big smile, trying to divert his thoughts from his own misery, "We need you, I need you...".
"Tony", Penny said looking deep into his eyes, touching his hand, "There is someone I want you to meet."
About a half hour later, Penny and Berneti entered a small dry cleaning shop on Geary Street. An elderly Japanese woman stood behind the counter. Penny and the woman exchanged several words in Japanese and they both bowed. Penny motioned Berneti to follow her.
Entering an adjacent room, Penny lead him into an old caged elevator at the end of a small hallway. She pulled a lever and the elevator began to drop. After three floors, the car stopped. Penny reached over and opened the wire cage into a dark hall, lit only by candlelight. As they walked toward a door at the end of the hall, Berneti noticed some accent looking Buddhist statues. As Penny opened the door, an old Japanese man sat on the floor dressed in a robe. As he slowly looked up, Penny bowed and he lowered his head. Berneti gave an awkward bow and Penny let out a slight giggle.
"Welcome Tony Berneti", the old man whispered, "I've been expecting you."
Berneti just stood bewildered. How did this stranger know his name? As it was, this was ShanHo, an old Zen master. By day, he helped maintain the Japanese Friendship Garden at Golden Gate Park. By night, he practiced his religion in the deep basement of the old building. Some say ShanHo had unimaginable powers, including the ability to control time. He and Penny had become good friends over the last several years. Penny met ShanHo when she began to take long meditative walks through the garden.
During the next 6 months, Berneti took a sabbatical from the police department. Penny asked a special favor of ShanHo: to take Tony Berneti under his arms and make him a new man.
ShanHo worked extensively with the Lieutenant during this period, opening his mind to a philosophy one could never imagine. By the time Berneti returned to the force, he had quit drinking and was a changed man. Within a year, he was promoted to Captain.
Cest becomes a cop
By 1978, Penny had joined the San Francisco Police Department. Starting off as a beat cop, she was assigned to some of the roughest streets of the city. Her first patrol was the Tenderloin District, a four block area off Market Street, better known for cheap hotels, adult book stores and strip clubs. This is the area that she was assaulted several years prior by the rouge vice cop.
It was a foggy night in the city of San Francisco. A rookie on the force for two months, Penny sat passenger seat of the patrol car. Officer Johnson, a black man in his early fifties and a 29 year veteran, manned the vehicle.
Happily married for 32 years, Mike Johnson had several children and one grandchild. Penny received an earful from Mike, proudly speaking of his family and the love for his wife while cruising up and down the mean Tenderloin streets.
Retirement was coming up in about a month for Johnson, he had developed a hardened attitude through the years. He deciding a long time ago to just go with the flow. This concept did not go well with Penny who joined the force to make a difference.
"I know these streets, Cest", Johnson said looking over to Penny as they passed a corner with a group of reveling teenagers, "The rules have changed in the last 20 years."
"Funny", replied Penny, "I thought the only rule was to maintain public safety."
"Ah, there you go again, girl. You're gonna change the world."
Penny smiled shaking her head.
"The only way you can deal with these punks is negotiation.", Johnson stated as they passed another corner with several street hookers talking to what looked like their pimp.
"Never negotiate when you have other options", Cest replied looking straight.
"What options do we have, Miss. Wonder Woman?" Johnson shot back "Look - these knuckleheads rule the streets and they know we can't do anything about it!" Penny remained silent. "It's taken years for me to figure this out, so I'm tellin' you now: The best thing you can do is not to make waves!"
As they reached Geary and Larkin, two men outside a bar appeared to be fighting. Penny turned on the exterior spotlight and aimed it at the combatants. The patrol car quickly pulled to the curb and stopped. Johnson got out of the vehicle. Penny pulled the mike from radio and reported their location to Central.
"Hold it, mother", Johnson ordered out in his deep voice as he pulled his service revolver on one of the men.
Penny pulled out her firearm and aimed it at the other combatant who complied, putting his arms behind his neck. Penny focused her weapon on him. The other man pulled something from his back pocket. Before Johnson could react, light emitted from the object with a pop and Johnson fell to the ground. Penny quickly handcuffed her suspect to the door handle of the patrol car and then ran over to Johnson as he lay on the ground bleeding. The shooter ran off.
"Get'm Cest", he struggled with a cough."Then call the docs"
Penny ran to the car and grabbed the mike.
"Officer down!" she yelled "Nine hundred block of Geary!"
She looked at Johnson, hanging in but barely alive in a pool of blood.
"Make me proud of you", he quietly blurted out with all his energy.
Penny gently lifted his head and slipped his coat underneath as sirens echoed in the background.
"Help is on the way" she said in a soft voice.
As Penny looked around, she could barley make out the shape of the suspect running several blocks ahead. She got up and ran toward the figure. Rapidly catching up, she began to make out some detail- a large black male in a heavy overcoat in his early 20s with a slight afro.
The man ran into an alley, with Penny quickly gaining speed. The heavy stench of urine was almost overwhelming as Penny entered in pursuit. Along the edge of a dilapidated building, she noticed two homeless types sitting next to a rust old garbage bin, drinking a bottle of cheap wine. The sound of sirens could still be heard in a distance. The assailant ran toward what looked like a six foot high metal fence and started to jump.
Penny aimed her revolver at him. "Stop!" Penny yelled "Police!"
The man looked back at Penny and leaped over. With great agility, Penny maneuvered over the fence to the other side, staying closely behind him. It was an enclosed area, the only way out the fence they just climbed over.
"There's nowhere to go", she yelled.
The man looked around and ran toward an open door of a brick building. As Penny followed, they ended up in an old hallway. The sound of disco music reverberated through the walls of the structure. Thumping footsteps from the chase battered the old wooden floor. As the music became louder, flashing lights danced between the cracks of a door at the end of the hall.
As the man opened the door, the music became almost deafening. Strobe lights engulfed the hall. The man entered the large smoke filled room with Penny close behind.
Young people were everywhere, dancing and walking about. A large sphere spun from the ceiling in the center with small reflective mirrors.
The suspect began looking for options. A young girl with short black was standing in the corner waiting to use the restroom. He ran over, grabbed her and quickly pulled a knife out of his pocket, he pushing it against her throat.
"I'll cut her, man!" he yelled.
Penny had her revolver trained on his head. The man jabbed the blade closer to her throat as she let out small moan.
"You already shot one police officer", Penny said wiping the sweat off her forehead.
"Shut up!" He started to walk the girl backwards.
Penny slowly moved toward the assailant.
"Put the knife down", she said methodically. She then slowly put her revolver on the floor.
A flash went off from a camera on the other side of the room. The assailant turned his head briefly. The girl let out a scream and broke free. The assailant looked a little confused. Cest lunged forward and her feet kicked up, knocking the knife man's from his hands. It flew in the air, spun around and landed on a table, barely missing a young man.
"Just you and me, Partner", Cest pronounced.
"What you gonna do without your piece, Cop?" The man spit out.
"Why that's up to you", Cest smiled, "You can either come with me quietly, or you will be taken out in a stretcher."
The man laughed, but the expression on Penny's face became very serious. They both locked eyes, anticipating their opponent's next move. Penny slowly moved into a stance.
The man swung his long arms at Penny, but she ducked down and pulled out her leg, tripping the man. He feel back into a table, knocking down some dishes and glasses. He reached over and grabbed a broken wine glass and held it up as a weapon.
"You gonna die now, Bitch"
""Oh", Penny replied nonchalantly, "I really wish you didn't say that."
So quickly it appeared only a blur, Penny unleashed a flying kick into the man's head. The glass dropped out of his hand and he fell straight back straight onto the floor.
Walkie-talkies could be heard as four policemen quickly entered. Cest looked up to them.
"Are you all right, Cest?" asked one of the officers.
"Get this hunk bile out of here", Cest said wiping her head.
Cest failed to follow procedure
The following day at central headquarters, Penny sat at the end of a long table in conference room 2B. Windows on all sides looking out into the office area, this room was primarily used by Infernal Affairs to investigate alleged police misconduct. Several men dressed in suits holding briefcases walked in along with Penny's supervisor, Sergeant Jacobson, who wore a police uniform.
"Cest", I have some bad news", Jacobson announced, "Mike Johnson didn't make it. He passed way early this morning."
Penny just held her head with both hands and looked down in grief and looked up: "He had a wife and a grandchild".
"I'm really sorry, Cest", Jacobson said as he put his hand on penny's shoulder, " I know he was your first partner, but these men from Affairs would like to talk with you."
Jacobson and the two men from Internal Affairs sat at the table. One of the investigators, a tall man with wavy gray hair, opened his briefcase.
"Good morning, Officer Cest", the man began, "My name is Ray Stevenson. This is Dan Soladis. I will be in charge of the investigation." Cest shook hands with the two officers. He continued: "You have been with the department for two months?"
"Correct", she replied.
"Remember, Cest", Jacobson said, "You don't have to say anything without your rep". The two men gave him a glare.
"That's okay. You have my full cooperation. I just did my job, right?"
After a brief silence, Stevenson continued: "It's not quite that simple Cest. An officer is dead, and according to this report, procedure had not been completely followed. You put your firearm on the floor and out of your procession before subduing the suspect"
The interrogation went on for several hours. Stevenson kept making the point that letting the weapon out of her procession had a potential for disaster. The meeting ended with Penny put on a two week suspension.
"Can I please have your badge and service revolver, Officer Cest?" Stevenson asked.
"Welcome to San Francisco PD, Cest", Jacobson responded with a disgusted look.
Penny threw the items down and stormed out the door. As she walked down he corridor of the police station, she felt betrayed and humiliated. Jacobson did not speak out once in her defense, and it was quite clear that Stevenson was just trying to cover himself by accusing Penny of wrong doing. She thought of her time in the monastery, and how a master would of counseled her in a situation like this.
She walked by a door with a window, "Homicide" written on the glass. Looking across a large office area, she saw Captain Berneti sitting in his enclosed office on the phone smoking a cigarette. Penny decided to take a chance and walk in.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Mayor, but we do not yet have a suspect.", Berneti said taking another drag on the cigarette. Penny knocked on his door. He looked up and acknowledged her. "Mr. Moscone, we're doing the best we can with what we have."
Berneti pushed the phone away from his ear after a loud click, then hang up. He looked at his cigarette and smashed it into the ashtray. He then looked at Penny and smiled.
"Officer Cest. Are you a site for sore eyes". He motioned to the chair, "Sit down."
Penny sat and looked down. Berneti sensed something was wrong.
"I've been suspended, Captain", Penny sighed, "but I did nothing wrong..."
"Penny!" Berneti jumped in, "It's not you."
Penny started looking around the room looking for answers. Her eyes were slightly wet.
"Look", said Berneti as he got up, "I've had numerous talks with Jacobson, and he's told me that in the two months you've with him, you're the best he's seen."
"Why didn't he defend me, Captain? He knows of my passion for this job".
"Unfortunately, you have learned the hard way what it's all about around here - CYA - cover your..." He walked over to a picture of Mayor George Moscone "I just got off the phone with the mayor. Personally, I find him a charming individual, but foremost, he's a politician."
"So he wants what's right, correct?"
"Yes and no. Last year, his office did not approve a budget increase for the Homicide Division. Now that we have a murderer on the loose, his constituents are demanding results from our department."
"That doesn't make sense, Captain. He does not give you the officers you need, yet blames you for not solving the case?
"This is how the game is played around here, Penny. It all rolls downhill."
Berneti walked over to the filing cabinet and pulled out a piece of paper.
"Officer Samuel is retiring next month, Cest. They will not give me additional officers, but they will open a requisition for a replacement." Berneti walked over and gave Penny the document. "I want you here - in my department."
"I don't know what to say, Captain", Penny said as she grabbed the paper, "That's a pretty large jump from a beat cop"
"You have alot more to offer us than just being a street cop." He walked over to Penny "You helped me change my life around, but more important, you would be a great asset my department."
Penny said nothing and looked over toward the window. Berneti pulled a cigarette out and lit it.
"You come work for me", Berneti said as he lit the cigarette, "and I'll help you what ever way I can to bring the murderers of your parents to justice."
Two weeks later, Penny Cest was reinstated back into the department. A month later, she was promoted to Lieutenant and began to work side by side with Captain Berneti.
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