Ralph Mulino hated the sea. He was comfortable in the stairwells of housing projects and the stubble of vacant lots, but on the water he felt exposed. Knuckling the lip of the Harbor Patrol whaler, the Verrazano Bridge to his left and a blink of the Statue of Liberty deep in the dark to his right, he took in the kid steering. Sergeant Sparks, proud to have come up through the Seven-Seven in just three years. Proud to have stomped his patrol tour in Crown Heights, as though that meant anything anymore. Every precinct was soft now; even the once-rough ones were like summer camp. Mulino leaned over the edge of the boat, ready to heave, then caught himself and lurched back. A brush with humiliation spared. He stared hard at the sergeant. The kid stood smug; he had aced the exams and got his chevrons early, but he hit each wave heavy, the weight echoing through Mulino’s joints, hips and spine.
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