"You got something special planned for New Year's?" Cooper asked Sherman. It was the end of watch on December 5th, and they were on their way back to the station.
"Uh, I'll be down in Pasadena," Sherman said. He sounded a bit squirrely about it, Cooper noticed.
"Pasadena, huh? You gonna be on the Beverly Hills Gun Club Rose Bowl float or something?"
"A friend of mine's in the parade," Sherman said reluctantly. "He's with the County Mounted Patrol."
"He's a horse cop?" Cooper said, snorting. "Some of us prefer to do real police work, thanks."
Sherman didn't say anything, but it was the kind of not saying anything that let Cooper know he was a little pissed off. "Wait, let me guess," he said to Sherman. "I bet your dad the lawyer bought you a pony when you were a kid, am I right? Did you braid its tail and put ribbons in its mane?"
"Shut up," Sherman said.
Cooper shut up, but he didn't forget. The next day, he waited for the right opportunity to bring it up again. They ended up called to the Northeast Holiday Parade when a few people complained about purse snatchers. The officer on scene was on a horse. He also apparently knew Sherman.
"Ben, hey, how's it going?" the officer said, reaching down to shake Sherman's hand.
"Stu, this is my partner, John Cooper," Sherman said.
"Stuart McClung, nice to meet you," the guy said. Cooper shook his hand, although he didn't want to get too close to the horse, who seemed awfully interested in Sherman.
"She's a beauty, Stu," Sherman said, stroking its neck. "Holsteiner?"
Cooper thought only cows were Holsteiners, but apparently he was wrong.
McClung nodded. "Her name's Sonnenfeld, but I call her Sally."
"I hate to interrupt your communing with animals, but I think there was some actual police business to conduct," Cooper said.
Sherman, McClung, and even the horse turned to look at him, and Cooper could swear all three of them looked disappointed in him, but then they got to work. They had the purse snatcher cornered in about fifteen minutes. Cooper had to admit that the horse was actually helpful--the guy was terrified of the animal, which made it a little easier to convince him to turn over his loot.
Later, as they were taking a break to eat some tacos, Sherman said, "If I get a chance, I'll join the mounted patrol. They only have up to 40 officers--it's harder to get into than SWAT. It's a great posting."
"A great posting if you like riding in parades and having kids come pet your partner," Cooper replied.
"I could probably find some kids to pet you," Sherman said, cracking a smile.
"How long you have to wait before you can apply?" Cooper asked.
"Four years, same as SWAT," Sherman said.
Cooper nodded. "Officer Ben Sherman, Mounted Police, huh?"
"If I can," Sherman said, looking at him sidelong.
"You can," Cooper said. "If that's what you want."
"Thanks," Sherman said. Cooper nodded once in acknowledgment.
Then a call came in about a drunken Santa threatening children with lumps of coal and they went back to work.