I write a lot, so I figured I might as well grace you with some of my work.
Also, I’m on Twitter and stuff —-> https://twitter.com/FunkyPenguin_95
This poem is called I Do Not Forget. I don’t mean offence with any of it, but it is the truth.
The Blood of the Innocent
Run thick on these streets
And the screams will never fade.
I can feel them, the sweat and suffering,
The scrabbling of Black hands,
The heat of survival upon which
This land was built.
The hand of the guilty will never be clean,
And the hands of the descendants will carry the stain.
You, the guilty, have wiped the minds
Of an entire race.
You refuse to remember, and remember to refuse.
But I do not forget.
And I do not forgive easily.
This next poem is called I Did My Best. It’s a personal poem.
I did my best to please the world.
Yet the world will never be pleased.
It’s a see-saw,
And it is bad for the heart.
So now I must choose.
But there was never a choice.
There is where I wanted to belong,
Which is filled with thorns
For the likes of me.
When the truth is wanted
They throw it over your head
As if you’re blind.
And suddenly you see.
In the house of contradictions,
Everyone was right.
Why fight the side I know like my own skin?
And hope, for the love of my people,
Also, I am working on a book as well:) Here are a few of the chapters:
“Off duty at last.” Grant grinned at his partner. Reginald, who everyone calls Rex, grinned back and raised his cup of coffee in a salute. He looked out of the window, into the night.
“Off duty at last.” Rex leaned back into the passenger seat, putting his arms behind his head. “The greatest is behind us.”
Grant laughed. “Any plans?”
“Apart from sleeping, and catching up on Judge Judy? I might actually just go see the kids down in L.A.” Rex shrugged. “The life of a divorced cop can be very dull.”
Grant nodded in sympathy. “Women are too complicated. I mean, I came home with a bunch of roses for the lady and she turns around the next day saying I don’t get her enough stuff.”
Rex shook his head in sorrow. “Who is ever going to understand them?”
“They are a mystery indeed. Take Detective Walker, for example.”
Rex rolled his eyes. “Don’t even get me started. I mean, wow.”
“Beautiful girl, beautiful body –”
Rex whistled in agreement.
“– Goes for that bitch of a defence lawyer. Blows my mind.” Grant shook his head. “I mean, it’s not like that guy has fried our ass too many times to count or anything –”
There was a flashing light at the side of the road.
“What the hell –?”
Grant pulled over to the light. He stepped out, his gun at the ready. “Are you alright?”
A figure stepped into Grant’s field of vision. Rex sighed, and started to remove the seatbelt.
“Excuse me –”
He started to yell. Rex wrestled with the door handle and took out his gun. “Grant, talk to me!”
‘Rex, go get back up!” Grant’s voice was panicked and it sounded like he was wrestling with something. ‘NOW! We need –”
His voice was cut off with a strangled yell.
The sweat was cold on Rex’s back. “Grant?”
He hesitated before moving from behind the car.
A figure stumbled toward the car light, and it was Grant. He looked up at Rex, and Rex could see the clouding over his eyes, and the knife sticking out of his chest. He ran forward, catching Grant as he fell to the ground.
“No, no, no, no, Grant. Hang in there, I’m going to call –”
Blood gurgled from Grant’s mouth as he tried to speak.
“Rex – watch –’’
Grant’s eyes fluttered shut.
“No, Grant, no –’’
Rex reached for the walkie-talkie on his belt.
He was dead by the time pressed the button.
Chapter One – Walker
Like this couldn’t get any better.
Normal clean-cut undercover case, murderer arrested – by me, of course – and heading for an awfully long time in jail.
The only thing missing was Page.
“Detective Walker, top floor’s clear, ma’am. No Detective Page.”
Damn it, Carl. Where the hell are you?
“Thanks, Foley. Proceed to next floor.”
“Copy that ma’am.”
My walkie-talkie crackled again. “Ma’am, basement’s clear. No sign of Detective Page.”
I’ve rung him, I’ve paged him, walkie-talkie’d him, texted him, and all I got was silence.
“Alright, Grant. Proceed to search the ground floor.”
“And all of you stop the ma’am-ing. It’s Josie. I’m a cop too, you know.”
I heard the smile in Ted Grant’s voice. “Josie it is then, Ma’am.”
I held up the walkie-talkie. “If only you could see my middle finger right now, Grant. If only you could see it.”
An annoying southern drawl came on. “Not to interrupt ya’lls romancin” but we got a missing agent out there.”
I frowned. ‘Who’s this?”
There was a pause.
“Lark Egap, ma’am.”
Lark Egap? What kind of name is that?
“Egap, I don’t remember you being assigned to this –“
“Ma’am, not to interrupt but I think we found him.” Rex’s voice crackled through the yard, tinged with amusement.
Then it hit me.
Egap. Page backward. I was going to kill him.
“Carl Page, you bastard, wait till I get my hands on you. Can’t believe you would do that to me.”
“What’s the matter, baby? You miss me?” Carl taunted.
“Don’t think I am joking when I say I am going to strangle you. My God, am I going to strangle you. And strangle you good. Real good.” I continued growling a stream of painful death-threats into the walkie-talkie, stumbling toward him with my ridiculous high heels and tight dress, until I saw his lanky shadow coming down the stairs.
“Carl, you –” Then I stopped. “Carl, you look like crap.”
“Ma – Josie, Me and Grant are going to call it a night, if you don’t mind.” Rex looked at me. “Family visit up in LA. Don’t want to miss the flight. We’ll do the paperwork Monday.”
“Alright.” I nodded at them both. They did a good day’s work. “Have a good weekend. Tell everyone else that they can do clean-up tomorrow.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Grant waved and they both departed.
I sighed and focused on Carl again. “You really do look like crap.” I repeated.
“Gee, thanks. Nice to see you too, Walker. Did you have a good time?”
Carl’s tux was torn around the leg, his bowtie untied, his stark white jacket had nasty looking stains and he had a big bruise around his eye that was getting bluer by the minute.
“Damn it, Carl. Where the hell were you?” I ran up to him. His eye looked nastier by the second. The stains on his shirt looked suspiciously a lot like…
“Blood? Is that BLOOD?!”
“No. It’s strawberry jam.” Carl looked away.
“Were you in a fight?” I seized him up again.
Carl paused. “No.”
I glared at him.
“Yes.” He admitted. “But it was no big deal. Just a spoof with a jealous boyfriend.”
I frowned at him. “Boyfriend?”
“The boyfriend of the girl I met.”
“How was I supposed to know that she was still dating him?”
I couldn’t believe this. “We were undercover, in a murderer’s house, and you were flirting?”
Carl grinned wickedly. “I still got game.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Game? Game? You are worried about game when we were trying to catch a killer?”
We glared at each other for a solid five minutes, until he shrugged.
“I was just searching the ‘Upstairs’.” He grinned and looked down at me. “You are not jealous, are you? You are getting married, remember? To a defence lawyer, none the less.”
I was going to punch him. “I thought you were dead. I thought you were lying in a ditch somewhere, and you were just feeling up some random girl? Honestly? You are the FREAKIN’ HEAD DETECTIVE OF THE FREAKIN’ NYPD!”
My walkie-talkie buzzed, but I ignored it.
Carl looked at me. “I knew you had it under control –“:
“Control? This is not about control. This is about the amount of people that could have died if you had blown your cover. This is about us working as a team.” I planted my hands on my hips. “I thought you said we were still a team? How the hell are we a team if you are banging some girl while me and 20 others are trying to catch a killer? Tell me, Page because I fail to see it.”
“Well.” Carl said angrily. ‘You, well, I was, I mean – You didn’t have to go and have a smoke with him!”
“We needed his fingerprints on the cigarette! You knew that– “
“What about the butts, eh, genius? What about the ones he smoked already? We could easily have taken those and –“
“And would it have killed you to tell me this? I could have distracted Fullham for you while you searched the upstairs, couldn’t I –?”
“Well, you did a good job of that anyway, with or without me saying –“
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“You know perfectly well what that is supposed to mean –“
We bickered for another thirty minutes or so, while supervising the search through Fulham’s house, until Foley came and, looking quietly amused, cleared his throat.
“Ermm… Detective Walker? Detective Page? There is a phone call waiting for you. It’s Chief McCall.” Foley apprehensively indicated that we should go outside.
For God’s sake. “What does he want?” I muttered. Our Chief of Police, Chief Herman McCall, was one of the meanest cops in town, inside the Department and out. He was a good cop, but just not a nice person in general. But as they say, once an asshole, always an asshole.
We moved outside to the front of the house.
Carl picked up the phone. “Yes sir?” He nodded and smiled. “Yes sir. Thank you.” He saw the indignant look on my face and quickly added. “But the arrest was made by Detective Walker, sir.” He raised his eyebrows, as if to say Happy now? I raised my eyebrows at him and he rolled his eyes and turned back to the phone. “What?” He looked at me again in disbelief. “Why, what happened?” He blanched and stared at the car with a horrified look in his eyes. “When did this happen?” Carl nodded. “Be there is twenty.” He froze for a moment, and then turned to throw the phone against the wall.
“What is it?” I asked, our fight forgotten. He was usually a man of composure and calm. It was weird to see him Hulk out like this.
He ran his hand through his artfully messy hair. “Grant and Rex are dead. They were murdered.”
The pit of my stomach gave way. “Murdered?” They hadn’t even been gone an hour.
“We need to go to the scene.” Carl swallowed. “Apparently, the murderer left us a little message.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
It was cold and the icy winds carried the drizzle of the rain right into our faces. We were already numb though.
They hadn’t even gone an hour.
It scared me how close the murder was to where we were.
We were walking down a desolate, empty country side road, one of those ones that are like a whisper on a map; they are known by a precious few, and simply ignored by others. Narrowing the chance of having witnesses to zero.
Carl stepped under the yellow tape and we approached the unmarked police car. Carl held out his hand.
“Walker, McCall said that it wasn’t… pretty. Maybe you should –“
I gave him a stony glare. “I’m not nine, Page. I’m sure I can handle it.” I shook my head. ‘I just can’t believe it.’
Carl nodded. “As long as you are sure.”
We walk towards the car, where there was a small group of people surrounding it. Forensics, pathologists. I recognize a big bunch of red and Carl’s twin sister, Alex, turned to greet us.
Why is she here?
Carl seemed to have been thinking the same thing. “Sticks, what are you doing here?”
I still couldn’t get over the difference between the two Pages. Carl always denies any relationship between the two, and since they look so different, people were inclined to believe him.
Carl was tall and lanky, like his dad, with brown blonde hair. Alex, on the other hand had a great big shock of dark red hair, all fizzy and out-of-control. She was short as well, and really skinny, which earned her the nickname Sticks. No one would have guessed that they were only three and a half minutes apart, with Carl being the oldest. The only thing that they had in common was their bright blue eyes.
She gave a sad smile. “Trust me, I don’t want to be here.”
She handed the both of us latex gloves, and me and Carl exchanged looks. Alex was part of the world’s most secretive forensic labs. The Newton’s Forensics Lab is, if you like, New York’s little secret. Tucked away in the corner of New York State, it’s not marked on any maps. Google it and you will get the fancy one in the City’s heart, but not this one. The FBI, CIA, Pentagon, every facility that screams TOP SECRET on the top of their lungs used this lab, and for a good reason. It was one of the best forensics labs in the world. The question was, since when did the NFL work on civilian cases?
Then it hit me. This wasn’t a civilian case.
I looked at Carl and could see that he came to the same conclusion.
Alex led us round the car window. “Prepare for the worst.”
This was far worse than I could ever imagine.
Both bodies were stripped naked, but arranged in some kind of embrace. Rex’s face was leaning against the window, with a maniac smile fixed to it. I saw the thin slit of red across his throat and I saw the safety pins used to pin up the corners of his mouth. Bile rose to my throat.
Then I saw the legs in the back of the car.
I ran down to the bushes in the back of the road and threw up in them.
As I returned to the scene, my legs shaking, Carl gestured to the tape recorder on the ground in front of the car.
“When they said “message”…” His voice was shaking.
We moved towards the front of the car. A pair of forensics stood up to let us pass. It was an old fashioned tape-recorder, with a tape in the front.
“Has anyone played this yet?” There was a silence.
“Don’t think so.” Alex walked up behind us.
“Can someone bag it please so that we can take it to base?”
The pair of forensics that stood up to let us pass came back with a plastic bag.
“Have that analyzed as fast as humanly possible, then send it forward to the NYPD. I want that thing on my desk in two hours.”
He whispered in my ear. “I’m going to look at the bodies. Are you okay?”
I nodded. “I’m okay.”
Alex started. “Grant died before Rex did. He received a fatal stab wound in the chest.”
She gestured at them. I noticed that Grant also had a slit across his throat.
“How did Rex die?”
“He got stabbed in the back. He tried to call for help through his walkie – talkie, but was stabbed before he could say anything. We are not sure if that is what killed him. We were down here about ten minutes later.”
I pointed at the bodies. “Forty minutes, forty-five minutes, to do all that?”
“It appears that the murderer was waiting. They must have had all the tools for the job. They must have planned this in advanced.” Carl started pacing. “Why slit their throats? They were already dead. Why slit their throats?”
“To make sure the job was done?” I took a deep breath and peered into the back seat. Two pairs of legs, tangled and rearranged to look as if they were crossing each other.
“Where are their clothes?” I heard Carl ask.
“Disappeared, along with the walkie-talkies, guns and badges. Even the coffee that Rex was drinking was gone.”
“They are burnt.” I straightened up, feeling the vomit rise again.
“Walker?” Carl came round to where I was standing. ‘Jesus Christ.’
“The legs. They are burnt at the edges.” I stumbled back. Carl caught me. “Why would anyone do that?’
“So they burnt the legs off?” Alex shook her head. “Sick bastard.” She glanced at bodies again. “Let’s just pray that they were dead when this happened.”
Carl spun around, his hand still on my back, suddenly fuelled by anger. “I want this place combed within a kilometer radius all around the crime scene at first light,” he yelled at the cops on duty. “Keep at it until you find something. The murderer had a lot of equipment with them, so there must be some sort of trail. Find it, and report back to me.”
The crowd of cops murmured and I realized; they were just as scared as we were.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
In the conference room that night, back at base, the tension was thick. Everyone looked pale or was sweating. Carl stood, leaning against a wall, sleeves rolled up to his elbow, his tie loosened and he glared at the recorder as if it was personally responsible for the murders. He also looked like he needed sleep.
Hell, we all did.
Chief McCall stood at the head of the room. “We lost two of our own yesterday. Two cops were taken from us. I know that we will do everything within our power to bring the cop-killer to justice. I know this case hit each and every one of you personally, but you must remember that you must treat this like a civilian case, even though it isn’t. All the rules still apply.”
A general wave of disgust rose through the room, but before McCall could add anything else, Carl straightened up. “Can we play the tape?”
He didn’t wait for an answer, and pressed the play button.
There was a general crackling sound, and a disguised voice cleared his throat.
“How about we assume that you can hear me, loud and clear?” The voice, ugly and robotic laughed, but it sounded like it was crying. “I can see you already, faces drawn with tiredness, and eyes blazing with anger. That’s how I like my cops, me.” I could hear the laughter behind the voice. “I like them to smile, too. Reginald looked so miserable, I just had to fix it.”
The silence was deafening.
“I’m going to answer some of the questions that would be on your mind.”
It cleared its throat again, and I saw Carl make a note in his note book. “Yes, I killed Grant and Smiley-Reginald. Why? They were annoying me. Simple as. Here is a joke, you guys: what is worse than a serial killer?”
The voice paused, as if waiting for us to answer.
“A serial cop-killer!”
The voice laughed, as my stomach went cold.
“Isn’t that a good one? It’s exactly what you are thinking, by the way. I am going to kill every one of you.”
The voice hardened and I could hear the evil, the pure and utter evil, dripping off every syllable.
“I am going to enjoy killing every one of you, and I am going to leave our dear Headmaster for last.”
Then the voice coughed again. “Not you, McCall, You are boring. No, Carl Page. Carlton Henry Page.” I looked at Page, but he was staring at the voice recorder. “Oh, if you had any idea for what I have planned for you, you would wish you were dead already.” The voice went darker. “I am going to torture you, mentally, of course, and I am going to make you a spectacle. I am going to make you kill yourself.”
Page went pale, and glanced at me.
“Honestly, I chose you because you are so fascinatingly flawed. I might have a little crush on you. You should be honored.” The voice giggled liked a child. “Don’t get me wrong. You are still going to die. I’m just going to enjoy your death a little more than the others. Oh, and Josie? Josie Walker? I’m not going to kill you either. I figured, you know, in order to have a sandwich, you need two slices of bread. You are on top, if you don’t mind, Carl is on the bottom, and all the little cops are in the middle, like ham. McCall, you can be butter if you want. We don’t always need butter in a sandwich, and God knows you have got sticky fingers in the past.” McCall went red, and the voice paused.
“Don’t bother running away. Don’t bother hiding. Don’t bother doubling up reinforcements. I am going to find you all, and I am going to kill you all.”
The tape ended, with all of us staring at it, wanting us to take back everything it said.
Chapter Two – Page
I love brushing my teeth.
It’s weird, I know, but I like the fact that a simple routine done twice a day, can put a tiny bit of order in a hectic life.
And winning the ‘Hottest Smile’ award three years in a row doesn’t go by magic.
Usually when I come home, after being told some traumatic news that completely ruins my day, it is good to know that I can brush my teeth and everything will be okay.
But no matter how hard I brushed, or how long I brushed for, I knew that it wasn’t going to be okay.
And then, to make things worse, my phone started ringing.
I heard two of my colleagues, Marcus DeSalvo and Frank Harper, move around in the sitting room downstairs. Chief’s orders were that we double up in each other’s houses. I didn’t bother pointing out that an ant colony is easier to kill, when all the ants are in the one hill. Frankly, I could use the company.
Gloomily, I put my tooth brush away and rinsed, taking my time while my phone was ringing that annoying little tune that Josie put on, of a really annoying random dude just laughing, and I can’t seem to get rid of it.
Eventually, when there was no more to be done about my teeth. I dragged myself to my room, where my phone was still laughing.
‘Ha ha ha ha, HAAAA ha ha ha ha ha – ha ha ha ha ha ha –’
I checked the caller ID and smiled.
“My, if it isn’t the beautiful Josephine Walker. How are you, my dear?”
“Seriously?” I could hear her voice dripping with sarcasm. “Gee, I’m just dandy, considering the fact that I am now fearing for my life for a manic serial cop-killer. How are you, sweetie?”
Grumbling, I went down the stairs, to make me some hot-chocolate.
“I was just asking. It’s not like I don’t have anything to worry about, you know…”
She sighed while I stirred in the instant choco.
“I’m sorry. I’m just – Carl, I can’t just sit here. I need to do something.”
Marcus smiled, from the kitchen table, his trademark over-enthusiastic smile, and Harper just nodded, cool as you please, and turned to their game of poker. I grinned at both of them before moving to my living room.
I plunged myself on my couch
My ‘house’ is a basic two bedroom house, not too bad for a Head Detective, but a little mundane if you ask me. A few art pieces here and there – I am quite the gifted sculptor, if I say so myself – and pictures: me and my family; me at my graduation from the PA, me at my ‘anointment’, as Josie calls it, as Head Detective, me and my sister in high school, and me and Josie in Hawaii with Gregory the Defence Lawyer and my twin sister. The couch that I had thrown myself on was a flea market choice, but a good one, as it is still good to go 2 years later. I had my computer, my laptop, my TV – which I hadn’t turned on all day, because I knew that the news would be filled with the murder of Grant and Rex – my X-box 360 – for my non-existent free time – my stereo and my desk, all flung out in the far corners of the room. There was this space, a big empty space, and sometimes it disturbs me, because I knew exactly what I needed to fill it up. But other times, like today, I thanked God for the peace and quiet. Well, with Marcus’ snoring, that wasn’t going to last.
“Imagine how I feel. I’m the bloody Head Detective.”
“Yeah… That, and Marcus’ snoring is terrible.”
“Good thing he is not sleeping just yet.”
We laughed, but it felt wrong, all over.
“How is Greg taking the extra lodging?”
I heard her shrug. “He grumbled a bit, but when I explained, he was all over them. They have been playing poker since they arrived.” She sighed. “Why couldn’t I become a doctor like my mother said? Or a scholar in some random, rare subject, like my dad?”
“Because you love the glamour that comes with being able to legally wave a gun around, and no one touching your ass.”
She gave a weak giggle.
I picked up my hot chocolate. “We’ll get them, whoever they are. We will get them.”
There was a mumbling, and Josie giggled. I blinked at the phone.
That was quick.
“Go away, I’m talking to Page.”
There was more mumbling. “Seriously, Greg, leave. Go play your poker.”
Then I heard Greg grumble something that sounded like, “Why would I want to commit a terrible crime like leaving when you’re here?”
I coughed. “I’m still on line one, you know.”
“Oh Carl!” Josie said, sounding a lot like my mother. “Carl, say hello to Greg.”
I rolled my eyes. “Swear to God, child, you are worse than my mother.”
I heard Greg complain. “Do I have to? He gets really sarcastic and mean with me.”
“Carl, be nice to Greg.”
“Okay, you are worse than my grandmother –”
“Isn’t she just?” A deep male voice came on.
“Gregory the Defence Lawyer.” I tried to sound as cold and formal as possible.
“Carlton the Head Detective.” Greg returned the favor.
“How’s business?” I asked, purely out of politeness.
“Like you care. Honestly, you are a funny, funny guy.” Greg actually laughed, as if to emphasize my funniness. Like my funniness needed emphasizing.
“And you are a dry, dry joker.”
“Says the detective.”
“Seriously? ‘Says the detective’?”
“How are we ever going to get along? I mean, you are Maid Of Honor at our wedding.”
Funny. Freaking hilarious. “I kinda like the gig we got going here. I slag you off, you be bitchy, we all leave the place like the men we are. Well, the man I am. Not quite sure about you…”
“And he says that I am a dry joker…”
“And you are still so, Gregory. You are still so. By the way, Greg?”
Greg sounded surprised. “Yeas?”
“Look after her.”
There was a pause. “I will.”
There was a sound of shuffling, and Walker came back on. “What did you do to Greg?”
“As usual, he couldn’t handle my charm and general sexiness.” But I had bigger fish to fry. “Josie, who’s Maid of Honor at your wedding?”
Silence. “I was thinking along the lines of Sandy, or…”
“Okay, alright, I figured we could do a Patrick Dempsey thing, you know?”
“Please tell me this is a terrible joke?”
“It’s a terrible joke.”
“I just told a lie. Page, please, please, pretty please?”
There was more murmuring and I heard Josie say indignantly, “So we call each other by our second names, so what? What do you mean it’s a boy’s thing to do? Are you trying to say that I am acting like a boy? Huh?”
“No, no, no, no,” Greg denied firmly, “I was just wondering –“
“It’s what we do!” I yelled into the phone.
“Jesus, Carl, that was right in my ear.”
“Forgive me, I thought that you forgot about me for a second.”
“So Walker,” I said extra loudly so that Greg can hear. To my satisfaction, I heard an audible huff. “Are you up for a trip to Sticks’ lab tomorrow?”
“Why do we need to go to Sticks’ lab tomorrow?”
“To… Get… Lab…Results?” I frowned. “As we usually go to the lab to do?”
“Ah, yeah. Naturally. Sure thing, Page.”
I turned, and started to play with a tear in the couch. Then I stopped and slapped my forehead with the palm of my hand. “Damn it.”
I had just realized. “We’ll have to do a press conference tomorrow.”
I could practically hear Josie wince. “We’ll be fine. We will waffle, you’ll wink at the ladies and give ‘em nothing. As usual.”
I heard a shuffle, and knew she just snuggled up to Greg, into his arms. I heard them kiss, and my heart broke that little bit more.
“Don’t do anything stupid.” I heard the meaning behind her voice.
“Don’t you worry, Jo, I am way too wonderful a person. And you never let me do anything stupid, anyway.”
She giggled, but I could still hear the worry behind it.
“See you tomorrow?” Josie asked.
“Yeah, sure. Whatever. Bye.”
“Buh-bye.” She paused. “Greg said bye.’
“Tell him to kiss my ass.”
“Yeah, Carl said bye too. See ya!”
And then she hung up.
I put down the phone, feeling worse than I did before.
I turned to find Harper and Marcus staring at me from the kitchen.
“What?” I looked at the both of them, a little freaked out.
“You really do have a thing for her, don’t you?” Harper looked at me with a raised eyebrow.
I froze, and then, realizing how guilty I looked, relaxed. “What? Pfft… No, no, no, no. No. Not at all. No.”
Marcus shook his head. “Man, you are in deep.”
“Shut – just – Marcus, shut up. Who has been giving Marie Cleese free donuts for no apparent reason?”
Marcus blushed a deep plum red.
I turned to the stairs so that they couldn’t see the look on my face. “I’m going to call it a night. Is it okay if you guys keep first watch? Wake me when you’re done.”
“No problem, boss.” Marcus stood up. “You look like you need the sleep.”
I glared at him and made my way upstairs.
I didn’t sleep at all that night.
Chapter Three – Walker
After a headcount and a big sigh of relief, we began the morning with a press conference. Needless to say, press conferences are the police’s worse nightmare in cases like these. It doesn’t only give the suspect – whoever it is – an opportunity to see our progress in the case, it also give the media the chance to show our weaker spots which, in turn, can be exploited by the said suspect. Yeah, we really don’t like press conferences.
But we are lucky. We have Page.
He is one of the better looking people at the department, so yes, we use him to make us look good, and he does an excellent job. He smiled at the right people, winks to the right people, is a smart-ass to the right people, and we have seen a definite increase in the population of female journalists at these press conferences.
But when we arrived at the town hall, where the press was usually held, we didn’t see the usual dapper, smartly dressed Page, with the casual touch of cheeky. We saw a weary man, unshaven and tired, with huge, blue bags under his eyes. We saw our head detective look like a wreck, and we were a little worried.
“Page?” I took him by the arm and dragged him to a mirror. “Why didn’t you sleep?”
He looked at me, with his ever-amused, bright blue eyes, but there was something in those eyes that scared me. “Why didn’t you?” He asked.
“Because I am not doing a freaking press conference, Carlton.” The use of his full first name didn’t catch his attention as I thought it would.
“Josie, it’s alright. I’ll just paint myself as a martyr.”
“Do me a favor, Jo, and stop mothering me. I already have a mother to do all the mothering, and she does an excellent job as it is.”
I shrugged, a little stung. “Do what you like, Page.” And I looked up at him.
He smiled, and touched my cheek. “I’m fine.”
He straightened his coat, brushed off some non-existent dust off it, flashed me a smile and walked out into the spotlight.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Two hours later, we were in his car, on the way to Alex’s lab.
But for the first time ever, we drove in complete silence.
I was still a little stunned, and I was sure as hell not going to say the first word.
I saw Page glance at me. He rolled his eyes.
“Fine, I’ll break the silence.” He lowered his voice and murmured, “The white guy always breaks the silence…”
I didn’t reply. I shot him a scathing look.
“Alright, alright.” He held one hand up in surrender, the other on the steering wheel. “Maybe that was a bit of a disaster.”
I looked at him incredulously. “Understatement much, Carl.”
“Okay, okay. Maybe a little more than disaster. Catastrophe?”
“Carl, you have redefined catastrophe. What were you thinking?” I turned to face him.
He kept his eye on the road. “I wanted to keep their minds off the case.”
“By talking about your ex-girlfriends?”
He shrugged. “First thing I could think of.”
I really did feel like strangling him.
“McCall is going to be all over your ass, like the rest of the world.”
We turned on Baker Street, where there was a desolate, sinister looking road leading into a huge building. The Forensics lab of the NYPD.
We parked the car in front of the buildings and Carl took a couple of deep breaths.
“I’ll just be my usual charming self, and everyone will forget about it in a week.”
I rolled my eyes. ‘Of course. Naturally’
We stepped out of the car and into the building. The security here, I must admit, was pretty tight. We weren’t allowed to bring our guns in – something which Carl was never happy about – and we were scanned and screened by two creepy looking officers. They were new, I noticed, but equally as nasty.
“Purpose of visit?”
“NYPD business.” Carl flashed his badge.
“What kind of business, sir?”
He frowned. “Homicide.”
“Expand that for me, if you please.”
I stepped up, annoyed. “That is confidential.”
The security guard eyed Carl, and he shrugged. Don’t look at me. I don’t own her.
Disgruntled, the guard waved us through. I stomped on ahead, even more annoyed, muttering about sexist pigs.
Chapter Four – Page
I made my way to the Homicide division, home to my evil little sister’s laboratory.
Oh, yes. I have a sister.
I denied all claims of us being related for years – I was adopted by a kindly couple after my home planet blew up – until she did forensics in NYU and could actually prove that our DNA match, just to shut me up.
I still deny it to this day.
But when we are not jumping down each other’s throats and trying to deny our family ties, we actually make a pretty good team.
But don’t tell her I said that.
Alex was behind a microscope, looking at some dirt that was shown on a projector behind her. The tip of her tongue was sticking out as the image on the wall went into focus, out of focus and back in again. When she finally got it just right, she turned to address the small circle of curious looking scientists behind her. I saw one of my colleagues, Derek Johnson, in the crowd.
“There,” she pointed a pointer at a small thread mixed in with the sand, “is a small thread of polyester, mixed with the sand. The polyester sample wasn’t off the jeans of the victim, but off someone else. Normally we would ignore this, except for the place where it was found.” She clicked a remote button and a groan of repulsion went across the room. There was a close up of the victim with her mouth stuffed with sand. “It is my understanding that the jeans of the murderer were frayed. And tell me, Detective Johnson, did we meet any untidy looking men while you were going around witnesses?”
“On it.” Derek turned and saw me, and waved. Alex looked up as well, and she smiled and signaled me to wait.
Uh-oh. Alexandra Page, greeting me with a smile. Not a smart remark or a rude gesture, but a smile. This can’t be good.
All the forensic scientists left the room, looking as if they had a world to carry on their shoulder.
Perhaps they did.
Alex turned off the projector, and went to sit on the corner of her chair. “Hey strangers.” She was smiling, but there was a touch of concern behind it.
“Hey, yourself.” I said, and helped myself to the peanuts that I knew she kept in the top drawer beside her desk.
Josie smiled at her. “Finally found a breakthrough in the Glenson case?”
Alex rolled her eyes in relief. “You have no idea how happy I am.” Then she frowned. “Well, was. I was watching this terrible new comedy on TV.”
I threw myself on the other chair in the room and sighed. I knew where this was going.
Josie didn’t. “What was it called?”
“Best Ways to Screw Up a Press Conference.”
Josie grinned, and I rolled my eyes. “Really, sis? Really? Best Way to Screw-Up a Press Conference? That’s all you got?”
Alex gave me a glare. “I came to work, and people were laughing at me.”
“And I don’t blame ‘em sis, because you are a very funny gal.”
Alex narrowed her eyes, and before I could do anything, Alex went into Lecture Mode. And when Alex is in Lecture Mode, no one can stop her. No one.
“Do you realize what is going on here? Do you know that people died? Do you know that the whole entire state of New York was looking up to you for answers?”
With every point, she took a step towards me, her eyes narrowed to slits.
“Do you realize that now, Mum and Dad are considering telling you to step down as Head Detective, because they –”
Too late, she realized her mistake and took a step back.
“Carl, I didn’t mean –”
I shook my head at Alex, and Josie took the hint. “I’m going to get some coffee.” With that she walked out, casting a worried glance over her shoulder.
Alex tried to put her hand on my shoulder, but I shrugged it off.
“Let me guess. Dad thinks that this is probably too big for me.” I shook my head mockingly. “Nearly thirty years old and he still treats me like a child.”
“No, it’s not that. It’s just –”
“Just what, Alex? I’m not just not good enough, right? Dad has always said that and I am tired.” I got up. “If you are going to waste your time trying to tell me not to do this case, just because Dad thinks I should step down, save your breath.” Alex opened her mouth to interrupt, but I held up my hand. “I followed Dad into his career, but that’s not good enough for him. I became the youngest ever Head detective in NYPD ever, but that wasn’t good enough for him either.”
Alex shook her head and tried to speak again, but I wouldn’t let her.
“Dad has been telling me to step down for the past four years. Yeah, that’s right. Ever since I got the job. At any hint of danger, its “Carlton, you can’t handle this.” or “Carlton, you are too inexperienced.” Considering that he was a Head Detective, he really doesn’t understand the concept of occupational hazard.
“So don’t even bother, Sticks. Because I am not going to let the Department, or Rex and Grant down. I owe it to them, and I will solve this case.”
Alex stood up as well, unafraid. “But I never even said you couldn’t. I’m worried, Carl, as any decent sister would be if their big brother took on a case as messed up as this. I’m worried about you, I’m worried about Josie, I’m worried about the whole flippin’ Department, I’m worried about how this will all end. I’m bloody worried, and your attitude, surprisingly, is not making me feel any better about all this. Someone killed two of the best cops around, and you’re hunting them down.”
I blinked. “Whoa. What?”
Alex went from angry to confused. “What?”
“You’re worried? About me?”
She rolled her eyes. “Don’t start, Carl –”
“My God, I thought I would never see the day. Alexandra Page has gone soft.”
“Don’t you start, this is serious!”
“I know, I know. But still… Alex Page going soft…”
“Shut up, Carl. I’m seriously going to kill you one day.”
We smiled at each other, but Alex tried and failed to turn it into a frown.
“You haven’t gotten away with this, Carlton. Not at all.” She rested her hand on mine and looked at me, serious again.
“Call me, okay? We’ll talk. About whatever you want. But you are not on your own on this.”
“Alright, alright, stop being touchy-feely already.” But I hugged her, because that was the big adopted brotherly thing to do.
“Oh, and the press conference? Part of the plan. McCall approved of it, so I’m going with it.”
Alex rolled her eyes, and everything was fine again.
Right on cue, Josie walked in with three cups of coffee. I eyed her.
Josie sighed exasperated. “Yes, sir.”
“Cream, not milk?”
“A touch of cinnamon for some flavor?”
Josie gave me a look. “You want cinnamon, you can go and get it yourself.”
She handed Alex her cup, put mine on the table, and started sipping hers.