Previous episodes: Part 1 • Part 2 • Part 3 • Part 4 • Part 5
Xenocide, part 6
Out On the Town
Out On the Town
“Looks like something my cousin would drive,” said Tenesha when she saw it. “What possessed you to get a ride like that?”
I lowered my voice. “It’s not official, but I’m still on that case. I needed something the Fibs hadn’t managed to get their buggy little mitts on.”
Her eyes got big. “No shit? You’re still gonna investigate this?”
“Yeah. You didn’t hear this, but the sheriff is backing me up. He got me this car out of the impound lot.” I grinned. “So… you wanna take a drive?”
“Let’s have a drink or two first. Then we’ll see.”
We left after a couple beers and a big plate of nachos to put something on our stomachs. “Where to, copper?” she grinned.
I was tempted to say something stupid like My place, but managed to (as Moss might say) keep it real. “Oh… no place in particular. I just thought we’d cruise the strip, maybe wind it up on the freeway a little. Then come back here and see what they’ve got for dessert.”
“Sounds like a good first date!”
The temperature seemed to climb a few degrees, and I tried to recover. “The stereo’s awesome in this thing. Pick a station?”
“Nah.” She turned it off. “We’ve never had a chance to just chat.”
She had a good point there. The beers got us past the awkward teenager thing, keeping the silences short and amusing, and we ended up telling each other our life stories. “I decided to be an EMT after we got wrecked when I was a kid,” she said. “I was buckled in good in the back seat, so I was just shaken up and scared. Mom was hurt pretty bad though. I thought those guys who got us out of the car and to the hospital were heroes, and I decided I wanted to be just like them.” She sat for a moment, remembering. “What about you?” she asked at last. “What made you decide to be a cop?”
“A couple of things,” I said. “I grew up out in the country, and the cops didn’t have a good reputation. I always thought I could do a better job than that. My brother getting beat up really bad and robbed sealed the deal for me. I was in college, majoring in biology at the time. They never tried to catch the people who did it, even though he gave good descriptions of the perps. I knew I had to do something to make a difference then, so I left college and enrolled in the academy first chance I got.”
“I’m sorry,” she said, laying a hand on my arm.
I slid my own hand off the wheel and took her hand. “It’s okay,” I said. “He got over it — I don’t think it changed his life as much as mine. But I like the work. We don’t solve every crime here, but we do our best and —”
“Oh no!” Tenesha pointed. Up ahead, in the intersection, an SUV and a pickup truck had mixed it up. The pickup was on its side. I hit the emergency flashers and grabbed the portable radio; Tenesha was already out the door and running toward the scene.
That’s the thing about being a cop — or an EMT — you’re never really off-duty. And the evening had looked so promising.