Xenocide, part 10
“Only fifteen minutes early?” she pretended to chide me. “What could possibly keep you?”
“Wrapping up a case,” I grinned, setting my radio against the wall. She listened wide-eyed as I filled her in on the details. “So if our Fed friends have any sense, they’ve already tucked in their tails and are running back to Washington as we speak. The — the victim isn’t getting justice, but pinning it on an innocent kid would be worse than no justice.”
“Yeah.” She looked off to the side. “I ordered us some supper.” The waitress came over and dropped off a plate of nachos and another one of cheesy fries. “I figured we’d need a little extra luck tonight,” she said, maneuvering a cheesy fry to her mouth without losing any of the cheese goo. We ate, we drank, we were merry for a little while.
“Fourteen,” said my radio. That was my code. I gave it the finger before I picked it up, and Tenesha shook with suppressed laughter.
“Disturbance at 638 Sherman.”
“On the way.” I looked at Tenesha. “That’s just down from the Moss place. Sounds like they’re not smart enough to let this drop after all.”
“I’m coming with you,” she said. The look she gave me said and you’d better not argue. She got a to-go box for the leftovers.
On the way, something occurred to me. I picked up the radio. “Seventeen, this is Fourteen.”
“Any disturbance down the way?”
I frowned. We had Noble watching the Moss residence, because he would recognize the not-FBI agents best, what they drove, and so forth. Something wasn’t right here.
“They’re trying to draw you out,” Tenesha said.
“Yeah.” I picked up the radio again. “Fourteen to dispatch.”
“Has anyone called in a disturbance at 638 Sherman?”
“Ten-four.” I rounded the corner onto Sherman. “Maybe I ought to take you back to Ruth’s. I don’t think they pulled this stunt to give me a box of doughnuts.”
“You need backup.” That no-argument tone again. I might have resented it if she wasn’t right.
“Seventeen, this is Fourteen. You see our lights?” I flashed the brights down the street.
“We might have a problem. One needing backup.” I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, but that wasn’t assuring.
“Come around and park behind me, then.” When in doubt, follow orders and stick to your post. Noble couldn’t bring backup to me, but I could bring myself to the backup.
“Ten-four.” I drove past Noble’s patrol car, then turned around in the next driveway down and slipped behind him. “You should be okay here,” I told Tenesha, and slipped out of the car.
Noble had his motor running, the heater doing what it could to keep the chill October night air from invading through the open window. The sound and smell of the exhaust felt reassuring, somehow. “Everything going okay then?” I asked him.
“Yup. Just did my hourly checkup ten minutes ago. The Moss family has gathered no rolling stones.”
“Clever. Sounds like their new scapegoat is yours truly.” I filled him in on the call.
“Yeah, I was wondering what that was about —”
I heard a door open, and Tenesha’s “No!” A second later, I was crouching behind the car, gun out. Noble lit his blues, then rolled out and came up hot. “Tenesha!” I yelled, squinting, looking for a target in the flashing light as Noble worked his way around the hood.
to be continued…
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