‘We’ve got another one,’ Lara said from the doorway. The way she stood with one hand on her piece and the other on the door frame gave me a feeling like I was digging at a hole in my gum where someone had knocked a tooth out. Charlie had said not to piss on my own doorstep, but I thought Lara would rescue me from my ghosts. We had dated and slept together for the time it took to figure out that we were incompatible.
Now she wanted me to get up and play at being partners like none of it had happened. She had no other option beyond leaving the force. I knew she’d put in for a transfer to another precinct and been knocked back. Maybe she thought I had something to do with it, but why would I want to prolong the agony? I might seem like it to some people, but I’m not a masochist.
Her eyes narrowed when I didn’t move. It had been two months since our acrimonious split. She said I had issues. I said that if she left I would have one less. Not smart, but at least the days of pretending to agree with every stupid thing that came out of that sweet mouth of hers were over.
Charlie was my old partner. He got put out to seed almost a year ago and I had got Lara the rookie fresh from the academy – full of ideals, procedures, and enthusiasm that made my head hurt. Looking at her made my eyes hurt too. She was built like a Clarkson and had a thing for older men. It didn’t take long for us to breach protocol. Sure I was a lucky guy.
I swung my feet off the edge of my desk. So much for my afternoon nap. I had taken a swig from my hipflask to try and help along a raisin bagel I had eaten for breakfast and the alcohol had blurred the edges a little more than I wanted.
‘Tell me why you think this is related,’ I said.
I had seen the call come in on my desk – sailing in like a wavy blimp across the surface of my boots to hover centre stage above my console. I brushed crumbs off the desk, threw the wrapper in the trashcan and twisted the alert around so she could see that I had seen it.
‘Solitary female teen found dead in her apartment. No signs of forced entry,’ she said.
She sighed and ran her fingers through her thick blue hair. She knew what was coming and part of me didn’t want to say anything, but she had to learn not to jump to conclusions. She watched too many cop shows. When she wasn’t tied up with banging some other guy I didn’t want to know about.
‘Was she a copy?’ I asked.
‘Did she work at the same place as the other girl?’
‘This one slash her wrists?’
‘So how do you come to the conclusion that it’s quote another one unquote?’ I said putting my jacket on and switching my desk off. We had cost saving quotas to fill, I was doing my bit, plus it was kind of satisfying to have control over something in my life.
‘BE SAFE OUT THERE,’ the desk chimed.
Lara raised an eyebrow. She had painted them blue to match her hair and if I still had visitation rights I probably would have found that her neatly manicured bush was the same colour too. Coloured contacts finished off this month’s look. Last month it had been something called ‘burnt umber’ which I never really understood. She was rebelling against the uniform policy for rookies.
I thought she looked good in or out of the uniform and not for the first time I thought that for a detective I had done a really crummy job of figuring out how to make her happy.
‘Just a hunch,’ she said.
I tried not to look at her backside in the standard issue police slacks that I knew she had taken to a cosplay shop to have adjusted. It seemed like these days those freaks were the only good tailors in the city.
‘I don’t put much store in hunches,’ I said. It’s easy to look back now and see what a schmuck I was being. It’s no wonder we couldn’t get on out of the sack.
(C) 2015 Matthew Haynes extract from The Sun & The Rainfall.