NOW IN PAPERBACK
The next three days should have gone as follows. Sleep. Drink. Sleep. Drink. Get laid by supermodel. Sleep. Anna pleads for forgiveness. Conditional acceptance of Anna’s apology (the condition having something to with her providing me with oral sex on demand). Love. Love. Peace. Love. And somewhere in there, there would be a heartfelt and sincere re-union with Boratch, a new job offer at somewhere far better than People’s Protection, and the H.O.G. people, Cardinal and Minister would all go away. And, maybe more sex with a supermodel. Believe it or not, that is not exactly how things, actually, came to pass.
Instead, it was more like this. Anger. Depression. Exhaustion. Rejection. More rejection. And more rejection after that. Drinking. Nausea. Exhaustion. More Nausea. And so on and so forth. Those three days after Anna straightened me out on where things stood were not fun. I had plenty of time to think about it. About her. About what would never be. And about work and how I didn’t have any. And about friends, and how I had alienated them. And, shockingly enough, on top of all that, there were no supermodels involved.
But it all went way, way beyond just a three day misery tour. A misery-cation, if you will. Some seriously, seriously, messed up stuff happened on that third day. I mean, on top of all the other stuff that was already messed up. Which was already pretty seriously crappy.
I was walking home from the bar. I was drunk but it wasn’t a good drunk. More the kind you get from two beers because you hadn’t slept much or eaten in a while. And the bad buzz was made worse upon my return. My apartment had been trashed. Admittedly, I hadn’t done the best job of keeping it neat and tidy. There were dishes in the sink. Magazines on the sofa. Nasty things growing in the toilet. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking trashed. As in, someone got in there and intentionally destroyed the place. Furniture was broken. My TV was shattered. My stereo was stomped on. It was ugly.
My first thought was it was the act of a woman. An insanely jealous woman, crazy with rage. A hot, intensely passionate woman who would throw dishes at me one minute and have the most intense, psychotic, heated sex imaginable with me a minute later. Alright, actually, I didn’t think that. If only I was so lucky. But I did think it might have been Anna, for a second. But Anna was not the type to be so emotional. Or passionate. Or crazy in bed. At least not with me. So, screw her. So, this wasn’t her doing. This was one of two things. A message that I had done something I shouldn’t have, or someone looking for that DVD about Epiphany. Or both. Which I guess is three things. Whatever. The point is, someone made my already miserable life a little more miserable. I liked my stuff. My TV and stereo, in particular. And these assholes had ruined it all.
Using my vast experience as a law enforcement officer, I quickly developed a list of plausible suspects. Steve, because I had done exactly what he had warned me not to do by making my play for Anna. H.O.G., either looking for that DVD or just letting me know they were unhappy with me on the San Sebastian/Windsor/Broken Television case. Or the Minister, who probably figured out by now I lied to him when I fingered Mike Laughton for turning on him when it was me. Or maybe Laughton himself because he found out about all that. Or maybe even Boratch who came over really drunk to talk with me and got so angry, he did this. Or Superintendent Kim for trying to use his past against him to gain favor with Windsor. Or…wow, I hade made a lot of enemies. There were so many people that had reason to want to make my life a bit more sad and pathetic than it already was. Too many.
I sat there in the debris of my former possessions, trying not to think about how poetic it was that I was, literally, sitting in the ruins of my life. Heaven forbid I was ever that pretentious. My mind, still slightly buzzed and greatly tired, mind you, tried to go through the suspects once by one. It was all very methodical and logical. And, as it turned out, a total waste of time. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I started with the least likely suspects, to get them crossed off my mental list. Anna, first. Her motive would be anger. She was, indeed, angry with me about telling her father about us. It’s possible Steve had mentioned we had talked as well. That might not have gone over so well, either. Especially, since I’m not sure I ever got around to mentioning that conversation to her. She had plenty of reason to be pissed off. She really was kind of hot when she was angry like that. I mean, for an older, married with two kids, not all that good looking, woman. But I digress. The fact was my apartment was trashed days after our discussion. If she had done it right away, it would have made sense. In that passionate, crazy, plate throwing, psycho-sex having, sort of way. Which didn’t really apply to her. No, it just didn’t add up. When it came right down to it, Anna wasn’t emotionally involved enough with anything regarding me to put so much energy into it. I just wasn’t worth the effort to her. Haggard wench.
And then, her father. My former best friend and trusted confidant. Maybe he came over and…No, no way. I’d known the man for years and trashing somebody’s apartment just wasn’t his style. Punching people. Spitting on them. Calling them very imaginative and cruel names. All of that fit his M.O.. But not destroying an apartment.
Superintendent Kim? Would Kim have done this, or had it done, to send me off with style? He did seem oddly cool with the fact I had painted him as a Baby Murderer to Windsor. Too cool. He even gave me my job back. For a day. So, it was to set me up and spare his remaining officers problems. But still. I can’t imagine he would do this. A calm, cool death glare was far more his style. Loosing it like this was just way too out of character. Next.
H.O.G.. Yeah, Hand of God made sense. I mean, THEY didn’t make sense at all, always talking about God’s love and peace and coexistence, and then burning people alive. But, in terms of destroying the apartment. It could either have been a warning or a search for that DVD. The DVD I had already given to Boratch. I wondered if he still had it. Had they done the same to his place?
I called him to see if his apartment was still unmolested. I got his voice mail. I told him about the situation, to be on guard, and to call me as soon as he could. I wasn’t holding my breath that he would do any of that. Especially, the calling me part. Anyway, H.O.G. seemed plausible but I wasn’t sure what to make of it. A search? A warning? Both. I moved on to the other suspects. For now.
Mike Laughton. Rich, oil executive and father of the young, firm and lovely, Isabella. Oh, how I wanted to spank that girl. In all sorts of ways. I’m not even sure what that means. However, it accurately expresses the difficulty I was having focusing on the task at hand. Instead of being able to methodically rule out Mike Laughton as a suspect, I found myself enjoying certain thoughts about Isabella. Keep in mind, as I have made quite clear, I was slightly drunk at the time. Either way, the process of getting Isabella out of my mind and being able to rule out her father took a while. But I did it. I decided that her father was very unlikely to have ever been informed by Minister Kapinskov about what I had said about him. Unless, of course, Kapinskov told him himself. Which he might have. Which meant, Mike Laughton might have hired someone to do this to my place as payback. I put him down, mentally, as a “maybe.”
And then there was Kapinskov. He had been pretty quiet of late. But, when it came down to it, he should really be quite pleased with me. He was clearly lining up opposition to Cardinal Rooney and the Church for some sort of political power grab. I had helped him a lot with this. I had let the San Sebastian case lead to all these other things that the Church was involved in. Most of which, I realized, I actually hadn’t told Kapinskov about. At least, not directly. But surely he could piece together my visits to Gen Life with the whole San Sebastian/Windsor/Broken TV thing. I made a mental note to consider talking with the Minister directly, again, soon. I had good stuff for him. Especially that DVD about Epiphany, assuming Boratch still had it.
Where was I? So many enemies. Too little time. Right, Steve. Anna’s husband with the weirdly twisted view of chivalry and marriage. I could totally see him getting all worked up learning of my impassioned plea to Anna to leave him and be with me. The plea she stomped all over and spit on because she is a heartless bitch. But I could see Steve not liking that at all. He was pretty clear that he wouldn’t stand for that. But he was also pretty clear he wasn’t man enough to go one on one with someone like me. He had said he would contact his buddies in H.O.G., which might have been what made them do this to my apartment. Which meant H.O.G. probably still doesn’t know about San Sebastian’s confession on the porn stick or the DVD. Unless Anna told him. No, she wouldn’t do that. Would she do that? No, she wouldn’t do that. So, yeah, maybe H.O.G. via Steve. Seemed like a mighty strong suspect to me.
Who else? Anna, Steve, Kapinskov, Laughton, Kim, Boratch, H.O.G., and H.O.G. again…Who was I forgetting? I guess it could have been just a random thing. Kids high on something that just thought it would be fun to break stuff. Such things happened. It was the sort of violence and destruction I hated most. Everybody else I on my list had a reason to do this. Not a great reason, in some cases, but a reason. People just randomly making life worse for other people…the people that keyed cars, beat people up for fun, did crimes for a chuckle, sort of people…they deserved a special place in the basement of HQ. One where the interrogation specialists laughed as they broke their bones one by one. “Having fun now, Apartment Vandal?”
I realized I was getting myself all worked up. Until then, I had been remarkably cool and calm considering that all my worldly possession had been destroyed. And the act might be a warning to do harm to my person. Or parts of my person that I really didn’t enjoy the thought of getting harmed. I returned to being the consummate professional, analyzing the data and forming a hypothesis. In fact, my conclusion was thus. Whoever did this to me really sucked. That was about as far as I got, that night, trying to sort through it all. I ended up just clearing a space in all the junk that had been my furniture and falling asleep. However, things got much clearer the next morning.
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