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    Tuesday, July 31, 2007


    PART XI – 13 HOURS

    It was time for coffee. Kris poured a cup and kept the Irish out, while The Detective sketched out what his next step would be on a bar napkin. When he finished, he stared at it until he was sure he’d hit all the right points. He then lit the napkin with his lighter and let it burn out the ashtray. It was more ritual than necessity.

    “I need another favor,” he said as he made his first tentative upper lip temperature test of the coffee.
    “You’re startin’ to rack up one hell of a tab.”
    “You know I’m good for it. I need you to give me a call in about an hour and a half.”
    “What for?”
    “I’m going to dinner with one of the lab techs and need an out.”
    Kris shook her head and laughed. “You’re such a bastard.”
    “That’s the idea,” he said returning her smile. He dialed the tech’s number and set the date, then he made a reservation at the nicest restaurant he could think of.

    Somehow the tech had had time to spruce herself up. She looked good. The Detective almost rethought what he was doing. She waited until the wine arrived to give him what he wanted.
    “Ran the DNA.”
    “No match.”
    “No match.”
    “There’s something deeply wrong here.”
    “I hope you mean with the DNA,” she said, giving him a sad look that turned naughty as her eyes rose back above the rim of the glass.
    The Detective swallowed silently, “How deep is the sample pool?”
    “It’s limited to tests taken for forensic reasons. If they think you’ve done something wrong, or you have then we have a sample.”
    “Have you ever seen me wearing boots?”
    “No, but I’d like to.” He throws her a suggestive eyebrow. She giggles and takes another sip of wine.
    “We don’t have access to that.”
    “Who does?”
    The Tech gives him a look like he might not be as smart as she’d always thought. “The Military.”
    “You’re just being smart.”
    “There seemed to be a vacuum for a moment. I felt obligated to fill it.”
    The Detective almost chokes on his wine as he feels her foot trying to crawl up his pants leg. The situation was getting out of hand fast. Luckily the waiter arrived, just as The Detective felt it necessary to place his napkin in his lap.

    Kris called halfway through the calamari ala planche appetizer. “Fine,” he faked being annoyed. “Yeah...yeah, I’ll be there. Thanks for the interruption.” He slammed the phone off and gave her a sorry look.
    “Duty calls?”
    “Yeah, I’ve gotta’ go.”
    “I understand.”
    He got up and dropped his napkin in the chair. “Look, you stay and finish.” He pulled some bills out of his pocket and dropped them on the table. “I’m really sorry.” He left without looking back.

    The Tech watched him go and then looked toward the bar. A woman had turned around and was looking her way. She got up from the bar and walked toward the table with a glass of wine in her hand. She picked up the napkin and fluidly seated herself and placed it in her lap.
    “I thought you said he’d leave before the appetizer.”
    “Quit whining, you get a free meal don’t you.”
    “Yeah, but I wanted squid.”
    “There’s still some left.” The tech pushed the plate across and picked up the money.
    “What’s for dinner?”
    “You’ll be having the squab. Now be quite and drink your wine while I feel sad about being right.”

    [This is an experiment. I don’t know where it is going. I write it and post it with only a questionable reread. It’s about the process of hitting the keys in the most reflexive of styles. It probably will go nowhere, but we’ll find out. I have no plan. I have no outline. I have no reason. It’s still © 2007 Greg Bunch, even if it sucks.]

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