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A distant church bell tolled nine times as we went outside. A night that was now several degrees colder than we had left it felt less friendly and more out of sorts.

Its first defect was that neither Jay-B nor his silver boy-racer Prius was waiting where we left them, which was unsettling because Jay-B was a no-man-left-behind kind of guy - loyal to a fault.

Then there was a slightly-more-than-half moon and the flashing lights of a Ford Explorer Interceptor patrol car softened, but not obscured, by a mist that hung lower now, smothering the street.

It was the grotesque King-Leers of Lady-Cop Dowd and Man-Cop Tyrell that branded the night hostile.

Tyrell twisted his right fist into his left hand repeatedly like a drill, as he scoured Monica with a pawnbroker’s gaze.

Dowd spat chewing tobacco at a puddle so violently as she pulled herself out of her slouch she created waves.

Then she cleared her throat like she had something big to say. So I waited for her to get it off her Alpha Elite™ body armor protected chest.

“Someone or something you know missing Degas?” She asked, only it was more than a question.

“Uh-huh, my driver was supposed to wait for my return,” I replied, looking mostly at Monica who shrugged me off and then intently at the cops.

“Yeah, about that,” Dowd leaked through a disfiguringly broad smirk. “Some mutual friends of ours were having a reunion at the station. They sent us out with a party invitation Jay-B couldn’t refuse.” 

“He left you his car keys,” Added Tyrell, waving the keys in front of us like a red rag, before tossing them at Monica who caught them with minimal movement and slung them right back. “Only the car got towed on account of some unpaid tickets.”

“Lay an extracurricular paw on Jay-B and I’ll have your badge,” I snarled flaccidly for a crowd that consisted of Monica who was looking another way, and the two corrupt, snarling coppers. 


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