Detective Bruno had barely enough time to get comfortable at his desk, and think bad thoughts about the piles of paperwork that littered it like annoying house guests that couldn’t take the hint it was time to leave, when he heard his name shouted across the bullpen.
“Bruno! Get in here now!”
He sighed, knocked over a stack of files out of spite, and began the unavoidable pilgrimage to his Captain’s office.
Captain Marc Hamel was a no nonsense kind of guy, who had to deal with a ridiculous amount of nonsense because all the cops under his command had grown up loving Star Wars. He wasn’t going to let a bunch of film geeks drive him crazy, though. He had three ex-wives and five kids who took care of that for him.
“You know why I like you, Bruno?” Hamel asked without looking up from his file.
“Because you don’t gotta use the Jedi Mind Trick to get me to do my job?” Bruno snickered as he leaned against the doorway.
Hamel looked up, only briefly, because he didn’t want to give Bruno the satisfaction of thinking he deserved his full attention.
“Funny, wise ass. Ironically, I was gonna say it’s because you’re the only one of my detective that I ain’t gotta tell how to do his job. You know why you’re here?”
Bruno shrugged. He didn’t like guessing games, but he was in a mood after spending all night canvassing the neighborhood around St. Sebastian’s, so he decided to play along.
“You’re gonna tell me I’m Employee of the Month?”
That got Hamel’s attention. He slammed the file down on his desk, and motioned with two fingers that Detective Bruno was to enter his office and try to show some respect.
“You’re here cuz I’m gonna tell ya how to do your job.”
Bruno rolled his eyes at the irony, but Hamel ignored it and kept going.
“You are to make the murder in the school parking lot your number one priority,” Hamel explained. “And you can consider that order coming from the highest source. Like from the Pope himself.”
Hamel gave him a long, hard stare like he was waiting for a smart ass comeback, but when he didn’t get it, he picked up the file and started reading it again.
“So you want me to prioritize a murder where there ain’t even a body?” Bruno sought clarification if only to ruffle Hamel’s feathers like he had ruffled his.
“Hey, you’re the one you dreamed of being a homicide detective,” Hamel blew him off. “Go chase that dream and keep the scary Nun happy while you do it.”
“What about the kid?” Bruno asked as he thought about all the grunt work he wasn’t going to want to do on a case he didn’t want to handle.
“Jesus! There was a kid murdered, too? I didn’t see it in the file!” Hamel nearly blew a gasket as he threw down the current file, and dug around on his desk for the one that pertained to Bruno’s case.
Bruno made no effort to hide his smile.
“There wasn’t a kid murdered, Captain,” he finally clarified. “I mean the rookie that found the vanishing corpse. Can I have him to help me with the incidentals?”
Hamel let out a sigh of relief. “Take him, but don’t break him, Bruno. They don’t make rookies like they used to, and I don’t like all the paperwork that comes with explaining why another one flamed out.”
“Aye aye, Captain!” Bruno gave a mock salute that Hamel didn’t notice because his eyes were buried in the file again.
When Bruno reached the door, however, his boss did hit him with one last word of wisdom.
“Yes, Boss?” he replied without stopping or turning back to face him.
“May the Force be with you!”
Hamel laughed. Bruno did not. Instead, he just mouthed a few obscenities and continued on the march back to his desk.
TO BE CONTINUED…