Late Lattes – Part III – A Julie Smithland Story

     “You still have those consulting privileges, Julie?”

     I lift an eyebrow at Bill.  He would be the first to know if either I or the department were to terminate our agreement.  So why would he ask –

     From the corner of my eye, I catch sight of the deepening scowl on Alex’s face.  Oh.  That’s why.  

     Bill’s expression, on the other hand, hasn’t changed.  Other than that mischievous glint in his eye, no one would suspect his question to be anything but innocent.  I know better.

     But I also know that mischief is Bill’s way of dealing with stress.  Dealing with the murder of a kid is pretty high on the stressor list.  Until the CSIs are out of the way, and he can look the scene over himself, he’s going to be chafing inside.  Hence the teasing.  

     With that in mind, why shouldn’t I play along?  Maybe we’ll even be able to get rid of Alex so everyone can breathe a sigh of relief.  He’s a good patrol officer, but his people skills leave much to be desired.

     “Yes, actually I do.”  I move to a better vantage point, steering clear of the techs collecting evidence.  Pulling out my camera, I focus in on the area behind the counter, making sure I capture the essence of the scene.  I’ll get close-ups lat

er.  All teasing aside, I care about what happens to this case.  “You know, Silas has offered to actually hire me.”

     Alex snorts behind me, but I pretend not to notice.

     “Really?  What did you say?”  Bill sounds just a bit too excited about my “news,” and I have to bite my lip to keep from grinning.  Silas’ offer of employment was a private offer aimed at getting a discount for the frequent investigations his paranoia requires.  

     I snap a couple more pictures before answering.  “Well, it’s hard to say no to Silas.”  

     “That it is.  I hope you consider it.  We could really use you on the team.”

     Hearing the door slam, I glance around.  Alex is gone, and Bill’s smile is about to split his face in half.  

     “It worked.”

     I roll my eyes, but his grin is contagious.  “You know, there are probably kinder ways of getting Alex to leave.”  Not that I’ve come up with any over the years.

     “But this way is so much fun.  You should have seen his face the day I told him you were thinking about becoming a patrol officer.”

     “You didn’t.  Really, Bill?”

     He laughs and waves me off.  “Well, we had talked about it once.”  

     “And I distinctly remember saying I wasn’t considering it.”

     “No, but the thought did enter your head.”

     “At your prodding.”

     “Yeah, so?  You were still thinking about it.”

     True.  Kind of.

     Conceding defeat, I turn back to the scene behind the beverage counter.  Something’s off here, and it’s bugging me.  I just haven’t figured out yet what it is.  I let my eyes slide slowly over each section of the narrow area.  

     The floor is what finally captures my attention.  The rubber mat is covered in a white substance – apparently the result of a shattered jar of powdered creamer.  What’s bugging me is why the creamer was over here.  Usually, Carl keeps it on the self-serve counter just inside the door.  Josh could have been refilling it when things went south, but if he’d simply dropped it…

     “Hey, Bill.”  I motion him over to me.

     “What’s up?”

     “You mind having them test that powder?”

     He shoots a quick glance at the techs then back at me.  “The creamer?  I’m sure they were planning on it.”

     “Not just a sample, all of it.”

     A puzzled frown crosses his face, but he shrugs and passes my request along to the techs.

     They grumble a bit, but I know they’ll do anything for Bill.    

     “Thanks,” I say when he gets back.

     “No problem.  What’s cooking in that brain of yours?”

     “Just a hunch.  Humor me.”

 

To Be Continued…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tea Review: Moroccan Madness from the English Tea Store

For all you mint lovers, this is the tea for you!  Moroccan Madness is a black tea blend containing US-grown peppermint.  Between the high caffeine content of Assam tea (still significantly less than coffee, but greater than most other black teas) and the brain-stimulating effects of mint, this tea will have you ready to take on the day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *