One of Her is More Than Enough.

Pokey enuff place, ain’t it?

I have to agree, but I’m not gonna tell him that. Instead I shush him and we take cover behind the ubiquitous white picket fence. I don’t know when this job is supposed to go down, but we’ve got to be ready when it does, so that means maybe hours of silent patience.

And I only now just realized what a horrible idea it was to bring Max.

Guess they took those “didn’t Cassandra used to be tawny?” remarks to heart.

The night is heavy with the smell of cut grass and housepaint. All around me, there’s people deeply asleep, not one of them thinking about what might be moving around in the darkness outside. Like partygoers on a cruise ship, passing over some tentacle monster, or some deep-sea fangly fish, that doesn’t happen to be hungry right now so it just swims past, and so none of them ever guess how close they came to being wet sausage.

Or being burglarized. Cause those are basically the same thing, right?

Ya still ain’t told me how you got dis tip, Sly.

“Just- It was just over the grapevine.”

It was just by chance that I went through the tank–I wanted to check if Lupo had one of my files–and I only happened to see something out of the corner of my eye.

Speaking of which, the corner of my eye is just what I can see some movement out of right now. Someone’s coming up the empty space between the next two houses over.

Lupo was in the interrogation room with the lights off. And in the with him, was her.

I can’t get a good look at the perp, they’re staying out of the streetlights. Careful, this one.

I’d been in these situations often enough to tell in a flash that whatever was happening in there, it wasn’t an interrogation. Cassie looked too nervous, too upset, and Lupo looked hungry. I’d always thought I’d be glad to see him showing an emotion for once. Guess I was wrong.

The perp just turned into the yard of the tiny shack with all the newspapers out front. I knew it.

I don’t really know what I was thinking. Maybe I thought Lupo was about to get rooked. Maybe I thought Cassie was about to bite off more than she could chew. Maybe I was jealous. But I found myself tossing the door open, and almost shouting ‘Hey Lupo they said you were in here!’ like the stupid roommate in a trite sitcom.

Max and I are rounding the house as quietly as we can. But then I don’t think it matters so much–whoever this is isn’t taking much trouble to keep quiet. Definitely amateur.

Thanks, Foxy, Cassie had said, with a sort of catching-her-breath and composing-herself beathiness.

“What happened?”

She shrugged. I thought I was in control, and I wasn’t, he was. She gulped. Thought he wasn’t gonna go for it, he never did before, but then he was coming on too strong, and I was really getting scared, and– That’s the last time I try to put the make on him, I guess. She hit me with this half smile, the kind that’s got ‘Not now. Later maybe, but not now, please’ written all over it.

We whirl around the corner of the house. Max shouts Freeze, police! And my flashlight beam hits the perp’s face.

As a token of my gratitude, she said as soon as we got out of the station.

“You don’t need-” I said, but she cut me off.

Yeah, I kinda do. Side’s, I’ve done a lot more for you before, and this time I guess I really do owe you.

I was never one to look a gift horse in the mouth. “Alright. What’ya got?”

I should have known there’d be a catch, some angle that even when everything benefited me, it benefited her more.

I should probably expect her whole family to be in crime.

I should probably keep it quiet to Carla here who tipped me off. Dad always said never get involved in a catfight.

The Final Word.

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