Deja You.

I stop the car in on the curb. I didn’t run the siren, I didn’t turn on the lights, and the place we’re going isn’t for half a block more.

Still, I want to play this carefully. I’m not exactly sure what I’m dealing with, here.

Blood-Flavored Toothpaste. For the Health-Conscious Carnivore.

Blood-Flavored Toothpaste. For the Health-Conscious Carnivore.

For weeks now, I’ve been seeing the name ‘Dirty Dog’ all over. It’s usually someone on the periphery, someone who had a small stake in the job but not enough to be in charge, someone who got a key or a password, someone who was just there and nobody really paid attention when they left.

Someone that the police might not consider it worthwhile going after.

Someone who might have reasons for keeping a low profile.

But those aren’t the only reasons he’s got, whoever he is. Because this morning he was the driver for a knockover at a credit union. Everything points to it being a last second job, too: the muscles was yelling to eachother, not at the civilians, they spent time looking for the money, didn’t seem to know where it was. Didn’t take us long to pick em up afterward.

And when we did, then they were quick enough to give up their partners.

I considered not bringing Max, I really did. With the lengths that this guy’s gone to to not be noticed by the police, good money is on the arrest–if that’s what’s gonna happen here–getting ticklish. Max aint the type you want around when things are ticklish. But he’s still another pair of eyes. And hands. And legs, if need be.

One of the guys mentioned how they’d taken a sharp corner during the getaway, and the driver had cracked a tooth against the window. And I know a few dentists who do no-questions-asked work.

Here’s hoping he knows them too, and I open the door. “Alright, I’m looking for someone called Dirty Dog. So why doesn’t he just come quiet, and there doesn’t have to be any trouble.”

Everyone just blinks at me. Of course there has to be trouble. For starters, nobody in here is a dog.

Sly, Max hisses, nobody in here izza dog!

“Thanks Max. Don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t pointed that out.” Instead of listening to whatever he thinks worth saying in response to that, I glance around the waiting room. There’s an alligator, an anteater, a beaver, and baby rabbit. Obviously Dirty Dog was a nickname, so I just need to figure out which of those’d be most likely to-

Unless.

Suddenly this case seems earily familiar.

I catch the receptionist’s eye as I move closer to the patients. “Hey, does the good Doc do tongue injuries?”

Uh, no? she says, puzzled.

“That’s what I thought.” And I clamp down on the ‘anteater’s’ wrist.

Damnation, he says, and pulls off the mask. I almost reflexively release his wrist, in shock.

“You?!”

Indeed, growls… well, guess I never did find out his name. Till now.

“But, since when do you rob banks?” as I fumble for the handcuffs.

Someday, detective, I hope to have the satisfaction of watching you discover that getting married incurs certain financial outlay. The income which was sufficient to support a gentleman of my modest tastes suffices no longer. He looks huffy. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait to bring me in, though.

“Oh?”

I have a dentist’s appointment. He goes back to reading his magazine.

Ah well. Guess he’s got a point there.

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