The Agony of Officer Longtorso.

Rookies.

I’m dealing with a real headache case: an activist group wants unrestricted predatation, say it’s ‘natural’ or something, they get credibility from the fact that their leader is a herbivore, then he gets drunk, trespassing and vandalizing, tearing down ‘no hunting’ signs. Once he sobers up he starts crying that it’s a frame job. Been trying to unravel that one for a month. Then I get word that the new meat’s got himself a case all wrapped up and wants to ‘present his solution to me.’

Rookies, man. Don’t ask me about them.

Just don’t.

He arrested one of the racially insensitive crows from Dumbo, so that's somthing.

“So these two say their picnic basket was stolen?”

He gulps like he’s trying to swallow a balloon that’s still being inflated. Yessir.

“And the report says it was a bird?”

Yessir.

“And how did you come to that conclusion?”

That was according to victim testimony.

“And these are the suspects?”

Yessir, he’s nodding like a bobblehead statue, these were all the birds in the immediate area.

“And you say you’re pretty sure you’ve cracked this one?”

Yessir, if he says that one more time I’m going to hit something, there were no footprints so it must have been the crow since he’s the only bird here who isn’t flightless.

I blink, then turn to Max. “You may be out of a job.”

Wut ya can’t do dat tah me Sly-

“But I think I found a sidekick more ridiculously incompetent than you.”

It takes a moment or two for either of them to get it. This bit is the real test, honestly. Which one will get it first?

Heeeeeeeeey dere, one sec Sly-

Guess Max’s job is safe.

I round on the rookie, glaring. “Congrats on your first time blowing a case I could have solved. You’re joining a long fine tradition in this department, frankly.”

He winces. Guess he still thought I was impressed. Well, I am, just not the kind of impressed he wanted. But… sir! I solved the case, didn’t-

“First! You had all the suspects in the same room when you briefed your superior officer and gave your suspicions, so now they know exactly what we already know, so good job giving away my ability to interrogate them. Second! You rounded up the first three suspects that matched the description you had, and didn’t bother looking for any more, especially after you had reason to suspect a flighted suspect, who can cover a lot of ground very quickly. Third! You only rounded up birds, which is species profiling, which means any lawyer even HALF awake will have the case thrown out in seconds. Fourth! You took the victim’s word for it that the thief was a bird, or that any crime had even occurred in the first place! You never, ever, ever do that.”

I glance down at the rabbits. Cant tell if they’re kids–they’re smaller than Max–or adults–one of em is starting to go bald. “If someone stole your lunch, then I’m sorry. Thank Officer Moron over there. If this was actually some kind of complicated double-cross, the congratulations on beating your new nemesis, Officer Moron over there.” That’s actually a lot less sarcasm than it sounds like, picnic basket thefts on the beach are a web of intrigue, for some reason.

There’s nothing else I can do here. These three crooks’ll be cocky and think they can beat the police every time, and guess who’s gonna have to clean that mess up, but that’s a worry for some other day. Today they get away.

The rookie isn’t so lucky “Next time I see you, you better not be a walking disaster area.”

He swallows hard. It’s a different kind of swallow this time. Yessir.

Ow! Sly, why da crap didja smack me?!

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