Part II: The Impeccable Solve Rate of Dick and Bitch

(Click to read from the beginning of part I)



Refresher from last week:

My phone buzzed and we jumped. “Arthur.” I said as I brought the phone to my ear.

Arthur's voice crackled through the phone. “We’ve got a possible ID. Woman reported her boyfriend missing. Fits the description. She’s on her way to the station now. Pray to god you two are sober.”

I chuckled and hung up. “Pound that, Dick.” I said pointing to his beer. “Possible ID.”

He stood as he raised his beer to his mouth. We chugged our drinks, dropped a twenty on the table, slid our masks up and grabbed our jackets.

“Hell yea, game time.” Dick said as we hustled out into the rain.



Part 2


The rain was pelting us hard as we jogged back to the station. We skidded through the glass doors and straight into Jessie, freshly showered and smelling a bit floral.

“Detectives!”

“Bathroom.” Dick lurched as he sidestepped Jessie with a kind of juke and kept jogging down the hall.

I shook my head watching him trot at a steady pace straight past the bathroom and around the corner towards the squad room. I turned back to the eager smile waiting for me, made my face match his and said, “find anything?”

“Tons!” He almost jumped when he said it.

I took a step back involuntarily and waited for him to continue.

“Well tons of stuff, not sure yet if any of it is relevant. For a city that is generally considerate towards the earth’s wellness, there is a lot of junk down there.”

Considerate towards the earth’s wellness. I wish Dick had been here for that. Those kinds of comments made you want to go place tide pods in bird’s nests. I made a conscious effort to keep my face in that pleasant smile.

“We found a phone though, just not sure if it’s his. We sent it to the lab to get what we can and a tech specialist is coming down to see if any data is recoverable. Lots of trash, a shoe, some cans. Once the rain picked up, the water got too muddy and we called it. I expect we’ll head back down there in the morning. It’s all very James Bondish.”

I nodded. It sounded nothing like James Bond. “Great stuff, Jess.” I said. “Let us know if those guys get anything off the phone. We’ve got a possible ID. Some girl reported her boyfriend missing; description matches our vic. She’s on her way in. If it’s him, she can probably ID the phone too.”

“Oh, super!”

I nodded awkwardly and gave a double thumbs-up like an idiot - why is social incompetence contagious? “Thanks Jessie.” I said, about-faced like a robot and walked down the hall.


Dick was leaning back in his chair with a handful of candy corn chatting with a few guys we went through training with. They all nodded at me, and one guy, Albert, who came out drinking with us more often than most, slapped me on the back as I passed. Dick glanced up, “I’m telling them about last night.”

I chuckled, nodding, “Which part?”

“Our walk home. The weed kid with the pizza from Canada.” Dick said, laughing with his eyes.

I grinned, “I still got some of both.” I said taking a seat on the edge of his desk.

“Both what?” Dick sat up, looking at me confused.

“The weed and the pizza.”

“No.” Dick said, snorting out laughter. “You took the pizza? I thought we only got the weed.”

I started laughing too, “How did you not notice me walking with the full box of pizza?”

“I was focused on the fat joint.”

I choked laughter into my sleeve, shaking my head no. “No you weren’t, I have the joint too.”

That made Dick heave over again with silent giggles. When he caught his breath, “What was I smoking then?”

“I have no idea!”

Both of us were shaking, dissolving, bending over clutching each other. Albert and the other guys were chuckling along.

“McCallen, Lagarzo.” A voice from the doorway made us raise our heads.

We both gasped to catch our breath.

“Arthur. How we doing?” Dick said, his eyes still full of absolute glee.

“Your girl’s here. She's in 1. Emma’s in Observation if you need her. And pull it together, for the love of fucking god.”

I gave the double thumbs up again then, confused at my own absurdity, looked at Dick who snorted, “What the fuck is that?” Mimicking my double thumbs up.

I convulsed with laughter again, “I don’t know. I did it before too. I think Jessie does it.”

“Ah.” Dick said, “You’ve reached your quota with that kid for the day. You start saying super and I’ll have to kill us both.”

I grabbed the file and we followed the chief out of the room, still chortling.


We composed ourselves outside the door to Interrogation Room 1, and Dick pushed it open. A petite, blonde girl in an oversized black sweatshirt was sitting at the table, facing the opposite wall. She didn’t turn at all, and I only saw her face when both Dick and I made our way around the table to the stiff wooden chairs usually reserved for the suspect. She finally looked up from her phone when we sat. Her face was white.

I stared at her for a moment. Then in a low voice, leaning in, “Hi, you’re Stephanie?”

“Mhm.” She breathed in acknowledgement.

“I’m Detective McCallen, and this is Detective Lagarzo.”

She just stared, very pale.

“Before we talk, why don’t we get the hard part over with.”

She nodded, but said nothing.

“Our coroner is right outside, her name is Emma, she’s very kind.”

Stephanie nodded again.

“Would you like to ID the body? Or just see a photo.”

Stephanie inhaled quickly. “Um.” She whispered. “I think I’d rather see the body.”

I nodded and Dick raised one finger in the air. A second later, Emma gently pushed the door open.

“Hi Stephanie,” She said, eyes only for our scared little blonde. Dick shifted in his seat. “I’m Emma, the coroner, I can take you down.”

When the door snapped shut behind them, we both let out a slow, deep breath.

“Heavy.” Dick said, leaning back and taking out his smokes.


We only had to wait seven or eight minutes until the door opened again. The women eased back in and Emma guided Stephanie to her chair.

Emma made eye contact with us both, face flat and eyes wide, she nodded. We got our ID.

I gently slid a pack of tissues out of my pocket and onto the table, “Take your time Stephanie,” I said in almost a whisper, “but we’d like to ask you a few questions.”

She wasn’t crying but her face was still very pale, her eyes stuck on her feet, hands wrapped around herself in a sort of self-soothing embrace.

Dick and I sat quietly, inviting silence, words, tears.

“It’s him.” Stephanie said finally.

Dick opened his notebook slowly.

“He was your boyfriend?”

“Yes.” She breathed.

As gentle as I could, “Can you tell us about him? His name.”

“Will.”

I nodded, encouraging her. After another moment of silence, “Did you two live together?”

“Yes.”

Dick closed his notebook with ease and leaned in to match me. “I have an idea, Stephanie.” He said, kindness behind every word.

She looked up.

“Why don’t we give you a ride home. You can take the car ride to catch your breath a bit. We can continue this chat where you’re a little more comfortable.”

She waited a second before she nodded once and stood. “I drove here. You can just follow me. Is that ok?”

We both nodded. “Whatever you’re most comfortable with.” Dick said, keeping his face full of sympathy. Sometimes you had to take a step back and admire this dude. Spouses and significant others are more often than not the ironclad gates into the garden of the murder. If the spouse is innocent, which they rarely are, they usually have a pretty good idea who might’ve done it - or who would’ve wanted to, at the very least. So for Dick to get us a nice clean invite into the house of the victim and lead suspect right off the bat...not bad.


It was getting dark as Stephanie pulled out of the parking lot, flicking my lights to tell her we were ready, I rolled the car out after her. We told her to take it nice and slow, she’d just had a shock, yadda yadda. I wanted to make sure she got in a nice good cry, and it was out of her system by the time we got to her place. I was ready to get going with this.

It was still drizzling, but the heavy rain from this morning had steadied. The pitter-patter fell lightly on the windshield as we made our way through the downtown streets. The protests were starting to gather around the justice building, another reason continuing this away from the station was a better idea for everyone. I held out my hand for Dick to slap, “You’re a genius, Dicky.” I said. “But this pretty much rules her out.” No murderer accepts you that casually into their home.

“Yea,” He said nodding. “But we’ll get her talking.”

“What’s on top for you?” I asked, taking a wide turn that would take us across the bridge.

“Why she didn’t miss him sooner, for me. Been almost twenty-four hours.” Even for the true-crime obsessed, most normal people call in a missing person well before the twenty-four hour mark. “Then the normal stuff, last she heard from him, job, friends, hobbies.”

“Yea.” I nodded, “You take this one. I’ll look around a bit.”

“I wish we had that pizza right now.”

“I wish we had the joint.”


Stephanie lived in a pretty ugly, purple bungalow on the east side of the city about 12 blocks from the river. The dark yellow door glared at us as we pulled up to the curb. It looked like the entire contents of the garage or shed were scattered about the miniscule front plot like a mixture of abstract yard ornaments and garbage.

“Ew.” Dick said. We sat there for a moment, staring.

“My eyes.” I said blinking.

Dick leaned forward, squinting up at the house, “Why that color?”

Is she gonna be more comfortable here?”

“I’m not comfortable here.”

“Should we go back to the station?”

“Will’s been gone 18 hours and the place has gone to shit.”

I snorted and slapped him on the chest, “Too soon.”

Dick took a deep, exaggerated breath. “Ready...go.” We opened our doors and stepped out.


Stephanie was already leaning against the door by the time we waded through the trash obstacles on the front lawn.

“Do you mind keeping your masks on in the house?”

“Sure thing.” I said.

She led us in and we followed her down a crowded hallway into the kitchen. The inside of the house closely resembled the outside. There was clutter and flora at every turn.

She gestured toward the small, wooden kitchen table that looked hand made and Dick sat while I remained standing, scanning the busyness, pretending to examine some brightly colored knick-knacks.

“Water? Or I can make coffee?” She gestured toward a fancy, glass coffee-making contraption on the counter. Dick would sooner die before drinking coffee out of an unnecessarily complex apparatus like that. “Bean water” he called it and folgers was the only option. I hid my grin, and turned away again.

“No. Thank you though.” He said, taking out his notepad again. She glanced at me and I shook my head smiling.

It was clear Stephanie had cried on the way home. Her face was puffy in weird places, but, for the moment, dry.

“I’ve got a few questions for you, Stephanie, would you like to sit with me?”

She sat, grabbing the glass of water on the counter on her way.

“You mind if I record this?” Dick asked, sliding the device across the table.

She shook her head.

Dick nodded and pressed record.

“So jumping straight in,” Dick said, “We really don’t know anything about Will at this point and we’re hoping you can paint a nice picture of him.”

“You don’t know anything?”

That was a judgy response: we found out the ID of our victim when you did, Steph.

Dick’s voice sounded calm. “About him personally? No. Again, we’re hoping you can tell us a bit.”

Dick was staring at her, she was staring at the table. “Like what?” She said.

He glanced at me. “Well Emma - Dr. Wallace, the coroner - told you where he was found. Was that a normal place for Will to be at night?” Dick sat back, he had a very direct, but inviting way about him. No emotion, no expectations, he just wanted the facts. No judgement - outwardly that is. Inwardly, he already hated this girl, I could tell.

“Yea, it is actually.” She mumbled at the table. “He runs around the river a couple nights a week.”

“Alone?”

“Sometimes, but sometimes with his friend Kevin.”

“Was he meeting Kevin last night?”

“Well, I think he was supposed to. I’m not sure if he ever saw Kevin. Will got caught in the protest by your station and thought he was going to miss him.”

I couldn’t tell if she’d purposefully emphasized protest, and neither it seemed could Dick who squinted at her without changing his expression. We were probably just being sensitive. After a second he said, “How do you know all that? About Will last night.”

She looked up, eyebrows raised. “He texted me.”

This condescending tone was going to start pissing Dick off. “May I see the text?”

She reached and took her phone from the bag on the floor next to her. Dick took the phone she offered him and stared at the screen. He took a photo of the screen with his phone, handed hers back, and offered his phone to me to take a look.

The time on the text was 9:42pm.

Hey babe caught in the protests. Streets are blocked, I’m such a knuckle-head. Had to leave my car downtown.


I’m gonna try to catch up with Kevin but I probably missed him. Might just head back to the Hog and get some more work done.


Love ya


‘Knuckle-head’, these people were going to be too much for Dick to take. I put the phone back on the table and resumed my slow pacing around the kitchen.

“Is that the last you heard from him?” Dick asked, leaning back again.

“Yes.” She took a sip of water, choked a bit, coughed and put the glass back down.

“What did Will do? For work.” Dick continued.

“He brews beer. His brewery is up by Portland State. The Hog’s Head. Like from Harry Potter.” She smiled sadly.

It felt like this woman was very intentionally fucking with Dick. A Harry Potter brewery?

“Ah yea,” Dick said, writing that down. It was incredible he hadn’t cracked yet. “So is that why he goes for runs so late?”

“Yea, he brews after dinner, sometimes all night.”

“Kevin brew beer too?”

“No, he’s in tech.” She picked up her glass again, “His hours are flexible, so he can usually get away. Like whenever Will is ready to go I mean.”

“You friends with Kevin too?” Dick asked, eyeing the cup in her hands.

“Yes,” She looked up, then quickly, “We’re all friends, Will and I, and Kevin and Caren.”

Dick nodded, returning his gaze to his notebook.

“Here,” She said, standing suddenly. She moved around me to the fridge and slid a photo out from under a magnet. “Here’s a picture of the four of us. I love this picture.”

Dick held up the photo and I walked over, bending over his shoulder to his eye level.

There was Will, alive and well. He was on the left in black leggings with a bright yellow swoosh and a neon blue rain shell. He clearly had been running and there was some kind of medal around his neck. Stephanie was next to him, looking impossibly small in a big black puffy rain jacket, her hair down by her shoulders under a pink beanie. Next to her was a tall black man - presumably Kevin - in a bright yellow top and equally as blinding orange shorts. Between the two of them, they looked like a new pack of highlighters. Kevin was about as tall as Will and had also been running. A matching medal was around his neck. He had his arms slung over the shoulders of both women on either side of him. Caren was all the way to the right. An adorable brunette, slightly larger than Stephanie but athletic looking and smiling wide.

Dick put the picture flat on the table and slid it across to Stephanie. “When was this taken?”

“October, this October.”

“Was this a race of some kind?”

“Well, the Portland marathon was cancelled because of Covid, but the boys had been training and still wanted to run. So Caren and I made medals and they ran the route anyway. We met them at the finish.”

“Very cute.” Dick said. His tone was killing me. He couldn’t have found that less cute. I thought it was pretty cute.

Stephanie hadn’t noticed Dick tone. She was smiling sadly down at the picture. “They loved it.” She said in almost a whisper. I couldn’t tell if she was going to start crying again.

Dick gave her another minute of silence before, “Stephanie, -”

“You can call me Steph.” She said, sighing, looking up at us. “Most people just call me Steph.”

“Ok great.” Dick said. “Steph, we were wondering...why wait so long to call us about Will? Weren’t you worried?”

She flicked her eyes up, “No. I really wasn’t. I just assumed he went back to work last night.”

“And this morning?”

“Well sometimes he brews really late and sleeps at the Hog. I really wasn’t worried at all.”

“Ok.” Dick said, “At what point did you start getting nervous.”

“What?” She looked confused.

“Worried something had happened to your boyfriend.” Dick spelled out, exuding patience through every word.

“I never was, I told you. I mean, until they told me there was a body that looked like Will. That’s when I came to the station.” She was looking between both of us now, “Really, this wasn’t weird behavior for Will. He was never home.”

I looked down at Dick. He was studying her. “So why did you call the police then?”

“Oh. Well, Benson called me, one of Will’s employees, asked if I’d have Will call him. It took us each a few minutes of going back and forth to realize neither of us had seen or heard from Will all day. And I knew Will walked through the protests last night. I was actually calling the police to see if he’d gotten arrested. You know how they’re doing that down there.”

Again, I couldn’t tell if she meant anything by that comment.

Dick stared at her with his blank face again. I was suddenly very glad his mask was still on. Dick had a sneer to rival all sneers. “Did you call anyone else before you called us?” His voice was as flat as his eyes.

“I called Kevin. To see if Will had caught up with him last night. But he hadn’t.”

“Hm.” Dick grunted, twirling his pen around his fingers, still watching her. “Now Steph, this next question is going to sound, well -” he paused deciding on an appropriate word, “ - a little aggressive, but we need to know, ok?”

Steph moved her glass to the side, as if preparing to arm wrestle and stared across the table nodding.

“Ok,” He began, choosing his words with intent, “Can you think of anyone who would want Will dead?”

“No one!” Steph almost shouted.

Huh. That didn’t sound very convincing.

“That sounded a little defensive.” Dick whispered, doing his best to make it sound like a statement instead of the accusation it was.

We all waited. “I didn’t want him dead.” Steph said finally.

Dick nodded very slowly, “That is not what I asked, Steph.”

“No one wanted him dead.” Steph said. “I know that no one wanted him dead.”

“Did someone want to scare him? Or want him out of the way?” Dick was being methodical but stern. I knew he wanted to be more accusational to move this along, but once you point a spotlight, you lose the willing cooperation. You had to make her drag herself into this.

“No. Everyone loves Will.” She stumbled, “Loved.” This was the first time she had used the past tense when referring to her dead boyfriend.

Dick looked up at me. I nodded. “Ok Steph,” He said, closing his notebook. “I think that’s all we need for tonight.”

Steph raised herself and followed us down the hall towards the ugly front door. “Were you home last night?” Dick asked. It was supposed to sound nonchalant, an afterthought, but I cringed when Steph jolted still.

“I didn’t do this.”

“Steph.” Dick said. “We don’t... We don’t know who did this. Obviously.” His patience was gone. “It’s pretty standard to question the victim’s spouse or partner first. We are obliged to ask you where you were at the time of the murder. At this time, you’re not a suspect any more than the next person, this is simply uniform.”

“At this time.” She repeated.

“Correct.” Dick said. “At this time.”

She paused for a second. “It wasn't me.”

“Ok. But just for our records, can you tell me - ”

“I was here.” She said, “All night.”

Dick nodded. “Ok, anyone here with you?”

She swallowed, “No.”

“Ok.” Dick said again. He turned away. We’d push the issue at a later date. At the door, he turned back. “Thanks for talking with us Steph. I’m very sorry for your loss.”

“If you think of anything you may have forgotten to mention,” I chimed in, “Please give us a call. I left my card on the fridge. Has my cell.”

Stephanie nodded. “Thank you.” She said, ostensibly against her will, like a kid whose mother nags about manners.


We weaved our way back through the landmines on the front lawn, this time in complete darkness. Dick was a few steps ahead of me and I heard him trip over something and swear. We heaved ourselves back into the car.

“God.” Dick said, settling deep in his seat, closing his eyes, hands folded like prayer over his chest.

I chuckled as I started her up and pulled away.

“She sucked.” Dick said, eyes still closed.

“Come on. She was fine.” I said, “Just very Portland.”

Dick ignored me. “Her boyfriend sounds like he sucked too.”

I snorted but didn’t respond. When Dick gets in these Portland-bashing moods, there’s not much anyone can do. And they’re rarely founded on anything remotely solid.

Dick continued his rant, “That girl was fucking with me. Tell me that girl wasn’t intentionally fucking with me.”

I grinned, shaking my head, “Honestly, when she brought up the Harry Potter brewery of all things, I thought she was.”

“Took all my energy.”

“I know.” I said laughing. “Shocked you didn’t crack.”

“Knuckle-head? Who fucking says that?”

I just drove, letting him get this angst all out.

“No wonder she killed him.” He was still leaning back, eyes closed.

I glanced at him. “We don’t know she killed him, not even close.” I knew he knew that already.

“Suspicious as hell though.”

“Yea,” I said, “She might know something.”

“Yea, whatever.” Dick was silent for a moment. “Wouldn’t have blamed her.”

We drove for a little in silence, heading back towards downtown. I swerved around a rumbling truck taking his sweet time, and sped up, coasting through a yellow light and onto the bridge ramp. “Let’s get a beer.” I said.

“Well shit, Bitch.” Dick said, throwing up his hands and glaring across the car. “I thought that’s where we were going!” Dick was in a snappy, overdramatic mood, I loved it.

“Fucking relax.” I said laughing.

Dick turned up the radio. Soft jazz was playing and we sat in silence for a few minutes.

After a while, his eyes closed again, Dick murmured, “You think she’s sleeping with this dude Kevin?”

“I don’t know.” I said. “Yea. Maybe. Crossed my mind”

“We can see him tomorrow.”

“Yea.”

“I hope he’s more bearable than his friend Steph.”


I whipped us into the cramped parking lot behind the bar and eased us into the last open spot.

We walked around the corner and the bell chimed as we pushed open the door. The bouncer waved us along, throwing his hand up in salute. Dick saluted back and I gave him a good pat on the arm as I passed, “Evening Lenard.”

Without turning his head or slowing down at the bar, Dick called, “Roger, two pitchers and two glasses to the back. Bitch’ll take the tab.”

I shrugged at Roger who grinned at me. “Rough day for Dick?” He asked, grabbing two empty pitchers from a stack below the bar.

“He’s being dramatic.” I said. “New case, new annoying suspect.”

Roger grinned again and nodded, pushing the first full pitcher towards me and starting on the second.

“You guys on that murder case? I heard it on the news. Guy floating in the river they said.”

“Can’t tell ya that Rog.” I said, and winked. “Give us enough shots to calm Dick down and maybe I’ll let something juicy slip.” I grabbed the pitcher, dropped my card and headed toward the table in the back.

Dick had his head down on the table, like a school kid sleeping through a grammar lesson.

He lifted it slowly as I dropped the pitchers down, unstuck the pints glasses from one another, and slid one across the table. He caught it right before it went over the edge, not even flinching and poured himself an overflowing glass, slurping the foam as it poured over the rim.

“Ok.” He said, settling into his beer, looking up at me. “Talk to me.”

I shrugged. “She seemed normal. Emotional but not overly jumpy, not overly calm.”

Dick sat up, “Women killers generally act out of passion, self-defense or last resort, women use knives more than anything else and she can’t collaborate her alibi, or so she says.”

“She called it in though.” I said

Dick nodded, giving me a bored look and gesturing for me to continue.

“I don’t care why she says she called it in. She still called it in. That’s rare if you’re guilty.” I took a sip of beer. “And also, her story sounds like it could hold. We’ll talk to Benson and Kevin, but it makes sense that she wasn’t nervous about him missing.”

Dick took another few sips of his beer. “Yea, she called in the perfect time, but it could be because it would’ve been suspicious to call any earlier or any later. She calls earlier and we ask ‘why are you worried? This is normal behavior for Will.’ She calls later and we ask, ‘why didn’t you call sooner, as soon as you couldn’t find him?’” Dick looked at me for a second. “She called at the perfect time. If she’s innocent, it makes sense. If she’s guilty, she’s calculated.”

“Yea, I don’t know, but she knows something.” I said.

“This part,” Dick takes the recording device from his pocket and hands me the left ear of his headphones. He fast forwards a bit, rewinds, fast forwards and then lets it run, Dicks voice crackling through:


Can you think of anyone who would want Will dead?

No one!

That sounded a little defensive.

I didn’t want him dead.

(pause)

That is not what I asked, Steph.

No one wanted him dead….I know that no one wanted him dead.

Did someone want to scare him? Or want him out of the way?

No. Everyone loves Will…(pause)….Loved.


“All of it’s a bit weird,” Dick said, “But that part at the end. Everyone loves Will...correction: loved. Maybe she’s talking about herself. Maybe she doesn’t love him anymore. Maybe this is a crime of passion. That could be motive.”

“You’re a sap.” I said, adjusting my butt in my chair. “Or maybe it’s hitting her that her boyfriend’s dead and we have to use the past tense now.”

“Yea, yea, yea.” Dick said, leaning back, “I don’t think it’s her. But makes you think.”

“We’re not ruling her out. We’re just not pigeon-holing.”

We sat drinking our beer. Roger dropped off four shots and we each took our first.

“She’s short.” Dick started again. “The knife entries would line up, coming from below. Will likely knew his killer. No other realistic way he wouldn’t struggle. He knew ‘em, got stabbed and fell to his knees in shock.” I nodded for him to continue. “So let’s just think Steph for a second. Women kill outta passion, like I said, so that’s got spouse covered. She ties twine because she loved him once so she wants him found quickly. Doesn’t want him to rot there. Wants to give him that respect. She doesn’t have an alibi and he told her where and when he was going.” He paused. “We don’t have to pigeon hole, but she fits is all.”

“Yea.”

“What. What else?” He said, catching my tone.

“I don’t know.” I said, “I mean, besides learning the dude’s name, we didn’t find out much from Steph.” I took a big swallow of my beer. “Our recaps from earlier still hold. That text puts him at the right location. His actions don’t seem out of the ordinary. He was predictable in that way and more than one person knew his routine, Steph, Kevin, probably others. We have some people to question that’ll keep us busy tomorrow.” I shrugged. “Not much else. We can make Steph fit til we die, but we can’t confirm a thing. Not yet.”

“She got pretty defensive.” Dick said, picking up his second shot and gesturing for me to do the same.

“A little sketchy, yea.” I said, clinking his glass, shooting it back and swallowing hard.

“But yea.” Dick said, sliding our empty shot glasses to the side. “You’re right. Not much else.”

This early on, our speculation could go on for hours, but was generally time wasted. With such little information and so much unknown, it was best to just shut our brains off for a while.

Roger brought us four more shots with our next pitcher and we hijacked the pool table from a couple of college kids who were being loud. A group of girls sidled by at some point and we continued the mayhem with a posse of five. The night rode on, walking to a second bar, then a third after that, huddled together for warmth and for fun. The streetlights, unfocused and diluted, streaking into patterns in the dark. At one point, between laughs, I glanced at Dick, two of the girls were between us and another to my right. He was staring off at something I couldn’t see, smoking a cigarette. Dick always had a harder time shutting his brain off than I did.


The sun shone bright through the cracks in my blinds as I rolled awake the next morning. My phone was buzzing next to my bed. I let it ring out without even glancing at the screen and staggered to the kitchen for some water. Dick was asleep on my pullout, breathing slowly, but stirred as I turned on the faucet.

“Me too.” He whined, pillow over his head, but arm poking out and holding up his empty glass for me to fill.

I chuckled, grabbed the cup and tossed the Advil container over my shoulder towards his general direction on my way back to the sink.

My phone began buzzing again so I dropped Dick his water and went to grab it.

It was Jessie. It was entirely too early for that kid’s voice. It was his second call in three minutes.

I groaned and walked back into the living room before answering it. If I had to do this, Dick had to do it with me.

I answered, put the phone on speaker, grinned over at where Dick lay dead to the world and said, “Hey Jessie.”

“Noooo.” Dick’s voice from under the covers.

“Bitch!” Why was he shouting.

“Jesus Jessie, why are we yelling?” I said, wincing and pulling the phone further from my head.

“We found a knife. We found a knife. We found a knife!”

Dick threw the covers off his head. “What the fuck. Why’s he yelling? Just a text...”

I started laughing, “Calm down, Jessie, we hear ya. Is it definitely the weapon?”

There was stomping or some kind of banging coming from the other line. It sounded like he was literally jumping for joy. “It has to be. It has to. It’s huge, Bitch, gigantic. I’m bringing it to Wallace now.”

“Good work, Jess.” I glanced at Dick again, “Dick says fantastic work as well. Stupendous he just said.”

Dick threw up his middle finger and shuffled to the bathroom, rearranging his baggy shorts.

“Thanks guys, how crazy. I knew if the weather cleared, the river would too.”

“Yep, awesome. Thanks again Jessie. We’re going to head in soon. Maybe we’ll see ya in the basement. Tell Emma we’re on our way, will ya?”

“Will do! She said she