May 21, 2011: Interview Room A
Nick and Greg sat in a row of chairs outside of Interview Room A. Nick was angry. Years ago, Capri had tried to get him killed by directing him to a shootout, tried to get his co-workers killed with bad directions, and did kill a few emergency service people. She had been fired back then, but recently he’d heard she was re-hired, and he loathed the day he’d have to hear her on dispatch again. He wasn’t happy she was dead, but it annoyed him that now, even in her death, she was toying with people’s lives again. He was so busy being angry, that Greg’s despondency didn’t register. He didn’t notice that as his friend and co-worker stared at the floor, he was dealing with a breaking heart and painful loss.
“I always knew that girl was going to get herself in trouble, but I never thought she’d take us down with her.” Nick glanced at Greg. “It’s not like we did anything. This whole thing is stupid politics!”
Greg didn’t respond.
Monotone and emotionless, Greg answered, “What?”
“What’s wrong with you?”
Greg said nothing.
“Do you still have a crush on her? Are you upset she’s dead?”
Greg didn’t answer his questions.
“Why are you upset?”
“Leave me alone.”
“Why would you be upset about her being dead? Do you remember what she did to you and Catherine? You were in ICU for a week and another three weeks in the hospital because of her.”
Greg’s anger began to boil. “Leave me alone, Nick.”
“Man, you got way too soft’a heart sometimes. She doesn’t deserve sympathy, even dead.”
Greg gritted his teeth and snarled through them, “And yours is made of coal! Now shut up!”
“No! That stupid woman got an EMT killed when she sent me and him and his partner to a shootout. Two houses were lost because the firefighters—”
Greg exploded. “SHUT UP, NICK!” Greg turned a dark glare on Nick. “You’re happy. Good for you. Now shut up!”
Nick wanted to be angry but Greg’s reaction left him so confused his anger fizzled before it began. His instincts told him that something was going on that he knew nothing about.
Greg looked away as his anger melted back into melancholy. Nick looked up when Henry approached them. He handed Greg the note Catherine had given him.
“I was told to wait for an answer, Greg,” Henry told him.
Greg read the note and handed the note back. He heaved a heavy sigh before answering, “Yes, it would have been fourteen hours ago, now.”
“Okay. I am so sorry, Greg. Do you need anything?”
Greg shook his head.
Henry left to deliver the note and answer to Sara.
Nick couldn’t stop watching Greg now. He wanted to interrogate him but Greg’s last explosion made him think twice. He didn’t like getting yelled at, and he really didn’t like getting yelled at when he felt he should know why the person was yelling at him.
May 21, 2011: Sunset View Apartments
Brass crossed the parking lot to an officer standing with Mr. And Mrs. Jacobs. They are young and looked shell-shocked.
“I was told one of you saw something?” Brass retrieved his notepad and pen from his jacket pocket.
Mrs. Jacobs nodded. “There was an ambulance in front of Capri’s apartment earlier tonight.”
Brass stared at her, waiting for her to drop the punch line. It becomes obvious, however, that she is serious. “You are aware that seeing an ambulance, even in an apartment complex, isn’t that unusual?”
“This was. There weren’t any lights on and I saw only one paramedic leave her apartment.” She points at Capri’s apartment.
“What time was this?”
Brass scribbled notes. “What color was the ambulance?”
“Blue and white.”
“Did you get the name of the company?”
She shook her head. “It looked like something was covering it up.”
“How about a license plate?”
Another headshake. Brass retrieved a business card and handed it to her.
“Okay. If you see anything else—”
“You know how they have numbers on the side?” she interrupted. “I guess the number of the ambulance, or something.”
“This one had three fourteen, but the four was crooked and didn’t look like the same writing as the other numbers.”
Brass smiled, closing his notebook without jotting the information down. “Thank you. If you recall anything else, let me know.”
Brass walked away, making a phone call. “Hey Sara, I talked to the couple. Naw. It was nothing. She said she saw an ambulance out here, but aside from a crooked number there wasn’t anything unusual about it. I have a couple more witnesses to talk to; I’ll let you know if anyone has anything useful.”
Brass hung up and headed toward another officer with another witness.
November 6, 2008: 5:00 AM
Frost formed on the body of the SUV and crept along the edges of the windows. It was difficult to see without any more light than what the stars emitted.
In the dark, Catherine huddled on the middle seat, wrapped in a coat and blanket. Greg was curled into the passenger seat with only his C.S.I. windbreaker. On each exhaled breath, the two exhaled white puffs of steam.
Catherine adjusted her position. In the deep silence, the sound was loud.
“Are you sure we should wait until sunrise?” Greg asked.
Following a yawn, she answered, “Yes.”
“Wouldn’t it make more sense to start back now? While it’s cooler? It’s going to—”
“No, Greg, it wouldn’t. I don’t feel like wandering down a road in the middle of the desert with only a flashlight.”
“No one knows where we are.”
She yawned again. “I know.”
Somewhere far off a coyote howled. Greg rested his head against the back of the seat, closing his eyes. He was just about asleep when nearby a pack of coyotes began to howl and yap. Greg sat up straight, looking outside. His breath fogged up the window faster than he could wipe it off.
His voice shook when he said, “We should start back now.”
The coyotes stopped, as if his statement made no sense to them.
“Yes. Let’s wander around, in the dead of night, in the desert, with coyotes, Greg.”
“You know it’s going to get over one hundred when the sun comes up.”
“Go to sleep, Greg. We have a long walk tomorrow.”
The coyotes suddenly erupted into an eerie chorus of howls, yaps, and barks. Greg lunged across the vehicle and fumbled for the switch that locked all the doors. The sound of the locks engaging was loud, despite the nearby canine choir.
Catherine’s laughter started low but quickly joined the volume of the nearby coyotes.“What? What’s so funny?” Greg demanded
“Good thinking, Greg. Lock all the doors. There might be a mutant coyote with opposable thumbs, and that coyote will open the door for the other coyotes, and they’ll get us!”
Not that Catherine could see it in the dark, but Greg glared at her.