“Mom? Dad? Do you want breakfast in bed?” Kyle said.
“We can never sleep in,” he said.
“You have had kids for how many years, and you just figured that out?”
“There is always that faint hope,” he said.
“Maybe on Father’s day, but not today.”
“Well?” Kyle said.
“Heat up the toaster, we’re coming out,” Corey said.
Banter rose with him to dress. Together they went out to the kitchen.
“Wow. What a nice restaurant,” she said.
There were two place settings. Each with toast and a hard-boiled egg.
“I’ll have to show you how to make coffee,” Corey said.
“How do you make tea?” Colo said.
“Put a mug of water in the microwave for two minutes, then put in the tea bag,” she said.
They discussed cooking while they ate.
“So what are you two up to for today?” Corey said once breakfast was done.
“Read,” Colo said.
“I think we’re going to work with Patsy,” Banter said. “She told me what she is good at so we’re going to show you both what it is.”
“That’s okay,” Kyle said. “I still love her. She doesn’t have to be good at anything.”
“Talking about dogs, where are they?” she said.
“Backyard,” Colo said.
“Let’s go out and join them.”
She was glad that Corey followed. They both sat at the picnic table.
“Okay, shoes and socks off,” she said.
“What?” Colo said.
She knew he was always afraid of stepping in dog crap.
“If you don’t want to take your shoes off, then take off your socks and put your shoes back on.”
Kyle was already taking his shoes and socks off. Colo relented and took his socks off, but put his shoes back on.
“Kyle, grab one of Colo’s socks and call Patsy over. Colo, once Patsy is facing Kyle, go hide your other sock out in the yard.”
“You heard me.”
“Patsy,” Kyle said, holding Colo’s sock. “Sit.”
Patsy sat in front of him.
Colo ran out and dropped his sock, then came back.
“Here, throw Kyle’s shoe, but in a different direction than your sock.”
Colo looked unsure, but he did as she said.
“Okay, Kyle, I want you to let Patsy sniff Colo’s sock and then tell her to find.”
“Patsy. Sniff. Find.”
Patsy’s whole body stiffened as she focused. She sniffed Colo’s sock.
“Find,” Kyle said again.
Patsy’s nose dropped, and she dashed over to Colo. She sat and stared at him.
“Well, she did find you.”
“We need to throw Colo out into the yard,” Corey said.
“Dad,” Colo said in a laugh.
“Try again, Kyle. See if she figures it out. Have her sniff your shoe.”
Kyle picked up his shoe.
“Patsy. Sniff. Find.”
Patsy looked a little confused.
“Find,” Kyle said with a wave of his hand.
Patsy just sat there and stared at him.
“Looks like she just finds people,” Corey said. “Colo, run inside and get two beach towels.”
“What are you thinking?” she said while Colo fetched the towels.
“Have her find the boys instead of their socks or shoes.”
“Give Kyle a towel. You both run out in the yard and hide under a towel. We’ll see if Patsy can find the right one,” Corey said.
“I see. Patsy, sit,” Banter said.
Patsy came by her.
The boys looked hesitant.
“Run and hide,” Corey said.
Both boys ran around the yard, then settled under their towels.
Banter picked up Kyle’s shoe.
Patsy sniffed, dropped her nose, then dashed out into the yard. Banter thought she was almost following the zigzag of Kyle’s trail. Finally, she stopped and sat by one of the boys under their towel.
There was giggling from beneath the towel.
“She found you, Kyle,” she said.
“We should go to that park with the woods,” Corey said. “We can let one of the boys get lost.”
He held both hands up doing air quotes when he said the word lost.
She eyed him with a gentle shake of her head.
“Okay, maybe I should get lost and you go find me.”
“I like that idea better,” she said.
“I have a couple of hours before I have to go anyway.”
“Grab one of your socks out of the laundry for the scent.”
“Change of plans. Get your shoes and socks back on.”
The boys seemed excited and were quick about gathering up their shoes. In the SUV, Patsy had to ride in back.
“If we get any more kids or dogs, we’ll need a bigger car,” Corey said.
“I think we’re safe in both arenas,” Banter said, snapping her seatbelt in place.
“Are we going on the trails?” Colo said.
“Yes, we’ll hit some trails. That’s a big park.”
It was a half-hour drive to get there.
“And it’s crowded,” Corey said.
“This will be the ultimate test with all these people,” she said.
Corey managed to find a space to park the car.
“Maybe not totally legal, but I don’t see a sign,” he said.
“What’s the sock for?” Colo said.
There was a beep when Corey locked the car behind them.
“I’m going to disappear. You have to find me,” he said.
He was hanging back from them as if he was checking the car.
“The sock is for Patsy to sniff, so she knows what to find,” Banter said.
“No way,” Colo said.
Kyle didn’t look very confident about this.
“Let’s walk this way,” she said.
She redirected their attention, while Corey took off. The boys never noticed. Patsy was busy sniffing the ground. Ollie was prancing, but heeling by Colo.
After five minutes of walking, she stopped.
“Okay. We need to find Dad. Where is he?”
Both boys twirled around.
“He’s gone,” Kyle said.
“When you are looking for someone with a sniffer dog, you go where you think they last were. Where was Dad when you last saw him?”
“By the car,” Colo said.
“Okay, let’s head back that way.”
The boys were still looking all around.
“She can’t find him,” Kyle said, being pessimistic.
“You always need something that smells of the person, so that is why we have Dad’s sock.”
She handed it to Kyle, who didn’t look too pleased to take it.
“Ooh, ick.” he said, then he broke into giggles.
“Let Patsy sniff and tell her to find,” she said.
Kyle had his usual look of disbelief. Colo looked interested, but skeptical.
“Come on. You have a dangerous criminal on the loose. You need to find him now,” she said, prompting.
Kyle grinned and held out the sock.
Patsy sniffed the sock, dropped her nose, and took off, pulling Kyle along by the leash. He almost tripped trying to keep up.
They were all running after Patsy.
“Where’s she going?” Colo said, running beside her.
“To find Dad.”
Banter hoped Patsy and Kyle didn’t run into anyone. The path was full of people. She was glad when Patsy swerved to a less used path.
“Your dad is being sneaky,” she said, glad that Corey decided to take a less crowded way.
She was also happy to see that Kyle had found his pace and was keeping up with Patsy, although he still looked like he was being pulled along by her.
“Where did he go?” Colo said.
“I don’t know. We’ll find out.”
Patsy led them across a grassy area then headed into the woods where there wasn’t a trail at all. This was only for a short distance before connecting back up to a trail and heading into the depths of the park. Once they hit the big open area with swings and slides, Banter caught sight of Corey sitting on a bench. Patsy ran right up to him and sat. She stared hard at him.
“I’m caught,” Corey said.
Kyle giggled in between catching his breath.
“Patsy found you,” he said.
“Yes, she did. She’s a good sniffer,” Banter said.
“You knew where he was going,” Colo said.
“Who led the way?” she said.
Colo looked like he had to think about this.
“She found Dad by sniffing his sock?” Kyle said.
“She did,” Corey said.
“She’s a sniffing dog,” Banter said again.
“She looks like she’s had previous training,” Corey said in a quiet voice.
“I bet she would go over objects if there was a scent trail. Don’t they now send someone out on horseback dragging a scented bundle for foxhounds to follow instead of going after a real fox?”
“Maybe we can try that tomorrow with grandpa,” Corey said.
“Wow,” Kyle said, petting Patsy. “I have a sniffer dog.”
“Can I go next?” Colo said. “I’ll take my socks off.”
He handed Ollie’s leash to her.
“You have ten seconds,” Corey said.
Banter locked eyes with him and smiled.
Banter rose Monday morning, knowing she still had a few minutes. She headed to the bathroom. It took her a few moments to register that there were no dogs in the bedroom with them. She flushed the toilet and crawled back into beside Corey. He snuggled up to her.
“I think Patsy has figured out that Kyle is her person,” she said.
“Either that or we really tired her out.”
“Most people hunt deer. We hunted grandpa.”
“He did get a kick out of Patsy and her tracking ability.”
“Kyle is very proud of her. Both boys love their dogs. I love you,” he said, breathing into her hair. “And all that you do.”
“I terrorize them and make them get their own breakfast.”
“You’re going to make them responsible adults when they grow up.”
His phone alarm pinged in a quiet manner.
“Rise and shine,” she said, tapping it to be silent.
His phone always sat on her bed table because she heard it and woke first.
“Are you going to be late tonight?”
“I don’t think so,” he said. “Are you going out tonight?”
“No, not that I’m planning.”
“A couple of my guys told me you helped them on Friday. Thank you.”
“Yeah. I did the consulting stuff that I was actually hired to do.”
She was dressed and had his coffee ready by the time he came into the kitchen.
She handed him a hard-boiled egg.
He put salt and pepper on the egg before he ate it.
“The simple things you’ve done to my life,” he said. “A simple egg.”
“You used to just drink coffee,” she said. “You need more than that.”
“And this comes from the queen of junk food.”
“Hey, I don’t chug soda like I used to.”
He finished his coffee.
She walked him out.
“I’ll see you later,” he said, giving her a hug and a kiss.
Banter watched him go. A few minutes later, Bea pulled up.
“Boys should be getting up soon. They can make their own breakfast.”
“Growing up here now.”
Banter chuckled and nodded.
They walked into the house together. The sounds of the boys getting dressed were heard overhead.
“Before the boys come down,” Banter said in a low voice, “I want you to know that Colo was in your chips. He’s supposed to tell you he was.”
“No problem. I don’t eat them fast enough. They’re probably getting a little stale.”
“With that said, next time you’re at the store, get some chips for snack time.”
“I will do. There are a few semi-healthy varieties.”
The boys came thundering down with both dogs.
“Morning, Bea,” they both said at the same time.
They disappeared out into the yard before Bea could respond.
Banter waited until they were back in the house.
“I’m off. I’ll see you later. Be good,” she said.
Both boys nodded. She was rather proud that they commenced to make their own breakfast without even asking.
Banter left for her car, wondering what the day would bring. Her head was already full of all that she had to report. She had written up notes, but there was way too much to put in a written report. It would be easier to do a presentation.
She was able to park right next to Corey since she had come during the time when a lot of the detectives and officers had left after their early morning briefing. Her meeting wasn’t until eight-thirty. She stopped in her office first, grabbing a soda out of the fridge by Nessa. Nessa wasn’t anywhere in sight, but her desk was full of folders.
“Heck of a case load,” Banter muttered.
She did a quick check of emails and uploaded Friday night’s video while she chugged her soda. She figured she was going to need a little sugar to get through this presentation. For some reason, she felt anxious.
“Maybe because I’m going to tell them some things that they don’t want to hear.”
She finished her soda, then she headed up to the sixth floor.
Peter was already there, sipping his usual soda. He was actually dressed in business casual, and had his hair braided and tucked under his shirt.
“Are you bucking for a promotion?”
“I was told to look presentable,” he said.
He looked her over.
“You look the same.”
“I wasn’t told to dress any different.”
She was in jeans and a t-shirt with a light windbreaker type jacket that hid her gun.
“Are you packing?” he said.
“Yeah. Always. I sometimes even nap with my gun.”
Peter chuckled and shook his head.
Bert and Mark joined them. They were also in business casual.
Ray was in his office, but his door was shut and he was on the phone.
“Where’s Jose?” Peter said.
“He’s coming,” Bert said. “He decided to wear a tie and couldn’t remember how to tie it. He found someone in the hall to help him. I don’t do ties.”
A few minutes later, Ray opened his door. Jose trotted up and joined them while they filed into the office. Aside from Ray, Jose was the only other one wearing a tie.
“I’d like to start,” Banter said. “I found out a lot last week.”
“Good,” Ray said. “We want to do a raid on the place this Friday.”
“What? No. I don’t recommend it. There’s nothing going on there that a raid is going to uncover, especially on a Friday. Friday is the only day that the club...”
“We’ve watched them long enough. We know our drug lord is there. We decided that if we nab him it will upset his position and possibly reveal the other fish we’re after,” Ray said.
“I don’t see that,” Peter said, revealing that Ray’s “we” didn’t include him.
Jose shook his head also in disagreement.
“That won’t work. Friday is a terrible day,” she said.
“I’ve seen your video. Nothing is happening. Friday is always hopping,” Ray said.
“No, then you’re not paying attention to my video,” she said, starting to get pissed. “I want to show you what is really happening...”
“We’ll have the narc guys with us for the raid. Bert, you can be lead on this.”
“No,” she said again with some force. “I have new information. A raid is the last thing you need to do.”
“I’ll read your report,” Ray said.
“We’ve watched the club long enough. We now need to get some results. We’re getting pushed,” Ray said.
“You’re getting pushed in the wrong direction from both sides,” she said. “You’re wasting man hours watching the club. A raid is worthless. You need to totally change what you’re doing.”
“Exactly,” Ray said. “We’ll raid the place. Get some arrests and see who will talk.”
“You won’t be able to arrest a single person if you go on a Friday night,” she said. “That’s useless...”
“Everyone does their drug buys on Friday so they’re set for the weekend.”
“What the fuck?” she said. “How do you know? Have you profiled everyone?”
“Banter,” Ray said.
“Ray,” she said, spitting his name back at him.
“We’ll review your new information. For now, however, we are planning the raid. We’ll take your information into account.”
She knew he was bullshitting and trying to pacify her.
“The fuck you will,” she said.
She threw open his door and left.
“So hows...” Carla started to say to her.
“Shut the fuck up,” Banter said.
She was fuming, and jogged down the stairs. Nessa was still gone. Very few people were on this floor at this time. She was glad for that. Exasperated, she shut her office door and sat, staring at her desk.
“Consultant, my ass,” she said. “I’m getting ignored. Patronized.”
She felt like throwing her computer at the door, but she refrained.
“I’m starting to act as childish as they are. It’s rubbing off. Ray, you’re doing everything but listen to me. That damn raid is going to fail big time. You’ll have egg on your face and set everything back to square one.”
She thought about that based on the new information she had.
“We’ll still have to start over anyway, but a raid will set us back further than without a raid.”
Her door opened. She looked up to see Peter. He closed the door behind him and sat across from her.
“You need this,” he said, revealing he had a can of soda.
He opened it and set it in front of her. His soda was nowhere in sight.