The Nefarious Mr. X

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Chapter 5

5

7:45 a.m.

Exiting his home, the street was relatively quiet. The sun was rising in the distance and the clouds were low in the sky. Fluffy pillows of condensation, like giant marshmallows with no menace whatsoever, floated along the horizon like ghostly blowfish in a sea of crystal ozone.

Along the boulevard were several townhomes, generously spaced and advertising a family-oriented suburban development. Red brick walls for some, brown tiles with wooden siding for others. California deco designs were prominent in some of the roof trims whilst others seem more Greek with spiraling curvatures, pilasters and twisting rock carvings.

Corigan could taste the clean spring air, tempered by crisp winter, combined with a hint of construction fuel from the vehicles down the street working on the newer properties being produced for phase two.

Corigan lived in small yellow townhouse in Waterdown, Ontario. The Petersen model, as the builders called it, defined it as a yellow aluminum-sided property with large grey stones for a foundation. This was met midway from the roof and downward to the grass. There were white pillars at the front door, positioned to the left and right, above the untreated wood decks, giving it an almost Romanist look. To the left of the front door, was an oak coloured garage door with eight individually spaced double paned windows inset into the paneling. The house was two stories with clean lines in its design and sharp angles, all which ran to the peaceful street below.

It was just what Corigan wanted in a new home.

Corigan, before departing, checked to make sure all the outer windows were closed, as he tended to leave them open at night for fresh air. Each window was decorated with temporary paper blinds, white accordion coverings with epoxy at the top to make them stick to the frame, weighed down with plastic clips to reach the base of the window. At least the plan was temporary. After eight months, he was getting use to them.

He admitted, it was better than the blue bath towels he originally tacked up with cork board tacks he took from the meeting room at the station. Towels which his last girlfriend had pulled down out of disgust and forced him to pay the four bucks for the paper blinds. A waste he thought at the time, but hey, they were growing on him.

Mornings on his street were usually only busy to dog walkers, skateboarders, kids leaving for school and parents seeing them off.

Today was no exception.

Down the block stood a small child, probably nine years old, a little girl with blonde hair, a pink jacket and black boots. She was standing alone, with a pile of snow behind her, a book bag in her hand, waiting for her ride.

Corigan just shook his head.

No matter how small a neighbourhood was, he always found seeing a child on their own a bit disconcerting. Maybe it was him being a cop and all. He saw all the deviants in the world for what they were, degenerate lowlifes in need of permanent incarceration wandering the streets waiting to be arrested.

And worst of all, most of them were normal looking people.

They were never hunchbacked, beady eyed old men with nicotine stained fingertips, smelling of feces and having blood dripping from their mouths. They were just average people, men and women, who simply had their brain adjusted the wrong way. And rarely did the police get so lucky as to catch them BEFORE they committed an atrocity, one which the cops were later blamed for failing to prevent.

Corigan would love to give a reporter writing that scathing story about, “What do we pay cops for anyway when they let stuff like this happen?” a list of all the people he had arrested for pedophilia over the years, put them all in a gymnasium with an equal bunch of regular citizens to see if they, the ‘all-knowing reporter’ could pick the scum out. Better odds than any investigator could dream of.

He would bet his last dollar they would have the same luck, if not worse.

Hindsight, a newspaper editor and a large readership always made the reporters ‘appear’ like they could have done better, when everyone knows, they couldn’t catch their ass with both their hands if they were playing a butt slapping competition on their own with two cheeks and a bull’s-eye for the centre.

In today’s society, it was ‘Shoot or Miss’ and unless the scumbags wrote their memorandum first, published it online before they committed the crime, it was also a majority of the time, too late.

And each time it happened, if you asked any cop who arrived at the scene of a child sex crime, to arrest the person who committed it, the officer would tell you, they died a little bit inside, every time it happened.

It was heartbreaking.

Sometimes, Corigan knew his view was bit jaded and not always fair, but that was price of the job.

If no one committed crimes, he would be unemployed.

He waved to the little girl, because everyone knew on the block he was police officer, and smiled.

She grinned and waved back.

At least by making a scene of him knowing her made him believe that any ‘neighbourly’ degenerates watching her rethink their hopes and deeply reconsider this might not be the one to ‘get interested’ in.

Corigan opened his garage door, letting the door chain drag along the inner track.

He opened his car door, a bright gold Japanese luxury sedan, tossed his briefcase into the front seat and entered the vehicle. A four door vehicle with sleek rounded lines, lightly tinted windows, and a beautifully styled outer shell. The inside was like that of an airplane console. Lots of digital screens, lights and buttons. He loved the buttons. He rarely used them, but he loved having them. Made him feel like a secret agent.

He always liked the feeling of class a good car denoted, so if he could afford something nice to drive, he would get it. And he did.

He settled into the driver’s seat, pulled out onto to the driveway and stopped. He jumped out, closed the garage door, since manual doors do not close by themselves, and waved one last time to the girl.

Moments later, her ride pulled up.

A dark purple caravan filled with kids and a highly energetic woman at the wheel, adorned with high cheekbones, wide eyes and enthusiasm pouring from every orifice. The standard ‘Soccer Mom.’ Filled by passion, soaked in pride and sporting a crazy zeal for the game of life.

Corigan leapt back into his vehicle. Snapping on his seatbelt, he prepared for his hour commute into Toronto. He once lived there and considered making it permanent, but the cost of owning a house in Toronto highly over matched his monetary budget, whereas outside the city, it was much more reasonable.

With a flick of his automatic shift, Corigan was on his way.

Pulling out of his driveway, he waved to some other neighbours leaving for the day.

One being an older gentleman who had his eyes focused on his chocolate Labrador retriever which was happily spraying the hydrant with its own personal signature.

Nice, Corigan thought. Real nice.

Corigan had a short trip before the highway. He went from Fox Run, around the bend, right onto Dundas Street East, into Burlington, down Brant Street, past several housing communities, some marked by huge brick edifices while others were prominently showing wooden placards advertising “Properties Available within!’ until he reached the QEW, also known as the Queen Elizabeth Way. The entire time, his hand played up and down the radio trying to find him some driving music.

He was not a fan of the radio DJ’s who chattered on for hours at a time, about mundane things or making stupid suggestions. Like this morning, “Let’s have our listeners call in and explain why they like or dislike thong underwear.” Corigan preferred music. If he wanted to hear ‘stupid’ he could do that by filling out his reports near the drunk tank on Saturday night. At least the drunks knew they were being asses and shut up after a while. Others passed out from exhaustion.

He wanted music. Loud and heavy, deep and resonant, and no interruptions.

The drive to Toronto was easy until about Mississauga. The cars started to slow and the distance between the commuters started shrinking by the minute. Many drivers held the false hope, if everyone compacted together, they will move that much closer to their destination.

Corigan kept his car in the middle lane. Most people wanted the fast lane on the inner left or the exit lane on the outer right. He always found the middle lane to be smooth running, less congested and easy to manage on the rush hour traffic commute.

He once considered the GO train, the Government of Ontario’s public transit system, with its huge green train cars, double decked floors and huge bay windows for watching the cities pass by, but he found the tightly packed people, mostly grumpy sleep deprived individuals, a bit depressing for his work day start. Plus, he could never have the music as loud as he liked compared to in the car. He knew his eardrums were punished for it, but he loved it.

He drummed his fingers along the dash, lost in thought, when a black sedan with tinted windows and a massive bumper swept out in front of him from the left lane, missing him by inches. The car nearly sent Corigan from the road in a vicious real life game of bumper cars.

Being a defensive driver, from his early years at the academy, he took the lag of the tires tight under his fist and gripped the steering wheel. He braked ever so carefully, pumping his foot, even though the car had automatic braking, twisting left, until his vehicle was back under his control.

Corigan hit the horn. The other driver, slowed for a moment, opened the driver’s side window, raised his black skinned hand out, ever so slowly, extending his pin striped neatly pressed jacket skyward and gestured rudely with his middle finger.

Corigan could almost read the gold class ring’s insignia, with its red ruby centre and deep engravings as the hand moved.

The man, unless it was a woman with hormone issues, lowered his fist, equally as elegant, closed the window and sped away.

Knowing he was wrong for doing it, Corigan memorized the license plate.

He was not going to do anything bad with it. Maybe give it to traffic. It wasn’t like it was not an aggressive driver to begin with. He would likely get a ticket anyway. There couldn’t be any harm in letting Traffic keep an eye out for him. He was helping society after all.

That little thought did not alleviate the small amount of guilt he felt. He knew no matter how he ‘mentioned it to Traffic’ it would seem a bit personal.

But then again he did give him the finger. Surely he had it coming.

Corigan arrived at the police station, Metro Toronto 14th Division Police Department, at mid-morning, seconds before 9:00 a.m.

The police building was originally an old forgotten train station, abandoned in the seventies by a bankrupt realty developer and acquired by the city when no one offered to pay the back taxes. It was beautifully remodeled from the ground up. Six floors from sidewalk to skyline. The building’s entire front face consisted of age old red bricks with a beautiful castle like quality. It was blended with modern steel framed windows of bullet proof polycarbonate thermoplastic glass and lots of lighting. It was a perfect combination of classic construction with a modern day imagination.

Neon track lighting ran completely around the building, illuminating alleys, parkways and even crevices not monitored by the outer security system. One thing this department hated was people not knowing they were there, especially when they needed help. So the lights kept the street aglow like an evening sun.

There were also two sublevel basements. One was for cells and finally, sublevel three, for all the cold case files.

Some cops rumoured, there was a fourth sublevel floor, not accessible to the Police, beneath the filing division, where train tracks and tunnels remained. Unused, forgotten, but still there.

Since Corigan rarely considered such stories true, he let the other officers offer their theories. Since the station had been there over a decade and he had yet to hear a phantom train whistle or of anyone finding stairs to such a floor, he would not waste his own time speculating.

If a whole building of investigators could not confirm a silly tale after ten years, he would not join in the foolishness.

He parked in the lower indoor parking lot next to the station. He raced inside via the back doors, where cruisers were lined along and parked, up the stairs and into the homicide division’s fourth floor.

The station was its usually busy self. Officers moving in and out, some carrying reports to be filled out, others talking to citizens at their desks taking statements. Some were planning future investigations while others talked on their phones, likely to their spouses until the shift was over.

Cork boards lined the front wall with bulletins and reports. To the left side were framed whiteboards with taped up posters and photos which advertised criminals, suspects and missing people.

What some of the ‘regular’ people, outside of police work, did not know is the thumb tacks that were used to hold up the photos on the front corkboards were colour coded based on the rank of importance.

Green for minor. This being wives who the force suspected simply ran away from their abusive husbands and the force had no desire to help these men locate their now safe spouses, or teenage daughters who were just running off with their boyfriends for a week of secretive fun without overzealous parents trying to locate them. Yellow was for medium level crimes, convenience store robbers who never hurt anyone, pet thieves and shoplifters.

And finally, Red. Watch your ass and solve this one immediately RED.

Now to be honest, everything was important on the board, but red tacks meant a task force was likely assigned because you either had a mayor, a political official or an ambitious reporter doing nightly updates on the police’s work, which rode the department’s ass every single day. It was so these ones that stayed on the front burner with big red tacks. As for the blue, purple, orange and pink. Well, it meant the receptionist simply ran out of the other proper coloured thumb tacks.

Red they kept plenty of.

Corigan nodded to several officers as he entered.

The first was Anson Cabanni, a heavyset Italian duty officer, who remained behind his desk at all times, sporting a thick gut for which his shirt buttons strained. He had a deep jawed face, a thinning flush of black hair and he always seemed to be sweating, yet he never moved.

Cabanni looked up from the document he was reading to nod in Corigan’s direction. “You have a sweet one coming your way today, sport.” Even as he spoke, white powdered sugar puffed from his lips.

Some say cops eating donuts was an urban legend.

Corigan knew, it was a sweet, jelly filled fact.

Corigan replied, “Thanks for the heads up.” It never was a heads up. The man was farther behind the times than a turtle in a marathon.

Corigan quickly spotted Melanie Ashwood to his left, an undercover vice cop, with long reddish brown hair, luscious blue eyes and a body that could stop a fleet of trucks with one pivot of her prime perfect butt and egg timer hips.

Corigan presumed she must have been brought up here to avoid the other cops in vice giving her cover away. Most cops were pretty swift not to do this, but the rookies tended to smile it that little way that made it quite clear, she was not your average call girl.

Melanie gave Corigan a grin, followed by a quick wink and blew him a kiss. She was cuffed to another prostitute at the front bench. Obviously trying to maintain her cover. She would be out on the street arresting more Johns by lunch.

Corigan was glad he knew she was a cop. Because with a body like hers, he might have had to rethink his position on prostitutes. He never paid for sex. But with looks like Melanie, even the best man might think about it. Maybe once or twice.

He walked past her, giving a bit of a mock scowl and replied, “Not in this lifetime sweetheart.”

Melanie smiled back, “On your salary. Not in yours either.”

Corigan turned away, suppressing a laugh.

He moved past four overfilled desks of files, three officers huddled together with a sports magazine making a wager and past two closed interview rooms. He slowed his pace as he slinked past the Captains door, almost closed, ajar just enough that he could hear his commander inside shouting at someone on the phone. Creeping ever so quietly, he slipped passed the opening until he found the solace of his office at the end of the hall.

“Special Investigations” was stamped in gold text on the door. “Detective Corigan McAllistor and Detective Catherine McPhail.”

Special because the Force, when suddenly under the target or the blazing eyes of the press, needed a team specially delegated to shovel the bullshit, but make it smell like roses. Looks were important too as cops under the spotlight were preferred to be attractive as it tended to almost soften the bad news when delivered. Sure it was shallow, but it was also true. The fact they were a damn smart team of investigators only made it that much easier for the public to swallow whatever ‘crisis’ pill they had to dispense.

Corigan opened the door. Inside was a neatly organized office, with two walnut desks, each facing one another, ornately designed with work in mind. There were two leather backed executive chairs with high armrests, for deep thinking and creative ideas, padded for extra comfort, and were positioned perfectly behind them. Two filing cabinets stood behind each desk, drawers closed, no file tabs askew or appearing outside the edges. And finally, a white dry erase board on the left side, Corigan’s, and a huge cork board, covered in photos, neatly aligned in a perfect order, lined Catherine’s side. All the photos were tacked up with red tacks. The important ones.

At the second desk sat his partner, and personal best friend, Detective Catherine McPhail. She was an elegant woman of thirty six, with deep green eyes, like the colour of emeralds found in the deepest crevices of the earth. She had perfectly tanned skin, with a slight scar under her nose, from a long ago fight with a cranked up pimp and his protégé who didn’t come quietly. She had light reddish hair, straightened professionally, close cut at shoulder length and a body even the best fitness instructor would be jealous of.

Many officers asked him, over and over, had he ‘tapped’ that ass.

Each time he simply gave them a glare and brushed those comments off.

No, he had never ‘tapped’ that ass. They were perfect partners and they felt sex would only mess things up. Sure the thought crossed his mind once in a while, likely for her as well he assumed, but they never acted on it.

They were better partners for it and they never crossed the line.

Catherine was dressed in a tight grey wool sweater with a high neckline and even darker grey stripes etched from side to side. Her pants were black jeans, nicely fitted to her muscular thighs. She leaned back in her chair, arms behind her head and snapped her two feet up onto the desk. She was wearing nice running shoes, red ones with a dark black checkmark along the sides and across the front. The treads appeared worn down from her rigorous jogging regime and her taking the stairs at the office up and down each and every day.

She loved the lactic acid burn in her muscles, the speed of her heart rate and the heat in her cheeks when she reached the optimum flow of blood, oxygen and endorphins.

Stretching, showing off her full five foot eleven length, she made that sound he always hated she did in the morning. That ‘tsk, tsk, tsk’ like a school teacher admonishing her pupil.

She smiled. “The Captain was here a minute ago.”

Corigan looked down at his watch.

9:03.

And when she said a minute ago, she meant ONE minute.

Meaning the Captain wanted to see if Corigan was late. He was by extension, an easy going man, except when it came to tardiness.

She pursed her lips. “You would think, sporting a watch like that, you would be on time. But we all know what assuming does.”

“Makes an ASS of U and ME” Corigan interjected.

Catherine shrugged acknowledgement.

“I can only assume you didn’t take my side?” Corigan queried. Let me guess, “Corigan may be a little late. I think he’s downstairs interviewing a prostitute in the backseat of his car. Pumping her for information.”

“Don’t be silly.” Catherine looked almost insulted “I would never say it was a prostitute.”

“Thank you.”

“I told him it was a material witness.” She smirked, “And you preferred the men’s washroom to your car. This way you could wash your hands before work.”

Corigan groaned. The sad part was, he knew for a fact she would have told the Captain that.

Catherine tried to look innocent. “Really. A prostitute Corigan. You don’t have the money for that.”

Corigan was about to fire back when he heard the bellow of his Captain from two doors down.

“Corigan!” A gravely voice echoed from down the hall, followed by heavy, yet quick footsteps. “Corigan McAllistor!”

Corigan could see several officers grab their muffins and coffees, get up from the desks and scatter.

With lightening reflexes, ones that would make the Flash proud, Corigan pivoted on his right foot, slid his left foot around the desk and landed in his chair with a thump. Within seconds, he had two pens drawn from his brass cup, one was placed over his ear like an architect planning a design, the second in hand, preparing to write that scathing addition to the report which closed cases.

Under his hand, he gripped the first folder he found. Quickly turning the flap, he opened to a random page and let his eyes focus on the pictures, post it notes, and scrawled notes from other officers, letting his deep concentration take hold.

Within seconds, the Captain entered the office.

Corigan looked up, feigning exhaustion, like he had been there all night, expecting overtime for his devotion.

Captain Vertigo Creel was a large man. He was six foot two with a firm chiseled face, like a granite statue chipped away by a mason. His light tanned skin was intermixed with lines, some from age, much from stress. One rarely achieved his stature in the police department without heartache and aggravation, but many times, with lots of success to boot. His eyes were a chocolate brown, which almost matched his short brush cut hair, with the exception of thin strands of grey. His ram rod posture immediately revealed at one point in his life, he either commanded a battalion or some other military work. He always wore grey charcoal wool pants, a finely ironed white shirt and the topper, a God awful tie.

The one thing Vertigo was renowned for, he never had a nice tie.

The department, many of the fashion conscious female officers, bought him ties for gifts, birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas. But they seemed to vanish shortly thereafter.

Catherine once commented, ‘How a Detective’s Captain can lose so many nice ties was beyond her. Maybe they needed to open up a file.’

Corigan knew. They weren’t lost. They likely committed suicide being in proximity of the other atrocities the Captain kept.

Today’s was no exception. It was a black and brown silk, running from the thin knot at the neck and ending just above his waist. The finishing touch was a gigantic florescent orange target symbol in the middle, adorned with a glowing red light emitting diode, flickering incessantly from the centre like a traffic light that never goes green.

Vertigo scowled as he entered. He spoke with a dry yet commanding voice. “Good morning Corigan. I was just thinking about you.”

“As I you.” Corigan lowered his pen. “I was so busy this morning writing traffic Vioilstion tickets, that I got carried away and arrived at my desk two minutes late.”

Vertigo frowned, not impressed.

“Then I realized, I wasn’t in Traffic anymore. I must have been reliving the good old days. When I realized I had no ticket book, pen or booking journal, I knew I had stopped that poor nun in vain.” Corigan leaned back. “But I assure you, it was not without a stern warning and a quick ruler across the knuckles for good measure. I have to tell you, I was pleased to have had the ruler on me at that moment. I am glad you ordered them. That tear in her eyes let me know, she wouldn’t be crossing that crowded Bloor Street again without making sure the light was green.”

“If you miss Traffic so much, with one stroke of MY pen, you can have good old days back again.” Vertigo smiled. “For a very long time.”

Corigan knew the threat was empty, as he knew his Captain always reveled at Corigan’s investigative skills, but he would also not put it past the Captain to make him write tickets for a good month to prove a point. Corigan did not reply with an amusing retort.

Vertigo continued, “In fact, I’m surprised to see you in at all. I figured when you had not arrived, on time, you were either on vacation or sick. Based on your appearance, I would assume the latter.”

Corigan thought he looked great. But he loved the morning banters with his boss.

Vertigo always liked to pretend to be a pissed off boss, carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, like the Titan Atlas, chained securely to the Earth by Zeus with no freedom in sight. But in reality, Vertigo was a very easy going man, charming to some, stubborn to others, but his most endearing trait was that he trusted the men and woman under his command without exception.

Catherine joined in. “I tried to tell him Captain. Staying out late, drinking Scotch on his porch until he passed out, waking up in the yard covered in freshly mown grass and no mower around was not the best way to entertain himself before working the next day.”

Corigan glared over at his lovely partner. He rarely if every touched heavy alcohol. When he did drink, it was usually a glass of white wine, or a cooler. Much more than that gave him a headache. He was a lightweight when it came to booze. Too much and he most often passed out from exhaustion. Some get energy when they drink. Not Corigan, he was out like a candle on a windy day.

Corigan gestured to Catherine, taking his hand to brush off some phantom stain on his nose and looking at her.

Catherine quickly touched her nose, turning to stare into her mirror. Within seconds she realized Corigan’s action. He was implying, ’You have something brown on your nose. Might have got there while you had your head up the Captain’s ass. Better brush it off.” It was too late to pretend she missed it. Her face flushed and she retired back to her musings.

Vertigo pointed to a red file placed on Corigan’s desk. Red tacks meant important. Red files meant deadly serious. “We have Deryl Beckham down in holding, claiming to be innocent.”

Corigan looked at it. “You mean that guy caught on tape killing the writer in the parking lot?”

The Captain nodded his assertion. “That’s him. Problem is, his best friend is an MP from up in Kingston. Can’t figure why some back water MP suddenly is up in arms, but he’s pushing a damn heavy shit pile onto my desk, and like I always say…”

Corigan and Catherine spoke in unison. “Shit rolls downhill.”

Vertigo shrugged. “So it’s in YOUR ditch to sift through.”

Catherine frowned. “Thanks a lot.” She liked Special Investigations, but hated politics and media. And when you had an MP sticking their nose in the case, you had lots of both.

Vertigo looked at his prized detectives, known for their discretion and especially for the closed-case statistics. “I need you to talk to the guy. Get your impression and report it to me. Personally, I saw the news this morning. It doesn’t look good.” Vertigo’s face tightened. “Which by the way, when I find out who released that video to GTNN news, their ass is mine.”

With that, Vertigo turned. He paused and spun back. “Unless this Beckham has an evil twin in town, who lived in his building, and killed his friend, the man is not digging himself out of this grave.”

Vertigo always referred to jail time as ‘The Grave.’ He figured most people dug themselves to get into it, so they could spend as much time digging their way out.

Corigan piped in, before Vertigo could leave. “Ever think a bull’s-eye on a cop’s tie is just asking for trouble?”

Vertigo frowned, turned back, switching to a grin, “When you get promoted to fashion cop, then I will take your advice. For now, let’s presume your opinion on my ties is equal to my toilet paper’s opinion after it wipes my ass. Both are full of shit.” He turned around and left.

Corigan turned to Catherine, “I think I was insulted”

Catherine smiled back, “In your case, it was likely a compliment.”

Corigan gestured again to his nose as before.

This time, Catherine ignored him.

Corigan slid the file he pretended to be working on away and previewed the red one labeled ’Beckham – File # TOR1259”

He perused it for a few minutes, jotting down a few notes.

He then handed it to Catherine to read over.

They never shared first impressions.

They felt it tainted the initial investigation.

When they were done, they would make another copy of the file on their way down to the meet the suspect.

“What do you think?” Corigan asked after a few minutes.

Catherine picked up her caramel macchiato coffee, took a deep sip, held the file up and fluttered through the pages. “Seems pretty rock solid. We have a dead body and a video tape of him committing the crime . How open and shut can you get?”

Even Corigan admitted, if the guy was trying to stall the investigation, this was not the best tactic. Mental instability, insanity are much more viable defenses in court when you were caught on tape killing your victim. Not ignorance.

Corigan looked at his notes. “Has the guy seen the tape from GTNN?”

“Unlikely.” Catherine glanced at the time of arrest. “I think we picked him up before it aired.”

Corigan ran the pen across his upper lip. “Even if hasn’t seen it, he had to know. I mean, he walked right up to camera this morning and smiled.” Corigan felt a small chill run up his spine. “Like he wanted to be a star.”

Catherine added. “He got his wish.” She took another sip of her coffee. “I watched it this morning too. Arrogant bastard.”

“So arrogant he FORGOT he was caught on tape?” Corigan asked.

“I never said he was bright.” Catherine mused, “I said arrogant.”

Corigan closed the red file and stated, “I think we need to have a TV, a DVD player and a copy of the GTNN recording in the interview room when we get there.”

Catherine picked up the phone and dialed their administration officer. After a few minutes of conversation, she hung up, turned to Corigan and said, “Markus says everything will be ready in seven minutes.”

“Seven? Not Five? Not Ten?”

Catherine shrugged. “When Markus says seven, he means seven. He has the creative flare of a raccoon, but he’s brutally efficient.”

Corigan had to admit, the man was good at his job.

Catherine got up from her chair, put on her leather sport coat, and adjusted the sleeves. “Guess you can be good cop and me, bad cop.”

Corigan looked insulted, “Hey Hot stuff. Male prisoners mean you’re good cop. You can sass them up with your fluttering eyelashes, shake your breasts a bit…” Corigan, doing the best Yoda impression he could. “And remember, the top three buttons got to go or no confession we shall have.”

Catherine let out a mock breath and grinned.

Corigan felt a chill in his bones. “What?”

“Sorry Sweetcheeks.” Catherine giggled.. “Mr. Beckham is as gay as they come. According to booking, he has more fairy dust in his veins than Peter Pan on meth.”

Corigan knew what was coming.

“So if I were you, I would powder your nose, tuck in that shirt until the chest bulges and get those baby blues ready.” Catherine then looked directly down at the middle of Corigan’s crotch, with the biggest smile Corigan ever saw. The Cheshire cat would go green with envy, “And if you brought an extra pair of socks, now is the time to ‘stuff’ them in. The sugar is coming from your side of the spoon today and I would hate to think it won’t help the medicine go down.”

The wind deflated from Corigan’s chest.

Corigan just frowned. “Great. Just great.” He grabbed the red file, wrinkling it under his arm, “Let’s go get this over with.”

As Catherine walked out of the office, Corigan knew what he had to do.

He tucked in his shirt ultra-tight and prepared himself to be ‘extra nice.’

For the sake of the case.

In his estimate, this should mean double time, but if his Captain found out, the only double time he would get is double the razzing throughout the office.

Sometimes he hated police work.

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