CURVE BALL

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Chapter Thirty-One

“All right Officer Jackson, you’ve been fair with me, I’ll tell you what I know,” Melissa said. She focused her attention on the bartender while she spoke.

“You can’t wave old Pat down. He don’t see nothin unless you’re in front of him.”

“Are you serious?”

Billy Dee smiled. “If you had a C note in your hand, he may notice. Otherwise…”

“Gottcha. I’ll get another round.”

“Not for me.”

“Come on you’re not on duty.”

“That’s okay. I got to report to the captain who must be think’n--- I don’t know what.”

She leaned on her elbows. Her eyes sparkled.

“You can’t let a lady drink alone.”

He checked his watch. He should have been at the station a half hour ago. Shit. “I’m calling in to let them know something had come up.”

“Make it sound good Officer Jackson,” she said as she made her way to the bar.

He arched his eyebrows and dialed his Sargent. He had to move the phone from his ear as Flynn’s voice blasted through the receiver. “Where the hell are you?” The Captain has gone ballistic. His phone is ringing off the hook. Somehow the press has gotten wind of it.”

“Shit.” Billy Dee spoke softly into the phone while he kept an eye on Melissa. “Listen, Sarge, you’re going to have to make due for a little longer…”

“What the hell you talking about Billy Dee? I just told you…the captain…”

“Yeah, I know but look…” He watched Melissa start her walk back to the table. “I got to make this quick. There’s a leak in the police station. I’m trying to find out....” He hit the disconnect button.

She brought the drinks to the table. “You look like you swallowed a canary. Everything cool with the boss?”

“If a squadron don’t show up here looking for me everything is fine.”

“In that case here’s to their health.” She raised her glass and waited for him.

“You goin’ to get me drunk. Ah what the hell.” He picked up his beer can and toasted her glass. “I never tire of a good beer.” He looked at the can. “Where the hell did Pat find this, Pabst?”

“It’s my charm Officer… Can I call you Billy Dee?”

He gave it a few seconds thought. “Why not?”

Her face glowed whether it was from the booze or natural, he didn’t know or care. If nothing else this was fun, and that was something that hadn’t come his way in a long while. He took another swig. The liquid got his taste buds jangling. He was hungry. “You don’t know it, but Pat can make a mean burger with all the fixings. Interested?”

She made a face. “I’m more vegetarian. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t look down on meat eaters but…”

“No meat? Girl you’ll smoke a cigar, but you have a problem with beef?”

“Not a problem. I just avoid it whenever possible.”

He shook his head and reached for his Pabst. He brought it to his mouth but didn’t drink. He put the can down. “Okay, Melissa, tell me what you know.”

“That was abrupt. From a burger to information, you change speeds at a fast pace, Billy Dee.” She took a sip of her drink and then licked her lips. “How about a salad? I guess I’m hungry too.”

“How about you telling me something so when I get back to the station I don’t get fired.”

She put her drink down and hauled her purse onto the table. She rummaged through it. “Where the hell is the damn thing? Aha got it.” She took out a slender rectangular gadget. “You know what this is?”

He leaned toward her. “Come on Melissa, I’m not ancient that’s a scanner.”

She seemed disappointed. “Oh. Shit. I guess that won’t work.”

He drummed his fingers. “Melissa, this isn’t a game. Rakow could be in danger or he escaped. Either way, we have to find him.”

“Okay, okay, I can’t name names, but I, Jesus I can’t believe I’m going to do this…”

“If it makes it easier, tell me where to look.”

She stared straight at him. “Civilians.”

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