I doubt the reason the chief’s called me into his office is to award me a gold star for effort. I sink into the worn upholstered chair in front of his desk as he slams the door shut. He rounds his desk, unbuttoning his suit jacket and setting in over his chair back. I watch as he rolls his sleeves up one by one before settling his eyes on me.
“How are things going with your case, Paul?”
The chief’s eyebrow twitches. “Is that why I haven’t gotten an update in two weeks?”
I twiddle my thumbs in my lap. The chief hates fidgeting, so I continue. “Jacob hasn’t made any movement in the last while. We’re sort of playing the waiting game now.”
I glance at the chief’s desk. It’s pretty bare, with a folder, some papers and pens. A single photo of his daughter graduating rests in a plain wood frame in the corner. No photos of his wife.
“A waiting game?” The chief scoffs. “Sounds to me like you’re being lazy. I gave you this assignment to get your blood pumping, to reignite your passion for police work. You don’t get paid to sit around, inhaling donuts and watching your waistline grow.”
I resent his comment. I’ve been watching my weight. In fact I’ve lost two pounds. I shift forward in my chair, resting my elbows on my knees. “I told you about what happened at the coffee shop. Since then he’s been quiet. I planned on—“
“Planned on wasting precious time? My god, the quality of our force has fallen steeply since my day.” The chief pinches the bridge of his nose and exhales slowly. He plucks up the folder from his desk and opens it, flipping through the pages inside. “You seem to have a lead right under your nose. The girl from the sexual assault case. Haven’t you thought to interview her yet?” he asks, an edge of irritation to his voice.
I force a grin. “I was getting to it. Why is it such a big deal to check this out now?”
“Because there’s been another disappearance. A couple of days ago Vincent Harbringer went missing. He’s in his late fifties and his family hasn’t seen him since he went out for a walk.” The chief’s mouth draws into a line. “Harbringer has several counts of sexual assault under his belt.”
“It sounds to be like you believe this Jacob kid is guilty. Isn’t that jumping the gun?”
“He’s the only lead we’ve got right now. So while we’re in here talking about this, Harbringer’s probably rotting in some alley and his killer is free to kill again. So what I’m asking is for you to get your ass out of my chair and into your cruiser.”
I stand from “the chief’s chair.” I hate his hard ass cop attitude. It’s not 1980 anymore. And if all the hard work he did is what led to his receding hairline, I don’t want any part of it. I force a smile to appease his pompous ego and exit the room.
Kevin saunters down the hallway, a cup of coffee in his hand. He grins when he sees me. “Did the chief rip you a new one?”
“Jesus Kev, don’t get me started. I’m on my way to question a magical lead right now. Chief’s orders.”
“Tough break. Hey,” he says, brightening up, “You still coming out for bowling tomorrow night?”
“Wouldn’t miss it. I could use a few beers and laughs. A night away from the old ball and chain wouldn’t hurt either.”
Kevin chuckles and sips his coffee. “I hear ya. Listen, I gotta get back to work, but I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Take it easy.”
After I talk to Kevin I head down to the second floor of the precinct to grab my jacket and badge, then out to my cruiser to pay the lead a visit.