Eliza had never been so humiliated. Not only was she banished to San Myshuno for patrol every day, but also her work at the station had to be supervised. Supervised! All the hard work she had done up to that point, sacrificing family time and putting herself in harm’s way, it all amounted to nothing. She was no better off than a rookie. And, when Kylee Farris slinked in beside her with a devilish, gloating grin, she knew for sure she was being conspired against.
Det. Farris certainly had fun with the situation. Throughout their career, they had always fought for the same thing. They were both great, but most times only one of them could advance at a time. But finally, Eliza had bested her. There could only be one captain, and Kylee wouldn’t have a shot at it until Eliza moved on.
When Eliza had enough taunting from Det. Farris, she went to San Myshuno to patrol the streets and maintain order. She was sick of it. Still, she resolved to make the best of it.
A woman she passed circled back to get her attention. “‘Cuse me! Officer?”
Eliza took a deep breath and resisted the urge to correct her. “How may I help you?”
“Well…you see…I need some advice…”
The woman was clearly bothered and hesitated quite a bit. “Well…Ok…I know the police isn’t the right place for me to look, but maybe you can point me in the right direction.”
Eliza hoped there was some substance to the pending story and that she would get on with it. “I’ll do my best. How can I help?”
“My husband…I know he’s cheating on me!” She took a moment to gather herself.
“I was just wondering if there was a way I could have him removed from the house.”
Poor woman. Eliza tried to imagine Bob doing such a thing, and the idea seemed preposterous. He would never do anything like that to hurt her. At least she hoped he never would. She knew she could be overbearing sometimes. Him running off with someone more tolerant was not so far fetched, but she prayed to the Watcher that it would never happen.
“Under normal circumstances, no. We cannot do that without just cause. Is he abusive?”
Clara Bjergsen joined the conversation and was also quite bothered.
Eliza was surprised to see her in San Myshuno. “If you want to talk about Upper Crust business, you may call me later. I am on duty.”
“I know. I want to hear what you have to say. I may want my husband removed.”
Eliza narrowed her eyes at Clara before bringing her attention back to the woman. “You were saying?”
“Oh, he knows better than to put his hands on me! I’d be in jail!”
“Do you believe yourself to be in any danger?”
“No.” The woman began to cry. “I just hate how he disrespects our house! He brings them into our bed, you know! We have small children! I just can’t take it anymore!”
Eliza had heard many stories involving infidelity, but something about that woman’s story struck her. Perhaps it was the shared experience of being a mother to young children. “I am terribly sorry for your situation…”
Another woman joined the conversation–also bothered–who completely stole Clara’s attention and angered her even more. Where did all these upset women come from? If there was something going on, Eliza wanted to know what it was so she could put a stop to it at once.
“Have you asked him to leave?” Eliza asked.
“Perhaps if you ask him to leave, and he doesn’t, then you could possibly call the police and have him removed. It wouldn’t be permanent, however.”
“I’ll remember that,” the woman said. “I’m sorry to take up your time, but thanks for listening to me.”
“Anytime. Have a good day.” She began to walk away, but something pulled her back. “If you need anything…more advice, you can talk to me. I’m Captain Eliza Pancakes. Just ask for me at the station in Willow Creek.”
“Thank you, Miss Pancakes.”
The woman walked away, and so did Eliza but not before glaring at Clara. She didn’t get too far before she heard yelling behind her.
It looked like Clara was about to slap the woman! Whatever was about to happen needed to be stopped at once, and Eliza rushed back to the scene.
“What in Watcher’s name is going on here?”
“It’s HER,” Clara shouted. “SHE’S the one who’s been taking Bjorn away from me!”
“Ok, but it looked like you were about to strike her. I cannot have you doing that in my presence…or ever.”
Clara snorted. “You don’t know what I’m going through, Captain Pancakes! You don’t know what it’s like! You live in your perfect little house with your perfect little husband and your perfect little kids, and you’ve got a perfect job! You’re not real, Eliza! You don’t know what real life is about!”
Eliza’s jaw stiffened and nostrils flared, but she maintained her cool. “You’re upset, Clara. Why don’t you go for a walk…go sit in the sauna for a while.”
“She stole my husband! I want justice!”
Eliza attempted to make her see reason since trying to remove her from the situation didn’t work. “Ok, first of all, you’re still married and your husband hasn’t left you. She hasn’t stolen anyone. Secondly, didn’t you cheat on Bjorn?”
“Well…yeah, but…I only did it to get back at him.”
It almost worked. She could tell she had a long day ahead of her.
Although Eliza wasn’t afraid to serve justice and would arrest or issue a citation to anyone including friends, she hated dealing with people she knew. With strangers, she’d write them a ticket or arrest them, come home and never think of them again. But with friends and acquaintances, she brought the job home with her.
“Look,” the other woman shouted, “I don’t know who you are, but you’ve got the wrong person! I don’t know your husband! And, if you act like this at home, I can see why he steps out on you!”
The woman attempted to walk away, but Clara threw a drink in her face.
“Why you little–it was YOU! I recognize you! I saw you! You were with him! You will pay.”
Eliza gasped. Things were about to get ugly.
“HOW DARE YOU! YOU CRAZY LLAMASNOT!”
There was going to be a fight. She knew it. Eliza braced herself, but nothing happened. The woman just stood there seething.
“Are you mad now?” Clara taunted. “You want a piece of me?”
Why would Clara, a woman of her social stature, want to provoke a fight? This was worse than watching schoolyard fights in grade school. These were grown women with real lives and reputations that were about to be tarnished. Eliza remained hopeful that it would just blow over and no punches would get thrown.
It didn’t. The woman tried to walk away again, but Clara pounced on her.
There was no way Eliza was going to attempt to break up this cat fight. In her rookie days, she came home with many bruises, scrapes, and black eyes from attempting to break up fights. The last time, she walked away with a mild concussion. No more. If people wanted to act like animals, they could do it until they tire themselves out or someone needed an ambulance. Captain Pancakes was done inserting herself into escalated situations. She was fed up, however. After a terrible week, she was tired, frustrated, and not having it.
“STOP THIS AT ONCE,” she yelled from the sidelines
To her surprise, the fight did cease.
“THIS IS PREPOSTEROUS! YOU’RE ACTING LIKE COCKADOODIE ANIMALS!”
She ripped her pen and pad from her pocket and wrote citations for both of them. “YOU,” she said to Clara, “Go home, talk to your husband, and get some cockadoodie counseling!”
“Come on, Liz. You wouldn’t write up a friend, would ya?”
“DO NOT call me Liz! I am Captain Eliza Pancakes!”
“And YOU! Leave people’s husbands alone! GOOD DAY!”
She stormed off and went back to the station. She burst through the door so hard, it slammed into the wall behind it with a loud bang. Everyone within earshot looked at her with raised eyebrows as she barged into the Chief’s office.
“HEY! What are you doing,” he shouted.
She sat. “I am a CAPTAIN in this department, and I DEMAND to resume Captain’s duties!”
Her chest rose and fell quite rapidly. She felt like she wasn’t even in the room like she was watching herself from somewhere else. It felt strange to be so out of control.
“I am the Chief of this department, and I say get out of my office.”