Eliza strutted into the police station bright and early, as always, but not too early for someone to man the front desk. It was strange for the receptionist to be missing, but that was someone else’s problem. When she took the Chief’s office, many things would change. She only hoped everyone was ready.
A woman with the most beautiful, deep brown skin stood at the desk waiting for someone to attend to her. Her skin looked so soft like she washed it in clouds and essence of baby. Before Eliza could greet the woman, she accosted her.
“Oh, Detective Pancakes! Thank the Watcher.”
Didn’t people read the news? She hadn’t been Detective in such a long time, and it took all her will power not to correct the woman. Eliza was so close to becoming the Chief of Police, it didn’t make sense. She’d correct her then.
“Yes, good morning. How can I help?”
Once in front of her, Eliza saw the culprit of the soft skin. It was layers upon layers of foundation. It looked so natural! Before her brain ran away with how she got the makeup so perfect, she recognized why the woman needed so much of it. The story of her life was written in her nervous eyes.
“Would you like to go somewhere and talk?” Eliza whispered.
The woman straightened her spine and held up her head. “No, I’m fine.” She inhaled slowly. “A couple of weeks ago, your people responded to a call…at my home. I…” Her voice got caught in her throat. “I chose not to press charges then, but I want to do so now.”
Eliza took the woman’s name so she could look at the case file. The woman also gave her enough information to know what the man looked like and where she might find him. Eliza hated domestic violence cases! Why did men insist on putting their hands on women? Especially a woman who is the mother of his children. Cases like those touched her in a place so deep it was scary.
“I will pick up that rat myself. I assure you.”
“Thank you, Detective. I’m going to make sure everyone I know votes for you.”
Eliza grinned. “I don’t do this for the votes, but I appreciate your support.”
The woman nodded and left the building and Eliza feeling conflicted. She had faith in her and supported her which made Eliza feel warm. But, she still had a jerk to catch.
It bothered her. A lot. This issue had come up a lot lately. It stirred up unpleasant memories of things within her own sphere of influence she didn’t care to remember. These cases made her remember why she joined the force in the first place though the reason was not flattering.
“Yoooooo, Pancakes,” Detective Romeo greeted. “Why the long face, dude? Sad about how many more days you have to sit in here with us flunkies?” He tickled himself and slapped his neighbor on the back.
She had to get it together. Col. Pancakes never showed weakness, and she wasn’t about to begin now.
“I’m kidding, of course. Oh! She’s ready for you, Pancakes.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Who is ready for me?”
He huffed. “Don’t tell me you forgot! You said you’d do this interrogation for me?”
Her left eyebrow raised.
“The puppy thief?”
“Oh yes, of course. My apologies. I’ve had–nevermind.” She cleared her throat. “She’s in the room now?”
“Yep.” He handed her the files.
“Excellent.” That was just the thing she needed to lift her spirits.
Eliza read as much of the file as she could on the way to the interrogation room so she could be the slightest bit prepared. Though, the old bag would probably confess once she realized who handled her fate.
She walked into the room with the file still at her nose and sat across from the elderly woman. Why didn’t people simply accept what old age brought with it? So many elders ran about town in tacky clothes unintended for their age group and the most bizarre hairstyles. Didn’t these people have grandchildren to coo over?
“Good morning. Do you know who I am?”
The woman snorted. “Everyone knows who you are, the way you prance around town with your nose in the air. You better be careful, Pancakes. You’ll drown in the rain.”
Eliza chuckled. “That’s a new one. I quite like it. Now, let’s get down to business, shall we? Would you like to do this the easy way and confess, or the hard way which involves you experiencing why I walk proudly around these neighborhoods?”
“Fine.” Eliza pulled out pictures and laid them in front of the woman. “These are photographs of all the puppies you abducted with the families who miss them so much.”
“I didn’t take anybody’s puppy!”
“Would you care to rescind that statement? I am a Colonel in this department, and I have detectives and rookies waiting on my infinite wisdom. Please don’t waste my time.”
The woman looked away, and Eliza’s patience wore thin.
“Very well.” She flipped through the file again. “Ah, there it is. You began working at the veterinary clinic around the same time the first puppy went missing. Is that true?”
Eliza couldn’t wait for the fun part. Despite her patience wearing, she appreciated the time the woman gave her for a dramatic finish. “Were you aware that you were the only employee who was present on all the nights these poor, innocent, sick puppies went missing?”
“That’s what they say.”
“Were you also aware there are hidden cameras in the recovery rooms?”
“There are no cameras! I work there. I would know.”
Eliza giggled. “That means they were hidden quite well then, eh?”
The woman swatted at her.
Eliza cleared her throat and read from the file. “My poor little poopsies. All alone in here. Your families don’t love you like I will. I’ll take you to my house. We’ll have so much fun together.”
Sweat beaded on the woman’s brow. “Heh, why…anyone could have said that. You can’t prove that it’s me.”
Eliza sat back on the chair and stared at the woman in disbelief. “We have the audio from the recording. Confess already.” She didn’t really have audio and giggled like a schoolgirl on the inside.
“UGH! Fine. It was me, ok! Can I cut a deal or what?”
“HA!” Eliza slapped the table in victory. “I knew you’d see things my way!”
She pushed herself away from the table.
“Where are you going?”
“The officer who brought you in will take it from here. Good day.”
Detective Romeo waited for her in the booking area. “So?”
“Of course she’s guilty. My question is why did you need me for such an open and shut case?”
“I didn’t. But, I thought it could do you some good.”
“Why on earth would you think that?”
His eyes softened for just a second. “I thought you…” He shook off whatever had consumed him. “You’ve been through a lot lately. We can’t have you getting rusty, now can we?”
Sometimes he was so nice and intuitive she wondered if–Those were silly thoughts, and he was a fool for helping her. Every case he didn’t solve was another day he didn’t get promoted. Why settle for detective? These young people and their lack of ambition. She’d never understand them.