All Eliza could think about all morning was getting to work and nabbing that jerk. She was only two cases away from being eligible to take the Chief’s office, and when she arrived she would get a new case. But, she didn’t want a new case. She wanted to help that poor woman who sought her help the previous day. It probably wouldn’t count because the case was previously open, but Eliza didn’t care. How could she think about her career plan while filthy rats infested the streets? No. Her promotion could wait another day or two or however long it took her to find that imp and bury him under the jail.
A little lady in the room cleared her throat and brought her back to the present. “Good morning, dear. How did you sleep?”
“I couldn’t sleep!”
“Did you have a nightmare?”
“Why, yes! I dreamed that I had all my homework organized in my notebook nice and neat. You checked it for me and said it was perfect. When I left for school this morning, a dog ran up to me and barked really loud! I was so scared, I dropped my notebook into a puddle and my papers got all muddy!”
She and Lexi were so much alike, wanting everything to be just so at all times. Most people wouldn’t think the dream a nightmare, but Eliza understood why it stirred the little girl so much. “Oh, dear. It was just a dream, I assure you. No one in this neighborhood has a dog. But, just in case, why don’t you put your notebook in your backpack.”
Lexi told her more about her school projects and subjects she enjoyed. That was another thing they had in common. Eliza did quite well in school and was always on top of her studies. Lexi definitely inherited the smarts from her.
After breakfast, and seeing off the children, Eliza got herself ready and went directly to Oasis Springs. The woman told her she could find her dirt bag boyfriend around Desert Bloom Park in the mornings. She asked a few people if they had seen him, and finally, someone who fit his description had been spotted in the pavilion.
Eliza could barely contain herself and rushed toward him with laser-like focus. The sight of him made her blood boil. If only she were a bad cop. Maybe she would lay hands on him a little; give him a taste of his own medicine. But, she wasn’t a bad cop. She was a good cop who was about to be the cop of all cops. The Chief of Police! Slowing down her pace, she took deep breaths to catch her nerve before confronting that animal. She stopped in front of him, saying nothing, and he grinned. “Hey. What’s up?”
It took everything she had not to lose control. These were the worst cases, and if she never had to go after another batterer or rapist, she would be better for it. Clearing her throat, she asked, “Are you Youssef Ghomeri?”
He licked his bottom lip as he looked her over. “Who’s asking?”
She could almost feel the steam shooting out her ears from the boiling blood. This man was a piece of work! He had no shame. Filthy pigs like him needed to learn a lesson, and Eliza was more than glad to teach him. “You’re under arrest for assault and battery!”
He rolled his eyes and sucked his teeth but didn’t put up much of a fuss. Had he been arrested before? He seemed all too familiar with the process.
When they arrived at the station, she locked him in a cell while she attempted to put him into the system. To her surprise, the criminal database alerted her that his name was a duplicate. Instead, she searched for the name to see if the record belonged to him. What she found rattled her, and she needed a moment before she collected him. This person was a monster, and she intended to prosecute him to the highest extent of the law!
In the interrogation room, she wasted no time. “You are in custody on one count of assault and battery, but it appears you have trouble with your temper.” She slid some pictures in front of him. “I don’t know how you are still on the street, but you can be certain you will not walk out of here today.”
That little snot must not have known who he was messing with. “What do you get from this? Hmm? Does beating up on women get you high?”
“I’m sorry. Am I keeping you from something? Did you have someone else to go rough up?”
“Ok. We can play the quiet game if you’d like. You can sit quietly in the cell, while I get the lab results from your latest victim’s DNA, and then–“
“Look, lady, lemme just stop you right there.”
“You go to the lab and get whatever you want. I’ll sit right here and watch you work up a sweat until I’m outta here. You can’t get me!”
Though Eliza was tempted to get a bit riled up, this was not a situation in which she was unfamiliar. She arrested many a cocky kid sure of himself and ignorant of the law. “Is that so? And how do you figure that?”
“Because my daddy will get me off. He always does. Let me get my phone call so I can get my lawyer down here.”
This filthy prick had some nerve. She was equally angry and annoyed and rolled her eyes. “And who is your father?”
Corruption. It went all the way to the top. For a split second, Eliza felt defeated. She would never be able to get dangerous people off the streets with that level of protection. But, she couldn’t give up hope. The people needed someone pure and honest to clean the cesspool that was the political and judiciary systems. Chief Eliza Pancakes could do it. Gathering the files and looking that devil square in the eyes, she said, “You may leave here today, but you have not seen the last of me.”