Friday, May 24, 2013

The Bard: Track 2 (PREVIEW)

Author note:
First read the introductory chapter: The Bard: Track 1 (Preview)
I will be posting 5 chapters out of the 27 total. This chapter takes place two years before the first one-- the only flashback in the book, two chapters long. Enjoy.

Track 2: The Human Fly
Wall fly, buzzing about the business of the wicked
Pricking like a thorny thicket
Agitating bites on their skin
By means of rage and annoyance, he exposed sin

“No way.”
“That’s hard to believe.”
“Oh yeah.”
“No, I totally agree. One hundred percent.”

So what did I just say then?” asked a high-pitched female voice out of the speaker.

“Something about a licensing issue,” Detective Locard guessed. “No? Okay, you got me, Christie. While I may have only been half listening, I do know that it’s bad and work related. That has to count for something… right?”
“Not really, but it’s whatever. My story was kinda boring! I can tell it’s because your mind’s caught up in a case. Can’t hate you for saving the world, now can I?”
“No, that you cannot,” Ed smirked.


A short yet steely Japanese policewoman shoved her way through the huddled mass of Asian-Americans crammed into the shoe-closet sized apartment. 

“Aims, would you mind lowering your voice a smidge?” Ed asked sweetly. “I’m on the phone with my wife here.

“Would you mind doing your JOB?” the policewoman barked back, hissing like an enraged alley cat. 

“Locard, you’ll address me as Captain Takahashi and nothing else. Don’t assume I won’t write you the hell up because we’re friends outside of work. My precinct, my rules. The rule you’re currently breaking is NO PERSONAL CALLS AT A CRIME SCENE.”

“Ed, do I hear Ami Takahashi?” Christie Locard asked.

“I’d say all of Chinatown hears Ami Takahashi,” Edison replied, smirking in the direction of the irate captain of the NYPD’s 4th precinct.

Ami Takahashi returned the gesture with a glare as deadly as the Alien Cyborg Monster Gigan’s eye lasers. To resist slapping the detective, Ami glued her hands firmly to her hips.Despite her aggravation, still Ami looked quite lovely in her white captain’s uniform. The captain’s curvy body betrayed boyishness, and—despite of her vehement disbelief in makeup—her pale skin gave off a beautifully soft natural glow. This outer serenity clashed with the woman’s fierce temperament. Ami’s veins were pumped with ice, and her eternally clenched fists were fashioned from iron. The policewoman’s code of conduct was as steep as Fuji itself; any fools who dared breached it faced a cataclysmic eruption.
“You’re gunna tease that poor girl into a heart attack someday,” chided Christie Locard, sounding more amused than disappointed with her husband’s childishness. “For her sake, I’m going to cut our call short, but I’ll tell you what, Ed. If you do everything Ami tells you to do, you can hear all about my boring day. How’s that for some exciting incentive?”

“Any chance to hear your voice is exciting incentive, Christie,” Edison replied at an awkwardly loud volume. 
“Your voice makes the dullest of words sound like sweet symphonies. I can’t imagine the pain of losing you.”
As he spoke he stared straight at the older Chinese man standing crossly in the corner the room. Despite 

Ed’s inconsiderate mushiness, the old face remained as still as a statue. Detective Locard’s toothy smile simmered down into enlightened grin.  

“You’re so weird,” Christie laughed. “But you know what? I love it. Talk to you soon, babe. Please resist the urge to give Ami an ulcer.”

Unlike the detective’s laid back wife, Ami Takahashi and the rest of the crammed room’s occupants were put off by the man’s inappropriate phone call. The dead woman’s son and daughters cringed at the display of affection, their mother’s loss still an open wound. Upon Edison Locard’s request, the victim’s family members were not yet permitted to leave the crime scene. Despite being and extremely unorthodox and borderline illegal move, Ami allowed it anyway, putting her faith in Edison’s seemingly mad methods.  

You know wives, so clingy,” Ed quipped, nudging one of Ami’s deeply focused detectives. “Though I’d take clingy over pushy over there any day.”

“THAT’S IT,” Ami burst, flush with anger. “Lieutenant, fetch me my disciplinary pad.”
The Korean born officer nodded and produced a skinny notepad ripped of most of its paper.

“Oh c’mon, Aims,” Ed protested. “On what grounds?”

For being an idiot,” snapped Ami.

“You’re going to need a bigger pad then,” snickered the room’s only Caucasian as he rummaged through several drawers, not even bothering to examine the corpse.

Takahashi had been putting up with Edison’s antics ever since their shared semesters at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Of all the standout students attending the illustrious university, Ed and Ami’s star power hung them high above the rest. Naturally, their talents ended up pitting the two against each other. The academic arms race raged on for years, but Ami ultimately emerged triumphant. After much toil and sleepless nights, Ami Takahashi beat out Edison and graduated maxima cum laud. However, Ami never valued the victory. For while the margin between valedictorian and salutatorian may have been microscopic, the gap between their efforts was the size of the Grand Canyon.

“If you insist on disgracing the NYPD, I’m dismissing the victim’s family,” Ami warned.

“I’d rather you didn’t,” said Edison, stuffing several papers from the trash into his coat pockets. “I do much better work with an audience.”

Ami shook her head, begrudgingly complying with the man’s wishes.

Edison dove mentally into his surroundings, drinking in every last drop of detail that dripped out of the décor. Blinded by his own focus, Edison bumped into and nearly toppled Lt. Jim Kim, Ami’s right hand man. The Korean officer stepped aside, not wishing to interfere with the man’s artistic process. Detective Locard hastily scanned the rest of the room like a teen looking for his lost car keys. Ed’s frantic search ended when he took a brief peep under the bed, perking up with the word eureka screaming out of his wide eyes. The image of the emotionless widower in the corner became burned into the sleuth’s smoldering sapphire irises.

“You can’t possibly have…” mumbled Ami, her words trailing off in disbelief.

“Solved the case? Ed snickered.

The haste of Ed’s deliberation stunned the room. Everyone dropped what they were doing, eagerly awaiting another display of the man’s legendary deductive powers.

“Your face bothers me, Mr. Chen Wu,” Edison said, pacing in front of the confused Chinese family.

“What’s wrong with my face?” asked the victim’s adult son.

“Nothing a dermatologist can’t fix. Complexions aside, it’s what’s written on your dad’s face that irks me.”

Edison loomed over the diminutive Chinese man.

“Speak no English,” the elder Wu blurted.

Habla español?” Ed asked jokingly.

Chen Wu did not appear to be amused.

“Odd, I would’ve figured through the course of running a restaurant in America one would have picked up the language. Twenty-six years is a long time to be in the biz without talking the talk, but sure… I’ll bite. There’s chance what you say is true— even if it’s in hell.”

Edison snatched a paper off a nearby table and dangled it close to Chen’s face.

“This letter is addressed to the lienholder of your restaurant, inquiring for more time on this month’s rent. It appears to be written in English with your named signed at the bottom. Learning to write before you speak. Color me impressed, Chenny.”

“Son wrote,” Wu accidentally answered, cupping his mouth the moment the words left his lips.

“And that my friends, is perfect example of how to expose one’s own lie,” said Edison, tucking the paper in Wu’s front shirt pocket.  

“So speak English, still not want to talk to bái mù policeman,” Chen growled.

“I’m stupid?” Ed replied, surprising Chen with his comprehension of Chinese. “Listen, Mr. Wu, this is a murder… not the SAT’s. Whether or not you can read or write doesn’t matter much. Lying, on the other hand. That’s incredibly incriminating.”

“No lie,” said Chen, turning up his nose. “No want talk to outsider.”

“You will answer any and all of Detective Locard’s questions,” Takahashi snarled. 

“Still cannot,” said Wu. “Most sad from wife’s death.”

“Your feelings sure kicked in a convenient time,” Edison chuckled, shaking his head. “Where was this crippling sadness during my phone call a few minutes ago? Me being all lovey-dovey with my wife didn’t seem to bother you then. Since we’ve already established that you have a fine grasp on English, why didn’t that my ardent display of affection choke you up?”

What you say?” Wu growled. 

“Maybe your claim of being ‘most sad’ over your wife’s murder is… most made-up.”

“I LOVE WIFE,” howled Chen Wu. The old man tried taking a swing at Edison, but his children had already restrained him.

“Father, please, you must control yourself,” Wu’s oldest daughter pleaded, trying not to get elbowed in the face.

“You’ve got some quick kids there, Wu,” Ed pointed out. “Held you down in seconds— almost like they were conditioned to do it.”

The Wu clan hung their heads ashamedly, recounting the childhood turmoil caused by their father’s temper.

“Smells like rage issues to me,” Edison taunted further, sniffing the air. “And I think I detect a hint of domestic violence.”

“You say I hurt family?” snapped Chen, wriggling free from his kids’ hold. “Hurt family? That what you say to Chen? BACK IT UP, OUTSIDER.”

“Exhibit A,” Edison sneered, pointing to the corpse.

“You call me killer, and I sue for defamation of character.”

“No, I never called you a killer,” said Ed, smirking. “I implied it.

The detective’s cheeky words buzzed about the Chinese man’s brain like an infuriating fly. Each time Ed goaded the man it was like another insect had flown into his ear. The proud Chinaman’s blood boiled, seeking the extermination of both the meddlesome pest and his stinging words.

Shén jīng bìng.

Crazy?” Ed translated. “That’s the wok calling the kettle black. Crazy is that deranged and desperate look in your eyes. I can feel your killing intent. Your insides are burning up like a horde of enraged villagers. They’re shaking their pitchforks… demanding my death.”

Chen’s face grew redder with each affront. Ami’s pursed lips fought off a smile. Edison’s ability to drive the sanest of minds mental came quite in handy for impromptu interrogations.

“Is that the look you gave your wife as you watched the life drift from her face?”

“Why would I KILL my own wife?” bellowed Chen, his accent suddenly getting better with anger. Realizing his mistake, Chen lowered his tone and continued the act.

“I love wife. Wife love me. Good marriage. No problems. We run business together. All I want was support family, live dream and grow old.”

“Patience, I’m getting to the why,” Ed murmured. “If you’re marriage was so good, explain this.
The detective pulled out a half-packed pink suitcase that had been shoved under the bed and threw it down right in front of Chen Wu. The Chinese man hesitated before answering.

“We go on trip,” answered Chen, clearing his throat.

“Strange, I see no other suitcases,” said Edison, looking around.

“Pack light,” said Wu.

Ed kicked the suitcase, causing its contents to sprawl out onto the floor. He rifled through the luggage, pulled out nothing but female attire.

“Kids, did you know your Daddy was a cross-dresser?” Ed asked, putting a bra up to Wu’s chest and throwing it away.  He continued to search through the pile of women’s clothing. “I gotta admit, Wu man,  you’d sure look hot in this leopard print sundress.”

She go on trip,” corrected the humiliated Wu. “Meant say SHEWE not WME. Sorry for poor English. Reason I not go with is restaurant.”

The puzzled Wu children peered at their father as he grew increasingly foreign.

“Dad, why didn’t you tell me you guys wanted a vacation?” asked Chen Jr. “I could’ve easily looked after the restaurant for you. I do it all the time anyway.”

“Where was mom going?” asked the elder daughter. “I never heard about a trip either.”
The youngest Wu had no questions, only tears.

Chen Wu avoided both giving eye contact and answers to his offspring, breathing heavily and staring intensely at a spot on the wall.

“How could you miss a bright pink suitcase, you idiots,” Ami bitterly whispered to her team.

“Why hello there,” Ed greeted, pulling out a silk kimono. “This appears to be a uniform— a work uniform. Look, it even has Sun Ming: Eastern Cuisine embroidered in gold thread on the back. Why would one pack a work uniform for a trip? Better question: why don’t I find the name ‘Wu’ written anywhere?”

Edison held up the dress and pointed to the word ‘Sun’ and then tapped a large Chinese character silhouetted by a red setting sun.

“Young lady, your family restaurant has a lovely symbol. Can you tell me what this character means?”

“S-sun,” answered the younger daughter, wiping her eyes.

“By any chance, was that your mother’s maiden name?”
The daughter nodded.

“So she inherited the business? It’s literally in her name?”

“Yes, yes she did sir,” the girl shakily replied. “G-grandfather gave her the—”

“BE SILENT,” Chen snapped.

“What’s the matter Wu, things getting a little too real in here for you?” Ed goaded, getting up in the man’s face. “Which part pissed you off more? The fact that your wife was leaving you, or what she was leaving you with?

The red-faced Chinese man trembled, utterly still and silent.

“Or left without, I should say. Given your marital problems, I highly doubt your wife would have given you any stake in her father’s business. Without your old lady, you don’t have a single grain of rice to your name. The moment she walked out, you’d have no job. All you’d earn is the distain of your community and family.”

The Wu family’s confused looks were steadily transforming into furious glares.

“I’d say you have nothing, but’s that’s not true.” Edison continued. “You’ll always have your endless gambling debt to keep you company.”

Detective Locard reached into his coat pockets cast out countless crumpled receipts. Bills billowed up into the air and rained truth down upon the Wu family. The crinkled bits of paper were invoices from the horse track— all containing bold, red negative numbers next to the word ‘earnings.’

Huǎngyán, huǎngyán, huǎngyán,” Chen Sr. screamed, frantically snatching up as many receipts as he could. He clutched his son’s shirt, shaking him.

"LIES, LIES, LIES,” the father desperately pleaded.

Chen Wu’s secret life rained down upon room, melting away the façade of honor that long fooled his family. The youngest Wu succumbed to tears, burying her sorrow’s her quivering older sister’s chest. Chen Junior crumpled a receipt bitterly in his fist and shoved his father away.

Nǐ méiyǒu jiàzhí,” Chen Wu Junior muttered in disgust.

“If you’d only found help for your addiction instead of resorting to murder,” Ed sighed. “Things could have changed. It would’ve been a hard climb, but your life could have eventually been put back on track. Your pride took precedence over your family. Now you have neither.”   

The Chinese man who once stood as resolutely as a statue now shook like a brittle terracotta soldier. Ami and her team stood in awe, unable to comprehend the speed at which Edison Locard both made his deduction and broke the killer.

“What did she call you to make you murder her?”

Edison circled Chen.

Was it weak?” he whispered in the man’s ear.




“SPEAK NO MORE,” Chen Wu bellowed.

“What’s the matter? Are we getting déjà vu? Did she call you that as she packed her bags? Was it the last straw? Did she say that she would not allow you to bring her, the restaurant, and your family down in the flames of your terrible addiction that was already burning you alive? Charring you beyond recognition and reducing you to a feeble husk of a man? A LEECH? A PATHETIC PARASITE!?”  

A swarm of Chinese obscenities flew out Chen Wu’s mouth. He flung his hands onto Ed’s neck and slammed him down onto the floor.

“RELEASE THE DETECTIVE NOW,” Takahashi commanded, pointing her gun it at the berserker clutching Edison’s neck. Chen’s daughters shrieked tearfully, the sight of their father’s true nature restarting their agonizing sobs.

So this… is how… you killed her?” groaned the detective. “Choking her… to stop the words?


Edison slammed his fist into his attacker’s chest, immediately knocking the wind out of him. The detective skillfully grappled Wu, flipped him over, and pinned him down.

“Thanks for the demonstration,” said Edison, rubbing his neck.

“Chen Wu Senior, you are under arrest for the murder of your wife, Xiu-Mei Sun Wu,” said Ami as she cuffed the killer. “You have the right to remain silent. Everything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law…”

Takahashi’s rushed read of Chen’s Miranda Rights could hardly be heard over the murmur of Chinese chatter filling the tiny room. The CSI team escorted the distraught family out, and the crime-scene cleanup crew marched in.

Edison strolled up next to his fellow John Jay alum.

“You will ensure that Mr. Wu is taken in for questioning immediately,” Takahashi flatly ordered. “See to the delegation of taking in the family’s statements. Waste no time. It is to be done simultaneously.”

“Affirmative, Captain,” Lt. Kim replied, fighting to restrain the flailing murderer.

“I want to see all evidence in bags within the hour, people,” Ami continued. “Leave no slip behind. Clothing, debt or otherwise.”

Ami’s team stared at her perplexedly.

Idiots…” Ami grumbled under her breath. “Just bag everything the detective used to come to his conclusions.”

Captain Takahashi power-walked out of the apartment. As she sped to the building’s exit, she simultaneously jotted down her report.

“I take it please and thank you aren’t heard much around your precinct ,” said Edison, following behind.

“Etiquette dulls diligence,” Ami replied, making her way down the first flight of stairs. “I’m asking them to do their jobs, not pass the salt.”

“There’s that classic Takahashi charm,” Ed teased. “People aren’t tools you know.”

“Funny, your behavior seemed toolish to me,” Ami retorted. “Don’t think I didn’t notice that cheeky little grin on your face. How dare you take pleasure in a murder investigation! This isn’t hopscotch… it’s homicide.”

“Aims, you know I never take murder lightly. Show me the rule that says a detective can’t crack a smile after nabbing the bad guy. Not to sound cheesy, but I live to see justice served. Well, that and my wife’s smile.”

“Cute… and I’m sure you can’t wait to brag to her how your strategy to rattle the killer worked.”

“What strategy?” Edison joked. “Oh right… the phone call. Yeah… strategy, sure.”

“How does Christie put up with the waterfall of crap that comes out of your mouth?” groaned Ami.  

“By being awesome,” Edison replied. 

“Opposites really do attract,” the Japanese woman jeered.

“Is that humor coming out of Captain Talk-at-harshly?” Edison teased.

Talk-at-harshly,” Ami echoed sharply, turning around to deride Ed with her eyes. “You’re making puns… Locard? Really?”

Edison couldn’t help but chuckle at his friend’s annoyance. When she saw him texting away at his phone like 
a teen, Ami rolled her eyes and turned back around.

“I wonder if you’ll still be laughing when I report you for breaking numerous protocol.”

“All part of my deductive process…” murmured the investigator distantly.

“It’s part of showing off,” chided Ami. “Theatrics serve your ego, not the investigation.” 

The captain realized the footsteps behind her had stopped.

“What, no comeback? said Ami, turning around. “How un-Locard.”

She hasn’t texted me back yet…” muttered the detective, staring blankly at his cellphone.

Ami sighed and continued down the steps.

“What are you in high school? People get busy; phones die. How can you be worried when you just spoke with her?”

“Because this isn’t like her,” Ed replied. “The only time Christie doesn’t reply to a text is when she’s on stage. Her iPhone is practically embedded in her hand…”

“So call her if you’re so worried,” Ami suggested. “For a genius, you sure are dumb.,

“Good idea…”

The detective attempted to make a call but it was no use, as his phone lacked reception. In hopes of finding bars, Locard blew past Ami and rushed down the remainder of the stairs.

By the time Ami made it out of the building, Edison had already left his wife two voicemails. Ed’s old classmate could see the man’s grief, causing her to regret her earlier apathy. The joviality had been drained from the scruffy blonde man and replaced with worry. The sulking sleuth looked as pale as the morose midwinter sky. He stared at a discarded newspaper.


The paper’s pun worsened the detective’s worries. With the year’s end on its way, it appeared the fulfillment of his promise would once again be pushed to next quarter. The CEO-Killer mutilated three executives since Ed first promised Leon Silverman closure for his father’s murder. The discarded paper referred to Geraldo Rodriguez, a CEO whose death swiftly followed a foolish challenge to the high profile killer.

“Of course I’m not afraid of that nutcase,” Geraldo boasted to the press. “I represent all of Rodriguez Revenue Growth and Trade, I’m no mere man. I encourage the little fly CEO-Killer to press his knife to my neck, if he can even reach that high.  If he so much as sweats in my direction, my bodyguards will cut him down. I wish he’d attack me already because I’m tired of looking over my shoulder.

Two weeks later, an associate discovered the unrecognizable remains of Geraldo Rodriguez. Atop the cocky CEO’s butchered body along with a note reading Noblesse oblige placed neatly on top the morbid modus operandi of the monster the CEO so foolishly challenged. 

Ed had no idea how Leon managed to sleep at night, let alone smile during the day. Despite the danger, Leon Silverman boldly took up the reigns of his late father’s investment firm. Though the company had been  floundering even before the murder of its CEO, droves of investors pulled out due to Leon’s inexperience and Apollo’s stocks plummeted to a historic low. Miraculously, Leon’s leadership revived Apollo in a matter of months, bringing its worth to a record high.

Leon contributed to the investigation through by throwing highly profitable charity galas. Through these parties, he and Edison soon became close friends. After feeling his own childhood loneliness reflected in the eyes of the kind billionaire, Ed vowed to avenge the orphaned adult by personally cuffing the CEO-Killer. In his head, Detective Edison Locard made a second, silent promise.

He’d sooner die than allow Leon to share his father’s fate.

 “Quit brooding and get over here, you idiot,” Ami called out.

Ed nodded and shuffled over to Ami. The sidetracked blonde bumped into a hip looking fellow wearing a beanie hat and huge horn-rimmed glasses, causing him to drop his tablet computer.

“Watch it, dude… you almost cracked the screen,” griped the riled trendster. He looked up at Ed, matching the detective's face to one depicted in a newspaper app on the screen of his device.

“Whoa, you’re Edmund Locard,” the young man said excitedly. “They call you the real life Sherlock Holmes. You totally busted The Sunday Stabber just this week.”      

Edison,” corrected the detective, “... and that bust was a team effort.”
“That’s not what it says here,” said the hipster, showing Ed his tablet. “The article also says that this is the third serial-killer you’ve busted in your career. Why haven’t you caught the CEO Killer yet?”

“Working on it,” Edison said with a smile. “I believe we’re getting really close.”


“That’s my cue.”

Ed rushed over to Ami, not wishing to incur more of his friend’s rage.

“Okay, Locard… what’s wrong?” Ami asked, sounding more annoyed than concerned.

“We’ve known each other since college... please use my first name." Edison said, diverting the topic of conversation. “Ed, Eddie, Edison, Eddo, Edward, Eduardo... You’re got plenty of options.”

Tell me what’s wrong,” Ami said sharply.

“I told you it already,” the detective replied. “This isn’t like Christie and I’m worried.”

“Yes, but there’s more to it, isn’t there?” pressed Ami. “I can tell something’s off. Something’s changed.”

Edison peered up at the heavens and heaved a sigh.

“Does finding out you’re going to be a father, count as change?” Edison asked. Though he managed to prevent his excitement from effecting his tone, Ed could not hide his giant grin.

“OH… MY… GOD,” squealed the policewoman, displaying an uncharacteristic level of femininity. “Haven’t you guys been trying for like ever? That’s amazing news.”

“I wish I could be as happy as you are about it,” Edison said uneasily.

“Don’t let the added responsibility of fatherhood worry you,” his friend encouraged. “C’mon! Be excited. You’re about to embark on the most fulfilling adventure in your life. My father instilled me with the values that made me who I am and inspired me to go into law enforcement. He may live in Japan, but if his health ever takes a turn I’m on the next plane.”

“Now we know who to blame,” Ed laughed. “Thanks for the encouragement Ami, but becoming a dad doesn’t worry me in the slightest bit. Since I never had a family of my own, I’ve been looking forward to making one my entire life.”

“Then what’s the issue?” Ami asked.

“The birth itself,” Edison explained. “Christie’s mother died during childbirth due to compilations from a heart disease. Doctors only discovered the disease after her death. I’m afraid Christie may have inherited whatever killed her mother. Christie is my world, Ami. If anything happens to her…”

“That happened decades ago,” insisted Ami. “Medical science grows even faster than the children it saves. Christie and the baby will be fine. Chill out before all this worrying gives you a heart condition.”

“Yeah, that’s the logical conclusion, but what have I got to lose by checking?”

Cab fare,” the captain said bitterly as she walked off.

Edison sighed, wished Ami’s empathy could match her productivity. He didn’t have many friends, and— other than his wife—Ami Takahashi was his only female one. Sometimes he just wanted to vent his feelings, and he certainly wasn’t going to Warren or Leon for that.  


The beep of the squad car’s siren startled Ed half to death. A police car pulled up and its passenger door flung open.

“Waste of cab fare, huh,” grinned the detective as he climbed in.

“I stand by that,” Ami muttered. “Thus why I’m driving.”

“Thanks Ami, I owe you one,” Edison said as he shut the car door.

“One? Try a one hundred. You’re running a tab of favors. Now perk up, buckle up, shut up and don’t you DARE make any Asian driver jokes or I’ll throw you out of the car. I’ve tolerated enough jabs at my heritage for one day.”

“Pretty scary threat,” Ed said teasingly. “Though not as frightening as you taking a—“

Don’t even finish it…” Ami seethed.

“REFT TURN,” Ed jeered in a stereotypical Asian voice.

“You just can’t help yourself, can you?” snapped Ami, stomping on the gas. “You’re like an annoying fly that’s impossible to swat.”

“Hey, you should be happy,” said Edison. “Think about poor Harold Delveccio’s rhotacism. He’d love to have those R’s.”

“One more word and you WALK.”

Muted for his irreverence, Edison stared listlessly out his window, trying to admire the bustling beauty of New York City during the holidays as it whizzed colorfully by. Edison’s brain throbbed, mulling over all the possible scenarios in which trouble might have befallen his wife. He closed his eyes and emptied his mind.

“We’re here.”

Ed snapped back into reality, breaking out of his stress-alleviating meditative state. Slowly, the detective stepped out of the car. The wintry air cut into him like a scythe. Pangs of rushed breath ebbed in and out of his lungs. His heart incited a revolt in his chest that spread like wildfire to his stomach and lungs. The hair on his neck stood straight and every last frozen pore of his skin screamed of danger.  

“Why is this crowd huddled outside my apartment?” Ed asked the captain angrily. “Why? Why the hell? Why do I always have to be right? I knew it… I KNEW something was wrong.”

“Edison, calm down… there’s likely a reasonable explanation,” Ami said firmly. “Promise me now that no matter what happens you’ll keep a level head.” 

“If Christie is in danger…” Ed uttered as icily as the air.

“My head will be on whatever damn level it needs to be.”



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