“You know Steve I had no idea how many cases we have worked on.”


The sounds of paper being shuffled around. “Yeah there have been a few.” Steve replies.


“A few? Try a few thousands!! This one the Captain brought to my attention. We should tell everybody about this one….”


“You know I love being a cop Neal….”


“Yeah Steve I know you do….”


“But there are a few cases I would like to forget and this is one of them. It almost ruined my career, not to mention my reputation and….”




“…. This case made me question everything I ever believed in! As a cop and a human being!”


“No good deed goes unpunished is that it Steve?”


“Exactly. You know I have to get out of this office. You talk about that case and I’ll spend the rest of the shift on the street, okay?”


“No problem. You just watch out for yourself. Got it partner?” Neal says.


“You got it partner. Later.” Steve says then the next sound is the office door opening and closing.


Neal exhales. “Well folks I knew that was going to happen. Old wounds can close but they never, really heal. Have you ever helped anybody, I mean really helped them? Go out of your way to do what you could and then have them betray you? I’m sure somebody out there has well this is one of those times….”




V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7








Steve has a new apartment. He loved living behind the Captain’s house in the Bungalow but he needed more room. He had collected so much stuff and lets just say when he moved he and Neal rented a truck and they had to make three trips and now six months down the road Steve had just about everything squared away to his likening. When he got his Detective grade he received a pay raise and with that he was able to afford this half of a Duplex.


The Duplexes were in an older, less ritzy area of Oceanview and that isn’t saying it was in a bad neighborhood because it wasn’t. The neighborhood was older and a little run down but Steve didn’t mind, to him it had character. The people who lived there were older and they had owned their own homes for years or they were young families with children who just had bought homes and were putting down roots in the community. It was close to everything that a young bachelor like Steve required. A grocery store, bookstore, restaurants and right out his back door was the beach. Well at least close to it.


First there was a large concrete patio that was surrounded by a fence and a gate lead out to the beach. The duplex was an upstairs, downstairs configuration and Steve liked the fact that he only had a neighbor on one side of him that he hardly ever saw. Upstairs was the master bedroom and bath and across the hall was a spare room that Steve was planning on using as an office or maybe even a guest room, Steve wasn’t sure yet. Downstairs was the living room, dining room and kitchen and off the kitchen was where the washer and dryer was located and also there was a half bath, just a sink and a toilet.


In the living room Steve had made some shelves out of cinder blocks and boards which he carefully sanded and stained and they held the television, books, records, record player and other odds and ends. The sofa and chair and coffee table and the end tables came from Neal after he had bought new furniture and Steve was happy to get them. None of the furniture matched but Steve didn’t care, he liked it. He also had houseplants and all his other stuff which he was still unpacking and the things he couldn’t decide what to do with was in the other upstairs room which over some long weekend he intended to clean out. Steve would actually need two weeks off to tackle that project.


As it were the apartment was almost too big for him and so he decided he needed help to keep it clean. Not to say that he was a dirty person but even he had his moments and sometimes he wasn’t home much and when he was he wasn’t cleaning. He was either, eating, sleeping, relaxing or entertaining young ladies so no his calendar was not full of household chores. So that is where Emily comes in.


Emily was a 16 year old teenage girl from the neighborhood who lived all of just two blocks away. Two blocks away were, where at one time, stood some grand old homes. Done in the old California tradition. Huge, rambling two stories structures that had wraparound porches and gables and shutters on the windows but now they were generally run down structures, most of them forgotten, abandoned and the others were cut up into low rent apartments and still others were lived in by single families who could afford the price of the upkeep. Emily lived in the houses that were cut up into apartments with her mother who worked when she could and when she couldn’t Emily was there to pick up the financial slack. Emily would baby-sit and during the summer months that were fast approaching she would work at a local grocery store or she would clean houses or apartments.


Steve met her in an odd-ball sort of way, well for others it might seem odd-ball but Steve in his crazy, cop world it was the status quo. He and Neal responded to a disturbance in her apartment building downstairs from her and her mother and that is how he met Emily. She was carrying a basket of laundry, luckily it was dirty, when Steve ran into her and both of them tumbled down the stairs and from there it was a match made in cleaning heaven. He needed someone to clean at least a couple times a week, maybe more or less, and she was looking for extra work. And bingo another form of partnership was formed.


On this day Steve had just arrived home and it being a Friday Steve could relax and get some very much needed rest and hopefully that would change if his date with Patty worked out liked he hoped but for now he wanted to take a hot shower, drink a beer and relish in the fact that he had two days off….in a row. That is if the criminal element cooperated and behaved themselves this weekend.

Steve was going to unlock the front door and then he realized it was already unlocked and he opened it carefully and he stuck his head in and he took a good, long look around and that was when he saw Emily, in the living room, up on a step ladder fiddling around with a plant that was hanging there. The squeal of the door betrayed him because Emily looked back over her shoulder at him and she smiled.


“Oh hi Steve….”


And that is when the rickety step on an even more rickety step-ladder gave away and at that moment Steve didn’t realize just how fast he could move because when Emily started to fall Steve caught her in his arms. Her arms around his neck and luckily the sofa was there to break both of their falls. The wind was knocked out of him not to mention the fact that she was in his lap in a more than compromising position.


Steve does his best to take a deep breath. “Are….are you alright?”


“Oh sure I am fine.” Emily says happily. “How are you?”


“Happy that I didn’t move the sofa over there otherwise we both would have ended up in the hospital. What were you doing up on that ladder?” Steve asks.


“Oh I was just watering the plants and that one needed some grooming.”


“Oh I see.”


“Did you have a good day at work?” Emily asks.


“Yes I did hey do I smell something cooking?” Steve asks.


“Oh yes dinner!!” Emily wriggles and squirms her way off of Steve’s lap.


“Dinner? Emily you know you don’t have to cook….” Steve says.


“Oh no I don’t mind besides you had the meatloaf already made all I did was put it in the oven.”


Steve as he gets off of the sofa notices her schoolbooks on the dining room table. “Homework?”


“Yes. I hope you don’t mind I couldn’t work on it at home….Mom….well you know.”


Steve puts his hand on the top of her head and he smiles at her. “I understand and it’s okay.

Listen honey I need to go upstairs and take a long, hot shower. It’s been a long day and I am bushed….all day long I have been thinking of a hot shower and a cold beer. When I get out of the shower I can run you home if you want so finish up your homework okay?”




Steve gives her a friendly brotherly type kiss on the forehead then he goes upstairs taking off his jacket as he goes.


Emily hears the bedroom door shut and a few minutes later she hears the water come on in the bathroom and then the phone rings. Emily looks upstairs to the closed bedroom as she answers the phone.


“Hello Perry residence.” Emily says as she tries to make her voice sound older.

“Well hello who is this?” The woman’s voice on the other end asks.


“This is the answering service for Mr. Perry. Would you like to leave a message?”


The woman laughs on the other end. “Mr. Perry didn’t tell me that he such a fancy thing as an answering service.”


“Yes he does.” Emily tries not to let the annoyance show in her voice. “Would you like to leave a message?”


More laughter. “Sure. Tell Mr. Perry that Miss. Patty Webb will meet him at 9:o’clock just liked we planned. He knows where.”


“Yes I will certainly give Mr. Perry the message.” Emily says.


“Okay thank you.” Patty says then she hangs up.


Emily hangs up as well then she sits down at the dining room table to finish her homework.


Steve stayed in the shower until all the hot was gone and as he dried his hair he was thinking about Patty and their date tonight at least he hopes there was going to be a date. He had been trying to for weeks to get her to go out with him; they have had a running conversation with each other and a few quick lunches here and there but he was finally able to wrangle a bona-fid date with her. That is if she could clear her schedule and Steve knew from experience that women usually said that when they wanted to think about if they wanted to go out with you or not. Steve was not naïve to that fact.


Steve lets his hair air dry for a change and as he pulls a t-shirt over his head he goes downstairs.


“Emily did the phone ring while I was in the shower I thought I heard….”


“Yes it was somebody named Patty….” Emily replies.


“It was? Great! What did she want?” Steve asks happily.


“She wanted me to tell you that she had to go out of town and something about canceling your date. She said that you would understand.”


“Oh fu….I mean fudge, I better call her….” Steve says as he goes towards the phone but Emily jumps in front of him.


“No she said that she was leaving as soon as she hung up so she won’t be home.”


“Oh. Well hell!” Steve exclaims.


“I’m sorry.”


Steve puts his hands on her shoulders. “Oh no honey it isn’t your fault I was just looking forward to tonight that’s all….” Steve smiles at her. “But I guess there be other nights. Tell you what would your mom mind if we went to the movies?”


Emily’s face lit up like a Christmas tree. “Oh no she won’t mind, can we go and see Jaws!”


Steve laughs as he nods. “Yes we can go and see Jaws. Let’s eat that meatloaf while I check the paper for times and then we’re go by your house….”


“Why go by my house? I told you my mom won’t mind!”


“Yes I know honey but I think it’s best if you tell her where you are going or at least leave a note for her. She might be upset if you don’t come home until late alright?”




“Move your books off the table and help me set the table okay?” Steve asks.




And so it went for Friday night and since Steve’s plans for the weekend was nixed he hung out with Neal and the kids in the neighborhood playing basketball and then Monday always rolled around. The week was the usual rash of calls, good bad and indifferent ones and once again Friday Steve rolled by the art store which Patty owned and operated.





“I’ll take one of everything in the store and that includes you.” Steve says as he laughs. “Do you take checks?”


Patty was at the counter and she smiled at him as she pointed to the sign on the wall. It said ‘In God we trust, others pay cash.’


“Oh!” Steve says as he looks down at the counter then he looks back up.


“You know I should be mad at you but you are so cute I can’t and not too many men who stand me up get off that easily.”


“Stand you up?” Steve says. “I didn’t stand you up.”


“Yes you did copper! I waited and waited and I even called your house again but there was no answer that fancy answering service of yours didn’t even pick-up.”


Steve looks confused as he scratches his head. “Answering service, I don’t have an answering service. And I didn’t stand you up I got a message from you that you were going out of town!”


“What? No I never said I was going out of town….you don’t have an answering service?”


Steve shakes his head. “Nope.”


Patty looks just as confused. “Then who answered your phone? Do you have a girlfriend I should know about it? Huh?”


“What? Oh no….” Steve thinks a minute. “Oh it had to be Emily! She’s a girl from the neighborhood, she cleans the apartment and stuff like that, she must have misunderstood the message you gave to her or something….”


“….Or something….”


“Look let’s try again. My shift ends in about an hour, hopefully, and I know a great Italian place where they have music and we can dance.” Steve leans his head sideways as he smiles at her. “You do like to dance don’t you?”


Patty smiles back. “Yes I love to dance. Okay, I’ll see you in an hour, hopefully.”


“You don’t have to clear your schedule?” Steve says as he smiles at her again.


“No it’s already clear….for the whole night.” Patty says as she winks at him.


“Hmmm okay I’ll see you later.”


“Hey copper come here.” Patty says as she crooks her finger at him and Steve leans over the counter. Patty grabs him by his jacket as she pulls him closer to her over the counter then she kisses him. “Don’t be late baby.”


“I wouldn’t hear of it. Bye.” Steve says.


“Bye.” Patty says as she lets go of his jacket and he backs up a few steps and he turns and he runs right into a display and he grabs it to stop it from hitting the floor as the items fall everywhere around him. He looks back over his shoulder at Patty who is smiling at him.


“Bye…” Steve says.


“Bye.” Patty says.


Still looking back over his shoulder he moves to his left and he runs right into a customer leaving the store causing her to drop her bag. Steve scrambles to pick it up.


“Oh I am so sorry….” Steve says as he hands her bag and Steve looks up to see Patty still smiling at him.


“Bye.” Patty says as she waves at him.


“Bye.” Steve says as he takes a few steps back and after he bounces off the door he manages to open it and go out of it.






Luckily for Steve he managed to pull himself together and leave his clumsy side at the precinct house and he showed Patty a wonderful time and after dinner they went for a walk on the beach that just happened to be behind his apartment and after the walk they ended up in Steve’s apartment and now it was close to ten o’clock and Patty was down in the kitchen, wearing one of Steve’s t-shirt, making sandwiches while she danced to the music that was playing on the stereo. Just as she finished and she was carrying the plate full of sandwiches and two beers upstairs the doorbell rang and she answered it.


“Steve….” Emily starts to say then stops when she sees that it is somebody other than Steve that answered the door. Emily frowns as she looks this strange woman up and down and she isn’t wearing very much. “….Is Steve here?” Emily finally manages to ask.


“Steve!” Patty calls over her shoulder.


“I know that better not be Neal!!!” Steve replies from upstairs.


Patty laughs. “No it’s a cute little girl that wants to see you.”


Emily takes a deep breath as she rolls her eyes.


Steve pokes his head from around the bedroom door. “Emily?”


“Hi Steve.” Emily replies.


“Hold on a sec let me, you know, get dressed.” Steve closes the door then a few minutes’ later Steve bounds down the stairs buttoning the top button on his jeans. When he gets to the front door he puts his arms around Patty from behind his chin resting on her shoulder as he looks at Emily.

“Hello honey is everything okay?” Steve asks. “Isn’t it late for you to be out?”


“No not really.” Emily looks at Patty who is trying to keep the plate of sandwiches away from Steve smiling and laughing. “I was going home after the library and I realized that I had lost my keys. I came by to get the spare….I’m sorry if I am interrupting.”


Steve finally snags a sandwich. “Mom still at work?” Steve asks.


“Yeah until Midnight unless she works over.” Emily replies.


“I’ll get the key for you it’s on the hook in the kitchen.” Steve says.


“Steve.” Patty says. “Why don’t you take her home? It’s too late for a little girl to be out on the….”


“I am not a little girl! I am 16 and I can walk home by myself! I just need my key.”


“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to….” Patty says.


“No Patty it’s alright and you’re right I should drive her home. Why don’t you take the sandwiches upstairs and wait on me. While I’m out I’ll get some more beer.”


“Alright.” Patty turns to go upstairs and Steve gives her a little swat on the rear.


“If you wait a minute I’ll put on my shoes and grab my jacket and your key. Do you want to come in?” Steve asks then he takes a bite out of the sandwich.


“No I’ll wait out here.” Emily says.


“Okay I’ll be out in a minute.” Steve then shuts the front door.


Standing on the front porch Emily looks around and when she sees the planter she takes her keys out of her pocket and she drops them down into the planter. A few minutes later Steve comes out wearing his jacket and carrying his car keys and he hands Emily’s key to her. They walk out to Steve’s old VW Bug and he opens the passenger’s side door for her.


Steve starts it and he backs out of the driveway and then he heads in the direction of Emily’s apartment.


“Steve can I ask you a question?”


“Sure what is it?” Steve asks.


“Is she your girlfriend?” Emily asks.


“Patty? No not really. This is our first real date.”


“Do you love her?” Emily asks.


“Well honey I don’t know I mean we’re just starting to get to know each other. I like her a lot though….” Steve sees the look of concern on her face. “….And Emily I like you a lot too.”


“You do?” Emily asks.


“Sure I do. Hey look it’s your home sweet home.” Steve says as he stops out front. Steve gets out and he opens the door for her and then he grabs her book bag.

“Wow! What do you have in rocks?” Steve asks.


Emily laughs and as they walk into the building Steve puts his arm around her. When they get to her door Steve stops and he opens the door for her then he goes in and makes sure it’s alright.


“Okay Cap the place is secure!” Steve says as he salutes.


“You don’t have to do that every time you come over here you know.” Emily says.


“Of course I do I have to make sure you’re going to be alright.” Steve says as he gives her a hug. “You’re mom will be home soon….”


“Could you stay until she comes home?” Emily asks.


“Oh honey you know I have Patty waiting for me….” Steve replies.


“Oh yeah I forgot….”


Steve lifts her chin. “Hey smile.”


And she does.


“There you go. I better go and if you need anything call me. Lock the door behind me. Oh try to find your keys too.”


“Alright Steve I will and thanks.”


“Bye honey….lock the door.” Steve says as he closes the door behind him and he listens and when he hears her lock it he leaves.






“Hey Steve was that Patty I just saw leaving?” Neal asks as he walks into the squad room and he puts an apple down on Steve’s desk.


“Hey yourself. Yeah it was. An apple?” Steve asks as he looks up at Neal.


“You need more fiber. So I take it that Patty being here wasn’t a social visit?”


“Not hardly, she spent the weekend at my place….” Steve says.


“Really? That sounded cozy.”


“Yes it was thank you.” Steve replies as he takes the report out of the typewriter. “She got up this morning to go to her shop and her tires on her car were slashed.”


“What? Do you want some coffee?” Neal asks he goes over to the coffee pot.


“Yeah thanks, yeah all four of them.” Steve replies.


“That is just crazy man where was her car parked?” Neal asks as he sits a cup of coffee down on Steve’s desk.


“Out front of my apartment.”


“Any witnesses?” Neal asked.


“Just some crabs, seagulls and a pissed off Pelican named Fred.”


“You two didn’t see anything?” Neal asks.


Steve doesn’t bother to answer he just gives Neal of those looks.


“Oh never mind….” Neal replies as he takes a sip of coffee.


“I told her I would take the report and I also told her that I would buy her some new tires.”


“That was nice of you.” Neal replies.


“Well hell Neal I feel bad, I mean it happened right out front of the apartment and besides I can get tires at wholesale prices otherwise they would cost her an arm and a leg.”


“Really? You never told me that….”


“I didn’t?” Steve says.




“Well the next time you need tires just let me know. Let me turn in this report to the Captain and this one to the Watch Commander then we can get the hell out of Dodge!!” Steve says as he stands up.






Steve knocks on the door of the apartment and it is opened by Emily.


“Hi Steve, come in!” Emily says happily as she lets Steve in.


“Hi Emily, wow you look really pretty.” Steve says as he takes her by the hands. “Let me see, I know you’re going on date with some lucky guy, should I be jealous?” Steve asks jokily.


“No unless you’re jealous of yourself.” Emily answers happily as she smiles.


“What?” Steve laughs.


“It’s not nice to tease a girl on her birthday; I’m going out with you!”


“Oh Emily….” Steve says.




“I totally forgot….” Steve says.


“I called you at work and I left a message, you didn’t get it?” Emily asks.


Steve shakes his head. “No I didn’t, oh honey, I totally forgot I mean I have been so busy and I have been going out with Patty….”


“I thought you were here to pick me up you mean, you aren’t?”


“No I came by to drop off your keys I found them in the planter out front on the porch….” Steve takes them out of his pocket and he hands them to her.


“Emily I would love to take you out tonight….”


“You promised….” Emily says.


“I know I did I just forgot I mean that was last month when I said….Neal and I we are double dating with Patty and her friend tonight….”


“Okay well maybe I can go out with you all….” Emily says.


“Oh no honey I don’t think that would be a good idea, I mean we are going to be doing adult type things….”


“I’m not a baby Steve!!”


“No I know you aren’t….”


“Today I am 17!!”


“I know you are and you’re right you aren’t a little girl but then again you aren’t an adult either. You’re too young to drink; I mean you couldn’t even get into any of the places we are going….”


“But you promised….”


“Emily tell you what I’ll do, I’ll take you out tomorrow night okay? Dress up just like you are now and I’ll take you to wherever you want to go. Okay?” Steve lifts her chin with his finger. “Okay?”


Emily nods. “Come on smile.” Steve says. “Come on.”


Emily smiles. “There you go.” Steve kisses her on the forehead. “Happy birthday and tomorrow night I promise okay? I better go now. Remember to….”


“I know lock the door behind you….” Emily says.


“Bye.” Steve says.






“So Patty can I come up and see your etchings?” Steve asks Patty as they ride in the backseat of Neal’s car on the way to Patty’s shop which also had an upstairs apartment.


Neal glances in the rearview mirror as he shakes his head. “That is what I love about you Steve you are original.”


Patty laughs as she kisses him. “After everybody leaves.”


“Hey Steve do you smell smoke?” Neal asks.


“Oh yeah I do it’s called a burning passion.” Steve says as he puts his arms around Patty.


Neal looks in the rearview again. “No you dope I’m serious! Do you smell smoke?”


“Well yeah now that you mention it….”


Brenda in the front seat points in the direction of Patty’s shop. “Look Neal flames!”


As they drive up they see a lot of smoke and a glow of a big fire coming from the back of the building in the alley.


“Oh my god!” Patty exclaims.


“What’s back there?” Steve asks Patty.


“A dumpster! A big dumpster!”


Neal pulls up in front of the shop and he stops and he and Steve get out. They then run around to the back of the building to see the contents of the dumpster fully engulfed. Steve looks around until he finds the water hose, he grabs it, and he aims it at the dumpster. In the meantime Neal finds a board and using it he manages to close the lid on the dumpster putting the fire out.


Steve coughs. “Well that was exciting.”


Neal rubs his hands on his pants as he coughs. “Yeah it was and I think we have another problem….” Neal says as he puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder and he nods in the direction of the building.


“Steve….?” Patty says. In the fire fighting effort they didn’t notice that the girls have come closer.


“Patty you and Brenda go back to the car and lock the doors.” Steve says.


“But what about the fire….?” Patty asks.


“It’s out…” Neal replies. “Now go to the car and lock the doors okay?”


“Neal is everything alright?” Brenda asks.


“We’re going to take a look around….” Steve says.


“….And we need you two girls to go back to the car….”


“….Now…!.” Steve and Neal both say at the same time.


In the dim eerie glow of the florescent light in the alley Steve could see fear on Patty’s face as she grabbed Brenda’s hand. “Come on Brenda let’s go….”


“Remember to lock the doors.” Neal says.


Neal and Steve wait until they get out of earshot. “I would assume that Patty wouldn’t leave the back entrance open would she?” Neal asks as he looks at the open back door.


“Not hardly, she’s a stickler for that sort of thing.” Steve reaches under his jacket for his gun and then he realizes…. “Oh shit!!! Neal we are unarmed!”


“Oh hell!!! I forgot!!!” Neal says as he pats his sides.


“Okay Dirty Harry what do we do now?” Steve asks.


Neal hands him the 2by4. “And what I am supposed to do with this?”


“Steve even before you had a gun you used to throw shit remember? Rocks, bottles, cans of soup so if anybody is in there you just give them a good whack!!”


“Yeah well what if they have a knife or even worse….a gun?” Steve asks.


“Consider it the element of surprise….who in the hell would bring a 2by4 to a gunfight?”


“Somehow I don’t find that comforting. What about you? Where’s your weapon?” Steve asks.


Neal looks around and he finds another board but this one has a nail stuck in it.


“Oh this is just peachy man! Two detectives armed with 2by4’s and yours is loaded with a nail!!!”


“The nail is rusty and you can get lock-jaw from a rusty nail you know.” Neal points out.


“Yeah with our luck our pyromaniac burglar has had his tetanus shot!!”


“Will you shut up and go on!” Neal says as he shoves him toward the open door.


Steve gets on one side of the open door and Neal on the other. Steve using the 2by4 shoves the door open even more.


“It’s dark….” Steve points out.


“You should be a detective Steve. Is there a light switch anywhere?” Neal asks.


“Yeah it’s in the middle of that wall on your side.” Steve says.


Neal looks up at the florescent street light. “I bet that street light shines in just far enough that I can find the light switch and turn it on….what do you think?”


Steve looks at the street light then he looks back at the hallway. “If I push that door open even more then yeah I think you might be right….” Steve gets down on one knee and he pushes the door opened even farther with the 2by4. “You know Neal….”


“Yeah Steve?” Neal asks as he peeks inside.


“This could be dangerous maybe we should call for back-up.”


“Back-up?” Neal asks.


“Yeah you know the guys in the black and white cars with the lights on top? Back-up.”


“Come on Steve don’t get all girly on me….” Neal says.


“Me girly? Okay let’s do this…at the end of that hallway are four stairs and it goes down into the store….to the right is the counter…”


“Good boy….where’s the entrance to the apartment?” Neal asks.


“There’s an entrance out front but there is another way thru the store. A staircase….”


Neal takes a tight grip on the 2by4 then he slides down the wall and he gets on one knee facing Steve.


“See you later man….” Neal says.


“You too….” Steve says.


Neal gets down on both knees and he crawls into the hallway with the 2by4 out in front of him and when he gets to the light switch he gets down on the floor and he looks back at Steve and he nods his head….


“Oceanview P.D! We have the place surrounded….!” Steve yells and at the same time

Neal reaches up with the board and he flicks on the light switch and when the store is lit up like a Christmas tree he works his way down the hall on his stomach and when he gets to the stairs he peeks around the corner and behind the counter is clear. Neal rolls down the stairs once again he crawls on his stomach behind the counter. Neal whistles and in the next minute Steve is also rolling down the stairs and he ends up next to Neal. They both peek over the counter and they take a look around the store.


“Oh holy shit….!!!” Steve exclaims.


“Man oh man somebody tore this place apart….” Neal says.


“Hey Neal you’re bleeding….” Steve says as he points at Neal.


Neal looks at himself then he looks at Steve. “So are you….”


Steve runs his hand over his jacket and he comes away with his hand red. “It’s paint.”


Then they look around them. “It’s all over the floor….” Steve says.


“….And it’s all over us….”


“Fudge!!! This is my best jacket!!!” Steve says.


“You mean was….” Neal says as he stands up.


“What are you doing?” Steve asks.


“I don’t think anybody is here but whoever was here had one hell of a good time.”


Steve stands up next to him. “All the paintings are slashed….”


“The cash register wasn’t touched so whoever did it didn’t do it for the money….”


They both look at the staircase that leads up to the apartment then they look at each other. Steve hands Neal his 2by4.


“After you….” Neal says.


“Oh no age before beauty….” Steve replies.


Neal walks across the paint covered floor to the staircase with Steve following close behind him. They take the stairs slowly and when they get upstairs Neal points out the paint stained footprints on the floor that leads to the apartment door.


“Oceanview P.D.” Neal yells as he swings the door open using the 2by4.


“Come out with your hands up.” Steve says.


Steve peeks around the corner and he sees the far window open and footprints going out of it and he also sees that the apartment was just as vandalized as the shop downstairs.


“Steve….” Neal puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder as he points at the wall. “Does Patty have any enemies?”


“Not that I am aware of….”


“I’m going to go back to the car and call it in. We are going to need the crime lab out here and I don’t think she needs to know about….that.” Neal says.


“I think you’re right….” Steve says.






“Are the girls alright?” Neal asks.


“Yeah Brenda and Patty went back to my place, she’s going to stay with her until I get home whenever that is. So what did the Crime Lab guys say?” Steve says.


“Well….” Neal takes his paint stained notebook out of his pocket. “They said they didn’t find any fingerprints except Patty’s and yours….”


“That makes sense I have been up in the apartment a few times.”


“The footprints were small….”


“Uh huh.” Steve says.


“Whoever did this would have to have paint all over them….”


“The footprints end at the bottom of the fire escape….” Steve says.


“If you had vandalized a place with paint and you didn’t want to get caught wouldn’t you bring a change of….”


“Most definitely and the old paint covered clothes would be hidden….” Steve says.


“….Thrown away….” Neal says.


“…..Burned!!!!” They both say. “The dumpster!!!!”


They both run around to the back of the building and the dumpster and they grab a Crime Lab guy.


“Hey Fred can you check out that dumpster? Neal and I think they might be some evidence in there….”


“Crispy evidence.” Neal says.


“Sure guys I’ll see what I can do.”


“I suppose you struck out in the eyewitness department?” Neal asks.


“Yeah big zero. This area doesn’t have a lot of people living here. The stores that are here the people that run them live someplace else, Patty is just about the only one that lives here.”


“Detective Schon.”


Neal turns around at the officer that is calling him. “Yeah Bob?”


“There’s a guy who is just dying to talk to you….”


Neal and Steve look at one another.


“….He says that he might have seen somebody or he might know something, I don’t really know but he wants to talk to you and only you.”


“Alright Bob thanks….” Neal says as he follows the officer out to the street.


Once out on the street the officer holds the crime scene tape up and Neal ducks under it to see Jessie standing there nervously shifting from one foot to the other twisting his hat in his hands.


“Neal! Neal! Neal! Ne….”


“Jessie calm down man, take a deep breath.”


Jessie takes a deep breath.


“Better?” Neal asks.


Jessie nods.


“Okay now Jessie the officer told me that you might have seen something….?”


“Yeah, yeah I saw a guy coming down the fire escape of that building right there!! Right there Neal!!!!”


“Good deal Jessie now can you tell me what this guy was wearing?” Neal asks.


“Clothes….red clothes!!” Jessie says happily.


Neal nods. “Okay Jessie how did you know that it was a guy you saw?”


“Well I don’t know….did I say it was a guy?”


“Yes Jessie you said it was a guy. Now was this guy big, small, old, young?”


Jessie thinks a minute. “I don’t know….”


“Where were you standing when you saw them?” Neal asks.


Jessie points across the street. “There….I was looking for bottles….”


“Did they see you Jessie?” Neal asks.


Jessie nods. “Neal I really did see somebody….you believe me don’t you?”


“Yes Jessie I believe you. A guy, maybe, wearing red clothes. Did you see if they had long hair or short or what color it was….?”


Jessie shakes his head. “They were wearing one of those things, you know, it was a sweatshirt but it covered their head.”


“You mean a hood?”


Jessie jumps up and down. “Yes, yes! A hood!”


“Now Jessie I want you to think, really, really hard about this next question okay?”


Jessie nods.


“Did you see them in the sweatshirt with the hood when they were on the fire escape or after the dumpster caught fire?”


Jessie looks puzzled and he twists his hat harder. “Neal….”


Neal puts his hands on Jessie’s shoulders. “It’s alright. Now do you have anything else you want to tell me about this….”


“They were mean doing that to Miss Patty….”

“Yes Jessie they were mean.” Neal agrees.


“Miss Patty is very nice to me, she lets me sweep her sidewalk and take out the trash, she doesn’t chase me off….”


“I know Jessie….”


“…..And if it’s really cold she lets me sleep in the storeroom….get them Neal okay?”


Neal right then and there sees a very lucid moment in Jessie’s eyes and he could see the man that Jessie, at one time, used to be.


Neal puts his arm around him. “I will Jessie I promise. Now take this….” Neal slips him ten dollars.


“Oh no Neal I don’t need it I have a lot of bottles….”


“I know you do but you earned it.” Neal says.


“I did?” Jessie looks at him wide-eyed.


“Yes you did and you did a great job. Promise me that you’re get yourself something to eat okay?”


“Oh I will Neal I will! I’ll go right now, that is if you don’t need my help anymore?”


Neal smiles at him. “No Jessie not tonight and you know how to get a hold of me if you need anything, right?”


“Yeah, yeah I still have your card!!” Jessie says happily.


“Good deal Jessie and thanks. Bye now.”


“Bye Neal.”


Neal stands there watching as Jessie crosses the street and as he goes up the block and disappears around a building there.




Neal looks down at the street with his hands in his jacket pockets.


“And how long have you been standing there?” Neal asks.


Steve puts his hand on Neal’s shoulder. “Oh long enough to see that my hard as nails partner is a softie but then again there is nothing wrong with that. What’s his story?”


“Oh I guess the same as a hundred others, he had a good life at one time and then something tragic happened. From what I could piece together his whole family was wiped out in a car accident, he was driving and he blamed himself, it wasn’t his fault but still, and he never went back home, he became one of those wandering souls….”


“By the grace of god go I….” Steve says.


“Who’s the softie now?” Neal asks as he looks back over his shoulder at Steve.


“True. Was he able to tell you anything?”


Neal rubs his eyes as he yawns. “No not much. He either saw a guy that was young or old that was wearing red clothes. He didn’t know if they had long or short hair or even if they had hair….”


Steve smiles.


“They were wearing a hooded sweatshirt but he doesn’t know if he, she or it was wearing it on the fire escape or after the dumpster caught fire….Jesus god I’m tired.”


“Me too. The Crime Lab guys are packing up their stuff….” Steve says.


“What about the dumpster?”


“They took some stuff out of it and it’s going to take time to go thru it....after we secure this place lets go back to my apartment and you pick-up Brenda and we start fresh on this tomorrow.”


“I think it is already tomorrow Steve” Neal points out.


“Yeah so it is.” Steve says as he looks at his watch. “I bet the girls are worried and Patty probably has a million questions and they are going to need us right now so let’s go partner….” Steve says as he slaps Neal on the back.






Steve knocks on the door and Emily opens it.


“Hi Steve! What’s that?” Emily asks.


“This is two bags of groceries, quick take one of them!”


Emily takes one of the bags as Steve comes into the apartment.


“Whew! I didn’t think I was going to make it.” Steve says as Emily puts one of the bags on the counter.


“I thought you were taking me out to dinner?”


“I am but with my Detective sense I noticed you needed groceries….”


“How did you notice that?” Emily asks.


“I looked in the refrigerator when you went to the bathroom….” Steve says.


Emily hits him on the arm and Steve flinches. “Steve!! Thanks but you know how my mother feels about charity….”


Steve takes the bread out of the bag and he puts it on the counter. “I know but this isn’t charity. It’s payment for cleaning my apartment.”


“But you already paid me for that….”


“I know I did honey but consider this a bonus….” Steve says as he continues to unload the bag.


“What about the rent you paid for this month?” Emily asks.


“No now you paid that….” Steve says as he points.


“With the money you gave me….”


“….From cleaning my apartment.” Steve points out.


“You do way too much Steve….”


“You can never do too much for the people that you love and care about….here put this in the panty.” Steve says as he hands her a couple of cans.


“You love and care about….?” Emily repeats.


“Well those cans won’t put themselves away.” Steve says.


Emily finally moves and she puts the cans in the pantry.


“Here don’t forget this….” Steve says as he hands her a pretty wrapped box.


Emily takes and she just looks at it. “What’s this?” She asks happily.


“Your birthday present silly, well are you going to open it or wait until your next birthday?” Steve asks.


Emily laughs then she opens it and when she takes the lid off she gasps.


“Oh my goodness it’s beautiful.”


Steve takes it out of the box and he puts it around her wrist.


“Every young lady needs a bracelet….”


Emily throws her arms around Steve and she hugs him then she kisses him on the cheek.


“I love it! You had them engrave my name on it too!!! Thank you Steve!!!”


“Your welcome. Let’s get this stuff put away and then I’ll take you out to dinner. Do you know where you want to go?”


“Can I have a steak?” Emily asks hopefully.


Steve laughs at her expression. “You can have whatever you want.”


“Can I have a glass of wine?”




“Just a small glass?”


“No Emily….”


“Just a sip?”


Steve laughs. “We’re work something out….”






“So….what’s for dinner?” Neal asks Steve as he looks thru the brown paper sack that Steve has sitting next to him.


Steve slaps his hand. “Hey! Who told you that you could look in there?”


Neal rubs his hand. “I told me that I could look in there! This is my car! Your ass is sitting in my car and so is your dinner….ergo….”


“Ergo?” Steve repeats.


“Yes ergo! E….R….G….O….! I can look in your sack. Wow! Look at these sandwiches, ham and cheese, roast beef and turkey? Damn Steve! Fritos, cookies and a slice of cherry pie! Damn!” Neal says.


“Actually one of those sandwiches is for you along with some of the Fritos and a cookie or two….”


“Thanks Steve and tell Patty thanks….”


“Oh Patty didn’t make these.” Steve says as he chooses the Ham and Cheese.


“Oh no who did?” Neal asks as he licks some mustard off of his finger. “I know you didn’t. It’s all too neat and precise, look the bread even has the crusts cut off.”


“No I didn’t make them either….Emily did.”


Neal looks at him. “Emily?”


“Yeah. Why are you looking at me like that?”


“Oh Steve, man, that kid has got it bad for you.”


“What do you mean she’s got it bad for me?” Steve asks.


“Steve as a cop you have great instincts but as man they are so-so.” Neal says as he wriggles his hand back and forth.


“Wait! What in the hell did that mean?” Steve says.


“That means Emily has a huge crush on you!” Neal points at him.


“A crush? On me?!” Steve laughs. “You got to be crazy!! She is just a kid! A little girl!”


“Didn’t you tell me that she had a birthday recently?”




“And how old is she?” Neal asks.




“Steve that isn’t a little girl that is a young woman.”


“But Neal why would she have a crush on me? I mean I am not anything special!! I have a job that is dangerous and crazy, I am hardly ever home! I am not a fancy dresser! I don’t drive a fancy car!! To her I am probably an old guy!!! A boring old guy who hangs around with another boring old guy!!”


“I’ll ignore that statement for the time being. Didn’t you say that her father isn’t around?”


“Yeah….” Steve says.


“You give her a lot of attention and you’re the only male in her life that cares about her and no offense Steve but if I didn’t know you I would think you were a kid yourself.”




“Yeah.” Neal says.


“How so?” Steve asks.


“Well first of all it’s your hair….”


Steve grabs his hair and he pulls some around over his shoulder and he looks at it. “What’s wrong with my hair, other than I think I have split ends.”


“There is nothing wrong with your hair, it’s long, that is all that I meant.”


“Long? It isn’t that long! As a matter of fact I just had it trimmed and layered.” Steve says.


“It’s not regulation.” Neal points out.


“Oh and I suppose your hair is regulation? Your hair is long too!” Steve says.


“My hair is curly! So the curly value of it makes it shorter….ergo….”


“Ergo?” Steve repeats.


“Anyhow your long hair and the way you dress….”


Steve looks down at his clothes. “What is wrong with the way I dress?”


“Jesus god you’re sensitive tonight! You even said that you don’t dress fancy!”


Steve points to himself. “I can say that about me it’s allowed! So what is wrong with the way I dress?”


Neal takes a deep breath. “There are so many holes in those jeans I bet they whistle when you run! And when was the last time you washed them?”


“I’m behind on doing laundry okay?”


“And that t-shirt!”


“I happen to like t-shirts!” Steve says.


“Steve it says ‘UP YOURS!’”




“You should wear what I am wearing. A nice button down shirt….”


“You only wear button down shirts so you can show off your chest!!!!” Steve says.


“What!!!!” Neal laughs. “No I don’t!!!”


“Yes you do and while we’re on the subject at least I don’t have to lie on the bed to zip up MY pants!!!” Steve says.


“Oh!!!!” Neal sits up straighter in the car seat. “Oh no I don’t!!!”


“Yes you do! You wear your pants so tight you will never have children!!! No little Neals running around!!! All your circulation is cut off!!!”


“What about those stupid pink socks you wear?” Neal asks.


“Victor 7….” The dispatcher says over the radio.


“These are my lucky pink socks!” Steve says.


“Steve! They used to be white!!!!” Neal points out.


“Victor 7….” The dispatcher says once again.


“So! That is neither here nor there!!” Steve says.


“And where did you get that jacket?” Neal asks.


“There is nothing wrong with this jacket! It is the classic letterman jacket! It’s black and white and it has real leather sleeves!!!” Steve points out.


“Well that is all well and good if it was your Letterman jacket! Whose initials are those? They aren’t yours! I bet that kid wasn’t even born yet when you graduated from High School!!!


“That was just rude….”




They reached for the mike at the same time and they wrestled with it but Neal came up with it.




Pause. “Are you two fighting again Victor 7?” The dispatcher asks.


Negative Ocean we are having a heated discussion. Go ahead.” Neal looks over at Steve who sticks his tongue out at him.


“See the Fire Department Company 14 Captain at 850 East Shore Drive they have a dead body.”


10-4 Ocean e.t.a. 10 minutes.” Neal says.


Steve gets the bubble light and he puts it on the roof of the car. “So much for a quiet evening of dinner and dancing.”


“Next time I lead….” Neal says.






“Captain?” Neal says as they approach the Captain both of them showing their badges.


“Detectives. We responded to a fire here and we got here pretty fast because it wasn’t fully engulfed yet. Whoever he or she was had made a nice little place for them in that abandoned building. Cardboard and plywood. Come on I’ll show you.”


The Captain leads them around to the back of the abandoned building which used to be a used clothing store. The darkness was lit up by the street lights and the lights from the numerous emergency vehicles Neal and Steve could see that the damage to the building had been contained to the far eastern corner the rest was caused by smoke and water damage. Neal and Steve stepped lightly over the hoses and the broken glass and other debris. The darkness of the corner of the building illuminated by the flashlight held by the Captain


“At first we thought it was just a pile of wood and other things but then we realized….” The Captain says. “We think he or she was trying to stay warm and it caught the mattress on fire….”


“Captain can I use your flashlight?” Neal asks.


The Captain hands Neal his flashlight and then Neal shines it down at the corpse’s feet. “Sweet Jesus its Jessie.”


“Neal are you sure?” Steve asks.


“Detective I’m sorry I didn’t realize that you knew….” The Captain says.


“No it’s alright Captain. Yeah Steve I’m sure see the boots?” Neal squats down at Jessie’s feet.




“I gave them to him, I mean, I let him think that he found them. You see Jessie didn’t want charity…I would leave things for him and he would think….he would think….”


Steve takes the flashlight from Neal and he hands it back to the Captain. “Thanks Captain we’re handle it from here.”


“I’m sorry.” The Captain says.


Steve squats down beside Neal. “Come on Neal we can’t help him now. Let’s go back to the car and I’ll call it in okay?” Steve puts his arm around his shoulders. “Come on buddy.”


Reluctantly Neal stands up as Steve walks him out to the Charger. After he makes sure that Neal is in the car Steve goes over to one of the black and whites and he uses their radio.


“Ocean this is Victor 7 send the Coroner and the Crime Lab to 850 East Shore Drive. The presence of a dead body has been confirmed.”


“10-4 Victor 7.” Dispatch responds.


“Ocean call Captain Reynolds for me.”


“10-4 Victor 7 right away.”






“Hey.” Steve says.


“Hey yourself.” Neal replies.


“What are you doing here?” Steve asks as he drops a file folder down onto his desk before he goes over and he gets a cup of coffee.


“I’m here to work our shift.” Neal says as Steve sits a cup of coffee down on Neal’s desk.


“Neal you didn’t have to….” Steve says.


Neal waves his hand. “I felt like a kid being sent home by the Principal when the Captain sent me home. And yes I had to. Thanks Steve.”


“Oh no mushy stuff now but you’re welcome. I thought you might need some time with your friend.” Steve says as he winks at him.


Neal laughs. “As a matter of fact I did….”


“And did she make you feel better?”


“Yes she always seem to.” Neal says as he takes a sip of his coffee.


“I knew you might have went over there when I called and you didn’t answer.” Steve says.


“Is that the Coroner’s report on Jessie?” Neal asks.


Steve reaches out to move it. “No….” But Neal is quicker and he grabs it.


“Liar.” Neal says.


“I was trying to spare you.”


Neal reaches out and he touches Steve’s hand. “I know buddy and I appreciate it but I realize who I am and what I do….”


“You mean who we are and what we do. According to the Coroner’s report he was dead before the fire. The fire was set to cover-up the murder.” Steve says.


“How do they know that?” Neal asks.


“If he was alive at the time of the fire there would have been signs of smoke in his lungs….”


“….And there was no smoke in Jessie’s lungs?” Neal asks.




“It says that a blow to the head killed Jessie….” Neal reads.


“Yeah and it had to be a good solid whack too. Whoever it was had to be pretty strong….”


“….Or in a blind rage. The Coroner thinks it may have been a baseball bat.” Neal says.


“Yeah the Crime Lab guys did recover a partially burned wooden baseball bat at the scene….”


“….Let me guess, nothing right?” Neal asks.


“Less than nothing.” Steve says as he gets up and he gets another cup of coffee.


“What about the stuff from the dumpster?” Neal asks as Steve goes back to his desk.


“Oh yeah. They did recover part of a sweatshirt and a t-shirt, blue jeans and a tennis shoe they couldn’t get much but they did manage to get a name off of the t-shirt….” Steve slows down then he stops.


“What was the name on the t-shirt?” Neal asks but Steve just sits there looking down at the desk.






“Man are you okay? You blitzed out on me there for just a minute, where did you go?” Neal asks.


“What? Oh no where I just thought I was remembering something but I….Avengers.”


“Avengers?” Neal asks.


“Yeah the name on the shirt.” Steve says.


“Avengers? Avengers? Damn! Why does that name sound so familiar?” Neal says.


“It should I mean we use their ammo….” Steve points out.


“Oh hell! We sure do! But hey it could be Avenger anything you know, there are Avenger Tires and auto parts….”


“Cigarettes….” Steve points out.


“There you go. Jessie was a good guy….” Neal says as he looks over at Steve. “….And he didn’t deserve to die that way. He never hurt anybody, not once, not ever!”


“You and I we both know why he was killed don’t we?” Steve asks as he looks across the desk at Neal. “And who killed him.”


“The person that vandalized Patty’s store….” Neal says.




“Jessie did tell me that they saw him….”


“….And they had to be close by watching the action….” Steve says.


“….And they saw Jessie talking to me….” Neal points out.


“….And they didn’t know that Jessie was how he was and that he didn’t tell you anything….”


“….But they thought that he did and they thought that Jessie could I.D. them so they….” Neal says.


“Killed him.” They both say at the same time.


“What was used in the dumpster to start the fire?” Neal asks.


“Lighter fluid….” Steve replies.


“And the fire to cover up Jessie’s murder?”


“Lighter fluid.” Steve replies.


“I would say that ties the two crimes together.” Neal says. “Patty still doesn’t know who would want to do that to her place?”


Steve shakes his head.


“Alright partner let’s hit the streets, maybe somebody knows something about what happened to Jessie.” Neal says.


“That’s a 10-4 Victor 7.” Steve replies.






Steve drags a couple of kids with him as he stumbles in the end zone for another touchdown and after he falls in the sand the kids from his team jump on him yelling and celebrating their victory.


“Hey you squirts! You call that a defense!!! Why in the Sam Hill didn’t you stop him!!!!” Neal yells as he puts his hands on top of his head.


Emily helps Steve up from the sand. “Yeah Steve you did it again!!! Our team is kicking Neal’s butt!!!”


“Yeah Neal our team is kicking your team’s butt!!!!” Steve yells at Neal. “Aren’t we kids!!!”


In response all the kids on Steve’s team yell at the top of their lungs.


“Steve I’m thirsty!” Tommy yells.


And soon after all the kids take up the chorus. “Okay kids there are two big ice chests over there for you so go and help yourselves!!! It’s a good time for a break anyway.” Steve says as he watches the kids run off in the direction of the ice chests.


Steve brushes the sand off of his bare chest.


“Tell me again Steve why we are doing this.” Neal asks.


“Because its fun that’s why and you need the exercise.” Steve says as he pats Neal on his chest. “You better put on a shirt before you get sunburned.“


“I don’t burn I’m Italian remember Mr. Hairless Portuguese….”


“Steve why does Neal call you that all the time?” Emily asks.


They both jump. “Emily we thought you went and got a Coke.” Neal says.


“I did….see.” Emily holds up the bottle of Coke.


Steve and Neal look at one another. “Well I’m Portuguese….”


“Yeah he’s Portuguese and I’m Italian….” Neal says as he crosses his arms over his chest.


Steve stands with his hands on his hips.


“Oh I know why he calls you the Hairless Portuguese!!!” Emily exclaims. “It’s because Neal’s hairy and you aren’t, right?”


Neal smiles as he looks down at the sand. “You’re right Emily. You see people who are Portuguese look like me and people who are Italian, well you can see for yourself.” Steve says as he points at Neal. “Hey Neal do you have a rubber band?”




“It’s hot out here and I want to pull my hair back if that is okay with you….” Steve replies.


Emily puts her hand on Steve’s shoulder. “I saw one in the house, I’ll go in and get it. Steve do you want a beer?”


“Sure honey I would love a beer.”


“Okay I’ll be back in a minute and Steve….”


Steve leans his head closer to Emily. “I like your chest better.”


“Thanks Emily.” Steve replies.


They watch her walk off. “Hey Emily can you bring me one too?” Neal asks.


She looks back over her shoulder. “Sure.”


“Holy Mary! Are you sure that is the same Emily?” Neal asks.


“Yeah I am sure.”


“And you’re sure that she is only 17?” Neal asks.


“Yeah I’m sure.”


“Then what in the hell happened? I mean now she has….”


“Yeah I did notice that.” Steve replies.


“….And she also has….”


“Yeah I noticed those too….” Steve replies.


Neal looks at Steve. “You didn’t?!!!”


“I didn’t say I was proud of it.” Steve says as he shrugs.


“Her hair looks different too….” Neal says.


“It’s blonder….”


“Yeah it’s blonder….” Neal replies. “And you better watch out she has the hots for you!” Neal says as he points at Steve.


“No she doesn’t and will you stop saying that!!”


“Yes she does! I saw how she put her hand on your shoulder and that look she gave you….’oh Steve I like your chest better’ “ Neal mimics.


While Neal and Steve did what they did best which was bicker like an old married couple Emily goes into the apartment and when she hears voices in the kitchen she stops and listens. It’s Patty and Brenda preparing the steaks, hot dogs and salads for the barbeque.


“So….have you told him yet?” Brenda asks.


“No not yet.” Patty replies.




“I just need more time that’s all….” Patty says.


“But you’re sure right?”


Around the corner listening Emily covers her mouth to stop herself from crying out.


“Oh yes I am very, very sure.” Patty says happily.


“Oh Patty I am really happy for you!!! Steve is a great guy and it’s about time you found yourself one!!! So why do you looked worried?” Brenda asks.


“Oh I don’t know I guess when I tell him I am afraid that he will, you know, run away.”


“Oh no Patty I know for a fact that he’ll be just as happy as you are!! Oh I know at the engagement party you should tell him….what was that noise?” Brenda asks.


Emily after hearing the conversation ran thru the living room and out the front door which she slammed hard behind her. Patty comes out of the kitchen wiping her hands on a dishtowel.


“Hey girls have you seen Emily?” Steve asks as he comes into the living room from the patio.


“I think she just left.” Patty say as she points at the front door.


“She left but why?” Steve says as he walks over and he opens the front door. “Emily!! Emily!!”


Steve shuts the door. “I don’t understand. Why did she leave?”


“Maybe she didn’t feel well….” Brenda says.


“Maybe.” Steve grabs Patty and he kisses her.


“Oh Steve you’re all sandy and sweaty.”


“I thought you liked me all sweaty?” Steve replies.


“Oh lord there they go again!” Neal says. “Hey you two!!! Hello! We have a lot of kiddoes to feed out there!! Hello!!!” Neal says as he waves his arms over his head.


“Killjoy.” Steve replies. “But he is right. So what are you waiting for Mr. Hairy Italian grab a tray!”


“Sure Mr. Hairless Portuguese!” Neal grabs a tray and so does Steve and the girls grab one as well and they follow Neal out to the barbeque pit.






Steve and Patty were sound asleep. Steve behind Patty holding her in his arms like they usually do, their breathing and their hearts synchronized when the quiet of the night was suddenly and violently rocked by an explosion. The windows rattled in Steve’s apartment as the night was lit up by an unnatural light and Steve grabbed Patty and he drugged her out of bed and down onto the floor on the other side.


“STEVE!!” Patty yells.


“Are you hurt?”


“No, no I don’t think so. Oh my god! What happened! What was that!!! I’m so scared….”


“Sshhh I know you are but stay calm for me baby okay?” Steve says.


Patty nods.


Steve reaches up to the night table and he grabs the phone. “Dial the operator and tell her that you need the 9th precinct. Give the precinct this address and tell them that a Detective lives here and give them my badge number, it’s 196.”


“Steve where are you going?” Patty asks as she holds the phone.


“I’m going to see what that was….after you call the precinct call Neal. His number is on the notepad.”


“Steve please can’t you wait for Neal to get here?” Patty asks as she watches Steve open the closet and take out his gun.


Steve goes back to her and he puts his hand on her cheek. “I wish I could but there isn’t time.” He smiles at her. “I’ll be alright….”


“Please Steve be careful!!”


“I will and you stay put up here until me or Neal comes and gets you….”


“Alright.” Patty says.


Steve closes the bedroom door behind him and before he goes downstairs he flicks the light switch on and the staircase is flooded with light. Steve makes his way slowly down the stairs and when he gets to the last one he presses his back up against the wall and he looks around the corner in the direction of the living room. On the wall across from him by the front door is another light switch and that one is the main one for the lights in the living room and he has to risk it. He takes a deep breath then he quickly makes a jump and he turns the light switch on and the lights in the living room come on.


He leaves the relative safety of the stairs as he holds the gun out in front of him as he takes a quick look around the living room then he looks out the peep hole of the front door and he sees nothing except a very bright fiery glow. Steve unlocks the front door and he slowly goes out to the porch and off in the distance he can hear sirens and he sees the source of the explosion.


His VW that was parked at the curb was now reduced to a burning hulk of twisted metal and there were pieces, big and small, scattered all over his yard and his neighbors and also due to the explosion his neighbors were either standing in their yards, or on their porches, at this time of night Steve had never seen so many houses lit up. Even from here Steve could feel the intense heat coming off of it and he knew that he couldn’t save it so he didn’t even try and in the distance a hundred different sounding sires drew closer. As the car burned and the neighbors watched the fire truck and the black and whites were coming down his street Steve did a sweep of the perimeter of his apartment and finding nothing he sits down on the porch to wait on Neal.


“Is she finally asleep?” Neal asks Steve as he joins him on the porch.


“Yeah the doctor had to give her a sedative, she’s really shaken up Neal. I mean she held onto my hand until that sedative kicked in. Thanks for bringing Brenda over.”


“Oh no problem and I don’t blame her for being scared....I mean when you have a car explode in front of your house….” Neal says.


“When it could have been the house instead of the car….” Steve says.


“I didn’t want to think about that possibility….” Neal says.


“I really pissed somebody off didn’t I….?” Steve says as he looks at Neal.


Neal laughs. “Afraid so. In the morning we’re go to the Precinct and have R&I pull the records with the suspects who like to blow shit up or set stuff on fire….”


Steve shakes his head no. “No.”


“No?” Neal repeats.


“No. I think tomorrow we should just let police work go. We can call R&I tonight and have them pull the records. I think I should stay home with Patty I mean this whole thing has affected her more than it did me.”


“Unfortunately Steve we get used to the possibility that bad things can and will happen where we live and when they do, well, we aren’t shocked like we should be.


“Like dying young is possible but being a cop and dying young….that is a given. Right?”


“Right partner. I’m going to spend the night….to help keep an eye on things.”


Steve laughs.


“What’s so funny?” Neal asks.


“I already got the sofa bed already for you and Brenda….she said she doesn’t mind sharing it with you. Obviously she hasn’t heard you snore and she doesn’t know that you steal the covers and that you have cold feet….”


“Oh yeah just ruin all my chances why don’t you.”


Steve laughs again.


Neal puts his arm around him. “It’s nice to see that you haven’t lost your sense of humor buddy.”


“One of us has to have one!” Steve says as he pats Neal on the chest. “Time for bed….”







“Man I know I’m glad that this shift is over.” Steve says as he pulls the report out of the typewriter then he signs it.


“I know what you mean. Tonight every weirdo and freak-a-zoid was out….” Neal replies.


“Must’ve been the full moon man it brings them all out of the woodwork….how do you spell Werewolf?” Steve asks as he winks across the desk at Neal.


“I told you it was a big dog….” Neal says.


“Biggest damn dog I’ve ever seen in my life!!” Steve says.


“Steve you didn’t put that in your report did you?”


Steve laughs. “No you moron I was just pulling your leg….”


“Well here pull the other one cause I’m walking with a limp!!!” Neal says as he props his leg up on the desk which causes both of them to laugh.


Steve wipes his eyes. “Oh god I have to go home I actually thought that was funny….”


“It was funny….” Neal says as he pulls the report out of the typewriter and he signs it. “Here give me yours and I’ll put them on the Captain’s desk.”


Steve hands his across the desk to Neal. “There you go babycakes….”


Neal gets up and he heads to the Captain’s office just as the phone rings at Steve’s desk. Steve picks up the receiver and he hits the button.


“Detective….Emily?” Steve stands up. “Emily….calm down honey….I can’t understand a thing….what? When?”


Neal comes out of the Captain’s office and stands on the other side of the desk. “What?” Neal mouths the word.


Steve shrugs. “Emily….slow down. Okay honey we’re on the way….wait out in the hall for us….ten minutes.” Steve hangs up the phone then he grabs his jacket off the back of the chair.


“What happened?” Neal asks.


“A guy broke into Emily’s apartment….”


Neal grabs his jacket. “Let’s roll….”






When they got there Steve ran into the building to find the landlady with her arms around Emily both of them sitting on the stairs and Emily crying hysterically. After he made sure that she was alright and after she tearfully gave Steve some sort of description he was out the door and while Neal paced him in the car Steve walked the sidewalk with his gun in one hand and the flashlight in the other.


After they checked out the square mile that was the block they returned to the apartment and Steve was hardly through the door before Emily was running towards him throwing her arms around him.


“Steve I’m going to go upstairs and check….” Neal says.


“Don’t go Steve I’m scared!” Emily says as she holds onto him tighter.


“I’ll stay right here with you.” Steve says as he looks up at Neal. “Can you tell me what happened?”


“I was asleep and I heard glass breaking in the living room so I got up to see what it was. There was a big rock on the floor and I saw a guy stepping into the living room through the broken window and that is when I screamed and he ran off.”


“Have you ever seen him before?” Steve asks.


“No I don’t think so.”


“Neal and I checked the whole area out and we didn’t find anything or see anybody….”


“What if he comes back? I’m scared and I can’t stay up there by myself.”


“Where’s your mom?” Steve asks.


“She’s working third shift this week.”


“Let me talk to the landlady I’ll bet she let you stay with her for the night.” Steve says.


“No oh Steve can’t I stay with you? I’m so scared and I won’t feel safe with her!”


“Stay with me? Oh honey I don’t think that is such a good idea….” Steve says.


“Why??” Emily asks as Neal comes down the stairs.


“It’s all clear upstairs. Big rock on the floor of the living room and the window broken, I called the Crime Lab guys, where’s your mom Emily?” Neal asks.


“Working third shift.” Steve replies.


“Oh well I don’t think she should stay here tonight maybe Emily you can stay with the land….” Neal says.


“She doesn’t want to stay with the Landlady she wants to stay with me Neal.” Steve replies.


“Oh….” Neal says.


“And I was just about to explain to her why that wasn’t such a good idea….” Steve says.


“It will only be for a few hours until my mom gets home and I’m scared and tired. I just want to go to sleep.” Emily says.


Neal pulls the car keys out of his pocket and he tosses them to Steve. “I’ll stay here and wait on the Crime Lab guys you take her to your place.”


“How will you get home?” Steve asks.


“I’ll have the Crime Lab guys drop me off at my place and tomorrow afternoon you can drive the Charger in.”


“Alright.” Steve answers reluctantly.


“Can I have my clothes that are on my chair in my room?” Emily asks.


“Sure I’m put them in a sack for you.” Neal replies.


“Grab a jacket for her too Neal.” Steve says.


“Will do….” Neal says as he goes back upstairs.






“The bad guys 5 and the good guys zip….zilch….zero….nothing!” Neal says as he throws the files in the tray on his desk.


“Yeah everything we have touched in the last couple of months or so have turned cold. The vandalism at Patty’s shop….”


“Jessie’s murder….” Neal says.


“My car getting blown to Kingdom Come….” Steve says.


“The break-in at Emily’s….” Neal says.


“Oh let’s not forget Patty’s tires getting slashed….” Steve says.


“Speaking of Patty have you seen her lately?” Neal asks.


“Nope. Every time I go by there to see her Brenda tells me that she is either busy or not there or something like that….she won’t return my phone calls….what about you and Brenda?” Steve asks.




Silence then Steve says. “Maybe somebody put a curse on us or something.”


“Yeah or something.”


“You know I’m tired of all these games….” Steve says as he stands up and he grabs his jacket off the back of the chair.


“What….what are you going to do?”


“I want to know why Patty won’t talk to me let alone see me. If I did something don’t you think I should know about it too?” Steve says.




“And if it’s because I am cop well then I need to know that too right?” Steve says.




“So I’ll see you later babycakes.” Steve says as he goes out the doors of the squad room.


Neal looks at his watch counting off the seconds. “One one thousand….two one thousand….three one thousand….four one thousand….”


Behind him the squad room doors open and Steve comes back in.




Neal tosses him the keys to the Charger. “Put gas in her when you’re done….”








Steve got there just as Patty drove up and he headed her off at the door that lead up to her apartment.


“Steve get out of my way.” Patty says as Steve blocks the door.


“That is the most words that you have said to me in two weeks!” Steve says as Patty moves one way and Steve moves that way still blocking the door. Patty moves the other way and again Steve follows her.

                “Move Steve.”


“Not until we talk.” Steve say as Patty looks at the ground.


“There’s nothing to talk about.” Patty says.


“Oh isn’t there? We talked everyday and now nothing. We saw each other everyday and now nothing. If I did something wrong don’t you think I deserve to know about it too!!! I’m not leaving here until we talk….”


Patty looks at him. “Alright let’s go upstairs.”


Steve follows her upstairs and once inside Steve shuts the door and he leans against it.


“What happened?” Steve asks.


“It’s late maybe you should go home and make sure your girlfriend gets up for school tomorrow.” Patty says.


Steve looks at her from across the room. “What?” Steve crosses the room and he turns her around to face him. “My what?! Patty what in the hell are you talking about? You’re my girlfriend!”


“Really? Not according to Emily I’m not and I haven’t been for some time….”


“Emily? Oh my god!” Steve covers his head with his hands. “Is this about Emily? The silent treatment?! Patty….this is crazy!!”


“I thought so….” Patty says as she crosses her arms over her chest.


“Patty I can’t believe that you would believe her!! She’s a kid! You even said yourself that she was a little girl!!”


“I was wrong!!! When she came here to talk to me….”


“She! She came here to talk to you?!! About what?” Steve asks.


“About you two!!” Patty says.


“About us two what!!!???” Steve says louder.


“That you two are lovers!!!”


“What!!!! No Patty….!!!” Steve says.


“She showed me the bracelet Steve!!! Now tell me a lie about that!!!!”


“Oh my god!!! The bracelet was nothing Patty!!! It was a simple, little birthday gift….”


“A simple, little ENGRAVED birthday gift!!!” Patty yells.


Steve laughs as he leans on the table. “It was engraved with her name on it and that was it….!”


“To Emily the one that I love, Steve!!” Steve looks at her. “How can you forget that!!!”


“What??!! No Patty it didn’t say that!!! She’s lying!!!”


“She showed it to me Steve!!!!” Patty says.


“Patty….” Steve grabs her by the arm.


“Don’t….touch….me!!” She says as she wrenches her arm from his grasp.


“Patty I don’t care if she showed you the bracelet or not, she could have had that engraved herself to say that, I just gave her a bracelet with her name on it and that was it!”


“It just isn’t the bracelet….” Patty says.


Suddenly Steve felt the temperature in the room drop a few dozen degrees because the atmosphere became chilly.




Patty backs up from him. “She told me things….”


“What things?” Steve asks.


“Very intimate little details about you that she could only know by sleeping with you!!! She told me what you look like!!!! Every scar! The way you like to touch and the way you liked to be touched!! The words that you use!!!”


“Patty it was all an innocent mistake….”


Patty laughs. “An innocent mistake? You must think I’m really stupid!!”


“Listen to me….one morning when I got out of the shower she saw me! I didn’t know she was in the bedroom! Jesus god I turned the corner out of the bathroom and there she was! That is how she knows what I look like!!”


“What about the other?” Patty asks.


“I….I don’t know. Maybe she was in the apartment when we were together and she heard us! Patty I don’t know….”


“I know….” Patty says.


“No….no you don’t!!!”


“You screwed her that’s how she knows!!!!” Patty says.


“No I didn’t!!!”


“What was she doing there that morning when you say that she saw you coming out of the bathroom???!!! What….was….she….doing….there….Steve??!!!”


“She spent the night there….”


“….WITH YOU!!!” Patty yells.


“No! That night her apartment was broken into and she was scared to stay there by herself….”


“….And you being the good cop that you are….”

“Patty don’t….!!”


“….You let her stay in your apartment in your bed!!!”


Before Steve knows what he is doing he grabs her hard by her forearms and he pulls her closer to him.


“Steve let me go!!”


“It’s a lie!!! It’s all a lie!! I never touched her….”


“….Let me go you’re hurting me!!!” Patty pleads with him.


“….She is a kid for godsakes!!! Do you have any idea what you’re saying!! Do you!!! What kind of man do you think I am, huh?” Steve shakes her.


“….Let me go please!!!” Patty says now near tears.


When Steve sees the tears in her eyes he realizes what he had just done and that he went too far and he slowly lets her go.


“Patty god I’m sorry I didn’t mean….”


Patty then raises her hand and she slaps him hard across the face so hard it turns his head to the side. “Get….out!!!”


Steve puts his hand up to his face. “Patty….please believe me. Emily and I… we never. I didn’t touch her!!! I love you Patty.”


Patty walks over to the phone and she picks up the receiver. “Get out now or I call the police.”




Patty dials ‘0’ on the phone. “Operator get me the 9th precinct.”


“I’m leaving.” Steve says as he walks slowly over to the door and he opens it and before he leaves he looks back over his shoulder at her, allowing himself one last look at her, then he walks out shutting the door behind him.






Steve was angry and when he was angry he could scared himself and with his temper it was a bad combination. Just like now. He didn’t mean to hurt Patty and he knows that there’s no way to come back from that. There were no amends of any sort that he could make to her. None that would matter and none that would help.


Steve knew that he was in no condition nor in the frame of mind to suffer through another confrontation so it was best to leave it until tomorrow and in the clear, blinding light of day he would talk to Emily and find out why. But for now all he wanted to do was to sleep and drown his sorrows in beer and luckily he had a good supply handy.


He unlocked the door to the apartment and as it shut behind him he leaned up against it with his eyes closed and his head tilted back trying to mustard up some strength. He took a deep breath and he pushed himself away from the door taking off his jacket which he draped over one of the dining room chairs then he headed for the kitchen. He grabbed his first bottle of beer and after he opened it he took a good long drink of it, leaning on the counter, then he took another drink. When that bottle was finished he grabbed another and he climbed the stairs to the bedroom.


He didn’t bother to turn on any lights, he wouldn’t need them, right now he needed the dark and he crossed the room over to the closet and opening it he took his shoulder holster off and hung it from the hook that was there, he then peeled the shirt off over his head and he let it drop to the floor and then with his hands on the top button of his jeans….he stops….


“Whose there?” Steve asks over his shoulder as he reaches for his gun.


“It’s just me.” She says as she reaches over and turns on the light that is next to the bed.




It was Emily but the kid Emily that Steve had knew and had grown accustomed to was now gone and was replaced by Emily the woman who was now lying on his bed wearing one of his t-shirts and that was all. She was lying on her stomach with her legs crossed at the ankles as she moves them back and forth behind her, her chin resting on her hands.


“Of course it’s me silly.”


“What….what are you doing here?” Steve asks.


“Waiting on you to come home of course. Oh I guess you forgot….”


“Emily I’m not in any mood to play games….” Steve says as he sits down on the bench that is at the foot of the bed to take off his shoes. “….My head is killing me and I….”


Steve feels her cool hands rubbing his temples and the warmth of her body pressed up against his from behind and he closes his eyes.


“Relax Steve relax let me make you feel better…”


With his eyes closed and his temper cooled he forgets….he forgets that it isn’t Patty….but Emily that is now rubbing his shoulders.


Emily kisses him on his cheek and she whispers in his ear. “….Happy Anniversary….”


When it finally registers his eyes fly open and he jumps up.


“What’s wrong?” Emily asks.




“See I knew you would forget. Today is the one year anniversary of when we first met. You know when you came to the apartment for the first time?” Emily gets up off of the bed and she walks over to him and she puts her arms around him. “And after you ran into me you told me how pretty I was…”




“Ssshhhh.” Emily says as she puts her finger over his lips then very slowly she touches her lips to his. She pulls away for just a fraction of a second then again she kisses him and Steve finds himself responding to her as he puts his arms around her pulling her closer to him.


Then he has a moment of clarity that is blinding. “Stop.” Steve says as he pushes her away. “Why did you say those things to Patty?”


“Because it’s true that’s why.” Emily says.


“Emily it isn’t true….” Steve says.


“….After tonight it will be. I know that you wanted to but you had to get rid of….her….and I did that for you.”


“God….” Steve says as he looks at the floor.


“….You didn’t think I noticed how you looked at me? Or when you held me or kissed me that I didn’t know what it meant?”


“Emily it’s all been a big misunderstanding….”


“How can two people that love each other be a misunderstanding?” Emily asks.


Steve walks away from her with his head in his hands. “This is my fault….”


“I love you and now we can be together….”


Steve sits on the edge of the bed. “I have to fix this somehow….”


Emily sits on the bed next to him her hand on his leg and with the other she tucks his hair behind his ear. “Fix what? There is nothing to fix! I love you Steve and you love….”


Steve grabs her hand as he looks at her. “Emily listen to me….”


“No I don’t want to listen; I want us to be together! Make love to me….”


“No! I don’t want to hurt you but I don’t love you like you think I do….”


“What….what do you mean?” Emily says as she pulls her hand away from his.


“I can’t love you like you want me to! God Emily I’m so sorry….”


“But you told me that you loved me!!”


“I know I did but….” Steve says.


“But what!!”


“I meant it as friends! I love you like a friend!!! I care about you but I don’t have those romantic feelings for you!” Steve says.


“You’re lying to me!!!” Emily says loudly.


“No Emily I’m not lying!! It’s the truth! I can’t feel that way about you! Don’t you understand Emily there can never be an ‘us’! We can’t be together and I can’t make love to you….I won’t.”


“Why?!!” Emily jumps off the bed. “It’s her isn’t it, that bitch Patty!!!”


“Don’t you call her that!!” Steve says as he gets up off of the bed. “Patty has nothing to do with this and even if she wasn’t in the picture I couldn’t be with you!!! I’m too old for you!!”


“I don’t care how old you are!!! I love you and that should be enough!!!”


“But I care how young you are…..Emily you just being here and dressed like that….I could be in trouble….serious trouble. And you telling Patty what you told her and she believing you….I’m a cop Emily and you’re a….kid.”


“NO!! Don’t call me that!!! I’m not a kid I’m a woman!!! I love you and I want you….”


“You don’t know what you want!! You can’t know what you’re saying!!” Steve says.


“I’m not a virgin…..”


Steve can’t hide his shock. “Oh god Emily that doesn’t matter. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m too old for you….go home Emily and don’t come back.”


“You can’t do that!! Dismiss me! Go home Emily!! You don’t do that!!! You don’t throw away the people that you love!!! I’m not garbage that you just….throw out!!”


Steve finds her clothes and he tosses them to her. “I’ll be downstairs while you get dressed. Then you have to go home and you can’t come back here….”


Emily comes down the stairs ten minutes later dressed and holding the t-shirt she was wearing her eyes red from crying. She throws the t-shirt at him.


Emily opens the front door. “You’re be sorry.” Then she leaves letting it slam shut behind her.


Steve throws the deadbolt on the door. “I already am Emily….you just don’t know how much.”






At first Neal tried his key but the deadbolt denied him entry so he switched to another time-honored tactic….he begin to bang on the door.


“Hey Steve!!!!”


“Who is it?” Steve asked as he slowly came down the stairs to the front door.


Neal smiles. “It’s the frigging Avon Lady!! Who in the hell do you think it is? Open the door!”


Steve unlocks the dead bolt and the chain and he opens the door and he lets Neal in.




“Hey yourself.” Steve replies as he sits on the sofa his hands up on his head.


“So I see that you’re wearing your ‘sick clothes’ that old flannel bathrobe and the flannel pajamas that match….”


“Neal I love you but shut up your voice….is annoying.”


“Oh I see….” Neal picks up an empty beer bottle from the four or five other empty ones that littered the coffee table. “….Maybe I should rename them your ‘hangover clothes’.”


“My head is killing me! What are you doing here anyway?”


“Well it’s one o’clock in the afternoon….” Neal says as he goes into the kitchen and he grabs the trash can and he brings it out into the living room where he starts throwing the empty beer bottles in the trash and with each one Steve winces and he jumps.


“Do you have to do that now!!!? Oh my aching head!!!”


“….And when you didn’t show up for work and you hadn’t called in and when we couldn’t reach you on the phone….oh now I see the reason for that….” Neal goes over to the phone and he puts the receiver back where it belongs. “….Off the hook. So I told the Captain that I would come over and make sure you weren’t dead or otherwise indisposed and if you were among the living….”


“Sshhh do you have to yell?” Steve asks as he rubs his temples.


“I wasn’t aware that I was….and if you were among the living I was to fetch you back….”


“Fetch me back?” Steve asks as he looks at Neal thru half-closed eyes.


“Yeah fetch you back the Captain wants to see you….” Neal says.




“I’ll make some coffee while you take a very hot, scalding shower so you can sober up. Have you had anything to eat?”


“Oh no just the thought makes me sick….here help me up.” Steve says as he extends his hands to Neal


Neal grabs him by his hands and he slowly pulls him to his feet. “Oh….” Steve says as he grabs his head with one hand as Neal holds onto him.


“Alright toots?”


“….Perry wobbles….”


“….But he don’t fall down….” Neal finishes.


Steve tries to smile.


“How did it go with Patty last night?” Neal asks.


“It didn’t….it’s over.”


“Oh I’m sorry to hear that….” Neal says as he helps him walk to the stairs.


“Oh it’s alright it was bound to happen sooner or later….” Steve says as he carefully puts one foot on the stair.


“That’s right Steve think positive….wanna talk about it?


“No not really, maybe in my next life.” Steve replies.


“One foot in front of the other, there you go boy. Easy now. Need any help once I get you in the bathroom?”


“Na. No buttons or zippers just slip them off.” Steve replies.


“That’s good to know. Okay here we are.”


“Thanks. Make that coffee very strong and black….”


“Ah Steve….” Neal says before Steve shuts the bathroom door.


“Yeah Neal?”


“Make sure you brush your teeth….” Neal points out.


Steve then shuts the door in his face.






“You two certainly took your sweet time getting here!” The Captain says. “I was just about to put out an APB on you two!!”


“We’re sorry Cap but Steve here was sick to his stomach….”


“Yeah Cap I’m sorry….”


That is when they noticed that a fourth person was in the room with them.


“Detectives I am sure that you know Myers from Internal Affairs.” The Captain says.


“Yes we have had the displeasure….” Neal says.


“Jive turkey….” Steve says.


“Captain do your Detectives have any manners?” Myers asks.


Neal and Steve look at each other then they look at the Captain.


Captain Reynolds takes a deep breath. “Detectives say you’re sorry.”


“Yeah sorry Myers.” Neal says reluctantly.


“Yeah Myers I’m sorry you’re a jive turkey.” Steve says.


“Damn why didn’t I think of that one?” Neal asks.


“Captain….” Myers says.


“Detectives….” The Captain gives them that look then he looks up at Myers. “Whatever you have to tell them go ahead and do it.”


“Actually if Detective Schon could leave the room….”


Steve and Neal look at one another then they look at the Captain. “No I want to stay….” Neal says.


“Detective Schon this is somewhat of a delicate nature….” Myers says.


“Will you STOP beating around the bush and just say it!” Steve says.


“Alright if you insist. Detective Perry there has two complaints filed against you….” Myers says as he looks thru the file folder he’s holding.


Steve is shocked. “What? Two complaints? About me?”


“From whom? About what?” Neal asks.


“Let me see that folder.” Steve says as he tries to take the folder from Myers.


“Detective Perry calm down. One complainant is named Patty Webb….”


“Patty?” Steve replies.


“She said that you and she had a fight….” Myers says.


“It wasn’t a fight it was just a shouting match….” Steve says.


“….She says that you grabbed her by the arms and that you shook her….”


“I….” Steve says.


“….She showed us the bruises Detective Perry….” Myers says.


Neal and the Captain look at Steve. “We had a shouting match that night and I may have….”


Myers looks at him over his glasses. “Yes alright I did grab her….” Steve says.


The Captain rubs his eyes as Neal looks at the floor.


“….But I didn’t mean to hurt her! I would never hurt her! I would never hurt a woman….it was just an accident. I can’t believe she would….”


“Myers you said there are two complaints, what is the other one?” The Captain asks.


“A Mrs. Stone….”


Steve looks up. “Mrs. Stone….?”


“….Mrs. Stone and her daughter Emily Stone….”


“What! What about them Myers?” Neal asks.


“….Mrs. Stone stated that Detective Perry has had an inappropriate relationship with her 17 year old daughter Emily.”


“….Inappropriate?” The Captain asks.


“Emily told her mother that she has had a sexual relationship….”


Steve grabs the folder out of Myer’s hands and he reads the complaint with Neal looking over his shoulder.


“No!!! No!!! This is wrong!!! Captain I never touched her!!” These….these allegations are just crazy….” Steve replies.


“….and against the law Detective….”


“Don’t tell me about the law Myers!!” Steve says as he points at him. “I never touched her! Not in that way!!”


“In what way did you touch her Detective?” Myers asks. “Did you hug her on numerous occasions?”




“Did you also kiss her…?”


“Yes but….”


“Detective…” Myers says.


“Not like you mean!! It was a friendship type kiss and hug!!” Steve protests.


“Emily also said that you took out to the movies, dinner and that you bought her a gift and you two even shared a bottle of wine…?”


The Captain looks at Steve.


“Yes I took her to the movies a couple of times and yes we went out to dinner! That gift was a bracelet for her birthday and we didn’t drink any wine! I told her it was wine but it wasn’t! It was a Sparkling Cinder!!”


“Detective did she spend the night at your apartment often or did meet at her apartment when her mother was at work?”


Steve doesn’t answer he just looks at the floor.


“Captain instruct your Detective to answer the question.” Myers says.


The Captain stands up behind his desk. “You don’t tell me what to do in my office!!! I don’t care if you are from I.A. I run this department and you don’t!!! You don’t come in here Myers and push my men….”


“Once. She spent the night at my apartment once. It was the night that her apartment was broken into and she was afraid to stay there by herself….it was an innocent thing! She slept on the sofa bed downstairs….”


“Where did you sleep Detective?” Myers asks.


Steve leans on the desk. “Upstairs in my bedroom, alone! She’s lying! I would never do that!!”


“Like you would never hurt Patty Webb although she has the bruises….” Myers says.


Before anybody could stop him Steve reaches across the desk and he grabs Myers by the collar of his suit.


“I never touched Emily!!! Not once! Not ever!! She’s lying….” Steve says as Neal grabs him and pulls him back. “All of this is an awful misunderstanding! Emily is lying!!!!”


“Why would she do that Detective?” Myers asks as he adjusts his suit jacket.


“….Because I turned her down!!!” Steve says as Neal holds him. “All I did was help her and her mother….that was all I ever did. I’m being punished for caring too much….”


“Detective her allegations are serious.” Myers says.


“If they were true but they aren’t! My career is all I have why would I….?” Steve says.


“Captain you know what department policy says….” Myers says.


“Yes Myers I know what department policy says that is why I am Captain and you aren’t!!” The Captain approaches Steve. “Detective Perry her allegations are very serious….”


“Captain you can’t believe her….” Neal protests.


“Detective Schon I didn’t say that I believed or disbelieved her but the department has procedures that I must follow and that’s why I must ask you for your shield and your service weapon Detective Perry.” The Captain asks as he extends his hand.


Steve glances at Neal. “….Please son….” The Captain says.


Steve reaches underneath his jacket and he takes his gun out of it’s holster and he unloads it and then he hands it to the Captain, then he reaches into his back pocket and he instead of handing it to the Captain he throws it at Myers. “You know what you can do with that.” Steve replies.


“Detective Perry because of the allegations you have to be put on paid suspension….”


Myers suddenly looks at the Captain. “Captain Reynolds I protest….”


“I….don’t give a good damn if you protest or not, if you don’t like my decisions you can take it up with my boss, the Chief, now shut up and let me get this over with! Detective you have to be put on paid suspension until the allegations bought against you can be determined to be true or false.”


“Within two weeks or so after our investigation we will have a hearing to find….” Myers says.


Steve shrugs away from Neal’s hands. “I know what a hearing is for Myers and when you investigate everything you’re find there’s been a big mistake made and that mistake is on your part!! And when this is over and you find out that the allegations are false I want a letter of apology in my jacket!! No, on second thought I want you to rent a billboard out there on the frigging highway and apologize to me that way!!!”


Steve turns away and he opens the door to leave but Myers having the last word stops him.


“Don’t go near Miss Webb or Mrs. Stone and her daughter detective….”


Steve stops with his hand on the doorknob and whatever he was going to say he thinks better of it so instead he slams the door hard behind him as he leaves.


“You know Myers you’re insane if you think that Steve would….could do anything like that!” Neal yells.


“Three people came to my office Detective and filed complaints do you think I should just over look them?”


Neal walks closer to Myers. “I know Steve well enough to know that he wouldn’t do what Emily says he did!”


“And you Detective being his partner are biased. You would say or do anything to protect him….”


“You’re wrong Myers! If I knew that Steve had done anything wrong to anybody I would step up and say so and he would do the same for me! What affects him also affects me…..good, bad or indifferent it affects….us!! But this is wrong!!”


“Myers I have a tendency to agree with Detective….” The Captain says.


“And you also Captain are biased! Instead of treating your men like Detectives you treat them like sons….children….”


“Get out of my office Myers….” The Captain says.


“How long has it been since you’ve been a real cop Myers? How long has it been since you’ve been out there on the street getting your ass shot at? I trust Steve with my life can you say that about the other paper pushers you work with?!!” Neal says.


“I am doing my job Detective which is to get rid of bad cops….”


Neal grabs him by his suit and he pulls him roughly to him. “If you ever say that to me again Myers I swear to god….” Neal says through clenched teeth.


“Detective he isn’t worth it….let him go.”


Neal drops him.


The Captain walks over and he opens the door to his office. “Get out Myers and don’t talk to me or come to my office unless it is extremely necessary….get out.”


Myers looks at both of them then he picks up his file and he leaves the office and after he does so the Captain slams the door.


“Do you know anything about this Emily?” The Captain asks.


“No not really, she’s just a girl from Steve’s neighborhood. We responded to a call at her apartment building and that’s how Steve met her. I told Steve that she had a major crush on him….”


Neal looks at the Captain. “I want you to find out everything you can about this girl. Drop anything else you may be working on and I know this isn’t new to you but Myers has never been one of your biggest fans.”


“And the feeling is mutual Captain.” Neal says.


“And he would love the chance to get rid of one of you and if he finds those lies have at least one ouch of truth….”


“Captain….” Neal says.


The Captain holds up one hand. “….He’ll crucify Steve and he’ll be sharing a cell with the same maniacs that you two put away and Neal you know I love you two boys like the sons I never had and I trust my gut instincts. The truth lies between here and there Neal….find it or we’re lose Steve forever….whatever you have to do….do it. Find it out before Myers does….”


“I might have to step on a few toes….” Neal says.


“I don’t care Neal if you have to break them….”


“Kick ass and take names later?” Neal asks.


“You got it….” The Captain says.


“Now that is the kind of assignment I like.” Neal says smiling as he leaves the office.






“There you are man I have been trying to get a hold of you for days.” Neal says as he comes around to the back where he finds Steve sitting and reading. “I’ve been ringing the bell you didn’t hear me?” Neal asks as he leans on the gate.


“Na I guess not.” Steve says.


“Can I come in?” Neal asks.


“Sure.” Steve says as he motions for him to come in.


Neal opens the gate and he comes in and he sits down in the chair next to him.


“Here I brought you something to eat.” Neal hands him the bag.


“Neal you didn’t have to….I mean I have been….” Steve says. “What?”


“No you haven’t been eating and I can tell by your fingernails, you always bite them when you’re worried about something and those….” Neal grabs his hand. “….are bit down to the nubs man and when you’re worried you don’t eat. So eat.”


“Can I have my hand back please?” Steve asks. “Thank you” Steve says when Neal lets go of his hand. “Hey you brought me egg rolls! Neal, the only place to get these is way out there on the….you went way out there?”


“Sure why not, I mean you’re worth it. Every so often….” Neal laughs. “What are you reading here?” Neal asks as he picks up the book Steve had been reading.


Texas Rangers?” Neal asks.


“How would you feel about moving to Texas?”


Texas?” Neal asks.


“Yeah we can always leave Oceanview behind and become Texas Rangers. Do you know what the motto is of the Texas Rangers?” Steve asks.


“No what?” Neal asks.


“One riot one Ranger! Isn’t that impressive? One riot one Ranger! Texas Rangers they kick some severe ass let me tell you!!”


Neal thumbs through the book. “Steve have you ever rode a horse? I mean just once?”


“Well no but it can’t be that hard. Texas has all kinds of open spaces….” Steve hits Neal on the arm. “You can bring Ruby! Texas is southern like Ruby so she’ll….why are you shaking your head?”


“Steve Texas isn’t southern.”


Texas isn’t southern? Then what is it then?” Steve asks.


“It’s more western then it’s southern. You know like the Wild West sort of thing.” Neal points out.


“Oh….” Steve says.


Neal puts the book back on the floor. “I didn’t come here to talk about Texas or egg rolls….”


“….I didn’t touch Emily and I can’t believe you would even ask me….” Steve replies.


“Hey whoa partner I didn’t even get a chance to say anything!” Neal says.


“Sorry….” Steve replies.


“I’m the defense and Myers is the offense….that is….if you catch my drift….partner.” Neal says.


“How far can you push the envelope?” Steve asks.


“Til it rips….”


“There’s a lot I have to tell you but it won’t do much good because Myers won’t believe you or the Captain….” Steve says.


“There’s one thing I did figure out….”


“What’s that?” Steve asks.


“You know how all those cases we had went cold on us? I found out the connection….”


“….And?” Steve asks.


“It’s you Steve. You’re the connection.”


“Me?” Steve says as he points to himself.


“Yeah you, there’s Patty’s slashed tires and her shop being vandalized and you know Patty, right?”


“Yeah you know I do but we still don’t know who did those things….” Steve says.




Steve looks shocked. “Emily? She’s just a kid and why would she….?”


“You know Patty and you know Emily and put the two together and it adds up to….”


“….Murder.” Steve says as he looks at the ground. “She killed Jessie?”


Neal nods. “I think so.”


“Jesus.” Steve says as he puts his hand on the top of his head.




“That t-shirt that was burned to a crisp in the dumpster behind Patty’s place do you remember what I told you it said on it?” Steve asks.


“Avenger wasn’t it?”


“Patty was wearing that same shirt the first weekend she spent here….” Steve replies.


“So? There are a lot of t-shirts like that.”


“No Neal Emily saw Patty wearing it and soon after that it disappeared and I didn’t see it again until it ended up in the dumpster….oh Jesus god. Emily had access to my place and the clothes, Neal you’re right, it was Emily all along….”


“But we can’t prove it, no evidence and no probable cause, nothing.” Neal says.


“She was jealous of Patty? She did all of this out of….jealously?”


“Steve you didn’t do anything wrong. All you did….”


“All I did was made matters worse! I….I felt sorry for Emily. She was working so hard and going to school, her mother working odd hours, all I wanted to do was to help her. I….I guess I was too compassionated and caring. You said it your self that I was the only male in her life to give her any attention….Jesus God I think I just ended my own career.”


“Steve none of this was your fault…”


Steve turns on him. “How can you say that? Everything now is different! Touches, words and feelings now mean two different things. A simple innocent kiss on the forehead….ah….a hug and holding hands….a movie and a dinner….an innocent birthday present! Everything I ever said to her and the ways I looked at her and spoke to her….it’s all become twisted and sordid! The last couple of days I have had time to look back and maybe I did some things or sent some signal to her or maybe she picked up on some sort body language I didn’t see….”


“Steve that’s crazy….”


“Is it Neal? That night after work when I told you I was going to go and see Patty, I did and that is when we had that fight…..Emily had been there and told her that she and I were lovers!”


“Steve you and I both know that isn’t true….”


“Patty believed her and when I got home that night Emily was here….” Steve says.


“Emily was here?” Neal says.


“She was upstairs waiting in my bed for me….”




“She wanted me to make love to her….!” Steve says.


“But you didn’t….!”


Steve puts his head in his hands. “….You don’t know what it took for me not to cross that line….Jesus God I don’t know what I was thinking….”


“The bottom line is you didn’t do anything Steve….”


“Neal do you have any idea how hard it was for me to admit that to you? To admit that to myself? To even think of Emily in that way I must be a dirty, old man.”


Neal tries not to smile but he can’t help it. “You turned her down and it made her mad and that is why she made that complaint….”


“No good deed goes unpunished….” Steve mutters to himself.


“What?” Neal asks.


“I said no good deed goes unpunished. I bought her groceries and I even paid her rent for her….”


“Steve why didn’t you tell me….”


Steve shrugs. “What would be the point to tell you? I mean if you were helping somebody you would do that too.”


“Yeah I would and Steve all that is what a friend would do for another friend but I think Emily saw it differently.” Neal replies. “Steve, Emily is a sick girl and even though we can’t prove it she killed Jessie….”


“All the pieces fit don’t they?” Steve says as he looks at Neal.


“Yeah the puzzle finally came together but we still have a few missing pieces….”


“Emily?” Steve asks.


“She’s the biggest missing piece and we know what she’s capable of….” Neal says.


“….And she knows we can’t do anything. She’s really smart that one, no evidence and no witnesses and me, I’m hogtied and I’m getting ready to get thrown onto the fire and get barbequed!”


Steve looks at Neal as he laughs. “What’s so funny?”


“I’m sorry but you have got to stop reading that book about the Texas Rangers, you’re starting to pick up on the lingo!! You’re right but you forgot one thing.” Neal says.


“What?” Steve asks.


“….Me.” Neal points to himself. “Remember I told you I’m running interference. I’m going to go and talk to Emily’s mother and then….”


Steve grabs Neal. “Oh my god, Patty! Emily’s already been over there once what if she goes back?”


“I’ll talk to Patty too and explain the situation to her.” Neal says as he puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder.


“I wish I go with you.” Steve says.


“I know but you can’t….”


Steve then grabs a hold of Neal. “I’ll stay in the car I swear to god!!!”


“Steve let me go and the answer is no!” Neal says as he tries to pry Steve’s hands off his jacket.


“Neal I have to get out of this apartment! Please, please, let me go with you!! I swear I’ll be a good boy! You can even handcuff me to the steering wheel!!!”


“You know that isn’t a bad idea, about the handcuffs I mean. Jesus I must be crazy….”


“Does that mean….?” Steve asks happily.




Steve lets out a shout. “Thank you, thank you! I love you and if I get out of the car you can kick my ass right on the corner of Fifth and Chesterfield.”


“Grab your jacket and I’ll grab the egg rolls, remember you promised!”


“Neal since you’re going to see Patty maybe you can give her the present I bought for Susan’s and Mike’s engagement party?”


Neal waves his hand. “Yeah, okay, alright, whatever just go and get it cause we have to roll.”


Steve runs upstairs and he grabs the gift and his jacket. “Alright man lets make tracks!”






“Mrs. Stone….” Neal says as he catches Emily’s mother at the front door to their apartment.


“Detective, I….I can’t talk to you.” She says as she struggles with a sack of groceries and in the process she drops her keys.


Neal picks them up. “That’s my partner Mrs. Stone, let me help you.” Neal says as he unlocks the door for her.


“Yes your partner.” She says as she sits the groceries on the table. “What can I do for you detective?”


“First of all you can call me Neal like you used to....”


“Detective….I mean Neal….I’m very tired. Emily took me to work this morning and I haven’t seen her since. I had to walk home….I was going to fix myself some hot tea. Would you like some?”


“Yes please, Mrs. Stone I want talk to you about Emily.”


She moves about the kitchen, filling the kettle then she sets it on the stove, then she gets the cups and saucers down from the cupboard.


“Yes everyone wants to talk about Emily but no one wants to do anything about Emily.”


“Mrs. Stone I don’t understand….” Neal says.


When the water boils she puts a teabag into a cup and pours the water in and then she hands it to Neal.


“It’s a terrible thing when a mother has to admit that there is something wrong with her child.”


Neal stops dunking the teabag. “What do you mean ‘wrong?’”


“Ever since Emily was a little girl she was extremely jealous and if she saw something that she wanted she took it. It didn’t matter if it belonged to someone else or not….”


“Mrs. Stone does Emily do that with people too?” Neal asks.


“Oh yes and her father was the same way.” She replies.


“Where’s he?” Neal asks.


“He died when Emily was a baby; he died in a mental institution.”


“Mrs. Stone I’m sorry….” Neal says.


“Everyone is sorry especially the hospital that Emily was at….”


“Hospital?” Neal asks.


“Oh yes that hospital. I tried to tell them, I tried to explain to them not to let Emily go, that she wasn’t well. But they told me that they couldn’t keep her any longer and that according to their doctors and tests she was fine cured is what they said.”


“Cured? Mrs. Stone what were they treating Emily for?”


“Starting fires….”


“Emily is a pyromaniac?” Neal asks.


“Yes, Emily is a sick girl. There was a doctor there who wanted Emily to stay; he said that she had the potential to be dangerous. He called her a sociopath….” She goes over to the table and she sits down hard in the chair. “Oh I am so tired….you don’t know how hard it is to live with a person like her….to be scared of your own child.”


Neal goes over and he gets down on one knee in front of her and he holds her hand.


“Neal I am sorry about your partner but Emily made me say those things about him. I didn’t want to; he has helped us so much.”


“Mrs. Stone what was the name of the doctor that Emily saw.” Neal asks as he takes out his notepad.


“Doctor Wayne Patterson.” She says.


“What hospital was she at?”


“The Willows….”


Neal looks quickly up at her. “The Willows, Mrs. Stone you don’t mean The Willows State Mental Hospital do you?”


As she nods her head Neal stands up. “You said she had your car, what kind of car is it?”


“Ah….it’s a green Chevy….”


“Do you know the license plate number or what year?” Neal asks.


“No I’m sorry I don’t but the roof is rusty and the rear tail light is broken….” She says as Neal helps her to stand up.


“I want you to get out of this house; do you have a friend you can call?”


“Yes I think so….Neal she has done something very bad this time, hasn’t she?” She asks.


Neal nods. “Yes Mrs. Stone I’m afraid so….call your friend and I’ll drive you over there, okay?”


She walks over to the phone and she picks up the receiver and without looking at him she says. “You’ll stop her this time won’t you? You and Steve will stop her?”


“Yes Mrs. Stone we will, we will.”






Neal dropped off Mrs. Stone and then he filled Steve in and once they arrived at Patty’s shop Brenda told them that Patty was already on her way to the engagement party. Neal decided quickly that Steve needed to go with Brenda to the engagement party to keep an eye on them, especially Patty, and when they left Neal had Oceanview dispatch get hold of the DMV to get a better description of Mrs. Stone’s car and when that was done Neal put out a APB on it then he drove two hours out of the city where the hospital was located.


“I would like to speak to Doctor Wayne Patterson.” Neal says to the receptionist at the hospital as he shows her his badge.


“I am sorry Detective he no longer works here….Willow State Mental Hospital….” She says as she answers the phone.


“Excuse me where does he work now? I need to speak to him….” Neal says.


She holds up one finger. “….I will transfer you, thank you.” She hangs up the phone. “I don’t know where he is working now….Willow State Mental Hospital….” She replies as she answers the phone again.


“But I….” Neal says but he is once again stopped by her holding up her hand to stop him.


“….She is in another department I will transfer you….” She hits transfer and then she once again hangs up the phone.


“….Look it’s urgent that I talk to him. It’s about an old patient of his, if you don’t know where he is working now can you give me his home address….”


The phone rings again and she makes a move to answer it but Neal is quicker and he covers the receiver with his hand.


“What are you doing?” She asks.


“….Ms….” Neal looks for her name plate. “….Porter I need to talk to Dr. Patterson now. I need his home address….”


“Do you have a warrant Detective?”


“Do I need one Ms. Porter?”


“I am not allowed to give out that information. Did you try the phone book?” She asks.


Neal looks at her. “Do you think that if he was listed that I would be here haunting you?”


“Staff’s personal information is confidential Detective….”


“You just said that he doesn’t work here anymore Ms. Porter.” Neal says.


“Detective your badge says that you are from the City of Oceanview and I believe that you are out of your jurisdiction….”


“Emily Stone is loose in my jurisdiction Ms. Porter and I have good reason to believe that she killed someone….” Neal leans further over the counter. “….if you don’t help me I’ll hold you morally responsible when she kills again and she will….I want Dr. Patterson’s address and I want it now.”


“You aren’t a very nice man Detective….”


Neal slips a fifty dollar bill into her hand. “Here this should ease the pain some and usually Ms. Porter I am a sweetheart of a guy….his address….please.”






Neal parked back down on the road and he walked up to the fence and he climbed over it and he made his way up to the house but he didn’t get far before a shotgun blast rang out and immediately Neal stopped dead in his tracks.


“Put your hands in the air! This is private property didn’t you see that no trespassing sign back there?”


“Yeah man I did sorry but I….” Neal says back over his shoulder as he holds his hands up in the air.


“You know I can shoot you don’t you? I would have every right….”


“Look man I’m a cop and if you let me show you my I.D.” Neal says as he makes a move to reach into his back pocket.


“Stop, I’ll do it.” The man says as he walks up behind Neal.


“It’s a free country man go ahead….” Neal says as the man reaches into Neal’s back pocket and he pulls out his I.D. case and he opens it.


“Oceanview Police? Just slightly out of your jurisdiction aren’t you Detective….Detective Schon?” The man says as he shoves the I.D. back into Neal’s pocket.


“Yeah slightly, hey man can I put my hands down now?” Neal asks as the guy with the shotgun moves around in front of him. The man was slightly taller than Neal and slim with graying hair and he may have been young but it was hard to tell he seemed older than his years. And for Neal it was hard to get passed that shotgun.


“Are you armed Detective?” He asks.


“Yeah.” Neal opens his jacket slowly.


“What do you want?” He asks.


“I’m looking for Dr. Wayne Patterson.” Neal says.


“Why?” He asks.


“I need to talk to him about one of his patients.” Neal says.


“I’m Dr. Patterson….which patient?” He asks.


“Emily Stone.” Neal replies.

“How did you find me?” Dr. Patterson asks.


“It wasn’t easy. This place if yours isn’t easy to find. You aren’t listed….”


“That’s so people, like you, can’t find me. I don’t want to be found understand?”


“I understand but Doctor I still need to talk to you….” Neal says.


“Are you alone?” Dr. Patterson asks.


“Totally….” Neal says.


“No one followed you?”


“No Doctor I swear to you.” Neal replies.


“This is against my better judgment but come into the house you can have some coffee and pie.”

The house was rustic and not something Neal thought a doctor would live in, it was closer to a hunting or resort sort of place but it was neat and comfortable. The doctor sit down two cups of coffee and two plates of pie.


“You’re wondering about the house aren’t you? I can see it in your face.” The Doctor replies.


“Well yeah I just thought being a doctor and all….” Neal replies surprised.


“I have Emily to thank for all of this. Who did she destroy in your world Detective?”


“….Trying to destroy you mean. It’s my partner; he befriended her and her mother and all he was….” Neal says.


“…..Was doing was trying to help her. Maybe he felt sorry for her and he gave some sort of job to do, babysitting, errands….”


“Housecleaning….” Neal replies.


“….And she reported to your superior that he did something to her, am I right Detective?”


Neal nods. “Yes….”


“I was her doctor Detective and in the course of treating her she developed a fixation on me and when I didn’t return her affection as it were she became angry, she wanted me to let her go, she wanted me to release her from the hospital by saying that she was well enough to be released but I wouldn’t. My conscience wouldn’t let me and that is when this hell began….first were the rumors and innuendoes and then my wife believed them….she left me.”


“I’m sorry Doctor….”


“And the hospital always true to form wanted to avoid any hint of scandal if they wanted to continue to receive high-priced contracts from the State, and so they took a sick, girl’s words over mine.”


“Let me guess she said that you and she had an affair or something close to that right?” Neal asks.


The Doctor nods. “That’s right. My license was suspended pending an investigation, my wife left me, I had to sell the house and I am living off the proceeds from that and from my savings of course. This house was my fishing cabin and at one time it was my retreat and now it’s become my prison. I apologize for the shotgun Detective but I am always afraid that she will find me again. She got what she wanted, she got out of the hospital but she never truly left me.”


“Why was she in the hospital Doctor?” Neal asks.


“Emily is a very, very intelligent young lady. Her I.Q. is at least 147….”


“A 147? My god isn’t that considered a genius?” Neal asks.


“Yes it is and Emily could be anything that she wishes to be, she has the capability to become a doctor, or a professor or even President of the United States but Emily is a Sociopath Detective….she feels that the laws don’t apply to her.”


“What is a sociopath Doctor?” Neal asks.


“Sociopaths are people who don’t feel any empathy or sympathy for the suffering of others and as a Sociopath she has no fear of pain or punishment. To answer your original question as to why Emily was at the hospital she was a student at a local school here and there was a teacher that she had developed a crush on, probably a similar thing to your partner, but when he spurned her she took revenge….”


“What did she do Doctor?”


“Burned down his house….” The doctor replies.


“Was anybody….?”


“No thank god and Emily was so young instead of going to juvenile hall she was sent to The Willows for an evaluation and that is where I came in….setting fires is how she retaliates and it makes her feel powerful. Someday she will kill someone and not even bat an eye….”


“We believe that she has Doctor and there’s no coming back from that. My partner I believe that she has been wreaking havoc in Oceanview for quite awhile now….” Neal replies.


“Is your partner married?” The doctor asks.


“No but he had a girlfriend….” Neal says.


“And she was the object of Emily’s rage?” The doctor asks.


“Yes I’m afraid so….” Neal says.


“Are they still together?” The doctor asks.


“No not really but he is with her now just in case….” Neal says.


“Did Emily go to your partner’s girlfriend and tell her anything?” The doctor asks.


“Yeah she did and Patty believed her, why do you ask doctor?”


“Emily thought she had won and if she knows or if she sees your partner with, what did you say her name was?”


“Patty….” Neal says.


“Patty….then Emily will get back at her the only way she knows….and you said yourself that you believe that she has killed someone already….”


Neal stands up. “Doctor if she can’t get to Patty then what would she do….?”


“She go after the thing that is most important to her….your partner perhaps?” The doctor says.


“Steve is with Patty so I don’t think….Doctor could it be a place?” Neal asks.


“Yes anything that Patty cares about and Emily will find out what it is….”


Neal shakes his hand. “Thank you doc I better get back to Oceanview….”


“Detective be careful Emily is very dangerous….” The doctor says.


“We know Doc and thanks….”






“Ocean this is Victor 7 we have a fire at the Artist’s Hand Art Store….”


“10-4 Victor 7 I will notify the fire department.” The dispatcher replies.


“Tell them to step on it Ocean!” Neal yells into the mike and as he puts it back into place he looks up to see two cars racing towards him, one skids to a stop in front of him and the other jumps the curb and almost immediately Patty jumps out with Steve jumping out of the passenger side to chase after her.


“Patty!!! Patty!!! No!!! You can’t save it!! Stop!!!” Steve yells at her as they run.


Patty doesn’t listen as she runs closer to the burning building and just before she can reach it Steve has a burst of energy and he tackles her and just as they fall together to the ground the ground is rocked by an explosion. They are close enough to it to feel the heat as Steve covers Patty’s head.


“Let me go!!!” Patty says loudly as she struggles under Steve.


“No Patty it’s gone there’s nothing you can do.”


As they struggle Patty manages to turn over onto her back and she reaches back and she slaps Steve hard across the face.


“It’s your fault!!! I’ve lost everything and it’s your….fault!!!!” Patty yells at Steve as they still struggle and then Neal steps in and he grabs Patty and he pulls her to her feet and he drags her back to his car as they hear the sirens in the distance.


“Stop it!! This isn’t Steve’s fault!! It’s nobody’s fault!!!” Neal says as he looks over at Steve who by now had gotten to his knees his hair hanging down as he glances up.


“Patty….you have to believe me….I’m sorry.” Steve replies.


“It was Emily and Steve had nothing to do with it….” Neal says.


Steve puts his hand on Patty’s shoulder from behind and with her anger spent she turns and she lets Steve hold her and he supports her as they go across the street and they both sink down to the curb.







“Hey….” Steve says as he walks up to Neal.


“Hey yourself. It’s not even seven in the morning yet what are you doing out here?” Neal asks.


Steve hugs himself to try and ward off the early morning chill as he looks towards what was left of Patty’s store.


“You know why I’m here you putz. So when did they find it?” Steve asks.


“About an hour ago and they found this….” Neal says as he takes it out of his pocket and he puts it into Steve’s hand.


Steve wipes the soot away from it. “It’s amazing how some things can survive isn’t it?” Steve says as he continues to look at the bracelet that he gave to Emily.


“They think she may have gotten trapped Steve but the body was so badly burnt there will be no way of knowing for sure….” Neal replies.


Steve looks back at the store once again. “No there will be no way to know for sure….” Steve looks at the bracelet. “Has her mother been told yet?”


“No I was….”


“No I will….” Steve says as he looks up at Neal.


“Are you sure?” Neal asks.


Steve nods as he wipes his eyes. “Yeah positive….” Steve holds the bracelet tightly in his hand as he walks away. “I’ll see you later….”


“Steve will you be alright?” Neal asks.


“….Eventually Neal eventually….” Steve replies.






“Patty?” Neal says as he looks up to see her entering the squad room.


“Neal is Steve here?” Patty asks as she twists the handle of her bag.


“Yeah he just went to R&I do you want to sit down or do you want some coffee?” Neal replies as he stands up and he pulls another chair up to the desk.


Patty raises her hand. “No thanks I’m too nervous to sit. Well he be back soon do you think?”


“I can always call down there….” Neal says as he puts his hand on the phone and just then they both look up to see Steve coming through the squad room doors looking thru a file and when he looks up and sees Patty he stops.




“Steve do you have a minute to talk?” Patty asks.


“Yeah sure of course….” Steve throws the file on Neal’s desk. “The Captain’s office is empty we can go in there.”


Steve shows her the way and once in the office he closes the door behind him.


“This is a surprise….” Steve says.


“Steve let me say what I have come to say, I have rehearsed this over and over and I have never been so nervous….”


“Patty it’s me you don’t have a reason to be nervous….” Steve replies.




“I’m sorry go ahead….” Steve says.


“First of all I want to apologize, god I am so sorry for ever doubting you, I don’t know how I could have been so stupid to let a little, girl wrap me around her finger like that and ruin the best thing I ever had….”


“Patty she was very sick and a lot of people believed her….it just wasn’t you.” Steve says.


“I feel like such a fool….” She puts her hand on his cheek and Steve holds it. “Brenda told me that I was lucky to have met a great guy like you and she was right….” She looks at the floor. “And I was hoping we could, you know, go the distance.”


“I know Patty me too and I’m sorry that you got caught up in this madness, in Emily’s madness and I wish, god you don’t know how I wish I could turn back the clock….” Steve replies.


“I talked to Myers in Internal Affairs and I dropped the complaint and I’m sorry I made it in the first place….”


Steve nods his head. “What are you going to do now?”


“I’m going to Arizona….” Patty says.


“Oh….when?” Steve asks surprised.


“Today….” She says.


“Maybe I can drive you to the….” Steve replies.


“No I have a cab waiting….” She says.


“Oh….who lives in Arizona?” Steve asks.


“My sister. She has a photography shop out there….”


“Wow you come from a very talented family….” Steve says as he tries to lighten the mood.


Patty smiles. “I’m going to try and start over out there….”


“I hear that Arizona has a good climate and maybe you will met a normal type guy that has a safe, normal 9 to five job…..Patty are you sure that you can’t stay here?”


Patty shakes her head as she wipes her eyes. “No it’s all arranged….”


Steve takes her face in his hands and he wipes her tears with his thumbs. “It’s alright to admit that your scared….and I couldn’t live with myself if anything was to happen to you so I guess this is for the best. Sometimes decisions are made for you….like now.”


“I love you Steve.”


She puts her arms around him and he holds her close. “I love you too Patty.”


“I’ll stay in touch; I have your address and phone number.” Patty says as she pulls away from him.


“Sure and you’re have to tell me how you’re getting on in Arizona.”


“I better go, my flight leaves in a couple of hours.” Patty says as Steve opens the door for her.


“Bye Patty and take care.” Steve says as he watches her walk out of the squad room.


Steve then goes over to the window that overlooks the front of the precinct and he opens the blinds and he sees a cab waiting at the curb. Neal comes up behind him and they watch as Patty comes out of the building and she gets in the cab and it drives off.


“Where to?” Neal asks as they follow it up the street.


Arizona.” Steve says.


“Oh….” Neal says as he puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder.


“She said she would stay in touch but they never do….” Steve says as he looks up at Neal. “….do they?”


“No they never do.” Neal replies as he crosses his arms over his chest still looking out of the window. “I guess this one can go in the ‘Case Solved’ file.”


“I suppose but why do I feel like something isn’t quite right? Like it isn’t….finished?” Steve replies.


“Something nagging at you partner?” Neal asks.


Steve shrugs. “Ghosts….shadows….” Steve replies.


“You aren’t thinking of doing something stupid….?” Neal asks.


“….Such as partner?” Steve replies.


“….Changing.” Neal says.


“It did cross my mind.” Steve says.


“Well don’t….the police force could use more guys like you.” Neal says.


Steve laughs. “You mean guys who can cause trouble without even really trying?”


“No I mean guys who care and who want to help….” Neal replies.


“I didn’t know that caring and helping could hurt so bad….” Steve replies. “After times like this I wonder why we do it….”


Neal reaches over and he raises the blinds even further and he points down to the people walking on the street. “We do it for them Steve and now you can help me to put a new ribbon in the typewriter….” Neal says as he pats Steve on the back.


“Good thing then I wore my old clothes.” Steve replies.


“Steve all your clothes are old clothes.” Neal says.


“Wait that isn’t true….!” Steve starts to protests.


“I’ll buy you that disgusting hamburger thing that you like so much for lunch.” Neal says.


“Oh no way!!! You mean the well done, 100 percent beef, with mustard, ketchup, and Thousand Island dressing, cheese and onions burger?”


Neal makes a face. “Yeah….”


“No pickles….” Steve says.


“Heaven forbid….” Neal replies.


“Cool! Bring on the ribbon!” Steve says happily.






It was two in the morning and something woke Steve, he didn’t know what it was but it nagged at him so he had to get up and take a look around his apartment, check and recheck the locks, then he took a peek outside. The back patio looked exactly as he had left it when he went to bed hours before but still….he turned on the patio light and then he grabbed a flashlight and he stepped out onto the patio.


The chairs were in the same spot he noticed as he took a look around the patio, the wind had blown some sand from the beach onto his patio but nothing other than that and he was just about to turn around and go back inside and chalk it up to too much spicy food before bed when he noticed the footprints.


Steve opened the gate and he saw the footprints, small in size, leading to and then away from a nearby palm tree and after he turned on his flashlight he stepped out onto the sand and he followed the footprints to the tree and there he saw illuminated by the flashlight….


A heart that had been carved into the tree with the initials “E.S. LUVS S.P.”


Steve runs his fingers over the heart and they could be fresh but he didn’t know for sure, he couldn’t tell, he then shined the flashlight in the direction of the footprints that lead away from the tree and they lead into the ocean.


“Emily?” Steve says out loud to no one but the ocean. Then feeling a chill he turns around and he goes back inside the apartment making sure that the door is locked behind him.





V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7




“Well folks sometimes there are no happy endings in police work just a lot of loose ends. Was that the last we saw of Emily? Did she remain a ghost or did she materialized as a real, flesh and blood crazy person? One never knows does one? According to the clock on the wall I better go and retrieve my wayward partner and note to self….get some more tape. Until next time….same police time….same police channel….Victor 7 is 10-42.”


















All rights reserved. Steve Perry and Neal Schon’s likenesses appear only as characters. Any resemblance to any one living or dead is purely a coincidence. This fictional story is for entertainment purposes only and for the complete enjoyment of the author and the readers. And for the love of things and people back in the day.




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