So I’m in Chicago and I wasn’t able to post this Friday because free WiFi is hard. Also, I’m still not satisfied with this story but here it is anyway. I might rewrite it one day. I’m posting it as is because consistency is important, I guess.
Update 4:15 PM 12/12/17: So I’ve had a few days to recover from my trip to Chicago. I got busy with planning my trip and didn’t have the time to give this the story the attention it deserved. I kind of want to give this story a rewrite, so I’m gonna go do that now.
This story was rewritten as “Dialing For A Paycheck” and can be read here.
Kurr sat at his desk between his partners’, Logsdon and Ball. Kurr read reports. He drank coffee while he verified alibis in the reports. He reheated his coffee in the microwave three times that morning while he found business names and homes with the listed addresses on his reports. He sighed as he drank his coffee and typed his progress in the reports.
Logsdon and Ball were on the phone that morning. They chatted across Kurr all morning. Logsdon and Ball looked half-dressed, in untucked buttons ups off the rack at JC Penny’s and faint gray stains scattered all over their navy pants, their hair curly, funny, like they’d just rolled over out of bed and come to work that morning. Logsdon and Ball were young. Logsdon and Ball were not used to getting up early in the morning.
Having made it to noon, Logsdon and Ball flipped a coin. Ball called tails. Ball bought lunch. When Ball returned to the floor with a white bag that smelled of onion rings, Kurr locked his computer and followed Logsdon and Ball on through the desks, down the hall, past the cubicles, and to the right. Ball set the bag on the biggest table. Kurr stopped at the counter and poured black coffee into his world’s best singer mug. When he got to the biggest table, Logsdon and Ball had already eaten half their burgers.
“Your food’s getting cold,” Logsdon said.
“Fine, got my hot right here,” Kurr said.
“You use that line on all the ladies?” Does it work?” Ball said.
“Damn it, Ball. Burgers again?” Kurr said.
“Payer picks. That’s the rule,” Ball said.
“Loser picks,” Logsdon said.
Ball threw an onion ring at Logsdon. It hit him in the nose. Logsdon squished his lips against his nose, unrolled his sleeve, and wiped the oil off with his cuff.
Two by two, the seats at the small tables around them filled. A brown haired man in tan corduroy pants and a white button up stopped and looked under their table.
“Still got both shoes, Ball?” the man said. Ball looked at him with no expression. The man laughed and moaned and went on down to sit with a dark haired woman eating a candy bar.
“These people never let things go, do they?” Ball said.
“They will. Just have to wait it out,” Kurr said.
“For how long?” Ball said.
“Long enough for someone else to do something stupid,” Kurr said.
Kurr heard his own tone and put his burger down. He looked around at the others, the duos. The lean man at the table next to him ate his salad with his partner across from him. They laughed at each other. They texted on their phones. They ate.
“How much more you got, Old Man?” Logsdon said. He chewed as lettuce hung out. Mayonnaise splattered up his glasses. Logsdon wiped his frame with his cuff. The mayonnaise smeared. Logsdon chewed on.
“Only about half way through,” Kurr said.
“We’re gonna be here all night,” Logsdon said.
“You’re welcome to help, you know,” Kurr said. Logsdon made his eyes small.
“I’m following up on leads for the Brown case,” Logsdon said.
“No, you’re having a goofball match across my desk with Ball,” Kurr said.
“I’ve been on the phone all morning,” Logsdon said.
Kurr set his burger down. He moved his world’s best singer mug over to the corner. He folded his hands and placed his wad of fingers on the table.
“Don’t you guys get sick of it?” Kurr said. Balls topped chewing his fry. Logsdon took off his glasses and cleaned his mayonnaise smear with his shirt tail.
“Sick of what?” Logsdon said.
“Sick of not being taken seriously around here,” Kurr said.
“People take us seriously,” Ball said. He looked over to mister corduroy pants a few tables down. Mister corduroy mimed a runner while sitting in his chair.
“Help me, help me, the bad guy stole my shoes,” mister corduroy said. He laughed, threw his hand down toward the big table, and went back to sipping from his foam cup.
Ball ate the rest of his burger. Logsdon continued to rub his glasses down with his shirt. Mister corduroy pants ran toward the door. “Help, someone, my shoes, my shoes.”
Chief Mueller walked in. Mister corduroy pants straightened his back. Logsdon put his glasses back over his eyes. Mueller went to the counter and poured himself a coffee.
“Afternoon, chief,” mister corduroy pants said.
“Marmon,” Mueller said. He stirred his coffee with a red plastic stirrer, tasted it, and added more sugar.
People left their seats and threw their garbage in the hole near the sink. Logsdon and Ball stood up together.
“Back to it,” Ball said.
“Back to the phone,” Logsdon said. He looked at Kurr as he spoke. Kurr remained seated until they left. He watched Mueller as he stood and drank and stirred. Mueller turned and caught Kurr with his eyes over his world’s greatest seaman cup. Kurr approached him after the room emptied.
“Sir, could I talk to you for a bit?” Kurr said. Mueller stirred and nodded.
“What’s the problem, Kurr?” Mueller said. Kurr watched his feet for a minute.
“Am I being punished?” Kurr said. Mueller gulped his coffee and sat his mug down on the counter.
“What do you mean?” Mueller said. Kurr folded his hands and held them to his navel.
“You putting me with Logsdon and Ball. Are you punishing me?” Kurr moved his right foot further to the right, then back to the left.
“Why would you think that?” Mueller said. Kurr moved his right foot forward and then backward.
“They’re the youngest detectives in the department. Everyone else is partnered up and you have the three of us together. No one respects them, which means no one respects me,” Kurr said. Mueller pinched his chin. He came close.
“You don’t like your partners?” Mueller said. Kurr looked down at his feet, tapped his toes forward, backward, then planted his foot back down.
“No, sir. I think it would be best if I could put in an official request form,” Kurr said.
“Kurr, let me tell you something. You are more than welcome to put in that request, but I won’t accept it. You’re with Logsdon and Ball. That’s the way it’s gonna be. You’re with them and they’re with you. I want you three going everywhere together. Every desk assignment. Every case. Every day. If there’s ever a time someone doesn’t see you three together, I want people to think it’s fucked up that you’re not all there. Kurr, Logsdon, and Ball. That’s the way it is,” Mueller said. He patted Kurr’s shoulder, picked up his coffee mug, and filled it with soap and water from the sink.