WITHIN the Hollenbeck station, Ryan and Gibson stood before a large map of Los Angeles. Placed at varying points within the map were pushpins of differing colors. Both men noted the locations of the pins, attempting to triangulate from where the mysterious tagger might be coming.
“The guy’s gotta live someplace, Gib,” Ryan grumbled, chewing on a pencil, “and it’s likely somewhere centralized. How else could he be hitting these different ’hoods and vanishing without a trace?”
Gibson shook his head, slightly loosening his tie and collar. He always wore a tie to work, ever since his promotion to detective. He believed the look made him more respectable in the eyes of superiors and perps alike. Ryan, on the other hand, preferred the rumpled look: open collar, wrinkled brown or beige jackets, khaki Dockers, ratty sneakers. He’d been with the department so long he didn’t give a rip what anyone thought. Truth be told, that was what Gibson liked most about him.
“If he does, and anyone knows where, they’re not talking,” Gibson remarked. “I think we’ve been getting the truth, Ry. My gut tells me this guy’s a loner. Got his own private agenda going on out there.”
Ryan turned from the map to face his partner, talking around the pencil between his teeth. “I agree. Which will make him that much more of a bitch to apprehend.” He snapped the pencil in two with his teeth and spat the pieces onto his desk. “Hell, we don’t even have a description! This guy’s a freakin’ shadow man.”
Ryan hated weird cases like this one, and Gibson knew that about his partner. Ryan liked cases nice and clean. Murder for hire. Drive-by. Domestic abuse. Murder-suicide. Standard-issue stuff. But this case, hell, it was going nowhere and the mayor’s office had begun riding them for a quick resolution.
“Any brilliant ideas, Gib?” Ryan asked, grabbing another pencil and absently gnawing on the eraser end.
Gibson took the pencil from his partner and tossed it on the desk. “Yeah, Ry, we go home. Look around you, partner. It’s late, and there’s nobody here but us. I gotta call my son, and you’ve gotta get some rest before you eat every pencil we have.” He tried a smile, but fatigue turned it into a grimace.
Ryan sighed, reaching for his rumpled tweed jacket hanging from his chair. “You’re right. Ain’t gonna accomplish anymore tonight. Maybe a new day will give us new ideas, or there’ll be another riot to put down.” He grinned wryly.
“Let’s hope not. Last two weeks have been quiet. If we’re really lucky, this guy’s left to pick on some other city, like New York.”
Ryan chuckled. “Doubt we’d get that lucky.”
The two exhausted men slowly trudged from the station, leaving the night skeleton crew to take care of business.
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Genre – Edgy Young Adult
Rating – PG13
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