Ego Maniac(7)

By: Vi Keeland

“Every cop seems to know you.”

“My buddy used to work in this precinct. Some of my first clients were cops. You’re a friend of a brother in blue, and do a good job for one, you get the business of the entire precinct and then some. They’re a loyal bunch. At least to each other. Highest occupational divorce rate in the city, though.”

A minute later, a detective I’d never met came in and took Emerie’s statement, then mine. When he finished, he said he was done with me, if I wanted to go.

I had no idea why I was still hanging around a half-hour later as Emerie flipped through her second thick book of mug shots.

She turned the page and sighed. “I can’t believe how many criminals look like everyday people.”

“Would make it more difficult for you to hand over ten thousand in cash if the guy looked like a criminal, wouldn’t it?”

“I suppose.”

I scratched my chin. “What did you carry that kind of cash in anyway? A brown paper bag filled with hundreds?”

“No.” Her tone was defensive, but she didn’t offer anything more. So I stared at her, waiting. She rolled her eyes. “Fine. But it wasn’t a brown paper bag. It was white. And said Wendy’s on it.”

I raised my brow. “Wendy’s? The fast food place? Really got a thing for burgers, huh?”

“I put the burger I’d just picked up for lunch in my purse and carried the cash in it because I didn’t want to let it out of my hands on the subway. I figured it was more likely someone might try to steal my pocketbook than my lunch.”

She had a point. “Good thinking for a girl from Oklahoma.”

She squinted at me. “I’m from Oklahoma City, not farm land. You think I’m naïve just because I’m not from New York, that I make bad decisions.”

I couldn’t help myself. “You did give a fake real estate agent ten grand in a Wendy’s bag.”

It looked like smoke was about to blow from her ears. Luckily, a knock at the door prevented me from getting chewed out Oklahoma-style again. Frank popped his head in. “Got a second, counselor?”

“Sure thing.”

Frank opened the door wide, waited for me to walk through, and shut it behind us before he spoke. “We got a little problem, Drew.”

He had his sergeant face on as he pointed to the closed door Emerie sat behind. “Standard operating procedure is to run the complainant.”

“Yeah, so?”

“Oklahoma there, she popped. Got an outstanding warrant.”

“You’re shitting me?”

“Wish I was. New computer system makes us record the reason we run the name. Detective who took her statement had already entered in that she was here in the stationhouse. Not like the old days. Everything is traceable now. She’s gonna have to take care of the warrant. I’m off in an hour. I’ll take the collar and drive her over to the courthouse to answer the charges so we don’t have to put her in cuffs, if you want. It’s an appearance ticket. I’m sure she can enter a plea and take care of it easy enough.”

“What’s the charge?”

Frank smirked. “Indecent exposure.”

“So tell me the whole story, from the beginning.” We sat on a bench outside of the courtroom, waiting for the afternoon warrant session to begin.

Emerie hung her head. “Do I have to?”

I lied. “You’re going to have to tell your story to the judge, so as your attorney, I need to hear it first.”

She’d no doubt be pissed when she realized an appearance ticket didn’t require recounting the events in question. We would walk in, plead guilty, pay a fine, and be out the door in an hour. But my entire day was wasted, so I deserved a little fun. Plus, I liked the fiery side of her personality. She was even sexier pissed off.

“Okay. Well, I was here in New York for the summer visiting my grandmother. And I met this guy. We went out a few times, were getting close, and this one particular August night it was really hot and muggy. I’d just graduated high school and never did anything even remotely wild back home. So when he suggested we go skinny dipping in the public pool, I thought, Why not? No one will ever know.”

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