Hunting for Evidence
Kristina England | Naomi McLeod
Detective Brady had a hangover, which was odd. Not that the hangover was odd, but the fact that he didn’t touch liquor was a bit befuddling under the circumstances.
His wife looked at him from across the kitchen table.
“Can I make you an egg?”
“No… No food for me, today.”
Brady’s wife looked even more concerned than him. Based on the width of his waist, food was not something he normally refused.
“No, no. I’ve got to get a move on it.”
Brady pulled on his coat, picked up his badge, and headed for the door.
He had a problem to solve and, right now, he was one of the suspects.
The office was abuzz with typewriters, phones, and the usual loud mouth detectives.
But when Brady and Caldwell came through the door, the room became quieter than a gathering of monks.
Brady looked around. “What’s the problem, people?”
The noise picked up again.
Brady and Caldwell walked over to their desks. A slip of paper sat on Brady’s chair. He picked it up and looked at the writing.
“The boss wants to see us,” he said.
Stanley Stanley was an older looking gentleman. He had a distinguished air about him with finely combed back hair and a pin-stripe suit. He carefully folded a handkerchief as the two detectives sat down. He creased a corner meticulously, then pushed the silk into his breast pocket. He looked up at the boys through his spectacles.
“So how exactly does one lose a whole box full of evidence?”
Caldwell went to respond, but Brady kicked him under the table. He gave Caldwell that “Shut up, you moron” look that Caldwell was so fond of.
“Well, don’t just sit there. Go find it. I better not see this debacle make the newspaper.”
Brady and Caldwell left the office.
“What is it?” Brady said, his stomach churning from hunger and tension.
“Why’d you shut me up?”
“Stanley doesn’t care about the facts. He cares about the conclusion.”
“Isn’t that a bit odd for a detective?”
“Maybe. Or maybe it’s genius. Either way, our job is to give him a happy ending.”
“Not that kind of happy ending, you moron. I swear, I don’t know where you are sometimes.”
“What are you talking about? I’m right here.”
Brady raised an eyebrow at Caldwell. “If you say so.”
Jane, the lead secretary, sat straight up in the interrogation room. She didn’t even flinch as Brady sat down across from her.
She did observe, however, that Brady’s mouth was chapped and that his stomach sounded like a full-blown helicopter about to take off.
“Would you like me to get you a bagel? Some water, perhaps?” she asked.
“I hear there’s chocolate cake,” she said with a devilish smile.
Brady’s eyes lost focus for a second. Then he shook his head. “No, I’m not eating anything until I get to the bottom of this whole situation. Now walk me through what happened yesterday.”
“Well, I came in, found Annie applying her lipstick at my desk. She had gone into my drawer. Can you imagine? A girl doesn’t get any privacy in that office…”
Brady’s eyes narrowed. “Skip to the part where the evidence came in.”
“Oh, you wanted me to be specific,” she said, leaning back and fixing her scarf.
He hated when Jane got sassy. Then again, she reminded him of himself. In fact, she’d make one heck of a detective.
Jane continued. “Let’s see. Oh yes, about 3:00, the delivery man came in and put the box on my desk. I asked Annie to deliver it to you. She picked it up, walked over to your desk, and slid it onto the floor between both desks. I asked her to pick it up, but she didn’t listen. She’s a flighty one, alright. It’s not like she needed to hide the evidence in a room full of detectives.”
Brady nodded. He leaned back and thought for a second.
Then Brady got up and walked out into the hallway.
Annie was crying in a chair outside the room. Caldwell was trying to comfort her.
“I tell you, he’s not as scary as he looks…”
They both looked up at Brady, but he passed them and continued down the hall to the main room.
He walked over and stared at the space between his and Caldwell’s desks.
Brady slapped his knee and headed straight for the kitchen.
Caldwell came around the corner.
Brady was scooping a large piece of cake into his mouth. He wiped frosting off of his upper lip and nodded to Caldwell.
Caldwell frowned. “Um… Jane is waiting for you back in the interrogation room and I’m pretty sure Annie just passed out from a panic attack… And here you are… eating cake.”
Brady sighed, sipped some water, and cleared his throat. “I know where the evidence went.”
“In the recycling.”
“In the recycling.”
“I heard you.”
“Then why did you ask ‘What’? You only ask someone that if you didn’t floss your ears first thing in the morning. Oh, and don’t actually floss your ears. That’s just a saying.”
Caldwell blinked again.
Brady let out another sigh. “Annie put the box next to the recycling. Jerry picks up the recycling at 3:15 and dumps it out back. Shall we go take a gander?”
Caldwell nodded and followed Brady to the back of the building. They came upon the pile of cardboard and paper.
Brady flipped over some pieces and, on the third try, revealed the evidence.
Caldwell nodded. “Nice work. Say… I thought you were on a diet?”
“Well, you just had a big helping of that chocolate cake in there.”
“Prove it,” he said and, as he walked away, he tossed the frosting-covered napkin in the smelly dumpster out back.