This week’s words were: long, tin, party, witch, earthquake.
Zayne glanced at Andrej. “Which last case? The Frohmann murder?”
Andrej shook his head. “No, that was three weeks ago. He must mean the two bodies found out near the lake.”
“Really? I thought that was before Frohmann but after that televangelist guy.”
Captain Amherst cleared his throat. “Are you two done walking down memory lane? Because if you can shut your traps for five seconds, I’ll tell you which case.”
“Sorry, Cap,” Zayne muttered in an attempt at being contrite.
Amherst glared at him for a moment before blowing out a breath. “I’m talking about the Ruprecht murder.”
Zayne snorted. “You mean that woman who thought she was a witch and believed she could cause an earthquake with her spells? I’d forgotten about her.”
“She wasn’t the one murdered,” Andrej reminded him. “If I am remembering correctly, the victim was a male in his forties that had attended one of her parties.”
“Right, but it wasn’t her party, she’d crashed someone else’s shindig. I think the guy who died was her long lost lover.”
“Yes,” Andrej said, the pieces falling into place finally. “She said he had jilted her, left her standing at the altar.”
“And she whacked him for it.”
“And you two wonder why you’re sitting here,” Amherst muttered. “Are you quite done, Reyes?”
“Yes, sir,” he said, pretending to zip his lips.
Amherst looked at Zeklos and almost asked how he dealt with the constant chatter but decided against it. There was something between these two that he wanted no part of, ever. He wouldn’t ask, either, unless it affected their solve rate. Until then, it was better to not know.
“What was the complaint, Captain,” Andrej finally asked. “We cleared Miss Rawlings of any wrongdoing.”
“You did,” Amherst said, glancing down at the file on his desk. “It was her best friend who killed the ex, wasn’t it? He abandoned Rawlings on their wedding day for her friend and then cheated on the friend later.”
“Some men cannot be faithful it seems,” Andrej muttered.
“Dude,” Zayne drawled.
“I was not implying anything, Zayne,” he replied. “Only making an observation.”
Ah, and there was the thing he didn’t need – or want – to know about his two best detectives. “Guys?”
“Sorry.” It was Andrej apologizing this time. “What was Miss Rawlings complaint against us?”
“She says,” he looked down at the paper he’d fished out of the file, “that the two of you outed her to all of her family and friends by announcing she was a witch at the party.”
“The party she had not been invited to attend,” Andrej said.
“The same party where we found her standing on a coffee table, brandishing a willow branch she called her wand, threatening to bring what was it, Zek?”
“Chaos and destruction,” Andrej supplied.
“That’s right,” Zayne said, smiling his thanks Andrej’s way. “She was going to bring chaos and destruction onto all the non-believers.”
“I am certain she outed herself, Captain,” Andrej said.
“Not that any of those tin hatters would ever believe her though,” Zayne said. “Being a witch is too mundane these days. You have to be an alien or think the government’s trying to cull the population a la The Stand. “
“I’m not sure what that last bit means, Reyes but –”
“It was a book by Stephen King,” Andrej said. “Wherein the government loses control of a super flu that wipes out half the population of the United States.” He paused. “Maybe even the world. It has been a number of years since I have read it.”
“Huh,” Zayne said, his voice soft and affectionate. “And here I thought you only read cowboy romances.”
Amherst rubbed his forehead with the fingers of one hand. “Whatever the truth, she’s filed a complaint with the department. I’m supposed to reprimand the two of you but honestly, I’m four seconds from tossing you out of my office and ordering to you to stay out of my sight for the rest of the day.”
They both sat quietly, waiting for whatever was coming next.
“However, you have work to do and if I remember correctly, that Rawlings lady threatened to turn Reyes into a cactus during interrogation.”
“She was going to turn me into a saguaro she said,” he clarified with an indignant laugh. “I told her saguaros didn’t grow in Texas.”
“That is when she threatened to turn him into an agave plant,” Andrej added. “However, I dissuaded her seeing as he would have enjoyed that too much.”
Captain Amherst shook his head. “I have also been instructed to send you to sensitivity training focusing on religion. I am not sure if this… sort of religion will be covered or not, but HR will notify you when the class is scheduled. No complaints, excuses, or attempts to get out of it either, Reyes.”
Zayne shut his mouth and frowned. “Okay, Cap.”
“Understood, sir,” Andrej added.
“Now get out of my sight, both of you.”
They slipped out of the captain’s office and into the bullpen. “Well hell, we really stepped in it this time, didn’t we?”
“We were not in the wrong,” Andrej said, angry over the injustice, even if he understood the department’s decision.
“Is there anything we can do,” Zayne asked. “I mean, without both of us losing our jobs, that is?”
“I am not sure,” he said, starting off towards their desks. “It might just be better to take the punishment and get on with our lives.”
“Yeah,” Zayne said, flopping in his desk chair. “But where’s the fun in that?”
“Excuse me,” Andrej said, nodding at Trish and Hilary who were both anxiously awaiting a recap. “I am going to HR and hand in my badge before it gets taken from me.”
“He’s not really…” Trish asked, watching Andrej exit the bullpen.
“Nah,” Zayne said, opening a case file and finding his notes. “He’s just trying to make me sweat. Which is working, honestly. I never know when I’ve pushed hm too far.”
(To be continued again)