Chapter 8, by Janet Rosen

It was a long streetcar ride back into town. It gave me a chance to sober up and think about the events of the past days. I opened the envelope the mysterious stranger had given me. A fat handful of $20s and $50s, a plane ticket to San Antonio, and a map. I sighed and rubbed my now aching again head. Had I but known, when Matt Burns knocked on my door....

I was back in my office, packing up a suitcase and sipping the dregs of my last bottle when I heard footsteps. Real, solid shoes this time, and no knock on the door, just an unforgiving hand turning the knob and pushing the door open wide. Cops.

"You boys got a warrant?"

"You goin' somewhere, sister?"

"Just taking a little vacation. There a law against that?"

They exchanged glances and one of them shrugged and leaned into the door jamb. His partner sat on my desk and tried to read my calendar upside down. "What do you know about a riot out at CGS at the beach tonight?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Girl got hurt. Mentioned your name. Lieutenant wants you to come down to the Hall of Justice with us."

"O.K. if I bring my suitcase so I can leave from there?"

"Sure. You might need it in the womens holding cell."

Everybody's a comedian these days. We rode down to the Hall, but instead of going up to the cop shop we started heading down to the Basement.

"What's up, boys?"

"The girl died en route to the hospital. Lieutenant wants to know if you can I.D. her for us."

The room was cold. Everything in it was white. It even looked cold. The beer, whisky and sushi started recreating the Battle of Bunker Hill in my gut. All I could see was the little mound under the white sheet. They lifted the sheet. A sad, thin, familiar face. New bruises along the forearms as well as the knees. "Her name's Uke. I don't know if its her first or last name. Just met her once, by chance; we chatted a minute."

"That fits with what we know." A woman's voice echoed off the white tile. I turned. Son of a gun. The M.E. was a woman, a Dr. Gunther if the name on her apron was really hers. She was holding a power tool confidently; her smile would have cut bone and under the bloodied white apron I could make out the now all-too-familiar ill-fitting white suit. What the hell was going on here?

I grabbed my suitcase and ran for it; the cops were in hot pursuit but I beat them out to Bryant Street and grabbed a cab for the airport.


I think I need to back up a chapter.
I'm leavin'...on a jet plane.