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Linda Andersson & Sara Marx - In Sight of the S...docx
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Chapter Twenty-One

Inside Captain Briggs’s office, Lieutenant Sloan was getting her ass chewed out.

“Manipulating and/or omitting evidence?” Briggs tapped the case file for the meth lab explosion. “Now, I don’t know how they do it where you come from, but around these parts, we follow protocol. To the letter, Lieutenant Sloan.”

“Understood, sir.”

“We can’t have these scumbags walking the streets because they got off on technicalities—like misnumbered or altogether missing pictures!”

His face was so red, Sloan feared he’d implode on the spot. She dared not say a word, only nodded.

When he finished, she produced the disk and patiently waited for the captain to load it into his computer and open the picture file. He scrolled along, examining the missing shots, and all at once leaned close to his screen for a better look. After several minutes of squinting and general face-making, he ejected the disk and turned back to face Sloan.

“Well?” He waved his hand, prompting an explanation.

“Well, the pictures are…confusing. I didn’t find them to be relevant to the case, sir.”

He softened noticeably, but didn’t look any less perturbed, only funneled his concern in a new direction. “What exactly was I looking at there, Sloan?”

She searched for her words carefully, answered as if by rote recitation. “I believe it’s a camera malfunction.”

He stared at her for a bit, nodded at last, looking no less stern. “Make sure that’s what your supplemental report states when you include it in the file.”

“Yes, sir.”

“No sense in adding the pictures back in.” He stuck the CD in his desk drawer.

She was glad she’d made another copy, and didn’t mention it to him. He clearly wanted it out of sight and mind. He gathered some paperwork before him, stacked it tightly together just to be doing something with his hands. Sloan wondered if it had been his intention to fill out those papers and suspend her. Or worse. He looked at her again. “I’d like that report on my desk by this afternoon, clear?”

“Yes, sir.” She scooted to the edge of her seat, hopeful for escape. “Anything else, Captain?”

“No—yes. From now on, Lieutenant Sloan, you come to me if you get…this kind of…” He waved his hand again. It was quickly becoming his way of signifying “etcetera.” Etcetera in and of itself seemed to newly signify “weird shit.”

She saved him from himself. “We don’t get it often, sir.”

He furrowed his brow. “No, I hope not.”

Sloan made her exit.

By now, Briggs was so desperate for a Tums or Alka-Seltzer he was eyeing the chalk in the tray on the board across the office. He shook his head, instead rooted around his desk for an aspirin.

Jace Sloan returned to her own much tinier office, surprised she could even sit down, that much of her ass had been chewed. She practically hurdled her desk in the very narrow quarters just to get to her chair. She sighed, tried to shake it off, did some neck rolls and breathing exercises. A knock at the door interrupted this recovery session.

Detective Burnette appeared in her doorway.

“Can I help you, Detective?”

“Sorry to interrupt you, Lieutenant Sloan, but there’s something I need to discuss with a superior officer.”

She detected the confidential tone in his voice, wanted to avoid embroiling herself in any more off-the-record conversations for a while.

“Detective, if it’s a personal matter, perhaps you’d best take it up with Captain Briggs.”

“Actually, Lieutenant, it’s about Officer Marcus.”

He stepped inside, closed the door behind him though he’d not been invited to do either.

Sloan sighed, shook her head. “If it’s about those pictures, I apologize for having misdirected you in the matter.”

“No, no it’s not the pictures. It’s about the day Sergeant Jones was killed. I was there.”

That Sloan was intrigued was hard to disguise. “I see. Before you get started, is there anything you’re about to tell me that is not in your official report, Detective? Because anything you say here is on the record.”

“Yes. No.” Burnette paused and Sloan expelled another deep breath. She’d just had a similarly confusing conversation with her boss. She rolled her hand just as Briggs had, indicating that Burnette should get on with it. “The day Sergeant Jones was shot, Sergeant Winters and I were first on the scene. Officer Marcus was understandably frantic. She was blood-covered and trying to revive her partner. She didn’t see us right away.”

“I’m sure she was in shock.”

“Yeah.” He paused again. “Anyway, as we made our approach, Officer Marcus ceased lifesaving efforts and stood up. Just like that.”

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