1 The New Detective


Detective Liam Knight watched as Hugh Farris went into their boss’s office and closed the door. He wondered why there was a meeting this late in the day. The two men seemed to be in serious conversation.

Liam put his feet on his desk and tried not to stare at the glass windows into Captain Jonathan Harrison’s office. He was tired from his long workday. He rubbed his hand through his brown hair and felt his shave this morning didn’t work. Liam needed to buy a better shaver.

“I’ll be glad to get some help on my shift.”

Liam pulled up the weather map for the weekend.

“Beach temperatures seventy to ninety degrees, visibility ten miles, and satellite picture looks clear. The weather looked like another great one for LA.”

The door opened and Hugh Farris stopped next to Liam’s desk. Hugh’s hair was thinning on top and showed new gray hair on the sides.

“The captain requests your presence.”

Liam’s brown eyes closed for a minute. He grabbed his badge and went into the office.

“Sit down, Liam, I have good news. Monday, Detective Penelope King will join our firm. This first week, you can show her the office and work with her on Friday. Take her out on some calls. Hugh will have her Tuesdays through Thursdays to show her the ropes on the social service side. The rest of the time she reports to you. We’ll do this for a month or more and see if she needs more time to get used to our routine. We’re a little smaller than New York City, but we have our fair share of different problems.”

Liam looked disappointed. His boss frowned.

“The last two women detectives complained about you after five months on the job before they requested a transfer. They mentioned the nut jobs weren’t always on the street.”

“Captain give me a break. Those women were from Texas. They didn’t understand California is different. We operate with orders and rules.”

His Captain believed Liam this one time.

“I want you to be nice to Penelope or else. After twenty weeks, she has options. We want her to stay. Don’t hit her so hard with orders. Besides, she comes from Montana, and her dad owns a large ranch. We like powerful people. They donate money to causes important to us.”

Liam understood the donation part, but he needed more information about Ms. King.

“Montana is not California. How did she ever find her way here? I get to read her file.”

“No, Human Resource has been out this week. Kamilla will keep routing the work cases like she always does.”

“Where did she go to school, and how long has this woman been a detective?” asked Liam.

“I believe it was upstate New York for schooling, and she worked the beat for two years in New York City before making detective. She’s been a detective for a year.”

Liam wasn’t impressed.

“My helper is green but has an impressive daddy. Great.”

Captain Harrison looked at Liam.

“She didn’t ride on her old man’s name to get here. Her file is impressive, and I liked her during our interview. Her specialty is working with the fire department to solve cases. We might need those skills in the future.”

Liam squinted his eyes at his boss.

“We’ve heard some rumors about Donnie boy.”

Liam shook his head in disgust. Over four million people and five hundred miles in the city of Los Angeles and this was one name he didn’t expect to see soon. The greater Los Angeles area was larger and afforded more places to hide criminals.

“Crazy Donnie Corwin is in prison for five more years if I’m counting correctly.”

The Captain opened his door to let Liam know the meeting was over.

“Check with some of your contacts Monday and Tuesday to see if they know anything on the streets. I don’t want to call the warden at the prison without more information. Then I can make the let’s satisfy my curiosity phone call. And Liam, try to be cheerful when you meet the recruit.”

Liam left the boss and locked his desk. He looked at the busy metropolis of vehicles and people out the window. The city was his turf, and he enjoyed his work most of the time.

“Those women detectives indicated that I was a nut job. No way.”

He drove to his home in the Los Angeles area which was close to the beach. Changing out of his work clothes, he jogged to the beach in a shorts outfit and sat in the sand. His phone rang.

“Becka, I’m at the beach taking a calm moment.”

Becka believed today might have been a tough one. She knew the department was looking for a new detective. She hoped this one would be a young man.

He listened to her phone chatter. His girlfriend was flying out of town for a week to buy some fabric for a client’s drapes. Liam wondered why the store couldn’t ship the fabric. His girlfriend was going shopping for more than fabric. He would be alone for the weekend. He wasn’t pleased.

“Look, I’ll see you next Friday night. We’ll go to a party on Saturday and celebrate your success. Don’t worry, I’ll be busy training a new detective next week.”

He disconnected from the call and was not looking forward to Monday. The talk with his boss and Becka put him in a bad mood. Liam felt restless.

“Montana might be different than Texas. Maybe not, both states raise bulls. Montana probably has more cows than people which means more manure.”

On Monday, Liam awoke late and yawned.

“Another day in paradise.”

Driving to the office, he was running later than usual. He could see the tall city hall building on Spring Street.

“Nice solid building. Finally, I’ve reached First Street.”

Detective Penelope King was assigned the corner desk a distance away from Liam and Hugh’s desk. Hugh sat around the corner. Arriving at the office, he looked over toward the recruit.

He couldn’t believe the transformation. There were two stacks of in and out mailboxes on the desk. The metal boxes were stacked three feet high and large plants blocked the view of any occupant sitting in a chair. The area looked like a tropical cave.

“Oh, man, all she needs is a net with shells and coconuts. Hello, precinct, we have an introvert in the office, and she’s female. I shouldn’t have worried about the cows. I’m in deep trouble,” said Liam to himself.

Liam watched as a delivery boy brought a large bouquet to the cave desk area.

“At least the flowers are wild.”

The delivery boy disappeared. Liam wondered who ordered the batch of spring flowers for their recruit. He looked at his monitor screen for the daily schedule.

Hugh stopped by Liam’s desk with his ceramic homemade cup filled with coffee. The cup was lumpy in spots.

The cup read, Best Daddy, sprawled awkwardly down one side.

“The detective recruit is here and appears to be a nice person. She wore her detective pin from New York City. Our pins are nicer. Too bad you were late today.”

Hugh’s green eyes suddenly lit up.

“Oh, my gosh, a new cool-guy look. You must have bought a better shaver. Maybe the haircut is working for you, too. It’s a good thing you did both because this one is a looker.”

Liam was glad he spent the extra fifty dollars on the shaver.

“I was going to show her the break room. Penelope invited me into her enclave. She has placed a tremendously expensive coffee machine on her new portable table and made me a cup of gourmet coffee. I’m in seventh heaven. She buys the good stuff in those silver bags. Her plants add a little fresh ambiance to the office, don’t you think?”

“Add a few coconuts and throw in a talking monkey, she should be in business to entertain the cows. Oops, no cows in LA.”

Hugh looked miffed.

“You are rotten to the core, Liam. Nobody likes you. I’m sorry I complimented you and don’t touch the coffee machine.”

Hugh strolled away drinking his coffee.

“For a little guy, you are pretty brave.”

“I heard that comment,” loudly said Hugh.

Liam sniffed the air. The coffee smelled good. He looked in his desk for a new sticky note pad. The drawer fell out.

He crawled under the desk and found the large bolt which held the drawer. He put the bolt on top of his desk with the busted drawer.

One of their maintenance people brought a new office chair to the recruit’s desk. Liam watched as the plastic was removed and the old chair was taken away.

He looked at his chair with dents in the foam arms and a few cut marks.

“Ms. King gets a new chair like she is royalty.”

“Hey, maintenance man, my desk is falling apart.”

The maintenance man ignored him. A repair ticket was required.

“What has happened to this office?”

Liam packed his bag, grabbed his badge, and sauntered over to the cave desk. The woman’s back was turned. He could see she brought in her large monitor screen. Her screen was bigger. She was looking at their day’s work schedule. The visual was better. He watched as she downloaded the file to her phone.

“Ms. King, I hate to interrupt, but you are scheduled to be with me today.”

She turned around, and he was startled by how young she looked. Her soft long hair framed her tanned face, and her brown eyes flashed with light. She reminded him of a surfer girl he once knew. Liam bet she also jogged to stay in such good shape.

He opened his mouth to say something. He forgot the words.

“You are late,” said Penelope as she wrapped her hair with a soft elastic tie.

The young woman stood, and he braced himself for the full impact. She wasn’t like the other women detectives. This woman was slim with curves.

His bad mood from lack of sleep was halted for a minute.

“I ran into heavy traffic which is a common occurrence around Los Angeles. My name is Liam Knight. You can call me Liam, and I’ll try to call you Penelope unless you have a nickname.”

“Penelope will be fine. I’m ready to go, Detective Knight.”

“My name is Liam. Please call me by my first name.”

He watched as she threw the flowers in her trash can. She saw his eyes flicker with amazement.

“They are from Marvin Edmond. He wanted to wish me luck on my first day. I don’t believe in luck, nor do I like cheap daisies.”

Liam blinked as she slipped past him. He talked to himself.

“Memory bank, never order any woman skimpy white daisies.”

He caught up with her in the hallway. They finished the tour of the police headquarters, and Liam introduced her to the case router person named Kamilla.

“We’ll check out our vehicle for the day and be on our way. Last chance for a pitstop until lunchtime.”

While Penelope was in the restroom, he looked at the card on the flowers.

Call me. Good Luck! M.E.

“Well. I’ll be darned, Detective King does know the District Attorney.”

He crammed the card in his pocket as Penelope appeared.

“I’m ready, Liam.”

“Me, too, Penelope.”

He almost called her Montana. They walked to their vehicle. After a fifteen-minute drive, he stopped near a large establishment that looked like a late-night dinner place. The outside sign boasted a buffet on Sundays.

“Stay in the vehicle. This isn’t a good neighborhood.”

Penelope did as she was told. She input the address into her notebook.

When he returned to the car, Liam didn’t tell her the reason or results of his visit which she thought was odd.

She was going to complain and thought it better to wait until the second week. At least there were no jokes about where she was from. She heard over a hundred jokes while in New York City about her home state. The bull jokes were the worst. She shouldn’t have selected a hugely male profession.