I was watching the officers face as I was wheeled over and it looked like he’d had a rough day. I imagine he was on duty when everything went down so I’m not sure how much overtime he was on but it was beginning to show. “Officer..”
“Smith” he said. I smiled because of course Agent Smith was here to help. He stood up and and offered to relieve the orderly. “Can we speak down at the station?”
“I haven’t called for a ride yet so yeah as long as you can get me there I can get home from there” Rats, who was up at this hour anyway, it must be close to 6am by now. I was good with heading out. Maybe we’d take long enough I wouldn’t feel guilty asking for a ride from a friend.
I sat in the backseat of the cruiser. I don’t know if it’s this way for everyone but I always feel a little guilty around police. I smiled nervously. Luckily the last dose of pain meds were starting to kick in and the relief alone made me feel kinda tipsy. I looked out over our little community. It was suburby and green. The main street leading from the hospital took us through the fast food corridor, Oh food. Yep the drugs had kicked in, I was ravenous. My backpack however was in the front of the cruiser. I wasn’t sure if it was acceptable to ask if he pull over so I could get out and get it from the front seat but I was about to gnaw my arm off in the back, add to that my penchant for stress eating and I was doomed. Officer Agent Smith looked back at me. “It’s been a long day I’m sure Miss MacCowan how are you holding up back there?”
You can’t ask for a better opening “It’s been rough, but as bad as it sounds I’m pretty hungry right now, I’ve got some bars in my backpack if we could pull over for just a moment I swear I’d be your best friend.” A shadow flicked over his face but he smiled back warmly.
“I’ll do you one better, how do you feel about pizza?”
“Oh man that would be AMAZING!” I could barely hide my relief
“Excellent” He said “It’s been a hell of a shift for me so a little chow while I wrap up questions would be great”
“Dude, you feed me and I’ll help you stamp, write, file, whatever office gophering you need I can do!”
He chuckled “Good good, now the first serious question, how do you feel about fruit on your pizza?”
“Are you married? I’m all in for Hawaiian!” It seems silly, but when nothing else in your life is going right, a simple meal seems like some attempt at normalcy, some control. Also, dude, Pizza.
After picking up the pizza and getting to the station we found a little unused conferency type room and sat down with our prize. After I demolished 3 slices I leaned back and sighed. We had eaten in an amiable sort of ravenous silence, understanding and sharing a moment that was significantly more relaxing that the previous what, 15 or so hours had been.
“My wife, and yes I’m married, hates pineapple. So, thank you. I don’t get to order my own pizza very often as she can tell if it’s even ordered on a separate pizza the smell just makes her sick”
“Oh man, I’m sorry, that’s kinda rough. At least my Pops and I are both happy with the same pizza” “Crap, I need to tell him” I frowned, he leaves for a couple weeks for the first time since I’ve known him. He leaves me in charge and I manage to get the building burned down. I feel like crap just thinking about the conversation I’m going to have to have.
Smith tilted his head at me “What are you going to tell him?”
“That when he woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me to get out of the house. I ran into a… stranger on our porch, and she punched me” I gestured at my face which was starting to feel a little tender again from chewing solid food. I glowered, my blood pressure starting to rise “and then she went through our things.. my things.. everything was turned upside down, and then… fire?” “Why would she even do that?”
He made a sympathetic sound “ok, back up, Pops called you?” I nodded. He sighed. “What time was that?”
“2:13 this morning, gods… it feels like a week ago, but it was so early, I just couldn’t believe he called then, I have to call him back.”