Doris Preston gave her husband, Milt Owen, a look.
When Milt didn’t immediately comprehend the severity of his blunder, Doris counted to one and elaborated. “Milt, that look means I think you slipped your leash and possibly need restraints. Why would I want to go to a convention of police chiefs, even if it was held in Paradise?”
Milt blinked. Doris’ voice had an edge to it. Gently he remarked, “I thought it might be fun. We might learn some new stuff that could be useful.” Doris’ expression was like that of a full sized poodle when it sees a tea-cup poodle from the first time: A curious amalgam of shock, fear and horrified fascination.
“Milt, don’t tell me you’re one of those cops who thinks forensic technology has made a science out of police work. Please tell me it ain’t so.”
“Don’t be silly. You know I don’t. I just think it never hurts to keep up on what’s going on.” He shrugged almost apologetically and added, “Besides, I’ve never been to Las Vegas and I’d like to see it some day.”
The wistful look he had didn’t go unnoticed. Doris sighed and shook her head. “Milt, if you want to go to Vegas, book us a flight and let’s go. But don’t ask me to go to a convention of police chiefs where the male/female ratio of chiefs is higher than twenty to one. I’d spend entirely too much of my time fending off fanny patters and put-down artists.”
Doris got up from their kitchen table and grabbed an empty coffee cup and poured herself one last cup before heading back to work at the station. As chief of police for the small, Oregon coast community of Toledo, she had found it a whole lot easier to run the station if she kept regular hours.
Milt didn’t have time for another cup. As chief of police for the neighboring town of Newport, he had an extra seven miles to drive before he’d be back at his own police station. “Well, it was just a thought. What with the new DNA testing, Internet and on-line police databases, we can save a lot of time in an investigation. Maybe even get to come home early once in a while.”
Doris drank about half of her coffee in one, throat stretching go. She really didn’t need the caffeine – stronger stimulants before an afternoon of frolicking police work were needed. Thank Glod. “Well, I think it’s a lot more efficient to know people. How they think – if ever – what they’re liable to do given an an opening more than a quarter inch wide.”
Milt, busy donning his jacket replied, “Well, yeah, that’s true. I can’t argue that at all. The trouble is, you can’t know everybody in a town, even as small as Toledo. There’s just too many people.”
Doris cocked her head. “Almost true enough. I know a lot of people in this town. In Newport, too. But when that fails, that’s when knowing how people think comes in handy.” As she drank the last of the coffee and dumped the cup in the sink, Milt headed toward the door – only to come up short when the phone rang. He turned to look at Doris as she answered, “Preston.”
“Doris, we got a situation,” came a crisp, business-like reply. Sounded like Mort of all people. She grabbed a pen and paper.
“What situation, Mort?”
Mort took a deep breath. “Domestic disturbance, with shots fired. In Alder lane …”
Doris swore softly, put the pen down and leaned against the drain board. “How long ago?” She didn’t need the address.
“Not more than five minutes.”
“Who’s on it?”
“Jimmy’s al – “
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