The computer screen blinked in time to the humming of the radiator in the corner of the closet-sized office space Detective Elaine Ramos had rented. Elaine’s office was a mess of papers and files sprawled across her floor and desk. Her hands covered her face and her frizzy, unkempt hair flailed around them, tickling each fingertip. A budget spreadsheet shown on the blinking screen, dotted with red numbers.
“Damn sexists.” She thought. “I’m just as good as any male detective out there.”
Suddenly the phone blared and Elaine threw herself back in surprise as if the phone were on fire. Her chair squeaked in relent almost toppling her over. She lunged for the dusty phone, sweaty hands slipping on the cool handle as she breathed “Detective Ramos”.
Soft breathing responded. “Hello?!” she barked. More breathing responded. “This better not be a prank again or so help me I’ll…”
“Hello?” squeaked a soft voice.
“Yes? Who is this?”
“Hi…m-my name is T-Tommy. Is this a detective?”
“Yeess.” Elaine responded tentatively. “This is Detective Ramos. What can I help you with?”
“Well…I kinda need your help. See…I lost my puppy but nobody will help me find him. Daddy says detectives help find stuff; so can you help me?”
Elaine rubbed her temple. “Look, kid, why don’t you ask your parents for help?”
“I did! But you see…umm…Sonny is technically not my puppy.” Elaine rolled her eyes. “See, he’s a stray. Mommy won’t let me keep him.”
Elaine sighed, “Look kid, I’m sorry about your puppy but I’m a professional. I don’t know if your daddy explained to you but as a professional I get paid to…”
“I can pay you! I’ve been saving my money! I can give you $500! Is that enough? I can meet you at the park by the Pizza Hut.”
“The one on 51st?” Elaine couldn’t believe she was even entertaining this.
“I think so. It’s by where I live. I live in a red building with a gold tree on it.”
“Oh Gold Pine apartments, I know that area. I don’t live far from there.” On the other side of the tracks Elaine thought sarcastically.
“So you’ll meet me?!” Tommy exclaimed.
“Yea kid…I’ll meet you. Give me 30 minutes.” Elaine was dumbfounded in herself.
“Okay thanks! Bye!” chirped Tommy.
Elaine hung up the phone and starred at its gleaming black handle. What was she thinking? She couldn’t do this. She wasn’t going. She turned to her computer and glared at the screen with its red taunting numbers. She could hear them mocking her. Before she could reason herself out of it, she grabbed her wool coat, leather gloves and walked out.
TO BE CONTINUED…