Novel 3: Act II, Chapter 3, Scene 2

TOC page here.

After being mostly stonewalled by Claire Longstreet about the mysterious Red, and not helped by her as to who Mario might really have been, our detectives leave the Peachtree-Pine shelter:

Back out in the warmth and low sun, there was Brown, at parade rest, standing right on the corner of the sidewalk, in front of the cruiser. Slaughter was nowhere to be seen. Brown caught them in the corner of his eye, pointed, gave them a thumbs-up.

“Oh, please,” said Diana under her breath.

Mustapha gave Brown what might have been a salute. “He thinks we’re on his side.”

“He thinks you’re on his side. Remind me to tell–”

“You drive,” he said. She caught the underhand toss of his keys. “Back to your car. Then let’s take some downtime. I’m getting too old for all-nighters.”

On the way downtown, she half-listened to Mustapha make his way through the Old Guy Phone Tree, and tried not to think about treating Mario’s death as an accident. Politics: she’d spent her entire childhood listening to her father grumble about it.

Her ears perked up when she heard Mustapha say, “Brown. Don’t know his first name.”

“Reggie,” said Diana.

“Reggie Brown. The sergeant who killed that poor guy in the white van last month. Yes. Listen, Lieutenant, I need you to do yourself a favor: are you still putting patrol teams outside Peachtree-Pine, making them do it by lottery? Good. Take Brown off the list. Because he shot a guy who was feeding homeless people, probably ones who live at the shelter? Yeah? Okay, how about one of them is going to complain to the media about it, and then APD is going to have a problem. I’m not trying to bust your balls; I’m just saying shit flows downhill.” After a few pleasantries, Mustapha rang off.

“That was beautifully argued,” said Diana. “Did it work?”

“Oh, she’s all right. That Snyder chick.”

“Well, she really wants to be a captain.” Diana yawned, not even bothering to cover her mouth. “Yep, it’s naptime. Oh, maybe I’ll go to yoga first. Yeah, right. If we’re going to conceal Mario’s death, we’re at least owed a whole day off.”

“I’ll call you if the story leaks.”

“So will everyone else.”

A brief scene, but one in which we continue the Reggie Brown plot, and we get another glimpse of how Mustapha and Diana work together. Notice that Diana has the Gen X sense of humor par excellence: she makes statements that are simultaneously meant to be viewed seriously and ironically. Mustapha has a typical cop’s gallows sense of humor.

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