Notes: For Fairestcat
"I really don't think this is a good idea," I told Johnny, yanking at my gloves. They never fitted right anyway, and when my hands were sweaty, they kept trying to slip off.
"It don't have to be a good idea, Jimmy," he said. "It just has to work. And it's gonna." Johnny's so sure of himself, it's a wonder the sun dares to shine on him without his say-so.
"That's easy for you to say." I dug around in my bag for the cutter, and set it on the glass. "Connie's gonna leave me for sure if I end up back in the joint."
"Technically, I think that would be you leaving her."
"Wouldja stop quibbling? Jeezus! I'm trying to work, here!" I wiggled the diamond till it clicked into place: it'd been loose ever since I dropped it during that last job in the Heights.
"Uh, Jimmy," said Johnny, sounding off-key, "that wasn't me."
"What?" I looked over. There was a strong clean-cut looking guy in a hat and a leather jacket, holding Johnny by his arm. Behind him stood a skinny guy wearing glasses and carrying a gun. "Shit!"
I dropped the cutter again. Shit!
The skinny guy took out a mobile phone and started muttering stuff into it without losing his aim. Johnny was gripping his crowbar like his fingers couldn't let go. I took two steps back before I realized there was nowhere to run to.
"Good evening, gentlemen," said the guy with the hat. "I'd like to introduce my partner, Detective Ray Vecchio, Chicago Police Department. If you'll be good enough to remove your face masks, he'll read you your rights shortly."
"Aw shit," I said again, looking around for some way outta here.
The cop snapped his phone shut and glared at me. My hands started sweating so hard, one of my gloves fell right off onto the ground. I pulled off my mask slowly.
"Hey," said Johnny, like he'd just had another one of his genius ideas, "what're you guys doing lurking down here in this alley, anyway? What, you're on guard duty for Mansions de Jewelry now? You don't have real crimes to stop, like rape and murder and shit?"
"It just so happens we're off-duty, wise guy, and I am not in the mood to play twenty questions, so drop the fucking crowbar and stop flapping your jaw." The cop sounded pissed about something, and I didn't think it was on account of us.
Johnny's crowbar fell to the ground with a clang.
"Their rights, Ray," said the hat guy calmly.
"Oh yeah." The cop started to Miranda us, but Johnny wasn't listening.
"So, what's your deal?" he asked the hat guy.
"Hey, I'm talking to you," said the cop. "Pay attention."
But the hat guy sorta straightened up his shoulders and answered anyway. "Ah, well, I work for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police," he said, like he had a plum in his mouth and a stick up his butt.
"Yeah, that explains the hat," said Johnny, nodding. "But you look kind of rumpled for a Mountie."
The cop took offence. "Who asked you, dirtbag? Listen to your fucking rights when I'm telling them to you."
"I'm just saying—it's kind of suspicious, you and your Mountie—"
"Constable Benton Fraser," said the hat guy.
"Right," said Johnny. "Thanks. You and the Constable here just happen to be lurking in this dark alley, not to mention how the Constable has slime on his back from the wall."
"And your shirts are untucked," I added helpfully, having noticed this a few minutes earlier.
The cop shifted his weight to one hip and gave us some fierce attitude. Man, he looked just like Connie when she's on the rag. "My shirt's always untucked."
"Yeah, I buy that," said Johnny, after a second. "But I bet his isn't. And your jeans are filthy."
The Mountie cleared his throat. "I really don't see how this line of enquiry is in any way pertinent to your arrest for breaking, entering, and attempted larceny."
Johnny shrugged easily. "It ain't." That's our Johnny. No way he'd give two guys a hard time for being homosexuals, even if they are cops. His brother's that way inclined himself, and Johnny's a family guy. He smiled. "It's just that I'm a student of human nature."
"Yeah, well, you'll have plenty of time to study that in the slammer," said the cop, and just then the cars turned up with their sirens wailing and their lights flashing like it was Christmas. If only.
As the other cops took us away, the Mountie waved goodbye. "It was a pleasure meeting you," he called after us.
"Don't say that, Fraser," said our cop, clear as a bell. "This is not a dinner dance." He checked his gun, then holstered it.
"The gentleman had an inquiring mind, Ray," the Mountie said. "That's a sad rarity these days."
Our cop stopped dead and looked at him, his hands rising in disbelief. Just before the guy in uniform shut the door on me, I heard our cop say, "You're a freak. Not to mention that you owe me." And he shoved the Mountie back into the dark of the alley.