false start (fiction)

Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #45

How To Join In:

  • Using the prompt, write a maximum of 500-ish words of fiction. (This can be a scene, flash fiction, some dialogue, a bit of description, etc.)
  • Link to this post in your post.
  • Add the tags ffwc, genre scribes, and the genre your post is in.
  • The deadline is 6 PM the following Friday.

Thank you to Susan for running this challenge!


FALSE START
by writersnark


You know how on TV, there are always those two detectives who are ‘ride or die’. They cry together, fight together, drink together – heck, do everything together. They’re family. They’re best friends. They’re freaking Riggs and Murtaugh, willing to go to the ends for each other.

It’s all bullshit.

My partner is a middle-aged man called Burt. He eats a comically insane amount of croissants (because he’s too good for donuts) and he’s not cool. At all. There are days when he stops short of uttering I’m getting too old for this shit and I wonder if the problem is me.

Perhaps I’m too wet around the ears. Too eager to run out in the streets, guns blazing while we knee slide across a plane of grass and take out all of the criminals. I’m one of the youngest detectives at the precinct and they’ve saddled me with Burt.

Clearly, it’s personal.

Someone higher up hates me.

“Hey, kid, we’ve got a witness in Interview Room 3.”

I grab my lukewarm coffee and join Burt, muttering about the fact that it’s yet another inane robbery case. Some old lady missing a vase or something like that. It’s the latest in a long line of cases that require minimal legwork and constant paperwork.

I was expecting pizzazz, explosions and all-around adrenaline.

Instead it’s been mind-numbingly boring, a far cry from the rampant crime I read about in the paper.

It finally occurs to me that accepting a job in a small town was probably never going to meet my expectations.

“We don’t have all day, kid,” Burt grumbles. It’s been two weeks and he’s yet to refer to me by name. I wonder if that’s just one of his idiosyncrasies, or a sign of how long I’ll be in the position.

I follow him to the interview room and I feel the last of my enthusiasm ebbing away when I see that our witness is the unfortunate pensioner. Her name is Nora Adams and she lives on her own in a sprawling five bedroom house, the crime scene of the aforementioned robbery.

“Mrs Adams, my name is Detective Burt Collins and this is my partner.”

Maybe he genuinely doesn’t know my name.

“Hi Mrs Adams, I’m Detective Edward Murphy. We just need to ask you a few questions.”

Nora raises an eyebrow. “Have you found my shit yet?”

“We’re still looking into it, Mrs Adams. Do you mind telling us what went missing?”

“I’ve been through this six times already, you still ain’t taken it in? I’ve had lazy tabby cats that move faster than this investigation.”

Burt’s lips upturn slightly and I begin to wonder if this is a set up.

“We just need to be clear on the facts so that we can help you in the best way that we can.”

“Whatever,” Nora says. “Like I told the other officers, I’m missing a photo album, some antique frames, some cash and a diamond necklace.”

“How much cash did they take?”

Nora pauses, head cocked to the side like she’s deep in thought. “Maybe five hundred dollars.”

I scribble down notes in my pocketbook, nodding to myself – these seem like standard items, although I’m curious about the diamond necklace.

“How much is the diamond necklace worth?”

“Three million.”

My head shoots up and I almost choke on my own tongue. “Dollars?”

“No, shekels,” Nora says, giving me a withering glance. “Yes, dollars. And it’s a family heirloom.”

After we’re done gathering information and Nora agrees to provide us with a picture of the necklace, Burt and I leave the interview room.

“How’s that for excitement, kid?” he says. “You get to track down a million dollar item.”

There’s a mocking tone in his voice and I realize that my thirst for a juicy case has been obvious from the start.

He probably thinks that I’m a novice who hasn’t seen anything yet.

I ignore the barb and ask, “Where should we start?”

Burt grabs a stack of folders from his desk and grins. “Not so fast, kid. We have more paperwork to do.”

“Are you doing this on purpose?” I snap, finally losing my cool after weeks of paperwork, black ink spreading on white paper while my brain loses its will to live.

Burt grins, his coffee stained teeth gleaming in the dim overhead light.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, kid.”


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