Wow how time flies! I've been organizing information so that I can get my new business up and running the second that I get the information and master the concepts. I'm really excited! Last week I was extremely upset over a door closing for me. I had been making quite a bit of money from an association with a particular business, but suddenly they decided that they wanted to completely control how I did business independently of them, right down to how I delivered the product. I was incensed. It was a clear violation of any type of business arrangement. So I am severing ties with them and now need a new way to make money. As I told you I am going to start writing resume's for people. I think of it as a new door through which to go. Considering my latest problems with other companies it will be nice to have my own independent company that moves product without ties to anyone else.
Anyway, I've also hit a bit of a writers block with Cali. I know where she's going and for the most part how she's going to get there, but I need to just let it flow. I'm deliberately blocking myself because I see just how big this book is going to be. Already it is larger than most of the Cali stories, in size alone and it is no where near even halfway through. For some reason I am having trouble letting it write itself. But... this is what I asked for isn't it? I wanted to challenge myself with something new. This is definitely new. So... here's my next chapter. You may have noticed that I am starting out slow so that I can build up to a crescendo. I'm hoping that it works.
Not long after leaving the garage, Tao received a phone call. When he was done speaking with whoever was on the other end of the line he turned to Cali. “We need to head over to the Sumner home.”
Cali pulled her foot from the gas and pulled the car over to the side of the road. “What? What’s happening?” Concern was clear in her voice, and her hand was resting on the emergency lights and sirens console.
“Relax, it’s nothing like that. I just got a call from the station. Copeland and Trapp have just called for a tow. Their at the Sumner home. The car started, but it won’t shift into gear.”
Cali sighed. “Okay, call Copeland. Tell her to stand by. We’re on our way.”
They arrived only moments after the department tow truck. Cali had the driver wait for a moment while she checked something on the car. She jotted down a note, thanked the driver for his time and walked towards Copeland and Trapp. Tao was already standing with them on the sidewalk.
Both of the newbies started talking as she approached. She held up her hand. “Relax, this is not your fault. I will deal with it.” She took a long cleansing breath. “Now, if there is nothing else?” She waited, they all shook their heads. “Good, then we can brief each other in the car.”
At the station they met up with Bryce and Lyn. Their project was complete and all they needed now was to add in the new information that the rest of the team had gathered. Then they put it up on the big television that was assigned to the squad. It all worked out very nicely.
“So, is that a television or a computer screen?” Cali asked after several minutes of staring at it.
Lyn and Bryce looked at Tao. He ignored them. Cali turned and looked directly at Bryce. “Uhh, it’s kind of both ma’am.”
“Right it’s linked in with our computer system.” Bryce was trying not to stutter.
“Can it show more than one thing at a time, like a split screen?”
“Uhh, I’m not sure.”
“Why are you not sure?” Before he could answer she turned to Lyn. “Do you know the answer?”
He looked at Bryce.
“Don’t look at him. He’s already told us that he doesn’t know the answer. Do you?” Cali didn’t sound angry, but she sure was scaring the hell out of the newbies.
Lyn finally answered. “I don’t ma’am.”
She nodded at one and then the other. “Okay, we know what it is, but we don’t know all that it does.” She looked up at it again, and then turned her full attention to all of them. She dropped her voice into teaching mode. At least she hoped it sounded like teaching mode. “This is a tool. It is new to all of us. But, it is a tool that we will need to get our jobs done.” They looked confused. “It’s like a gun. If we know what it is, but not how to use it, then it’s not much good to us. Is it?” She didn’t wait for an answer. But, the confusion cleared up. “Okay, Bryce and Lyn you did great work this afternoon with this model. I appreciate it, I really do. Now I need you to fool around with this thing and find out what it can really do. We all know that it can mimic your computer screen and play a Jets game. What else can it do? Anything?” She turned away and then quickly turned back. “Before you do all that, could you send that stuff to my email?” They nodded. No-one spoke.
Just then Lieutenant Little walked into the room. He smiled at Cali and then retracted the smile. “What’s wrong?”
“Oh, you and me LT, we got some talking to do.” She growled. “I got a bone to pick with you.” She glanced back towards her desk and turned back. “Make that two bones. Do you want to pick ‘em here or in your office.” To her amazement he was grinning like the Cheshire Cat.
“I’ll do my picking right here Sergeant Casey.” He watched her eyes get a suspicious look. Good, this should be amusing.
“Fine” She folded her arms in a defensive posture and started walking towards him. She didn’t want to air this bit of picking across the entire room. But, again to her surprise he closed the gap quickly and met her in her area.
“Let’s share this with your squad, shall we? It does affect them, right?” He was playing with her.
She could see the sparkle in his eyes now. She unfolded her arms and put her hands on her hips. “Fine, but don’t blame me when they realize just how big an ass you are.” Her voice had turned playful as well.
“So tell me, what’s your beef Sergeant?” He mimicked her stance.
“Well, first and probably most importantly, considering the weather, where’s my coffee maker?” She could feel the tension bubble burst behind her. “I was pretty specific. I want my coffee maker.”
“I had to order some. They should be here in a week.”
“Seriously, I only need one. I’m pretty sure that someone sells this damn machine in this area.”
“Oh, they do. But, they only had six left in stock. It seems the weather is prompting everyone to buy a new coffee machine.”
“I only need one. Where’s my coffee machine?” She was playing stubborn.
“I got everyone coffee machines. Do you really want to be the only one with a coffee machine in the building?” He could see the emphatic, yes, sitting on her tongue, but before she could say it he continued. “Everyone would be using it.” Her reply died, and she made a face. Yup, I was right, this is fun.
She growled deep in her throat. Fine, round one to Ray. She was nodding. “Okay fine, I’ll wait for my machine. But, I do have a second rather large bone to pick with you that might not be so easily bypassed. What the hell were you thinking assigning my people with that hunk of junk from 1989? Where the hell did you find it?”
He actually started laughing. “I had heard that they actually drove it off the lot. Holy shit! You have some brave people workingwith you Cali!” He laughed for a bit more, but other than smiles, no-one joined him. They didn’t get the joke. Cali told him as much. “Look, the guys upstairs they wanted an answer. You blew me off. So I got your attention.”
She knew exactly what he was talking about. New Detective’s cars. “You are an ass Ray.” She spoke with a smile and a shake of her head.
“So, what are you going to do about it? I can find more cars like that last one.”
“Oh, please no.” Mandi’s half whispered reaction was heard by all. It caused a round of chuckles.
“See Cali, your squad is already suffering. What are you going to do about it?”
“Actually, ever since you brought it up, I have been considering the options. This is what I’ve come up with. Give me a check for whatever the department was going to spend on cars for my squad. I will spend it my way and get them what I want them to have.” She was serious.
Ray caught the fact that the playfulness was gone. Cali meant what she said. “I’m not sure that I can do that. The money has to be paid to a dealership. It can’t go to an individual.”
Cali considered his words for a moment. “Okay, have them make it out to the Dodge dealership, and give it to me. I’ll use it to buy what I want. Oh, and make sure we have enough emergency units and grill lights for my cars.” She wasn’t giving away any more information. The idea was still young.
“They have to be grey.”
“Fine, they’ll be grey. Any special color grey?”
He shook his head. “Just grey.”
“Okay, in the meantime, while their cars are being delivered and properly equipped, I don’t want any more junk. Okay?”
“Okay” He was nodding.
“And by the way, it was kinda funny.” She leaned closer to him. “If you would have seen their faces…” She smiled. Her voice had been high enough for everyone to hear. She turned back to her squad and winked. She saw Ray start to head towards his office. Round two, to me. Now, for round three. “Oh yeah, do we have a soda machine on this floor?”
“You don’t drink soda Casey!” Ray said with a growl.
She giggled. “Who said it was for me Ray? Other Detectives drink soda.” The entire squad room could hear the conversation now. “I mean it’s not like I’m asking for our own break room up here or anything… right?”
Ray stopped and looked around at all the Detectives that were now thinking about a break room. Okay, so playing with Cali is a crap shoot. I won one out of three. That’s better than usual. “Right, I’ll look into it.” The break room of course.
Cali headed for her desk. Mandi stopped her. “Hey, thanks.”
“No problem. I’m sorry that it came to that. He offered me three new cars. But, I don’t like the cars that they get for the Detectives. They look like cop cars, and sometimes you need to not be seen.”
“So what are you going to get us? A car like yours?” Nathan asked. His earlier nervousness forgotten.
“No, my car is impractical for Detective work, a fact that has been brought to my attention several times in the past year. No, I have something better in mind. But, it will probably be at least a week before we can even have the cars here, then they will have to be fitted with the right equipment. In the meantime, I didn’t want you guys stuck with crap cars.”
There were no more questions, so she urged them to get back to work.
I didn't want to jump into some odd story line. Cali deserved to close out a chapter in her life without being rushed into something else. This is what I'm giving her, time to acclimate.
Live well and be good to each other.