*File Incomplete~
Incident File Report: Iris
Incident # 856673
Date of Origin: Unknown

—–

It’s early, too early to be here. And cold. Leave it to Captain Rotty to arrange a sting in the heart of Trashland territory at 6AM in the damn morning.
Black and white cars are everywhere, a few haven’t bothered to turn off the revolving blue and red lights. Uniform grunts litter the outskirts of what they expect to become a crime scene. They glance at me, and there’s nothing welcoming or friendly about the looks they’re casting. I’m a cat, I’m female, and I’m a Private Investigator. Most cops are dogs, male dogs, and none too fond of investigators who don’t spend a majority their time hunkered down in the Precinct. Three strikes against me right off the bat.
I walk past them, hands stuffed in my jacket. In the right pocket, a small rectangular object rests against my knuckles. I sidle up next to the Captain, he’s looking through a pair of binoculars at the crumbling wreck of a building. He looks silly, especially considering the building’s only twenty feet away.
“That’s a building alright.”
“Yeah.” He grumbles, not looking at me. He’s got six uniforms with him, all members of his squad. They’re not like the other cops, everyone else calls them the Scraps. One’s missing two fingers, another’s only got one eye, one’s really short, etcetera, etcetera. Cruel as kindergarten. Like most misfits though, lumping them together created a tight-knit force you’d be stupid to mess with.
Unless you’re me, of course. Then you mess with the one guy who gave them a chance to shine, Captain Rotty. But I don’t have any choice in the matter:
He’s trying to kill me.
Captain Rotty’s a very large, very scary Rottweiler, hence the name. Rip a phonebook in half kind of guy, you know the type. On a scale of one to ten on the dislike-me-meter, he pulls a solid negative eleven, but this didn’t stop him from asking me to gather intel on the Trashland Pack.
“So here we are.” I say.
Nothing.
“You called me.”
“Yes.” He’s already getting annoyed.
“This morning.”
“Yes dammit! Are you going to help or just ask asinine questions?”
“Of course. I’m a detective, Captain, it’s what I do.”
He’s quiet, staring at the building, then, “This is your lead Detective, I think you should be the one to take point.”
He wasn’t wasting any time, and I’d given him enough small talk. “How much are they paying you?”
“35K a year plus pension. Real kick in the teeth.”
“Not the department,” I jut a thumb towards the building, “I mean Trashland.”
His facial expression doesn’t change but I can sense the rage in him, his scruff bristles.
“That,” his eyes narrow and find me, icy gray against his patchy black and brown fur. “is a serious accusation Detective.”
“It’s not serious, it’s correct.” Now the Scraps are glaring at me, their anger and indignation is palpable. It’s expected. Here I am, an outsider, hired by the Captain himself to help them nail the Trashland Pack and now I’m accusing him of-
Captain Rotty barks a humorless laugh. “So I’m on the take, Detective? You were the one who told me this is one of their safehouses.”
“It is.”
“Take point. I’ll forget your grievous mistake, as will my boys, once we have a few bodies in custody. Now as I said, your tip, you lead.”
“That would be stupid on my part, Captain. Are you saying they’re not expecting me to walk through that door?”
“Of course not!”
“I got it.” Bruno breaks the line and stalks forward, his good eye looking past me and at the building. “Out of the way puss.” He clears the distance and steps towards the door, and for a moment I start to question my assumption that there’s a shred of decency left in the Captain. Maybe he really was paid enough not to care if one of his Scraps gets blown to kingdom come. I glance at him, he’s chewing the inside of his cheek so hard it looks like he may chomp through it. But he doesn’t make any move to stop the kid.
“Wait!” I hear myself shout, sharp enough with warning to startle Buno into halting.
“Captain?” Confusion starts to overtake Bruno’s face as he backs away from the door.
“Don’t understand yet?” I reach into my jacket and pull out a small metal hook attached to a metal twine. A flick of the wrist and it spins out, snagging the rusted doorknob. They back up instinctively and I wait, fingers pinched on the end of the line. Captain Rotty’s expression is unreadable.
“Detective, I-”
I pull.
The door makes a sad sounding creak a moment before the explosion. It’s bright, loud, and concentrated, doesn’t spread further than ten feet from the door. But the hole left behind is wide and gaping, the edges still red from the heat. I can hear the whispers, they’re confused. My eyes find the Captain.
“That was meant for me.”
He recoils as if I’ve drawn a gun on him, but his muzzle is wrinkled back revealing a hint of teeth. He looks ready to bite my head off, literally. But I don’t care, I’ve got stuff to do, and this whole sordid affair is eating into my day. I was supposed to be home by now.
“You weren’t going to warn him about the door? Your own Scrap?” I ask.
“How did you know the door was rigged?!” He’s trying to turn it around on me. Cute.
“I know because you haven’t denied knowing.”
“I’m an officer of the law, detective! I don’t take bribes, I don’t put my men in danger!”
“And that’d be commendable, if you didn’t just try to kill me… and Bruno.” I start pacing, I like to make them think I need to do this. Some P.I’s do, bad habit. I don’t. I do it for show, because if they’re watching me, they have a harder time coming up with new lies.
“And what makes you think I’m trying to kill you?!” His voice is rising, booming to make sure everyone can hear him. “I brought you into this investigation, it’s not my fault you don’t know how to do your own damn job!”
I reach into my jacket again and hear six clicks. Six safeties being removed, six guns with live ammo aimed at me. They think I’m going to pull a weapon, the Captain hopes for it. Then they can shoot me, I’ll be dead, and no one has to know. I don’t pull my piece, but I do pull a weapon. It’s a small plastic rectangle, a single red light in the middle. Digital recorder. I can see something in the Captain’s eyes: recognition.
“You’ve seen this before, Captain?”
“It’s a tap, standard issue. What’s that got to do with-”
“Not standard issue. My own personal design, just housed in this case to make you think you knew its limits. Ten times the range, better reception, accessible by remote.”
I can count every tooth in his mouth right now. It’s been awhile since anyone’s given me a full on snarl. “One in your car. One in your house. And one tapping into your phone-all your phones. Even the one you think is hidden in sleeve of your jacket, the one your mistress Roxy calls you on. The one Trashland has been calling you on.”
“You’re full of it.”
He regrets letting that out immediately. My design also allows me to broadcast. I click the red button and suddenly he can hear himself, so can everyone else.

“Rotty. 30 seconds. Talk.”
“One Hundred Thousand, and you make Trashland a non-priority?”
“Let’s say you’ll be overlooked in favor of other interests within the same vein.”
“How?”
“The Detective. She found the safehouse like I planned. I call her in, she takes point, gets blown to bits, the investigation ends. You don’t use explosives, but I know a group who does. Terrible tragedy, losing an officer like that. But she’s a P.I, no one’s going to miss her.”
“Make it look good Mister Rotty.”

I click the button again.
“Sloppy.” I say, “Very sloppy.”
“You had no right to-!” He stops suddenly, indignant, puffing his chest out like a bird. His squad is looking at him. I know that look. It’s the one they usually reserve for me. But today, I’m not the one who was ready to let my own squad member get blown up for a payoff-he was.
“No,” I say, already thinking about the next case file sitting on the stack in my office, “I didn’t have a warrant to do what I did. And you probably can get any charges thrown out of court. But a judge isn’t the one you’re expecting to cover you the next time you run into a gunfight, they are.”
I toss the recorder to Bruno, then turn to leave. Captain Rotty’s eyes jilt side to side, unable to lock on any of his squad’s unbelieving stares. Cops may not get along with Private Detectives, but we all know where we stand. Protect the good ones, catch the bad guys.
And the Captain just proved himself to be a very, very bad guy.