The Case of the Daylight Destruction

By Wordwitch

"Do it."


"Then we fail, and we get busted back to beat cop, which I ain't doing. Call him."

"You want him, you call him."

This was ridiculous. Burnmaster frowned narrowly at his pasty-faced teammate, the long lantern-shaped jaw fixed, the lank pale hair falling over his eyes.

"You drew lead on the case, you have to request outside help." Hanrahan shook his head, dandruff flying everywhere. Burnmaster stepped neatly out of the way, his reflexes a matter of long experience and practice.

"Look, we know what was stolen - six adult videos. We know the perp made calls to three 900 numbers. We know he - if it was a he, which frankly I don't doubt, considering - spent literally hours in the house, and that he was alone, and that he trashed everything. We know it was a senseless break-in. And we know that it probably will never get solved, right?"

Hanrahan nodded; they hated cases like this. Lots of trauma for the homeowner, and very few clues to say who. Why? Burnmaster was guessing teenager, himself. Which was reason enough, but damnit, it didn't get them any closer!

"Call Sandburg. The Fire Chief doesn't make a whole lotta demands on the PD, for which thank God, but it's his sister, and we have this chance - this one narrow little chance, and we gotta take it!"

Hanrahan tucked his chin further down, and Burnmaster sighed. Then a thought struck him, and a tiny, evil smile lifted the corner of his mouth.

"I dare you." Hanrahan flung his head up, appalled. Cody drifted closer, and across the room, Lackland lifted his head from his paperwork, grinning. Burnmaster raised his voice just a little. "I double dare you. I double-dog dare you, so there!"

"Dare him to what?" Lackland called.

"I dare Bart Hanrahan to go upstairs and ask Blair Sandburg -uh, Sandburg-Ellison, to help us on this break-in at Joyce Rathstrom's house."

Everyone in the office said "oooooooo," and fixed their eyes on Hanrahan. Cody was trying not to chortle.

"You," said Hanrahan quietly, "are an evil son of a bitch."

Lifting his brows, Burnmaster smirked, "Carve it on my memorial, you know they'll never find my body." And then he stepped over to his own desk and began pulling everything into order.

Hanrahan looked around at the delighted, expectant faces of the Burglary squad, sighed, and lifted himself out of his chair. Cheers and whistles followed him into the elevator.

He was back inside ten minutes, the hippie cop pacing beside him, hair back in some kind of ponytail. Hanrahan introduced him around - a formality, everyone in the place had been at the reception, but the invitation had been kind of general - and then led him over to Burnmaster's desk, where the paperwork was all laid out.

Sandburg-Ellison bent over the pictures and the statements, his thick eyebrows going up at a few things, and then he paged back through some of the earlier stuff.

"Says here that they had an egging a few months back."

Burnmaster nodded - Hanrahan was behind the hippie, trying to stay out of the way - and said, "They said they didn't report that at the time because they figured it was little kids." Sandburg-Ellison nodded sharply, and went to check the phone log again.

"Okay, it looks like a personal rite of passage thing. You're looking for a neighborhood teenager who was truant at school that day and whose parents or guardians, whatever, work second shift. Male. Bad with animals, but probably not the kind to kill cats or dogs."

"Just fish," Burnmaster muttered, disgusted. It had obviously taken some time to dump all that cat litter into the fish tank, and his personal recommendation, if asked, would be to toss the entire mess out, clay, guppie-corpses, and all.

"No car of his own. No social life whatsoever, no gang affiliation or anything, no after-school job. Doesn't buy or use drugs, probably doesn't buy or use alcohol. No less than 14, no older than 19. Probably, ummmm," and Sandburg-Ellison's face twisted a bit, "conflicted about his orientation. I mean, for a gay-bashing, this leaves a lot to be desired in terms of being on-message, you know? But the messages he's internalized are very clear. I'd say nor more than ...." and he checked the witness statement again, "a five-block radius, max, if you see when he probably entered the house."

Burnmaster sighed in relief, and smiled. The fingerprints hadn't been on record, but they could go house-to-house and find out how many boys fit the profile, and get their prints. What had been impossible had just been reduced to do-able.

"Thanks a lot, Detective. Oh, and by the way, congratulations."

Sandburg-Ellison beamed at him. "Thanks! You guys take care!" And, very minutely, he winked at Burnmaster.

As the elevator door closed behind him, Cody asked Hanrahan, "There! Was that so hard?"

Groaning, Hanrahan dropped into his chair. Burnmaster snickered.

Hanrahan would never live down that kiss.


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