Dan popped two Advil and drank half of his coffee before coming up for air. Gary stared at him, amazed that Dan had even come in. Dan looked like a raccoon and his nose definitely didn’t look straight anymore. Dan kept silent, trying not to let the buzz of the fluorescent lights get through the dull pounding he was already feeling in the base of his skull. Bad enough the white light scared him when the elevators opened onto the precinct floor.
Gary gave Dan the are you going to come clean look, but Dan easily brushed it aside with the don’t even go there scowl. Gary ignored the scowl. “You can record your porn now you know instead of staying up late at night.”
“I wish it was that fun,” Dan hoarsely whispered back. “Stupid dreams with that crazy guy who bit me.”
“He really got under your skin, huh?” Gary asked.
“You are almost funny.” Dan sat on Gary’s desk, daring Gary to say something.
Gary took him up on the dare. “Maybe getting bit is a phobia of yours that you didn’t know about.”
“I doubt it,” Dan said. “Never had a problem before.”
“You’ve been bit that badly before?” Gary asked. He didn’t wait for an answer. “I was watching this show the other night about weird phobias. Anything could set it up, a bad day with a dog, being bit by your cousin. Hell almost any traumatic experience as a kid it could turn into a phobia.”
“I had a traumatic experience,” Dan said. “Much worse than getting bit, trust me.”
Gary’s eyes lit up. “Oh yeah, what happened.”
“I don’t want to think about it right now.” Everything about Dan screamed drop it.
Gary didn’t notice. “See, it’s that powerful you don’t want to even think about it. Talk about it. Confession can be a freeing experience.”
“Screw you and your confession.”
Gary feigned being slighted. “You kiss your mother with that mouth?”
“I kiss your mom with this mouth,” Dan replied. “Even slip her tongue.” He then proceeded to stick out his tongue and wag it back and forth.
That stopped Gary in his tracks. “That’s just wrong.”
“What can I say, she likes it.” Dan picked up the paper Gary had been reading.
“Fine, we’ll leave your personal problems till a future opportunity.” Gary pointed at the paper Dan was holding. “That’s what I was able to find after I did some poking around,” Gary said. “It looks like the investigation was legit. Of course they didn’t come to vice until we had brought their canary in.”
Dan gave the paper a once over and handed it back to Gary. “Doesn’t make sense. Pops could have clued us in. There’s something we’re missing.”
“I know that,” Gary said. “I’ve put out feelers over in Pops’ neck of the woods.” That got Dan to raise his eyebrows. “I had a couple of favors I could call in from cases where I was able to give some evidence over to show their client was innocent,” Gary said.
Dan almost choked on his coffee. “Bet that pissed off the prosecutors.”
“They didn’t know. It was off the books.”
Dan saluted Gary with his coffee. “Still, why the nice guy treatment?”
Gary shrugged. “We’re supposed to catch the bad guys.”
“And she was cute?” Dan asked.
“That’s none of your business,” Gary said. “Besides, when your back scratches you scratch it.”
Dan patted Gary on the shoulder. “That’s the Gary I know. Anything else?”
“Anything else?” Gary asked. “Am I the only person bringing anything to this party or is someone calling this ‘Pop case, party of one’?”
“I talked to your informant yesterday. It caused me more nightmares last night.” Dan suppressed a shudder.
“You look like a hangover, not a nightmare,” Gary observed.
Dan glared at Gary. “I have the twofer, thank you very much. I’m blaming both on your man.”
“Fine, you get brownie points.”
“Thank you,” Dan said.
Gary quickly countered. “But you’re buying lunch.”
“Kick a man while he’s down.”
“It’s been my experience it’s better to keep them down then to let them get back up,” Gary said with mischief in his eyes, “or at least that’s what my illustrious partner always tells me.”
“Flattery will get you nowhere,” Dan said, but he decided to concede, “except maybe lunch.”