It appeared to be a fairly quiet morning when Harry arrived. His first stop was the lunchroom where he got a cup of coffee and tasted it - strong enough for the spoon to stand up in as usual, just the way he liked it. The second stop was his office. Budget restraints had meant cutbacks on the clerical side of things and the detectives now had to do most of their own paperwork. Needless to say, Harry was behind, and if he didn't do something about it the Chief would be on his back. He sighed as he sat down and pulled the top file folder from the pile in his desk drawer, preparing to tackle his least favourite part of the job.
Harry could talk up a storm and had a pretty good memory for the cases he worked on, but he detested having to put things on paper. Granted, the computer and printer meant that no one had to try to decipher his chicken scratches anymore, but his spelling and grammar weren't top notch either. He'd never been much of a scholar in that area. However, this had to be done because at the end of the week Harry was retiring.
"Just write it as if you were telling a story, Dad," his daughter had told him. "It's not a scholarly article." Easy for her to say. Moe was a high school English teacher. Christened Maureen, after her maternal grandmother, her brothers had shortened it to Moe when she started following them around as a young child and the name had stuck.
"Hey!" His partner, Bruce Parkins, paused in the open doorway. "I should be back in an hour, dental appointment."
Harry nodded. "No problem. We'll compare notes on some of these reports when you get back."
When Sharon, the receptionist, came in minutes later Harry was still staring blankly at the single unopened file on his desk, apparently lost in thought. She tapped lightly on the open door and he looked up, feeling a bit guilty to be caught day-dreaming on the job. "What's up?" he asked eagerly, hoping for an excuse to postpone the reports again.
"Mrs. Thorne said she has an unusual problem and she wants it investigated."
His excitement turned to disappointment. "Tell her I'm out of the office... tell her I'm busy catching up on paperwork... tell her... anything."
Sharon raised her eyebrows as she looked at his almost empty desk "Really? All of one file, huh? Must have been a real big one."
"Come on, Sharon, you know that woman gets under my skin."
"So? She's a very attractive woman."
"And very nosy..."
"Very community-minded and..."
"Yeah, maybe too much. She's always there, got her fingers – and her nose – into everything." He sighed. "Can't you get me out of this?"
"I'm afraid not."
"Then tell her I'll be there as soon as I can... I'll wait till Bruce gets back from the dentist." At least he wouldn't have to deal with her alone.
As she was leaving, Sharon paused in the doorway and looked back. "Coward," she said softly, with a hint of a smile on her face.