He greeted some of the officers as he made his way to the desk of a young woman. Massey placed a cup in front of her. She glanced first at the offered coffee and then to the person offering it. She jumped out of her seat and stood with her spine straight, her chair rolling away.
“Detective Massey!” she exclaimed.
“Easy there Officer Patterson! I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“I’m sorry, sir-” she stuttered. “I, uh, mean, Detective Massey. It won’t happen again.”
Massey broke out a wide grin, laughed wholeheartedly and earned a shy smile from Officer Betty Patterson.
“I suppose it’s better that than you shooting me on the spot because I startled you.” His smile faded slightly. “Do you have anything for me? I know I shouldn’t have asked it of you but…”
“No, sir. It wasn’t a bother, really.” She tilted her head to the side and focused on something in the clutter of her desk. “Actually, there was a call for you from a Colonel Burkins. He wanted to know when you were in, but I told him I didn’t know.” She picked up a pink sticky note and held it out to him. “He left you his number.”
Betty passed Massey the note with a name and telephone number scrawled on it.
“Did he mention what he wanted?”
Betty shook her head.
“Alright.” His warm smile returned. “Keep up the good work Officer Patterson.”
Massey walked into his office and threw his overcoat and blazer on a hanger. Burkins had no doubt called about Massey’s recent trip to Canada. Burkins was the perfunctory who issued Massey the appropriate paperwork, after he assured the Colonel that he was making an inquiry to the whereabouts of a dangerous criminal who had fled Seattle. It wasn’t precisely a lie, Massey thought. He had pursued Joaquin and Kristof into the wilderness, and he was thankful for the odd bit of luck that his car drove up the road at the exact same time Joaquin needed to be saved. Massey’s bosses had photos and video of the flumes of smoke and the heavy gunshots from that day. When everyone had a high-resolution camera and video capabilities on their smart phones, nothing was private anymore. He assumed he would be brought in for a debriefing pretty soon.
Massey dropped into his office chair’s familiar embrace, and decided that the shifting leather and creaking metal shouldn’t be the only sound in his office, so he turned on the old radio perched on the edge of his desk. It seemed to tune in more static than actual stations, but the one station it did receive faithfully was Q-Thirteen. They had their 80’s retro top twenty chart playing the most repetitious songs of the time. Massey wasn’t a fan, but he enjoyed a nostalgic trip like any other man did.
“You’re listening to Q-Thirteen’s Retro World of the 80’s Mega Chart. You tell us what you miss, and we play it for you on the spot! Call now or…”
Frank furrowed his eyebrows. He had heard the name Q-Thirteen somewhere. Sure, he listened to their station and watched their TV channel, but the name was oddly familiar from somewhere else. Somewhere important.
He walked back to Betty’s desk who diligently sorted papers and typed new information into profiles.
“Officer Patterson, do you recall something about Q-Thirteen?”
Betty looked up from her computer screen, fingers poised over the keyboard. “The news station?” she asked.
“Yeah, but not like that. Anything that you might have heard about it, maybe around here?”
She thought for a moment drumming the fingers on one hand absently on the home row of the keyboard. Massey hid his smile at the sight of Betty scrunching up her face while she thought. When she had it, her entire face lit up.
“Maybe a month or so ago there was this guy here. He actually asked about you. I only know that because I was standing right beside him.”
“To whom did this man speak?”
“Officer Wallas I believe.”
Massey thanked Betty and rushed through the precinct. He spotted the sandy blond haired officer propped against a file cabinet talking to his partner.
“Wallas,” Massey barked, “can I have a word?”
The younger officer nodded to his partner and followed Massey back to his office.
“Do you remember someone from Q-Thirteen coming by here to ask about me maybe a month ago?”
Wallas pondered the question for a moment and then snapped his fingers. “Yeah, some guy with a camera came in here looking to talk to someone about the robberies we were investigating at the time. He said he had more information, and mentioned something about that kid you were looking for, the one with the piercings.”
“Joaquin?” Frank’s heart thundered in his chest. No one at the precinct knew Joaquin was living with him. He was still a wanted criminal.
Wallas nodded and continued. “The same guy, yeah. I was about to call you, but then this Andy kid disappeared. I ran him through the system and the name “Andy Kitz” popped up for one charge of trespassing in 2014. He wasn’t working for Q-Thirteen either because we checked with them too.”
“Do you have his address?”
Felix nodded. “I can get it for you right away. Is his case reopened?”
“No, no. I’m just curious that’s all. Get me his file, will ya?”
Wallas nodded and left to retrieve the file.
Frank put his coat back on and just as he was about to leave, his phone buzzed. He answered it without looking at the caller ID. When the speaker was close to his ear, he heard Joaquin’s angry barks and Mister Jabbar’s curses. Massey scowled at the noise on the other end of the line. Wallas had returned waving a manila folder with the Seattle Police Department logo on the cover.
Frank grabbed the file from Wallas’ hand, sidestepped the bewildered man and rushed out of the department.