Before the Fall
Written by Saffron Bailey
First thing I gotta do is get you a name. None of this "Dear Diary" shit. I'm 32 years old and it's embarrassing enough my grandmoms got me a diary for my birthday. If you didn't have a
leather cover, I'd have thrown you out as soon as I got home. But, well, I suppose I better use some of these pages. Maybe some day a Meldrick junior (like I'm ever going to name someone else Meldrick - that's just cruel) will look through this thing, so I suppose I should keep the language clean and all.
The guys at work had fun. Crosetti got me a book about learning Chinese - he was pretty impressed at the Embassy the other month and thinks I should learn the whole language and freak out suspects. I told him he was being a salami brain - how may Chinese suspects we get in a year? Everyone else put in and got me
a gift certificate to a record store. Bayliss apologized later, said it was too impersonal to give a gift certificate, but that no one could
figure out what to get me. I don't mind, tho'. I like being a man of mystery.
We had a cake at work. A strawberry shortcake. Howard picked it out - she says that all guys like strawberry shortcake. Frank said he preferred key lime pie, Felton made some crack about Frank being a mutant male, Bayliss tried to come to his defense, but Munch ended up dissing them all. It was, then, a typical day
at the office. Except we got cake and Gee was smiling 'cuz he was happy, not because one of us was about to become shish-kebab.
See, I knew I'd come up with a name. Good one, too. A few weeks on my own at last. Crosetti's goin' on vacation. Probably a good thing - we've been kinda tense the past few weeks. At first, I figured it was just Steve being Steve. You know, depressed that he's fat, bald, divorced, alone, and completely unable to make
any headway on the Lincoln assassination. But then I started wondering if maybe I did something to piss him off. I don't notice
when I do that sometimes. Crosetti's usually pretty good about saying something, though. Real good if I was especially bad.
Maybe I'll hear something from Felton after Crosetti's been away for a few days. That's how the grapevine goes 'round here. Crosetti bitches to Gee in Italian in front of me, Gee says somethin' to Kay, who tells Beau, who will find the worst possible moment to tell me. Like in the shitter or someplace like that, where he's gonna leave me time to think about how I've been an idiot again.
Speaking of partners, tho, watching Frank and Bayliss is starting to be the official Homicide recreational activity. Even Bolander is getting into the game, and Stan don't usually do that. I think he just enjoys watching Frank not win. Sure, Frank wins all the arguments and he's right about the cases and stuff, but he
doesn't win the whole thing because Bayliss is still too damned... I dunno. Hopeful. Persistent. He's too damned Tim. Always
convinced that the world will be a better place tomorrow, no matter how many times Frank tells him it ain't great now, it's gonna be even less great tomorrow, and the sooner you deal with
it the better off you'll be in this job. But since Frank can't convince Bayliss otherwise, the Mighty Pembleton has struck out.
Are you really that dear? Is anybody? I mean, no one ever picks up the phone and says Dear Moms, do they?
Anyway. I'm getting the hang of this flying solo shit. I don't like it much - working with that salami brain still means doing half the
work - but I've figured out how to hit the witnesses, the crime scene, and piss off the M.E. without compromising the investigation. I'm gonna be damned quick once Crosetti gets
I left a message on Crosetti's machine. I wanna know if he's upset at me. I know it can't be too bad - he wouldn't have tried to give me his yo-yo if he was pissed off, and he always starts cursing at me in Italian if I've gone too far - but I wanna be starting on the right foot when he comes back. Left foot, actually.
Us southpaws gotta stick up for our rights. Lefts. Damn....
I'm gonna kill that salami brain. Crosetti was supposed to be back two days ago, on Monday. It's Wednesday night and the bastard hasn't called me back, called in to work, or spoken to
anyone. I even called Beatrice, which freaked her and her moms out. I told her I musta got Steve's return date wrong.
I am wiped. I've got a full load again this week, no more special treatment 'cuz I'm working solo. Crosetti's supposed to be here,
so I've got enough work for the both of us. He owes me bigtime.