Chapter XXIX

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"All units, ten-thirty-seven, report of a suspicious vehicle parked outside of a laundromat at 123 Mason Street. Cellphone call from worried mother inside with two small children. She says she believes the vehicle's occupants might be wearing masks. She can't be sure and does not want to draw any more attention to herself," the radio squelched.

"Dispatch? This is Unit 42 responding. We're only a few blocks away," Officer Louisa Jiminez replied into the mic. "...we'll look into it."

"Ten-four, Unit 42, proceed with caution," the voice answered from a radio beneath the vehicle's dash.

"Will do," Jiminez said and then released the transmit button on the side of the handheld microphone. She glanced over at her partner as she hung the device back on its clip. "Let's keep the blue lights off, Bill."

The man grinned. "Alright, Lou, your call on this one. I'm about to retire anyways, you can do what you want, I don't care."

Louisa chuckled as she peered out of the squad car's window at the busy streets of Dallas, Texas zipping by. "You know I hate it when you use my nickname."

"Yeah, why do you think I do it?" Sergeant William Hicks replied. "I like to watch you squirm, girlie."

"Funny, you old chauvinist butthole, keep it up," the female officer said with a grin. "I tell you what, how about we go back out to the range this weekend so I can remind you who the better shot in this car is?"

"Nah, I'm good. Everyone on the force knows you're unbeatable," he said with a nod. Hey, I didn't mean to call you 'girlie', I just remember when you was this high, you know?" Bill said, lifting his hand to his chest. "Running around in pigtails at the barbeques...So, don't up and call H.R. on me, you know I'm only joshin' you. I can't afford to lose my pension."

Louisa laughed. "Hmmm, that is rather tempting."

"Ha ha, funny. What would your daddy say?"

"He'd say deal with it, Lou. Even though he's gone, I still got those six idiot brothers on the force. I'd never hear the end of it. I got thick skin, trust me."

"After graduating top of your class at the academy, no one doubts that."

"There ain't nothing you could ever say to me to make me do you wrong, anyways, Bill, you know that. You and Agnes are like family to me."

"Stop it, you're gonna make my mascara run," Bill said with a grin.

Louisa snickered. "Keep it up."

Alright, there's the vehicle in question," the sergeant said, his smile disappearing from his lips. He eased the patrol car into the parking lot and stopped behind the suspect vehicle. "Looks like it doesn't have a tag...damn it, gonna be one of those nights." 

"Yeah, these guys are definitely up to no good," Louisa added.

Bill threw the shifter into park and opened his door. He paused and the older man glanced over at his youthful partner. "Don't forget your purse."

Louisa rolled her eyes and grinned. "You are such a dick, Bill!" she said, sliding out of the patrol car.

The man frowned as he looked over at the vehicle sitting in the parking lot in front of the laundromat. He then panned his vision over toward the woman removing clothes from a large dryer visible in the dimly lit windows, noting a couple of kids hopping up and down in some plastic lawn chairs. Everything was just as the dispatcher had described. "Alright, I'll go around to the passenger side," he said, shooting Louisa a stern look. "Seriously, Jiminez, keep your eyes open, you hear me? Your pappy would never forgive me..."

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