Part 12: The Innocence of Dragons

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Jack and I stood on the porch of the farmhouse for a long moment after the old guy slammed the door in our faces.  Jack tugged his ear, as though embarrassed. “That went well.”

I laughed a little as we turned back toward his car.  To be fair, I wasn’t sure that seeing the pair of us standing in the doorway that I’d be very friendly either.  Neither of us looked much like police officers.  Of course, I wasn’t one, but Jack… well, actually, I had no idea what Jack was.

“Are you even a real cop?” I asked him.

The gravel crunched under our sneakers.  Cicadas buzzed in the heat.  Jack gave me a funny, crooked smile. “Are you asking if I’ve a license to kill?”

I shook my head at his suggestive eyebrow waggle.  “No, I mean, really, are a cop or a detective or what?” I was honestly curious, especially since I’d never seen Jack wear anything other than his usual Goth/nerd gear. “Did you take an oath to protect and serve Pierre? Do you even own a uniform?  Have you ever carried a gun?”

The door to the VW bug came open with a creak.  “Guns make me nervous.”

I opened my side.   Immediately, a wave of heat hit me in the face.  “You’re avoiding the question,” I noticed.  “Are you embarrassed?”

“A little,” Jack admitted finally, pulling a ring of keys form his pocket before sliding into the driver’s seat.  More charms than keys hung off the metal small ring.  Many of them were plastic characters with wide, anime eyes.  “I took some courses in police procedure at university, but never finished a degree.”

I cranked down the window, thinking about my own unfinished medical degree. “That makes two of us,” I said, since I could see the beginnings of a blush coloring the tips of his ears and I wanted him to know he wasn’t alone in his ‘fail.’

A soft smile graced Jack’s lips as he started up the engine. 

“Spenser better not lose his job,” I mused.  “He’s the only one of us actually qualified for anything.”

“Sad, isn’t it? Especially given that he graduated police academy in the 1930s or something like that,” Jack said casually.

The nineteen--what now? I fumbled with the hot buckle.  “Are you serious?  Wouldn’t that make him eighty?”

“At least,” Jack nodded, backing around onto the grass to get us pointed toward the highway again.  We bounced on the uneven ground.  “Could even have been earlier than that, I can’t rightly remember.  Point is, he’s been a copper a long time.”

“Longer than I’ve been alive,” I noted.

“Longer than both our lives combined,” Jack said.  Then, gave me a little, nervous glance, “I mean, I rather assume.”

“I’m not even thirty,” I said at his look.  “As long as you’re in the same range, your math is good.”

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