Herschel: An Introspective

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Sometimes Herschel likes to list the things that make his life difficult. At the top of that list is trees.

He'd been born and raised in the city so trees weren't exactly an everyday part of his life. He's seen a few here and there and he has to admit to himself, he isn't impressed. All he really knows about trees is that they grow up big and strong from a tiny little seed, get chopped down by some burly bearded men, made into paper, then someone gets murdered and turned into a zombie, and all of that paper ends up on his desk, in triplicate.

Damn trees.

He sighs and reaches for his mug of coffee only to realize, with mild consternation, that it's empty. Empty mugs of coffee are also on his list, right below pain in the ass ex-partners. He seems to find himself cursing Dekker in perpetuity; her chronic lateness, her lack of decorum, her stubbornness, and most annoying of all, her ability to solve impossible cases between bouts of alcohol induced delirium. Sometimes he wonders if bourbon gives her a special insight that he somehow lacks.

The police station buzzes with activity as he makes his way to the break room in search of coffee, the life blood of the Hammett Guard Service. Every once in a while it occurs to him that if the city’s crime element really wanted to cripple the guards all they would have to do is cut off their supply of coffee. He’s not sure he’d be able to do this job without sucking from Saint Caffeine's sweet teat at least ten times a day. Of course when he gets to the break room all that’s left for him is a pot of viscous tar that’s been bubbling away on the burner for the better part of a century.

The key to a good cup of coffee, and consequently a bright and alert detective, is to grab the nearest low ranking person in the room and threaten him with patrol duty in the slums unless he runs to the cafe on the corner of 10th and Main and gets you a dark roast with two sugars and a splash of cream. To help this lowly peon understand how much cream constitutes a "splash", he marches him to the drunk-tank and points to the inebriate in cell four that happens to be one quarter dark elf. That’s the color his coffee should be. After watching the newbie high tail it out of the station he thanks the drunk in residence for being just the right amount of dark elf and pours him a cup of tar to sober him up.

Herschel returns to his desk to await his coffee. He can’t even begin to sort out the paperwork involved with murder and unlicensed zombification until that dark nectar is coursing through his veins.

Instead he wonders what Dekker's up to.

He imagines that about now she's probably dragging her rumpled, half drunk ass out of Sal's and is probably hunting down that street vendor that makes bacon sandwiches, the one that fries the bread in bacon fat and heaps on all the nice crispy bits that accumulate on the side of the grill. Somehow through the haze of her hangover, probably with food hanging from the corner of her mouth, an epiphany strikes her like a fist. In the pre-dawn light her greasy fingers fumble for her communication crystal as she scrambles to place a call...

It's at this point that Herschel's com-crystal begins to flash steadily, a luminescent blue that indicates Dekker's incoming call.

He grins.

It's like a fox hunt, you release the hounds and wait for them to start barking. There are days he feels bad for exploiting her tenacity and brilliance and there are other days he's perfectly fine with it. Today is a case of the latter. He taps the crystal while accepting his coffee from the hands of the breathless newbie.

"Mornin' Dekker..."

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