After Nigel left, Chris Eversley called to see how I was doing and wanted to come over. I was tired but Chris and I were good friends and I hadn’t seen them since my disciplinary hearing. He was still busy working on the task force while I was slogging away at the new job. Chris and I were close friends as well as former partners. Wasn’t sure if it would ever go to the next level, but he was fun to be around. I got to wondering when Dan and meant about Nigel becoming one of his uncles. He always called Chris an uncle since he could talk. May be the kid thought Nigel could be that kind of friend too, although I doubt that begin Nigel was sent to go back to England after his assignment was over. There was something it about Nigel. I couldn’t get my head around. Was he merely here to learn Canadian policing policies and law enforcement procedures or was there something more? I brought myself out of my reverie enough to answer Chris “sure come over for coffee, we haven’t talked in a while.”
He arrived 20 minutes later. Sniffing the air, he said. “Smells great and hear what was for dinner?”
“Oh, I made a crockpot stew. There is some left. Have you eaten?”
“I have a snack around three but I could eat. I could eat seconds of your cooking and you know it.”
“Chris, my dear friend, let’s be honest. You could eat thirds and still have room for more.”
“You missed your calling Sherlock! You are a chef in cop’s clothing.” While I warmed him up a plate of my stew. He poured himself some coffee and settled at the kitchen table. “So tell me pal, how’s the new job going? Was your partner like?”
“I got paired up with a guy transferred over from the United Kingdom. Get this, his name is Nigel Holmes.
“Oh no, really Sherlock and Holmes? That’s just too funny! So what’s he like? Young, old, good looking or does he look like a goofy troll?”
“He looks like that English actor…Ricky…the one with zero tact or diplomacy. Nigel seems to suffer from the same fate. He swears a blue streak and makes derogatory comments about prostitutes and the negro population in the city. We were doing crowd control on our first day and called them a bunch of wogs. I thought there was going to be a riot.”
“Wow sounds like a real asshat!”
“Ya think? Today I found myself in an argument with him about female body parts. I threatened him with bodily harm if he even dreamed of saying the C word. Then when I think he couldn’t be a bigger jerk, he totally reversed a bad domestic situation to the point they needed a hotel room not a jail cell. There is something about Nigel I can’t figure out. Maybe this gruff tactless exterior is hiding some pain. Maybe he had something happen in England. I want to talk to Captain Taggart about this. I have a right to know as his partner. I need to feel safe and that he has my back don’t I?”
“Sure you do. Maybe there is a reason for his transfer. Have you thought of talking about this with Holmes?”
“Maybe after I talked to Taggart and I have a good idea about how to broach the subject with him. Maybe if we both later cards on the table. If I tell him about my trouble with the drug bust. Maybe he’ll open up to me about what happened with him over there. I feel another teambuilding experience coming up.”
Chris looked at me inquisitively. “What do you mean, another one?”
“Oh, I invited him over for dinner tonight. It was a spur of the moment thing. Nigel was going home to cold cardboard pizza and to study police procedures and bone up for his driver’s test. So far I’ve been doing all been driving. Anyway, he took me up on the offer. He and Daniel hit it off and talked about soccer. He left about 9 pm after I quizzed him.”
“Sherlock to the rescue. Once again. You saved the man from an empty stomach and a possible dental disaster. You should be deemed a hero!”
“Oh stop it Chris! On another note, have you had a chance to find any information on who tried to frame me? I have a few ideas myself. Want to hear them?”
“Sure, go ahead. I’m open to any and all ideas!” Chris responded.
“I think Paul had a lot to do with it. I had heard rumors that he wanted to go for his captain’s exam and one good bust would have given him an edge. What better edge than to uncover corruption in the force even if he had to manufacture it. He didn’t want me on the task force any way so I was a natural scapegoat.”
“Come to think of it that makes perfect sense Kristen. He has a heat on for women in responsible positions. Mommy must’ve spanked him do much as a child. Let me look into it but I want you to stay far away from this is possible. Don’t go sneaking around. He already hates you. And if he senses you’re on to him. Framing you isn’t the least of his worries. He could hurt you badly!”
“Fine okay. I don’t want anything to do with him either. Just keep me posted on what you find out. If I find out it’s him. I’m going to find a special place in hell for him to rest.”
“Sounds good to me. Listen, I’ve gotta bail. I have an early shift tomorrow. We’ re staking out a warehouse in the West End. Let’s barbecue on the weekend. I’ll bring steaks and you invite that nice chap you’re working with.”
“I’ll invite my brothers too. Dan hasn’t seen you in a while because of this task force business. It’s funny, he asked her Nigel was going to be one of his uncles like all my male friends are.”
Chris hugged me on the way out and I locked up. Put our coffee cups in the sink and headed off to bed myself. I really did need to talk to Taggart about Nigel. If we were going to be partners, he needed to be honest with me and I with him.
The next morning, I left after Dan went next door to his friend Sam’s place to play and where Sam’s mom would tutor them at some point in the day. Maria was an elementary school teacher and my best friend and her daughter Samantha was Dan’s bestie. He did not care one bit that she was a girl because she didn’t act girly. In fact, they spent time in the back yard and practiced boxing and martial arts. Both had yellow belts in judo and Sam was not afraid to kick Dan’s butt when the opportunity arose. Dan respected that. I got to work early so I could talk to Taggart about Holmes.
I knocked on his door and he said to come in and sit down. “Have you got a minute?”
“Sure, what’s on your mind Sherlock? Holmes hasn’t gotten himself into another jam has he?”
“No nothing like that, sir. He’s managed to stay under the radar so far and even played advice to the lovelorn and avoided having to arrest someone for assault with a deadly golf cleat but I do have some concerns about working with him. I really don’t think he’s here just to learn about Canadian policing is he?”
“So I take it you didn’t buy that story.”
“Maybe for about a minute, but that’s it. Please be honest about why he’s really here. I know why I’m here and I have a funny feeling something similar happened with Holmes back in England. Is he doing some sort of penance?”
“I tell you, but…”
“Right. I know you have to kill me! Do me a favor captain and cut the crap I wasn’t born yesterday.”
“May I remind you officer, I am still the captain here and you are my subordinate.”
“Yes sir, and I do appreciate that. However, just because I’m no longer carrying a de detective. badge or driving an unmarked that doesn’t mean my detective skills have gone away overnight.”
I get that Sherlock but I can’t divulge what’s in his file without his permission. He asked me the same thing about you and I told him it was your story to tell. What I am willing to do is mediate during a meeting but it’s up to you both to tell your own stories. Are we clear?”
I could only nod as I felt there was no way Holmes was ready to tell me what had happened at home. I tried another tack with the captain. “As partners we need to trust each other do we not?”
“Agreed but again I can only facilitate a meeting. If you volunteer your story first maybe he will feel more inclined to open up. I can tell you this, he is, like you, having a hard time adjusting to being back in uniform. He was under the impression he was being sent over here to improve his detective skills. The fact that he got her and found that he had been demoted to patrol officer really stung. I don’t suppose you can relate to that can you.
Ashamed, I shook my head and agreed to be the first to share my situation. “Can we have this meeting as soon as possible. He and I really need to lay out some ground rules about working together. I can’t be in charge of him watching his every move without him understanding that he can’t go off half-cocked and insinuate himself in an investigation. The British slang can take a break too. He nearly caused a riot the other day when he was walking around calling the people at Tuxedo court a bunch of wogs. We nearly got lynched! Can I not suggest some sensitivity training?”
“I can make that mandatory for him to continue on the job. I will ease into it, otherwise you may have a hostile working situation on your hands. I’m the one has to write reports on him and faxed him back to his former employer. If there is anything in the reports or reflects badly on officer Holmes, he might not have a job to go back to so it’s in his best interests to go along with what I recommend. If it comes from me, he might not resent you for it.”
I nodded at this. “So when is this meeting going to happen?”
“We’ll make time for it today. The sooner you guys get this worked out, the better your partnership is going to be. I hate headaches. Your headaches become my headaches.”
“Thank you sir for your consideration. Nigel is basically a good guy. He didn’t get where he was without the skills he has. He did a great job with that couple yesterday but he needs to follow instructions as I give them. You trusted me to supervise the man. I just want do a good job for both our sakes. And to be honest with you, I want out of this uniform and back to my old job at the detective. I’m willing to do before retorting for six months and regain the trust I may have lost.”
I stood up and we shook hands. “I better go get dressed before him late for roll call. See you in the squad room.”
After roll call, Capt. Taggart called both myself and Holmes aside. He spoke up. “It’s been a month since you started working together. I thought it was time we had a sit down to see how things are going. You’ll get paid for your time, don’t worry. Both of you are in a new situation different from the jobs you were doing before. I know it’s been a rough transition period, so I thought perhaps having a meeting would clear the air a bit.
We went to Taggart’s office and had a seat. Officer Holmes? You remember on your first day here that you wanted to know why you were being paired with officer Sherlock?”
Nigel nodded. “Yes, you said you couldn’t divulge that it was her story to tell. I haven’t pried into her business.”
I turned my partner and said. “Like Taggart said, we’ve had a month of working together and I think it’s time that I told you why I am now in uniform. I was working vice on a drugs enforcement Task Force undercover. One day on a stakeout, I was approached by two internal affairs officers and was asked open the trunk of my crown Victoria. I didn’t expect to find anything out of the ordinary. However, when I open the trunk, there was a cache of drugs including cocaine, ecstasy and crystal meth pills that had not there been there the night before when I turned my car in for the night. It was obvious to me that I had been set up. Unfortunately, I cannot prove that I did not obtain the drugs in question. They are at an impasse because they couldn’t prove I did. There was not enough evidence against me to fire me out right, but instead I would put on probation and demoted from Detective to patrol officer for a period of six months. This for me is purgatory. I thought you had a right to know. I have never been or will never be a dirty cop. You can count on that.”
Nigel turned me and put his hand on my shoulder. I know you have very high standard where policing is concerned. I’ve seen you in action. It shows in your work that you have been in a higher rank. But while I’ve been curious. I respected your silence. It was very brave of you to share this with me Kristen. I really respect that.”
I was nearly in tears, so all I could do was nod. “Thanks Nigel. Just know that if there’s anything you ever want to talk about tell me I’m willing to listen.”
Nigel looked down and thought to himself. Now’s a good time as any buddy. Now that you mention it. I have a secret of me own. Before I came here, I too was a detective. I worked homicide with the Manchester police. I was supposed to be protecting a witness in the serial killer case I was working on. I made one mistake by not maintaining a professional detachment. The witness and I became romantically involved. On the night I was supposed to be guarding her we were making love. I had to go home. In order to be ready for work. While I was gone. The serial killer had apparently been watching her house. He saw me leave and entered the house. I tried to reach her all day but when I got back to her apartment that night she had been dead for eight hours slashed like the rest of his victims. I lost a witness in the killer went free. I also lost the woman I love more than anything. The powers that be could easily have fired me out right, but they didn’t. Instead I was sent here as you say to do penance.”
In that instant I wanted to reach out and hug my partner, but I don’t think would be appropriate in Taggart’s office. We can talk about this more later. I said to him, if you want to. That is.”
“Sounds good to me Kristen thanks for listing and thanks for understanding. I’ve been holding it under me hat for a long time just waiting for the right time to tell you. I know I’ve been a pain in the back side. I’m going to try to curb the swearing and be more sensitive. All he would teach you some British slayings you better understand me.”
Taggart chose that time to clear his throat. “Before we all set to start singing Kum-bye-ah and chanting. I have one more request to make of officer Holmes. I think it best to take a seminar on sensitivity training. As you know, officer Sherlock in charge of mentoring you and she is noticed that you have used some politically incorrect phrases while dealing with the public. It does not sit well with me that you’re using British slang terminology in the presence of some of our cultural population. I want it to stop! I’m going to recommend counselling sessions for you in order to curb this tendency. If you do not comply, I have no choice but to terminate your contract with us and you be deported back to England. It’s a simple thing Holmes. Please take this opportunity.”
Holmes held up his hand. “No need to say anything further, sir. I know my people skills are lacking. Sometimes I have no filter on my mouth and it comes out of the most appropriate times. I deeply regret referring to the African American population of the bunch of wogs. Please do not fault officer Sherlock. It’s on me. I’d be more than happy to see a counsellor in order to curb the bad habit. Sherlock you have my permission to slap me upside they had by say anything more derogatory about anyone or anyone body parts for that matter.”
I chuckled and nodded. “I’ll be sure to remind you of that Nigel.”
I stood up and thanked Capt. Taggart for having the meeting and we would apprise him of the progress in our working relationship. We left his office and headed towards our squad car to begin our shift.