A Killing Night - By Jonathon King
Man, he loved that smile of hers. It was a killer.
He could see her using it from here, flashes of the white teeth that she swore she’d never bleached. The raised cheekbones in her profile every time she turned from the bar back to the register. He was too far away to see her brown eyes, but he knew their shine and the way they laughed when she smiled that smile. It was what had captured him, what made him know that this was the one, the girl who was going to save him this time.
He saw it again but he had to lean forward into the steering wheel to keep it in sight through the window as she swung back to her customer. The guy had parked himself right in front of the taps so he’d get to chat her up every time she poured a beer. When she tossed her hair back over her shoulder, he saw the smile again. That killer smile. His smile. So why the fuck was she giving it to this guy?
“Two-oh-four? Dispatch to two-oh-four.”
The radio squawked and without looking he reached over and turned the volume lower.
“Two-oh-four. Report of an assault from caller at four-twenty- four Northeast Ninth Avenue.”
Assault my ass, he thought. Some old lady trying to get us to run over to her place ’cause she heard a noise that’ll turn out to be the damn cat. You don’t get assaults in that neighborhood at one in the morning. Waste of time. He didn’t bother answering, even though he knew it wasn’t going away.
“Two-oh-four? What’s your location?”
“Shit,” he said out loud, snatching up the mike.
“This is two-oh-four,” he answered, monotone, no emotion in his voice.
“I’m in the two hundred block of South Park Road on that burglary call out. I need to check this alleyway and secure the premises.”
He could hear the exasperation in the dispatcher’s voice. But the hell with her.
“This is four-eighteen dispatch,” came another voice on the box. “I’m clear on the last call, I’ll take that assault.”
“Ten-four, four-eighteen. I’ve got you en route at oh-one- hundred hours.”
Good ol’ Roger, he thought. Always the hustler. Always coming through to build his numbers. He clipped the handset back on the dash and turned back to the bar. The first few pinprick spots of rain began to pepper his windshield and glistened like sugar in the high parking lot lights. She’d be on her shift another two hours. Then she’d do her cleanup for the girls on day shift even if he did try to convince her to leave it for them. Then maybe he’d find out what the hell she’d been talking about earlier with that fucking P.I.
He rolled down his window and took a deep draw of night air and the smell of rain in the breeze. He watched an old Camaro pass slowly through the parking lot and then pull a rolling stop through the stop sign onto Federal. Oughta light that guy up right now, he thought. Even if there isn’t any traffic. These punks who think they can break the law any damn time they feel like it. He watched the red glow of the Camaro’s taillights wink and then fade into the next block.
He turned back to the bar and she was still talking to the guy on the end stool and he could feel the heat rise into his ears and the twitch in his back that made him shift in his seat. The leather of his belt and holster creaked. He picked his personal cell phone up off the passenger seat and hit the speed dial and watched her turn to the bar phone as soon as he heard the ring in his ear.
“Kim’s, can I help you?”
“Only by getting off early,” he said, using his sweet voice.
“Hi, baby,” she answered, but turned away from the window, hiding the smile that was supposed to be his.
“You know I can’t, even if I want to. I’m on alone.”
He watched her turn and hold the mobile phone close to her cheek and then cup her elbow with her palm in a sort of self-hug. He liked the move.
“How’s it going out there tonight?” she asked. “Catch any bad guys?”
He knew she always wanted to hear the stories, take her away from the boring blather in front of her.
“Not much,” he said, not willing to take the effort to make anything up off the cuff. “Pretty quiet. Rain you know. Policeman’s best friend. How’s it in