Ellie walked with habitual confidence into the Harborton Police Department. She brandished a vegetable tray with light dressing in her otherwise empty hands. The department was still and quiet, as only a small-town police department on a Friday afternoon could be. There wasn’t anything going on, and that was why Ellie was here. A consultant who never gets consulted may as well be unemployed.
The only sound in the concrete building was the low hum of the air conditioning and the shuffle of paperwork caused by the single employee stationed at the reception desk. The only other soul was a girl sitting patiently on a long wooden bench by the door. She was using cheap crayons on one of the station’s coloring books, even though she looked old enough to find such things childish.
Ellie made her way over to Junior Detective Davis, who was manning the reception desk. The detective looked utterly bored with his lot for the day. Ellie leaned against the desk, setting the vegetables down in front of him, obscuring his view of the case he was looking over.
Davis looked up from the desk, and Ellie sifted through the thoughts that were drifting to the surface of his mind. Mostly he was daydreaming about a crime show he had seen recently. He was also reading over the exceptionally puzzling death which occurred last night. That was promising, the department called Ellie to help with difficult cases. In fact, she had come here today looking for work.
The junior detective smiled when he saw her, “Hello She-lock,” His smile died on his lips when he saw the vegetable tray. “You brought veggies,” he said, not bothering to hide his disappointment. “I was hoping you had brought some doughnuts.”
“Who brings doughnuts into a police station, Davis? That’s just cliché. Besides, didn’t your wife put you on a diet?”
“Well, yes… wait. How did you know about my diet?”
“You look like you’ve lost a few pounds.” Ellie lied. The truth was, she had listened in on his thoughts while he complained to himself about it.
She never told anyone about her abilities. It wouldn’t do for her biggest contract to know that her claims of exceptional deductive reasoning were a cover for her ability to read people’s minds. If the department were to find out how she discovered the clues to help solve their cases, she would be laughed right out of a job, regardless of the results.
Davis crunched on a carrot stick, pretending it was a doughnut, a very crunchy doughnut. He gave up and set the half-eaten snack off to the side. “I’ll bet you’re here looking for some work.”
“Wow, you’re good,” smirked Ellie. “You keep that up and you’ll make senior detective in no time.”
“At least I have a regular job, which is more than you have unless you call chasing down cheating husbands a regular job.”
“Ouch, touché,” said Ellie in mock pain. She knew that despite Davis’ jibes, he admired her. “So, are you going to fill me in on the murder from last night?”
Davis stared at her blankly and shuffled the folders out of sight. He wasn’t supposed to talk about it, but she knew how to get him gabbing.
“Look, you don’t have to say anything. The paperwork is all over your desk. What’s so bad about this case that has everybody in such a tizzy? It isn’t like you haven’t seen murder before.”