James Brant Takes On A Partner
A good forty-five minutes before the graveyard shift ended, James Brant eased into his chair at Sunnyvale Police Department (SPD) with a large Tim Hortons coffee and the Globe and Mail newspaper tucked under his arm. It was a routine he had addictively followed since becoming a member of police services many years before. The ‘dog watch’ as he referred to the shift provided quietude to fire up his brain cells before the day began. Also, it afforded a reluctant opportunity to break the ice with some of his fellow officers. He placed the newspaper on his desk. As an outsider on loan from a Toronto precinct, he was looked upon with distant suspicion largely because no one understood why he was there. And he had no intention of making them any the wiser. He yawned, stretched, and occasionally nodded to fellow officers between sips of coffee. Unless discussion related to a case he was working on, he rarely joined them in conversation. Small talk was an aversion of his for no other reason than he thought he was abysmal at it. He was sure he did not suffer from generalized social anxiety because he was comfortable in group settings and talking before crowds. The practicality of small talk did not escape him because he understood that avoiding it had the potential of cutting him off from meaningful interaction. And for a cop with his skills, that could be a bummer. That’s why he enjoyed teaming up with his sister Kenenstatsis. Not only was she smart, she was his complement.
An assortment of paperwork, single, stapled and clipped, cluttered his workspace. He gathered them in chronological order, most recent on top, and placed them aside. He put on his reading glasses and withdrew the forensic file on Gerald Stuart Mills from the top of a stack of folders at the corner of his desk and opened it.
“I see you finally got it.”
Startled, James swung round in his chair. “How long have you been hanging over my shoulder?”
“I only arrived. And contrary to what you think, I haven’t been hanging over your shoulder.” An awkward silence fell between them. After clearing his throat, he said, “My name’s Chris.” And, he extended his hand.
James hesitated momentarily before shaking it. “Pleased to meet you, Detective Frohbieter.”
“So, you already know my name?”
“I make it my business to know the names of everyone I work with.”