As she reached for the telephone on her desk, Tony gestured with his hands for her to stop. “I don’t want to be on the news and record books as the first guy who got his ass locked up in a police cell for toasting a lady cop.” He paused, adjusted the collar of his shirt and continued, “I am here to see Detective Lawrence.”
“Do you have an appointment?” She demanded.
“Holy Moses!” Tony exclaimed. “Do I need an appointment to see Lawrence?”
Raising his voice, he said, “Listen up, Miss tough cop, I book appointments to see the President of the Republic not a small time cop like Lawrence. Now get off your tiny ass, and take me to his office.”
Without a word, she picked up the receiver and dialled a number. Larry and Paddy tried to say something, but Tony beckoned to them to remain quiet. They obeyed, remained quiet like trained police dogs. She spoke into the phone, said something about somebody being a nuisance. Five minutes later, a tough looking cop—probably in his early thirties—showed up. He was 1.74m tall with an athletic structure. Dressed in the usual black police uniform and wearing a king-sized frown on his face, his looks were enough to scare a ghost. He was about to say something, but when his eyes encountered Tony, his face lit up like a Christmas tree. He ran forward and embraced Tony, almost lifting him off his feet. The lady cop stared, mouth wide open, doubt and incredulity written all over her face. Larry and Paddy exchanged glances.
“What on earth are you doing here, T boy?” the cop inquired, a wide smile on his face.
“I came around to see Detective Lawrence,” Tony responded.
“Where have you been all these years?” The cop inquired in excitement.
“Here and there, you may say,” Tony said nonchalantly.
“I see. You look great, man,” the cop complimented.
“You can say that again. You don’t look too bad either. I see you’re still nurturing your passion for fitness,” Tony said, gazing at his broad chest and massive biceps. The guy looked too fit for words.
The cop, Michael Lake, had been Tony’s classmate way back at the Police Academy. The last time they had seen each other was at their graduation five years ago. Mike, as he was referred to in those days, had been posted to the Eliburg police station as an Inspector.
“So how are you doing, old boy?” Mike continued.
“I am good and you, man?” Tony responded.
“I am okay. It’s still the same old bullshit of making people act their age,” Mike remarked.
“I see,” Tony mumbled, smiling.
“I heard about the saga between you and Commissioner Eddy. I am sorry about that.”
“It’s okay. I guess I don’t have the right mind to fit into the system.”
Mike turned, looked at the lady cop, and said: “You were saying something about someone being a nuisance.”
She gave Tony a cold look but kept her mouth sealed. She returned her gaze on the fingernails she had been filing.
“I see you’ve been having one of your smart chats with my colleague,” said Mike, chucking.
He turned to the lady cop and said, “Forgive my friend; he is taking too long to grow up.”
The lady remained quiet, just kept looking at her fingernails. Mike turned to look at Larry and Paddy and asked, “Your friends?”
Tony introduced Larry and Paddy to Mike. They exchanged handshakes. Mike asked Larry and Paddy to take a seat in the waiting room then beckoned to Tony to follow him into his office. As they walked away from the reception, Tony quickly glanced at the lady cop and whispered, “Think about what I told you.”
After they were gone, the lady cop looked at Larry and Paddy and said, “I wonder how you put up with a companion like that.”
“He’s my good luck,” replied Larry.
Tony and Mike walked into the office. Mike sat on his desk and asked Tony to take a seat opposite the desk. Tony looked around. It was a decent looking office with sky-blue walls. Two massive framed photographs hung on the wall behind Mike’s seat. One was a photograph of the President of the Republic, and the other was a photograph of the Delegate General of the police force. There was a HP desktop computer towards the right corner of the mahogany desk. Beside it was a photo of Mike, his wife, and their 7-year-old son in the middle. A calendar and some white files lay well arranged on the desk as well. The tiled floor screamed of tidiness.
“I observe that you haven’t lost your clean touch,” said Tony with admiration.
“Same as you haven’t lost your flamboyant touch. Look at you man, you look stunning,” returned Mike.
Tony laughed and said, “I guess when the number of ladies demanding your phone number increases, you have to maintain your sense of looking good.”
“Don’t tell me you are still single?” Mike said in bewilderment.
“SSS,” Tony said, still laughing. “Single Seriously Searching.”
“You must be kidding me.”
“No, I am not.”
“Anyway, it’s your decision.”
“Do you care for coffee?”
Mike picked up the receiver from the brown telephone lying on his desk and ordered coffee for two.
Ten minutes later, a young man in his early twenties knocked and entered the office with a little tray. He placed a cup of coffee with a napkin in front of each man and left the office. Both men began sipping their coffee then Mike asked, “So, why do you want to see Lawrence?”