B&R129: The Bullpen
by Dee Gilles
Disclaimer: For entertainment only
Benny & Ray 129
Daniel Briggs wasn't too happy about being sent down to the 27th. Not in the slightest. He now sat in his office, behind a beat-up old oak desk, reviewing boxes and boxes of case files. His door was firmly shut, blinds pulled. It was 8:15 and the first shift was long gone. Briggs tugged at the switch on his green banker's lamp, upping the light-level, and settled in.
He shuffled through some papers, and tried not to notice how many more files he had to go. Chief Silva had tried to spin a story about how much he was needed here, how good for his career this move was. Bullshit. It was a hell of a step-down, going from one of the nicest, most posh and high prestige precincts in the city to...this. This dump. In disgust, Briggs dropped the thick, dog-eared manila file back into the scuffed old box.
The thing was, Briggs was being punished. He just wasn't sure what for. The chief had it out for him. He knew how this game went because he had pulled the same thing on a lot of officers over the years. The chief wanted him out for sure, and he thought by sending him here, he was either going to force him to fail or to quit, thus not having to dirty his hands with firing him.
Well, he wasn't about to fail and he sure as hell wasn't going to quit.
Briggs, on day one, began systematically reviewing all open cases of all the detectives under his command--his bullpen; Franklin and Doyle, Fraser and Kowalski, and Pato and Dewey. Franklin and Doyle had the worst solve rate of the trio of detectives. Pato and Dewey's was only slightly better. Their direct report, Harding Welsh, was too soft on them, he surmised. Briggs couldn't believe how much he let these detectives slide. On the other hand, he couldn't find a single case that Fraser and Kowalski hadn't solved which was impossible. Briggs surmised it had everything to do with Fraser; Kowalski's record before he came on board at the 27 was spotty at best.
Fraser. Briggs had cringed when he realized his erstwhile mounted officer was at the 27; he had dearly hoped never to run into Benton Fraser again, given their prior history. But Fraser hadn't even batted an eyelash when they met again. He had smiled politely, even though he must have hated him, and asked how he had been.
Fraser looked the same, except maybe a touch more gray at the temples and a couple more pounds around the midsection. Briggs was surprised to have noticed, upon being reintroduced to Fraser on that first day, how red Fraser's lips were, how full the lower lip was, and the way it was turned slightly down. He wore a pale blue jacket that made his eyes look very blue.
Vecchio came to pick him up at the end of the shift, to take him home. Briggs had a partial view into Fraser's cubicle. Vecchio came into Fraser's cubicle carrying their little girl. Fraser took the kid from Vecchio and gave her a kiss, and then kissed Vecchio as well. Well, weren't they a happy little married couple, he thought. It made him sick to his stomach, watching the two of them be so...so gay out in the open, before God and everybody. They'd probably get home and do disgusting things to each other in the sack.
Briggs closed the file he had just skimmed without really absorbing anything. He tossed it aside, restlessly, and picked up another folder. This one was Fraser and Kowalski's. A home invasion case. He leafed through the tidy pages of notes and forms, rifled through the crime scene photos. Case closed in four days. A gas station hold-up, solved in thirty-six hours. A rape case suspect apprehended in three hours. All Fraser's. Briggs found himself seething in resentment.
Impatiently, he dropped the files in the box, and moved on to another. He skipped over the bulk of Pato and Dewey's, only skimmed Dewey and Franklin's. He concentrated on Fraser's...that's really whose work it was; every single report, every note, every word, was Fraser's and not Kowalski's. He skimmed his fingers over Fraser's tight, concise handwriting, the sensuous signature that signed off each report.
Briggs kept going until he was through another box. And another. And yet another. Briggs was startled to discover, upon glancing at the clock above the door, that it was ten fifteen. He roused himself. He'd better get a move on. He had a meeting with the Assistant Deputy Superintendent at seven a.m. to discuss the state of the precinct. Tiredly, he rubbed his grainy eyes.
He rose from his seat, and crossed to the locked file cabinet in the far corner of his office. He fished through his pockets for the keys, unlocked the drawer, and wrenched it open. He thumbed through the personnel files until he zeroed in on one Fraser, Robert Benton.
Captain Daniel Briggs stuffed the folder into his briefcase, locked up, and headed home.
End B&R129: The Bullpen by Dee Gilles
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