Cole, Rusty, Sharon and Gordon gathered around Maude’s desk, reviewing the giant stack of reports she’d taken throughout the day.
“This guy thinks the Toilet Killer is an alien from outer space,” Cole said.
“Check this one out,” Rusty said as he read part of a report out loud. “The Toilet Killer is my mother-in-law and even if it is, you cops should feel free to pin it on her and put her away forever because that bitch is cray cray.”
“I can relate,” Cole said.
“I beg your pardon?” Sharon asked.
“Huh?” Cole said. “Nah, I was just saying, in general, most people could relate to that. I can’t, because your mother was great. A saint, really.”
Rusty coughed into his fist. “Cough, cough, pussy! Cough!”
Gordon read from a report in his hand. “The Toilet Killer is a hitman hired by the CIA.”
“Not impossible,” Rusty said. “Although personally, I still don’t think we’ve paid enough attention to the possibility that this might not all be the work of the Al Qaedas.”
“It’s not the Al Qaedas, Rusty,” Cole said.
“We don’t know it’s not, not the Al Qaedas,” Rusty said.
Sharon read from a report. “The Toilet Killer works for the Al Qaedas.”
“Rusty,” Cole said. “Did you submit an anonymous report?”
“How dare you impugn my character, sir?” Rusty asked.
Sharon kept reading. “You may think this is not the work of the Al Qaedas, but keep in mind we don’t know this is not, not the Al Qaedas.”
“This is ridiculous,” Gordon said. “Just a bunch of attention seeking crackpots.”
“Tell me about it,” Maude said as she returned to her crossword puzzle.
“Well,” Sharon said. “The trail’s cold and these are the only leads we have so we better…ow…”
Sharon grabbed her head.
Cole and Gordon rushed to Sharon’s side and asked, “Are you OK?” at the same time.
“I’m fine,” Sharon said. “Just, Gordon and I have been at this mess twenty-four hours straight now. My head’s pounding.”
“You should get some rest,” Gordon said.
“You um, want to crash at my place?” Cole asked.
Sharon hesitated. “Really?”
“Sure,” Cole said. “Why not? I’ll give you my key. You know where everything is.”
Rusty coughed into his hand again. “Cough! Pussy! Cough, cough!”
“No,” Sharon said. “That wouldn’t be right and besides, Gordon needs a rest too.”
“Not gonna lie,” Gordon said. “I could nap.”
“Come on,” Sharon said. “We’ll charge a room off to the FBI.”
“One with room service,” Gordon said. “I’m starving.”
“Wait,” Cole said. “You’re leaving?”
“You’ve got my number if anything happens,” Sharon said. “In the meantime, maybe you and Rusty could run down some of those leads. I’d stay and help but…I’m beat. Come on, Gordo.”
“Way ahead of you,” Gordon said.
The agents walked out of the door. Cole looked around. He’d been left with Rusty, Jeff the computer guy, and a few random agents and officers who were hustling about.
Rusty slapped Cole on the back. “You’re a better man than I am, my friend.”
“What?” Cole asked.
“I know I’d lose my cool if a musclebound jock like that made it clear he was going to plow my ex-wife right in front of me,” Rusty said.
“No one’s banging anyone in front of me,” Cole said.
“I know,” Rusty said. “But he was talking about it.”
“He was not,” Cole said. “No one’s banging anyone. They’re just co-workers.”
“Whatever you say,” Rusty said.
“I do say,” Cole said.
“Fine,” Rusty said. “And I sympathize. If a giant weightlifter was about to repeatedly jam a hog that was much bigger than mine into the only woman I’d ever loved, I’d try to deny it too. The mind has all sorts of mechanisms like that to keep us from flying off the handle.”
“He’s not…” Cole shook his head and sat down. “They’re not having sex. And how do you know his hog is bigger than mine?”
“I don’t have proof or anything,” Rusty said. “And I don’t believe that NN1 report about you having a micro dong but…”
Cole blew up. “Never speak of that report again!”
“Fine,” Rusty said. “But look at the dude. He’s totally built. Like Schwarzenegger in his prime. I’m not saying your hog is below average. I’m saying his there’s a strong likelihood that his hog is above average.”
Cole dropped his head down on Maude’s desk with a thud. “Maude?”
“Yes, dear?” Maude asked.
“Wanna settle this?” Cole asked.
Maude sighed. “You want the truth?”
“I guess so,” Cole said.
Maude reached her old hand out and stroked it through Cole’s hair. “That man has a giant hog and he’s minutes away from giving it to the love of your life. I’m sorry, dear.”
“It’s OK,” Cole said. “These things happen.”
Maude lit up a cigarette. “Coffee, dear?”
“Yes, please,” Cole replied.