"If anyone asks, I'm not here."

"Bad day sir?" Kohn asked.
"You could say that."

Chief Alvarez closed the door to his office.

It had been a bad day. There were more reports on his desk than usual, but that wasn't the problem.

The Chief had some aggressive ideas about cleaning up the city. He had asked for funding for a new "crack down on crime" program he had in the works. He was going to set up sting operations of two types. He was going to bust small-time drug pushers and work his way up the chain, and he was going to bust big-time loan sharks and follow the money trail down. His plan was flawless, actually. He had gotten special permission from district, and they were reluctant to give him the money. They said that they were taking a big risk with him and that they expected to see results. They included that, as a result of failure Chief Alvarez and the program would be audited to ensure success in future endevours. The only thing that had convinced them was the outstanding speed with which he had cought the previous night's spree killer. They expected him to get off on an insanity plea, but if they can push attempted rape they may be able to get him life, or even death. Things had been looking up for Alvarez.

"Chief! The autopsy came back on that old man you wanted to know about, it was inconclusive, no difinitive cause of death found. There were a thousand things wrong that should have killed him, but nothing we can find that actually did."

It was all too often that you saw cases like this one. The neighbors said that they didn't even know anything was wrong until police started showing up. They had to use the ambulence for the landlady and call the coroner to pick up the body on site.

"Trouble is that he has no family and no life insurance. What he did have was a hell of a lot of insurance on that shop of his."
Alvarez didn't want to hear about the money.
"I'm busy, Walters, just put it in the report and have Linda check the books for extended family."
"You got it."

Alvarez had a lot of work to do. He wasn't sure whether or not he was planning to do it, however. It wouldn't save his job, it might not even keep him out of prison. He thought about some of the little things they would find when the investigation came underway. The marijuana that he's smuggled from the evidence room was hardly even a crime, it usually wasn't even worth the paperwork to prosecute something like that, but it would come up with internal affairs. They would find some porn on his computer, nothing major or illegal, that would make another smudge on his reputation.

"Go away!"
No one tried to talk to Alvarez when he was mad. It was his temper that kept the place going sometimes. Usually.
"There's a detective here to see you."
"Tell him I've gone home for the night."
The detective wouldn't go to his house, this was a routine audit. They wouldn't be setting up any roadblocks over it... yet.
"Tell me when he's left, okay?"
"What is going on Chief?"
"Bill Collectors."
"Having a rough time at home?"
"You could say that."

Alvarez had to get out of there.

"I'm going out on a patrol tonight, did you drive your squadcar to work today or do you have a ride home Kohn?"
"I can get a ride, she's all yours"
"Thanks Kohn."

Alvarez never said thank you.

He headed out back, even though he was sure that the detective was already gone. He hopped in car number four and cruised around downtown. He was just cruising, he really didn't plan on stopping anyone for anything short of murder. He was thinking to himself. Driving helped Alvarez calm down. He was thinking about how things had gotten this way.

He had asked for funding from district, and they'd given him some, but it wasn't nearly enough. Street gangs, thugs, and drug pushers were a real problem. It was affecting everyone and he had to do something about it right away. Alvarez had been a CPA before he decided that the job was not rewarding and he joined the force. He was a moralist, and could always quickly and easily decide what was right and what was wrong. Corporate and vocational ethics were too concrete. His record as an accountant was spotless, else he would never have gotten a job as an officer. When district denied most of his requests, Alvarez knew that he had to get that money somehow. He had been running a station long enough to know how things got done. He forged multiple requests for money. Requests that wouldn't be turned down. He smuggled several thousand dollars; enough for new survaillance equipment and some hazard bonuses for his officers. Enough to constitute a felony. Of course, Alvarez knew what he was doing. If his precinct made leaps in the next few weeks then no one would ever question the requests. The money would be clean, and the memory would fade into oblivion. He had a deadline, though. He was required to make his first arrest by the previous night. The spree killer was a good event, but it wasn't part of the plan; it didn't count. He had been watching a pair of thugs and drug peddlers, and a loan-shark for several weeks now. They had verified that the thugs had a single source for their paraphanelia, and this would certainly open up the underground drug trade if it were uncovered. The shark, Martin Burris II, was suspected of having affiliations with the same drug trade, but more importantly he was establishing the beginnings of a mafia in the city. The first arrest, and the subsequent interrogations were due to occur the night before. He had staked out the particular corner where the pushers had set up for over a month. He had even established an officer as a regular "customer." It couldn't fail.

They didn't show.

There was a real problem. Not only was Alvarez going to lose his job and go to prison, but his precinct would never again be granted any money, let alone the amount it would take to clean up the city. Alverez turned another corner, it was the unofficial red-light district. Due to lack of funding and space, officers were basically using the "catch and release" system with the prostitutes. Nothing was being changed. A few girls waved at him in his squad car as he passed. He was disgusted. The road ended in a "T" intersection, and straight ahead was the little two-room restaraunt out of which the loan shark ran his business. Alvarez took off his badge and set it on the dashboard, then he pressed the gas pedal to the floor.

He actually got up to eighty with what little stretch of road lay before him.