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Friday Slide Show: The Waiting Game Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

28 August 2020

Detective Nessuno let his seatbelt fake retracting before reaching down to his left to lift the lever that locks in the angle of the driver seat back. He pushed back from his heels, reclining until only the tip of his nose was visible above the dash board.

Taking no chances, he rolled the window up despite the summer heat and locked the doors. If anyone saw him, they'd just assume he was taking a nap before starting his shift at the hospital.

They wouldn't realize they were looking at Nick Nessuno, who liked to sneer at his collars, "You just been Nicked, pal."

So he took what he referred to professionally as an "undercover" nap. It just happened to be the best way he'd found to wait for something to happen, too.

And something did happen. Half an hour into his idea of restorative justice, a car pulled up in front of him and someone in green scrubs joggged across the street and approached the driver. At almost the same time, a passenger exited the other side of the vehicle and slipped into the driver's seat of a parked car just a little further ahead.

Nessuno had no idea what was going on. Was it an exchange of some kind? Human trafficking?

He sniffled, risking discovery, but his allergies were giving him as much peace as the rising crime statistics in the city. Crime was a constant, a growth industry even. Even it's downs were ups. And if you couldn't find it in the street for a while, it would be in the White House. You could bank on it. And it would be in the banks, too.

A photo would prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was not, at the time, napping.

Suddenly he sneezed. Violently. But no one paid any attention. Not even a single, distant god-bless-you.

It did fleetingly occur to him that nothing might actually have happened. It could be that one hospital worker on a break had simply greeted a friend who had driven someone over to their parked car after having lunch together.

It could also have been a crime ring involved celebrity Democrats and the royal family. Any royal family. Pick one. And as for the crime, let your worst nightmare inform you. But sex crimes were always the most lurid. Especially if they involved pizza.

The trouble would be proving all this to the district attorney who was a stickler for facts. Facts. The detritus of the imagination, the litter of human ambition, the stuff that sticks to your sole like gum.

Detective Nick Nessuno was always looking for gum-shoe metaphors.

They made the inevitable paperwork more palatable to him. He hated typing. It wore down his pointing fingers, which he tried to alternate, using them even-handedly to make his points. When he had points.

Even better though, was taking photos. A photo would prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was not, at the time, napping.

Invaluable evidence, as the DA would say. Or was that incontrovertible evidence? He always mixed the two up.

So he photographed everything from slightly above his nose through the steering wheel, periscope style. Or, as a famous Alsatian chef would put it, the "stirring wheel." Because, you "steer" sauces and "stir" vehicles.

Nessuno was not Alsatian. But he was fond of cooking shows. They whetted his appetite. Eating, for him, was also a form of restorative justice, right up there with napping.

By virtue of our position as all-seeing author (who only naps in his official capacity on Saturday afternoons), we were able to acquire copies of Detective Nessuno's photographs.

They do provide incontrovertible evidence of a man who was bored silly and tried to frame everything around him into some sort of narrative, hoping each picture would be worth a thousand words so he wouldn't have to type as much in his report, saving his pointing fingers.

Or a man too bored to even get out of his car, walk over to the dumpster and discover the remains of the young gift shop cashier savagely butchered by a furloughed Republican speech writer the night before during a peaceful protest as our flag hung still in air heavy with the imponderable mysteries of ordinary life.

(OK, now go look at the slide show. -- Editor)


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