Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chapter 2: The Lieutenant, AKA The Loo

Daniel Naquin, known as Little Dan by his extended family, did indeed grow up in southern Louisiana. Or, more specifically, Eunice - a small city west of New Orleans. His grandparents spoke little English; his parents a mix of Cajun French and Anglais patois. He obtained the affectionate moniker of Little Dan because a first cousin, born 7 months before our hero, had also been named Daniel. By this fortuitous circumstance of birth first born Daniel became Big Dan, though shortened to just Big as he entered middle school.  

Our Little Dan quickly discovered books, especially books with a mystery at their core. By the age of 6 he was reading his father's Hardy Boys collection. At 9 he'd wheedled the first tools of crime scene inspection: magnifying glass, Swiss Army Knife, compass, notebook, sketch book, binoculars and a hand-me-down camera. All of this was kept in a scrupulously maintained knapsack with numerous pockets and sleeves. He gradually added zip-lock bags, chemicals, gloves - until his parents despaired of any plans of medical school. But their despair turned to optimism when he stated at age 12 that law school might be an acceptable career path. One Uncle Gaspard took our lad under his wings at age 14. Uncle G, to Little Dan’s delight, was a sergeant with the Eunice police force. A solid cop, he had too little ambition, and truth be known, too little brains, to ever get any further. 

Our lad was but 5'4" at 15, 5'5" at 17, but an unlooked for spurt pushed him to 5'9" when he began classes at LSU in Baton Rouge. He dove into a pre-law curriculum, mixed with forensic sciences, with much enthusiasm. He was a slim, wiry young man with thick dark hair, large green eyes and a small, upturned nose. The nose was a mystery to his family, who had a long and glorious tradition of proud schnozzes, a la Francais.

Finally able to shrug off the moniker Little Dan, our Daniel did quite well in school. He had none of the family exuberance, however. He was a reserved - ah, we'll call it like it was: he was very, very shy. Shy to the point that he remained a virgin until his junior year. One unexpected birthday party led to a number of unwanted shots, which resulted in a tumble and a roll in the hay. When he woke the next morning in a stranger's bed, he was mildly amused that his first experience had been with a very blond, very athletic man. Said man did his best to capture our reluctant hero's heart, but was never able to move past an arduously held reserve. His attempts to storm the castle walls lasted into their senior year. Alas, the walls held and the dexterous and athletic suitor moved on.

With no family tradition to follow, Daniel graduated from LSU Law in the top 10%. But his interest in criminology held true, and the Lafayette, Louisiana force welcomed him with some enthusiasm. We'll skip the next 3 years - a tale better told at a later time - landing us gently in San Francisco, where we resume a turbulent, but fortuitous, introduction to Sionn.

Chapter 3: Sionn's Assault on the Castle Gates

Lt. Naquin managed to harangue, harass - and attempted to intimidate Sionn - for 3 hours. Sionn just leaned back, with an amused smile playing across some very voluptuous lips, answering tersely, when at all.

"Are you going to keep this up through the dinner hour, Lt. Naquin? If so, I'll need to change our reservation." Leaning forward, clasping his hands, "Your stamina is admirable. I like a man with stamina."

The lieutenant stood abruptly, "I'll have your statement ready for your signature and you can still make your dinner."

"I still have hopes that it'll be our dinner, Lieutenant."

"Is hell freezing over, Mr. Mac Cearnaigh?"

"I do believe it is, sir. And you pronounced my name quite well."

Daniel turned abruptly, leaving the interview room with a vehement slam of the door. His partner stood outside, watching the exchange and openly laughing. "Get to ya, did he?" 

Turning red, "I don't get that man. He acts like it was nothing, those kids. It's all a big joke to him, the whole dinner thing . . . the flirting, the too cool, laid back attitude."

"While you were in there being mortified, I tried to get some intel on the guy."

"What do you mean - tried?"

"Just that, tried. I even called in a favor from a friend with the feds. Whoever he is, it's gonna take someone a whole lot higher in the chain to get it. Classified, classified and then classified some more. My friend said to forget it - he wasn't gonna risk his career. And somebody called the Cap. We are officially to stay away from this guy unless expressly given permission. And he says that ain't gonna happen."

Daniel looked at the man who was now waving, mouthing 'Hi'. "Arrogant bastard."

His partner watched the act unfold, "Why, padnuh, I do believe he's pushing all your buttons. That's a first for the iceman."

Daniel turned sharply to his partner, "Just what do you mean by that? And what's with the iceman thing?"

"Just sayin'. Everybody knows you don't date. And the way these ladies gossip . . . well, ya know."

An hour later Sionn stood outside the station, leaning back against a fire hydrant, arms crossed. He was positioned so that he could see his prey leave through either the front door, or the back, which led to the parking area. 20 minutes passed before a still scowling Lt. Naquin appeared. He watched him pat his pockets, as if searching, or checking that nothing had been forgotten. "Are you good at what you do, Lieutenant?"

Naquin's head jerked up, spotting the casual figure. "Are you stalking me, Mr. Mac Cearnaigh?"

"Stalking? Are you in need of a stalker? Do I fit the bill?" He took a step forward, "You're taking this case very . . . personal. Is it because they're children?"

"Are you really the heartless bastard you're trying so hard . . ."

"Daniel! I’m neither heartless nor a bastard. The dead stay with us . . . always. And these, too, will stay with me.”

“So what's with the dinner thing? Do you actually think I would want to go anywhere with you, under any circumstances? And if you're hoping for a quick lay . . ."

"Oooh. I know there's nothing easy or quick about you, Daniel Naquin. But back up a minute - aren't you even curious as to why your partner's peekyboo into my life was . . . unsuccessful?"

"Huh? What are you talking about."

"Don't try to pull off coy. It'll never work. And you'd make a terrible poker player."

"It's basic procedure, nothing more. Did you really think we wouldn't confirm your identity? You're a material witness . . ."

"Nope - I'm not a material witness. I was not at the crime scene, I saw no crime committed . . . except the possible crime of disturbing the scene, or transporting dead bodies. And you aren't sure that the woman you arrested actually had anything to do with the homicides." Shrugging, "Sure - on the face of it she was the one seen moving the bodies. That, and her obvious . . . disinterest . . . " Spreading his hands, "Actually, this is an interesting case. Could be a career maker for an ambitious copper."

"You're crass. I see enough crass every day - I don't need to add to . . ."

"Oh! You've pierced my heart! I've been called many things - but never crass. But, hey - I can work with that."

Daniel had been staring at this odd man in utter amazement. "I have better things to do than stand on the sidewalk sparring with an idiot stalker."

"Back to the stalker. Oy vey! And just what are those 'better things', Daniel?"

"Anything! Anything is better than spending any more time with you!"

Sionn nodded, "OK. Obviously your indignation is trumping your desire to solve the case. That's a shame . . . but . . ." At this he turned and began walking away.

Daniel stood transfixed as Sionn left. He hadn't expected such an easy, abrupt retreat. "Wait! What did you mean - about solving the case?" 

Sionn stopped, but didn't turn. Daniel muttered under his breath, "Fuck. Oh, fuck." Louder, "What are you holding back? If you know something . . ."

Sionn simply raised an arm and waved him on. "C'mon sport. Dinner waits. That's the price to be paid."

Still muttering, "Oh mother of god." A little too loudly, "If I find out that you've been withholding . . ."

Sionn smiled, "Nag, nag, nag. Is that how we're gonna be?  Drama drama drama?"

"We? There's not going to be any 'we'. I'm an officer of the law and you're a witness. That's it."


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