CHAPTER 4

fingerprinting one roll

Phoenix Police Headquarters
620 West Washington
Orientation Day

Strutting like a proud papa goose, Sergeant Hook smiled ear to ear as he led a line of fourteen wide-eyed young women down a second-floor hallway. Gone was Hook’s typical stiff demeanor, replaced by a jaunty, almost giddy, version of himself. As he neared a doorway marked “Information Bureau,” Hook brought the group to a halt.

“Gather round, ladies. Our first stop this morning is the—“

The approaching sound of heels clicking raucously on tile unnerved Hook, demanding his attention. His mile-wide grin contracted into a tight-lipped grimace as he craned his head around the group of new-hires, all of whom had also turned toward what sounded like a charging rhino in tap shoes. The source of the disturbance was soon revealed: A buxom platinum blonde—Catalina Jones—rounded a corner and burst into the hallway, running at full tilt toward the group.

“You’re late,” Hook said flatly, addressing the late-comer.

“I’m…sorry…really …sorry…” apologized Lina, between gasps.

Sizing her up, Hook’s smile returned. “I’ll forgive you this time, but don’t let it happen again,” he scolded…then winked.

Embarrassed, Catalina slunk to the very back of the queue.

Hook continued his spiel. “As I was saying, our first stop this morning is the Information Bureau, a.k.a., the I-Bureau, where you’ll be processed as new employees.” Hook paused to smile down upon the petite new-hire with pixie-styled hair and big brown eyes—Deirdre Schmidt—who stood before him. “You’ll be fingerprinted…” he continued, still ogling Deirdre, “…assigned a police employee number and have your official photo taken for your ID badge.”

Opening the entry door, Hook placed his hand on Deirdre’s slender shoulder and guided her forward, leaving the rest of the group to fall in behind. “Follow me!” he called out.

At the tail end of the queue, Catalina shuffled forward, bumping shoulders with a lithe strawberry blonde wearing dental braces. Both women made simultaneous apologies to one another, then broke into awkward giggles.

“I’m Lina,” offered Catalina.

“Faye.”

“Did I miss anything?” Lina asked.

“No. Just his drooling all over that poor girl in the front,” Faye replied, referring to Deirdre.

“Ewww!” Lina reacted.

Immediately ahead of Lina was a plump, older woman with limp brown hair and rumpled clothes. She turned to Lina. “Ewww! is right.”

Lina recognized the woman instantly. “Inga! You made it!”

“Yep, and so did you, I see. I knew you would!”

Both Inga and Lina turned to Faye, explaining, in unison, “We sat next to each other at the written exam.”

The three broke into laughter, earning a look of reproach from Hook.

“Keep up, ladies! Less talking, more moving!”

Inside the I-Bureau, the gaggle of women lined up along the wall, awaiting their turn to be fingerprinted.

“Marlette Fahlstrom!”

A shy redhead took a tentative step forward.

The ID tech, a bespectacled man of some years, summoned her closer and reached out. “Your right hand, please.” Marlette extended a stiff right hand as her left hand reflexively clutched the cross hanging from her neck. The tech struggled to roll her uncooperative fingers across the ink pad. Frustrated, he grabbed her wrist and shook her hand about to release the tension.

“Just relax your hand and let me do the work.” But to no avail; her fingers were manicured concrete digits which resisted the tech with every attempted roll.

“I can’t get a good print if you don’t loosen up. Just let your hand go limp.” After another couple of tries and increasingly stern reprimands of “Relax!” the tech finally got the prints he needed. “Well, that was easy,” he said, rolling his eyes, then handed Marlette a wet wipe to clean her fingers.

“Next!”

One by one, the women were printed. None of the remaining new-hires offered as much resistance as Marlette, much to the relief of the ID tech. Lina was the last to be printed, the ease of which delighted the tech.

“Now that’s what I call a relaxed hand. You’re the easiest one of all.”

A brawny woman with oily hair, bad skin, and horn-rimmed glasses sang out from the group, “She might be easy, but she’s not cheap!” The entire group cracked up, including the tech and Sergeant Hook, who especially enjoyed the off-color joke.

Lina turned beet red. “Thanks a lot…” she shot back at the woman, pausing because she didn’t remember her name.

“Agnes,” the woman fired back, smiling proudly at her ability to get a laugh at someone else’s expense.

A flustered Lina swiped defensively at her reddened face to wipe away an imaginary stray hair. Instantly, the group yelled out a collective, “Oh, no!” Lina drew away her hand, leaving behind smears of black ink all over her face. Realizing her blunder, she asked the group, “How bad is it?”

The group responded with more laughter.

“Oh, god!” cried Lina.

The ID tech handed her a wet wipe, “Use this.” but Lina’s attempts to clean her face with the cloth smeared the ink even more. Faye stepped out of the now-bellowing group and retrieved extra wipes from the counter. “Here, clean your hands off. I’ll get your face.” With that, Faye gently and meticulously wiped the ink from Lina’s face, all the while shielding her embarrassed colleague from the cruel laughter behind her.

The laughter and Lina’s embarrassment subsided as the group moved on to have their photos taken. Everyone except Agnes scrambled to pull from their purses the tools of primping—combs, lipstick, blush, powder—in a last-ditch effort to gussy up before it was their turn to smile for the camera.

 Lina (Is there still ink on my face?). Flash!

Faye (Don’t show my braces!). Flash!

Marlette. (Relax!) Flash!

Inga. Flash! Deirdre. Flash! Agnes. Flash!

Flash! Flash! Flash!

By noon, the processing was complete. Hook danced down the line of the department’s first ‘Com Op I’ outside hires, awarding each woman a shiny new clip-on ID badge.

“You must wear your badge on your person at all times while working. The four-digit number on your badge that starts with an “A” is your employee number. The ‘A’ designates you as a civilian employee—unlike officers’ badge numbers that do not start with an ‘A’. Memorize your ‘A-number’—burn it into your brain cells. It is, from this day forward, your new name.”

~ ~

Basement, Main breakroom

Chips and diet sodas in hand, Lina and Faye headed for a table far removed from the bank of vending machines where the other new-hires still mingled, chatting excitedly and comparing their new ID badge photos. Inga, too, broke from the vending machine crowd to join Lina and Faye at the far table.

“That sergeant gives me the creeps,” groaned Inga as she plopped into a chair.

Lina ripped open her bag of chips. “Sergeant Sleazy,” she joked.

The three laughed in agreement. Inga reached across the table to give Lina a high five, “Right on, sister.”

Faye took a sip from her can of Tab and nodded in the direction of the vending machines: “I feel sorry for that girl…”

“Deirdre?” Lina asked.

“Yeah, her.” Faye replied. “He can’t keep his eyes, or his hands, off her.”

Together, the three chimed, “Ewwww…”

Lina nudged Faye and looked across the room at Marlette, the shy redhead who was standing by her lonesome, looking like a social outcast. Faye and Inga’s eyes followed.

“How sad is that?” asked Lina.

Inga didn’t hesitate. “Hey, Marlette! Come sit with us!”

It was the invitation Marlette had been waiting—no, praying—for; she jumped at the offer. Inga kicked an empty chair out for her which she quickly sank into. “Thanks, Inga,” she said, then shyly, to Lina and Faye, “Hi.”

The four’s focus fell to their snacks and canned sodas, smacking and sipping together in newfound fellowship. Inga broke the silence: “Hey, guys. Get a load of Mizz Rambo over there,” tilting her head in the direction of Agnes. The four sat, bemused, as they watched Agnes aggressively query all the women mingling near the vending machines:

“What’s your number?” she demanded of each, snatching up the ID badges clipped to their blouses, scrutinizing them. With each ID badge inspected, Agnes’s smile grew increasingly smug. After she’d accosted everyone in her vicinity, she proclaimed:

“Looks like I’ve got the lowest A-number, which means I had the highest test score on the written exam!”

Lina, Faye, Inga, and Marlette glanced at one another’s badges.

“Who wants to tell her?” Faye asked.

“Not me,” Lina said.

Marley shook her head. “Me either.”

 A fearless Inga sprang to her feet and pointed a finger over Lina’s head. “This one has you beat—she’s got us all beat!”

Lina batted Inga’s finger away, ducking from the unwanted attention.

Across the room, Agnes’ head spun clear around, looking like a hideous, adult version of Regan, the little demon-possessed girl in The Exorcist. Her mouth hung agape, poised to spew chunky green vomit at any second. Agnes gave a condescending glare as she looked Lina up and down in disparaging assessment. “You?” she scoffed. “No way!”

Agnes’ insult left Lina speechless. Inga and Marley both flashed Agnes cold looks of condemnation.

“Oh my god! Did you really just say that?” asked Faye.

Suddenly self-conscious, a stammering Agnes struggled to defend herself. “Well, you’d never guess by, you know, looking at her,” she muttered, digging her hole even deeper.

BANG!

All eyes turned to the vending machines.

Bang! Bang! Bang! A distressed Deirdre pounded her delicate fist against one of the machines trying in vain to get the beast to relinquish her bag of corn chips. But the bag refused to drop. “Damn. That was my last quarter,” she whimpered.

It was the escape Agnes desperately needed. Stomping over to the machine, she muscled Deirdre aside. “Let me.” Chest puffed out, Agnes commenced to pound both fists against the machine.

But the chips didn’t budge, not even a nanometer, adding to Agnes’ embarrassment. “Fucker!” More determined than ever, Agnes body-slammed the machine, much to the horror of everyone in the room, including Sergeant Hook, who’d just appeared in the doorway.

Still, the chips didn’t budge.

Agnes again threw herself at the machine, “Mother fucker!”

Deirdre tried to assuage Agnes: “No, really, it’s all right. I didn’t need the calories anyway.”

But Agnes persisted. “I’ve almost got it!” She pulled back a fist, cocked and loaded, ready to pound the machine senseless.

Sergeant Hook rushed in to intervene “Step aside, please.”

Begrudgingly, Agnes obeyed. She dropped her fist and shrank back a few steps, looking indignant and defeated. The collective cheers that arose as Hook heroically unlocked the machine’s face panel were salt in the wounds of Agnes’ over-inflated ego.

A triumphant and jubilant Hook offered the bag of chips to Deirdre.

“Thanks,” Deirdre offered in return, inwardly mortified by the spectacle her bag of chips had caused. She reached for the chips only to have Hook yank the bag away.

“You’ve gotta be faster than that,” teased Hook. Deirdre laughed, nervously. After an awkward and freakishly long second, Hook handed over the chips. “There you go,” he said, giving her a creepy smile.

Not to be forgotten, Agnes pushed forward: “I almost had it.”

Hook’s smile evaporated as he dryly addressed Agnes: “Try not to destroy City property on your first day.” Turning back to Deirdre, he slipped a possessive hand around her tiny waist and moved her toward the door, calling back to all the others, “Lunchbreak’s over, ladies! Follow me!”

~ ~

Officially, the Emergency Command Center Conference Room, located in the basement of police headquarters, served as a centralized communications hub to be deployed in the event of a community emergency or disaster. Unofficially, the normally empty space was occasionally commandeered to host employee blood drives and training sessions for police staff.  For the first-ever Com Op I classroom academy, the cavernous room had been set up with four, eight-foot-long, folding banquet tables arranged in a “U” shape, with four chairs per table. In front of each chair was a stack of three vinyl binders, a soft-bound manual. and a blue, plastic zippered pouch.

In the middle of the “U,” Sergeant Hook paced anxiously, eagerly waiting for the new-hires to settle into their seats, as they all tried their best to avoid sitting next to Agnes.

Seated behind Hook were two other classroom instructors: Martha Lee, a civilian I-Bureau escapee with an overbite and frizzy brown hair, and Officer Darwin “Boomer” Lee, the bulky grouch with the famously empty ball sack.

Hook’s eagerness to get started was brimming over. The ear-to-ear, silly grin was back as he shifted his weight restlessly from foot to foot. Hands raised to his chest, fingers splayed and flittering against each other—the anticipation was very nearly more than he could stand.

Behind him, Martha leaned over and whispered into Boomer’s ear, “Who is that, and what have they done our mean little bastard, Sergeant Hook?”

Hook could wait no longer. “You all know who I am. I’m the first-shift duty sergeant in charge of the complaint section. I’ll be leading your training which will consist of a combination of classroom time, here, and on-the-job training, in the phone room. Starting tomorrow, you’ll spend your mornings here in the classroom and your afternoons on the phones. Classroom time will last for the next two weeks. For the on-the-job training, you’ll each be paired with a complaint officer. Weeks one and two, you’ll just be listening in; weeks three and four, you’ll be handling the calls yourself, but will still have your training officer sitting with you, listening in on your calls. At the end of four weeks, you should be ready to solo but you will still be closely monitored through week twelve. After week twelve, you’ll either pass your probation…or you won’t. For those of you who do, you’ll at that time receive your permanent shift assignments. Any questions?”

Hook paused, awaiting questions from the wide-eyed group of women. There were none.  “Okay, then,” he began again, turning briefly to the two sitting behind him. “Assisting me with your classroom training are Martha Lee and Officer Boomer Lee, and no, they’re not related.”

Martha and Boomer looked at one another in feigned surprise, then vigorously shook their heads in unison.

“Martha was a lateral transfer from the I-Bureau six months ago as part of our trial program for phasing officers back into the field where they’re more needed and replacing them with civilian Communication Operators. Martha’s been with the department for going on ten years, so she’s very knowledgeable in police procedure and protocol. Officer Lee has fifteen years on the force and—how long have you been working the phones now, Boomer?”

“Four years,” snapped Boomer, “Four very long years.”

Laughter.

“Has it really been that long since your accident?” Hook asked.

“Time flies when you’re having fun,” said Boomer, dripping with cynicism.

More laughter.

“So now you know who we are. How about you tell us a little about yourselves. Starting with—” Hook spun around and pointed a finger at Deirdre, “You!”

Across the “U” from Deirdre, Faye slid her hand under the table and poked a teasing finger into Lina’s thigh. Lina whispered to her, in response, “Ewww,” Both bit their lips to conceal their shared amusement over Hook’s transparent lechery.

Meanwhile, Deirdre, who’d been caught off guard, hemmed and hawed. Finally, she managed a coherent sentence, “I, um, just moved here from Arkansas.”

“And…” Hook said, prompting her for more.

“And…I was a first-grade teacher there.”

“And…” Hook prompted, again.

“And…I have a son, Tad, who’s five.”

“Oh, so you’re married,” Hook asked, his disappointment apparent.

“Not exactly. We’re separated,” Deirdre mustered.

“Oh!” Hook exclaimed, his face lighting up. Then immediately added, “I’m sorry to hear that…”

“No apology necessary.”

“Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?”

“No, I can’t think of anything.”

“How about—oh, I don’t know—your name?”

“Oh! Sorry. Yes, my name’s Deirdre Schmidt, but I prefer Dee.”

“Welcome, Dee.” Hook’s eyes lingered uncomfortably long on her before he pointed to the reserved redhead sitting next to her. “Next?”

“Me?”

“Yes,” Hook laughed, “You.”

“I’m Marley Fahlstrom,” she said, barely audible.

“Speak up so we can all hear you.”

Marley cleared her throat and began anew: “My name’s Marley Fahlstrom and—”

“Marley? That’s an unusual name for a girl.”

“It’s short for Marlette.”

“Ah, okay. Continue…”

“Before coming here, I worked for Maricopa County Animal and Rabies Control.”

“The dog pound?”

“Well, yes, but I prefer to call it the animal shelter. ‘Dog pound’ is a bit passé.”

“Passé, is it?” Hook, taken aback by Marlette’s correction, harrumphed: “Excuse me, I stand corrected.” Hook turned away from Marley and joked to the others, “Ouch, watch out for the quiet ones.” He waited a beat for the group to laugh along with him but was met with only polite silence. “Okay, then, who’s next?” he asked, quickly scanning the women before deciding who to call upon next. Hook’s gaze skipped over Agnes and Inga then suddenly stopped. He pointed to Faye:

“How about you?” he asked, drooling with anticipation.

 “Hi…” Faye began, but stopped herself to swallow a giggle.

Under the table, Lina was poking at Faye’s thigh repeatedly. Faye grabbed Lina’s finger to stop it, then started her introduction again. “My name’s Faye Talbot. I was a clerk at the traffic court.”

“The traffic court! Oh my, I’ve heard they throw some pretty wild parties over there.”

“I wouldn’t know,” Faye defensively countered. To deflect Hook’s insinuation, she abruptly turned to Lina: “Your turn!”

Lina, upended by the sudden shift of Hook’s attention, laughed aloud.

Hook’s eyes widened with approval. “Yes, Lina, tell us all about yourself.”

Lina tried to compose herself as Faye elbowed her in the ribs. Lina elbowed back and the two began to giggle at the inside joke they were sharing. Finally, she managed to squeak out her name between giggles. “Catalina…Jones…I go by…‘Lina’.”

“Anything else?” Hook asked with a hint of confusion, addled by Lina and Faye’s inexplicable laughter.

“No. That’s it,” she said, fending off another of Faye’s elbows. By now the rest of the new-hires were grasping the inside joke, and that joke was Hook. Snickering began to spread, like wildfire, among them. Hook sensed he was losing control of the group, but forged on, regardless.

“Surely there’s more. Where did you work before?”

“Nowhere. I just graduated in June. This is my first job.”

“Congratulations. What college did you graduate from?”

“College? I just finished high school!”

Hook’s eyes bulged with delight. “High school! How old are you?”

“Eighteen.”

“Eighteen!” Hook shouted, clapping his hands together and raising them aloft, as if thanking God for answering his most fervent of prayers. The snickers among the group exploded into outright howls, the gist of which was utterly lost on Hook. Behind him, Officer Boomer Lee buried his face in his hands while Martha Lee, eyes squeezed shut, slowly shook her head.

An epiphany suddenly hit Hook full force. He waved a finger at Lina: “Wait a minute! Catalina Jones? Aren’t you related Sergeant Gross?”

Catalina sat upright, instantly composed. “Yes, Wade’s married to my sister, Kerri.”

“And that would mean your father is—”

“Yes, it would,” Lina snapped, and immediately turned to the woman next to her. “Your turn.”

It just so happened the woman next to her was the one woman no one else wanted to sit by, and the one woman who just couldn’t wait to tell everyone about herself.

“Agnes Dowdy. Mom’s a dispatcher here, and I’m a reserve deputy with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.” She grabbed the soft-bound booklet from the materials in front of her—Arizona Revised Statutes—and gave it a hard, emphatic shake. “And I already know this shit frontwards and backwards, cover to cover.”

Lina and Faye exchanged looks and a subtle roll of the eyes.

Hook’s stiff and humorless demeanor returned as he addressed Agnes.

“Well, good for you,” he deadpanned, then addressed the whole of the group: “For those of you who don’t already know, a reserve deputy is a volunteer, non-compensated peace officer.”

“I might not get paid, but I have full police powers,” Agnes asserted.

“That you most certainly do,” Hook said, with a hint of dismay. Looking back to Lina, Hook added, “So you and Agnes have something in common. Right, Lina?”

Lina clamped her mouth shut, refusing to play along.

“What do you mean?” asked Agnes, with a tone that questioned how she could possibly have anything in common with a giggly blonde bimbo.

“Lina’s father is Army Jones,” said Hook, revealing Lina’s secret.

“Are you fucking kidding me?!” Agnes screamed.

Lina recoiled away from Agnes to avoid the spray of her spit.

Murmurs of Who’s Army Jones? stirred among the other women. Lina wanted to crawl beneath the table and hide. Faye looked to Lina, questioningly.

Inga shouted out, “Who the hell is Army Jones?”

“He’s the fucking sheriff, that’s who!” Agnes said, slapping the soft-bound booklet of statutes hard against the table. “Well, that explains a thing or two. Your daddy’s the head of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department and your brother-in-law’s a sergeant with the Phoenix Police. I suppose your sister’s on the goddamn City Council…”

“Hardly,” replied Lina. “She’s just a dispatch supervisor with the Arizona Department of Public Safety,” Lina confessed.

Agnes slapped down the booklet again. “Well, shit!”

Laughter and excited prattle broke out all along the ‘U’ and all decorum was lost. Hook was beside himself, looking adrift in a sea of chaos.

Boomer had had just about enough of this nonsense. “That’s enough, now! Everyone needs to chill out!” His harsh words had the effect of an ice cannon. The room fell instantly quiet.

Hook, not to be outdone by Boomer, his subordinate, pulled himself together. “Quiet!” he shouted, to the already quieted group. After quickly asking the rest of the new-hires’ names, he got down to business: “Let’s move on. In front of each of you are two black binders—”

Inga’s hand shot up, “Hey! What about me?”

Put off by the interruption, Hook lashed out: “What about you?”

“You forgot to ask about me.”

“Fine, then, tell us about yourself, but make it quick.”

“I’m Inga Gomez. I was a case aide with Child Protective Services.”

“Anything else?”

“Oh, and I have three kids: Misty, my oldest, is six. Johnny and Jimmy are my two little troublemakers. Johnny’s five and Jimmy turns four next month, in August.”

“Is that everything?” asked Hook, with impatience.

Hook offered no drooling smiles to Inga. At twenty-eight, her weight and unkempt presentation reflected the years of personal neglect that goes along with single-handedly raising three young kids while working a full-time job and taking night courses at the local junior college.

“Yes, thank god. Three hyper rug rats are more than enough,” replied Inga, causing another outbreak of laughter.

Hook shushed the women and abruptly picked up where he’d left off: “The first binder is the most important—consider it your bible.” He picked up and held aloft the thick black binder lying on the table in front of Deirdre. “This is the Communications Bureau Manual. The other black binder is the Department’s Operations Orders, Ops Orders, for short. You will receive regular updates to both which you are required to maintain.” Hook dropped the binder onto the table, and picked up a smaller, white binder. “This binder, which Martha spent a great deal of time organizing and assembling, contains all the tools and resources necessary for you to successfully perform your job: City ordinances and traffic laws; radio codes, relevant telephone numbers; call log sheets; computer terminal commands booklet…Did I forget anything, Martha?”

“Questioning and call prioritization guidelines.”

“Thank you, Martha. Martha will be covering everything in this binder throughout the course of your classroom training. I will cover salient sections of the Bureau Manual and Ops Orders which deal with employee conduct and departmental policies.” Hook then held up the paper-bound booklet titled Arizona Revised Statutes. “And last but not least, Boomer will be teaching you everything you ever wanted to know, but were afraid to ask, about state law. Any questions?”

Inga’s hand shot up. Hook hesitated…

“What, now?”

“What’s this?” she asked, holding up the blue plastic pouch.

“Oh, yes, thanks. In the blue pouches are your headsets. It is your responsibility to keep them clean and in working order. Any other questions?”

Silence.

“Okay, then. Next, we’ll tour the Communications Bureau, and finish the day getting you your locker assignments so you can stow your materials.”

~ ~

The group of new-hires, looking much less energized than they had at the start of the day, straggled into the locker room located just beyond the small lobby where Hazel, the police aide, sat typing. The locker bay was lined with a bank of grey metal lockers stretching wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling. Each new-hire had been assigned a locker number and padlock with a unique three-number combination code.

“I think you need to go all the way around, past zero, before stopping on the first number,” said Faye to a frustrated Lina, whose lock defied opening. Inga and Marley soon gathered around her, both offering advice.

“Which direction?” Lina asked.

“To the right, I think,” said Marley.

“Right, left, right,” added Inga, with authority.

“Are you sure? I thought that’s what I did,” said Lina.

Standing nearby, Dee couldn’t help but overhear. “Inga’s correct. It’s right, left, then right again. May I?” she asked.

Lina surrendered the padlock to her.

“What’s the combination code?” asked Dee

“Two, zero, thirty-three” Lina replied.

The women watched as Dee deftly and swiftly spun the dial right, left, right again, stopping at the designated numbers.

From the corner of her eye, Faye spied a uniformed officer standing in the far doorway, peering in, eyes locked on the five women.

“I think we’re being watched,” Faye whispered to the others.

Lina looked around to see the officer in the doorway. “Oh my god, it’s him.”

“There!” Dee exclaimed, as she popped open the padlock, but by now, the full attention of the other four was on the drop-dead gorgeous officer gazing in their direction.

“You know him?” Faye asked Lina.

“Yes,” Lina said, reddening at the memory of their first acquaintance. “Officer Tampon.” A burst of hilarity engulfed the women.

“Say what?” laughed Inga.

“He was one of the officers at the written exam. He helped pick up the stuff that had fallen out of my purse…including my tampon.”

“Oh, my god, I remember that!” exclaimed Inga.

“How embarrassing,” Marley added.

“Totally,” Lina sighed, sneaking another peek at the officer.

The officer locked eyes with Lina and flashed a gleaming, pearly-white smile. With his jet-black hair, Clark Gable mustache and piercing blue-eyes, he had ‘Hollywood’ written all over him.

Lina blushed and spun her head back around to her gawking friends.

“I think he likes you,” Faye teased, with a hint of jealousy.

“No, thanks,” Lina said, shoving her training materials into her locker before slapping it shut and taking the padlock from Deirdre.

“Smart girl,” said Inga. “Men are pigs.”

“All men?” asked Marley, caressing her crucifix.

“Not all, I hope,” said Deirdre.

“Yeah, pretty much all of them,” Inga snorted.

“You’re a fool if you let him get away, Lina,” Faye pushed. “If you don’t go after him, I will. He’s hot!”

“Be my guest,” replied Lina, clicking the padlock closed. “He’s all yours.”

All heads turned again to the officer in the doorway, with all—except Lina and Inga—secretly hoping to snag his attention. But, alas…

Officer Tampon was gone.

CHAPTER 3
CHAPTER 5

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