After a shoot-out, the air carries with it a lingering tension; gun smoke, broken glass, and the smell of iron, a great big hole where a plate-glass window used to be. Heat and sweat and wax figures take-in the aftermath, trying to calculate the chaos. It is real and unreal; slow and fast; order and disorder.
“What happened here?” The commissioner asked.
Sally stood there with her white-blonde hair, pink apron, and fiftyish face. “Gregson,” she said.
“I might’ve known. Does chaos follow you around like a stalker or do you court it?”
“Maybe I’m just in the wrong place at the right time,” Gregson said.
“The medics will save these boys. Thank God you’re not associated with the police force anymore. They’re all wounded and know who you are, which means you have to lay low for a while before the trial. I’ll need to take your gun—retirement present, wasn’t it?
“Gregson, when are you going to retire? I’ve been following your exploits for a year and since then, disaster shadows you like a clingy woman.”
“She has a sense of humor, I guess. My memoirs still have to get done, so perhaps, crime comes to me like inspiration.”
“Take a break from violence and write them, please.”
“Okay, commissioner. You’re right. A vacation has been calling to me for some time.”
“Just be sure it’s a vacation.”
Gregson smiled. He found himself on a medium-sized sail boat in a harbor that looked more like a graveyard for long-forgotten retirement dreams. “I guess the rich folks who own these boats plan to sail, but never do,” he said. He unwrapped his typewriter and threaded a crisp blank page into the machine. A gust blew sea-spray onto the page. The sun was tricky and magical, shining with blinding light as the clouds flew by. He poured a glass of champagne and toasted his retirement. Gregson lit his cigar with a match and breathed in and breathed out. He started to type and lost track of time. Then he noticed he was being watched. Across the way, the only other harbor inhabitant was eyeing him.