Head back, mouth open, legs spread, it would be easy to assume he’d silently expired except for one moving hand. That hand held a crude ice pack fashioned from ice cubes and paper towels. He moved it continuously over his neck, face and hair. Melt water dripped, forming a puddle on the floor behind his chair.
A standing fan set up facing the open door of Diane Natani’s office blew air from the bullpen into her small office.
Carol Twee used a step stool to reach the upper shelves of the grey metal cabinet she was rearranging. It held the Unit’s cameras and recording equipment, field kits and bulletproof vests. The vests were at bottom still in their plastic wrappers. By the time the Unit got to a crime scene, the bad guy was gone, one way or the other.
“That’s a hundred-year-old oak floor you’re peeing on Merisi,” she said.
“It’s a hundred fucking degrees,” he whined.
“Ninety-nine,” Camden Snow informed him from behind his array of monitors on the lab table he used as a desk. “And the office is air conditioned.”
“Natani’s sucking it all out.”
“What if the Boss sees you?” Twee jumped down from the seven-inch height of the step she was on. “It is not hot in here.”
He lifted his head. “Listen, my body knows how hot it is two feet over our heads. On the black tar roof. Way over ninety-nine. A few cubic feet of fake cold air does not fool this body.”
The sound of his Boss’ voice brought Merisi upright so fast he managed to slide out of his chair, ending up half in and out of the kneehole. “Ow.”
Detective Lieutenant Hunter Dane cocked one dark winged brow at the top of the head of the only other member of his team certified to carry a gun. “See if you can get up without shooting yourself in the ass, detective.”
Cam grinned at him from behind one of his monitors. “The Glock’s in his desk drawer.” Not having to deal with the public, Hunt’s Nordic blond lover had donned a strappy red t-shirt over summer-weight linen blend slacks. Camden Snow was cool by definition.
“You wanna look down here, Boss?” Twee had materialized unnoticed in front of him, like a 4’10” shadow of a faerie sprite. “You invoked my name, remember?”
He put a stern look on his face, keeping his attention on her as if he didn’t see Merisi scrambling around getting his shoes on. “I had a call from the building’s mailroom. We don’t get mail here, Twee. It’s not conducive to discretion. So why do they have a box with your name on it?”
“My remains!” She clapped, spun, and ran out the door.
“Don’t let the cold air out!” Merisi yelled.