Kellerman wakes up on the deck of the boat with a cough hanging in the back of his throat. His alarm clock is bleeting, unattended and loud. He pushes himself up, waits out the headrush and some of the nausea, pats himself down for cigarettes. Lights up and coughs in the damp morning air. From the door he can see a red light on the answering machine.
Keys are gone, and he can tell by the weight of his belt that the cuffs are gone, but when he checks his gun none of the rounds are missing.
He bites down on the nausea, lights up again, and looks for something to pick the lock with.
At the station, he begins a tentative search for his handcuffs. Stops by the desk sergeant first thing, just as the guy catches sight of his morning relief so he's not too focused dragging through the log book, hopefully won't remember enough of this to get it around that a murder police can't keep hold of his own equipment.
A few minutes and the sergeant heaves a sigh and points out the entry, adult black male brought in, eight caps of heroin impounded, arresting officer Kincaid, out of the Western. Enough for now.
Kellerman heads up to Homicide to put in some hours on his share of the paperwork from the Cochran case, then runs down the one lead he has on a drug murder from two months ago. The case is a dog, and it won't be solved in his lifetime unless some upstanding young citizen comes forward as a witness, which means it's staying red, red, red.
He takes the car by his mechanic for a new set of keys and heads back to the boat. Long day, and (getting longer, his memory supplies, with little mercy) there's still that message on his answering machine -- his mother, inviting him to dinner, asking him to bring Lewis if he wanted, if they weren't too busy.
It wasn't anything planned, but they had eaten together before: his mom called the station mid-morning one day and said quietly, "I don't want to bother you at work, but your father is at the factory and I think someone is in the house." Kellerman cut their lunch short to sweep the place, and once he gave the all clear she asked them to stay for a warmed over pot roast, which beat out the tuna sandwiches waiting for them in the Cavalier. They were late getting back, but the rest of the shift went down easy.
That was six months ago, after Mahoney but before his rotation in Auto. He still talks to his parents every day.
He's got enough Jim Beam on the boat to stay in tonight, so he does. His credit is always good here, at least. He drops himself onto the couch and feels along the running board without turning around, grabs the bottle and hears a small clatter. Feels blindly again and starts to right the picture that had fallen over, but his finger catches on the frame and he pulls it around to look at it instead.
Next to the family photos - parents, sister, Kellerman in the stolen Babe Ruth uniform, because his brothers are assholes - is one of the squad, he thinks from last New Year's Eve. Munch gave it to him in a fit of sentimentality a few weeks ago, although when Kellerman asked what the Yiddish on the back meant he just laughed.
New Year's. Watching Brodie's documentary when the ball dropped. He had kissed Julianna and then hugged Lewis, and what he remembers is the familiar smell of Lewis' cologne and the press of Lewis' soft belly against his, and he'd said, "Happy new year, Meldrick," and Lewis had said, "Gonna be a good one, Mikey, you wait and see."
Bad luck, probably.