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Comeuppance

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Ben toed idly at the empty trousers splayed out on the locker room floor. "So Chickie called this in?"

"Yep," Cooper said.

The trousers were bent at the knees, like the wearer had been running when he died. Or writhing.

"We got a code for this?" Ben asked.

"Yep," Cooper said.

Ben waited. A corner of the empty shirtsleeve twitched minutely. "You gonna tell me what it is?" Ben asked, inching backwards.

"Nah," Cooper said.

There was a hole in the baseboards maybe four feet away from the empty uniform. A scrap of white cotton clung to the edge, a shred of athletic sock. Ben resolved to change clothes in the parking lot from here forward. "The badge isn't visible. How'd Chickie ID the victim as Dewey if she couldn't see the badge?"

"He was a good cop," Cooper said. He placed his heel on the wriggling shirtsleeve and ground down. "Get his wallet, I'll buy you a taco."