The pile of paperwork was slowly reducing. Sheldon Sands looked at it with disgust. Maybe he shouldn't have irritated the boss. Sighing, he picked up the next file.
“Examining thirty-three thousand pages of transcript is not what I had in mind as top flight investigative work,” he muttered to himself.
“Maybe next time you'll keep your prick in your pants,” came the comment from his partner, seated on the other side of the room. Robbie Cincotti was looking over at the younger man with an expression which appeared to combine annoyance, resignation, and a certain amount of amusement. “Anything worth keeping in that lot?”
Sands shook his head, keeping his eyes on the file the whole time. “Nothing yet. Lots of talk about girls, nothing more.”
“Girls?” The question was unexpected. Sands looked up. Cincotti was leaning forward, like a dog that had just caught a scent.
“Yeah. Girls. You know, the ones with the bumpers in front?” The sarcasm was a method of covering up Sands confusion.
Cincotti laughed. “I think you're going to have to go through those again. The guy we're monitoring is a flaming fruit. He's talking code.”
Sands face closed down a moment. “Shit,” he said, looking at the pile of transcripts he'd discarded as irrelevant.
One of the better things about having a partner like Jeff Sands, Robbie thought, was there was always someone who was able to act as bait. Kid was good looking, and he was easy to wave in front of their quarry.
He hoped Jeff had finished reading the dossier on the target. Otherwise, things could get messy.
“You could have mentioned,” the younger man said as they flew out of San Salvador later that week. The bruise across his face was still fresh, and looked as though it would still be painful.
“You could have read the dossier,” Robbie replied. “First law, Jeff. Know thy enemy.”
“Still. You could have mentioned.” Jeff cautiously touched the edge of the bruise and winced.
“It was in the dossier.” Robbie shifted position. “Nice job with the garrotting, though. Auto-erotic asphyxiation. Appropriate death.”
Sands looked out the window, hiding a grin. It had been fun. And what was even better, he didn't have to come up with excuses. Watching the bastard throttle himself in search of that ever-elusive perfect moment had been wonderful fun. Maybe this job had some rewards after all.
“You got cocky, kid.” The comment wasn't harsh. It wasn't critical. Just matter-of-fact. Sands hid a grimace. Trust the man to state the obvious.
“You should've read the dossier. It's all in there.”
“I know.” The sigh was reluctant. “Pass me the cane, okay.”
“So what are you doing down here in Mexico, anyway? I thought they'd retired you.”
In a way it was a pity Jeff couldn't see Robbie's grin at that point. “You know what I say, Jeff. An agent never retires. He just takes it a bit easier.”