Old coats have a way about them. Worn and loved by one person over years, a coat becomes more than a shield from the weather--it becomes a home, a companion, an invaluable friend; and it gets to have a personality all its own. And, sooner or later, some old coats have a way about them, too, of consciousness. A way of feeling, of sensing things that is unique to old, beloved coats.
Detective Badd's coat was fitted, lean, threadbare in places but strong from periodic re-applications of Scotch-Gard. Traces of blood still clung to its fibers under the bullet holes that adorned the torso. It was full of experience, dark and a little intimidating, but at the same time fascinating, almost alluring. Detective Gumshoe's coat knew all this almost the moment it entered the police station, and it longed to know more.
Detective Gumshoe's coat was newer (although not that new--it had been picked up in a secondhand store when its owner was in high school). Some of its shape still sprung in the shoulders, and the color was still mostly bright. It wasn't a real detective's coat, not yet. There were no traces of gunpowder in the sleeves, no permanent niche for a notebook in the pocket, only the still-forming impressions of Gumshoe's hands and a few crumbs from a Swiss Roll. Still, it had a certain spirit about it, like it was destined for great adventures. Detective Badd's coat could tell that it was the sort of coat that would be reliable for many years more, and it too wanted to get closer.
The two coats each knew that the other wanted the same thing as they did. (Old coats have a way of knowing.) There was just one problem: neither detective ever seemed to take his coat off. That is to say, for showering, for sleep, certainly; but during work hours, even during the hottest part of summer, Gumshoe and Badd remained eternally trenchcoated. There was never any chance for the two coats to be together, just the two of them, slung across the back of a chair or nestled in the dark recesses of a closet. Detective Badd had his reasons. Detective Gumshoe's reasons ranged from comfort to fashion to, "It's part of who I am, pal!", although the coats suspected that his true reason was a desire to emulate Detective Badd.
So the coats took what they could get: the knocking of hems as the detectives ran side-by-side; the brush of Badd's sleeve on Gumshoe's back as he congratulated him on good work; that short, blissful half-hour when the rookie fell asleep on Detective Badd's shoulder during a stakeout and the old softy couldn't find the heart to wake him. It wasn't quite what the coats wanted, but it was something.
Then, late one night, before Detective Gumshoe's coat really knew what was happening, it found itself cast aside onto the linoleum floor of the police station, rough with dirt and a little sticky with remnants of old snacks. A minute later, though, the worry was cast out by a spring of joy as Detective Badd's coat dropped on top of it. The air was thick with alcohol and neither coat understood why their owners had suddenly reversed their hitherto strict positions, but neither cared. The coats nestled together, their unique scents of sweat, aftershave, tobacco, food, environment, and who knew what else blending in the dense air. Detective Badd's coat settled in closer around Detective Gumshoe's, overwhelming it with its worn-in warmth and softness. The belt of Detective Gumshoe's coat slipped out of the pockets and through the lapel of Detective Badd's. It was wonderful. Suit jackets, ties, belts, trousers were also piling up around the two, but they paid them no heed. They didn't matter. Not like old coats.
When New Year's morning dawned, Chief Gant had once again been declared strip poker champion of the precinct, and Detectives Badd and Gumshoe both agreed that they had never seen two trenchcoats tangled up so badly.