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Partner, Friend, Pillow

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I work three jobs, and I’m only getting paid – poorly – for one of them. When I’m not on call at Convent Emergency as a medical intern (and not actually a doctor no matter how often my crazy partner calls me that) I’m trying to be a decent dad to Omare and keeping things civil between me and Marie for his sake, even if we’re no longer a thing. Oh, and I also fight crime with said crazy-ass partner on the side. (Yeah, crazy – what else would you call a civilian black man who tries to tell the NYPD how to do their jobs right?)

Notice that in that list I never said anything about sleep. Hospital interns lose enough sleep that it gets classified as a major health problem. And there’s lots of folks out there juggling two jobs and family life already, but I’m pretty sure their other jobs look more like “Big*Mart cashier” and less like “run around with my old Army piece late at night following a detective who gets shot at regularly by the people he’s tracking.” So I put in a lot of off-the-clock hours, if you know what I mean.

Adrenaline helps. It’s easy to stay awake when you’re fighting to get a guy back who just coded on the table after an OD, or fleeing the hitmen chasing you down a fire escape. But lull times are dangerous. At least in the hospital there’s cots for drop-dead-exhausted medical personnel to snatch sleep by the half- or even quarter-hour in between emergencies.

But stakeouts – long, loooong stretches of nothing while you don’t move, usually in a parked warm car on a cold night – make staying awake harder than a junkie kicking heroin.

“…tson. Watson!”

I jolted upright again, blinking hard and staring through the icy windshield at the club’s back door. “Yeah! Yeah, I’m good.” Aw damn, I’d sagged against Holmes and switched off for a second. Well, did he have to be so damn short that he was exactly the right height for a pillow?

My partner gave me a shrewd look under the tilt of his white fedora. “Think I caught you before you started drooling,” he said dryly. “When was the last time you had a real sleep?”

“Prob’ly the same time you did,” I yawned, blinking hard some more.

“That long ago?” He grimaced. He doesn’t eat or sleep when he’s caught up in a case’s details; if Sherlock Holmes didn’t hate what the drug trade’s done to the neighborhoods around here you’d swear he was hopped up on crack during his manic phase. “I’d appreciate you picking up observation and deduction tips from me, Watson, but my lifestyle probably isn’t a good thing to copy.”

“Not here by accident,” I said, more words than yawns this time. “We’re good together.”

“We’re good when we’re both in the same state of consciousness.” Holmes pursed his lips, still keeping his eyes on the club. “Think you can do one of your 20-minute intern specials?”

“Bless you,” and I don’t even remember leaning all the way back in the driver’s seat before sinking in.

And even the trafficker was considerate – he waited till an hour after Holmes had poked me awake for the second time to make his move and incriminate himself.