“Ugh,” Dee said, lips curling with disgust. “I swear I’m goin’ mouldy!”
Ryo tried not to, but the expression on Dee’s face was too much and he ducked his head, shoulders shaking with silent laughter.
“Hey! It’s not funny!”
“I know it’s not, I just… If you wouldn’t keep pulling that face… And look at the state you’re in!”
“You don’t look any better,” Dee grumbled.
They were both soaked from an unexpected cloudburst and in the current humidity, not to mention the confined space, Ryo had to admit sprouting mould was a distinct possibility. “Never said I did.”
“I hate this part of the job.”
“Doesn’t everyone?” Dumpster diving was never fun, but on a scorchingly hot day, when the garbage was already festering and the stench enough to bring tears to their eyes and leave them gasping, all they wanted was to find the murder weapon and make their escape.
“I think I’ve lost my appetite,” Dee groaned.
Ryo could only laugh again. “You only think you have? I may not eat for the rest of the week. All I’m gonna be able to smell is this, and it’s not exactly an appealing aroma.”
“Overripe garbage never is. At least we haven’t lost our sense of humour, which is a miracle. Oh, hold up! Think I’ve got something!” Dee raised a double-gloved hand, holding a small calibre pistol. Looked like a .22 to Ryo’s experienced eye, although the noodles it was tangled in made the make and model a little harder to pin down, and there appeared to be something that looked a lot like a green olive stuck in the barrel. The condition of the weapon wasn’t all that surprising, considering it had been tossed in a dumpster shared by several fast food places.
Ryo snapped open an evidence bag and held it out for Dee to drop the gun in.
Dee didn’t bother to clean it off; let the CSIs have that dubious pleasure, he and Ryo had already gone above and beyond. “Seal ‘er up and let’s get outta here! How’d we even get stuck with this anyway? We should’a got a couple of uniforms to do it.”
“We were here and the uniforms were transporting the suspect to booking.” Ryo sealed the bag and hopped out of the dumpster, pulling his gloves off and tossing them back in with the trash. The legs of his pants were stained with grease and spaghetti sauce, and if anything, Dee’s were worse. Both of them stank. “You got a pen I can borrow?”
“Yeah, sure. Hang on.” Stripping off his own gloves and ditching them, Dee dug out his pen and handed it over for Ryo to put his initials, and the time and date over the evidence bag’s seal.
He handed the pen back. “Thanks. Back to the precinct for a shower and a change of clothes?”
“Soon as we’ve dropped that off at the labs. Motor pool won’t be happy when we turn the car in,” Dee added with a snicker.
“Maybe we should try and wipe some of this gunk off before we get in.” Ryo looked down at himself and wrinkled his nose, turning to follow Dee out of the disgusting alley, away from the fermenting contents of the dumpster.
Halfway to the car, the heavens opened again. Ryo tucked the evidence bag inside his shirt for what little protection that would afford it, and stopped dead, letting the rain sluice over him. Something caught his eye. “You have… I think it’s a meatball stuck to your pants leg,” he told Dee helpfully.
Dee shook his leg. “Is it gone?”
“Almost.” One more shake and it plopped off, floating away into the gutter. “Okay, you’re good. How about me?”
“Yeah, that’s got most of the sauce off you. Nice of the weather to be so helpful, isn’t it?”
“Weren’t you the one complaining about getting wet a while back?”
“Guilty as charged, but who wants pouring rain turnin’ the dumpster they’re searchin’ into a swamp? Now we’re not in there anymore, it can rain as much as it likes.”
That attitude lasted until they were in the car, heading back to the 27th after signing the gun over at the lab.
“Ugh, my shorts are stickin’ in weird places.”
Ryo burst out laughing again. “You’re impossible!”
Dee glanced sidelong at his partner. “Why, because I don’t like bein’ uncomfortable?”
“I think you just like complaining.”
“Only when there’s a good reason to complain!” Dee fidgeted uncomfortably. “All I want is a shower.”
“You’re wet and uncomfortable so you want to get wetter?”
Now Dee was laughing too. “Yeah, but I plan to take my clothes off first this time.”
Ryo nodded solemnly. “Good choice, although that does mean you’ll have to do your laundry separately.”
“Dumbass,” Dee accused, taking one hand off the wheel just long enough to prod his partner in the ribs. “You can’t tell me you’re not eager to get outta those wet things and into somethin’ dry that doesn’t smell of garbage.”
“I wouldn’t even try,” Ryo assured him.
“That’s what I thought.” Reaching under the dash, Dee slapped the light on the roof of their unmarked car and flicked on the siren.
“What’re you doing, Dee? They’re for emergencies only!”
“This is an emergency; we’re wet and cruddy and goin’ mouldy. After wadin’ in that dumpster we don’t deserve to be forced to stew in rotting garbage.”
“True. Okay, fine. Sirens it is. Let’s go get cleaned up.”
“Pedal to the metal all the way, babe! Y’know, maybe we should just head for the nearest car wash.”
“I wonder if we’d get a discount for going through without the car…”
There were a lot of downsides to being a cop, but both men had long since learned to roll with it and take their fun where they found it. In this line of work, if you couldn’t find a reason to laugh, you’d burn out.
“It’s a dirty job,” Dee said, “but somebody’s gotta do it.”
“Somebody’s welcome to it.”