Comparing Notes and Chicken Chow Mein´┐╝

THURS 6 MAY, 18:10
TRACEN Cape May, INV2 Bradley’s Transient Quarters

The rooms were somewhere in between what Buzz was accustomed to lately – smaller than home, but way larger than he was used to on tour. Hell, he’d slept in the front seat of a truck or under the stars by the side of a road before now, this was the lap of luxury by comparison to some of those nights. Nothing quite beat home with a warm wife and often a small child sleeping alongside them though. 

Right now the desk was acting as a dinner table, a myriad of take-out boxes covered in Chinese characters waiting to be demolished along with a six pack of light beers and another of Pepsi. The smell of the food had driven him crazy enough to pick at the prawn crackers, but then he’d gotten distracted by a text conversation on his phone. 

As the knock on his door brought his attention back to here and now, Buzz dropped the phone on the bed and walked the couple of steps to open the door. 

“C’mon in,” he invited his new partner. Behind him, the room was immaculately tidy, the only personal signs being a photo by the bed and two pieces of crayon art on the closet door. “Y’all ready to eat?”

“Always.” Angelica chuckled, then grew a bit serious, “I finished my paperwork on my interview with Chief Ramos, short version, she won’t give a statement and won’t testify.” Figure get the bad news out of the way first so they can strategize. 

Buzz stepped back and sideways to allow her access to the only chair and the food. “Please, help yourself,” he said, indicating the banquet laid out with chopsticks and napkins to one side, and took a seat on the edge of his bed. 

“Ah great,” he responded to Passolini’s direct jump into business. “Me too, all written up but not much to convey. Seaman Thomas wasn’t really chatty either, but I caught one of his buddies on the hop while I was waiting for him to show up. Something about an off-base liaison, too much gin and a longer cuddle than they should’ve been having,” Buzz offered up a wonky smile. “All heresay though. Third-hand detail.”

“Nothing to hang our hats on, my gut says Mr Thomas has some issues with women, and if we dug we could get something. ” She paused, “an E-3 Seaman does not normally go out of the way to have a beef with a Chief Petty Officer, much less assault one in the parking lot of the Base Exchange.”  

She had started mixing her Mongolian Beef with rice as she had been talking and began to eat, Pausing only to add, “What I’d love to do is get him in interrogation and see what we can do, but I’d bet the farm if we did that he’d lawyer up.”

He took possession of the chow mein and dunked two prawn crackers into the chilli sauce with his free hand. Then Buzz canted his head from side to side as if literally weighing options. “Yeah, could be.” He didn’t want to condemn someone on this little evidence either. There was a brief pause in talking as he ate a couple mouthfuls of food. “Word from the gents’ corner was that she got real verbally possessive, but again, if’n it came down to it, I doubt we could prove it.”

She paused, “Yeah, we can’t prove it, no prosecutor would go to trial with a gut feeling, and I don’t blame them. She sat in the desk chair. “I’d say we are at a dead end, something is there but we can’t prove it, but we should make sure there’s a big flag on his service record. Because my fear he’ll do this again.”

Extentuating circumstances being firmly in the ‘maybe’ corner, Buzz couldn’t help but agree. There were two sides to every story, but only one person seemed to have been physically injured, no matter how slightly. That mattered. That made every difference. 

“Agreed,” he said simply, after a mouthful of noodles had allowed him a few more seconds to consider their options. “Kid needs to learn real fast that he can’t make an emotional issue into a physical confrontation.”

She paused, “we can let the boss know, not enough evidence to charge a thing but there is smoke, but not enough for a fire.” She ate for a bit, then sighed, “I wish I could just handle it like my uncle Geno said he heard the old school Chicago PD guys would handle it, take him to an alley kick the shit out of him and tell him to get out of town.”

Buzz visibly tensed at that comment from the young woman sat before him. “Sounds personal?” He asked, question inviting rather than demanding a deeper response. He frowned, expression sternly protective. “I’m not saying I’ll kick his ass,” Buzz added. “But more’n’happy to have a real serious word with him.”

She sighed, “I agree, a stern word. ” She then continued, “and yes it is personal, I’ve been on the Chief’s side, though I was a PFC, he was a Sargent.” She paused, “Long story short, he was pushy I said no, and he didn’t take it well. He broke my arm, I wouldn’t testify, I didn’t want to look weak, he did it again, that time he elevated to murder, he’s in Leavenworth awaiting the needle, I’ll be there front and center.”

At his side, Buzz’s left hand tensed into a hard fist as Angelica explained some. His jawline tightened, his eyes steeled, just enough to show how much he really hated hearing stories like this one. “Some folks don’t deserve freedom to walk and talk and make decisions,” he said. “Real sorry you had to go through that, Ange. Guessing you’re seeing the Chief’s point and view real crystal clear like, huh?” Rhetorical question. 

“You give her that talk about weakness or we letting her figure that one out on her own?” Buzz checked, guessing not. Hard situations made tough people, but it still was never gonna be easy first time around. “Need anyone beside ya in that front and center seat, you just let me know when.”

She smiled, “Appreciated Buzz, but I got it, I was going to tell her, but she wasn’t in the right space to listen, that and she’s training recruits, last thing I wanted to do was cut her off at the knees, when we talk to the boss, we can let him know it’s a stand still, but… we’re still here, so I’m keen to poke around in our spare time, it’s not like there’s much else to do.”

He nodded in clear and confident confirmation of his understanding. They were equals here and now. “Gotcha. Good call,” he said, for the record. No one needed to be called out in front of the people they were training up. A deep breath and Buzz offered up a nod and wry smile combo. “Might have to read the kids the occasional bedtime story,” he said. “But otherwise my spare time’s free and clear. Count me in.”

Scroll to Top