15-20 APR 2024
She had been driving for 12 hours and needed to empty her bladder and fill her stomach, in that order. Charlie had gotten a walk, and she had her hybrid on dog mode, which ran the air conditioning off the electrical battery and had a nice display so no one would break her window.
She smiled when the waitress brought her a refill of coffee.
“Just passing through?”
“Yes, Got a job starting in a couple of weeks in Portsmouth.”
“Well, it’s a lovely area. “ Once the coffee was poured “Let me know if you need anything else dear.”
“Thank you.” She took a sip of the very good coffee and then tucked into her meal. It was a very tasty scrambled eggs with bacon and some buttermilk biscuits. An ex-boyfriend always asked how the hell can she eat so much and not gain any weight, which was one reason he was an ex.
One thing she liked to do was people watch, observing was in her skillset after all, From the tired parents trying to corral two small children, an old couple who just looked comfortable, like they’d been together so long they knew everything about each other including what they liked, how they wanted their coffee, and what would be on their plate. Also at the counter were several men eating fast and hunched over, Truck drivers, she thought, fueling up for the long road ahead.
As she finished her meal she collected the check and left a generous tip.
What she didn’t see was the big deputy at the counter get up after her.
Stopping by her car she had started to unlock it when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She tensed and heard the southern drawl.
“You got a permit for that pistol there?”
Training and discipline didn’t let her make any noise but she did speak up, voice calmer than she was, “Yes. I can carry I’m a fed. ID’s in my pocket, inside my jacket, may I?” With that, she turned towards the large deputy and she waited for him to nod, and handed him the leather case with her badge and credentials.
“Coast Guard Investigative service?” He looked puzzled.
“Yeah, the investigative branch of the US Coast Guard, Every service has a similiar group, Army’s got CID, Navy has NCIS…..” She paused as his eye lit up
“Oh, yea…..I know them, my mom loves their show.”
She nodded, “But we’re federal cops. So we can carry.”
He relaxed and handed her back the wallet. “Sorry to bother you.”
“Hey, I’m glad you did, I don’t mind, it’s your job after all.”
“You drive safe now.”
Finally after another night in a cheap as hell motel, then she arrived at the small bungalow by the ocean, the salt air tangy in her nostrils Charlie started barking at the squawking birds. Then the two of them headed down to the dock where her Uncle Pasquale’s ship was.
She headed down to the docks and called out, “Hello, Permission to come on board?” That made the man who she always knew as Uncle Pete, poke his head out from the cabin and head up to the deck.
Walking up on the deck the two embraced, Pasquale spoke up, “When did you get in?”
“This morning.” Angelica smiled, “I’m gonna get my apartment set up before reporting in.”
“Good to have ya kid, you got time for lunch? “