Dog and the Detective
Dog sniffed about, his cybernetically enhanced nose sending data back to my systems for analysis. Some monoxides clinging to the ground, and Dog was kind of suggesting they went this way anyhow. I keyed the mic for the speaker buried in his ear.
“Yeah, Dog, I think they went this way too. Go on Dog, quietly.” I could see his head coked, listening to me, and then see the bounding of his great silent lope along the rough track. It was enough to make me feel sick and cut in the passive sample and image stabilisation. Dog looked like he was floating along on waves.
“You got the scent?” I head a very quiet and brief growl that meant yes, “Don’t get shot.” Kenny came up behind me.
“I’ll never get over how you understand him.” I waved my hand for Kenny to shut up, but he didn’t see it or didn’t pay attention. He waved a milkshake just in my peripheral vision. “He’s gotta be doing thirty miles an hour, how’s he keepin’ it up?”
Without looking round I reached over and squeezed the milkshake so it poured all over Kenny and his trousers. “Goddamn Jake! What the hell is wrong with you?” He tried to catch the remains. “My new trousers.” He hobbled off to get some paper towels, and hopefully, a mop. I kicked the “wet area” sign out from under my desk.
“And it’s Jaqueline, you asshole,” I muttered, under my breath, I thought, but I felt a presence on the other side of my chair, away from the mess. Dog was still bounding along the track.
“That’s mighty unprofessional and disruptive language,” the new voice paused for breath and effect, “from Kenny. I’ll have a word, Detective Jacobs.” I felt him place a hand on the chair and remove immediately when he felt it was balanced carefully. “Sorry.”
“Not now, Captain,” I said, patiently. I could sense him placing his hands behind his back and looking about the room, waiting. A cleaning lady came up to the mess with a mop and hot bucket. She nodded at the Captain. Brandt nodded back, an exchange of silent but professional courtesies.
“That Kenny, he never learns.” She said to me in heavily accented English. “You busy, Jaqueline?” I pointed at the screen, and Rosa nodded again and went silent, cleaning efficiently and leaving the now unneeded sign at the side of my desk. I felt her nod at Brandt again and she left. Despite bracing for it, Brandt didn’t take it as an indication he could interrupt.
On the screen Dog’s angle had gone low, and I could see the log cabin with the old truck in front. “What’s he doing? Can you see him?” Dog sniffed the air, and the answer came back from the analysis in less than a minute; gun oil, cigarette smoke.
“Can you get him?” A snuffled no. “Don’t take a chance then. He’s smoking a cigarette.” I could see from the camera that Dog settled his head on the ground, waiting. He made a noise telling that he knew well what the man was smoking, that I was being redundant. I turned to Captain Brandt. “What can I do for you?”
“Brass want to see this, Jacobs. They’ve been pressing me for a month.” I could feel my lips turn down in a frown.
“They won’t get it. They’ll think it’s just me remote controlling a dog.”
“I know it’s not, but it is what it looks like, you’ve got to admit.”
“I don’t have to admit anything. They can’t see it.” He came around to the side of the chair and glared until I turned it a bit.
“They are your superior officers you know, they can demand anything they want.” I glared back up at him.
“They can demand it, doesn’t mean I’m going to do it.” I gave him my post piercing stare. “They’re imbeciles.” He ignored this.
“I can only run blocking for so long, Jacobs,” he took a deep breath, “eventually I have to comply.”
“I can put them off for today if you’re busy.” He passed his hand over his nearly bald head, the darkness of his skin contrasting with the lightness of his palms. “but this week.”
“I’ll make a presentation.”
“No presentation, they want to see it live, making an arrest.”
“I don’t want that.”
“It’s a direct order. Make it easy on yourself, choose something trivial.” I glared up at him again, but I could see he was finished, “Carry on.” And he walked off.
I turned to the screen again and tuned out the rest of the office by taking my eye feed straight from the screen.
Technically I’m blind, but the implants they gave me look like eyes and behave like eyes, with one extra thing, I can tune into any screen I’m looking at and take the feed direct. I have some fairly lowlife hacker friends, and they thought it might be good for watching movies. The same spray of bullets that took out my eyes took out my legs too. I roll now, mostly. There’s not enough left to make a good detective, not on my own, can’t chase the perps. There was a whole lot during rehabilitation too and the got me a helper animal.
I didn’t want that, I was gonna do it on my own, get better, get back on my feet, get going. The eyes were easy, the department paid and paid for that, the legs no so much. Turns out they couldn’t pay enough money for that, nerves burned right into brain stem weren’t easy to replace compared to the short damage to my eyes. So, I got low rez camera visions and bonus, and wheels.
They offered me a desk job. I took it because I’ve never been anything but a cop and I didn’t know what to do about it. And Dog came with me.
He was a year old by this time, and his trainer, that wasn’t me, showed him the ropes. Turned out he was a lot smarter than we thought, he seemed to understand every word. A lot of dogs do that. Turns out, Dog pretty much did. I looked closely at the feed.
“Hey, Dog.” He blinked once, slowly. “See that bit of wood by the left of the wagon?” He shifted his head slightly. “Yep, that’s an outhouse.” There was a low whine over the speakers. “Toilet.” A growl. “Yeah, he’s gonna go in there, you bet, when his cigarette is done.” Another growl. “Yeah, you can take him down.” There was a series of lows growls and whines. It took me a second to work out what Dog was asking, but then I worked it out.
“They’re not connected up,” I said, “not like at home, no toilet inside.” Affirmative growl. “He’s in, go.” I switched out, Dog running makes me feel sick. I watched the monitor carefully. Kenny came up on the left again, but this time he was quiet. After a second he took the desk next to mine and started pulling up map data. He slid a note over and looking down for a few seconds I read it, ‘Bear Swamp Wildlife Management Area.’ I nodded. About an hour through traffic.
“I’m gonna get local.” I hesitated. Sometimes local didn’t respond well to me talking through Dog’s collar, or to a duly deputised dog called Dog either. I shifted my weight back in the chair and shot him a look he couldn’t possibly decipher, but then nodded. Immediately he sprang out of the chair and speed dialled on his mobile walking a little away so he didn’t disturb me. Rosa drifted by, pausing to look at the screen. “I got night school. Good luck, Jaqueline, good luck Dog.” I looked away briefly and smiled. Dog likes Rosa. She moved on before I could lose my train of thought.
I could see Dog’s nose wrinkling, and the readout came back as he crouched by the outhouse, from what I saw I wasn’t surprised that Dog wasn’t enjoying it. We heard the zip and buckle, and the man came out of the outhouse, opening the door wide, so that for a moment Dog’s vision was blinded by the door, and then it was shut. I could see him clearly now, the, unfortunately, name Paul Bunyan, our perp.
He had this going for him, he liked dogs. Bending down he reached out to dog and let him sniff his hand before patting and ruffling his head.
“Well, where’d you come from boy, you lost?” Dog wagged his tail and barked a little, putting Bunyan at his ease. “Well ain’t you a friendly feller.” Dog jumped up, and I said,
“Now Dog!” And his jaws were around Bunyan’s throat, growling, and bearing him to the ground. I could hear him draw his gun, but I said through the speaker. “Paul Bunyan, by the power invested in me as a duly deputised office of the law I am placing you under arrest.” Very loudly. “I am Jaqueline Jacobs of the New York State Police, and holding you gently by the throat is Detective Dog, also of NYSP, and you make one goddamn move and he’ll rip your throat out. Put the gun down.” I saw the hand being raised slightly and Dog squeezed on the man’s neck. “I gotta warn ya, Bunyan, Dog makes his own mind up and he’s been shot once, so he ain’t that anxious to be shot again, so I’d think twice because you’re gonna be dead or under arrest don’t matter of Dog makes it or not,” Dog growled again, and Bunyan tossed the gun away a little in the dirt. “That’s right. Now reach and take the cuffs out of Dog’s little pouch in front. Yeah, that’s what I said. Now, Dog’s gonna let you go and you’re gonna put those cuffs and on, nice and tight, behind you.”
“You gotta be kidding!” It was the voice of the incredulous. I made my voice as flat and serious as I could.
“Dog don’t play. Do it. Say you’re gonna do it.”
“I’ll do it, don’t let him do anything,” Dog growled again low and deep.
“You ask him.”
“Please Mr Dog,”
“Please Detective Dog, I’ll put the cuffs on. Don’t rip my throat out. Good boy.” Mistake. WE know who the Good Boy is, miscreants don’t. Dog watched as the man rolled over, I could see that he’d soiled himself despite his visit to the toilet, and cuffed himself. Dog sat on him, but not before growling and nipping his ear.
“Dog says you don’t get the decide who the Good boy is.” I translated. “It ain’t you.”
Local arrived and I could hear Kenny on the phone making, well, a dog’s breakfast, of explaining the situation. I wheeled over the took the phone. Someone was shouting down the phone.
“Hey!” I shouted back. “Get your hand off your dick and give Dog the paperwork and ride back to town. You get me, or so help me I’ll drive down there and shoot your dick off myself, you hear me?”
“Who the hell you think you are, lady? I ain’t giving no dawg no goddamn paperwork. You just tell me what the hell is going on here and…” the voice trailed off. I could hear some talk, and see it on the screen as Dog looked at them. There was a heated argument as the deputy kept his hand over the microphone, but I could hear them clearly through Dog’s collar and implant.
“There ain’t no goddamn way. This is the most idiotic thing I ever seen, who in the hell is this guy anyhow.” He young companion, with a panicked look on his face said;
“Just talk to the Captain, Bryant, please!” The deputy strode over the to the car and snatched the radio from the young man’s hand. I couldn’t hear at that point, but I could see him mouth “holy mother of pearl” and draw his gun. Dog chose that moment, wisely, to get off the suspect.
Getting Dog back in the precinct was a joy, as always. It always made me nervous, thereafter, when he went out, but we were always a team, always on the case, Dog and me. That first medal though. Awesome.
Published January 2018