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How Do You Plead: 2.3

by CaptainJack


Warning: This work has been rated 18+.

When he was almost out of earshot, Winslow heard a quiet, “God bless you too, sir.”

He stood in the wind for a moment, letting it run by his head with a sharp whistle and try to pull up his coat from its open flaps. Everything about the situation told Winslow to keep walking - that he should be satisfied with how far his good deed went. The words of people in the bull pen echoed in his ears when they talked about the people in the drunk tank.

His fathers words echoed, constantly being combated by his mother’s screams and his grandmother’s crying every time little Winslow was left in her house. As the past rushed by in a single moment, Winslow turned around to return contact with the soldier in the alleyway. Something about that voice made him turn around. The slightest bit of an accent mixed with a course smoker’s cough reminded him of someone he had met during the war.

“What’s your name soldier?” Winslow asked he offered his cigarette case to the sitting man.

Winslow took note of the tattered combat jacket - more worn by the street conditions than the obviously mended bullet holes in the sleeves. On the inside pocket, this man wore a case with attached awards and badges, exactly in the style that Winslow had seen many Great War veterans do. The Combat Infantry Badge was an unmistakable glinting rifle next to the rough, unpolished figure of George Washington. And it wasn’t surprising that an Infantryman would care more about something unique to them, rather than a Purple Heart. It was still glorious and honorable in its own right, but still clearly not the same.

Taking a cigarette from the case and pulling a lighter from a dirty pocket, the man answered, “Sergeant Major Applebaum, sir.”

As the soldier sat up further, memories of meeting a platoon with members of the First Special Service Force quickly rushed back to Winslow. He had gone a party in Italy (with a little bit of encouragement from his partner) and they had been introduced to other members of the OSS. Those gatherings had always been odd occurrences, a collection of spies placed in the same room and trying to make conversation about anything but the war.

There came another cough from the seated soldier as he said, “Detective Smith, if you would kindly get into the Plymouth down the block, a mutual friend would like to have a conversation with you.”

Sergeant Applebaum brought himself up slowly, leaning on a properly worn cane. He noted the collection of carvings that ran up and down the sides with markings of places the man had been. Some were foreign airport call signs while others were nearby postal codes. Winslow couldn’t tell quite how far the disguise went, but he hoped that the sergeant hadn’t been pushed into the same state as others. Reginald wasn’t the best command agent in history and had little integrity at times, but he was a good enough man to treat his operatives fairly.

“Would our mutual friend be a certain foreign agent named Reginald Smith?”

Applebaum didn’t comment. He simply guided Winslow down the street to the waiting Army-green Plymouth De Luxe sedan. The detective had to keep himself from laughing at the color of the car with a wondering for what federal mechanics lot Reggie must have stolen it off of. Before Winslow even sat down, he had lit a cigarette and was prepared to blow the smoke right into the agent’s face.

Without missing a single beat, Reggie met him with a chipper voice by saying, “Good morning, Winslow. I do hope that you had a series of happy holidays since your early retirement.”

The British agent was dressed in pale gray and distinctly Italian suit that matched perfectly to the place in the War Room that he had accepted. When he glanced down to the slick, black leather shoes, the detective spotted a bit of mud. And as his eyes turned to the shoe on the left, he happened to notice a few droplets of blood soaking into Reggie’s socks.

Winslow tried not to think too much about who Reggie had probably killed this morning, focusing instead on a singular peacock feather in the band of the man’s fedora. He was glad to see that the agent had maintained the dramatic and mysterious elements that had been so present in their meetings during the war. This car wasn’t quite as dimly lit as the one Reggie had parked sideways on the Avenue of the Americas on a fateful Wednesday.

“Well, Reggie, I’m not even going to try and be polite about it. You’ve obviously been keeping an eye on me, so you obviously know what a terrible time I’ve been having.”

The agent shifted a bit in his seat, their trousers rubbing against each other as they sat side by side, and Reggie tried to wiggle away. There had been patrols of people nearby Winslow’s dim residence, but he had blamed it on his constant paranoia. Now with the discovery of Sergeant Applebaum in the alleyway, Winslow’s anger was boiling in his chest. He slowly recovered to a cooler state, once again smoking his cigarette with the window cracked, and waiting to see what revelation his friend would propose this time.

Reggie’s hand had to moved resting gently between their thighs and Winslow could see a hint of tears in his eyes. Like their last meeting, this one was causing some sort of deep emotional response for the British agent. And this conclusion was confirmed as Reggie said, “I’m not here to call you back into service.”

There was a pause as the agent’s voice broke while saying, “I know…I know that you wouldn’t survive it if I even called you back for a desk job. But I am here to ask a favor.”

Winslow took out his own handkerchief, pushing it into Reggie’s palm and asked, “What sort of favor do you need?”

As he watched the agent dry his eyes in the tense moment, Winslow presumed that Reggie had come here to ask him to kill someone. It wouldn’t be the first time Winslow had been enjoying a relatively happy existence and been called off to a death match. And if his connections carried on the way that they always did, it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

“If you discover certain things about the Johnson murder, things relating to national security…”

The agent had quickly trailed off, wiping his eyes once more before folding the handkerchief back into a neat square. In this form, it was far neater than the piece of cloth that Winslow had thrust into his palm, and for a moment he missed the young, Lieutenant John Smith that he had met in 1936.

Things had been far simpler for them then.

“What about them, Reggie?” Winslow asked amid the silence of holding his hand over the handkerchief in Reggie’s. Their fingertips touched just enough to be friendly and neither withdrew, even with Reggie’s answer of:

“I’ll need you to ignore them in your report.”

It would be hard for Winslow to break that code.


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Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:03 pm
ExOmelas wrote a review...



Hey Jack, I figure one way to get to that unicorn would be to review this then review a whole bunch of your green room chapters ^.^

“Would our mutual friend be a certain foreign agent named Reginald Smith?”

Wait, Reginald is also called Smith?

Winslow tried not to think too much about who Reggie had probably killed this morning, focusing instead on a singular peacock feather in the band of the man’s fedora.

Loving his outfit

for a moment he missed the young, Lieutenant John Smith that he had met in 1936.

Another Smith? I don't understand who this is.

It would be hard for Winslow to break that code.

I am unsure what code you mean. Like, a code between the police not to conceal information? That would make sense, it's just that "that code" makes me think it's a code that has just been described, but what's just been described is essentially his affection for Reggie, and he's not being asked to break that I don't think.

Overall:

I mean obviously I ship it :P And I like that it can't be straightforward because they clearly have different goals in life. Like, if they were to become partners tomorrow Winslow would have to deal with the fact that his boyfriend has probably just come from killing someone, and he'd have to decide if he was okay with loving someone like that. And then seemingly there's a power dynamic as well. Plus seemingly neither of them are like, out, which makes sense given the time period. But like I'm unsure how much each of them knows about the other which could be something of a barrier. But that might just be me forgetting because I haven't read the other chapters in a while.

Hope this helps,
Biscuits :)




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Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:41 pm
BluesClues wrote a review...



He simply guided Winslow down the street to the waiting Army-green Plymouth De Luxe sedan.


Not gonna lie, I'm super amused that this car is army-green, considering who's leading him to it and how much army/WWI stuff was just mentioned.

He was glad to see that the agent had maintained the dramatic and mysterious elements that had been so present in their meetings during the war.


Aka Winslow always liked Reggie's ~Dramatic and Mysterious~ persona and would be a bit depressed to find him different aka less attractive. Also, I love how Reggie is, like, such a dandy, with his peacock feather in his hat band, but then he's got blood in his socks. Did he not think to bring fresh socks to change into after makng the kill?

The agent shifted a bit in his seat, their trousers rubbing against each other as they sat side by side, and Reggie tried to wiggle away.

Reggie’s hand had to moved resting gently between their thighs and Winslow could see a hint of tears in his eyes.

amid the silence of holding his hand over the handkerchief in Reggie’s. Their fingertips touched just enough to be friendly and neither withdrew


good god I already ship it so much

Also if I'm understanding this right, Reggie might be kind of a persona and identity he's put on since he and Winslow first met? And it sounds like maybe they were an Item back then but things got all complicated with war and whatnot? In which case you know what a sucker I am for that kind of dynamic, right?

Oh, heck. Here I thought Reggie was about to ask Winslow to find out things about this murder, but apparently...NOPE, COVER THEM UP. I don't know enough about Winslow yet to know how he'll feel about that or about Reggie to know how usual this sort of thing is for him, but I'm interested in finding out.

Just as an aside before I move on to the next bit - I feel like this reads a little more smoothly than the last couple things of yours I read. Like I obviously adored Will and Harry, but I feel like sometimes the way the narration flowed and the way characters' thoughts went it was hard for me to keep track of what was going on.

(Although part of that was simply the fact that the timeline sort of jumped around and the whole thing was set far in the future, whereas this seems to be set post-WWI but pre-WWII but *close* to WWII. I'm not entirely sure, but the mention of the Great War definitely puts me post-WWI, and WWII clearly at least isn't *called* WWII yet, even if it's begun.)

So anyway, I just wanted to mention that. I had a little confusion, e.g. I *think* I'm right about Reggie being the past John Smith, but if I've got that wrong then you know I was confused there. Overall, however, I found it reasonably easy to follow, plus when I didn't - like when we first met Applebaum - I just kept reading until things became clear, which is not a problem for me. It's only when I keep reading and keep being confused that I'm like "okay wait a second what's going on here."




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Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:28 am
niteowl wrote a review...



Hi there Jack! Niteowl here with a review for the Clear Sky Protocol this fine Review Day. Also Schadenfreude and fahrvergnügen for the Review Day Stats. :P Anyway, on to the review!

I feel like the first sentence might have made more sense at the end of the last chapter.

The words of people in the bull pen echoed in his ears when they talked about the people in the drunk tank.


This seems like an odd aside. I can't figure out how it relates to this moment of flashbacks and recognition. Maybe it's because I don't actually hear the words of the officers in the bull pen or his father.

Something about that voice made him turn around. The slightest bit of an accent mixed with a course smoker’s cough reminded him of someone he had met during the war.


Nitpick: "course" should be "coarse".

So...this homeless man is actually a fellow spy? Was he just waiting for Winslow to walk by? It seems like Winslow was approaching him as a stranger, but then he recognized him from a party he went to during the war? It's a strange setup.

Seems odd that Reggie would still be wearing bloody socks with a fancy outfit. Wouldn't a long time agent be more subtle?

In this form, it was far neater than the piece of cloth that Winslow had thrust into his palm, and for a moment he missed the young, Lieutenant John Smith that he had met in 1936.


Uh...wait a minute, are there three Smiths now? Winslow himself, Reggie, and now this John Smith? Or are Reggie and John the same person? I recommend maybe not having so many Smiths to make this less confusing, especially if Reggie is going to be a big part of the plot. Also, you don't need the comma after "young".

I like that we're going back to the Johnson case and tying that into Winslow's personal life with the introduction of Reggie. I'm very curious about how this all plays out. Keep writing! :D





I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters.
— Solomon Short