Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language, violence, and mature content.
“Winslow! Winslow, wake up!”
The detective’s world was starting to come out of the darkness and into the focus he had lost when discovering Reggie had indeed drugged him. All Winslow could be thankful for at this moment was the fact the Brit hadn’t taken it a step farther. Winslow could very well be lying in another gutter right now, dead or otherwise maimed, and there wouldn’t be a young detective leaning over him. The series of shouts came from a form that could only be Detective Norton and he internally cursed the hangover that was quickly approaching.
“Winslow, you’re worrying me,” Norton now said, with his voice defeated and slightly mournful. Winslow tried to reach out to grab the arm that was hanging half over him, only to realize that all of his limbs were numb. No matter how much he tried to wriggle away from the invisible bonds holding him to the ground, Winslow still felt himself being pulled downward. If only by the force of gravity because he knew his weight was too lacking to hold him down right now. And it surely was not Norton accidentally putting a knee in his chest - they had dealt with an incident like that before.
Forcing the words out of his mouth and trying once more to grab at the young detective, Winslow managed to say, “It’s not good, Billy.”
Winslow felt himself being pulled into arms again and being pressed against the star badge on someone’s chest. The noticeable form of Billy swayed in front of him with multiple duplications hanging out in their alleyway. He had absolutely no idea what Reggie had drugged him with or how it managed to get into his system, but whatever it was, it was absolutely dreadful. The sickness kept trying to rise out of his chest, but Winslow forced himself to relax.
The person the arms belonged to finally identified themself as, “It’s okay, Detective. It’s just me, Officer Morgan.”
This slight moment of intimacy soon scared Winslow, letting him push himself off the ground and staggered towards one of the brick walls. Morgan’s one arm was still around his shoulder, but it wasn’t the same compromising the position that he had been stuck in before. If that Captain Jones was still hanging around and had seen something like that…
“Captain Jones!” Winslow suddenly exclaimed.
He turned to look at the surprised faces of Norton and Morgan, with Morgan’s slight fingers still curved around his arm. The detective and the patrol officer remained silent as Winslow leaned against the wall and ruffled through the pockets of his trench coat. Surely with everything Winslow had witnessed this morning, he would have remembered to write something down before slipping completely into the abyss.
Breaking the silence once again, he quickly asked, “My hat? Where’s my hat?”
“It’s in our car, Winslow. You didn’t take it with you,” Norton explained while quickly grabbing Winslow’s other arm. Now both of his coworkers were struggling to keep him upright, but Winslow couldn’t risk making himself anymore vulnerable.
Forgetting about his own situation for a moment, he asked, “What happened with the scene at the Saenger?”
He felt some of the stability coming back into his body as Norton flipped through the noisy notebook. Winslow was slowly realizing how much of the pain was in his head and there was just a bit of numbness left in his body. And even now as he stood on his own, Morgan’s fingers hung around his upper arm and the two exchanged slight glances.
Winslow had already turned the young man down once before and he didn’t want to do it again.
Norton was completely unaware of the underlying situation as he began explaining, “The brawl was ended within a few minutes with the arrival of Morgan and his partner. From this point, I assumed that you had already made it inside but when talking to the manager Detective Smith was not present. The manager explained that the ‘corpse’ we had come to inspect had walked off on its own, due to a mistake by the person who originally took their pulse. And then Morgan and I had the manager write up a summary of their damages.”
The notebook clicked back before Norton continued with a question, asking, “Where were you anyways, Winslow?”
Despite everything in his head telling him just to lie to the two men, Winslow decided he should try and let them in on a little bit of the intelligence community happenings. He had never talked much about his life to these boys but if Reggie already had people in the force, he could maybe let some classified information slide.
“It’s a long story with a lot of parts that I can’t tell y’all while we’re out in public,” he explained while pushing himself off the wall. Winslow took the cigarette case out of his breast pocket, lit a new cigarette and started walking towards the car. No footsteps followed him at first and there were the clear sighs of Billy trying to figure out what to do. However, the senior detective continued walking along, pushing his shirt sleeve up to find that his watch hadn’t been broken in the fall.
When he had left their squad car, the clock had barely struck 9:30 in the morning and it was now nearing on noon. Winslow didn’t know what all had happened in that time - including where he had gone and how long the boys had been trying to revive him in the alleyway - but he knew there was plenty of work to be done. If someone cared enough to send Reggie across the shining sea to stop inquiries into the life of Daniel Johnson, it was something more important than the death of a socialite.
The case had already been stressful with the widow who seemingly didn’t give a fuck, a complete lack of reliable witnesses, and an unnecessarily high profile beginning. The detective didn’t want to think too much about all of those complexities while his head was splitting down the middle. He walked the rest of the distance to their car, yanking the door open, sliding inside, and fishing around beneath the seat for his thermos of coffee. By this time it was likely cold and stale, but the whole ordeal had left him rather dehydrated.
Once he managed to swallow a single swig, Winslow slammed the door shut on their squad car, taking a short glance out the window to see Norton still arguing with Morgan in the doorway. He had already witnessed enough arguments between allies today and soon found a hat to place over his face. The brim left just enough shadow over his eyes so their confrontation would be out of sight and out of mind.