Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language, violence, and mature content.
“Well Lieutenant Morton,” Winslow began as he presented his badge to the seated sailor. “I was hoping that we could have a few polite words without any violence or heartbreak.”
Standing beside Winslow, Norton remained as the silent soldier following orders and the accomplice in all of the elder detective’s capers. Out of the corner of his eye, Winslow could see slight twitches of Norton’s trigger finger, but didn’t push him back this time. Further eye contact with the sailor seated at the bar brought the realization that Morton could see his partner’s movements too.
The room was far too tense for the questions that they were going to be asking.
Winslow knew that he had caused plenty of trouble when he came into the bar room - that wasn’t the warm welcome he had been expecting. But he didn’t exactly know how to behave in one of these establishments either. Or really any establishment that the man made his way into. Bars that were stateside during peace time had an entirely different feel from taking shots of whiskey while the bombs rained down.
The sailor at the bar had been nursing a drink while the detective stood there gathering his thoughts and he was surprised that the seated man spoke first.
“I think you might be a little more acquainted with misery and heartbreak than me, sir. But I’d be willing to risk some heartbreak for a couple of good rounds with you.”
Norton’s awkward breathing and uncomfortable stance was starting to bother Winslow, and he half feared that he was going to slip up and further make his secrets known. He pulled the younger detective away from the bar, ignoring the ongoing winks from the seated sailor, and in a hushed voice said, “Norton, why don’t you wait out in the car? You can monitor the streets and make conversation with the rest of the smokers.”
With his hand still on his side arm, the younger detective nervously asked, “Are you going to be okay in here by yourself, Winslow?”
But from the way he was asking it sounded more like “Are you sure I’m going to be okay outside by myself?” He could understand some of the young man’s anxiety, but the interview might get further if Winslow could pretend to be flirting back. And it would be much easier to flirt without Norton lurking around like a hurt puppy.
The hurt puppy stood there for a few moments more, glancing his eyes between the floor and Winslow’s own. It didn’t take him much longer to get the hint and the younger detective was making his way to the door as quickly as possible. Winslow waited until he was all the way out of it to turn back to questioning Morton.
“Based on what you witnessed last night, Mr. Morton, I think you already know why I’m here. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t you accompany your mother to a New Year’s party last night?”
Morton pushed the glass tumbler around the bar, tapping gently at the sides and on the wood of the bar. The detective could hear the sharp nails clinking against the surface and a quick observation showed off the lieutenant’s neat manicure. Winslow looked down at his own nails before quickly tucking them away. The sailor looked around the room another time before he answered.
“Yes, I did go with that party to my mother. And if you’re here to ask if I saw Danny lying at the bottom of the staircase with a broken…everything,” Morton trailed off while taking another sip of his drink. He finished the drink before he continued by asking, “How did he die?”
“We don’t exactly know that happened but I am a bit surprised to hear that you know the victim on a first name basis. Exactly how well did you know Mr. Johnson?”
“I know this is going to sound terrible to say, but do you mind if we go somewhere besides this bar to talk? The Cabaret is nice. I just don’t think that you want to be in here.”
Without any notice, Morton threw a bit of money down on the counter and grabbed onto Winslow’s hand. The detective allowed himself to be led to the back of the bar, down a corridor, and into a dark office at the back of the building. A quick look around the walls revealed that the office was a mixture of boxing matches and pin up models of many different presentations. There was no name on the door, along with no name on the desk. He ran his fingers along the entry way until he came across a switch. The electricity was crackling in the room as it made its way to the dingy looking bulb in the dangerous looking circuit.
Morton’s hands were back on his own as the sailor pushed the switch back down.
“There’s a reason that this office is vacant, sir. The last person that tried to fix the electricity in this room ended up on a stretcher and in a hospital room for a couple of weeks.”
Winslow let his fingers be taken from the switch and they folded in with Morton’s. Even just thinking about the action in his head felt awkward. Either by how long it had been since he had held hands with someone or by how similar the witness’s name was to his partner’s. It only took the shortest touch for Winslow’s mind to wander around to ideas of domestic bliss. And also to the feeling of how awkward it would be to work with Norton and know he would go home to fuck Morton.
“Is there something distracting you, sir?”
Morton’s constant use of the term ‘sir’ was throwing Winslow even farther off his rhythm. He could have taken this moment as the chance to pull his fingers apart from the sailors, but he left them twined together.
“I’m going to be honest about the fact that I’m just a bit surprised about holding hands with someone.”
Winslow thought that maybe Morton would release some of his grip. As it turned out, the sailor only tightened the link between their hands. He smiled as he asked, “Detective, do you mind telling me your first name? There’s no doubt about the fact you already know mine.”
“Well, James, my first name is Winslow. My Christian name if you wish to be particular about it, darling.”