The Grim Reaper often came knocking when it was unexpected. That was something Eileen Edwards had figured out years ago. So when the phone on her desk rang at just after eight in the morning on Sunday, February 8th, she knew it wouldn’t be good news.
“Call from Law-ree Nor-man,” the androgynous call display voice told her.
Constable Larry Norman was a detective in Vancouver’s Gang Task Force—and her former partner.
Eileen picked up the phone and grimaced as a twinge of pain shot through her right hand. “Sorry I can’t come to the phone right now. Please leave your name and—”
“Really, Eileen? Is that the best you can do?”
“—after the beep. Beeeep.”
There was a slight pause. Then Larry said, “You done?”
She sighed and adjusted her reading glasses. “I hope this is a crank call.”
“I need a favor. I need you to find a street kid named Zipper.”
“You do know this is Family Day weekend and my first weekend off in forever.”
“But you’re already up and working anyway,” Larry said.
Eileen leaned back in the chair and glanced across the room. The white letters on the glass door of the office reminded her that E.Y.E. Spy Investigations had bills to pay. “How do you know? Maybe you woke me.”
Larry chuckled. “You’re in your office. I can hear your printer gasping for breath in the background.”
She glared at the hefty, aging machine that was busy groaning and vomiting up paper like Linda Blair puking up pea soup. Maybe the printer needed an exorcism. Papers scattered on the floor told her she’d forgotten to extend the catch tray again. Another sheet shot out, and she caught it before it hit the floor with the others.
“You know, you should really trade that antique in for a modern printer,” Larry said. “Maybe one built after 1990.”
“It works fine. Now what’s so important about this Zippy kid?”
“What did he do—kill someone?”
“No, the opposite. We think he witnessed a murder.”
“Poor kid.” She sighed. “What do you know about him?”
“Not much. He’s about fourteen. No priors. His mother is dead. Father unknown. He’s not a big kid—wears a Canucks cap and gets around by skateboard.”
Eileen scribbled notes on the back of the paper. “What’s his real name?”
“No idea. He was raised by the street. Everyone calls him Zipper.”
She frowned. “Is he a prostitute?”
“No. He’s just fast on a skateboard.”
“Then they should have called him Zippy. Tell me about the murder.”
“You know I’m not supposed to talk about an active GTF investigation.”
“I need to know what I’m dealing with.”
“Okay,” Larry said, lowering his voice, “but you didn’t hear this from me.”
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