The following is a scene featuring a supporting character from the world of An Uncertain Confidence, a Rocky Row Novel.
Nikki Kant drummed her fingers on her desk’s cheap veneer while she listened to the city liaison ramble on her voicemail. The desk was one of those cheap particle board models you order over the internet and assemble yourself and had a tendency to wobble if her daily paperwork and personal clutter wasn’t placed on its surface just right. The vibration from her finger’s impact sent a pen rolling off its edge. She didn’t bother to pick it up.
The liaison’s voice increased in volume, becoming more clipped by the second as he worked himself into a rage. Apparently, helping a friend was the sort of thing that was frowned upon in the eyes of the city. She’d heard enough. Returning the out-dated handset to its cradle, she pulled out a desk drawer. Her fingers paused over the accordion folder that hid her secret stash of dark chocolate covered caramel seasoned with sea salt. I’m going to need this. She pulled out the accordion folder out as well as a second file folder.
The drawer stuck when she tried to shove it close. Nikki tried again. The drawer remained firmly in its position. Figures, she thought. Folders in hand, Nikki walked over to her boss’ office. By the look of his expression through the glass window, he was off to a similar morning. She tapped on the door with her knuckle before letting herself in without waiting for him to wave.
“Do you realize I’ve had five reporters call me already?” He glanced at the clock hanging on the wall over her head. “It’s not even nine.” His desk phone rang. The chief frowned. “I’m guessing that’s another one now. Do you want to explain what you were thinking?”
“Not particularly, no. It shouldn’t matter. I was off duty.”
“Off duty or not, what you do reflects on this department. I hope you understand how serious this situation is.”
“I don’t, actually. All I did was go for a run.”
“That’s not all you did and you and I both know it.”
The chief stood and placed his hands on his desk. “You’re on your way to a suspension pending a full investigation into your behavior over the last few weeks – you understand that, don’t you.”
“That won’t be necessary, sir,” said Nikki separating the accordion holding her stash from the second folder containing a single sheet of paper.
The chief’s eyebrow shot up. “You’re quitting?” He sat back in his chair. It creaked under his weight. “I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed. I thought it would take more to break you.”
Nikki snorted. She opened the thin folder and pulled out its contents. “I’m anything but broken,” she said placing the resignation letter on his desk. “I suggest you read it.” She tucked the accordion folder under her arm. She wasn’t going to need reinforcements after all. Finally going through with her decision after drafting the letter days ago felt better than eating a dozen chocolate bars.
The chief stared at the piece of paper. “This changes nothing,” he said.
“Oh, I’m pretty sure it changes everything.” She removed the badge from her breast and placed it on the desk next to her resignation letter.
“You walk out that door, and you’re on your own. I won’t be able to protect you anymore.”
Nikki smiled. “I survived three tours. I think I can manage.”
A brief knock on the door announced their meeting. Rangle poked his head in. “Chief, I just heard-” He noticed Nikki’s presence then his gaze moved to the chief’s desk. He couldn’t have missed the badge nor the sheet of paper. “I knew it,” he said. “I pegged you as a quitter your first day.”
“I’m not surprised,” said Nikki. “You’ve always been a terrible detective.”
Rangle’s face took on a shade of puce. He turned to the chief. “So, as I was saying, I just heard that we got a lead on that bomb threat last week.”
“It’s a distraction,” said Nikki. “If either of you had only listened–”
“That’s enough, Ms. Kant.” The chief slammed his palm down on the desk. “You’ve made your decision.” He nodded at her resignation letter. “Now, how about you get out of my office so the rest of us can do the job you’re walking away from.”
I’m not walking away from anything, she thought. She turned on her heel and opened the office door. I’m just not following your rules anymore. She closed the door with a bang. A few of the other officers lingering nearby glanced her way at the sound, but no one stopped her as she made her way past the main desk and out the door. Nikki smiled. It was just as well. They wouldn’t have been able to stop her now, even if they’d tried.