CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Word Count: 885
Surprise! Your mother/a priest/an arch nemesis/the tax man/dinosaurs/your ex/a famous talk show host is at the door -- and at a most inopportune moment! Now what?!
It wasn’t the explosive crack of thunder and lightning, or the pounding rain, that awoke Conrad Ecklie as it ticked just past two o’clock, in the morning. It was the knocking on his front door, the traces of which his ears picked up, and his brain responded to by jolting him back into the land of the awake, and overtly grumpy. Slipping on a pair of slippers and a nightgown, the man retrieved his gun from his bedside table draw and made his way to the front door. Unable to discern anything through the peephole but a dark, vaguely familiar mass, even with the nearby front lights, he unlocked the door, left the chain on and opened it a mere crack, gun ready, but held at his side.
“It’s Grissom.” the huddled mass said, turning to stare more directly at what part of the glowering face could be seen through the slightly opened door.
Inwardly, Ecklie sighed, then closed the door and reopened it, this time minus the infringement of the security chain. He blinked at the other man, waiting for him to say something, and when he didn’t, he turned around and walked to the kitchen, placing his gun down on the kitchen table and switching on the kettle, leaving Grissom to shut the door by himself. When the Nightshift appeared in the kitchen also, the Dayshift turned to face him with a violent glare.
“Do you enjoy disturbing my sleep Gil? Or, is this just another cruelly pulled folly of yours, to try and slip me up? Have you at all realised what time it is?” the man said, his tone icy, voice cool and controlled, but still, full of an almost, unnecessary, rage. Grissom merely shrugged, and took a seat at the table, looking at the gun with an amused suspicion.
“Do you always greet your guests so favourably Conrad?” he said, smiling tiredly in the light given off from the light bulb in the kitchen ceiling, which had been switched on before he entered the room. He had the look of a drowned rat, and knew, that the man making him a cup of coffee, would revel in it.
Soon both men were seated at the table, cups of coffee in hand, staring at each other, waiting for something to be said, to be explained.
“Nothing has changed.” Grissom said, matter-of-factly, staring at his co-worker’s face with a look of ambient calmness, which, subsequently, did not affect the Dayshift, one bit. Indeed, nothing had changed since he had come into the home and gotten as far as the kitchen. In the many years that had passed since that time, he had been over to the home of Conrad Ecklie a handful of times, and during those times, had only ever, really, stood outside or just inside the front door. Ecklie was a private man, a damaged man, that was obvious.
“What do you want?” the Dayshift said, glaring still, and then taking a drink from his coffee mug. The conversation was already stilted and awkward, and yet, utterly familiar. They had known each other, too long, to care about the niceties of formal manners and the like. Ecklie had never care about those things, with concern to Grissom, to begin with.
Placing the folder, forgotten on his lap, on the table, Grissom opened it and launched into an explanation about a suspected murder and kidnapping. A jealous ex-lover or rival, or something, had killed the family left the mother clinging to life, and kidnapped the small boy. They thought the boy might have been dumped in the dessert, but the search had been called off as night fell, and manpower was not enough to keep going, and as the violent storm begun. Ecklie, in his pyjamas and slippers still, sat and watched, nodded and spoke a couple of words as needed, when needed. It seemed, as he had suspected, that Grissom would like to borrow his team the next day, steal them away and halt his work, so he could go find the child, go get the evidence, solve the case. The man’s conviction of success was so strong, it was almost bewildering.
But he agreed, and it was cleared with a phone call and his words of “Yes, ok.”
When day came, when the rain cleared up, they found the child in a soggy cardboard box in the middle of nowhere and he was black and blue and half dead. Ecklie watched from the sidelines as the small boy was lifted into an ambulance, his face protected from the sun by his hat. All was fair, all was well, justice had been done and they had won it out, yet again, or so it seemed. Of course, he felt nothing, felt no surprise or happiness, jubilation or relief. He just felt nothing but an air of procedural completion, and the need to get back to his own work, his own domain, his own life. Grissom had already encroached on his day so early in the morning, and so now, all he wanted to do, was get back to his work, and continue on. He didn’t like surprises, and surprises didn’t like him, and, frankly, he liked it that way, completely, and utterly, in the most fullest sense of the term.