CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Word Count: 626
What are the five steps to a successful negotiation?
Reflexive use of words.
“You’re an idiot.” the woman said, leaning low over the illuminated table, her eyes shining harshly in the light. A harshness that was wry in nature, with a hint of playfulness in between.
“Such a basic vocabulary Michelle? My, my, too many nights spent wasting valuable police time with your Nightshift cohorts?” he spoke, snarling an answer back, slapping cruel words against her face as he peered at one photograph, placing it aside in favour of other one. His tone dropped at the end of his sentence, indicating a serious but harmless string of words, more created to be large and apparently offensive, than they were to have a real effect.
Looking one way, and meaning another.
“How dare you put your evidence in front of mine!” she shouted, raising her hands in the air, frustrated, and a loose end.
The man smiled, a grim, dry emotion that looked wrong on his face, and out of place.
“I need my results now, yours can wait a little longer, surely.” he said, arms folding across his chest, head inclined downwards, looking upon her, down at her, not evenly placing himself in the situation by any means. It was the vindictive smile that gave him away. It was all a game. A game that was so easily played by two skilled partakers in its varied, many occurring rounds of bitter rivalry and pretend fighting. They were getting better at pretending to be enemies and hiding the fact that, not entirely did they ever mean all of it.
Someone more important than them was walking through the lab, someone in a higher up position, someone with more power and influence than they had, combined. They smiled, acknowledge his presence, and Ecklie opened the door for her into the lab, let her in first because her arms were weighted down with books and boxes of evidence.
“Look meaningful. Shake my hand if we win.” she whispered, ducking out of his car, walking away to get a catcher’s mitt and take her position in a round of a team building softball match.
He looked after her, waited, and left the car shortly after, arriving as she was settling onto a hard wooden bench. He acknowledged his own shift with a nod as he took his own seat, not looking across at her, but talking amongst his co-workers instead. They spent the afternoon playing against each other, swinging, hitting, catching, missing, as if they didn’t have a separate life from all the petty bickering at angry words that meant nothing, not anything, no, nothing at all.
Talking it over to work it all out.
“It has to be done.” she said, placing a kiss against his neck, the smell of her shampoo, her perfume, invading his nose ever so slightly. He stroked her back, smiling to himself, absently pleasured in the comfortable depths of his home.
“Of course. But it’s easy, isn’t it?” he said, and she nodded, turning to kiss his lips as his words fell into the air, into silence.
“You don’t mind?” he said after some time, when her careful ministrations had abated away, leaving space for his mouth to move freely for the first time in many minutes.
“No, no I don’t, Conrad.” she said, and fell into still and quiet contemplation, her body still pressed against his chest, his back still flat against a wall. Eventually, she shrugged against him, and smiled playfully, her eyes set in that same wry placement that she used when arguing with him where no one could see, but might hear all the same.
“It’s fun.” Michelle said, and to this, Conrad Ecklie nodded. Their form of negotiation, was, indeed, fun, in many ways, indeed.