Twelve

TJ wanted to wait until they had dusted the outside handle before someone let him out. He refused to open the door from the inside.  Paul tried to reason with him, finally in exasperation he yelled.
“TJ, they sure as hell didn’t drag that body and gurney through the driver’s door. Open the Goddamn door and get the hell out so they can tow this thing!”
TJ unlocked the door, and Paul opened it.
“Damn it Paul, if we don’t find that body and catch who ever took it, BEcause you had to have your way, I will never forgive you.”
“TJ, you still haven’t forgiven me for flipping that canoe at camp.  I think I will survive.  Just add it to my bill.”
Paul walked away to calm down and allow TJ time to calm down.
The panic that TJ had held in until now, was let loose. Yelling at every person between him and Paul’s cruiser.  TJ had fond feelings for the former Mayor.  Like family, as he was to many citizens in the city, county and from far across the state.  It was a hard enough moment for him to have to take the man’s body away from his wife and family.  Grief had not yet struck the little community.  Everyone was keeping a tight rein on the events. The death alone was a shock.  The insult was the loss of the corpse.
TJ made it as far as the cruiser and stood.  Confused and the tears started.  Talking to himself about manhood and admonishing himself to suck it up and be a man, TJ folded his long body into the car, and buckled in.
“Last thing I wants to hear is for him to tell me to buckle up. He’d probably just as soon set me in the back, with the cuffs on.”
Paul left the scene in the hands of his best investigator. The state crime lab was sending a reconstruction team over to assist in the case.  Paul would take TJ to his office to interview and take a sworn statement.  He had already sent another car over to the hospital to begin taking initial statements and set up interview room to take official statements before those working left their shift.

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