Bail or no bail

The bacon sat on the plate, wobbling as Wales poked it with his fork. It didn't look like it had been cooked properly... or like bacon either for that matter: part of it was blotched white with fat and there was a metallic sheen over part of it as well. Metallic sheen? Since when did bacon have that? Wales pushed the plate away from him. He forced himself to believe that he wasn't hungry. The watch on his left wrist ticked menacingly and Wales stared at it unblinking, feeling a sensation in his stomach as it growled in response. Five past eight the watch read. Sighing, he turned back to the piece of...meat(or whatever it was meant to be) in front of him and pulled the plate closer again. It tasted even worse than it looked. Forcing down the meat took an awful lot of effort on Wales' part and the squeak it made when he bit into it was... well, bacon shouldn't make that noise. Still, it was food, and in jail, he really couldn't expect any better. Mind you, outside of jail he would've had his breakfast a little later. He wouldn't have had bacon either - he was vegetarian - but inside they didn't care: if you got bacon, you'd eat bacon or starve.

The plate was briskly taken away and replaced with a mug of coffee. Wales didn't drink coffee - he hated the stuff - and so he just glared at the offending mug for a few minutes. When this didn't remove the nuisance, he gave in and drank it quickly, so as to make sure he didn't have to taste it for long. He soon regretted it, gagging  and spluttering coffee over the cell floor as he choked on it. On top of this, he found out that that coffee taste stays in your mouth for ages. Or at least until you brush your teeth again. Wales glanced over at the basin, complete with his toothbrush and toothpaste, at the wall. Damn, he was almost out of toothpaste. He'd just have to weather the lingering coffee for now.

Things were different when he was on the outside: if he was out of toothpaste, his wife would just buy a new tube. Not now of course. The second he'd been locked behind bars she'd taken their daughter and left him for some actor. Or was it an actress? He forgot now. Not that it mattered; she was gone for good now.

"Sir!" barked a police officer who had appeared at the cell door, "Your bail has been posted!"

Bail? But that was impossible. He'd been in a fight in the prison the day before with some drug dealers, doing the police's work for them even on the inside - that's why he was in solitary confinement now. Bail? How could this be?

The officer noticed the questioning look on Wales' face and immediately offered an explanation.

"It's the superintendent, sir! There's been a disappearance. She knows you're our top detective, bent copper or not, and no-one's been able to make heads or tails of this case so far so she pulled a few strings."

Wales sighed. So they wanted him out for a while so he could solve all their problems for them, only to be locked back in when he wasn't needed any more. Typical.

"I refuse," he said, grumbling,"I'm not the superintendent's lapdog,"

The officer grinned, "She said you'd say that, sir. In that case, she'll be down to see you personally to convince you otherwise very soon."

Wales' eyes shot from the ground to the policeman and he visibly shuddered. No. Anything but that. That woman would tear him limb from limb and throw the pieces into a blender, still alive, just detatched from each other. And that was just for being her subordinate, let alone his crime... He shuddered again and limped towards the door: he was stiff after spending only a week in prison. Although he hated to admit it, he would never last a year, let alone his full sentence. But his fear of the Superintendent Jennifer Cooper was the only thing that could've stirred James Wales to go back to his old job, even temporarily. His eyes told everything to the policeman.

Unlocking the door, the officer saluted once, sharply, handed a note to Wales and then briskly returned to his post. The message was in very florid handwriting that Wales recognised, with an icy shiver, belonged to the Superintendent herself. The shiver was amplified when he managed to concentrate enough to read the note:

"Welcome back to hell, Detective Inspector Wales, I hope you enjoyed your holiday. Get to the station by nine prompt for briefing - Supt Cooper."

Nine prompt? But the station was half way across the town and he had no money for a taxi. He was going to have to run. And fast...

The End

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