Tyler Fuse’s middle name probably should have been Short. He sat still now, in the back of the police cruiser. His forehead bloodied from where he’d smashed it into the shielded glass partition between him and the two police officers in the front. They had laughed at him until he’d stopped, slumping back awkwardly in his seat, his cuffed arms behind him.
The cruiser sped along the coastline and after a time this struck Tyler as wrong, the police station located somewhere near the center of the city. His instincts were confirmed when the cruiser pulled off to the shoulder along a lonely stretch of beach. The sun was dipping now into the water, its light defusing pink and orange across the cloud strewn sky.
“Hey!” Tyler leaned towards the glass and shouted at the cops. “You takin’ a coffee break? I haven’t got all day here!” They ignored him.
After fifteen minutes of awkward silence with nothing but his thoughts to keep him company, a black sedan pulled over behind them and a man in a dark trench coat stepped out. At this the two officers exited the vehicle, the first opening Tyler’s door and the second snapping out his baton.
“Out.” The officer ordered. Tyler stared at him for a moment before he complied. The man in the coat smiled at Tyler as he walked to where the shoulder of the road met the sand of the beach.
“Come stand with me a moment Mr. Fuse.” He said. When Tyler didn’t move the police each took him by an arm and walked him over to where the man stood.
“Please, sit.” The man said. The second officer cracked Tyler across the back with his baton and then across the back of the legs, dropping him. Tyler grunted from the impact of the blows, collecting himself and leaning his back against the door of the police cruiser, the car blocking him from any traffic that might pass on the road. The man turned and looked down at Tyler through mirror-black sunglasses.
“My name is Lieutenant Greer, I can’t say that it is a pleasure to meet you but I will compliment you on your work at the boardwalk. Though I must say it looks like you’re down on the scoreboard. 0-2 wouldn’t you say?” Greer grinned.
Fuse growled and stormed forward, almost gaining his feet before crumpling under a storm of blows from the baton, the staccato impacts echoing down the beach to the water.
“I’m here to make you an offer. In regards to the suspect at the fair grounds. His name is Aaron Brozek” Greer started to get to the point.
“What?” Fuse almost laughed, spitting blood. “With the heavy ordinance already aimed at this guy, between you and the government. You think I could be an asset to you? Give me a break.”
“Well as you say, heavy ordinance.” Greer agreed. “What my associates have in mind requires a bit more tact.”
“Tact? You made the right call then, bringing in a Patchwork.” Fuse sneered and he watched as Greer’s expression hardened. He also noted Greer's mention of associates, someone outside the police force? But he said nothing.
“Not my jurisdiction. I’d call that, that creature off if it were. The streets will run red if this continues, not just confined to that catastrophe at the fair grounds.” Greer knelt down and produced a datasheet from his coat pocket, holding it in front of Fuse. On it was a picture of an eleven year old girl named Ella. Daughter of one Aaron Brozek along with their home address.
“Do we understand each other?” Greer asked and after scanning the data sheet a moment longer, Tyler nodded. Greer dropped the data sheet in Tyler’s lap and stood. He fished a small remote from his pocket.
"Remember, there is no pay out for taking down a Patchwork. It really is a shame what happened at the boardwalk, but I beg you not to let your personal vendettas interfere with the task at hand. Afterwards, if you must take a swing at your brothers' killer I will not personally hold it against you." Tyler nodded again when Greer had finished speaking. To himself Greer almost laughed. This punk, crossing out a patchwork? Highly improbable.
Greer activated the remote and the electronic cuffs binding Tyler’s arms snapped open and he massaged his bruised wrists.
“Go along now.” Greer said as he walked back to his car. “Play nice with the other kids.” Tyler was left standing in a cloud of dust as the two cars peeled away down the highway in the sunset glow.