"So, from the tapes we've received, only two show us our guy," I said in between mouthfuls of creamy potato soup. Deforge sat across from me, stuffing his face with parmesan chicken. After forcing Deforge into a sleepless night of watching numerous surveillance videos, I decided to treat him out to the little Italian restaurant he was so eager to try.
He didn't even glance up. "I told you so," he said for the hundredth time. "I was right. It was a man."
"Yes," I answered, my voice dripping with sarcasm. "And since you're so smart, I should just step aside and let you figure out where we should go with this."
"Goddamn it James! We find the man!" Deforge shouted, his mouth full and a piece of food flying from his mustache. "I'm tired of this video identification shit. Martin seems to think he's got information we don't know about and I haven't lost a bet in twelve years. I'm not going to sully my reputation just so I can watch one more fucking surveillance video!"
I looked around. Only an angry mother seemed to be watching. "But how?!" I retorted with a hushed shout, just as irritable as Deforge. "All we've learned is he's a man with a hoodie. Besides, you weren't listening," I said, ignoring my meal now. "Barnett said there were three."
"Are you saying I missed him somehow?" Deforge's expression looked somewhere between anger and exhaustion. His upper lip twitched as he pulled his attention back to his food. "No. I watched every one of those damn things. I'm not watching them again."
"I only found two as well. I also checked in with Barnett and she said she didn't have any more. She said she sent us all twenty three files."
"You mean twenty two," Deforge corrected. "We had twenty two."
"That's the thing. When she went to give me the twenty third file after I asked for it, she only had twenty two. It means someone stole the third video showing our man."
"Shit. Whoever it was must have an accomplice in the police force to have been able to get at it so quickly. Do we know what the tape was of?" Deforge wiped his mustache delicately with a napkin.
"Fortunately, yes. Whoever this accomplice was, they weren't able to get their hands on it before Barnett saw it. According to her, the footage was of our man getting picked up by a mid-sized vehicle near the end of the bridge."
"Did it show the license?"
"No. But one thing's certain. Someone didn't want us to see it. Suspicious, don't you think?" I couldn't help but smile. The case was turning out to be more interesting than I thought.
"Yeah," Deforge answered, seemingly uninterested. "Raising goosebumps. Now let me enjoy my meal." Before he could finish off his chicken he caught sight of a slice of cake being served to the angry mother across from our booth. "I think I'll have one of those."
I had to stop myself from shaking my head. If Deforge was half as good at spotting evidence as he was at spotting desert, we would have already found the man from the bridge.