To say that ammonium carbonate is a shock to one's system is an understatement, and when Buddy's eyes burst open the burning in his nose forced him into a coughing fit as he swatted away the smelling salts and rolled to his side. A female voice cooed to him, "Easy, easy," and soft fingers closed around his face.
His coughing fit came to an end and his eyelids butterflied to wakefulness. Slowly they focused on a beautiful woman with deep auburn hair pulled back in a long ponytail. There was a bit of a twinkle in her emerald eyes as she smiled down at him, "Hey, there you are, Boss. You rattled?"
Buddy smirked, "Corrina, I'd always be rattled if I woke up next to you every day. You're by far my favorite EMT in this city."
"Mmm," she purred, her full lips curling into a sensual smile. Finally, she flicked Buddy's nose and told him, "You've got seven stitches behind your left ear from your contact with this lovely piece of furniture behind you, most likely a concussion -- also from said furniture, and one hell of a welt on your chest. Did someone whack you with a seal?"
"I don't think so," Buddy struggled to sit up, felt the queasiness from the concussion rise again, and settled once more to a more placid seated position.
Suddenly, someone pulled aside Corrina the EMT's lovely face and barked at Buddy, "What the hell are YOU doing here?!"
Buddy's eyes still swirled like abacus beads inside his skull but he was all-too familiar with that scratchy voice. He smiled and said, "Captain Oblein! To what do I owe this bit of sunshine in my day?"
"Cut the crap, Buddy. We get a call for domestic disturbance and we show up with three dead bodies inside some scumbag motel room, blood all over the place, and none other than my own personal hemorrhoid lying down on the job. What gives?"
"Alive," Oblein jerked his head over his shoulder, indicating Mugs was still atop that nasty old mattress against the wall, "but befuddled. Again, what gives?"
Buddy slowly got to his feet and rubbed the back of his head with a wince, "Well, you know Mugs, right?"
"Everybody knows Mugs: gangster wannabe lacking both the brains and the cojones to actually amount to anything. Pain in the ass more than anything."
"All right, yeah. He's always trying to work some angle or other, getting mixed up with the wrong guys, just being stupid."
"I was across the street surveilling him when I heard a shot. I don't know who Mugs was meeting so I came in with my pistol drawn."
"So I walk in on Mugs up there on the bed, blind as a friggin' bat, and three dead bodies on the floor under his bead, each one colder than the other."
Buddy closed his eyes and shook his head in frustration. Captain Oblein still didn't get it. Buddy said, "Three bodies but only one shot? Doesn't that strike you as being a little weird?"
"Especially since the girl's had her throat cut," Corrina cut in, "she wasn't shot, and she's been dead for a while."
Oblein stroked his hairless chin as he looked down at the bodies on the floor. Buddy continued, "I guess I must have been a bit distracted by the sudden abundance of corpses at my disposal, so I let some shmuck get the drop on me from the back of the room. Bathroom, I think. I don't know what kind of gun it was he fired at me, but it was big. Hit my body armor and threw me across the room."
Oblein looked at one of the Crime Scene techs and asked, "Did you guys work the body armor on the floor yet?"
The guy looked up and nodded, "Yeah, it's clean."
Oblein frowned, "No bullets?"
The guy gave a little shake of his head, "None."
Now Oblein turned to Buddy and asked, "So what the hell did they shoot you with, guy? A water balloon?"
Buddy put a hand to the part of his chest that was already bruising, "I dunno."
"You don't know nothin', huh? You're about as useless as Mugs over there."
Oblein sighed and looked to the ceiling, "You know what you are, Buddy? You're like a rainbow in my life that only comes out when it's raining crap on my head."