The air duct creaked under Odin’s weight causing him to pause periodically to avoid detection. He realized this might be one of the last times he could take advantage of this listening scheme, Odin could feel the cold metal digging into his back, and far less lateral movement than he remembered. After five years of reliable eavesdropping, he would need to put his brain to work developing another entrance into the facility. Through the metal, he could hear rough voices echoing from Sheriff Frey’s office, voices that he would be able to distinguish once he slithered just a few more feet.
Odin tried not to think of the punishment Sheriff Frey would concoct should his trespassing be discovered. Although– he wouldn’t need to listen to private police work through the air duct if Sheriff Frey would just divulge the inner workings of the station. As the town journalist, Odin’s obligation to the people’s knowledge trumped an anxiety free childhood. His father traversed the jungles of Europe, finding truth and silencing liars, the least he could do was pass through a ventilation system. Getting this scoop just might break Odin’s journalism career wide open, there were no less than three cop cars outside, which were two more than Odin had ever seen. After writing up this story of a lifetime, he would send it to his father and his father would whisk him off to Europe as his sidekick. His mother might object, but she had raised him for the first eleven years of his life, that seemed like plenty of time to Odin.
“There’s no way that I’m sharing my office with some hoity-toity millennial with a pink gun,” Sheriff Frey shouted. “I’ve watched over this town for fifty years, and done a damn good job of it. One. Just one case remains unsolved under my jurisdiction.”
“Now Tom,” Started a voice that Odin didn’t recognize; He assumed it came from one of the drivers of the mysterious patrol cars.
“Now wait just a minute, my gun is certainly not pink.” This came from a female, also one that Odin didn’t recognize. Although Sheriff Frey’s voice sliced, it almost sounded like this woman would burst out laughing at any moment.
“It might as well be, your shoes aren’t exactly made for running are they miss?”
“And your legs are about two seconds away from turning into a maggot feast.”
The unknown man stepped in, “Now Officer Wright you need to let me handle Sheriff Frey.”
“Oh,” the woman scoffed, “so it’s okay for him to be sexist, but not alright for me to point out that he has one foot in the rest home?”
Odin cringed and waited for the explosion, “what do they teach youth in school today? Where is the respect?”
The woman’s laughter chimed into the duct. It sounded like she was having a grand old time. Wasn’t she scared of Sheriff Frey? Everyone else in the town sure was, well besides Odin of course. As a journalist, you can’t be afraid of the police.
“Okay stop, both of you, and that’s an order.” Odin pictured the man stepping between the feuding cops and putting out his arms like in the movies. “Tom, no one is trying to replace you. You are looking at this all wrong, we value your expertise so much that we want you to mentor this young lady. You are one of best, and thus the only person I can trust to teach this woman how to run a town.”
There was a pause, Odin could see the wrecking ball that was Sheriff Frey swinging from one foot to the other like he always did when trying to calm his own temper. “How long would she be stinking up the place?”
“A year, two tops. That is if Officer Wright still even wants to work with you. Officer Wright?”
“This man won’t scare me away from his playground by bullying tactics. In fact,” she continued, “I find it endearing. I said I wanted Sheriff Frey, I will get Sheriff Frey.”
Sheriff Frey tried to mumble something, but the other man broke in, “Then it’s settled. And Tom, about that case you never solved, it’s high time to let that go. Ten years have passed, and some crimes are just never solved. The trail has gone cold, and no one thinks any less of you for it.”
“That crime is still currently under investigation,” Frey retorted, “I will find the killer.” Odin clutched at his back pocket trying to get to his notepad. A murder happened in this town? An unsolved mystery? He had found his story ladies and gentlemen. People in town couldn’t know this; no one ever mentioned a murder, murder happened in other places. The dang notebook seemed cemented into his pocket, Odin tried scooting room one side of the duct to the other, not even being mindful of the noise he was producing.