“It gets better, you know,” Goldberg says, getting into the car “That’s what they say in these stupid classes, but it’s a lie. Eat right, exercise and join a support group, they say. What’s the point? We're all dying and anybody who says different is selling something.”
Carlson noses the cruiser into traffic. “I
don't think you appreciate the gravity of your situation.”
Goldberg looks out the window. “You want
gravity? How about this. I am thirty-nine years old, I have a brain tumor that
will probably kill me the next time I look twice at a curvaceous woman and I
got no next of kin. That grave enough for you, partner?”
“Look, can you be serious for a minute? I
don’t think you should submit that medical leave just yet. This job is the only
thing you have to live for and if they take that away, what do you have left?”
“I been doing a little thinking about that,
and here’s what I come up with. I’m gonna ask that sweet little firecracker
down in the evidence locker if she wants to get a drink or something after
Carlson downs the rest of his coffee before
asking, “Are you going to tell her?”
“Tell her what, Joe? That I been fantasizing
about her for six months but was too ambivalent to do anything about it until
now? Nah, you want to know if I’m going to tell her I got a time bomb
lodged in my skull, don't you? Nope. I’m not gonna tell her on account of if I
want a second date, I don’t want it to be out of pity. I want it to be because
she can’t stop thinking about me. About how I brought her flowers and held the
door for her and made her laugh. About how I kissed her goodnight on the cheek
and called her the next day just like I said I would.”
“Sounds like you have it all planned out,”
says Carlson, eying a motorcycle weaving in and out of traffic.
“Yep. I marked the ‘cremation’ checkbox soon
as I got to class this morning and that gave me forty-four minutes to
The dispatch radio crackles to life.
“Possible two eleven at Parker’s Liquor. Suspect driving a red motorcycle.”
Carlson looks at Goldberg. “I’m not going to
respond until I have your word you won’t do something crazy like try to take a
bullet for me like you did last week.”
“Fine. You have my word. Got my priorities
straightened out. See, I’m not gonna croak until I find out firsthand whether
that strawberry lipgloss tastes as good as it looks.”
Carlon chuckles. “Whatever gets you though the
“Hey, want to grab a bite after we catch this
idiot? The meds should have tapered off by then and I’ll have an appetite. But
let’s eat something healthy. I wanna look nice and fit for Miss July.”
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