Judit drives them back to the 41st — them being Jean and Harry.
Kim is characteristically phlegmatic when he says to Harry, “Detective, I’ll drive back by myself. You should have some time to catch up with your colleagues, alone.” But:
ESPRIT DE CORPS: The lieutenant is exhausted, not only from the events of this morning, but from this week in general. He wants to be alone so he can drive fast and listen to Speedfreaks FM.
EMPATHY: This is what you drive people to. Soul-penetrating weariness.
Harry studies Kim’s face after he says this. He does look weary, but not necessarily tired of Harry himself. Just tired from giant bugs and communist snipers, and the pale emitter exposure followed swiftly by a concussion.
“Are you coming back to the station?” Harry says to him.
Kim smiles. “I have a lot of paperwork and explaining to do first,” he says. “I’ll come by the 41st tomorrow morning. We’ll have to meet to discuss how to share this victory between the two stations… and my potential transfer.”
EMPATHY: He means it. He’s not just saying that to appease you.
“Are you coming back to the station?” Harry says to Trant Heidelstam, as Kim heads back up to the waterlock alone. His gait is uneven, like his feet are sore from his week of non-stop jogging.
Trant Heidelstam looks baffled. “I wasn’t planning on it,” he says. “Unless I need to provide a debriefing of today’s events?”
There’s a strange conversational lull, then. The noon sun is beating down on them, making everything gleam in an apricot haze. Harry’s head hurts, for some reason.
PHYSICAL INSTRUMENT: For literally any number of reasons. Pick one, and it’s probably contributory.
Trant Heidelstam is looking at Harry expectantly now.
AUTHORITY: The question he just asked was directed at you. You are the authority figure here, or you were, at some point.
LOGIC: That can’t be right, and yet it is.
“Why would you?” Harry splutters.
AUTHORITY: Good enough for government work.
ENCYCLOPEDIA: Which this is.
“He doesn’t,” Jean drawls, without looking at Harry. Beside him, Judit is fishing in her pocket. (PERCEPTION: Looking for her keys). “The two of us and Lieutenant Kitsuragi can handle this. Go home, Trant… I’ll call you in the morning.”
“Okay,” Trant says cheerfully. “We can discuss the PR angle here. I’m thinking an interview in Le Journal du Jam about the murder, and one in L'autre Monde about the phasmid.”
ENCYCLOPEDIA: Le Journal du Jam is Jamrock’s daily newspaper of record. L'autre Monde is a scientific magazine that’s mostly about the pale, although the discovery of a cryptid is something they would also publish.
“I don’t think we’re letting Harry give interviews anytime soon,” Jean calls after Trant, as he heads over to his own MC. “I’d like to make sure we’ve stuffed what’s left of his brain back into his head first.”
In response, Trant waves merrily at them before getting into his carriage and starting the engine. His engine doesn’t roar like Kim’s does. It’s more of a rumble.
Judit beckons Harry toward her MC, the way one would beckon a toddler or a mostly blind dog. He follows obediently, and climbs in the backseat while the two of them get in the front. Judit pulls the visor down to shield her eyes from the sun streaming through the windshield, and Jean lights a cigarette.
As soon as it sparks up, Harry closes his eyes. The smell of this brand and type of cigarette is intimately familiar.
PHYSICAL INSTRUMENT: Someone has blown this smoke out in your immediate vicinity many, many times. You can feel it.
ELECTROCHEMISTRY: Something about it is arousing. You should ask him if you can bum one. You smoked your last cigarette on the boat ride back.
Running entirely on instinct, Harry extends his hand out to Jean. Jean turns around and gives him a dirty look, his eyes flashing, but he slams the pack into Harry’s hand anyway.
Judit has the radio in her hand, now. The static fills the car. “Hello, Jules? We need assistance in Martinaise, over. Requesting any available officers of the gendarmerie maritime to transport a suspect from a small island off the coast.”
“Roger,” Jules says. “Coordinates, please?”
Jean hands Judit a map out of her glovebox, and she starts reading off numbers. Harry lights his cigarette while they’re talking.
ELECTROCHEMISTRY: That’s the stuff, yeah.
LOGIC: But why is this better than a normal cigarette?
ELECTROCHEMISTRY: Because they’re what he smokes.
Harry looks in surprise at Jean, who ignores him for a few long moments before finally saying in a subdued tone, “Harry, if you’re fucking with us, you should come clean now.”
“Fucking with you,” Harry repeats, leaning forward, his elbows resting on each seats. Judit, who’s still trying to talk to Jules, covers her right ear with her hand. “Fucking with you in regards to?”
“‘Amnesia,’” Jean says, making air quotes and saying the word in a highly irritated way.
“Fucking with you in regards to amnesia? No, I have stupendously bad amnesia. I forgot what money is.”
“Did you forget what drugs are?” Jean says, fiddling with his lighter in his lap, still not looking at Harry.
“No,” Harry admits.
“Did you forget what alcohol is?”
“How convenient.” Jean turns around, then, and looks Harry dead in the eye. A few moments pass while Jean searches his face with surgical precision. After a moment, he scoffs and turns back around.
ELECTROCHEMISTRY: Make him do that again.
“I forgot what the pale is,” Harry adds. “An extinct woman reminded me.”
“An extinct woman,” Jean repeats.
“Ultraliberal,” Harry says. “On a boat.”
Jean looks up through the windscreen, mouthing something to himself, then says, “The Wild Pines representative?”
Judit finishes up her conversation with Jules and puts the radio back into place with a soft thunk. “They’re on their way,” she says. “They’ll pick Dros up and bring him to the 41st for questioning. While we wait, we can work on our reports and get this filed in evidence…”
She points to the Triangong 4-46, which has been placed in a long, thin evidence bag and is resting on the floor between Jean’s legs, its barrel pointed to the ceiling of the MC.
“Pryce is going to have so many questions,” Jean says to Judit. “Like — ‘Why did you let him drive his motor carriage into the sea?’ and, ‘How am I going to send a detective out on cases when he doesn’t remember what money is?’”
“Hey,” Harry interrupts, “I’ve since learned what money is. I’m just saying I forgot, before, due to the alcohol. Things are coming back. I’m sure the rest of it will come back.”
“What things are coming back?” Jean says.
DRAMA: He’s nervous. There’s something he doesn’t want you to remember.
EMPATHY: Something that would be really bad for you to blurt out.
Judit starts the carriage and begins rumbling down the road, following Trant’s lead over the uneven, bombed-out pavement.
Whatever the thing Jean doesn’t want Harry to remember is, Harry doesn’t remember it. He’s remembering other things, though. Since their conversation on the dock, he’s been getting flashes of images partially rendered in shadow, like a half-remembered dream. When Jean said converted silk mill with green desk lamps and a coffee corner, Harry saw the lamps, and the windows. He saw flashes of the bullpen in the center with a catwalk around the outer edges. That’s where the top brass offices are. That’s where Harry’s office would be, if he had accepted a promotion to captain. He knows that without knowing how he knows it.
ESPRIT DE CORPS: Captain Ptolemy Pryce is up in his office along that catwalk right now, sitting with Lazareth Gottlieb, planning to implement martial law if (when) the city gets out of hand in the springtime.
The drawbridge lowers for them, and they pass the graveyard of halted lorries. Their mirrors and windscreens sparkle in the midday sun.
“Are you in need of medical attention?” Jean says. His voice is suddenly soft in a way that makes Harry think he can’t possibly be addressing him. “Not for your brain… that’s obvious. For your gunshot wounds.”
“I got shot in the quads,” Harry says.
“It makes running and crimefighting slightly more difficult.”
“Slightly?” Jean says, sounding incredulous.
“Have I never been shot on the job before?” Harry considers this. “I feel like I’ve been shot on the job before. I feel like I’ve dived heroically in front of a hail of bullets many times.”
Jean doubles over, holding the rifle off to the right so he can hide his face in his lap.
EMPATHY: He’s shaking with laughter.
“Not to our recollection,” Judit says politely.
Jean’s laughter trails off. “You have a death wish,” he says, “but at least for as long as I’ve known you, you’ve never been anything more than nicked by a bullet.” He pauses. “You did get stabbed, once, but it was a light stabbing.”
“Well,” Harry says, “I’m not actively bleeding or anything.” He slaps his bandaged leg, then winces. (PHYSICAL INSTRUMENT: Don’t do that again.) “I’m on a lot of drouamine.”
“Define ‘a lot’,” Jean says.
“Whatever amount Kim gave me.”
This visibly relaxes him.
EMPATHY: He likes and trusts Kim.
“Are you worried about me doing drugs?” Harry says. “Because I have a lot of drugs in my pockets.”
“How much and what kind?” Jean says unfazedly, like they’re talking about gumballs.
ELECTROCHEMISTRY: Lie about how much speed you have.
“I have two — one bottles of speed, and some pyrholidon.”
“Where did you get pyrholidon?” Judit says, almost taking her eyes off the road before seeming to think better of it.
Jean holds his hand out toward the back seat without turning around. Harry digs through the pockets of his disco trousers, then drops the pyrholidon and one speed bottle into his palm. Jean’s hand remains out.
“That’s it,” Harry lies.
“Don’t fuck with me, Harry,” Jean snaps. “I’ll slap you silly.”
AUTHORITY: There’s no logical reason for him to have as much authority over you as he does. He’s your second-in-command, and he lacks inherent authority like Kim has. However…
Harry drops the second bottle of speed into his palm.
“Thank you,” Jean says, and his fingers close around all of it. The drugs are snatched away.
ELECTROCHEMISTRY: You idiot. You absolute fucking goon. You’ve blown it for all of us.
VOLITION: Not me.
“It’s evidence of criminality,” Harry says lamely. “I confiscated that from a kid. And a pawn shop owner. And a corporate spy on the run.”
“Without apprehending any of these people, or fining them,” Jean says.
“I forgot how to fine people,” Harry admits.
This seems to be the final nail in the coffin as far as conversation with Jean goes. He turns and looks out the passenger side window, shaking his head slightly.
ESPRIT DE CORPS: It’s going to be very hard for him to explain your current state to Ptolemy.
Harry takes a cue from him and looks out the window, too. Information floats from the recesses of his brain to the fore, telling him what he’s seeing, but it feels like overlapping shouting voices in a bar, and he can’t understand any of it. He just watches Revachol whiz by, sprawled out beneath the motorway. They’re out of Martinaise, now.
After a few minutes, tall buildings begin to appear — gorgeous high-rises that sprawl out and block the horizon. They’re surrounded by nice houses and manicured parks.
“What part of the city is this?” Harry says.
“Grand Couron,” Jean says. He sounds tired, and not Harry-tired like he was before. Life-tired, like Kim was. “It’s nothing. It’s a failure. No one lives there.”
“I think I knew that,” Harry says.
“Hey,” Jean says to Judit. “He knows one thing.”
Judit flashes him a tight smile.
ESPRIT DE CORPS: One thing is not enough things.
To both the relief and concern of Harry, no one else at the 41st seems to be as concerned about him as Judit and Jean are.
Gottlieb is downright distracted when he enters the lazareth’s office, and gives him a slapdash examination with a cursory ear to his lungs and finger to his pulse.
“You’re about ten minutes away from a heart attack, as usual,” Gottlieb tells him, while examining his gunshot wound. “Keep taking magnesium. Your blood pressure is high.”
“Is that from being shot?” Harry says. He kicks his feet against the cold steel table he’s sitting on.
“No, blood loss lowers blood pressure,” Gottlieb says, furrowing his brow. “Do you understand how pressure works?”
ENCYCLOPEDIA: Pressure is the force applied perpendicular to the surface of an object per unit area over which that force is distributed.
LOGIC: Thank you, that is useless.
“Unclear,” Harry replies.
Gottlieb sighs. “Just take the magnesium. Try not to have a heart attack.”
Harry is then taken to a small, dingy holding cell by Jean, where he’s subjected to a lengthy debriefing from him. Sunlight streams from a small, high window with bars on it, flooding the table, on which rests a whirring tape recorder. Sundance Fischer stands guard by the door, leaning against it and watching them as the debriefing unfolds.
ESPRIT DE CORPS: Fischer is on orders from Pryce to remain in the room until this is concluded. The brass don’t trust Jean to be unbiased when it comes to Harry.
Harry veers wildly from topic to topic, unsure of what’s relevant and what isn’t. When he starts getting into his concerns about his potential homosexuality, all the blood rushes from Jean’s face, and Sundance cracks up.
“No way,” Sundance says, clapping his hands together and wheezing. “Dick Mullen lost his memory and one of the first things he realizes is that he’s a fucking homo?”
Jean reaches out to stop the tape recorder, then rewinds it.
“Hey, hey!” Sundance exclaims, moving away from the door and leaning on the metal table between Jean and Harry. “You can’t do that. That’s evidence.”
“No, it’s not,” Jean mutters, hitting record again. “It’s the deranged ravings of a man in the final throes of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. It has nothing to do with the case, which has been solved.”
ENCYCLOPEDIA: Neurological disorder. Fatal lack of B vitamins in the brain due to an excess of drinking.
“Oh, yeah, DB,” Sundance says, apparently addressing Harry. “I saw them bring your guy in. Is he really a communard? He fought in the Revolution?”
“That’s what he told us,” Harry says.
Jean gestures with his pen, directing Sundance back to the door. Sundance rolls his eyes, but he goes.
“Before you started getting into your…” Jean stares at the tape recorder. “Delusional fixation on the young man from the balcony, you were saying he has a friend with the Moralintern?"
Harry nods. “He claimed to be from the Institute of Price Stabilitié, but that wasn’t the impression I got from what he talked about.”
“What impression did you get?”
“I don’t know. I think he strangles hobos or something like that.”
Jean snorts and presses his fist to his mouth. “Ah. Okay. What gave you that impression?”
Harry shrugs. “He kept talking about how Revachol won’t get into EPIS because we’re too wild and dirty.”
“Damn right,” says Sundance.
“Okay,” Jean says. “And this has what to do with the case?”
“Absolutely nothing,” Harry says. “All he saw was the hanging, which happened post-mortem.”
Jean scribbles something in his notebook. “Moving on,” he says.
This goes on for another hour or so, until Jean is either satisfied or fed up with his ramblings — it’s hard to tell. He pushes STOP on the tape recorder and removes the tape, folding the cover back over his notebook so Harry can’t read what he’s been writing. “I’m going to deliver this to Pryce,” he says to Harry, eyeing him. “You’re free to go for the evening… but you need to come in tomorrow.”
There’s worry in his voice. He thinks you might not come in tomorrow.
EMPATHY: No, he’s scared you might not come in tomorrow.
“Okay,” Harry says. He has no reason not to come in tomorrow.
Jean nods and gets up. He picks up his dark jacket from where he left it on the back of his metal chair, then says, “You remember where you live, right?”
DRAMA: Lie your ass off!
“Yes,” Harry lies.
Jean nods some more, but he’s giving Harry’s face the surgical examination again. The examination ends at Harry’s eyes, which Jean stares deeply into for a few moments.
ELECTROCHEMISTRY: Jean staring into your eyes reminds you of those cigarettes he was smoking. The ones in the green pack.
“What cigarettes do you smoke?” Harry says to him, getting up.
“Guelphs,” Jean says, sounding distracted. “You know that.” He follows Sundance out the door, then holds it open for Harry with one hand. Something about the way he does it looks habitual.
As Harry steps through the doorway, a Boogie Street address pops into his head. It feels deeply familiar to him.
INLAND EMPIRE: Go there.
Harry walks home, or rather, walks to what he’s assuming is his home. Boogie Street is a long gauntlet of head shops, convenience stores, music venues, dope dealers, and back halves of bicycles left chained to lamp posts. There’s a beautiful sunset today, bathing the world in a pink glow. It’s beautiful enough for him to be able to tune out the backing track of screaming, sirens, gunshots, and traffic.
He must walk about six kilometers, but it doesn’t feel that long. He’ll feel it tomorrow. Gottlieb gave him more drugs, but drugs can only do so much. His blood is drying sticky against his bandages.
The address in his head leads him to an apartment building in a less run-down part of the city, though it’s not what Harry would think of as nice. It’s on the corner of an intersection, but there are no dope dealers out front.
Harry knows the apartment number is 12, but he realizes when he reaches it that he doesn’t have a key.
INTERFACING: That’s fine — you remember where the spare key is stashed.
He kneels down and peels the hallway carpet away where it meets the doorjamb; a key is stuffed in there.
He uses it in the lock, which clicks open. Harry confidently kicks the door open and walks into what is definitely not his apartment.
“Fucking shit,” exclaims Jean. He’s dressed in a t-shirt and boxers, sitting on the living room couch, reading a newspaper. “What are you doing? Did you just break into my apartment?”
REACTION SPEED: This is Jean’s apartment.
Harry looks down at the key in his palm. “So this isn’t my apartment.”
“No! Why would I be in your apartment?”
“I don’t know, maybe we’re roommates.”
DRAMA: It all checks out, sire.
“Misunderstanding,” Harry says, lifting his hands. “So, then, it turns out I don’t actually know where I live.”
“Why did you think this was where you lived?” Jean splutters. “Close the door behind you, please.”
Harry obliges, and steps deeper into the apartment. It’s a nice place; Jean has good taste. He owns plants. Harry could never have plants. He’d kill them all. He kills everything.
PERCEPTION: In addition to the potted plants, he has several propagations in slim glass containers sitting on the sill of the window above his kitchen sink. The window overlooks the common space shared by this and the surrounding apartment buildings. People hang their laundry up out there, and sometimes chain their dogs there. Children play there.
ESPRIT DE CORPS: Jean likes to look out the window and observe this little slice of the city he protects.
PERCEPTION: This is a typical box-shaped 1-bedroom, 1-bath.
“This address popped into my head earlier,” Harry says, with his hands still in the air. “When you were questioning me.”
“I wasn’t questioning you,” Jean snaps. “You’re an officer of the RCM. I was filing a report. Sit down, you’re making me nervous.”
Harry takes a seat on the couch that Jean is sitting on. A radio sits on the coffee table, tuned to a talk station; Jean reaches out and turns it off.
EMPATHY: He surrounds himself with noise and information to drown out the unhappiness.
“You surround yourself with noise and information to drown out the unhappiness,” Harry says.
“No shit,” Jean says, unfazed. “So, my address popped into your head earlier? And you assumed it was your own?”
Harry nods. “Do I come here a lot?”
ELECTROCHEMISTRY: There’s that look again. That look means something good and tingly could happen.
VOLITION: Don’t let up on this. There’s something going on here.
“I will can-open you,” Harry says, derangedly.
Jean gives him a nonplussed look. “You don’t need to can-open me,” he says. “Yes, you come here a lot.”
“To do what?”
“What do you mean, to do what? To talk to me!”
DRAMA: Partially a lie.
INLAND EMPIRE: His body temperature has increased. Something isn’t right.
Harry stares at him for a moment, then gets to his feet and walks away, toward the 1-bath at the back of the apartment.
“Harry,” Jean calls after him, but Harry stops for no one. He must open this can.
In the bathroom he finds suspicious item after suspicious item. Two toothbrushes, both used frequently. Under the sink, behind one of the drawers, someone has stashed a bottle of vodka.
LOGIC: People don’t use two toothbrushes, or hide vodka behind their own bathroom drawers.
Harry bursts through the en-suite door into the bedroom, which is messy in comparison to the neat living room, and dark in a depressed-person way. He starts pawing through the clothes on the floor, not even sure what he’s looking for, until he finds a pair of briefs amongst a pile of boxers.
INLAND EMPIRE: Your briefs.
EMPATHY: Don’t ask me how I know this, but while you were gone, he was sniffing your underwear.
Harry bursts out of the bedroom with the briefs held aloft. His heart is pounding in a way that probably isn’t good for a recent heart attack victim. “These are mine! These are mine and you’ve been sniffing them!”
Jean jumps to his feet. “I knew it, you’ve been fucking faking amnesia!”
“I absolutely have complete amnesia about everything in the entire world! Answer my question!”
“There was no question!”
LOGIC: Yeah, you didn’t ask an actual question.
HAND-EYE COORDINATION: Throw them at him!
Harry throws the briefs at Jean. They land at his feet.
“I don’t want these!” Jean exclaims, kicking them back toward Harry. “And I haven’t been sniffing anything! You have a prion disease!”
“Why are there two toothbrushes in your bathroom?” Harry demands. “Both used? You don’t use two toothbrushes! No one does!”
Jean walks away, toward the small kitchen, and leans over the sink with his head in his hands. That kitchen sink, with its little window, is his sole safe space in this ruined city.
“One of them is yours,” he mutters into his hands. “Obviously.”
“So when I come here, I sleep here,” Harry says. “And I leave my underwear here? Why would I do that?”
Jean starts laughing.
EMPATHY: This is a laugh of complete and utter disbelief. You are torturing this man.
“If this has all been a sick joke,” Jean says, “you have reached new heights of abusive, and I want you to start paying for my therapy, you psychopath.”
“I don’t have any money,” Harry says. “I have ten reál and twenty-two… ah… smaller reál.”
“Centims,” Jean mutters.
ELECTROCHEMISTRY: He’s bending over the sink like that on purpose. Go find out why.
Harry approaches Jean, slowly, not sure why he’s doing so. Jean doesn’t look up as he comes closer, but he does shift his weight from one foot to the other.
He presses up against Jean, mashing him into the sink a little. His hands settle on Jean’s hips out of habit. Harry can see out of the window; he sees a tied-up dog, and laundry drying on a line, and sad grass and asphalt. Jean’s muscular body is warm under his hands. Harry’s dick is reacting to it. Blood is flowing south.
“I’ve done this before,” Harry says, his mouth going dry. “Touched you like this?”
Jean is silent.
“If I haven’t,” Harry says, “then, uh, my bad. But I’m thinking I definitely have.”
“You have,” Jean murmurs.
EMPATHY: There’s an incredible amount of pain in his voice. You did that! You created all that pain.
“You homosexualed me,” Harry says in amazement.
“No, I certainly did not,” Jean scoffs. “You came onto me.”
“Yes, you were in a drunken stupor, but you did it. You said…” Jean lets out a defeated-sounding sigh and leans into him more, which feels good. His ass is flush against Harry’s crotch. It’s a surprisingly nice ass. “You said I was the only person who understood you, the only person you could trust.”
EMPATHY: This is agonizing for him.
ELECTROCHEMISTRY: Be a pal, jerk him off about it.
Harry idly trails a hand down and starts rubbing at Jean’s dick. “When was that?”
“Seven months ago. It was bullshit,” Jean says bitterly. “It was just something you said to me to get me in bed. I do get that. But I’m not immune to wanting to feel needed.”
ESPRIT DE CORPS: No cop is. It’s the whole gig.
“Don’t touch me,” Jean says, slapping his hand down. “Your brain is in pieces and you reek of booze.”
Harry’s hands go to his shoulders, which he starts rubbing. Jean lets out a soft, broken sigh that makes Harry’s own dick stir.
“Are all cops homosexuals?” Harry says, kissing Jean’s neck.
“No, what gave you that idea?”
“Kim is also a homosexual.”
“Good for him,” Jean says. “Stop kissing me.”
DRAMA: He doesn’t mean that at all. He sniffed your underpants while you were gone, remember?
“I don’t want to,” Harry murmurs. “Why do you feel so familiar?”
“I’m your best friend, idiot.”
More memories flood Harry’s brain, feeling like the half-remembered dreams from earlier. He’s spent many, many nights in this apartment. Some were wonderful: two brothers-in-arms drinking and laughing for hours, then falling into bed together and doing obscene things with their tongues, dicks and assholes. Some were awful: screaming fights, work stress, unsolvable cases, someone throwing bottles.
Harry has a strong feeling of foreboding that tells him he was the one throwing those bottles.
“What happened to me?” he says.
“You destroyed yourself,” Jean says, and tears himself from his grasp. His tone is surly once again. He goes back over to the couch and sits in one corner of it, his legs pulled up to his chest, his arms wrapped around his legs.
EMPATHY: He’s protecting himself from you.
Harry swallows over the lump in his throat. “Where do I live?”
Jean doesn’t look at him as he says, “I’ll write the address down for you.”
Harry hesitates, then comes over and sits down at the other end of the couch. There are a thousand things he wants to say, all fighting for attention in his head. He can’t hear any of them under the clamor.
What he says is, “You came to get me.”
Jean still doesn’t look at him. “In Martinaise?”
“Of course I wasn’t going to leave you to rot in Martinaise. I wouldn’t leave anyone from the 41st to rot in Martinaise, much less my partner.” He’s quiet for a moment, then adds, “Former or otherwise.”
“You could have gotten on an airship,” Harry says.
Jean finally looks at him, appearing nonplussed. “Where would I go in an airship?”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“I don’t know,” Harry says.
They’re silent for a long moment.
VISUAL CALCULUS: There’s a mark on the wall above the fireplace that looks like the result of a precision vodka bottle strike.
Harry stares at the mark. “Did I throw a vodka bottle at the wall?”
Jean follows his gaze. “Yeah,” he says. “You were saying I was a shit cop who didn’t understand, and you needed to go solo, or Major Crimes was never going to clean up Jamrock. Then you threw the bottle for emphasis.”
“That’s crazy,” Harry says. “No one could clean up Jamrock. They should bomb it into smithereens and start over.”
Jean looks at him and holds eye contact for a moment before laughing. “Smithereens,” he repeats, and they both laugh harder. “So, ah… you remember throwing that bottle?”
“I get flashes,” Harry says, bringing his hand to his temple and making an exploding-supernova gesture. “It’s happening more since I got shot.”
Jean nods. “I guess that’s a good sign.”
“Who knows,” Harry says.
“Do you remember Guillaume Bevy yet?”
“Who? Oh. No. Is he related to Guillaume Le Million?”
“Via his first name?” Jean says, his brow knitting. “No.”
ENCYCLOPEDIA: Guillaume Le Million died of auto-erotic asphyxiation.
ELECTROCHEMISTRY: Not the worst way to go.
“What did you do to make me so angry at you?” Harry says.
Jean rolls his eyes so theatrically that one of his eyelids twitches. “I tried to get you to drink a little less, and do a little less drugs,” he says. “Unforgivable, I know.”
“No, you were probably right about both,” Harry says. “I’m pretty sure I had a heart attack the other day.”
Jean sighs, then leans forward and picks up a notepad and pen off of the table. He writes for a moment, then tears the paper off the notepad and hands it to Harry. “Here. This is your address. Please go there and get some rest.”
Harry leans forward to take the paper, but Jean’s t-shirt sleeve has ridden up over his bicep, which is now beckoning him. He leans in and kisses it.
“If you don’t stop touching me, I’m going to scream,” Jean says.
DRAMA: He’s so full of shit. He wants you to leave so he can jerk off about you without having to deal with… you.
Harry stops kissing him and takes the paper, studying it. “Kim writes things on paper, too,” he remarks.
“Every human being writes things on paper,” Jean says. “Especially police officers. Are you telling me you haven’t been writing things down?”
“Uh,” Harry says. “I may or may not have. I did throw my paperwork in the toilet, at some point, but I retrieved it.”
Jean lets out another sigh and closes his eyes.
EMPATHY: He’s thinking about what terrible taste he has in men.
“Go,” Jean says. “Shower. Rest. I’ll see you tomorrow. Wait…” He picks up a stack of reál from the table and hands them to Harry. “Take a taxi. You live too far to walk on that leg.”
“I walked all the way here,” Harry says, absorbed in counting the money. Fifteen! Nice!
“Psychopath,” Jean says. He gets up, ushering Harry, who follows suit. “Go. Go. I’ll see you tomorrow. You and your new boyfriend, Kim.”
“My new boyfriend?” Harry repeats. “I never would have suspected I was such a successful homosexual.” He wishes he could tell Martin Martinaise about this.
Jean rolls his eyes again, even more hugely this time, which didn’t seem possible. “Goodbye,” he says, pushing him out the door.
Harry goes agreeably, but leans against the door for a moment or two after it’s been shut and locked behind him, pressing his cheek to the eternite. The longer he lingers here, the more memories blossom like dark flowers behind his eyelids. Bitter and sweet ones, bittersweet ones, all commingling and then fading into the background of his mind like cigarette smoke.
“Harry?” Jean calls through the door.
“Yes,” Harry calls back.
“Okay, good, I could tell you were still there. Call me when you get home, alright? So I know you made it.”
“I don’t know your number.”
“It’s in a little book,” Jean says. “You have the numbers and addresses of everyone from the 41st in a little book, in one of your kitchen drawers. I forget which one.”
“Okay,” Harry says, and he heads off down the hall.