After Kline departed, Chief Grady and Deputy Barker left to patrol around the entrances to the beach. They were pleasantly surprised to find the entire beach nearly empty. Between the two of them, they had only discovered three people- one of which was Sue Taylor. Grady was forced to cuff her when she tried to claw and scratch her way out of his grasp. The smell of liquor and vomit clung to her like a toxic cloud.
“Just let me go,” Sue slurred. “You said I was a monster so why should you care if I off myself?”
Refusing to get into an argument, Grady said nothing as he fastened the cuffs around her thin wrists. He started to pull her along but stopped, realizing her bag had fallen onto the sand. When he reached out to grab it, Sue shrieked.
“No! Leave it!”
Curious, he lifted the bag. It was heavier than he had expected.
“Please tell me there isn’t a camera in there,” Grady scoffed as he opened the bag. “Seriously? Did you think it was worth risking your life to get your job back, Sue? You need help!”
She unleashed a torrent of profanities; cursing the chief, his staff, and his entire family. Grady couldn’t help laughing. Wow, and I thought she was nasty before. Who knew there was a worse side to her? His inner voice made him laugh even harder which only made Sue angrier. Still, he felt a certain satisfaction in having the infamous Sue Taylor committed to the psych ward. After dropping her off in Dr. Garrett’s custody, Grady and Barker decided to call it a night.
“Hey, Barker, if you don’t have any other plans, would you want to stop over at my place and have a drink?” Grady asked.
“Other plans? Nope, I don’t have any other plans. I think we’re the only ones still here…well, us and William Sterling, the third.” He joked. “He’s finally mayor; he’ll never leave!”
“Why do you do that, put so much emphasis on the third?” Grady questioned, imitating Barker’s tone.
“I’ll tell you over drinks,” he answered, laughing. “Are you sure your wife won’t mind?”
Chief Grady woke to the shrill beep, beep, beep, of his alarm. Groaning, he rolled over and slapped the off button before straining to haul his body to an upright position. The room spun at an alarming rate and he was forced to close his eyes until it passed.
“Oh, God! How much did I drink last night,” he slurred to no one in particular.
Finally able to open his eyes, he noticed Sharon was not in the bed next to him. The rich scent of coffee permeated the air and Grady realized how blessed he was to have a wife like her. After a quick trip to the bathroom and a thorough scrubbing of his teeth, he went off in search of coffee.
“Good thing I didn’t watch The Walking Dead last night. I would have mistaken you for a walker and bashed in your skull,” Sharon laughed. “Here, you look like you could use this.”
She pressed a huge mug of black coffee into her husband’s hand and laughed some more. Already slumped over the kitchen table, Deputy Barker was working on his second mug. Grady had to blink twice to be sure he wasn’t seeing things.
“Hey,” Barker muttered. “Hope you don’t mind, your wife took my keys. Said I was too drunk to drive and she put me up in your son’s room. Kinda digging these flannel pajamas of his, though.”
“I’m glad she had the sense to take your keys,” Grady yawned. “Honestly, I don’t even remember going to my room.” He took a large gulp from his steaming cup before continuing. “Even if we are the only ones here, it wouldn’t do to have a deputy of the law cruising through town drunk as a skunk.”
“So, how long do you think it will be before we both get canned too?”
“Honestly, I couldn’t say. It probably wouldn’t hurt for you to start sending out your resume. You’ll get a good reference from me, that’s for sure. Listen; if you get a good offer…take it. If you can give a notice, fine. If not, I consider this conversation your notice. I’ll tell anyone that asks that you gave more than two weeks- even if you don’t.”
“You’re a stand-up guy, Chief. Now, any chance I can call in sick today?” Barker laughed. “Ha! Just kidding! But I might be a little late. Gotta go home and shower first.”