Julie affixed another flyer, imagining the bulletin board was Eric Brenner’s head. The smug grin on his face when he’d handed over the box still irked her. “There. How many more?”
Kei looked in the file box she was lugging. “How many are in one stack?”
“Two hundred and fifty.”
“Then we’re down to two hundred and forty-eight.”
Julie groaned. She had paper cuts on her fingers, blisters all over her hands and feet, and she was starving. She’d walked half the campus before calling in reinforcements, namely Kei. Since her friend was between classes, she’d agreed to rush over and help.
“But seriously, think about it,” Kei said, taking up the case she’d been trying to make. “The same day you join the police department—“
“Get coerced into joining the police department,” Julie cut in, reminding her.
“You meet Courtney, and that night she’s murdered,” Kei continued. “Don’t you find that a little weird?”
“Your turn,” Julie said, handing the staple gun over to Kei. “Not really. It’s a coincidence, not karmic-whatchamacallit.”
“You believe that, even after what Courtney said?”
Julie held the paper while Kei stapled. “About Eric?”
“Boy, you have a one-track mind. No. She said, ‘We newbies have to look out for one another. Maybe you can return the favor one day.’ Remember?”
“Maybe this is the favor!” Kei exclaimed.
“I’m not following you.”
“Find out who murdered her!”
Julie took the staple gun from her and held it up. “See this? It’s what they give people who are so far down on the totem pole, they’re practically in China.”
“So,” Kei said encouragingly, “you still have all the resources at your fingertips. You’re privy to information—“
“The only information I’m likely to be privy to is the trash. The way this job is going, my next glamorous assignment will be emptying the garbage.”
“Cops find all sorts of evidence in trashcans,” Kei optimistically pointed out.
“Yeah, which is why I’ve resisted the temptation,” Julie retorted, referring to the stack of paper. Tossing the flyers into the nearest trash receptacle had been the first thing to cross her mind, except the way her luck was going, Officer Sparks would probably stumble across the precious refuse, and then it would be off with her head. “Can we please get on with it? I’m beat.”
Kei shrugged her compliance. “Okay. But it seems unfair.”
“You posting flyers while the guys get all the good assignments. They’re probably knee deep in the thick of things right now, and you’re … here.”
Julie sulked. Kei was right. Again, darn it. “I don’t imagine Eric’s out fetching coffee when there’s a murderer to catch,” she considered.
“He’s probably rounding up suspects,” said Kei.
“I wouldn’t go that far. He put himself on patrol duty. But I bet he wishes he were. I’ve seen him in action. He thinks he’s Channing Tatum in 21 Jump Steet.” Julie mulled over the situation for a minute. “Boy, it would be great if I found out something before he did.”
“You’d sure put him in his place,” Kei encouraged her.
“Face down, and then I’d rub his nose in it,” Julie replied, tickled with the idea. But then reality set in, and she backpedaled. “Who am I kidding? I’m not a cop. I don’t even want to be a cop! I just want to do my three months and get back to being an average college student.”
Kei sighed in defeat. “Okay, but it seems like a waste. They could really use you; you’re smart and resourceful.”
Julie gave her a sideways glance. “It’s no use trying to butter me up.”
“Then consider it your civic duty,” Kei proposed instead, back on the attack.
“That’s all well and good, but I’m more into the revenge aspect. It’s Eric’s fault I’m doing this.” She pushed on a liquid-filled blister on the palm of her hand, a painful reminder of her lowly position.
“Plus, you’d be fulfilling your destiny,” Kei pointed out sincerely. “Remember what Courtney said.”
Julie rolled her eyes. She’d lost her there. Kei may be superstitious; to her that was mumbo jumbo. “Okay, pretend for minute I let you talk me into this. Where do you suggest I begin?”
Kei clapped her hands with delight. “Keep your eyes and ears open. An opportunity will present itself.”
“Yeah, right,” Julie mumbled, unconvinced, and stapled another flyer to the bulletin board. But one soon did, courtesy of the last person Julie ever would have expected.