By Stephen J. Cannell

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Carmen Rodriguez asked Alexa. Both Cal and I groaned. "We are not contemplating an organizational change in the investigation at this time," Alexa said. " "Thank you," Tony said, anxious to end it. They both turned and walked off the stage. Alexa was almost two inches taller than the chief even wearing the flats she kept in her office for news conferences so she wouldn't tower over him. "We're fucked," Cal said. He turned off the set angrily. "Once they start asking about a task force, it's only a matter of time.

Now Fran says she wants to know my feelings about it. She says she's worried about me, but she won't take me back either. How do you explain your feelings when you don't have any? Mostly I'm just fucking tired. I think if I could just . " Then he stopped, and put the heel of his hand up to his forehead and rubbed so hard that when his big mitt came away, he left an angry red mark. " He wasn't looking at me. "Zack," I said again, louder, and watched as he turned his head and focused on me. " He stopped studying the shot glass, and downed it.

The place had the odor of neglect. A musty mildew stench tinged with the acrid smell of vomit. The room were littered with empty bottles and fast-food wrap pers. Faded snapshot memories of my old life flickered on a screen in the back of my head. I found him in the kitchen, out cold, sprawled on the floor. Zack was almost six-three and well over three hundred pounds, with a round Irish face and huge gelatinous forearms shaped like oversized bowlin pins. He was face down on the linoleum. It looked as ii he'd been sitting at the dinette table, knocked down one too many scotch shooters, passed out, then hit the table tipping it as he rolled.

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