Hodge was back on my side, after a bit of apologizing and forgiveness. He realized that the matter at hand was too important to be jeopardized by a wrecked friendship. That night, I had gone home to think and ponder over some of the evidence.
I entered the kitchen, got out a coke, and sat down with a sigh. My uncle came in and greeted me, getting out a beverage of a different, alcoholic persuasion. whee

"Do you know anything about hackers?" I asked, figuring he might be of assistance. He seemed to know a lot about these areas, and he did not hesitate to reply.

"Yeah. They phish out your info. and take your stuff. 'Nough said." He seemed kindabummed. Perhaps he, too, has been having hacker issues.

"... To know a hacker, you've gotta be one, right?... Peh.. talk2hand .What do you know about hacking?"

"They use a program called ShadowScan V.2.17," He said. I had no idea!

"Really? How do you know this stuff?" The surprise was evident in my voice as I asked further. Interesting... truly interesting....

"I must know my enemy to fight my enemy," He stated, nodding proudly.
I spun the wet can in my hand; he lost me... I tried my best to understand.

".. so.. you ARE my enemy? And... you can stop.. you?" sweatdrop
"You'd never know! mrgreen "

My uncle and his odd sense of humor... Pah.. But I did get good information. I had Hodge ask one of the guys at the lab to study up on hacking. Perhaps we can hack into the computer who had initially hacked into ours, but it would be difficult if the culprit knew what he was doing.
____________________________

Today I was hurrying past the crime scene, which was swarming with police officers. That's when he approached. Officer Gray: young rookie and wannabe hotshot... AKA my arch enemy. He envied my work and the fact I was top of class, while in his academy he had nearly been a flunky. He came to this quaint town only recently, and was bent on convincing us he was the 'real deal'. To me, he was just another poser.

" Sup, Detective," He said casually, twitching his head up in a "cool" cocking motion,
"How's your, uh... "work"... going?" He was mocking me... I know it.

"Well, if it isn't Troy Gray..." I said, faking kindness. I added a twist of sarcasm, just barely noticeable to show my dislike for him.

" That's Roy Gray. Officer Gray to you." Oh, yeah... he saw my hidden hatred. He just didn't know how to cope. I was going to push him even further.

"Right. One letter off, it makes no difference.'
"Oh, yes it does," He refuted. He tried to prove his point with, "There's only one letter difference between 'he' and 'she'."

"Is that why your so confused?" Inside I was laughing hysterically, but I merely smirked. He knew I had him beat, and that infuriated him. He turned a bright red as anger bubbled over his face. But as quickly as he turned colors, he regained his posture. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and slick his hair back with one hand.

"So... where ya heading?" He said, trying to let the comment blow over. He acted as though the whole thing never happened. He glanced down at my detective log, and an oilly smirk spread over his face. "Anything good?"

I held my log protectively close to my chest when I saw his reaction.
" I'm going to interrogate another suspect..." I kept cautious and spoke carefully.

"Oh, really? I'll, uh,.. I can take that off your hands." He cocked up his head every time he said 'uh', as if trying to sound cool and 'gangster'. He was trying to upstage me!

"No way! Why don't you just go investigate the main suspect over there?!" I yelled back in spite. He was the one they trusted, and I wasn't going to lose my job because of it. Just let him have his 'privileges'...

"Fine! I will!" He retorted, losing what little cool he had. Just then, Hodge came up behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder.

"Is there a problem?" He asked, glaring down at Gray. I was glad we forgave each other; not only was he more experienced, but Hodge had Gray beat by a good 30 years!

"No, sir... Uh-! Mister Officer Hodge!..I mean..." Gray stuttered nervously, with each word making a bigger fool of himself.

"Shouldn't you be off?" Hodge looked at me with kind eyes, and I nodded. I turned and began to leave, looking at the two over my shoulder.

"And don't worry, Ivey... I'll solve the case!" Gray said, trying to fake niceness in the presence of Hodge.

"That's Detective Ivey to you, and don't plan on it!" I almost laughed. He has no idea what's coming... he has no idea....
________________________________


I approached my next suspect, NoSuchThingAsTrueLove. I was never able to contact her before, but now I had the opportunity, and I wasn't going to lose it.
I took out my notebook and started.

"Where were you on the 10th of July at approximately 1-3 o'clock A.M.....?"
"What's it to ya?"

Another defiant one.... There are too many out here.
"I am in the process of investigation a very important case and it is crucial that you cooperate... If you refuse to help, we have the right to take you in for further questioning. I'll ask again... Where were you on the day in question?"

TrueLove sighed and gave in.
"Eh...I think I was sleeping on a car in some parking lot...or something.."

"ON a car? What were you doing there?"

"I just told you, sleeping. And getting a tan," it wasn't the answer I expected, but it was just as suspicious.

"Tanning at 1 o'clock in the morning?" I questioned doubtfully.

"Yeah. Moon glow. Healthier than sun rays," She said calmly. She was obviously a professional at this improvising thing.

"... I suppoooose.... stare " I began scribbling notes in my pad. As I did, I began asking again, "Mhm.... where was this car parked? And who was the owner of the car..?"

"Somewhere dark.......and..someone..yup." Perhaps she was hiding something, or too embarrassed to tell. Either way, she was no help.

"... stare ... you can't tell me where?"

"I know exactly where," She said. She seemed defensive as if I were insulting her intelligence. Maybe that was key! Or maybe it would aggravate her... She continued in her defense, "I slept on the car next to where I dropped my paper clip bag. That's where."

"... But you don't know who owned the car? "

"It might belong to the guy who helped me pick up the paperclips...." Wait... something was fishy....
"Might?"

"Yeah...he was the only person I really saw around." Ah. This clue could make or break the case as it stood thus far.

"Is that so? and who, I ask, was this man?" I had to ask bluntly with her, but not so that I seemed intimidating. Any moment she could stop feeding me vital information, and I would be back to having almost no solid evidence. I had no idea she would stop so soon.

"I dunno. "
I frozen, speechless and stunned. I really WAS getting nowhere! This girl was a major witness, and she knew nothing. My silence stirred her impatience.

"Are you done with the questions now Mr. police?"

"You don't know?! But he helped you pick up the clips AND let you sleep on his car? Something is suspicious..." Today was not my day. Although I had totally burned Gray, he was still a minor threat, and at this rate I would have to lick his shoes to make him be able to let his soon-to-be victory go.

"As I said, Mr. police, I'm not sure if it was his car. And maybe he's just a nice lady, ya' know?" ... She obviously had too much to drink yesterday.

"HE's a nice LADY?"
She shrugged, "Whatever. Yeah."

"... stare I see through your resistance... I have no further questions... "
I turned to leave, but then realized a grand opportunity. I stopped and turned on my heels before saying casually in a high-ish voice,
"EXCEEEEPT.... " I paused for a second, "Do you happen to know where Muphin was at the same time period?"

"Who's muffin?"

"Ehem.... he's known as KidWolfFang around here... red_black_Malice's father?"

"Oh, he's my brother." Now I know she had too many drinks. Her testimony was unreliable, and probably wouldn't get anywhere in the court of law. But it was all I had to go on.
Anyway, the fact of the matter was he was her brother, and that was just my luck.

"Do you have any idea where he was at 1-3 am?"
She did not. So I asked a similar question.
"hm... do you have any knowledge of his whereabouts before or after then?"Again nothing.

"Can you describe the man you saw that night?"
"I guess he looked kinda like my brother...or maybe I was dreaming...?" Her words were getting more and more discreditable with the passing minutes. This was a painstaking process. I just wanted to go home by now...

"How many brothers do you have? Which one?" I was getting irritably impatient.

"There's muffin....Qorn.....uhh...I think there's another." I put my face in my hand in a desperate attempt to relieve 'stress'.

"So... which one did it look like?" I tried to continue.

"Yes," Was her reply. Yes... Yes?! Either she wasn't listening, or her alcohol content was dangerously deadly. She stood with a semi-grin as if she was just messing with my head.

"Huh? I said... which one did it look like?"

" Uhm....Oh my! look at the time!!" She turned and dashed to the door. We were outside, by the way, but perhaps she thought that the public building would hold sanctuary.

"Gah.. not another one... " This whole family was kooky. I'm at a loss for words. I made no effort to come after her. She didn't even provide sufficient evidence. At least my day would be over. I dread having to live through what will be going on tomorrow.