The locker room was empty, yet Max Shepherd moved cautiously along the row of lockers. When he found the one he needed, a sharp twist of the lock was enough to force the door to open.

If his partner caught him snooping there would be repercussions for both of them. Not to mention questions. Ones that Max just didn’t want to answer; wasn’t prepared to answer… not yet.

Still, he had seen too many strange happenings recently to let the issue rest without at least checking things out in the station. He had known his partner Joe Lopez since their first day on the force. Both had been green and in need of some serious training before they were ready to take to the streets. Once it was all said and done however, they had quickly become an unbeatable team.

It was for this reason that Max hoped he was wrong. Hoped that his (until now) infallible instinct was on the fritz, and had sent him barking up the wrong tree. Like most of the lockers in the station, the inside of the door was covered with photos of children, wives’ and the obligatory semi naked model. Hanging inside the main body of the locker was a spare uniform, a requirement for all officers, and the civilian clothes they both arrived and left work in. On the small shelf above the hangers, was a flashlight, two reserve batteries, a hat, a bunch of pens and three pads of tickets and encounter forms. Max sorted through everything; he patted down the clothes, rummaged through the shelf, checked inside the hat, between the pages of all the forms. He found nothing, and felt relieved.

He went to close the locker door, and that was when he saw the bag, pushed right into the back of the locker. It was almost completely buried beneath the regular backpack that Joe carried with him. Most people checking the locker would either have not seen it, or not given it a second thought, but Max had a nose for things. He pulled out the bag and his heart sank when he opened it and saw the two large cubes of white powder sitting atop a wad of bills which, if counted would have been higher than both their annual salaries combined.

Max heard footsteps behind him. He spun around just as Joe came into view.

“Hey, how did you get in here?” He asked, staring at the dog he had trained since a pup. “It doesn’t matter. We got a job. There’s been a break in at the school. Come on.” Joe whistled and patted his hand against his leg.

Max stared at him, his head cocked, eyes accusing yet filled with loyalty that could not be bought. Joe turned and left, and Max trotted after him.


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