Milton's Detective Agency , 6

Chapter Six: Cain



Stake outs in the movies were better.

Convenient jump cuts, highlights on the action, and inevitable deep or hilarious conversations between two buddy-cop characters. What was not to like about that?

Cain sat alone in the front seat of the car he’d ‘borrowed’, with every intention of driving it back to the garage outside the subway station where he’d found it. Possibly even after filling up the tank on the way back, if he wasn’t too exhausted. That was rather the issue with stake outs, though. They were absolutely exhausting.

It had nothing to do with the potential for a chase or action of some kind, which so far as he could tell from experience, only ever happened in thriller movies and nowhere else. It was just the mind numbing taxation of focusing on a singular point for hours, usually without music, games, or anything else distracting enough to feel occupying. If it didn’t make him miserably bored, it was too much of a draw off from his target. With the sun only starting to sink inch by inch in the background, he was settled in for a long night. The Avery family lived in a nice neighborhood, no surprise, with lavish houses and privacy fences that framed manicured lawns. He couldn’t see much of the grounds or inside the house from his angle, but it was a prime spot to watch the home’s front driveway and the streets around it. Any approaching or leaving cars he could easily see from down the long street that made a stretched T just before the Avery mini-mansion.

With the car off, the cold seeped in, but remained just shy of bothersome. No music played, no people crowded anywhere in sight to be amusing for idle watching. He did good not to fuss with his phone, leaving it in his pocket despite the immense effort it took. All that remained was an empty road, sprawling residential homes, and a whole lot of quiet. It was about as riveting as watching paint dry, though even that typically involved a nicer visual depending on the painting. This was just.. suffering. And not in any kind of fun way.

Slumping a bit more, but not enough to lose sight on the front of the home, he resigned to the position for the next several hours. So long as he could keep from falling asleep, which the four pack of energy drinks in the passenger’s seat swore would be easy, things would be fine. He just had to stay awake, remain free of distractions, and... wait.

Oh boy, he sure did love waiting.

And waiting..

And waiting..

By half past ten at night, the sun was long set, the cold worsened, and two of the cans opened and emptied. His eyes stayed open, if only barely, but the sheer boredom was taking its toll. The most occupying thing he’d found to do so far given the absolutely desolate nature of the place was to sink off and on, sometimes devolving into just humming. When that wore out, banging his head into the headrest loosely proved somewhat soothing. It was no app puzzle game or witty buddy cop companion, but it was still better than sitting in a dark, quiet car alone staring at an empty street and paved swirling driveway.

At a quarter after eleven, he’d developed a particularly nasty hatred for the Avery’s mailbox. The damn thing was an entirely different brickwork than the house, made in a dome-topped shape with the flag screwed into the side of the bricks instead of the mailbox encased within. Who made something like that? Really- why? Nevermind the fact it was horrendous looking since it didn’t match the house’s brick sections. But the flag? Just screwed into a brick? Did that even work right? He bet it made some awful kind of concrete grinding noise when people tried to turn it up. Did people use mailbox flags anymore? Letters were becoming a more and more dated medium, and most people just dropped mail off directly at the post office versus using their boxes. Maybe there was some different original use for mailboxes that would explain it..

His hand went for his phone, and he didn’t think to stop until it was halfway out of his pocket. Shoving it back in with a frustrated curse, Cain crossed his arms and groaned to himself. That mailbox was fucking hideous, still..

Car tires rolled up slow a half hour later, at nearly midnight.

Shaking his head to snap out of a careless degree of hazy almost-sleeping, Cain shifted to sit up straighter. Before he could even look back, the lights came on. The instant the red-blue colors registered, his hand was going for the ignition. The engine sputtered once then came to life, fighting against the cold that had long since set in over the car, and him. In nearly the same second the engine turned over and on, the cop car behind him flicked its siren on in warning.

He could gun it down the strip and maybe get some distance, but the car he’d picked up was chosen more for inconspicuousness than horsepower. A chase would only end in more trouble. With a frustrated sigh, he snapped the key over, cutting the engine harshly and ripping it out. The telltale sounds of an officer getting out and approaching up the side had Cain slumping and smacking his head into the headrest for the thousandth time that night.

This was going to be particularly awkward given his lack of license..