Coffee Break Read – The Chief

He suddenly became aware of how hard it was raining. Jogging back to his car, he found the chief superintendent standing next to it, his stout figure barely sheltered by the large umbrella he was holding above his head.
“Davis, I’d like a word.”
Nodding, he pulled a keyring from his pocket and pushed the button on his key fob. The hazard lights of the BMW M6 he was walking toward flashed twice. He opened the passenger door for the other man to get in, before going round to the driver side and sliding out of the rain himself.
“Chief Super, what can I do for you?” he asked, noticing the grim expression on the superintendent’s face.
“Davis— lad— I want to start by offering you my deepest condolences. Sergeant Williams was a bloody fine officer. I know how much he meant to you.”
Davis nodded but could think of nothing to say in reply.
“So, I think it is best that you take a compassionate leave of absence until—”
“Sir—”
“Until you’ve had a chance to get over this.”
“Sir, my work is all I’ve got. You know that. Don’t—”
“My mind is made up, Davis. When Dr. Hanson is able to sign off on these forms”— he pulled a folded packet of papers from the inside pocket of his coat and handed them to Davis—“ you will be reinstated immediately, at which point you will also be assigned a new sergeant.”
“Sir, it is my request that I be allowed to see a psychologist of my own choosing.”
“Why is that? There’s nothing wrong with Dr. Hanson.”
“I would just prefer to eliminate any opportunity for bias in my evaluation. Dr. Hanson is too familiar with the friendship Williams and I had. It’s possible that he might—”
“Say no more, Davis. I will grant your request, but you will inform me of whom you choose. Is that understood?”
“Yes, sir.” Davis replied. He waited until the chief superintendent got out and closed the door, then he started the car. Its tuned engine purred a low note of contentment at being brought to life.
A knock sounded from the window just as Davis was putting the car in gear. He lowered it enough to get a clear view of the superintendent’s face.
“I am sorry, lad. I know how tough this is for you. I just think you need a bit of time to allow yourself to grieve. There is nothing wrong with that, so don’t be so hard on yourself.”
He strode away, leaving Davis unsure whether he was upset or grateful for the chief’s condolences. Coming quickly to the conclusion that he didn’t care either way, he set out for the pub, where he knew he would find the only friend he could count on at the moment. A drink

From Hunting Darkness by Ian Bristow .

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