Shockwave (Calendar Men_ Mr. May)

By: D.L. Jackson

The Calendar Men Series


To my editors for their patience and the kick in the butt—when needed.

Chapter One
Warning alarms blared from his cell phone. “Shit.” Tanner North pulled over and threw his truck into park. He stared down at the number—unidentified caller.

A first on his new phone. Chances were good someone in the squad, or the entire lot of them, thought it might be funny to screw with him. They could be a pain in the ass when they wanted to be. He stared at the screen, debating whether to answer. They’d never let him live down the article in the Star Chaser from the week before. Disarming Bombs and Breaking Hearts made the cover of the supermarket celebrity trash magazine, with his quote, a smart-assed comment he’d made in the heat of the moment, in bold letters.

But on the same token, it could be a legitimate call—one he needed to take.

Oh how the squad had messed with him. They’d started by changing his screensaver to one of the photos from a gossip rag with him at the beach. Funny, ha, ha. And then they moved on to plastering the pin-up worthy, objectifying image from his Army days, in the break room with a caption that he was looking for a few good women. Assholes. That would be the fucking Marines.

They’d even gone so far as to place copies of the article, written by that damn journalist Lannie Sawyer, beside the coffee machine, accompanied by a box of bakery-fresh donuts, ensuring anyone who hadn’t already gotten a good chuckle, saw the damn thing.

Her. He’d had more than one run in with Lannie Sawyer and had begun to wish he knew how to keep his mouth shut and temper in check. The woman was a tsunami of trouble. She didn’t wreak havoc—she personified havoc. Last Monday, he’d arrived at the station to be greeted by the boys in the squad singing a horrible off-key version of Pat Benatar’s Heartbreaker.

But why would the caller block their name? Unless they were trying to be sneaky. After all the shit he’d dealt with, he needed the weekend’s leave. He’d put the request in weeks ago, but the ringtone—which mimicked the warning system of a nuclear plant melting down—told him his plans were about to change. Someone had found something suspicious requiring his expertise.

He answered. “North here.”

Heavy breathing?

“For Christ’s sake. Get an inhaler.” Had to be one of the dickheads in the squad, and when he found out whom, payback would be a bitch. “Which of you jackasses is fucking with my weekend?”

“What are you wearing?” a sultry purr responded, disqualifying the person as the assumed jackass, and qualifying her as one of his stalkers. The voice seemed familiar, but with all the calls he’d gotten from unknown fans, could very well be a repeat offender.

“How did you get this number?”

“I asked you a question, Sergeant Tanner North—or are you not wearing anything?”

“Well, however you got the number, you can lose it. Don’t call again.” He hung up and tossed the cell on the passenger seat. How the hell did they find him? After he’d replaced four of the devices in the last six months, he’d gone a different route and accepted a department phone. The systems man for the department had assured him no one could track the number back to him. Only those in law enforcement would have access to his number. Yeah, right. He shoved a hand into his hair and groaned. No stupid creepers for him. Oh no, he had to have the ones with either ESP or super-duper tracking skill sets.

If some of these women put their stalking into something useful like investigating homicides, instead of trying to get him to have phone sex, go out with them, marry, or have a three-way in any number of combinations, they might make world-class detectives and be useful for something other than annoying the shit out of him. One would think him a rock star instead of a police officer and member of NYPD bomb squad.

His phone beeped. New text message. He snorted. Right. “Not on your life, babe.” Tanner didn’t want to know what he’d find. He pressed on the little trashcan. Delete. His phone beeped again. He punched the rubbish disposal a second time, removing whatever they’d sent. Persistent. But he’d learned his lesson the hard way and didn’t need a repeat.

The last time he’d dared to push on the little yellow envelope resulted in the need for a scalding shower, bleach, and a wire brush. Men weren’t exclusive to creepiness. The image he’d seen would forever be branded into his brain and had damaged him in his thoughts of women being innocent flowers.

Another beep. He flung the five hundred dollar smart phone out the window to smash into the side of a brick building with a satisfying crunch.

Problem solved. Of course, his captain would have a shit fit when he found out he’d lost his new phone.

Tanner smiled, put the truck in gear, and headed upstate. He’d deal with getting the pesky device replaced the following Tuesday, since Friday started a holiday weekend. All his to enjoy. Time to get away from the city, the people, and the freaking fans.

Uroševac, Kosovo, twenty minutes outside Camp Bondsteel, 13 November 2007....

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