Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Chapter 60

Detective Dina: Episode #1
First Day on the Force, Part I

Dina's first day on the job and she was sick as a dog.  It didn't seem to matter.  Nothing can ruin my good mood, she thought.  "Today, I'm fighting crime!" she announced to the Sim world.

Dina marched into the police station, striding with confidence...

...but halfway to the receptionist's desk she almost fainted. 

Wow, the walls are spinning!  She tried to clear her head, but all she saw were stars.

"Don't worry," the Sim at the receptionist's desk said cheerily.  "You're not the first cadet to get a bit woozy.  It's your first day, isn't it?"

Dina smiled sheepishly, "How could you tell?"

"Oh, don't worry about it," she said, all smiles.  She got on the phone and said, "Chief, we've got another one for you.  Do you want me to send her in?"

When she hung up the phone, Dina asked, "Another one?"

"Oh, yes, dear.  We've been terribly short-staffed.  I'm not even the receptionist.  I'm the lab tech.  Name's Reagan Alvarez.  Best go in.  The Chief doesn't like to wait."

Dina said, confused, "What about my name?  Aren't you going to ask me?"  She had her Oasis Springs resident I.D. in her pocket.

A dark cloud seemed to pass over the lab tech's face.  She wasn't smiling now.  "Like I said, we've been terribly short-staffed, but not for want of cadets.  We've got lots of cadets."

Dina froze.  Is she glaring at me?

"I'm an old lady and I've seen lots of cadets come and go," the gray-haired Sim said.  "Most of them wash out eventually.  They faint at their first crime scene, or they buckle under the stress of case after case..."  Her words hung in the air, frightening.

The lab tech said, "Your job application got you through that front door... got you that pretty uniform... but it's the Chief who decides whether or not you get to keep it."

"Oh," Dina said, trying not to feel intimidated.  She's staring me down!  What the heck!  Alvarez slowly stood up, like a turtle emerging from her shell.  She really is an old lady, Dina thought.

But the lab tech looked more sad than angry now.  She said, "How about you show me you've got what it takes, and I'll learn your name."

I've got what it takes!  Dina thought, hungry to prove herself.  Unfortunately, that heroic thought was accompanied by a wave of nausea.  She bolted for the door, covering her mouth.  As the door swung open, she glanced back at the lab tech.   "Nice to meet you," Dina squeaked.  She always told her girls that it pays to be polite.

"This is it," Dina whispered in excitement, entering the world of crime fighters, only to bump into the first Sim on the other side of the door.

He was a middle-aged Sim with receding black hair, but a friendly smile and dark eyes that fell on Dina with interest.  "Looking for the Chief, Cadet...?"

"Cadet Dina Hildebrand," Dina offered, smiling. 

"I'd shake your hand, but I don't want to catch whatever alien germs you're hoarding," he laughed.  "My name's Detective Carlo Tapia."

"Right.  Suspenders.  Detective," Dina stammered.  He looked confused, but then he glanced at his leather suspenders and blinked.  Great, Dina.  Just great.

He finally smiled, staring down at her.  "An eye for detail.  I like it," he said.  Dina felt her cheeks burn.  More great!

Detective Carlo opened the door to their left and stuck his head in, banging on the wall twice with one hand.  "Officer Myron, Officer Sylvia, with me in five!"  He pulled back into the hallway and smiled at Dina once more.  "The Chief's inside on the left.  Can't miss it."

As he walked away, Dina wanted to kick herself.  Another great first impression!  She took a deep breath.  Don't lose it.

She found the Chief's office easy enough.  It was like being on the set of a movie!  Dina grew up watching all sorts of detective thrillers and kept a book of unsolved crimes on her nightstand.  Now here she was, experiencing the real thing.  She glanced to her right, soaking in every detail.  The filing cabinets, the overstuffed manila folders, the high-tech computers contrasted against the old-school bulletin board in the back.  This is so cool!

The Chief's office was to her left.  Dina read the etching on the glass door.  CHIEF ANNE WINSTON.  She closed her eyes for a moment, imagining her own name.  One day.

The Chief saw her at the door and waved her in.  Dina took a deep breath and entered, looking around in wonder.  An old-school fan!  She tried not to grin like an idiot, but thankfully the Chief wasn't looking.  She was clacking happily away at her keyboard.

"Your name, Cadet?" the Chief spoke from behind her monitor, not looking at her.

"Dina Hildebrand," Dina answered, trying to sound calm.

"I see you," the Chief nodded, though her eyes never left the monitor.

"Says you're married - formerly Dina Caliente - to one Efrain Hildebrand," the Chief read off her monitor. 

"You have two teenage daughters, Zoe and Betsy, and you just quit your starving artist job to chase after your childhood dream of becoming a detective.  That sound about right?"

It was at that point the Chief actually looked at Dina.  Her eyes widened and she gasped, "Holy Freezer Bunny!  What's wrong with your face?"

"Oh, it's not that contagious," Dina said.  "Dr. Jamie Jolina says I have Starry Eyes."

The Chief looked uncomfortable.  "So you've seen a doctor?"

"Oh, yes.  Like I said, Dr. Jolina.  She's very good.  She fit me in this morning before the hospital even opened.  She treated me with meds, but she said it might not work right away.  I didn't even have the swirly rash when I saw her.  She said it always comes towards the end of the infection.  Good, right?  The meds must finally be working!"

Chief Anne Winston lowered her forehead into her hand and sighed loudly.

Dina froze.  This can't be good.  The Chief finally lifted her head and said, "As you've probably surmised, I'm extremely short-staffed.  I need every cadet I can get.  The last two I fired.  You see, I'm a Perfectionist Sim.  I expect only the best!"  She slammed her fists against the desk, making Dina jump in her seat.

"I have a lot to offer!"  Dina said.  I have to win her over!  "I'm an Active Sim.  I can run laps around the bad guys!  And I'm Ambitious.  You won't find a more eager cadet, I promise you.  I want to learn."

Chief Anne Winston thought it over while Dina held her breath.  "Well," she said, "My list of cases isn't getting any smaller."

"How does Monday through Friday sound?" the Chief offered.

"Can I start today?" Dina asked.  She couldn't hold back a huge, goofy smile.

The Chief nodded, pushing back from her desk to stand up.  She straightened her suit and said, "I needed you yesterday."

Dina stood up too, almost fearing her legs would collapse.  She was so excited.  I did it!  I'm in!  The Chief said, "Go talk to Detective Carlo Tapia for your case assignment.  Welcome to the force, Cadet Dina."

Thanks for reading!

Read Part II
(Or check out the Episode List)


Heather Palmer said...

I love this new "episode" of Dina's life! Very creative and ingenious! I can't believe she was sick on her first day of work! Bwahaha! I actually want you to skip everyone else and write about Dina for awhile. ;) Ok, ok, not necessarily, but I really like her story! You did a very excellent job writing about it, too!

Mal said...

I love this story so far! So many questions to see what happens. I love your photography as well. :)


Jessica Brown said...

Jamie Jolina! I love old game throwbacks lol.