It was one of those mornings where the sky hung low, gray and heavy with water, threatening to rain but never releasing its liquid burden on the world below. Chase paused for a moment outside the entrance to the Corver City Police Department, squinting upwards, and thinking to himself that a little rain would be welcome. This city was far overdue for a shower. Five minutes later he was strolling into his office, and he was greeted by a high stack of files that had been freshly deposited on his desk that morning. He grabbed a handful off the top and began flipping through them with one hand as he deftly unbuttoned his overcoat with the other. It looked like young Liam was in trouble again, getting picked up for shoplifting from local corner stores for the third time this year. Chase shook his head and tossed the folder aside, opening the next one, and then the next. They were all the same. Petty crimes, bullshit crimes. Drunk and disorderly, disturbing the peace, traffic violations; cases he was tasked with investigating, arrests he was forced to make. He slid out of his overcoat, tossed it over the stack of files, and slumped into the creaky chair behind his desk. His eyes slid to the door of his office. The rest of the station buzzed about their day, on autopilot, like worker bees. Sometimes Chase envied them. They knew what they were supposed to do, and they didn’t question it, not if they wanted to stay in the hive. But at this moment, no one was looking at him, no one was paying any attention to the disgruntled detective in the corner office who had fallen out of the good graces of the Queen bee.
Chase discreetly tapped his knee twice under his desk, opening a hidden panel and dropping a folder into his lap. This was the real file, with the real criminals, the ones he had been told in no uncertain terms to stop pursuing- or else. Glossy pictures of smiling individuals, the same individuals whose faces decorated the covers of magazines, billboards and the business, politics and society sections of the paper. Today Chase would be knocking on the door of Mary Jane Landon, and when she answered he would inform her that he was there to arrest her seventeen year old son Liam, who had lifted a quart of milk and a pack of gum from the grocery store. She would cry and beg him not to, she would appeal to his heart, because after all he had grown up down the street from the Landon’s, Mary Jane had been two grades ahead of him at Corver High. And in that heart that Mary Jane was trying to touch, Chase would not want to haul Liam into the station, knowing that Liam’s job down at the docks was keeping his little family afloat. It was the people in his secret file that really deserved to be hauled in. Politicians who received kickbacks in exchange for supporting and passing certain laws and policies that only benefited a handful of people. Insider trading, money laundering, drug trafficking, and crimes that were so dark Chase would have a hard time believing they were actually happening, if he didn’t have the proof right in front of him.
As Chase flipped through the file one picture caught his attention, as it always did when he stole a few selfish moments with his secret file. This guy, Sebastian, was a puzzle to him. Chase remembered when Sebastian had arrived in Corver City, stepping off a private plane and moving directly into the tallest building in town. No one knew where he had come from or what he had been doing before, but within two years he was running a multibillion dollar company. Chase didn’t have anything on the man specifically, but he was rubbing elbows and donating to the charities of all the other people sitting beside him in this file, people Chase had plenty on.
Chase snapped the folder shut and abruptly shoved it back inside the hollowed out space under his desk, shoving it closed with his knee a bit more roughly then he had intended, causing his full cup of coffee to slosh onto his desk. He watched the amber liquid spread towards the stack of files that it was his job to handle. The people in his secret folder were off limits; that much had been made clear to him. The list of off limits individuals in Corver City was long, it was unspoken and well known at the same time. It would be the smart thing for him to put his pet project out of his mind and focus on doing his job, and as far as any of his superiors and colleagues knew, that’s exactly what he was doing. Chase allowed himself a small smile as he grabbed his coat and headed for the door, leaving the spilled coffee to soak into the files that he had no intention of opening again, at least not until someone started asking questions. And in the Corver City Police Department, made up mainly of people who were trained to not ask questions, that might take a while.