DEPUTY CHIEF CLEMENCY and Bobby Crider ate their lunches on the bench in front of the Public Safety Building. Crider took a bite of turkey club, watching as someone mowed the Post Office’s narrow strip of lawn across Elm Street, mulching leaves as they went. A squad car glided to the curb, blocking his view, and Chief Priewe got out.

“How we doing, boys?”

“Chief,” said Clemency. The younger officer could only nod, his mouth filled with sourdough bread. “You aren’t eating? Meg’s being generous today: my Reuben really got loaded up on the corned beef and Swiss here.”

“I’ll grab something later. Listen, I want—”

Priewe stepped back from the sidewalk, just missing Karl Kissick as he sailed by on a skateboard, student book bag slung over him like a full parachute pack, clicking away heedlessly at his Game Boy. The kid glanced up for a second before returning his attention to the handheld game as he rolled past.

“Hey, stay off the walks!” Priewe barked. “Goddamn kid.
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