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A Lori Maxwell Caper
Scot Snow
When Lori opened her apartment door it was Officer Eric Wood standing there, in
civvies, his thumb having a spasm against the buzzer. "Oh gimme a break," said Lori, "it's
Christmas sodding Eve and anyway, I didn't do anything!"
"If only it were true. You've done plenty, and what you haven't done I'll bet you're
thinking about doing, right now."
"Well, good night then," said Lori, and closed the door in Eric's face. Only she didn't.
Eric had somehow got his foot trapped between it and the frame. He was a wily little bugger
sometimes. Lori pulled the door open and slammed it again. Nothing doing.
"That really hurts," said Eric.
"So move your bloody foot then," said Lori preparing for another slam, and this time she
meant it.
"Jeez, take it easy," said Eric, "I'm not here to arrest you."
"You're not, huh? So why do my feet want to be climbing out the back window right
Eric sighed. "Look, this isn't easy. Can I, you know, come in?"
Lori gave it a good five seconds of consideration. "I'd say you're half in already. May as
well make a commitment, go the whole way."
Eric stepped in and Lori shut the door behind him.
"Hhh," said Eric, glancing around the Spartan abode, "whadda ya know, crime really
doesn't pay."
"Crime pays fine," said Lori, "it's acting that doesn't pay."
"Really? That's a surprise. I saw you in the Acting Troupe's revival of Sexual Perversity
in Chicago. I heard it was a sold out season."
Lori stared at him for a long moment. Finally she said, "When was this, last summer?"
Eric nodded. "Uh, there was a warrant out on me for that truck job in DC. Not that I had anything
to do with it. Boosting a mail truck is a federal offence after all and that means time in a federal
pen. But still, you didn't take me in ..."
Eric shrugged. "You were ... good in that play. I bought that character completely. I'm
not kidding. Sexual deviancy and all."
Lori blinked. What was this, the godamn critics circle? And now some flat-foot who
usually had her in handcuffs was suddenly a fan? For a moment her head swam with the
surrealism of it, or maybe absurdism, some kind of 'ism' at least.
"This is what you came here to talk about," said Lori, "the theatre?"
"No, no I guess not," sighed Eric, shuffling his feet. "We've known each other what, two,
three years?"
"I'd say 'known' is stretching it a bit. You arrested me a whole hell of a lot, and most of it
didn't stick. If you didn't handcuff me so damn tight, I'd think you just liked the pleasure of my
company. But yeah, three years sounds about right to me."
"And I've always treated you good, yeah?"
"Yeah, you're a great guy, real stand-up, love ya like a sister. What in hell is this about?"
Eric chewed his thumbnail, his teeth making little chik-chik noises, then he said, "Okay,
look--" He paused and nibbled away some more thumb "--I ... okay, the thing is, I need your help."
"The hell you do," Lori said. "I don't rat for nobody, and sure as hell not for heat."
Eric gave a small smile, "The circumstances were right, somebody had something
hanging over you, you'd sing like a eunuch getting his balls back."
Lori took a step back. What was that, a secret code phrase? She looked one way then the
other, expecting the windows to fly apart on the end of SWAT boots at any second. "What the
hell?" she said.
"No, no, I'm just saying is all," Eric said. "But that's not what I'm after."
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