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“No way, hombre.” Brad Marlin stepped out of his rusty Subaru BRAT and into the driveway of a Spanish-style hacienda. “You’ll never pass it.”
His partner, Eduardo Echmendia, slammed the passenger door shut and cracked his knuckles. “There’s no lie detector test,” he said.
Marlin reached under the driver’s seat and grabbed an old machete. He slid it into the leather sheath hanging from his belt. “You bet your ass there is. And that needle’s gonna shake like an earthquake when they get a load of you.”
He walked to the back of the vehicle. Across the rear window of the camper shell, sun-bleached decals spelled out “Critter County Pest Control.” Marlin popped the latch. The truck bed was a gnarl of hoses, cases, and exotic gear.
“I can pass it,” Eduardo said. “You passed it.”
“That was like twenty years ago. They let anyone on the force back then. These days, they ask all sorts of personal questions.”
Marlin lifted his Wayfarer sunglasses to the top of his head. He squinted in the blazing Fort Lauderdale sun. “You remember my buddy Deke the Freak? Ponytail? He runs those airboat tours? Well, Deke took the police exam a few years ago, before he grew his hair out. Did well enough on the written part, charmed his way through the interview, aced the field test. But then they take him into a room where they strap him onto a polygraph machine. First they ask about the usual stuff. Shoplifting. Unpaid parking tickets. But then they start grilling him about his sex life.”
Eduardo reached for a big black case.
“Leave the traps,” Marlin told him. “Client said they already have it cornered. Sounds like it’s a handful.”
Marlin grabbed a carry-all of spray bottles full of neon-colored liquids. “So they start asking all these questions. ‘Are you into roleplay? Any kinky fantasies? Have you ever seen a porno?’ Now, Deke knows the cops don’t hire pervs, so he just keeps answering ‘Nope’ to every question. He can hear that little meter thingie scratching right off the charts, but he just keeps repeating, ‘Nope, nope, nope, nope.’”
Eduardo pulled out a Super-Soaker topped with a Maglite.
Marlin shook his head. “Let’s stick with Large Marge. She’s light, but I’ll refill her tomorrow.”
Eduardo put the squirt gun back and yanked at a large rolling tank with hoses sticking out at every angle. It looked like a Shop-Vac fucked an octopus.
“So the cops see Deke sweating. Did I mention there’s a lady cop there, too? She’s staring at him like she’s Judge Judy or some shit. And Deke can’t take it anymore. He breaks down. Starts crying.”
“I shit you not. Literally crying. Then he spills it. Tells them about the small fortune he’s spent paying dominatrixes to roll him up in blankets and step on him in high heels.”
“Jesus. What a weirdo.”
“Don’t knock it till you try it. Anyway, the cops broke him. Cracked him wide open. This grown man crying about stilettos and shag carpeting on his police exam.”
“Did they hire him?”
“Of course they didn’t hire him! Not after that display.”
Eduardo shook his head. “I’ll be okay. I’m not a freak.”
“You can be a freak. I’m a freak. We’re all freaks,” Marlin said, slamming the hatch shut. “Just don’t lie about it.”