“You’re awfully close,” Terry muttered. He was perspiring heavily and his blue eyes darted nervously around the confined space. His heart beat in time to the steady ticking of the digital clock.

“Don’t act like you’re not enjoying this,” Verlaine teased, moving closer still. With a grunt of frustration, she ran her hands over his body and dropped to her knees before him.

“You look great down there, Verlaine,” Terry said, eyes not on her but the stark concrete walls surrounding them. “Is this always how first dates always end for you?”

Verlaine patted his knees and his thighs parted at her wordless urging. She shuffled forward, bringing their bodies together. From one of the many zippered pockets of her pants Verlaine removed her pliers, the orange ones she always had on her no matter what. She clicked the ends together, the metal gleaming under the harsh fluorescent lights, and Terry gulped audibly.

“You do know what you’re doing with those, right?” Terry asked her with an uncertain grin.

“Sure, McGinnis. Just like in the videos,” Verlaine assured him. She sounded a lot more confident than she felt.

“Don’t chop my balls off,” Terry warned her.

“Of course not. We’re not married yet,” Verlaine joked, smiling up at him. Terry chuckled briefly, closing his eyes tightly for a few moments.

“How much time do we have left?” He asked, voice tight.

“We have time,” Verlaine said, looking up, unblinking, at his wide eyes. A bead of sweat slid down the side of her forehead.

Terry frowned down at her, taking a deep breath. “You should go.”

“I’m not leaving my partner.”


“Just be quiet,” Verlaine instructed him. “And relax.”

She peered closer at Terry’s body and the bulky black vest he wore. The black panel upon his chest was a stark reminder of the stakes, red numbers ticking down. Carefully, she reached out and pried off the top of the panel, exposing a nest of wires. They trailed over the vest, leading to a single large canister which had been sewn into the front. She continued inspecting the vest, looking for anti-tampering devices or other nasty surprises.

“You’re lucky,” Verlaine commented. “It looks like an amateur job. I don’t think this will go off by remote.”

“Oh, well that makes me feel so much better,” McGinnis said sarcastically.

Verlaine hummed in concentration, snipping wires here and there, and working to undo the clasps on the front of the vest. The precious seconds ticked by, punctuated by the metronome of the countdown clock.

Carefully, Verlaine traced the wires with her pliers to the top of the cap. Carefully, she pried off the top of the blasting cap, shifting up on her knees so she could look down the barrel of the canister.

“Damn it,” Terry said, holding his breath and clenching his eyes shut.

Though the descending red numbers on the clock made her want to hurry, Verlaine forced herself to move slow. She removed the explosive charge with steady hands: three sticks of commercial dynamite bound in red plastic. Terry swore again as Verlaine stood up carefully, depositing them as far away as she could, in the corner of the room.

“BDU, McGinnis and I are clear. There’s a charge here that needs disposal,” Verlaine said into her earpiece, standing and brushing the dirt off of her pants.

“Roger, Verlaine. Specialists are en-route. Any sign of the perp?” Came the crackly reply back. Out of the corner of her eye, Verlaine could see McGinnis shakily getting to his feet and peeling himself out of the vest.

“None,” Verlaine spoke into the radio.

“Okay, Verlaine,” Came the reply. “We’re all out here waiting for you. Let’s regroup and figure out next steps.”

Verlaine didn’t get a chance to respond because McGinnis was suddenly there in front of her. In the next moment, he had gathered her up in his arms and planted a sloppy, breathless kiss on her mouth.

“Thanks for that,” McGinnis said gratefully, releasing her so quickly she would have been offended if her head weren’t spinning from adrenaline.

“Don’t mention it,” Verlaine grinned at him, handing him his Glock 22 and holster. “Ready to get back to work?”

McGinnis nodded. “You got it, partner. Let’s get this bastard.”

Author note: This story was written for a bit of ‘micro-fiction’ or flash fiction practice. The challenge was to write something that was a cheesy romantic comedy, not my usual genre. Since I’m a sucker for buddy-cop movies, I threw that in there as well. Maybe it took over a bit. :0