The barely lit cigarette falls from my mouth as I sprint down the street back to the station, stopping every few hundred feet to catch watch my breath. *Wheezing* "it'll take forever to get a cab all the way out here" I thought. 20 minutes later I arrive at the station. Joyce, with her back turned is locking up the building. She turns, looks at me, out of breath and sweating profusely. Horrified she says, "I thought you went home to rest...did you just run here detective?" "Joyce...we got Mr. Gray.." *out of breath* "...its...all connected...him...Global Pala..." "who's Mr. Gray? Detective you really should lie down, you look like hell. When was the last time you slept?" "There's no time to explain, I need to get back into the office". Joyce lets out a subtle gown. "I'll put a pot on for ya" she says while shaking her head. "No you go home Joyce. It's late, I can make the coffee myself". "I'm not THAT old, detective" she replies sheepishly. "Besides, you keep smoking and not resting the way you do and in a couple years you'll look older than me!" I force a smile as she lets me into the building.
Rushing into my office I sift through the files I collected on Global Palate after meeting the mysterious woman while hiking a few months back. Suddenly it hits me, the strange woman was trying to warn us about something. She wanted us to find out about Global palate. *talking out loud to myself* "Where is it? Ah-ha! Here we go, global palate." *skims file out loud* "global palate, farm-to-table...does not use purveyors blah blah blah, grows own livestock and produce for the restaurant. That's how they do it! They skip the middle man and use the meat Mr. Gray was stealing from the grocery store. By getting the meat free global palate keeps labor and overhead low, turning everything into profit!" Joyce returns with a cup of piping hot black coffee. "This goes against my better judgment giving you coffee at this hour because you really need to rest, detective". "I appreciate the concern Joyce, but I'm fine." "Well I won't disturb you", she says before closing the door behind her. *picks up the phone and dials* "Stonewall, were going to dinner undercover tomorrow night...no don't ask questions. I got a big break in the grocery store case. I'm gonna bust this thing wide open and your going to help me". A half hour later Joyce finds me asleep at my desk with an unlit cigarette in my mouth.
In the morning I am startled awake by a hand on my shoulder. It was Leah, a junior detective I recruited last night for the global palate dinner. "What were you talking about last night? Something about an undercover dinner?" "Close the door, I'll fill you in..." *The rest of the station goes about their daily business and I breakdown the case to Stonewall*
That night Stonewall and I drive to Global Palate to check things out. "I'm checking to see if we're being followed. I think we're good for now" I say before sitting back in the passenger seat. "The part that I don't understand is, why Global Palate? They've been doing good business for years" Leah questions. "Yeah...dirty business. Mr. Gray was stealing prime cuts of meat for the restaurant so they could get it for free and sell it all for profit." *Perplexed* "But why?" "That's what we're going to find out..." We drove down a dark, narrow road until Leah spots the sign for the restaurant. "Look! There it is". We pull into a small drive way with a garage and a backyard. "You sure this is the place?", she asks. "It looks more like someone's house than a restaurant." The porch was decorated with white Christmas lights and the main entrance had a red velvet curtain that gave way to the main dining room and bar area. A server approaches and asks if she can help us. "Reservation for two, its under the name Stevenson" "right this way Mr. Stevenson".
After our server discussed the evening specials she handed us a menu before tending to other guests. "Refer to me as Mitch while we're here, ok?", I whisper to Leah. "Mitch Stevenson? That's your cover? You might as well said 'cop' when they asked for a name..." "I don't have all the time in the world to come up with clever undercover reservation names, Leah. Just roll with it! Now order something before we draw attention." *Our server returns* "Have you had a moment to look over the menu?" "Yes we have." I ordered a turkey pot pie and Stonewall ordered a baked ham with potatoes. We agreed to share...to make it look more real.
After we finished eating Leah lowers her head so others won't hear our discussion. *Whispering* "Alright, so he's involved, maybe not. But SHE IS. Lets take this place while Tim Ryan is here!" Leah cocks back the hammer of her gun under the table, "If he's clean he'll see who he's really doing business with; and if he is involved...well that's killing two birds with one stone. Its a win, win!" "Leah, we must be patient, and for chris'sake put that gun away! This thing is bigger than we could have ever imagined. We have to start building a case now. We're only going to get one shot at this thing so we have to make it stick." "If we come out, guns blazing yeah well stir things up, but how long can we hold them? We got nothing on them! They'll walk the next day. Its a chess game Leah" "I don't play, CHESS", she replies sharply. "Alright, its a game of cards. We have the king, but we don't know what they're holding. They could have an ace in the hole." *Confused* "So how do we find out what they have?", Leah asks. "We check, and check, and check, and let them throw all the money in the pot. When its the right time we raise and take the pot!", banging my hands on the table. *Guests look in our direction and our server returns* "Have you decided on dessert?" "We'll just take the check" I reply. "Sure thing, Mr. Hah...Mr. Stevenson. I'm sorry, I must have confused you with someone else..." We pay the bill and I turn the receipt over. *Writes: "Keep up the good work..."* "What are you doing? I thought we were undercover?", Leah inquires. "Did you miss that back there? 'Sure thing Mr. Hahm'? They already know who we are. Ya see? They're starting to reveal their cards already..."
Back at my apartment I start to feel dizzy so I sit in front of the television to clear my head. The room starts spinning, and everything becomes blurry. "They put something in the food" I say to myself. I could just make out a dark figure standing in the doorway before everything went dark....