Author: Hari Navarro, Staff Writer

The Detective lays in the warming twist of the hot-tub, an outrigger cocoon that juts, one of many, from this recreation floor high above the 2211th Precinct. The steam peels away thoughts of her desk and of stacked files of death and corruption and it drips, a dark overflow that dribbles the length of this tower and returns to the stink at its feet.

Her clothes pile beneath the business end of the Smith & Wesson Model 29 that pokes from the shoulder holster slung from the stool at her back. The still turning wisp of the last round that she spent, but an hour ago now, floats unseen in its barrel and she is sure that she catches its scent.

The Detective looks down at her perfect body and revels in its secret. Sublime legs, how they float just beneath the bubbles and her toes they curl and ball like fists. Who even remembers now the actress from whom they were inspired? Her hips and belly likewise delicate selections and her face a buffet of the most beautiful and exotic extraction. And the old woman, she marvels at just how it is she can feel every last caress of the water, as it pulls the filth from her skin.

Her Grandfather had made her this puppet. Years ago now when it was she who walked this beat. He’d drawn his craft from the dark age of Deep Fake. That era when technology leaped forward and stole the rights to our skin. In which we took faces without asking and crafted them into perversions unbound.

Julia Roberts, that’s her. That’s who gave her these legs.

The Detective again stretches and looks out and into the acrid mist that foams at the windows that bookend this lofted canister and she shrugs at its voyeuristic design. Nobody drives this high anymore, the smog is that thick, but she does like the idea that, perhaps, there are eyes that look upon her as she lays alone in the steam.

There is someone. Not out there. Here, behind her. She can hear now the swallow in his throat.

“You killed wrong today”, he stammers.

The Detective stands and turns and hopes that the wet drip of her glistening form will ensnare what her instincts tell her is the very most simplest of minds.

She is wrong and her head barely flinches as the bullet passes through her eye and ruptures the window at her back.

In a lonely room the old woman shudders at the hit, clutching at the console before her. She takes a step and two more rounds to the chest as she reaches for her holster and draws out the 6 1/2 inch barrel as if a sword from its sheath and the ancient canon feels like air in her hand.

“You poked a hole in me”, she says as she blasts her killer’s heart through his back.

The ruined Detective stagger-steps through the water that is churning her blood and the blue drip of her brains and up onto the now blustering ledge.

A tired old woman, with wires streaming from her body and tears from her eyes, braces as the street now reaches up and grabs at her face. She feels numb from the impact or is that relief that she sighs as she absorbs her facade’s very last spasm and both they slide down into death.