by Brian Trent
"She's planning something terrible," the old woman said for the fifth time since entering his office.
Sergeant Percy smiled pleasantly at his visitor. His office was crammed with a dozen other items requiring his attention--a boxful of photos to be reviewed, paperwork from last week's drug-bust to be filed, and meetings he needed to schedule with a murder suspect's gods-damned lawyers. Yet here he was, playing host to a senile and obviously drunk old woman, all because his captain insisted it was a matter of respect.
"I see dead bodies on a foamy beach!" the old woman added helpfully. "I see a red-bellied fish!"
Percy forced himself to nod thoughtfully. "Interesting."
"I see howling stones as far as the eye can see!"
"Well, we'll certainly look into this."
The Sybil's wrinkled face contorted in anguish. "You must, detective! The fate of the world depends on you taking action!"
Sergeant Percy rounded his desk and gently escorted the Sybil to his office door. "Thank you so much for coming to the station today, ma'am. We appreciate it. Honest."
He watched her go, shaking his head.
Percy turned to find Detective Cassie Apollonius standing by his doorway, sharing in the view of the departing Bronx prophetess. "Was that really the Sybil? Lucky you." She wrinkled her nose.
"What's that smell? Whiskey?"
"Grappa. I had to spend all morning placating the drunk old soothsayer."
Cassie laughed gorgeously. "The captain still considers her a valid tipster, huh?"