Bantering With Herself Book 4
Fiction, Mystery, Crime
March 21, 2021
Banter, an ex-gun-for-hire, now works for the police force. Her uncanny ability to solve cases has made her in high demand. But not all of the attention is good. Someone is stealing from the evidence room, and the goods keep showing up in her office. Locks are getting picked. Files are getting lost. Evidence is pointing at her, but Corey and her group don’t believe she is the one doing this, but others are talking. She is supposed to be just a consultant, helping people with cases, but she finds herself back out in the field. When she has to go rummaging through garbage cans, she makes a find of a lifetime. A find that alters her life, her marriage, and her relationship with Corey and his sons.
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Banter grumbled under her breath. Ray promised she wouldn’t be out in the field, especially after Corey had a talk with him. Yet, here she was prowling down an alley doing some reconnaissance. It was midnight and hot. Even though she was wearing her lighter black hoodie and a thin t-shirt, she was still hot.
“Stinking garbage. I thought I was done working with garbage.”
There was a heavy stench in theair.
“Just walk through the area. Yeah, Ray. I’m walking. Nothing to see. You think I can magically find everything just because… I can.”
She chuckled to herself. Her recent police work had given her an excellent reputation.
“Now everyone wants me to help.”
She passed a row of garbage cans. None of them had lids on to help block the aroma that rose from them. She was almost clear of them when she heard a noise. Something within her made her stop dead.
Animal, she thought. Kitten?
“That’s all I need with two dogs and two kids. A cat.”
She turned her head toward the garbage cans, half expecting a kitten to pop out.
There was nothing. She heard nothing more. With a wrinkle of her nose, she turned to leave.
She heard another noise before she could even take a step. A soft whimper. A cry? Or the chattering of a rat?
Banter turned back to look again, but still, nothing stood out.She spun on her heels to take two steps toward the cans. They all lookedfull. One looked overflowing with a bundle that looked like old rags ontop of it.
A weird feeling of apprehension flowed through her. Part of her wanted to run while the other felt the need to investigate. She took a few more steps.
The bundle moved. There was a soft cry.
“What the fuck,” she said, moving forward the last few steps in haste.
Barely visible in the bundle was a newborn.
“What are you doing here?”
She caught herself from touching the bundle.
She took pictures of the bundle and the area, then made a call.
“911, what is your emergency?”
“This is Banter.”
She gave the code that identified her as an officer.
“I have a newborn in a trash can.”
She gave the cross streets since she couldn’t see any building numbers.
“We’ll send an ambulance right away. Please stay put so you can direct them.”
“No shit. I’m not leaving.”
She sent a text to Peter, her undercover partner, to let him know what was happening. He was somewhere driving around, waiting to extract her. His reply was ‘WTF’.
“Yeah, my thoughts exactly,” she muttered.
She moved closer to the alley entrance. It was fifteen minutes before the flashing lights of the ambulance appeared. She was thankful they weren’t using sirens. She waved them down. The ambulance’s flashing lights turned off when it turned into the alley. She led the way down to the cans.
“What did you find, Banter?” Nick said, getting out of the driver’s side.
With all the cross training of late between disciplines, she now knew most of the EMTs.
“Newborn in the trash.”
“Dead or alive.”
“Alive. So far.”
Paul, his partner, got out, and they all converged on the can.
“Definitely a newborn.”
Nick put on a pair of disposable gloves and opened the bundle just enough to look.
“A girl. Umbilical cord is still there. Hardly an hour old, I’d say.”
Paul nodded his agreement.
“I took pictures of the area already,” she said.
Paul put on gloves and gently picked up the bundle, supporting the baby’s head with a hand.
“Anything else around?”
They all looked through the top layer in the cans and around the area, looking for clues.
“No placenta. She wasn’t born here,” Nick said.
“Come along. You can make your report direct to Social Services,” Paul said.
“Lovely. More paperwork.”
She followed Paul to sit in the back of the ambulance.
“What are you doing out here?” Paul said. “This isn’t a nice neighborhood.”
“Recon duty. This wasn’t what I was expectingto find.”
She sent a text to Peter telling him where she was going.
Will follow,was his reply.
“My ride is following.”
“She’s small, but looks full term,” Paul said. “Probably a first for some young teenager. You need to find these young ones fast.Good thing you were around.”
Banter watched Paul, who seemed totally absorbed in staring at the baby.
“Vitals look normal,” he said after a few minutes.
“You can see all that just by looking at her?”
“I counted her breaths. I can see a pulse. She’s not in distress. Her coloring is good. She was wrapped well enough, and it’s warm out.”
It impressed her whathe could see just by looking at the baby.
“She just needs to be cleaned up and to have the umbilical cord treated. Then a feeding with colostrum.”
“Now you lost me.”
“First milk has colostrum. Gives her the antibodies needed to buildup her immune system.”
The ambulance pulled into the emergency entrance of the nearesthospital.
“Staff will be happy that we’re not bringing them something that’s critical. Especially at this time of the night.”
“A newborn isn’t critical?”
“Not this one. No shakes.”
“She’s probably not a drug baby.”
“That’s good to hear.”
The ambulance came to a stop. Paul didn’t move. Banter figured Nick was running around to open the door for them. A moment later, the door opened as she expected.
Banter followed Paul into the emergency entrance. A nurse stood.
“Newborn...” Paul said.
The conversation between Paul and the nurse went fast with acronyms and terms that Banter wasn’t familiar with. In minutes, they were in an examination room. Paul handed the baby over to the nurse.
“I have another call already. Have a good one, Banter.”
He left in a hurry.
“A representative for Social Services will be here shortly. Are you a relative?” the nurse said.
“What? No. I’m a police officer. I found her.”
The nurse looked at her as if she didn’t believe her.
Banter flashed her badge.
A doctor stepped in.
“Abandoned newborn,” the nurse said.
“I’m Banter, police officer. I found her,” she said.
“Dr. SamGrove,” he said as an introduction. “Let’s havea look.”
Banter watched while they examined the baby. Once outside of her wrapping, she found her lungs and screamed. Banter liked her better when she was quiet.
The doctor removed thewrappings toput into a plastic bag as evidence, then he took a few swabs of blood from the umbilical cord before treating it.They thoroughly wiped the baby down, put her into a diaper, and wrapped herin a hospital baby blanket.
“Here, hold her a moment,” the nurse said.
Banter wanted to protest, but the baby was in her arms before she could utter a sound.
The nurse cleaned up and wiped down the examination table. Banter had the image of a waitress who was in a hurry to bus the table for the next customers.
The baby, however, was still crying, but not so loud.
“You’re warm and clothed. You should be quiet now,” shesaid to her.
The baby quieted to a soft whimper,