Three news vans huddled like a herd of praying mantises around the bus, antennas extended. Reporters tried not to blink at the bright light of the cameras while they rehearsed in front of a tangled knot of onlookers for the impending live shot. The reporters were as close to the yellow police tape as they could get without pushing against it. Four cops patrolled the border, faces hard.
Deliberately casual, Sasha stepped over the yellow tape in one of the gaps between officers. Sparky noticed first, as she knew he would. He walked over to her quickly, shaking his head, his hands resting on the clunky police belt around his waist.
“You know you can’t do that,” he said.
“They key is pretending like you belong here,” Sasha said. She smiled at him, looking up because he was a good six inches taller than her five-foot-five frame.
“You can pretend all you want,” a smile threatened the corners of his eyes, but he held it in. “You still can’t come in.” He pointed to the other side of the tape. She shrugged and crossed back over.
“What’s the scoop, Sparks? They got you on guard-dog duty again?”
Sparky shrugged. His real name was Phillip, but as a rookie he always got stuck patrolling the perimeter of the crime scenes and Sasha started calling him Sparky after her sister’s German shepherd.