«You know kid, I really don't like you.» Stark was pissed off. He was so pissed off that the hospital had had him relieved before his full recovery because nobody could stand him anymore, even though of course that wasn't the official reason.

«Sir.» the young man knew he would be better not provoking Stark, so he just acknowledged the comment.

«You see, one of the nice thing about the accident my car had is that it was just inside the garage. You know what we have inside the garage, boy?»

«Cars, sir?» the young man was really clueless about where Stark's speech was going, so he took the stupidest guess.

«Aha, very funny kid. Now try to stop being funny, my chest still hurts when I laugh and that's guaranteed to cripple my good mood. And we don't want that, do we?»

«Sir, no, sir.» and that was true.

«I'll give you a hint, kid, so maybe that'll enlighten you. We have closed-circuit cameras, kid. All over the place. Every corner of the garage, every pillar, even just outside the garage. Even inside your stupid control box.»

«Yes sir.»

«So you see, it just happens that I had a lot of free time these past days, you know, being hospitalized and whatnot. And I spent most of this time watching TV, kid. CC-TV, if you catch my drift.»

«Sir, yes sir.»

«Do you know where I'm going with this, kid?»

«Sir, I assume you were looking for clues about the explosion, sir.»

«Ah, smart kid. I like that. It still doesn't make me like you, but at least I know I'm not talking to some dumbbell. Now, you know, there's an interesting thing caught by the CC during that fucking bombing of my fucking car. And you know what it is, kid? It's that you happen to duck at just the right fucking time.» Now Stark was standing behind his desk, and shouting right in the face of the young man. «Explain this!»

«Sir, I am the controller, sir. I hear everything that goes in or out or through the car radios, sir. I heard the voice just like you did, sir, and just like you stepped out of the car in time, sir, I ducked fearing the worst.» The young man spoke very fast, trying to get the point across, through the veil of anger and hate that covered Stark's face.

«Oh, sure, how fucking convenient. “I'm the controller, sir, I hear everything, sir, please don't eat my face, sir.”» What had started with a falsetto mocking voice ended with a growling snap.

«Sir,» the controller's voice was much less assertive now «that's the plain truth, sir.»

«Oh, yeah, of course it's the fucking truth, kid, of course. How else could you know about the bombing, eh? Except maybe if you put the fucking bomb there

«Sir, I never go near the cars, sir. Mechanics service the cars, sir. I'm only told when they are serviced and when they come back, sir. Closed-circuit cameras can surely confirm that, sir.»

Stark was now fuming with anger. He felt mocked by the controller, and he didn't like that. He didn't like that at all. «Get out of my sight, kid, get out of my sight before I lose it. GET. OUT.»

«Sir.» the controller snapped to salute and headed for the door.

«You're a disgrace, controller, you're an insult to the intelligence and bravery of our police corps. I'll see you kicked out before you know what hit you.»

The controlled stopped and turned.

«What.» Stark shouted.

«With all due respect, sir. I'm the best controller this section ever had. I give my best to the section, sir, and that turns out to be better than what anybody else in my position has ever done.»

Stark looked at the controller madly. «What's that supposed to mean, kid?»

«With all due respect, sir, I believe that if someone is bringing disgrace to the police corp with its actions and behavior, that wouldn't be me.»

Stark had now moved around the desk, and two quick steps brought him face to face with the controller. «And who would that be, kid? Are you somehow suggesting that I bring disgrace to the police, kid?»


«Have the guts to say that in my face, kid.»

«Sir, I believe that your recent behavior has brought more troubles than solutions to this section.»

«My behavior, kid? What about my behavior.»

«With all due respect, sir, you have been an aggressive jerk, si—»

The punch flung the controller throught the open door into the corridor. Stark was upon him in no time, and started beating him, until people rushed through from all directions to grab him.