“It was pink.” The CEO’s face had turned its characteristic strawberry color. I held in a smirk, though it took all my willpower to do so. “My prime time blimp, soaring up above the city for all to see, my face, an icon of strength, masculinity, and industry, beaming down on the populace. And it was bright, screaming, sissy PINK.”
“I’m aware of that, sir,” I said in the most mournful tones I could muster. I’m a good actress, but it was all I could do not to burst out laughing. It had been a remarkable work of vandalism. Not only had the entire blimp been recolored in the CEO’s least favorite color, even his face had been completely repainted in gentle, friendly shades of pink. The detail had been truly impressive. The world’s most famous and powerful opponent to gay rights had been a laughing stock for several hours, until the pilot finally completed his route and brought it back down. He was still in custody, and had been questioned by half the police force and the CEO, Mr. Hanvil himself, but he appeared to genuinely not have noticed the paint job before boarding and starting his advertising flight. A drug test finally confirmed that he had marijuana in his system, so now he was being held for a different reason. But I was confident that he was telling the truth. The vandal was someone else.
“You told me you could find the lowlife who did it. It’s been three days and I haven’t seen a single arrest on the news. Where’s my vandal, detective?”
I forced myself to look intimidated despite my complete and utter lack of remorse. There was nothing to be gained by standing up to this man (or his army of lawyers) and a lot of money to be made in keeping him happy. “Yes, sir. It’s taking a bit longer than expected, but I’m sure I’m on the right trail. I won’t give up until I find the right culprit.”
“Damn right you won’t.” He seemed satisfied with my humility for the moment. “I expect results by the end of the week, Sharp, or I’m going to find myself another detective.”
Now that would be unacceptable. I couldn’t have another detective poking his (and it would certainly be a he) nose in on my case. “I won’t let you down, sir.”
“See that you don’t. I don’t want to have to regret hiring a woman to do what we all know is a man’s job. I hope you realize that if it hadn’t been for your little miracle last Thursday evening, I’d have never considered hiring you for a second.” It hadn’t been easy to persuade him to give me a chance. I’d had to fall back on sources of information I’d hoped to avoid, and nearly gotten myself into more trouble.
I repressed a grin of pride at having accomplished that without arousing the CEO’s suspicion. He was a miserable boss, but being in his employ gave me a lot of freedom, a lot of power, and, of course, a steady paycheck – so long as I gave him something he considered to be worth his money every now and then.
“Well I’d better get back to work straight away, then, hadn’t I?”