Vinh Ordinaire Rouge had never forgiven her parents for her middle name.  She was a tough and irascible homicide inspector and she had a reputation for assisting her enemies to enjoy the big sleep when business was a little slow.  Her business.

She could rely on her pack to fail to solve the appropriate crimes and to do what they were told.

Rouge had an abiding distaste for the festive season.  It was the time of year where all the loose change of society fell through the holes in the pockets of the rich and powerful.  It was the time for the inconvenience of a slow news week.  It was time for pressmen with little on their plate to come sniffing.

Her second cup of java had gone as cold as an ASIC One-Tel case and she grew impatient waiting for her left-hand man – the usually reliable O’Hoo to breeze in with his copy of the Racing Times – and bore her witless with his predictions for the night’s offing at Dapto dogs.  A good man, O’Hoo was usually reliable and seldom had any weaknesses, notwithstanding his surprising lack of judgement – investing in “the Leichhardt flash”.  Flash, like his namesake, went off just once.  For a third at Wentworth Park, but he continued to consume prodigious amounts of Pal and routinely stole George and Tash’s cat food.

Rouge punched the intercom.  “Has anyone seen O’Hoo”.  “O’Hoo’s on first”, came the usual reply.  It was Jail.  Jail was Julian Lapin.  Jail was an office ornament, who had allegedly retired but continued to come to work, or more accurately came into the station to keep warm on cold days.  And it gave him an alternative to his part-time job of preparing the sweets at the Coogee Bay Hotel.  Rouge and the rest of the squad turned a blind eye because Jail had useful connections in the music industry and by extension in the recreational horticulture business.  He was used to hedging O’Hoo’s bets.

“Piss off, Jail! I’m serious.  This is not like O’Hoo.”  “He was drinking pints with one of his old private dick mates at the Leichhardt Wanderer’s Christmas do last night, boss.  I left when they started playing ‘Truth or Dare’”.

Rouge left just enough coffee in the cup to start a new biology experiment for the boys in the lab, rose from her chair, grabbed her beret and the keys to the Falcon and gave Jail the unnecessary instruction to mind the shop.

Jail turned on the PC and fired up Firefox.  From the car park downstairs, he could hear the thunk of the Falcon’s door and the low burble as Rouge kicked her old 351 into life.  He clicked on his favourites list, scrolled down to the Pig’s Arms and pulled up a stool in the front bar of the pub before Rouge had time to cross the footpath and cut into the traffic on City Road.

“I’ll have a pint of Trotter’s, thanks Merv” he said, and flipping the pages of his copy of Rolling Stone, he couldn’t help wondering why they were featuring a piece on genetically modified wah-wah pedals.