Marti Martinez and the Fishbowl Girls
Tim Wedge

The Present:

She is being stalked. It is not far behind, keeping its distance until it feels like closing. She senses its presence clearly, though it might pass unnoticed to others: a spot of darkness in more or less human form, in and out of sight, calmly matching her pace as she walks faster and faster along the dirty sidewalk. She is certain now that it has marked her as this evening’s prey. She is equally certain it does not want her money or her jewelry. It wants something much more valuable. It wants to steal her self. It has done this many times before, taking its time, laughing its dark laugh. She knows all of these things, but wishes that she didn’t. There are a great many things that she would as soon un-know, if she could.
She knows that she shouldn’t be here. She was warned. They told her that there are boundaries she shouldn’t cross. She is not supposed to go out by herself; there have been incidents, and she’s been warned about consequences.
She also knows that she should not have listened to voices she couldn’t see, and she certainly shouldn’t have agreed to what they asked, but she had done both. She should not have done a great many things that she subsequently went and did. Now, having done, listened, and agreed to many things she knew she shouldn’t have, she is at the end of a chain of events that led to her current role as prey for something that does not want her money.

Baghdad, summer of 2008:

Marti was angry. Six and a half miles an hour, she thought. That was all she needed to do. Well, a hair over that anyway. She would finish the two mile run at just under nineteen minutes at that speed. Nothing to be proud of, a little better than the requirement, but that was the number that would get Sergeant First Class Longstreet off her ass.
The red LEDs on the treadmill said she was running seven and half miles an hour. Two miles had flown by, minutes ahead of schedule. Her legs felt fine, she was barely breaking a sweat in the air-conditioned gym, and not the least bit short of breath. She was feeling great, and this made her angry. Why couldn’t she do this outside where it mattered? Sure, it’s always easier on the treadmill, she thought, but not this much easier. Outside, she couldn’t beat a ten minute mile to save her life.
The scenery was nicer outside. Living and working on one of Saddam’s old palace complexes had to have some fringe benefits. What could be more pleasant than a morning run by a quiet, manicured man-made lake? Of course, it didn’t help that she hated running, the outside temperature was in the nineties at dawn, hitting triple digits before breakfast was over, and the lake was surrounded by invisible pockets of moist air that sucked the air out of your lungs when you ran unwittingly into them. A treadmill close to an A/C was far too attractive an alternative to ignore. If only Longstreet would let her take the PFT on the treadmill, life would be so much more bearable. Without noticing that she was doing it, Marti bumped the speed up to eight miles an hour.

Najya, even more than the others, loved the vicarious joy of Marti’s legs pumping, the feel of her strong heart pumping blood, the subtle rush of endorphins on the longer runs, the growing caress of sweat flowing down and falling off her body. Najya tried not to judge her harshly but decided Marti’s silent complaints of the outside heat were petty and weak. She thought Marti was . . . ungrateful for the gift of life. It was, after all, a treasured gift that had been cruelly taken from Najya and the others.
“Perhaps she is not the only one who is ungrateful,” chided Karida. “Should we not be grateful for even this taste of life when she comes here?” Karida also enjoyed the feel of Marti’s exertions. Though she would never admit it to the others, she enjoyed catching glimpses of Marti’s lithe, sweat-soaked form bouncing in the mirror. She liked the way the gray t-shirt and black shorts highlighted Marti’s youthful face and form. She wondered how Marti might look in other clothing, and what else Marti might wear when she wasn’t sweating in the fishbowl. Dresses, maybe? Marti would look good in a dress. Karida hoped she wore dresses all the time when she wasn’t here: stylish, feminine, Western style dresses. Like the others, Karida wished that she could leave with Marti whenever she left this place, which they would never be able to bring themselves to see as a gym.
The place known to the current living occupants as “the fishbowl” gym had been something quite different when Najya, Karida, and the others had been brought here. Physical activity had certainly taken place here, but it was not undertaken for anyone’s self-improvement. Some might have called the place a brothel, but that would have been misleading. None of the women had come here by choice, and the coin in which they were paid included suffering and death. Some were brought here for saying the wrong thing to the wrong person. Some were brought here simply because they caught the eye of the wrong person while walking home from school.
Many of the women who unwillingly provided “entertainment” never left this place alive. A few of them never left at all. Neither Karida nor the others, except maybe Maysarah, knew how many women had died: maybe dozens, maybe hundreds, but far more than the seven that comprised their shadowy clique. Karida did not know why a few of them stayed behind while the rest went on to wherever it is people go when they die. Maysarah, the witch, probably knew, but she wasn’t saying. Maysarah told them what she wanted them to know, and nothing more. Karida did not like talking to or thinking about Maysarah. She decided to imagine Marti wearing beautiful dresses instead.

Marti bumped the treadmill up again to nine miles an hour. Marti registered her speed with a mixture of pride, satisfaction and skepticism. She’d been getting better and better each time she came to the fishbowl. She half suspected that the third-country nationals that took care of the equipment had intentionally miscalibrated some of the treadmills to make everyone think they were going faster. That would explain why she did so much better in the gym than she did outside. That, and the air conditioning, anyway. It didn’t explain why everyone else wasn’t going faster, though. And she was getting better with the weights, too. Better than a lot of the guys, even. Some of them noticed. She always knew when they were looking at her in the fishbowl, and not just because of the mirrors. She also knew some of them weren’t just looking at her boobs. A lot of them were looking at the plates on her stack: some with respect, some with envy, some with disbelief and resentment.
Despite all this, she still had trouble cranking out nineteen or twenty push-ups once she got outside the gym. She could pass the PFT with that, but just barely, and not without hearing Longstreet’s admonishment to shape up.

Nasiha was happy that this had become the kind of place it had become. She remembered how excited she felt the first time they saw, with disbelief, the women soldiers come in and exercise alongside the men. All of them thought it was the most remarkable thing, she and Najya even more than the others.
“Oh, look!” Najya had cried, “They come here to get stronger! The women, they come here to get stronger, just like the men!”
“It is more than that Najya, listen to their words, their thoughts . . . some of the men . . . encourage them! They are strong men too, Najya, and many of them think nothing of a woman trying to be strong.”
“Not all of them,” intruded Maysarah, with more than a little bitterness. “Listen carefully to that one’s thoughts . . . and this one over here. A lot of them are just looking at these women’s tits bounce. And that . . . one . . . that one over there. . . listen. He is thinking about trying to catch one alone in the dark. See how he looks at that smallish girl? He is thinking how he’d like to put his dick in her mouth and make her taste him. He struggles not to get hard in public while he thinks about it. Pah! These men are no different than the ones who took us. Do not be fooled! Stop clucking like a bunch of dajaaj, scratching in the dirt!”
Their newfound joy was hard to kill completely. These men were different, most of them, anyway, and even the old witch knew it. Presently, the bad man left and they found themselves delighting again in the novelty of women exercising with the men.
Nawrah, ever the proper one, tried to be scandalized by the sweaty co-mingling of the sexes, but seeing that no harm was being done, she soon found herself captivated by the novelty of the thing. Even Jana, the silent one, was soon uttering wordless squeals of delight. Whether it was because of the antics of the new visitors, or simply because the brutal killers no longer frequented this place, they all felt better about the new state of things. Even Maysarah felt a lifting of her spirits, though she was loath to admit it.

Marti’s treadmill was up to ten miles an hour. It took some effort to keep up, but it wasn’t killing her. She felt good. She felt alive. She felt like she could do this all day. She knew she was drawing an audience, though. She could feel curious stares being focused on her. A part of her felt that she could feel exactly how many pairs of eyes were focused on her, and what sentiment lay behind each. At ten miles an hour, the treadmill banged around a little and the rapid pounding of her feet stood out from the typical background noise in the gym. Nobody looked like they were going to complain, but Marti felt conspicuous. She didn’t like to be noticed. She slowed down, and then cut her workout short.

The Present:

She does not let on that she knows she is being followed. She won’t give it the satisfaction of her tension; she tries to calm her rapidly beating heart. There are people on the street coming in and out of restaurants and coffee shops that are still open, but not for much longer and with dwindling foot traffic. It won’t try to take her when there are people around. She could ask for help, but no one would be able to help her with this. It would simply fade from sight until she was alone again. She might invite its wrath on some unsuspecting innocent. She doesn’t want that on her conscience. Whatever else she’s done, and whatever else happens tonight, she does not want innocents hurt because of her foolishness.
A couple of blocks further, she turns left down a side street. There is an auto body shop, a book store, a law office, and other daytime businesses, all closed for the day many hours ago. A few of the buildings are vacant, with signs in the window saying as much and entreating the reader to call this number to lease. There are no people down this street.
The thing behind her does not turn left, and continues through the intersection. She is not fooled, though. It will turn at the next block and shadow her.

Baghdad, spring of 2000:

More than her own death a year earlier, Ma’ab was horrified by what they did to Jana. This was more because of Jana’s nature than what they did to her. Certainly, many of the girls had been tortured more severely, scarcely resembling a human by the time they finally died. Compared to many, Jana’s death was mercifully quick, if unintentional.
That Jana’s was the only accidental death made it no less cruel. The men had planned to toss her back on the street where they found her. After all, she couldn’t talk; she probably didn’t understand what was happening to her. The men gang-raped her, taking turns in groups of three, violating her small, oddly-shaped body in every way imaginable. Without realizing it, they had quickly suffocated her, taking her limpness for surrender. They continued to use her little body for some time after she died.
She was small, looking maybe eight years old. She might have been older, just shorter because of what she was. Ma’ab knew there was a name for people like Jana, with their thick tongues and odd looking eyes, but she didn’t know what it was. Nasiha would know; she studied such things before she was taken. Ma’ab never asked, though. Ma’ab was sure that most could at least talk, but Jana, even after her death, she seemed, for the most part, incapable of speech. She could point at herself and say “Jana,” which they took to be her name, and she would sometimes utter “ommy?” in a lilting tone, suggesting a question. Everything else was soundless words, though death gave them other ways to communicate. Even without words, a question felt like a question; fear felt like fear. In their new, disembodied forms each quickly learned that she had new senses, could feel and know things that they could never see or touch. Secret thoughts, hidden desires might just as well be shouted out loud to the unliving inhabitants of this place. Jana, though, was Jana. Whatever thoughts ran through her head, she was no better at getting them across to others in the afterlife than she had in life.
Ma’ab decided she loved little Jana the moment she saw her. Were they still alive and if they’d had bodies, Ma’ab would take her home to live with her and her beloved Jassim. She would raise her as her own, and her brave Jassim would protect her. Though she made some of the others uncomfortable with her oddness, they each in their own way loved little Jana as well.
She often wondered if Jana had a mother and father who loved and missed her, somewhere. Here in this place that would one day be called the fishbowl by odd foreigners, she had six mothers, if you counted Maysarah. Call it five and a half. Maysarah never had a cruel word for Jana, leaving her singularly free from scorn, but Maysarah was Maysarah. Maysarah was not a nurturer; she was a ghost who frightened other ghosts.

There were no more additions to their little family after Jana, though the rapes, tortures, and murder continued for some time—until the foreigners started showing up. The other victims simply died, leaving nothing of themselves behind. The unliving survivors were seven in all: Najya, Maysarah, Karida, Ma’ab, Nasiha, Nawrah, and the final addition of little Jana. Seven out of hundreds who had died in this place. Some of them speculated on why they remained while the others had gone on to wherever it is the dead really go. Maysarah, the founding member of their sorority, offered no insight. The others suspected she knew more than she was saying. It certainly felt like she knew something. Maysarah was Maysarah, and would say nothing more than what she wanted the others to know.

Baghdad, spring of 2008:

Reluctantly, SGT Martina Martinez, in regulation PT gear, dragged herself into the gym. She did not like working out, and it wasn’t as if she didn’t have enough to do already. She couldn’t afford to fail, or even come close to failing the PFT, though, and her running speed was abysmal. She wasn’t out of shape, not really; she just hated running and didn’t do enough of it. She needed to bring herself up to speed. This was her first time at the place they called “the fishbowl.” The structure was certainly round enough to inspire a bowl-like impression, and the circular flow of the internal structure was filled with an aquatic, piscine décor from which it had probably derived its name. Some of her friends refused to work out here, saying it was haunted and they had “bad vibes” when they came in. Marti wasn’t particularly superstitious, though, and in the wet heat of the Iraqi spring that foreshadowed the brutal summer to come, an air conditioned workout would be adequate compensation for any ghostly trespassers.

They all felt drawn to this odd, new girl soldier that had come into the gym. It was Karida who touched her first. She felt drawn to her, wanted to touch, caress this odd little woman with dark hair and swarthy skin, so like them, and yet . . . not. She was pretty, young and strong. She was round in the ways Karida thought women should be round. She was thinking those thoughts that she knew she must not think, feelings she should not feel. Oh, but she was so pretty, even in the scandalous attire she wore. Those shorts exposed her legs almost up to the buttocks. In spite of herself, Karida felt her gaze drawn to those very same buttocks, their shape only barely disguised by her dark clothing. She drew closer and closer, until she touched . . . and was suddenly inside her!
With a frisson of shock and panic and joy all at once, Karida was alive. She saw what this girl saw, felt the clothes rubbing against her skin, the air caressing her lungs, the cool, controlled breeze of the air conditioner frolicking in her hair. This . . . this was . . . new! This had not happened before. Karida felt a tingle: like her first chocolate, first swim, and first self-delivered orgasm, all rolled into one. She felt wonderful and guilty all at the same time, as if she had been caught masturbating right at the moment of climax.
Connected as no earthly sisters could ever be, the others felt Karida’s wave of pleasure, wonder, and distress immediately. Maysarah pounced inside next, striking like a cobra that had lain in wait for years, awaiting this one, perfect mouse. Karida felt herself almost drawn into Maysarah as she was into this odd (but beautiful) foreign girl . . . Marti . . . her name was Marti, she suddenly knew. Karida felt Maysarah quickly crown herself queen of this wonderful land of Marti, and she felt Maysarah do something she had not done before: smile. It was something like a smile, anyway, at least in the same sense that a fart was something like a warm breeze. There was something, if not evil, at least unpleasant beneath that smile. Nonetheless, it was the most pleasant (or least unpleasant) feeling that had ever seeped out of her, as far as Karida knew. Karida sensed one other thought, but only just barely, before Maysarah clamped down on it, hard, and thrust it where no one else could see.
“She’s been taken, sometime in her past, just like us, and she’s gifted, like me. This is the one I’ve been waiting for.”
With no less ease than Karida and Maysarah, the others soon joined in, though only Karida had been able to catch Maysarah’s cryptic fragment of a thought. They delighted in Marti’s body like children in a swimming pool on a hot summer day. They were a part of Marti, joyfully immersed in her, though she was no more conscious of them than a pool can comprehend the presence of the children playing in it. Being so bonded with Marti, they were now connected with each other more strongly than before, with six of the seven able to hold on to their own identities, but only with some effort; more so than ever, Maysarah was showing her dominance. Maysarah’s presence oozed throughout their living host and the other occupants. Maysarah’s presence was more confident than the others, as if this was an old shoe that she had worn before.
Notwithstanding Maysarah’s presence, the others delighted in Marti: the physical sensations, the thoughts and memories, the emotions. Their first time in Marti passed like a dream, a warm, pleasant dream that had been a long time coming. Nor was the sensation entirely one way: though not consciously aware of their presence, something vaguely like pleasure seeped into Marti’s thoughts, and without her knowledge or consent, a serene half-smile stealthily worked its way into her face as she started her warm-up. Without her conscious acknowledgement, she felt good throughout her entire workout: keenly aware of her body and with growing feelings of strength. She felt . . . alive. She had planned to work out for forty-five minutes. This turned into an hour and a half. Adding a few extra sets on the weight machines here, another mile on the treadmill there, she wished she could keep working out forever.
Eventually, she had to leave. The seven (or at least six of the seven) watched excitedly from within as Marti neared the exit. Almost, they let themselves believe they would experience the outside for the first time in years (or decades). As she passed through the exit though, they felt themselves ooze smoothly back out of her, like water taken cleanly off a window by a squeegee as she left them behind. As exhilarated as all of them were when Marti came in, the crushing loss of her hit them like a hammer. They felt empty, sad, and tired in a way they had never felt before, in life or in death. Like a small child who must suddenly deal with gravity’s unforgiving pull after hours spent buoyed in warm water, they felt unbearably heavy and fatigued. Unheard by the other occupants of the gym, they wept. Most of them did, anyway; Maysarah merely scowled at the others. She seemed about to tell them something . . . Consoling? Reassuring? But then she didn’t, forcing herself into thoughtful silence.

“Jesus!” Marti thought, “Why do I suddenly feel like shit?”

The Present:

It is closer now. She can sense its anticipation and quickening pace. It is large, she knows, without having to see it. Despite its size, it is very silent. Its normal prey would never hear it. She knows that it still thinks itself undetected. She knows far more than it thinks she does; she knows that it has three times her mass, and is capable of ripping a human being to pieces. It does not want to rip her to pieces, though. It wants something from her. It wants her to watch while it takes what it wants. It wants to laugh while she watches. She knows it will not be a pleasant laugh.

Baghdad, summer of 2008:

She registered the presence of the old guy (she thought of him as “Doc Brown,” his white, unkempt hair reminding her of Christopher Lloyd’s character in “Back to the Future”) on the bench press just a few feet from where she was doing flies with 80-pound hand weights. She knew he was a nice guy that wouldn’t leer at her; he tried hard not to look at her tits.
“He is a nice man,” assessed Nawrah.
“He thinks of his daughter back home when some of these men leer at Marti,” added Ma’ab. “He would not want men to look at his daughter like that. He is a protector, just like my beloved Jassim.”
Jana made a noise they took for agreement.

“Doc Brown” knew nothing of his otherworldly evaluation, though he would have been pleased to know he had been approved. Finishing a sixth repetition of 250 pounds, he was barely able to latch the bar back into place as he gave up on doing a seventh or subsequent rep. More accurately, he almost latched the bar back into place: the hooks balanced precariously on the catch for just a moment, long enough for him to let go and lower his arms before slipping back and allowing the bar and its attached weights to plunge towards his unprotected chest.
He barely had time to realize it was falling before he saw a single feminine arm zip in to halt it in its path, with the sound of two 80-pound dumbbells hitting the floor a fraction of a second later. Marti lifted the bar, allowing her other arm to assist in the effort only as an afterthought, and firmly (this time) latched the bar safely into place.
“Thanks,” said “Doc Brown.”
“You’re welcome,” Marti replied.
Each briefly considered saying or asking something more, but retreated into silence after a moment’s thought. “Doc Brown” found it easier than ever to not look at Marti’s tits after that, but paid very close attention to her routine and whatever the hell she was eating at the chow hall after that.

The Present:

It makes its presence known now; it wants its prey to try to flee so it can enjoy the chase. She runs, but not fast enough. She can run faster, but that would be pointless. She knows how this will end; there is no point in dragging it out too long. She ducks quickly down an alley. She knows it will follow, but there is a dumpster she can hide behind, perhaps buying a few moments’ respite if she can slip into its shadow quickly enough.

Baghdad, fall of 2008:

The seven unseen residents of the fishbowl felt growing apprehension grow into dread and depression. Marti would be leaving soon, going back to her own country. She will be leaving the Army, they learned from her thoughts. Starting a new career. Each visit to the fishbowl might be her last. Their last taste of life. The thought of never being inside Marti again was unbearable.
“There is a way,” said Maysarah.
They did not need to ask what she meant. They knew Maysarah had a way to stay inside Marti forever, even after she left the gym.
“We will need to be ruthless,” she added sternly, daring them to disagree.
“Ruthless? How?” Ma’ab wanted to know.
“I will need all of your strength. You must all lend me your strength and do what I do when I do it. We cannot stay bound to her while we are barred from her conscious mind. I know a spell . . . a way . . . to do this. It will take all of us together. It will bind her to us. We will be in her forever. She will be ours.”
“She will know we are there?” asked Ma’ab. “What if she doesn’t want us inside her?”
“Stupid fool! We will not give her a choice! We will take her and bind her to us. Then we will leave and live in the world outside.”
“No!” cried Karida. “We can’t! I . . . love Marti, I just love her and I could never take her against her will. How could we do that to her? It’s no different than what was done to us!”
“Stupid fool! Stupid dajaaj, scratching in the dirt! Do you want to be trapped in here forever? Be quiet and do as I say, or we will never get out of here!”
“No.”
“No.”
“No.”
“No.”
“No.”
All of them except little Jana, who made a sound that might have been refusal, denied the witch’s demands. They loved Marti as much as, if a little differently than, Karida; none of them could bear to take her against her will.
“Are we to be trapped here forever?” wailed Maysarah. “Trapped because you lack the spine to free yourselves? Why am I cursed to be stuck with the lot of you?”
“What if we asked her nicely?” suggested Nawrah. “What if she agreed to let us be a part of her? Maybe she will let us in all the way.”

The Present:

As it turns the corner, she knows it is not fooled; it knows where she is hiding. She is disappointed but not surprised. It is of little consequence in any case; the outcome of this encounter was always a foregone conclusion. It is six and a half feet tall, and weighs almost three hundred pounds. It has a knife. Her five-foot two-inch frame barely masses a hundred pounds soaking wet. She is without a weapon, having intentionally left her service revolver at home. Her badge and handcuffs are concealed and not much use in a fight.
She struggles to remember that it is an it, and not a he. She does not want to know if it’s a “Steve” or a “Jimmy” or a “Paul.” Soon, it will talk, and she will know that it could have been a man if it had wanted to be. Then it will become a he, in her mind, in spite of herself.
It makes a beeline for her hiding spot which, after all, is the only place she could be concealed. It drags her out of concealment and places a knife to her throat.
“Scream and I’ll cut your throat.”
It has spoken. Its voice does not sound otherworldly or inhuman despite its brutish cruelty, and now she thinks of it as a he, but she does not want to. She wants him to go back to being an it. What happens next will be easier that way.
“What do you want?” she asks, trying hard to look frightened and weak.
“Your ass!” he half-snarls, half gasps. “Your fine, tight little ass.”
She feels something hard in his pants press against her hip. There is no remorse, no pity, no apology in his voice. To him, she is even less human than what she tries to make him. For this singular ability she feels envy. She wishes she could be as devoid of empathy as he is.

He doesn’t have time to feel fear or even confusion when she drops the pretense of fear, and begins to smile.
“That’s all I needed to hear.” She says, with no small satisfaction. She used to record her nocturnal encounters, thinking she might need evidence. After the first couple of times, she realized she didn’t need them. She has better ways of doing things now. She doesn’t bring a recorder anymore. The recordings might raise questions she does not want to answer if she hangs on to them. She needs to hear the words, though. She needs to hear him reveal himself. She knows what he is, but she needs to hear it. She can’t undo what will happen next.
His forearm is broken and the knife drops from the now useless hand before the pain of it registers. When it does register, he has completed half of his airborne journey from where he was to the nearby wall that is his destination at a velocity only somewhat below fatal. He hits hard and slides down to collapse in a heap in the filthy alley. Breathing is a lofty goal, barely within reach of his battered torso. Moving is out of the question.
It would be easy to kill him, she thinks. She knows so many places the body could go where it would never be found. She can make him disappear, and she can do it after making him die slowly. He deserves no less (several of the voices agree). One of the voices screams for his blood. Marti thinks of this one as the dark voice and she knows it is not like the others. A part of her listens to the voices, and feels some sense of justice in their pleading. She wants to do what they demand.
There are, however, things she wants even more. To stay who she is. She will not see herself taken, not by violent men, and not by unseen voices. Officer Marti Martinez is the senior partner in this arrangement, and she does things her way. After she handcuffs him and reads him his rights, she takes a moment to speak to him in that special way that the dark voice have taught her. Holding his face in one small but inhumanly powerful hand, she forces his gaze upon her and says in a voice that is black and calm, “You will tell the truth. You will admit to everything.”
It is not a prediction or a suggestion. It might be a weak approximation to call it a command, but it is more than that. In this moment, he wants to confess more than he wants to breathe. Later, when he can breathe, he will do just that. He will do it as many times as he is asked. More thoroughly than any of his victims, he has been taken. It will not last. He will come back to himself in a few hours. By then, they will have taken his DNA and matched it to samples from other victims. They will find that his cell phone has connected to towers at times that place him in the vicinity of the attacks. When dark magic wears off, modern forensics will take over. Nobody will care if he wants to retract his confession.

She knows that she shouldn’t be here. Her friends and her co-workers have warned her. They tell her that there are boundaries she mustn’t cross. She should not have gone out by herself this evening, nor on any of the other evenings that ended with an injured rapist confessing his crimes, and off-duty arrests and altercations. She has been warned about the unwanted attention her nocturnal activities bring, and she knows she shouldn’t have ignored the stern admonitions. She knows that she shouldn’t keep listening to voices she can’t see (but she knows not to do everything they ask). She should not have done a great many things that she subsequently went and did. Now, having done, listened, and agreed to many things she knows she shouldn’t have, she knows she’ll get an earful from her shift sergeant in the morning . . . but what could he do? It isn’t as though it could possibly be her fault that she keeps getting assaulted by rapists and other scumbags in her off-duty time.
And regardless of what the others think, she isn’t going out on her own; the fishbowl girls would be with her, always.