"I hate to say it, sir, but we're cooked."
"We can't be done. There's still so much evidence left."
"Nothing adds up, I know you can see that."
"But he should've been right there at the store just like everyone else."
"I know he should've, but he wasn't. You have to accept it, we're done here."
"We can't be!"
"That's it, I'm leaving. Spend as long as you want brooding over our loss but I need sleep."
The first detective picks up his coat and brief case and walks out the door. The sound of it closing does not bother the second detective.
To himself, he murmurs.
"Where was he? Where had he gone? What did I miss? The bodega is here. He's supposed to be there," pointing to a place a hand's width from the bodega on the map.
"But the photos say he was here."
Three images plastered against the wall show a hooded man with a tightly groomed red beard buying cigarettes at the counter of a corner store fifty feet from the bodega in the opposite direction.
"The tattoo's even in the phot." The second detective punches the table, spilling his drink across his partner's pile of notes. He leaves them smudged and bleeding with ink.
"I can't go back to the start. They won't make me. They can't! There has to be an explanation. Where did you go?"
A man, sharing the same trimmed beard, appears to the second detective on the front of a newspaper. A reporter had taken photos while on the scene. Somehow, they unintentionally snuck the suspect in against the left border of the image.
Beside the suspect is a familiar face, someone the second detective is awfully close to.
Putting on his reading glasses, the detective leant closer to the photo. The face was of his partner, his confidant, his colleague, the first detective.
"What the hell is this?" he asks himself, staring out the window. There he notices his partner exiting the building, looking behind his shoulder to check if he's being followed.