Lev.DN.....Index.....Identity Crisis, page 4 (c)1996 Lee Skidmore.....Lev.UP

Johnny's hand shook so badly that the blob's steady circuit reached its limits. The words wavered, blurred, strobed at him. He squeezed it off, then collapsed to a sitting position at the edge of the bed. Shary stirred, then slept on, undisturbed by his screaming mind.

"What's going on? I haven't popped my piece since the last time I qualified," mumbled Johnny, "it has to be a joke." His coworkers could play some rough games, as it "went with the job".

Johnny's thoughts were reinforced by the choice of Officer in Charge. Maybe his old partner Mallory-his partner before police funding got so low that detectives had to investigate solo, partnered to a min-cost palm comp blob-was playing with him for being late. Annoyed at having to wait around to hand off the night's case load to him.

"Yeah, it's got to be him. I'll give the son-of-a-gun a call." Johnny tried to convince himself, not feeling too sure-he had made more than a few enemies with his latest investigation. Just two days before he had been told to back off from Terence Du Quesne. And, Terence Du Quesne had more than a few of the same enemies.

He squeezed the blob back to life, entered the unit-to-unit comnet. He arrowed down the A-Z list to his friend's name. Squeeze. Radio hiss was broken by digital clicks and buzzes. Johnny listened to the familiar noise of the comnet searching. Worry worked his glands, pushing up pulse rate and pressure. "Why isn't he at D-HQ?" worried Johnny.

Lev.DN.....Index.....Identity Crisis, page 4 (c)1996 Lee Skidmore.....Lev.UP