Characters: Dee, Ryo.
Setting: After the manga.
Summary: There’s been a theft of gold bullion; solving the crime is the easy part.
Word Count: 1679
Written For: Challenge 324: Gold at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
“Who steals gold these days?” Dee grumbled, leaning against the wall, panting, and massaging his aching hands. “Don’t they know how heavy the damned stuff is? Come to that, who keeps a bunch of gold bars in their safe at home anyway? Seriously, that guy’s gotta have a few screws loose if ya ask me. If he’d kept his gold in the bank, probably wouldn’t have been stolen in the first place.”
“Gold is still appreciating in value, Dee; it’s a good investment for anyone who can afford to buy it. Which means it’s always going to be an irresistible temptation to thieves.”
“Yeah, but gold bars? Why couldn’t it have been gold coins or jewellery? Or better yet, diamonds. Just as valuable, but way smaller, lighter, and easier to steal. Easier for us to deal with too.”
Catching the bullion thieves had been one thing, and it would look great on their arrest record; the 27th Precinct’s Serious Crimes Unit would be riding high on this one for some time. But logging forty-eight very heavy gold bars into evidence was a task Dee would just as soon have handed off to someone else.
Unfortunately for him, he and Ryo had been the ones to locate the missing gold, which meant they were the ones responsible for it until it was safely stowed away in the precinct’s evidence locker, where it would sit, shiny and bright, until the case came to trial, much to the owner’s displeasure.
The gold had been taken into the station house as discreetly as possible through the back door, and now Dee and Ryo were taking it in turns to carry the bars two at a time down to the deepest sub-basement, where the evidence locker was located, accompanied at all times by a uniformed officer. Dee had joked that the armed guard was probably to prevent anyone from giving in to temptation and slipping a bar or two in their pockets when nobody was looking, to which Ryo had responded that for one thing the bars were too big to fit, and if anyone tried, they’d find their pants around their ankles from the weight.
Taking turns had seemed the fairest way of handling things, since it meant there was always one of them guarding the slowly dwindling stack of gold, along with a couple of uniforms, and they could catch their breath between trips downstairs, something that was fast becoming a necessity. Each bar weighed a bit over twenty-seven pounds, and they had to be carried down three flights of stairs to the concrete and steel vault where evidence pertaining to active cases was housed. There every bar needed to be logged in with the officer in charge. Then it was back up the stairs again, and while going up empty handed was easier than going down heavily laden, after several trips their legs were aching almost as much as their arms.
Dee loaded his partner up with his next couple of bars; thirty-two had been moved already leaving only another sixteen to go, which meant eight more trips, four each. They might just survive this ordeal.
“Careful ya don’t drop ‘em.”
“Don’t even joke about it!”
That was part of the reason they weren’t trying to carry more than two at a time. Gold bars weren’t the easiest things to carry, being an awkward shape as well as heavy and a bit slippery. If you dropped one on your toes, you’d know about it; probably mash your foot flat as a pancake, which was not a pleasant thought.
Down the stairs Ryo went yet again, following the routine he’d already set. Add the bars to the stack in the locker, do a quick count to make sure none had gone missing, which was unlikely, but Ryo did it anyway, sign the evidence log, then trudge wearily back up the stairs. ‘Only got to do that three more times,’ he told himself. ‘Then I can sit down with a cup of coffee.’ He really needed a drink by now, but taking a break wasn’t an option.
He helped Dee load up and sent him on his way, then counted the remaining bars. Just a dozen left; another fifteen, twenty minutes or so and they’d all be secure, locked in the steel-barred enclosure.
Of everything they’d ever logged in as evidence, from drugs, to weapons, to jewellery, to uncut gemstones, the gold was by far the most valuable. It was impossible to get his head around how much forty-eight bars of gold were worth: millions of dollars, certainly. More money than he and Dee could earn as cops over the course of several lifetimes. Not that he was even remotely tempted to try stealing a bit. Pure gold was relatively soft for a metal, so it might be theoretically possible to scrape some off the bars with a good knife, but what would be the point? He and Dee would be the first to come under suspicion if any of the bars were tampered with; they’d never get away with the theft even if they had been that way inclined, which they weren’t.
Then Dee was back, and it was Ryo’s turn again. He stopped thinking, focusing solely on carrying the next load down all those stairs. Two more trips after this one…
In the break room half an hour or so later, both men slumped bonelessly on one of the lumpy sofas, drinking bad squad room coffee because neither of them could muster up the energy to go across the street and get something halfway decent from the nearby coffee shop.
“Whooo!” Dee sighed. “That’s me done for the day. Bein’ responsible for someone else’s wealth is exhaustin’.”
“Were you tempted at all?” Ryo asked his partner, just out of curiosity. “You know, to help yourself to a bit.”
“Nah. Think of the hassle tryin’ to fence a gold bar, and that’s if one could even be snuck outta here without anyone noticin’, which seems unlikely. ‘Sides, what would we do with that much money? From what I’ve seen, rich people spend all their time worryin’ about their money and tryin’ to get more. It doesn’t make ‘em happy.”
“I bet Mother could find a good use for a few million dollars.”
“No doubt, but not if it was stolen. Now if I won the lottery that would be a different matter, but that ever happens I can tell ya right now I won’t be investin’ my winnings in gold. The value might be goin’ up, but what’s the point of havin’ something like that stowed away in a bank somewhere, doin’ nothin’ but gatherin’ dust? Money needs to be spent or there’s no point havin’ it.”
“So what would you do if you did win a few million?”
Dee tipped his head back against the sofa cushions and stared up at the ceiling, thinking. “Probably invest in property. Buy up some old tenements, do ‘em up nice, and rent the apartments out to people who need a roof over their heads. Keep the rent low, affordable. Make a real difference instead of hoardin’ my wealth.”
Ryo smiled; that was Dee all over, thinking of those less fortunate than himself. He wasn’t one to save money when he could spend it, and whatever he could spare each month went to Mother for the kids under her care, to buy clothes, and put food on the table.
“I like that idea. Pity we don’t have the money.”
“It’s a cryin’ shame; we could do a lot of good with it. Hey, maybe we could persuade the guy who owns all that gold to donate a bar to a good cause. We did get it back for him from the thieves; you’d think he’d be grateful.”
“Somehow I doubt it; he didn’t seem too happy when he was told it would have to be held as evidence.”
“Yeah, what’s that all about? Guy’s worth billions and he’s fussin’ about a few million in gold. It’s not much more than pocket change to him, and he’ll get it back after the trial. Sooner if the idiots who stole it plead guilty.”
“The more people have the more they want.”
“Should learn to be happy with what they’ve got. Take me, for instance; bein’ a cop is far from the most lucrative line of work, but that’s fine with me. I’ve already got everything I need; a job that lets me feel good about myself, a great apartment, a car, enough money to pay the bills with a little left over for a rainy day, and I’ve got you. Seems to me that’s as good as life gets.”
“You wouldn’t trade it for wealth and power?”
“Hell no! Who wants power? Just means more work. And while I wouldn’t object to a bit more money comin’ in, just so I could do more for Mother and the kids, and maybe afford a big screen TV, I doubt it would make me any happier than I already am. What about you?”
“Might be nice to have a little extra, enough to pay for Bikky to go to a good college when he graduates from high school, but you’re right; money isn’t everything. I’m happy with my life just the way it is. I mean, I wouldn’t turn down a few million if I won it fair and square, but it’s not like I’m gonna hold my breath waiting for it to happen.”
“Guess that means we’re pretty well adjusted.”
“Or maybe it just means we’re lucky because we already have everything we want. A lot of people aren’t that fortunate.”
“Yeah.” Dee smiled. “Sometimes it’s good to take stock, count your blessings.”
Ryo nodded. “When you think about it, we’ve got a lot to be thankful for.”
“Right now I wouldn’t change one single thing about my life. Long as I get to spend it with you, I’ll be a happy man. When ya think about it, I’m already rich, ‘cause you’re worth your weight in gold.”