Pros and Cons_ A Short Story - Janet Evanovich

First Page

Excerpt from The Heist

FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare sat in her cramped cubicle at the Federal Building in West Los Angeles and stared at her computer screen. She had an empty Domino’s pizza box shoved into her wastebasket and six empty Coke cans lined up on her desk. A half-empty bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos was filed under “N” in her file cabinet, and her keyboard was gummed up with chocolate crumbs from the pack of Oreos she was currently working her way through. Her brown hair was clipped back in a snarly mess, her white shirt had a small pizza sauce smudge on it, and her blue eyes were narrowed in concentration.

Cosmo Uno looked over the five-foot-high partition that separated his cubicle from Kate’s. Cosmo was two years older than Kate, and two inches shorter. This meant he was thirty-three, 5′ 4″ tall, and had to stand on a box to snoop on her.

“Hey, Katie,” Cosmo said, “What’s shaking? What’s doing? What’s brewing?”

“I’m working,” Kate said, her eyes glued to her screen, not indulging Cosmo by looking at him.

“You shouldn’t be eating all those Oreos. They’re#orshtext-indent: going to make you fat. Maybe I should help you eat them.”

Kate didn’t move her head, but she cut her eyes in his direction. “You make a move on my Oreos and I’ll shoot you.”

“What are you working on? Are you still trying to find Nicolas Fox? Remember when you almost got him in St. Louis, but he disguised himself as a Hall of Fame guy and was doing color commentary in the announcer’s booth at Busch Stadium the whole time you were looking for him? That was a good one. And then there was the time you were sure he was trying to steal a giant panda from the National Zoo, but Fox escaped through the Reptile Discovery Center. Ryerson was with you on that raid, right? I hear he ran out of the snake exhibit screaming like a little girl. I wouldn’t have screamed. I like snakes. You should take me next time.”

“No.”

“Okay, I get it. You’re a loner. You’re the Lone Agent. Get it? The Lone Agent.” Cosmo gave a snort of laughter. “That’s hilarious.”

Kate slumped in her seat.

“I tell everyone I hit the cubicle jackpot on account of I’m next to you,” Cosmo said. “Most of the agents on this floor are boring, but you always have something good going on with Fox. You know what I think? I think you’re obsessed with him. I bet you even think about him in the shower. I bet you think about him when you go to bed at night. I think you’re hot for him.”

Kate opened her top drawer, removed her Glock, and laid it on her desktop alongside her computer. Cosmo considered the gun for a beat, stepped off his box, and returned to his desk.

“Idiot,” Kate murmured, stuffing another Oreo into her mouth.

For weeks Kate had been surfing newspaper websites and skimming crime reports from various law enforcement agencies. She was looking for big-money thefts and swindles that were audacious, creative, cocky, and self-indulgent, all trademarks of a Nicolas Fox scheme. It was tedious, laborious, utterly unglamorous work, but she hoped if she could get to the scene of Fox’s next crime fast enough, while the tracks were still fresh, she’d have another shot at finally nailing him. She’d been chasing him for three years, and the chase had turned into a game for him, and Cosmo was right, it was an obsession for her. And okay, she thought the guy was kind of cute, and criminally brilliant, but