Josie and her nine-year-old adopted daughter, Rain, were eating breakfast.
"Mom, when's Daddy coming home?" Rain asked. She took a forkful of scrambled eggs.
"As soon as he wraps up the case he's working on," Josie answered, biting into a piece of toast.
"I miss him," Rain said.
"I know. I do, too."
"But I like having a daddy I can miss," Rain said thoughtfully. "I never missed Popper when he was away. I hoped he'd never come back."
"What are your plans for after school?" Josie asked.
"Dante and I are going to Foster Park with his grandma and Cory and Elizabeth."
"I'm glad you and Dante are such good friends," Josie commented.
"He's my very best friend," Rain answered, picking up her orange juice.
After breakfast, Josie went to her bedroom to get ready for work. She unlocked a drawer in her dresser, and took out her gun. Just then,
she heard the doorbell chime.
"That must be the package I'm expecting," Josie thought. She went to the door, leaving her gun on the dresser.
Josie did not think about her gun again until she was half-way to the 2-3. She headed back home, figuring that it would be better
to be a few minutes late for her shift than to come in without her weapon.
She hurried into the house, and into the bedroom. She looked at the dresser, but the gun wasn't there.
"It must have fallen behind the dresser," Josie thought.
She got a flashlight, and looked, but there was no gun behind the dresser. There was a pen she'd been missing for more than a week,
but no gun.
And then Josie knew where her gun was.
Josie rushed out. She was angry, very angry at Rain for having taken the gun. She was furious with herself for having left her gun on
the dresser. She hoped, she prayed, that she could get to the school and get the gun away from Rain before something terrible happened.
When Josie reached the school, she saw quite a number of her brother and sister officers in the yard.
A child's body, covered with a sheet, lay on the blacktop. Teachers were shepherding their classes into the building.
Rain stood apart, still holding the gun, saying over and over in an anguished voice, "I didn't mean it. I didn't mean it."
Gently, Josie took the gun and put it in her purse.
Joe stood there, sobbing. His only comfort was that his last words to Dante had been, "Have a good day in school, son. I love you."
There was no comfort whatsoever for Josie.