Chapter Four

One week later, Carlton was called down to the police station to pick a suspect out of a line-up.

Officer Michaels was there to greet him and explain the procedure. He lead Carlton down the halls of the police station and into a room.

"See that?" asked Officer Michaels, pointing to the huge glass window in front of them. "That's one-way glass. You can see them, they can't see you."

"I know how one-way glass works."

"Great. Now, your job is to pick out the guy that --"

"I know."

Officer Michaels nodded. Carlton walked closer to the glass so that he could actually see the line of people in the other room. He stared at each face, one by one. Just about all of them looked similar. Same hair color and eyes.

But Carlton found the right one almost immediately. The young man from his memories with the dark eyes. The bulbous and freckled nose. Curly auburn hair. He looked a lot less menacing away from the dark alley. In fact, he looked a little clown-like in the current lighting. "That's him. Number six."

"You sure?"

Carlton didn't even hesitate. "I'm sure."

Officer Michaels clapped a supportive hand on Carlton's shoulder. "Then we'll do the work from here. You've done a great job, Carlton. I bet you'll set records once you're on the Force."

Carlton smirked at the thought.


A few days later, Carlton was lying on the patio furniture on his front porch, reading a novel. He liked reading outside, because it was warm and sunny, and he liked the fresh air. He looked up from his book when he heard the front gate squeak open, and was surprised to see Officer Michaels coming toward him with an ear-to-ear grin. He was holding Carlton's jacket in his hands.

Carlton sat up quickly.

"Hey, kid."

"Hi." said Carlton. "Is that my-"

"Sure is." replied the officer, happily handing it over to Carlton, who took it. "The money is in the pocket, too."

"Thanks."

Officer Michaels put his hands in pockets. "No problem. And hey, guess what? Douglas confessed right after you picked him out. Ratted out his buddy, too. They're both legal adults so...well, let's just say it won't be looking good for them. Especially if they get a judge that wants to throw The Book at them."

Carlton nodded, not entirely sure how he felt about the news. "Hey, sir? Can I ask you something?"

"Well, you just did. But you can ask me something else too, if you'd like."

"Is it normal for cops to deliver jackets back to their owners?"

Officer Michaels shook his head. "Nah. Usually we'd just call you to pick it up. But sometimes us cops need a little more of a conclusion than that. Plus it's nice to actually, physically, give something back."

"Oh."

"You'll understand someday. Given anymore thought to being a detective?"

"Well, yeah. But I still have a couple years to decide, right?"

Officer Michaels laughed. "Yeah, of course. Take all the time you need, Carlton. See ya, kid. Hopefully on the Force in a few years." he added with a wink.

"Bye." said Carlton, and he watched as the policeman crossed his front yard and went back through his gate.

As Carlton watched the officer's vehicle pull away from the curb, he couldn't help but think about his own future. He still had years to make any real decision, and yet something was already growing inside of him.

A sort of certainty.

He wanted to help people and fix things that were wrong. Or at least make them more fair. He wanted to be the detective that dug just a little deeper, the cop with the ever-watchful eye, the officer that brought the jacket back.

It would be dangerous, he knew, but it would make him just that much stronger, and it would be worth it.

This is something I can do, thought Carlton, suddenly determined. I'm really going to do it someday...

A/N: Finished an essay with time to spare, and decided to reward myself by posting this early...by about sixteen hours. Ha. Thank you to everyone who read and/or reviewed. :) And I'm done with teenage Lassie for now, but not even close to done with Lassiter in general, so if you're interested, keep an eye out.