Josie and Gary were having a second cup of coffee before they left for work.
"I wish I didn't have to go out of town right now," Gary said.
"So do I, but wishing won't change things," Josie answered. "Besides, I'll be fine."
"You weren't fine last night. You were terrified."
"I know, Gary, but that was last night. I mean, coming home and finding the place trashed-"
"What I don't understand is how there weren't any fingerprints. I mean, Joe and Adams went over the place with a fine-tooth comb."
"And then you and Cameron did the same thing," Josie added.
"That stalker, whoever he or she is, must have been wearing gloves," said Gary.
"He or she?" Josie repeated.
"You bet she was," Josie thought.
"It could be a woman who is jealous of you," Gary said.
"I never thought of that," Josie said.
"I'm driving you to work," Gary said. "I don't want you to be alone any more than you have to be."
A little while later, at the 2-3, Gary told Joe that he'd be going out of town.
"So I'd like you to keep an extra eye on Josie."
"I'll do more than that," Joe promised. "Josie, until Gary gets back, you're staying at my house."
"But, Joe," Josie protested.
"I think that's a very good idea," Gary interjected. "You'll be much safer there than at home."
"But I won't be able to" Josie caught herself just in time. "I won't be able to do any shoots then."
So what?" Joe asked. "Frankly, Josie, I'm not too happy about this modeling business."
"But you said I could do it."
"As a sideline," Joe reminded her, "and as long as it didn't interfere with your work as a cop. But now, with this creep stalking you"
"I agree with Joe," Gary said. "I'd be just as happy if you quit modeling."
"Oh, come on," Josie argued. "Police work is much more dangerous than modeling."
"Well," Gary said, "that stalker is threatening the model, not the cop."
"Wait a minute," Josie said. "I just thought of something."
"What?" Joe and Gary asked.
"Well, it's no secret that I'm a cop. What if this creep is going after me for that reason? What if it's someone I arrested?
"She has a point," Gary said. "Criminals do strange things sometimes."
"Especially," Joe added, "when they want revenge."
"Could it be Chip Rayburn?" Josie asked
"I already checked," Joe said, "and he's still behind bars."
"That's a relief," Josie said.
"Now how," she thought, "can I turn having to stay at Joe's house to my advantage?"
That night, Josie, wearing pink pajamas, was standing at the table in the kitchen of the Carlino home, writing on a photo of herself:
NOT EVEN YOUR CAPTAIN CAN PROTECT YOU
Startled, Josie turned around.
"Care to explain this?" Joe asked grimly. Josie looked at the floor. "Well? I'm waiting."
"All right." Josie sighed. "There isn't any stalker."
"So I gathered," Joe said. "Why, Josie?"
"It was- it was a publicity stunt."
"A publicity stunt? You had us all worried because of a publicity stunt? Tell me, Josie, just how long did you plan to keep this up?"
"Not much longer," Josie said. "I was going to hire someone to play my stalker, and I was going to pretend that I had caught him in the act."
"Go on," Joe said.
"And then I was going to say that I'd decided not to press charges."
"Well," Joe said, "I ought to press charges against you."
"Joe! You wouldn't!"
"No, I won't. But I want you to know that not one of the cops who worked overtime on this case would take any overtime pay. They said they couldn't take any extra money when one of their own was involved."
"I'm sorry," Josie said. "I guess I wasn't thinking straight."
"Did you even think about how worried this made Gary feel?" Joe asked pointedly.
"No," Josie whispered. She felt ashamed.
"Now," Joe said, "you have a decision to make. Are you going to be a cop, or are you going to be a model? You can't be both any more."
"If it comes to that," Josie said, "I'd much rather give up modeling."
"Good," Joe said. "I would have hated to lose you. But, Josie," he added, "you are on desk duty until further notice. It's for your own good."
"I guess I deserve it," Josie said.
"That's not all you deserve!"
And with that, Joe sat down on a chair and turned Josie over his knee.
The next day, the following press release appeared.
Josie Sinclair has announced her plans to give up modeling in order to concentrate solely on her police work. According to her captain, Joe Carlino, Detective Sinclair is now a model cop, and an upstanding member of the 23rd Precinct.