Josie was on her way back to the 2-3 after her lunch break. A little girl with brown hair and brown eyes walked up to her.
"Hello," said the little girl. "You're that cop whose picture was in the paper last week, right?"
Josie smiled. "That's right. I'm Detective Josie Sinclair, but suppose you just call me Josie. What's your name?"
"My mama says I shouldn't tell my name to strangers."
"Your mama is right," Josie said.
"Well, since you're a cop, I guess it's okay. My name is Ellen Jackson."
Just then, an ice-cream truck came jingling down the street. Without thinking, and without looking, Josie ran after the truck. She didn't see Joe coming down the block.
Ellen ran after her.
A woman rushed out of one of the stores, dragged Ellen out of the street, and gave her several hard slaps on the seat of her pants. Josie, turning around and getting back on the sidewalk, winced.
"I've told you not to run into the street!" Mrs. Jackson scolded.
"It's my fault," Josie said. "I ran across the street without looking first, and Ellen just followed me."
"Yes, she did," Ellen sobbed, "and she's a cop. If a cop does something, it's okay, isn't it?"
"Not always," Joe said. "For instance, sometimes they place themselves in unnecessary danger. And when they do,"... Joe looked at Josie and lowered his eyebrows... "they have to be disciplined, for their own good. I just want to know one thing, Josie. Why did you run across the street like that?"
Josie looked down at the sidwalk. She felt very foolish. "I was- I was running after the ice-cream truck."
"You were running after the ice-cream truck?" Joe repeated. "Come with me, Josie. We'll settle this at the 2-3."
Josie saw at least two weeks of desk duty in her future.
"Are you gonna give her a spanking?" Ellen asked, wide-eyed.
Joe spoke perfectly seriously. "Well, don't you think she deserves it?"
A few minutes later, Joe and Josie were in Joe's office, with the door locked, and the blinds closed. Joe was amazed when Josie started to laugh.
"What's so funny, Josie?" Joe demanded.
"I know I shouldn't laugh, but I can't help it. Imagine Ellen thinking you were going to spank me!"
Joe gave her a very long look and said, "Josie-"