Maratse 365 #011

Maratse found a table as Gaba ordered at the counter. The tall SRU sergeant weaved a winding route to their table as he chatted on his phone, leaving Maratse to his thoughts, fingers pressed against the brushed stainless-steel rim of the round glass table. Pancake and hot chocolate smells mixed with the scent of ground coffee from the espressos Gaba ordered, forcing the memory of bloody seal and whale meat out of Maratse’s nose as Gaba joined him at the table.

“Espresso,” he said, as a young woman brought their coffee. “I got you a double, so it feels like a whole coffee.”

Qujanaq.” Maratse fiddled his finger and thumb into the tiny handle of the espresso cup, then gave up and gripped it around the rim. Gaba laughed and made a point of extending his little finger as he lifted the cup to his lips.

“You’ll get used to it,” he said.

“Hmm.”

Gaba put his cup down and opened the plastic-wrapped cinnamon biscuit the waitress placed on the side of their saucers. “So, Constable. What news?”

“News?”

“You and Petra, in Nuuk. That’s news.” Gaba snapped the biscuit in two and popped one half into his mouth. “You left Inussuk. I never thought it would happen.”

“Petra needs to work. Her job is here.” Maratse paused as he thought about the promise he and Gaba made a few years earlier, that no harm would ever come to Petra again; a challenging task given the nature of policework. “She tried commuting, once a month, but…”

“It was too expensive.”

“I was going to say too long apart.”

“So you gave up the north for Petra.”

Iiji.”

“And now you’re in the city…”

“Living in Petra’s apartment.”

“You’ll stay out of trouble?”

Maratse shrugged his shoulders and reached for his coffee.

“You see, Constable, that’s what makes this difficult.” The legs of Gaba’s chair scraped along the floor as he pushed back from the table. He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his thighs. “We had a deal, Maratse.”

“I don’t look for trouble.”

“Right.” Gaba lifted his head to look at Maratse. “Only we’ve been here before, Constable.” He nodded at Maratse’s jacket. “Wearing that doesn’t make you a cop. What happened in Inussuk, in Uummannaq, that can’t happen here. I can’t help you here. Not like that. Things are different in the city. You have to be different here. Do you understand?”

Iiji.”

“I mean really understand.”

Maratse doubted that Petra knew about Gaba’s pep talk, but he didn’t doubt the sergeant’s love for her, how it had developed over the years he had known Gaba, from the careless love Gaba had shown Petra when they were together, to the deep affection and respect that he showed her now.

“Nothing will happen to Piitalaat,” Maratse said. “I’m not looking for trouble. But sometimes…”

“Trouble finds you.” Gaba laughed, then leaned back in his chair. He stretched one long leg over the other, adjusted his utility belt, and then reached for his coffee. “I know,” he said.

To be continued…

Copyright © Christoffer Petersen, 2021.

This is a work of fiction. All characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

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