Hollywood Station
that he'd left USC for this, where he'd been on the sailing team and was dating one of the hottest of the famed USC song girls. He'd left it because of those inexplicable emotions he felt after he'd reached his twenty-first birthday.
    Wesley had grown sick of college life, sick of being the son of Franklin Drubb, sick of living on Fraternity Row, sick of living in his parents' big house in Pacific Palisades during school holidays. He'd felt like a man in prison and he'd wanted to break out. LAPD was a breakout without question. And he'd completed his eighteen months of probation and was here, a brand-new Hollywood Division officer.
    Wesley's parents had been shocked, his fraternity brothers, sailing teammates, and especially his girlfriend, who was now dating a varsity wide receiver-everyone who knew him was shocked. But he hadn't been sorry so far. He'd thought he'd probably do it for a couple of years, not for a career, for the kind of experience that would set him apart from his father and his older brother and every other goddamn broker in the real-estate firm owned by Lawford and Drubb.
    He thought it would be like going into the military for a couple of years, but he wouldn't have to leave L. A. Like a form of combat that he could talk about to his family and friends years later, when he inevitably became a broker at Lawford and Drubb. He'd be a sort of combat veteran in their eyes, that was it.
    Yes, and it had all been going so well. Until tonight. Until that grenade hit the floor and he stared at it and that little officer Mag Takara picked it up with Fausto Gamboa roaring in his ears. That wasn't police work, was it? They never talked about things like that in the academy. A man with a hand grenade between his knees?
    He remembered a Bomb Squad expert lecturing them at the police academy about the horrific event of 1986 in North Hollywood when two LAPD officers were called in to defuse an explosive device in a residential garage, rigged by a murder suspect involved in a movie studio/ labor union dispute. They defused it but were unaware of a secondary device lying there by a copy of The Anarchist's Cookbook. The device went off.
    What Wesley remembered most vividly was not the description of the gruesome and terrible carnage and the overwhelming smell of blood, but that one of the surviving officers who had just gotten inside the house before the explosion was having recurring nightmares two decades later. He would waken with his pillow soaked with tears and his wife shaking him and saying, "This has got to stop!"
    For a while this evening, after he'd completed his brief statement, after he was sitting in the station quietly drinking coffee, Wesley Drubb could only think about how he'd felt trying to dig with his fingernails into the old wooden floor of that jewelry store. It had been an instinctive reaction. He had been reduced to his elemental animal core.
    And Wesley Drubb asked himself the most maddeningly complex, dizzying, profound, and unanswerable question he'd ever asked himself in his young life: How the fuck did I get here?
    When Fausto Gamboa got changed into civvies, he met Budgie on the way to the parking lot. They walked quietly to their cars, where they saw Mag Takara already getting into her personal car and driving away.
    Fausto said, "It used to make me crazy seeing that kid doing her nails during roll call. Like she was getting ready to go on a date."
    "I'll bet it won't annoy you anymore, will it?" Budgie said.
    "Not as much," Fausto Gamboa conceded.

    Chapter SIX
    THIS WAS SUPPOSED to be a routine interview of a missing juvenile, nothing more. Andi McCrea had been sitting in her little cubicle in the detective squad room staring at a computer screen, putting together reports to take to the DA's office in a case where a wife smacked her husband on the head with the side of a roofing hammer when, after drinking a six-pack of Scotch ale, he curled his lip and told her that the meat loaf she'd

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