No, no, I say to the student. No keycard.

I need a search done. Discreet.

The student sets the keycard down and pulls a cigarette out from behind his ear; three sparks of his lighter before the flame catches. His eyes gleam the green glow of the desk lamp.

Best bet, he says upon exhale, is Raleigh Durham. Ex-cop, has comrades in precincts up and down the Sprawl. Far reach.

Swirls of smoke accumulate beneath the light stream.

Last known?

New York, I say, but that was decades ago.

The student nods. Durham loves cold ones, he says. I'll set it up.

Inhale. Exhale. The smoke seeps into the fabric of my clothes.

He'll contact you, he says. He scopes out potential clients before he takes them on, so be patient.

Ah, I say to the student, but the anticipation is the best part.
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