Saying hello to his secretary as he attempted to baby his left arm, Luther Wainwright made his way into his office. Unlocking the door and flipping on the light with his good hand, he took two steps inward before he was thwarted by Patrick Jane.
“Good morning, Agent Wainwright,” Jane greeted with a smile. Wainwright nearly jumped. How long had the consultant been sitting in his office? In the dark? He opened his mouth to ask the blonde when Jane continued, “Did you know that your secretary can be easily bribed with chocolate and coffee?”
Wainwright sighed. “What do you want, Patrick?” He moved to his desk and gingerly removed his jacket, careful not to jostle his arm any further before he decided to boot up his computer. Taking a seat at his desk, he studied Jane carefully. He’d been out of office since last Tuesday, and although Director Bertram had been oddly silent, he still knew the consultant’s presence was a bad omen. “Or should I ask, what have you done?”
“It’s not what I’ve done,” Jane answered back, as he stood from his claimed chair. “It’s what you’ve done.” Wainwright eyed him oddly. He’d known Jane to be an odd individual from the get-go, but after working with the man for six months, his assessment hadn’t gotten any better. Patrick Jane was a sociopath in sheep’s clothing. “What’d you do to your arm?”
“Does it matter?”
He glanced right at Jane, dead, in the eye. “I fell down the stairs and injured my arm.”
“Is that what they’re calling saving young women these days?” Jane asked, and Wainwright raised his eyebrow, confusion in his expression at Jane’s euphemism. “Oh, come now, Luther. I know what you’ve secretly been up to. I’m shocked you thought you could keep this from me.”
“I have no idea what you mean.” He kept his tone even and light, so the blonde wouldn’t think of him as a liar. However, Jane’s impish smile told him the man wasn’t about to leave without a fight. So, instead of saying anything else, he started to check his email. Being gone for about a week, he’d collected an impressive amount of emails and…
Suddenly and without any warning, Jane was behind him.
Instead of becoming annoyed, Wainwright blinked and turned in his chair to stare down the consultant. “Can I help you, Patrick?”
Jane continued to smile impishly before he reached into his pocket and pulled out a wrinkled newspaper clipping. Wainwright said nothing as Jane sat the excerpt atop his desk, even after he had gotten a glimpse of the headline, which read:
MANTIS BOY LEAPS INTO ACTION…
Wainwright blinked slowly as he skimmed the article. According to the Sacramento Gazette, local vigilante, known as Mantis Boy, had stopped several muggings in the Sacramento area. The vigilante, however, was not invincible as his left arm had been clipped in the scuffle. After skimming the article and glancing at the rather unflattering photo of Mantis Boy, he couldn’t help but laugh.
Did Jane think he was some type of superhero? He was a paper pusher, not a glorified vigilante!
“I thought nothing of your extracurricular activity when Lisbon mentioned someone was cleaning up Sacramento crime,” Jane started, “however, your absence for the past week had my acute suspicions confirmed.” He paused as if he were waiting for Wainwright to crack under pressure, which wasn’t going to happen—because again, he wasn’t a superhero. “Mantis Boy was a cop. Someone who had access to the CBI files. How else has he been able to round up murderer after murderer for the past six weeks?”
“It sounds like you’re jealous of this Mantis Man, Patrick,” Wainwright replied coolly. Jane eyed him. “You just can’t let someone else have the limelight, can you?”
“Firstly, it’s Mantis Boy,” Jane corrected, “and secondly, this isn’t about me. This is about you, shadowing as a vigilante.”
“Do you know how ridiculous you sound right now?” Wainwright asked him.
“Do you know how ridiculous you look in tights?” Jane countered before he gestured toward the news clipping. “Photographs add about ten pounds to the subject. Those green tights, though? They add about twenty.” Wainwright rolled his eyes. “Didn’t anyone tell you to stay away from green? It’s not your color.”
“Again,” Wainwright clarified. “I’m not this Mantis Boy.” He paused to blink up at Jane. “Also, what do you mean green isn’t my color? I drive a…”
“Green Kia, yes, I know,” Jane interrupted. “But you don’t wear the Kia. It wears you.” Suddenly feeling a headache coming on, Wainwright pinched the bridge of his nose. “Just like the lie, you’re telling me now. You fell down the stairs? Somehow I don’t believe it.”
“What more do you need?” Wainwright asked before he rolled his eyes again. “Video footage of me falling down the stairs? Witness statements? My $800 doctor bill?”
“I could just ask Grace to do her photo analyzing thingy on the photograph,” Jane pointed out. “According to eyewitness reports, you’re about the same height as him.”
“You’re going off my height ?” Wainwright asked, incredulous. Jane nodded, and Wainwright shook his head. “All of this accusing, just because I’m short?”
“That,” Jane agreed. “And the fact there’s a green pair of tights in your car.”
Wainwright glanced at Jane, silence falling between the two men.
“Would you believe me if I said I did gymnastics?” Wainwright tried after a moment of uncomfortable silence.
“I’ve seen you in the field, and you aren’t exactly limber,” Jane answered, still smiling. “So, no.”