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Schmidt looked at Jenko out of the corner of his eye to see if he knew why Captain Dickson had called them into his office and then proceeded to stare at them both in complete silence, but Jenko’s eyebrows just pinched together as he shook his head.

Instead of letting it go, Schmidt widened his eyes and raised his own eyebrows, silently prodding for more. Jenko mimicked him right back, only bigger and with a stupid look on his face -- the better to mock him with, probably -- so Schmidt smacked him in the arm.

Jenko slapped him back, right on the nipple. Hard.

Schmidt’s mouth dropped open in outrage. His hand darted out quickly enough to give Jenko a titty twister, but didn’t draw back in time to avoid the smack that followed.

He whacked Jenko on the wrist. Jenko slapped at Schmidt’s ribs.

Schmidt punched at Jenko’s shoulder. He kind of missed, but Jenko lurched out of his chair anyway and grabbed Schmidt in a sideways bear hug. Schmidt tried to push him away but it was totally useless. It wasn’t much of a surprise when Jenko started with the violent humping motions.

There was a flurry of squeaking sounds as Schmidt’s chair was assaulted and Schmidt himself flailed ineffectually. An extra-enthusiastic bang almost tipped the chair over, though, and they both belatedly remembered that they were in the Captain’s office, having a slapfight only a few minutes after nine AM.

Neither of them noticed the cash changing hands between the onlookers staring up into the Captain’s giant clear cube of an office.

Schmidt cleared his throat and Jenko sat back down. They both returned their attention to Captain Dickson, but he hadn’t really moved, or acknowledged their antics at all. He was sitting calmly, staring at them both contemplatively with his hands steepled together under his chin. There was an array of odd items on his desk -- a bottle of red nail polish, a folded white hand towel (dry), a smooth, flat rock, and a file folder -- but Dickson was ignoring these props entirely in favor of his zenlike consideration of the detectives.

“Hmph.” It didn’t sound like a conclusion, more like one of those noncommittal noises you make when you don’t really want to agree or disagree with whatever’s just been said. Dickson dropped his hands back down to the desk and said, “All right.”

“Uh, all right, sir?”

“Shut up, Schmidt.”

“Shutting up.”

Dickson flipped open the manila folder, spun it around, and pushed it towards the two of them. “There’s a new drug making the rounds. It’s kind of like diazepam mixed with meth and a bunch of experimental stuff that hasn’t been regulated yet, so you chill out, flip out, and then forget about it. Occasionally, a limb falls off. They’re calling it ‘Roofing Glass.’”

Along with photos and some typewritten pages, there was a small evidence bag in the folder with an even tinier little ziplock baggie inside. It had a sticker that looked like a cartoonish skylight which was reflecting happy pink clouds. “Best as we can tell, it’s being funnelled through a new mega-spa that just opened up. The owners are a husband and wife team of Korean entrepreneurs, Sang-woo and Mi-jung Park. We don’t know if they are the masterminds, turning a blind eye, or just really damn oblivious to what’s going on under their noses.”

Schmidt pulled the typewritten pages closer, while Jenko started flipping through the pictures.

Dickson picked up the nail polish bottle and set it down in front of them with a loud tap. His voice was deeper and more foreboding than usual when he spoke again. “This all might sound kind of familiar, but it is not exactly like the last two times. The mayor wants you on this, and Deputy Chief Hardy couldn’t convince her otherwise. We have no in, here. There’s no school administration partnering with us behind the scenes. You’re not Brad and Doug McQuaid. Nobody is going to help you sell your fake identities. You’re going to have to get hired at the spa on nothing but your own merits and the fake documentation we’re setting up for you.”

He gave them a long look. “Let’s hope the documentation is good.”

X X X

Luckily, Spa World was continually hiring. Apparently it took a lot of people to keep 275,000 square feet of baths, locker rooms, saunas (wet and dry), salons, indoor and outdoor pools, massage areas, “resting pods,” two gourmet restaurants, snack stands, health-oriented fast food places, cafés, bathrooms, a zen garden, a butterfly garden, a small movie theater showing a continuous loop of inspirational films, and a retail store running.

“Looks like I can interview tomorrow morning,” Schmidt told Jenko while filling out the online application form on his work computer. “See if you can get the slot right after mine.”

“I think maybe I should schedule my interview separately,” Jenko said kind of softly.

“Not this again,” Schmidt complained. “I know that sometimes you need your space, man, but seriously, I thought we were past all this--”

“No, really,” Jenko interrupted. “I mean for our covers, we don’t have any idea who’s involved, so we probably shouldn’t give any more hints than necessary that we already know each other. You know?”

“I guess maybe you’re right.”

“What was that?”

“Nothing!”

“You said I was right!”

“No, I didn’t!”

“Suck it up, I was right! I was right!”

They were too busy wrestling on the floor to realize they’d degenerated into their fourth slapfight of the day, which was a personal record. More cash changed hands between the interns, unnoticed on the other side of the room.

X X X

Schmidt’s interview was nerve-wracking. An intimidatingly beautiful woman who turned out to be Mi-jung Park herself sat in stern but silent observation as he answered questions across a glossy wooden table from a hairy dude wearing pink hospital scrubs. The pan-Asian gourmet restaurant was closed this early in the day, so they were using the fancy space for a parade of applicants who were made to wait in the lounge area, just as if they were waiting to be seated during the dinner rush.

“My biggest flaw? Well, uh, I guess you could say I’m sometimes overly detail-oriented.”

“Uh-huh. Do you speak Korean?” the beardy guy asked.

“No.” Schmidt didn’t quite stop himself from asking, “Do you?”

The man -- whose sewn-on name patch was frustratingly blank -- chuckled a little. Put him in a plaid shirt and he’d look like a typical ranch hand or a construction worker or the Marlboro Man or something, not a spa attendant. Plus, why sew on a name tag if you’re not going to fill it out? Why? That was definitely suspicious behavior. The guy suddenly let fly with a bunch of syllables that startled Schmidt until he realized it was in answer to his question. He had no idea if the sounds were actual Korean or some kind of joke on him. The hint of amusement showing in Mi-jung’s eyes wasn’t really a clue either way.

The thing was, Schmidt actually had to get hired. “I could learn! I could... my... second cousin married a Korean... lady. Kim Jong...Well. She could tutor me! If that’s a job requirement, I mean.”

Mi-jung was rolling her eyes something fierce for a polished, designer suit-wearing businesswoman. Schmidt wondered if she did that kind of thing in board meetings.

“That won’t be necessary,” said Marlboro Man. “So, tell me -- you seem kind of old to be looking for an entry-level position. What’s that all about?”

“I’m twenty-three,” Schmidt hissed. “Give me a break, I just finished college a little late. Oh, and, uh, I really believe in a holistic approach to personal well-being. This is the type of environment I would most like to work in, where mind, spirit and body are treated as one entity.” Schmidt was proud of working that into his answer.

“Well. Your references are… surprisingly solid, Mr. Johnson. We’ll be checking them out, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you heard back from us in the next few days.” Marlboro Man offered him a handshake, which Schmidt gladly latched onto.

X X X

Back at headquarters, after Schmidt finished giving Jenko a blow-by-blow recap of his interview, he asked Jenko how his had gone. Jenko said, “Fine.”

They had orientation at the same time that Thursday.

“Do you think we’re going to get handbooks?” Jenko asked.

“It’s not a school orientation, dumbass,” Schmidt said. “But I think I’m going to need a map. That place is frickin’ huge.”

X X X

There was a religious print on the wall in the employee break room. “Oh, cool!” Schmidt said. “I missed Korean Jesus!”

Jenko laughed. “Korean Jesus rocked.”

“Vietnamese Jesus is so much less approachable,” Schmidt complained. “He’s, like, more formal or something.”

“It’s the swag,” Jenko said wisely.

“Yeah, maybe,” Schmidt said, tapping at the food court area on his ✩WELCOME TO SPA WORLD✩ map with his finger. “Hey, Jenko -- I wonder if they give out ‘doggie bags’ at the restaurants.”

“Fuck you. That’s not funny! And it’s not okay,” Jenko said, appalled.

Schmidt stopped tapping his map. “Oh, god,” he said, his stomach sinking unpleasantly. “You’re right, you’re absolutely right. I’m a terrible person. That was racist and ignorant and I apologize.”

“And not even funny,” Jenko prompted.

“And not even funny,” Schmidt agreed. “Oh, no, and right in front of Korean Jesus, too. I love Korean Jesus. I love Korean Jesus but he probably doesn’t love me,” he concluded sadly.

Jenko clasped him on the shoulder. “Just try not to be such a dick. Here comes our orientationer. Orientationist?”

Marlboro Man walked in, trailed by three more trainees. “Has everyone filled out their W-4s? Okay, then. Let’s get started.”

X X X

There was nothing zenlike about cleaning toilets. Schmidt’s official job title was “Maintenance Engineer,” but as the newest person on the cleaning crew he was basically stuck on permanent bathroom duty until someone even newer got hired. Instead of the professional-looking scrubs the spa attendants wore, he had to put on dorky blue maintenance overalls with “Johnson” sewn on the pocket. And so far he’d cleaned up a lot of piss. Not just on the floors and toilet seats, but everywhere. Everywhere. The Zeta house was never this bad, and Schmidt couldn’t help wondering what it was about spa-goers that made them think that it was acceptable to pee directly onto the toilet paper roll.

Jenko, as the obvious health nut in their orientation group, got the only actual spa attendant slot available. One of the other orientation guys was a legitimate masseur, and the only woman was a manicurist. The last guy was a metalhead teenager who was told to report to the food court to start cleaning out grease traps. Schmidt would have happily traded places with him, but realized that bathroom duty was probably penance sent directly from Korean Jesus so he should probably suck it up without complaint.

At least he could close off the bathrooms and put up his “Cleaning In Progress” cone, with the picture of the little man slipping on a puddle on the front. That left him free to investigate every nook and cranny of the bathrooms without being disturbed.

On his second day, Marlboro Man snuck in to check on him while Schmidt was trying to peer into the heat register on the floor. Luckily for him, he’d had a sponge in his hand, and it had looked like he was just doing a really, really thorough cleaning job. “Guess you weren’t kidding about being ridiculously detail-oriented,” Marlboro Man said, and walked back out again.

Schmidt let out a shuddery breath and then continued searching for any hint of Roofing Glass.

X X X

“So far, I’ve got nothing,” Schmidt complained during lunch break.

As the fit and attractive customer-service face of the franchise, so to speak, so far Jenko had been stuck handing out towels to clients as they arrived in the bathing area of the men’s locker room. Mealtimes and two fifteen-minute breaks every day aside, he hadn’t had the chance to do any investigating at all. It was pissing him off.

“Well, I haven’t even had the chance to look around yet,” Jenko said. “I’ve talked to people a little bit, but there are only a couple of attendants so besides Joon-tae, the guy I’m shadowing, I’ve barely introduced myself.”

“Still not as bad as cleaning toilets all day,” Schmidt said.

“Yeah, but at least you’re alone! Did you know that the bath part isn’t even clothing optional? You have to be naked to go in. I mean, the co-ed bathrooms at MC State were weird, but I got used to it. But this is like all ballsack all the time. Gross, uneven, hairy, old man ballsack.” He shuddered. “I’ve never seen so many dicks in my life.”

“Unless they make you dry their dicks off personally, I still lose the job lottery. I mean, I wanted to give manicures to all the hottie health fanatic ladies,” Schmidt moaned.

“You need a license for that,” Jenko reminded him.

“I’m allowed to carry a gun!” Schmidt whispered in outrage.

“A gun, yes. Nail scissors, no,” Jenko said smugly. “Hey, no hitting allowed on the job!”

Slapfight only temporarily averted.

X X X

Rather than using his break to play games on his phone like god intended, Schmidt was virtuously continuing his completely fruitless investigations. At the moment, he was in the “Hibiscus” salon, rearranging the nail polishes that had gotten out of rainbow order.

“What are you doing back here again?” demanded Joniqua, looming in the doorway with her arms crossed.

“The colors were out of order,” Schmidt said defensively.

“Yeah, but our bathroom is clean.”

Schmidt’s face fell. “Your job is so much cooler than mine,” he whined.

Joniqua looked him up and down critically. “Yes, it is. But I’m a licensed nail technician. I went to school for it and everything. How many times to I have to tell you you’re not qualified?”

“But how hard can it be?” Schmidt asked. “Ow, wait, where are you taking me?”

He was officially reprimanded for being late back to work, but he really liked the way his hands looked with his clear polish “MAN-icure.” They were so neat and smooth, and his nails were shiny! He wore rubber gloves while he worked, so he hoped he wouldn’t mess them up too badly.

He even had a pedicure scheduled with Joniqua after he went off-shift the next day. She’d agreed to let him use his employee discount once he’d promised to stop bugging her team. The manicurists chatted a lot when there weren’t any actual customers in the salon, so maybe he’d even hear something useful -- everybody bitched about their jobs and their bosses, right? Schmidt hadn’t even so much as laid eyes on Sang-woo Park yet.

X X X

“I handed a towel to Bruce Willis today!” Jenko said, as soon as he walked into the employee locker room and saw Schmidt.

“No way!” Schmidt said.

“Yes way! He was cool about, it, too. Said thanks and everything.” They high-fived with a resounding smack.

Jenko grasped Schmidt’s wrist before it had fallen all the way back down to his side, and pulled it closer. He cradled Schmidt’s hand between his own and tilted it this way and that, eventually running a fingertip down the line of Schmidt’s index finger. It must have been chillier in the locker room than he’d realized, because a shiver ran down Schmidt’s back.

“Wow, your hands look really nice,” Jenko said.

“I got a manicure! Sorry, a MAN-icure. Dudes get them too, did you know?”

“Really? Huh.”

“Yeah, really.” Schmidt wiggled his fingers at Jenko in illustration, just in case he didn’t get the point, but stopped mid-wiggle when he noticed Marlboro Man looking right at them.

He kind of froze up all over, in fact, which made Marlboro Man stare harder. Jenko’s back was to the man, so he was still just poking at Schmidt’s fingers and comparing them to his own raggedy nails. Schmidt cleared his throat and snatched his hands away.

Jenko looked up, puzzlement written across his features, so Schmidt said, “Hey, how’s it going, uh… sir?” Marlboro Man’s name patch was completely blank again today.

Jenko’s head whipped around in surprise. “Oh, hi. Thanks for the orientation tour. How many people get lost their first week on the job?”

“You mean how many other people get lost?” Marlboro Man looked amused. “Just about everyone, don’t worry about it. Stay out of trouble now, you hear?” he said, and turned to go.

“You got it,” Jenko said.

“No trouble here, no trouble at all,” Schmidt echoed.

Marlboro Man just lifted his hand in a lazy wave as he left, without turning around.

“Don’t you think he’s suspicious?” Schmidt whispered once the man was presumably out of hearing range.

“Nah,” Jenko said with a shrug.

“Oh yeah? Then what’s his name?” Schmidt said. “His name patch is always blank. It’s super weird.”

“Well, mine says ‘Focker’ so at least his isn’t actively lying,” Jenko said philosophically.

“Whatever,” Schmidt said. “I got an official reprimand today.”

“From the Captain?” Jenko asked, aghast.

“From the head of Maintenance,” Schmidt admitted. “I was late. So, wait, does this mean you’ve seen Bruce Willis naked?”

X X X

Part of cleaning the bathrooms was mopping the floor directly outside of the doors, for some reason. Even though it also got mopped with the rest of the main floors every day. “Stop grumbling, it’s a high-traffic area, Korean Jesus wouldn’t want you to complain,” Schmidt muttered to himself.

A cluster of young women was stopped just in front of him, debating about which room in the Saunapalooza to try first. “But the colored lights sound so much prettier than one that’s just lined with rocks,” one of the girls was saying.

“Jennie said she started in the infrared room and wound up getting dehydrated,” a blonde said, squinting at her partially-unfolded map.

“If you’re not sure, you really should start with the Sedona Vortex Stones sauna,” Schmidt interjected. “It’ll open you up to different energies so you can really get the benefit of the rest of the saunas afterwards.”

The group of girls just stared at him.

“Sorry to interrupt, I just -- my parents went on a trip to Sedona a couple of years ago, and they came back, well. They said it really stimulated their chakra. It really changed them,” he wound down sheepishly.

The girls were nodding slowly, though, and herded off towards the Saunapalooza entrance without any further debate.

“That was unexpected,” said a wry voice. Schmidt looked over to see Sang-woo himself. Unlike his flawlessly-dressed wife, Sang-woo was wearing the same spa attendant scrubs as the rest of the staff. But it was undeniably him, looking just like his picture in the case file.

“Uh, yeah, I guess. I just thought they’d be making a mistake if they started off with the LEDs,” Schmidt said, rubbing the back of his neck in embarrassment.

“That was a good instinct,” Sang-woo said approvingly. He slung his arm around Schmidt’s shoulders and steered him away from the janitorial equipment towards an administrative hallway. “How would you feel about a promotion?”

X X X

Sang-woo was apparently very passionate about the health benefits offered by Spa World. He believed in the scientifically proven therapies like massage and hydrotherapy. He also believed in a wide gamut of other healing disciplines, from traditional non-Western approaches to up to and including crystal healing and aura adjustments.

What he did not believe in was the “shamefully business-driven model of modern Western medical care and its over-reliance on medicating symptoms rather than healing the mind-body whole.” He despaired of the amount of unnecessary amount of toxins the average American ingested daily (“Pollution! Processed foods! Cigarettes! Trans fats,” he hissed.)

Schmidt nodded and agreed throughout his crash course in the various saunas and their individual benefits, and the multiple digressions into the evils of everything but a macrobiotic eating plan.

“You’re going to be a greeter and help people understand how to really get the most out of Saunapalooza,” Sang-woo said, eyes shining with impassioned zeal.

Schmidt was pretty sure Sang-woo wouldn’t be on board with selling people drugs of any sort, much less the kind that occasionally made their limbs fall off. So Sang-woo was kind of a dead end in the investigation, but at least he’d managed to eliminate himself as a suspect, which was progress of a sort. Schmidt would take it, since he’d had absolutely no other kind of progress so far.

Plus, he wasn’t going to be cleaning toilets anymore. It was turning out to be a pretty good day.

X X X

“Oh my god, what a horrible day,” Schmidt groaned, collapsing onto the bench next to Jenko in front of their lockers.

“What’s the matter, bro?” Jenko asked. “I thought you were happy to get out of that jumpsuit and into Customer Relations.”

“My feet hurt, and my back hurts, and it’s bad enough cleaning up after entitled assholes but sweet Korean Jesus it is so much worse talking to them all day long.”

“Really? The guys in the baths seem to be pretty nice, actually, once you get used to the whole ‘all nudity, all the time’ thing.”

“Yeah, but they probably don’t have anything to argue with you about -- it seems like half the people I talk to don’t believe any of the saunas actually do anything, in which case, why are they even here, or they think my explanations of what they’re supposed to do are wrong. And instead of going off to de-stress or whatever, they want to have a debate with me.”

Jenko’s eyebrow rose skeptically. “You sure it’s just them? You can be a little argumentative, man.”

“Yes, it’s them!” Schmidt said, kicking sulkily at the locker in front of him. “I don’t even have feelings about this stuff one way or the other, I’m just repeating whatever Sang-woo told me!”

Schmidt felt Jenko’s warm hand on his shoulder, squeezing softly. “It’s okay, buddy. I get it. I’m not having any luck with my investigation either. I’m getting frustrated, too.”

Schmidt looked over at him admiringly. “You really learned a lot from our sessions with Doctor Murphy, didn’t you.”

Jenko ducked his head to hide what looked like the beginnings of a blush. “Whatever.”

“Ugh, it’s almost eight o’clock, and I have to go back to work now. Why does this place have to be open almost all of the time?”

“Look, Joon-tae said he trusts me to close, which... might not be entirely true, but I think he has midterms coming up and is looking to clock off early. I’ll let him know I can close tonight and that I’m going to use the baths. Some of the other guys do that that sometimes, and he’s been swearing by the baths since the day I started. He’ll be happy I’m giving them a try, and even happier to go home. If I warn him I might bring a buddy then he’ll probably even help me make sure everyone else clears out, since it’s not technically allowed,” Jenko explained.

“Wow. That sounds like a really good plan,” Schmidt said.

“And maybe we’ll have more luck if we actually do what we do best, and investigate this fucking drug ring together.”

“Yeah!” Schmidt shouted, and it echoed around the near-empty employee locker room. Jenko belatedly clapped a hand over Schmidt’s mouth, and looked around frantically to see if anyone had heard them.

“Sorry, I mean, ‘yeah!’” Schmidt whispered after Jenko took his hand away.

“Yeah,” Jenko whispered back, and they bumped fists with a grin.

X X X

Schmidt followed Jenko around the men’s changing area as Jenko made sure all the locker doors were shut and the last of the stray towels were picked up. He flicked off the overheads in each aisle as they left, leaving only the stray ambients and the watery light spilling out of the bath area to illuminate their way.

He started stripping down just before the entrance to the bathing room, and Schmidt concentrated on the soothing sound of rushing water from the water jets as he awkwardly followed suit.

“Joon-tae trusts me, I think, but for all I know he’ll come back and check up on us before he leaves for good. I know he has access to a lot of the off-limits areas. I think he might even be related to the Parks.” Schmidt grunted in acknowledgement, because that was a potentially interesting piece of information.

“Anyway, I want to try some of these out, and give him an honest reaction tomorrow. We can also see if there are any loose tiles or potential hiding places inside the jets or drains.”

“Sounds good,” Schmidt said, doing the high school locker room sidle past Jenko and into the humid room, which turned out to contain a number of differently-tiled pools.

“Ah-ah-ah,” Naked Jenko scolded him, and pulled him up short as he headed towards the pool marked Warm Bath - 101º. “You have to shower first.”

“Nobody’s here!” Schmidt complained.

“Shower first. I know for a fact you’ve been working all day. And you get sweaty,” Jenko said.

“I do,” Schmidt agreed, resigned to being manhandled while naked by his naked best friend, who kept one hand on him while he tested the water from one of the showerheads and then steered him into the spray.

“Just rinse off a little and you’ll be fine,” Jenko said, turning on the shower next to his and not even leaving a courtesy gap between them. Schmidt would probably never understand the way Jenko’s mind worked completely.

“Okay, well, I’m going to start over there,” Schmidt pointed to a bath tiled in a very pale blue.

Jenko chuckled and Schmidt ignored him, bypassing the steps and plunging over the low ledge directly into the holyfuck dickshrivelling freezing pool.

“Holy crap, is that some kind of sick joke,” he wheezed, scrambling out of the 3-foot-deep water as quickly as possible. Jenko was laughing so hard he was crying. Jenko was laughing while Schmidt was goosepimpled and probably turning blue.

“No,” Jenko finally gasped, as Schmidt realized there were plenty of warmer places to be and stepped down into the next bath over. “No, man, you’re supposed to get all hot in the other pools and then alternate with the cold like they do in Iceland or wherever.”

Schmidt let out a sigh of bliss as he sank beneath the Hot Bath - 104º water and waited for the shivering to stop. There was even a tiled seat for him to recline in, so he could let his legs float up but rest his head comfortably above the water.

“You’re a dick for not telling me,” he said, “but now I’m all tingly, so I guess I understand why people do it. I’m not doing it again, though,” he glared balefully at Jenko as he got into the same bath and sat in the seat next to Schmidt’s.

“Okay, but don’t say I never did anything nice for you,” Jenko said, and slapped a big, flat button on the tiled armrest between them. There was a rumbling noise, and Schmidt yelped as something tickled him right above his ass. Then the jets fully engaged and he was getting delightfully pounded right around his shoulders and lower back.

“Oh my goddddddd,” he moaned.

This time, when Jenko chuckled at him, it was warm and his eyes got all crinkly. “If you put your legs down, it will get your calves and the soles of your feet, too.”

Schmidt put his legs down, squeaked at the feeling of the water bubbling up under the bottom of his feet, and quickly lifted them up again. “I’m good with just my back for now.”

“Mmm-hmm,” Jenko agreed, sounding pretty relaxed himself. “You’re still too tense. There’s other ones that hit different muscles in the other pools. We’ll have to check them out later. To see if there are any hiding places, I mean.”

“Yeah, just to be thorough,” Schmidt readily agreed.

X X X

They were horsing around in the Saltwater Bath - 102º when everything got out of hand. They both headed for the Waterfall Spout and accidentally knocked heads when they stood up underneath it at the same time. That led to not-so-accidentally initiating their first slapfight in days -- Schmidt had really missed them for some reason, even though he usually lost -- which led to lots of splashing and noise and yelling. But, as any lifeguard worth his shorts will tell you, there should be no roughhousing on wet, tiled surfaces.

“Ow, fuck!” Schmidt said, hopping around in actual pain.

“Oh, shit, man, what’s wrong?” Jenko asked, steadying him with his hands on Schmidt’s arms.

“Fuckity fuck fuck, I think I pulled something in my back.”

“Then maybe you should stand still.” Jenko guided him over to the ledge, where he could prop himself up without too much trouble. “Just wait for a minute and see if it gets any better.”

“Yeah, okay,” Schmidt said. “Damn, you got me good. Is that a handprint?” he wondered, looking at a reddened patch of skin on his side where one of Jenko’s slaps had landed.

Jenko’s eyes were wide as he reached out, as if to measure his hand against the mark, but then he snatched his back. “My bad,” he said, clearing his throat. “Sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Schmidt said, twisting a little to test his back muscles. “Ugh, okay. It’s more of an ache now, so it’s probably nothing too bad. I’ll just be sorer than usual tomorrow.”

Jenko looked actually upset. “I could --” he offered, and then stopped.

“You could what?”

“I didn’t mean for you to get hurt. I’m not licensed or anything, but I could try giving you, like, massage therapy?”

Two weeks ago, Schmidt would have scoffed. But two weeks’ worth of seeing a steady stream of customers wobble off the massage tables like blissfully limp noodles had changed that.

“Wellll… Sure, I guess. I mean, how hard could it be?” he asked. (He decided to just forget about the answer he’d gotten when he asked the same thing about manicures.) “Do we need a table?”

“Nah, just, like, turn around?” Jenko drew a circle in the air with his finger, and Schmidt smiled instead of giving him shit for it as he turned to face the wall.

There was an audible silence behind him. Schmidt took a deep breath and relaxed his neck, letting his chin drop towards his chest. After a moment, Jenko’s hands tentatively slid along his shoulders. “You’ll let me know if anything hurts, right?”

“When have I ever not complained about pain?” Schmidt asked, and he could sense Jenko un-tense behind him. “But I don’t think just standing there is going to accomplish anything.”

Jenko startled. “Yeah, of course,” he said, and started applying pressure down the lines of Schmidt’s neck muscles, his hands sliding smoothly over Schmidt’s wet skin. He groaned in appreciation and Jenko’s strokes became more confident, thumbs digging into knots Schmidt didn’t even know he’d had.

“This feels pretty awesome. I could get used to this,” Schmidt said, and Jenko’s hands paused for a moment, only to continue after a beat as if nothing had happened. Schmidt decided to keep his compliments to himself and just enjoy Jenko’s increasingly assured massage.

He sort of zoned out for a while, making appreciative noises whenever something felt particularly good. Jenko was obviously a natural because he kept doing things that felt better and better, so Schmidt was making throaty noises almost continuously as Jenko’s big hands just woke up all the tired, aching muscles in his back and rubbed them into delicious submission. “Uhhhhhhhm,” Schmidt moaned openly, too blissed-out to care how loud he was being.

Jenko gripped his shoulders firmly and pressed his forehead against the back of Schmidt’s neck, exhaling harshly. “Dammit, Schmidt. Schmidt. Schmitty,” Jenko said from between his shoulderblades, sounding frayed, and Schmidt’s entire spine lit up.

Schmidt realized he was hard, and probably had been for a while. Jenko was still practically panting behind him. “Fuuuuck, I want to put my dick in you,” Jenko groaned.

Schmidt pushed his ass backwards, incidentally nudging Jenko’s slippery hard-on down out of the way, until he bumped into the cradle of Jenko’s hips. “Then do it, man,” he said, and gave another little bump of encouragement. “Do it,” he goaded, over his own uncertainty.

“Shit,” Jenko said, and his arms came around Schmidt in a giant squeeze. Schmidt felt Jenko’s dick poke into the back of his thigh, but it didn’t seem like he was trying to do anything with it at the moment.

Schmidt pushed back again, awkwardly, and Jenko tugged at him until he turned around so that they were facing each other. Schmidt didn’t quite know how to look at him in the eyes, so he let himself check out Jenko’s admittedly hot body instead. He shifted from foot to foot and tried to cover his crotch with his hands.

“Hey,” Jenko said, and Schmidt finally looked up at his face. He looked serious and kind, on top of being horny as fuck. “Do you have any idea how many dicks I’ve seen since I started working here?”

Schmidt shook his head, and Jenko pulled his hands away from his hard-on and held them out to the sides. “Enough to say objectively that yours is really nice. Really, really, uhhh--” Jenko trailed off and his eyes locked onto where Schmidt’s dick was bobbing in the water, “--uh, um, appealing.”

“Yeah, man, okay,” Schmidt said, pulling his hands back out of Jenko’s grasp but not bothering to cover his dick again. “But you’ve gotta admit, you’re all--” he gestured at Jenko’s everything, “and I’m just kinda--” as he indicated himself with a hand flap.

“I guess. I mean, I know I’m hot,” Jenko said. “But I’ve seen so many bodies here, and they’re all just --- bodies, really. It’s just people. And you look good. You feel fantastic. You’ve got an ass I want to be inside of, like, yesterday, and the most amazing eyes, and you’re the best partner and I just want to be with you all the time. Especially if I can make you laugh.”

“I love getting into slapfights with you,” Schmidt agreed. “I guess there’s a reason for that.” Then he grabbed the back of Jenko’s neck and pulled him into the most determined kiss he’d ever given in his life.

Jenko’s tongue slipped out to meet his, and their dicks brushed together, and suddenly everything everywhere was hot and wet and good.

“Your mouth is so soft,” Jenko mumbled against his lips, and Schmidt pulled away long enough to say, “It’s the aloe stuff from the gift shop,” before kissing him again.

They grappled against each other in a mostly sexy way, but without much direction. “I thought you wanted my ass,” Schmidt said eventually, and Jenko made a helpless sound of need. Schmidt turned back around and grabbed the ledge with one hand, giving his own dick a nice long pull with the other.

“Fuck, that’s hot,” Jenko said, looking down over Schmidt’s shoulder.

He clasped his hands onto Schmidt’s hips and pushed until his slippery dick started to slide up Schmidt’s buttcrack. The head of it stuttered against the edge of Schmidt’s asshole, catching briefly on the rim and feeling really weird, but then Jenko’s hips fucked forward and his dick slipped further up, nestled between Schmidt’s cheeks.

Schmidt clenched his butt a little, testing the feel of having something there like a hot dog inside a bun, and Jenko groaned. It was still weird, but good. Schmidt started jerking himself off in earnest, which was nice and smooth with all the water, and Jenko just slid up and down using his grip on Schmidt’s hips to help rock them back and forth in a primal slide.

Schmidt’s slippery hand was flying over his own hard dick as Jenko grunted and slithered behind him. “Oh God!” Schmidt shouted as he spurted uncontrollably all over the tile wall.

“Uhn, uhn, uhhhhhhh,” Jenko bellowed like a moose behind him as he came between Schmidt’s asscheeks, pressing closer even as he shot his load.

“Oh my god!” yelled a voice. “Focker! Johnson! No jizzing in the baths!” Joon-tae screamed in outrage.

X X X

Joon-tae ordered them to get dressed and meet him in the employee break room with a surprising amount of authority. “Don’t take too long,” he admonished them, “Pack up your lockers. And don’t try to run off, if you don’t want us pressing charges.”

“Shit,” they said in unison.

They dressed hurriedly and packed up all of their belongings. Marlboro Man was waiting in the break room along with Joon-tae -- who it turned out was a Park, and was attending business school so that he could take over the family empire someday -- for their “exit interviews.” Marlboro Man had a voice recorder, which was live throughout the whole humiliating process, and Joon-tae had a couple of termination forms for them to sign.

“Don’t worry, they’re not going to prosecute you or anything,” Marlboro Man reassured them as they were being escorted out by security. “It’s not like you’re the first people we’ve found fucking on the premises. This week.”

Schmidt gave a weak chuckle. “What a place, huh.”

X X X

Jenko stopped as the employee exit door clanged shut behind them. “We fucked up, didn’t we,” he said.

“We failed,” Schmidt said. “We got fired, and we know absolutely nothing about the drug ring, and we’re going to have to go into the office tomorrow and explain why we got fired, and then we’re going to get fired again.”

Jenko pulled him close and gave him a squeeze. “On the bright side, there was no property damage -- at least, not that can’t be cleaned up -- and we even made money while we were working here.”

“We’re going to need it when we get fired again,” Schmidt said grumpily, but he found he could breathe more easily through the overwhelming sense of failure with Jenko’s arm around him.

“Come on,” he said, and tugged Jenko towards the parking lot. “You should just follow me back to my place.”

When they were almost to the far end of the lot, where their cars were parked a few empty spaces away from one another, the employee exit door slammed open again, and Marlboro Man ran out, obviously trying to catch up with them.

“Wait, wait up a second,” he said, and they paused.

“I’m so sorry,” he breathed out as he came to a halt. “I thought there was something off about you, Johnson, but I guess you were just hiding who you really were. I know what it feels like to be in the closet, but it’s not worth it, I promise. I should have been more of a mentor to you. I know Sang-woo thought you had potential.” He offered his hand, and, much like during his initial interview, Schmidt took hold and shook it with something like relief. It was nice not to be hated.

“I’m sorry. My name’s Rick. Rick Andersen.”

Schmidt didn’t want to admit how moved he was, and anyway, he still couldn’t offer his real name in return. So, what he came out with was, “Is that so hard to sew on a damn name patch?”

Marlboro Man -- Rick Andersen -- actually laughed. “You’re all right, kid. Tell you what. I’ll take you both to an old school bath house sometime, which is a much better venue for the sort of thing you were getting up to, anyway. In the meantime, I know what will make you feel better. Here.” He tucked something into Schmidt’s shirt pocket and patted it. Schmidt put his hand over the pocket and Andersen walked over to his truck, pulling out of the lot with a double honk and a wave out the window.

Once Andersen was gone and the shock had worn off a bit, Schmidt reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a little plastic baggie. Jenko leaned close and even in the dim light of the parking lot at night, they could see it sported a sticker with a cartoon picture of a skylight reflecting happy pink clouds.

As they slowly met one another’s gaze, their eyes were huge with disbelief.

“No way,” Jenko breathed.

“No way,” Schmidt echoed. “We have a lead. We have a lead, and some motherfucking evidence right here, and a name, and we’re going to solve this thing and not get fired, oh my god, oh my god!”

“Yeah, and we’re going to go back to your place and suck each other’s dicks,” Jenko said.

“This is so not how I thought my day was going to go when I woke up this morning,” Schmidt said, still stunned.

“Are you complaining?” Jenko asked.

“Are you kidding?” Schmidt went up on his tiptoes so he could kiss Jenko fully on the mouth. “Korean Jesus obviously loves me.”

X X X

After that, it was all over but for the montage of detective work, slow-speed golf cart chases (plural), a shootout with both sides using bows and arrows from the archery department of a sporting goods store -- who knew Captain Dickson was a crack shot? -- and a bunch of arrests.

(There was a notable drug trip in there, too. Notable, but not memorable. Due to the roofie nature of Roofing Glass, neither Schmidt nor Jenko could recall whether they ingested the drug willingly or not, or what they did afterwards, but the scene in Jenko’s apartment the next morning required the application of their best investigative skills.

“Duuude,” said Schmidt weakly when he woke up, going around in circles. He was suspended from a makeshift hammock or something, attached to the still-rotating ceiling fan. “Did we -- is this supposed to be some kind of sex sling?” he croaked.

“Probably,” groaned Jenko, leaning up against the wall for support. “My dick is definitely chafed, and that hasn’t happened since the first time, when I realized it was even a possibility. I think I was fourteen.”

“Ohmigod, I’m going to hurl,” said Schmidt, right before he tumbled himself out of the repurposed bedsheet and onto the safety of the floor. “Oof. God, we must have fucked all night. I feel like my ass is still open.”

“Let me see,” Jenko said interestedly, and, well, needless to say they were delayed getting into work.)

Somebody else brought Joon-tae in, who was arrested as the mastermind of the Roofing Glass ring. Jenko and Schmidt didn’t care about not getting the official collar, because they were still suffering the aftereffects of the drug itself, and anyway they were still the heroes of the hour for busting the ring wide open in the first place. The mayor wanted them to take a picture with her.

Schmidt was just glad that they hadn’t had to put Rick Andersen in jail. He was walking free due to the fact that he’d offered the information leading to Joon-tae’s arrest. “Thanks, Rick, you’ve actually been an amazing help,” Schmidt said.

“Thank Sang-woo. He’s the one who convinced me to get this stuff off the streets, even if his nephew was involved,” Rick said awkwardly.

“You couldn’t have done it any earlier?” Jenko complained, rubbing at his temples. “That stuff is brutal.”

“Sorry,” Rick said with a small laugh. “I never should have agreed to share it around.”

“Drugs are bad!” Captain Dickson yelled as he walked through the room. He smacked Jenko in the head with his file folder, hard, and swept out the opposite door.

He’s your boss?” Rick asked.

“Yeah.”

“Yup.”

“Wow.” Rick contemplated that for a moment. “Mi-jung seems like a pushover in comparison. Hey, what’s going to happen to her, anyway?”

“We can’t pin anything on her,” Jenko explained, “even though we know she was turning a blind eye to what her nephew was doing. I guess it stimulated business at the spa, or something, which is what Joon-tae was going for in the first place.”

“Sang-woo is divorcing her, though,” Schmidt said. “He was horrified that she knew what was going on. So she’ll be losing the Park fortune and Sang-woo hates her now. I don’t think she’s happy. And I hear Spa World is closing.”

“That sucks,” said Rick. “It really was a special place.”

“It really kind of was,” Schmidt agreed.

X X X

Captain Dickson beckoned Jenko and Schmidt up into his office.

“Sit down,” he said. They sat. “I hear y’all motherfuckers are some kind of gay-ass couple now,” the Captain said, leaning menacingly at them over his desk. “Is that true?” he demanded.

Schmidt gulped, and a belligerent look crossed Jenko’s face. Before Jenko could start lecturing their boss on preferred terminology, Schmidt spoke up. “Um, technically, as our employer I don’t think you’re supposed to ask--”

“Schmidt!” Captain Dickson barked.

“--but, yes, yes, I would say we were indeed a gay-ass couple. Only not in those words,” he added quickly when it looked like Jenko was about to say something. “But anyway, yes, we are mated.”

Jenko stared at him for a moment, then cracked up.

“I’m going to assume that you’re still being serious,” Dickson said, as Jenko hooted. “So, congratulations to you both.”

Jenko, still laughing helplessly, slumped down in his chair and turned his face into Schmidt’s chest as he shook uncontrollably. Schmidt patted his arm and made eye contact with the Captain. “Thank you, that means a lot to us. It’s good to have your support.”

“Well, it’s a good thing you’ve got each other. You’ll definitely be able to use that at the couples’ retreat you’re investigating starting tomorrow.”