Well, Mum, there's not much to report on the work front. They won't let new police recruits anywhere near the streets until we've completed training. From the size of the manuals they dropped on the desks on the first day, that's going to be months or maybe even a year from now.
So, at the moment, my police career combines two of my least favourite activities. I have to sit and read. It's mind achingly dull.
There are exams every week so I can't skip on the reading and hope to make it up later. I do have a partner assigned, he's acting as a mentor to help get me through this. He does promise that some day, I will be on the streets and sooner then I imagine.
"Hey boy, you hungry?"
"Would you like a treat?"
"You are a talkative fellow for someone who can't say a word. Here you go." I offered him the biscuit.
He politely took it from me, bolted the food like he'd had none all week, sniffed my hand and then left.
"Hey, Sam, I was wondering if you'd like to go see some of the sights in town with me? Catch a movie, maybe hang out? Eddie's at work and Howie is trying his luck at a chess tournament. It's just you and me this evening."
"A date? But, we've barely met and well..."
He gently put one hand on my shoulder. "Look, let's just try it. If you feel uncomfortable and want to stop, just say so. We should have a great time, no matter what." He paused for breath. "But I'd hate to not at least try and take you on a date. You are one hot guy."
"Jer, I thought the point of paparazzi was they are hard to spot so celebrities don't notice them."
"That dude writes his own rules. And everyone who is anyone wants him to take their photo. He's actually the best, and never ever has to fake any of his shots."
The movie was pretty good but not nearly as good as the original had been. We were still discussing the actors as we walked over to the local watering hole.
"Is it always this bad?"
"I think the mixer is new. I've never seen anyone take that long to make a single drink before." We decided to leave before we grew old and gray.
"Want to sit for a while, Sam?" Jericho sat on the river bank so fast, you'd have thought he was a puppet that had its strings cut. He stared mournfully at the river.
"It's deep enough to drown in," I commented in an offhand way.
"Drown?" Jericho sounded puzzled for a moment. "Oh I guess for a land dweller that would be true. I forget that your type have trouble with water. The river is not my true home. It's not the sea."
"Then what keeps you here?"
"A few years ago, an epidemic nearly wiped out my people. There are so few of us left. There are legends that my people and yours are compatible and some of the children would be Seastriders. I was sent to find out the truth."
"And what have you found?"
"The science lab confirmed, our people can have babies together. Some will be land dwellers, some will be sea dwellers and a few will be a perfect mix of the two. I've been waiting for some time for the lab to perfect a way of creating children from genetic donations." He stopped deep in memory for a moment. "I had expected to be able to produce babies a more old fashioned way but I learned quickly that there are many expectations from a mating pair of land dwellers."
"My people couple for love or children but it's a casual thing. A few stay together but most go their separates ways soon. I learned that wasn't true of the land dwellers within a week of moving here. If they are a couple, they don't respond well a request for offspring from someone else. If they aren't, they expect you to partner them exclusively."
He sighed. "My people need more children, since this is what must be done, then I will stay until it's done."
"Do you like children, Sam?"
I paused as a moment of deja vu overwhelmed me. Children, why did I feel like I should have some already? The moment passed. "Yes, I love kids. Babies and toddlers are such a delight. Older ones too but I adore the little ones."
I glanced at my watch to discover that time had flown by. If I was going to get a decent night's sleep, we had to go.
He looked away for a few moments, looking very cute and shy. Then he suddenly leaned forward and kissed me oh so lightly.
"Well, what do you think it was?" He tensed, unsure of what I was going to say.
"I'd say it was approximately a quarter of a kiss. Next time, there will be no shortchanging." I watched him relax as he realised that I was suggesting that there would be a next time for him to try again.
"Now, where is the rest of that kiss?" I asked Jer.
He pulled me into a tight hug and then proved he was more than capable of giving a proper kiss. A few minutes later and I had to stop for breath.