Senior Editor Horatio Caine strode into his office, eyeing two stacks of unread manuscripts and his beautiful but unattainable assistant, who stood waiting with notepad in hand. "You okay?"
Yelena gave him a hostile but smoldering look.
"The next time you want to take a swing at someone, start with me." He tossed his shades onto the desk and dropped into his chair, swiveling around to contemplate the upper Manhattan skyline. "Be on the lookout for an Eastern European male with bad teeth who may have access to an ape."
"Porque -- uh, why?"
"He's my new science fiction author." Horatio chucked the new issue of Publishers Weekly into the trash can beside his desk and punched his intercom button. "Calleigh," he said, letting his voice drop to an intimate rasp. "I need you."
A moment later, copy editor Calleigh Duquesne marched in, trailed by production designer John Hagen. Her china doll features reflected the light with all the depth and animation of cheap imported stoneware. "Yes, sir?"
Yelena tossed her long dark mane, gave Horatio a contemptuous but smoldering glance, and stalked out.
"We are being detoured into the land of make-believe," Horatio announced.
A tiny wrinkle chased itself across Calleigh's brow. "But sir, isn't that our . . . job?"
"Tomorrow's what you make of it. John." His gaze slashed over to the production designer. "I have cover art here with a cartoon dolphin on it. You know how I feel about cartoon dolphin art. Tell me about the cartoon dolphin, John."
Hagen swallowed and shifted on his feet. "Well."
Horatio nodded. "Why didn't you tell me about this earlier?"
Hagen's shoulders moved. "I didn't think it'd look too good."
"Well, it doesn't look too good right now." Horatio tossed the sketch across the desk. "Do it again. Do it right. Do it and get it back to me and make it the best job you've ever done and John?" He shot to his feet, lunged forward, and dragged John forward by the tie until their faces were only an inch apart. "I don't want to see another cartoon dolphin for as long as you work for me," Horatio whispered. "Are we clear?"
Hagen's head drooped forward. "Yeah."
Horatio released the tie and waved them both out. As they left, he heard Hagen mumble, "That's one hell of a lonely road he's walking" and Calleigh murmur, "I know. That's why I'm walking it with him."
Yelena sauntered in. "The publicity budget reports." She tossed a file across the desk at him, and planted her hands on her hips. "My mother called. Ray Jr. didn't come home from school. She thinks he's at the bookstore reading manga again." She gave him a sorrowful but smoldering look. "Do something, Horatio."
"You lie down with the Devil," Horatio reminded her, "you wake up in Publishing. Don't say anything to anyone at any time until I say so. I'll take care of it on my lunch hour." He smiled as a dark, sultry woman shoved Yelena aside. "Alexx."
"Horatio. Someday you're going to have to tell me what idiot spelled my name with two X's. Girl, don't you be looking at me like that. I'll kick your Latina ass." As Yelena stomped out, Alexx produced a brilliant smile and a heavily marked-up galley. "Finished the work up on this one. Typesetter slaughtered the poor thing. I found 363 mistaken spellings of the protagonist's name alone."
"363." Horatio sat down and swiveled a little in his chair.
"Yeah." Alexx's voice softened. "Real shame to see such a pretty story end up like this. It's going to kill the author."
"I will get whoever did this to her," Horatio said, leaning forward. "I promise you that. Do you know why?"
Alexx sighed. "Because this is CSI: Editing."
"Exactly." Horatio folded his hands behind his head and leaned back. "And. We. Never. Close."