"I sincerely look forward to taking your shit." "So what's this all about, friend-o? I've got a perfectly legal group sex party to go to in an hour. Which reminds me, can I keep these cuffs?" The detective laughed and shook his head, which I took to mean "Sure." "Hopefully this won't take that long, Mr. O'Brien. I'm Detective Harland Dale, by the way. I've just got a few questions, no need to be alarmed." "Oh, I'm gonna be alarmed. I'm locked in an interrogation room with two detectives and my hands are cuffed. Seems sort of excessive for 'a few questions,' wouldn't you agree?" Detective Dale tilted his head to the side and looked puzzled for a moment before smacking his forehead in the realization. "Oh, 'two detectives,' I see, you mean Miranda," he said, indicating the woman in the corner. "She's not a detective. She's sort of a... stenographer, I suppose. She'll be taking down transcripts of today's conversation, she's just doing notes, I'm the only detective here."
"I see," I said, seeing. "So, would I be correct in saying that Dale detects and... Miranda writes." Miranda closed her eyes and lowered her head. I can tell it was difficult for her to write that down. "Heh," Detective Dale said. "Heh heh. Ahah. Ahahahahahah. Oh, goodness. Like the cop thing!" "Right, like the cop thing." I thought it strange that a detective called Miranda Rights 'the cop thing,' but whatever. "My, that's rich, Mr. O'Brien." "You must hear that all the time," I said. "Oh ho ho, no." "Get outta here." "I swear." "You're pulling my leg." "I'm not." "You’re yanking my bone." "No, sir." "Stroking my junk." "Nope." "Slobbering all over my-" "That's fine." "You're telling me I'm the first person to come up with that?" "Ahaha, yes you are, Mr. O'Brien, it's quite clever. Ahaha." Man, he was straight up tickled. We laughed together a few more seconds. "OK," I said, standing up. "So we're done here? We cool?" "Ah, uh, not quite, Mr. O'Brien," Detective Dale said, indicating that I should return to my seat. "We've got... quite a few questions about the incident at your office in Santa Monica." I rubbed by chin thoughtfully, which I imagine looks weird in handcuffs. I mean, one hand is rubbing my chin and the other is just hanging there, flapping around. "Uh huh..." "We have several signed statements from witnesses who were also involved in the incident," Dale pointed out. "That's actually what Miranda will be doing today. We've heard from several sources, you see, some of them conflicting, and yours is the last report we need. We'll be taking your account to help piece this whole thing together and, if Miranda spots a discrepancy with what you're saying and the reports we've received, she'll bring it up and let us know." "Well, I can start by saying I was nowhere near Santa Monica on whatever day this happened. We cool?" Miranda cleared her throat, indicating she had something to say. "Submitted for the record: 12 signed statements that confirm Mr. O'Brien's presence in Santa Monica, along with footage captured from the security cameras." I glared at Miranda.
"Right, I was there, you know, physically. I thought we were talking spiritually. I've found inner peace, so, you know, my soul wasn't technically in Santa Monica. You see." "Of course," Detective Dale said. "Why don't you start from the beginning?" "Sure thing. So, it's Thursday, and I'm working really hard." Miranda cleared her throat. "Fucking fine. It's Thursday and I'm still hungover from Tuesday so I decide to throw a party at the office." "A party? On a weekday?" "Yeah, man, of course. It's Labor Day weekend, you know?" "Ah, right, yes," Detective Dale responds. "An American celebration, right?" "Oh, yes." "A way to commemorate America's victory over the slaves, yeah?" "Well... sure."
Labor Day. "It deserves a party, is my point, it deserves some recognition. So Brockway and I, we decide to throw a classy little shindig, right? Not just because of Labor Day. Between the fact that Brockway's book is now available for pre-order and the recent announcement that Cracked will also be publishing a book, we had a lot to celebrate. So we had some drinks. We bought some champagne, we wore top hats, real classy stuff. Brockway even had a monocle. A regular Mr. Peanut, this guy."
Miranda cleared her throat and produced a few sheets of paper. "Security cameras show that neither Mr. O'Brien nor Mr. Brockway left at any time to purchase champagne." "OK, right, yeah, we already had the champagne, we bought it some time ago. It needs to age, you know." Miranda cleared her throat again. "Looking at the inventory records before and after 'the incident' shows that there was never any champagne in the building." "OK, so maybe it was wine. It was probably a fine-" "Records indicate that the only liquids missing between inventory reports were a crude mixture of mouthwash and dish detergent." Detective Dale looked at me, curious. I threw up my hands in a "You caught me" sort of way. "Mouthwash is 26.9 percent alcohol. It's low, but it's there. As for the dish detergent... Jesus, I don't know what we were thinking on that one. Probably the bright colors. Brockway loves colors. How is that guy?" "He died." "Huh. Ole Brockway. I guess we'll never know what got him in the end." "Soap poisoning." "Yeah, that'll do it."
"Please," Detective Dale said, "continue with the story. We're still trying to put the pieces together." "Right, so Brockway and I had a few of our Listerinis, and then he wanted to lie down for a while, so I decided to do the gentlemanly thing and go through his desk lookin' for candy or money or whatever. I had a pretty good soap buzz going on, so my memories are kind of foamy, but I'm pretty sure after that I did some charity, supported the troops and saved Darfur. Or destroyed Darfur. Whatever it is that we're doing over there, I did it. Planted trees or whatever." "Sounds very admirable," Detective Dale said. Miranda cleared her throat, a noise I'm slowly growing to hate. "I have a statement here from a Ms. Wanda Wolinsky, the sister to a former Cracked employee." I stared up to the sky, as if I was thinking really hard, perusing my own memory. "Mmmm... Nope, never saw her. Or Ross. Never heard of either one." "According to her statement-" "OK, yes, you bitch, I ran into Ross's sister. Sue me." "I have no legal right to sue you," Miranda pointed out, "but Wanda does. And she is." "Suing me? What for?" I turned to Detective Dale, who seemed to be the more reasonable of the two, a quality I deduced based on the fact that he wasn't waving around a bunch of papers about me being sued. "Dale, buddy, listen, this chick shows up all coked out of her mind on God knows what. Coke, probably. And she keeps asking me for drugs and I'm like 'Listen, lady, the baby Jesus never sold drugs, so I won't either, got me?' Drug addicts, man, you just can't trust them. She attacked me, too! When she found out I wasn't going to get her her fix, she burned me with a cigarette, it's how I got this." I lifted up my cuffed hands and showed Detective Dale the recent cigarette burn on my left wrist. "My, my," Detective Dale said. "We should get that checked out by a doctor." Miranda cleared her throat, like Captain Bitch of the Flying Bitch Circus, this bitch, I swear to God. "I have Ms. Wolinsky's statement right here."
I paused before moving on. "...Any photographic evidence of the two of us together?" Miranda went through her files. "No." I proceeded like a damn freight train. "Then it never happened. Her word against mine," I said, both of my middle fingers proudly unholstered. "And she doesn't have any cigarette burns to back up her story, so. Case closed." "I wasn't finished," Miranda said. "Pretty sure you were." "No," Dale said, "please go on." "Ms. Wolinsky went on to describe Mr. O'Brien's misguided attempt to impress her with cigarette tricks he claimed he 'picked up in 'Nam.' The 'tricks' involved accidentally putting the lit end of the cigarette in his mouth, shrieking, and spitting the cigarette out, inadvertently burning himself in the process." "That certainly doesn't sound like me," I said, idly nursing this burn on my tongue that I got doing... something. "Ms. Wolinsky then decided to leave, having abandoned all hope of finding her brother. This news distressed Mr. O'Brien, who wanted her to quote 'Keep him company,' end quote." "More like keep my boner company," I said, smirking to Detective Dale. After a brief pause, Miranda read on. "And then Mr. O'Brien said, 'Or should I say, keep my boner company.'" "Ah. This... must look bad." "Oh, I wouldn't worry about that," Detective Dale said. "'Keep my boner company' is a common phrase. That doesn't necessarily mean Ms. Wolinsky isn't lying. Hell, we don't even have proof that it's you she met. She may be mistaken. As of now, we can't even seem to track her down, so there's plenty of reasonable doubt." Detective Dale's the best. "Shall I go on?" Asked Miranda. "No, I think we're good here. Right? Dale? Yeah? Group sex party?" Miranda read on: "According to Ms Wolinsky's statement, when he realized that she wouldn't be sticking around, Mr. O'Brien said that if his demands were not met he would, quote, 'Reach down, yoink out my dick, pretend you're full of oil and go Daniel Plainview on your ass,' end quote. Mr. O'Brien then reportedly yelled 'pow pow pow' and pumped his fist downward several times, in a manner meant to simulate sexual penetration. Also, given the context, it is reasonable to assume that the motion was meant to metaphorically represent an oil derrick, as imagined by someone who does not understand how oil derricks works." "Detective Dale this chick is crazy I never said or did any of those awesome, awesome things, she's out of control. That wasn't me, not by a longshot. Reasonable doubt all over town. Anyone who knows me knows I would never say something like that." "It's in a sworn, signed statement," Miranda said. "What is your deal? Was someone even talking to you? If you stick your nose in this one more time, Miranda, I swear to God I'm going to yoink out my furious dick, pretend you're Little Boston, California and go straight up Plainview on-" I stopped myself. "Ah! Ah, you almost got me, no way I'm sayin' it though. Gotta get up pretty early in the morning to outsmart this guy." "Close one," Detective Dale said, smiling. "But, anyway, given Ms. Wolinsky's disappearance, her statement is entirely inadmissible, so we can move on. Why don't you tell us what happened next, Mr. O'Brien?" "As I recall, I swung by Swaim's office and we had a nice chat. Then I left." Miranda cleared her throat because she heard there was an opening for President Bitch at the Bitch Factory and she wanted to make sure that... that she could... I don't know. Something bitchy. "Submitted for the record, the following document comes from the mental institution where Mr. Swaim admitted himself immediately after this 'chat.'"
"Anything to say to that?" "Nope. Nothing." I can't believe Swaim didn't like the birthday card I made him. "We still need to discern whether or not Mr. Swaim has a history with mental illness, so why don't you just move along with your statement, Mr. O'Brien?" "What does it matter? Whatever I say, Bitch Hedburg over here is just going to clear her throat and point out how I drank Listerine or threatened a night watchman or tried to feed ecstasy to a snake." Miranda fumbled through her records, a puzzled look on a face that until then I thought was only capable of looking pissed. "I actually don't have anything about a snake here," she said. "For real? Oh... In that case, it totally didn't happen, and that snake is a liar if it ever says otherwise." A sexy, beguiling liar. "Why don't we just move right onto the fire, Mr. O'Brien?" "Fire? I don't know if I'd call it that. A little bit of smoke, maybe, nothing out of control, nothing I couldn't handle. Anyway I was nowhere near it." Miranda bitched her bitch face again. "I'd like to submit to the discussion the fire marshal's report, if that's alright." "Denied," I said. "No, no, I'd like to see it," Detective Dale countered.
"Anything you want to talk about, Mr. O'Brien?" "Yeah, totally. 'Fire scientists'? Is that really a thing, 'fire scientist'? There's not a less retarded name for that? 'Hey, I'm a fire scientist. Oh hey, fire scientist, I'm Doctor Earthquake.' Stupid. Am I right, Dale?" Dale chuckled despite himself. "I suppose, yes. Heh heh. 'Doctor Earthquake,' yes. Hehehe." He smiled. "Ahaha, there's my guy." I stood up. "So we're all set then? We cool?" "Yeah, I guess so." "What?" Bitchranda bitched. "Detective Dale, I know you outrank me, but the evidence against O'Brien is overwhelming. The damage is unbelievable, there were four deaths, Ms. Wolinsky is missing, the California fires that he inexplicably caused are still burning right now, and he twice spat on me during this interrogation... Three times, now. Are you seriously going to let him waltz out of here for some group sex party?" Detective Dale looked at me, depressed that it looked like there was nothing he could do to help. I spoke low. "I mention my invitation for this group sex thing has a plus one? The chick I was going to bring ate all my ecstasy and slithered away. You game?" By the time I'd finished the sentence, Detective Dale was already packing his briefcase full of extra handcuffs and his standard issue detective ball-gag. "We're done here, Miranda."