"Thank goodness," Mona began. "I'm desperate and I didn't know where else to turn. I have a case, detective, and I need help. Badly."
Ace took a long drag from his cigarette and walked away from his post at the window, around his desk, toward Mona Boulevard, the stranger that he knew was trouble the second she knocked on his door. Careful Ace, he told himself. This is exactly the kind of woman who could bring you to your knees. In more ways than one, if you play your cards right.
"Can I stop you for a second," Ace began.
"I ... wasn't actually saying anything, Detective."
"No, not you, you're fine. I actually meant the- Whoever is writing this, currently."
Yeah ... What?
"We're clearly in some piece of fiction right now, did you not- Did I spoil that for you?"
Mona thought about this for a moment.
"We are fictional, aren't we, we're in some kind of story! Goodness. I suppose I thought something was off," Mona began, "but I hadn't suspected that until you pointed it out. Guess that's why you're the detective. Is there something wrong with this situation, though? I wouldn't mind if we continued. Why not make the most of our situation? I'm really eager to know what my case is all about."
"No, sure, it's just- Well, for starters, we won't get into how played out this kind of opening is, I can let that slide. But every time we talk, it's always 'he began,' or 'Mona began.' We can't always be 'beginning,'" Ace started, "especially when we don't continue after we 'begin.' It might be nice just to change things up a little, that's all I'm saying. I'm not trying to offend or-"
"No, no," Mona initiated, "it's a good note; I think things will be a lot stronger going forward. And, as long as we're making requests, I wouldn't mind some more detail, some description. Just so it's not all dialogue." The sound of a neighbor's radio, reduced to a low hum, oozed through the walls of the office and filled the silence that was growing between the two. Ace's cigarette and Mona's perfume engaged in a battle of willpower for scent superiority, both trying to dominate the room, neither backing down. Outside a dog barked. Each of the people blinked. And so forth.
"Better, I guess," Mona said, and it was clear that she meant it.
"Right. Well, at any rate, let's take a look at this case," Dave said. He was already itching for another cigarette, and he hadn't even finished his first yet.
"Better be careful, detective," Mona began, "you're displaying some pretty addictive behavior there, with those cigarettes. Remember: It's not a guilty pleasure if you do it all the time -- then it's just a bad habit. Also I thought your name was Ace."