"Those handcuffs alright, Mr. O'Brien? Not too tight?" I wiggled my hands around under the table, letting the metal of the cuffs bounce around. They were certainly more comfortable than most handcuffs I've worn, but cuffs are cuffs, you know? The ideal setting of a handcuff is "Not on me," and I knew that wasn't going to happen. "They're OK," I said, letting the detectives know by the tone of my voice that I wasn't pleased. One of them, the one who asked the question, seemed upset by my answer. Don't beat yourself up, I thought, Cuffs are cuffs. The other detective, a lady, sat in the corner buried in files. She gave off a very "I don't have time for your shit" sort of vibe, which I hate in a woman, or any other kind of person, really. The other detective looked a lot more willing--in fact,
"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...
"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. "
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
"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.
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
"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,
"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." "