Friday, March 7, 2014

17. maureen and richard

by jeremy witherington

illustrated by konrad kraus

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

to begin at the beginning, click here

for previous chapter, click here

when benson got back to the station with her crew, she gave harrison, one of the techs, the assignment of cataloguing and scanning the items taken from jody's and nikki's apartment.

she released the other two techs and they reported back to the bullpen for other assignments.

benson hung around and watched harrison as he took the items out of the green bags and arranged them on the big table in the sorting/processing room.

her eye was caught by the two books of nikki's - "black night of passion" and "red flower of passion".

she picked up black night of passion - "book one of the final passion tetralogy".

"i think i'll take a look at this," she told harrison.

"go for it." it was not harrison's place to tell benson what to do.

benson took the book and left the room. she went through the maze of mini-offices to her own.

when she got to her cubicle the phone in it was flashing red and orange lights - a double priority. she wondered why she had not been contacted directly through her auxiliary brain. how important could it be? she ignored it and sat down and flipped through a couple of pages of nikki's book.

black night of passion

1. outside the subway

why are humans such a fucked up bunch of morons and liars, maureen wondered vaguely as she stood at the subway entrance watching the misted yellow headlights of an occasional cab pass by in the light rain.

she would give the guy another fifteen minutes. a sudden gust of wind blew a little rain in her face. make it ten minutes.

suddenly someone was walking quickly toward her from across the street. he must have come out of one of the darkened buildings across the streets or from one of the dark alleys between them.

he was a little guy - the guy she was supposed to meet had described himself as a muscular brawny stud - but what did that mean in a world full of lying sleazeballs?

the little guy glanced up as he approached maureen but he did not slow his pace.

"richard?" maureen asked as he started to pass her by.

"excuse me?" he asked.

maureen grabbed him by the arm. "are you richard?"

the little man looked down at his right arm in maureen's clutch and smiled politely. "no, i'm afraid that is not my name."

"i think you're lying. i think you are richard."

"would you like to see my i d? i'm not one of those people who objects to showing my i d."

"fuck your i d. do you think i just fell off a banana boat?"

"that's a quaint expression."

"i'm a quaint girl, richard. i don't like being stood up and fucked over by sleazeballs."

"please. the fabric of my coat was made to take a lot of punishment but you are making significant inroads on it."

maureen did not answer, just scowled and tightened her grip.

"you know, even though i am not richard - my name is walter, by the way - i think you may be the woman for me."

"really. can i ask you a question, walter?"

"certainly, that's what i'm here for."

"how much do you make a year?"

benson put the book down. it was not helping much. despite her extensive programming, benson often felt she did not understand humans - even new ones, let alone old ones - and sometimes she picked up books or recordings like this to try to build on her knowledge. but this one was not getting it done.

the lights were still flashing red and orange. she pressed the listen button.

"are you on your way?" it was philips, one of he techs she had just released.

"way where?"

"didn't you get the message? we have to go back to that apartment we just left - the one with the weapon."

"all right. are you out front?"


"i'll be right out."

benson got up and left. she left nikki's book in the cubicle.

but the words were still in it.

18. the last hunch

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