sally walked home from work slowly. the street was deserted as usual. when she approached her building she saw a police wagon outside. a woman and a robot wearing the pink and green uniforms of the unspeakable crime unit drones were standing beside it.
"1H-38y56-6616gt-65398a? ' the woman asked sally.
"that is i," said sally.
"investigators kelly and lyndon would like to see you at headquarters."
sally nodded. "can i take my sandwich upstairs and leave it?"
the woman officer looked at her suspiciously. "i am afraid there is no time to waste.
the investigators have a full case load and are very busy. you should be happy they have time for you. you can eat your sandwich in the wagon on the way over."
"but i like to eat it while i watch my favorite show."
"oh?" said the robot. "what show is that?"
"doctors and wives"
"hey, that's my favorite too. who is your favorite character?"
"mine is the new intern"
"yes, i like him too."
"i hate to interrupt," said the woman officer. "but we are on a schedule here. now get in the wagon."
"but my sandwich - ," sally began.
"eat in the wagon. and make sure you eat it now. we don't want it stinking up the wagon."
the woman opened the back door of the wagon. sally got in and sat on a bench.
"are you going to handcuff me?"
"no, just make sure you finish the sandwich before we get to the building."
she closed and locked the door. the two officers got in the front and they drove off.
samantha watched from a window in the 46th floor of sally's building.
mike mean and mac the mailman watched from a doorway.
the wagon drove down a ramp into the parking garage of the police building. the woman officer got out of the passenger seat of the cab and went around to the back and opened the door. sally was sitting inside still holding her uneaten sandwich.
"i told you to eat that sandwich."
"i am not hungry right now."
the robot drove the wagon away into the interior of the garage.
larry was still annoyed over his encounter with mac the mailman and mike mean.
"a great little guy," he repeated. "is that an official category on that level? i felt like - like -"
"you did right to back off," said tania. "i'll do some research on it, see where we stand."
the uniformed woman from the wagon appeared at tania's desk with sally. sally was still holding her sandwich.
"here is your victim," she said. "i have to tell you she has been acting more like a perpetrator."
"oh?" tania glanced at both of them. "what's the problem?"
tania listened as the problem with the sandwich was explained. larry looked out the window.
"we will have to have the sandwich analyzed," she told the officer. "take it down to the lab - put a priority 13 on it."
"a priority 13 - what does that mean?" asked sally.
larry turned from the window, "it means i'll go get you another sandwich if you are hungry."
"i want this sandwich. it's mine."
"if it comes in here from outside, it has to be analyzed." said tania. 'that is the way it is - no exceptions."
"but it's mine! i made it myself."
tania nodded to the officer and she took the sandwich out of sally's limp hand and left.
sally flopped down in the chair in front of the desk. a single tear appeared at the corner of her left eye. "i don't like this. i don't even want to be here. i want to watch doctors and wives and eat my sandwich."
"larry, why don't you get sally that sandwich you offered. please."
"sure. do you want something to drink?"
"yes," sally mumbled.
"ok." larry turned from the window and left.
tania and sally were now alone. tania looked at sally and forced her to make eye contact.
"now, sally, i know how traumatic this whole situation must be for you, and up to now you have been nothing but helpful - a real hero. but you have to keep on helping. i am going to forget this little episode with the sandwich - i will have to report it of course but i will code 19 it."
"you didn't even ask me what kind of sandwich i wanted. or what kind of drink."
"there is just one sandwich and one drink every day. we are on a limited budget here." tania smiled. "we are in constant warfare with the other law enforcement agencies for funds."
"i don't care."
"well. let's get on with it."
'i don't want to get on with it. i want to watch my show and i want to eat my sandwich."
tania made a note on a small pad in front of her. "100%?" she wrote.
"sally , that is what we all want. we all want a world where people can watch their shows and eat their sandwiches. but right now that is not possible. there are a billion psychos in all the evil cities of the universe. and we have to do all we can to catch them. and we have to cooperate with the other law enforcement agencies - even though they steal our money so we can only have one sandwich and one drink every day." tania smiled again. sally didn't smile back but was silent.
"now," tania continued. "up to now you have been a very lucky young lady. i see that you have no relatives and no friends, so your chances of being oppressed or abused are - or i should say were - far below the norm. but it also makes our job that much more difficult because it is hard to get any leads. that is why we need your help. but with your help we will - we will - catch this character. because that is what we do here - we catch psychos. all right?"
"i guess so."
at that moment larry reentered the office with a plastic bagged sandwich and a blue and orange can.
"cucumber and lemon grass on ten grain. only made three days ago. looks pretty good. and a healthy orange and papaya drink"