sally leaned back in the chair in the center of the office and glanced out the window. it was still a nice sunny day.
"why not just get her her sandwich?" jeanne d'arc asked. "i'll send robespierre out to get it."
"fine," charlotte answered.
jeanne got up and left the room. charlotte kept staring at sally. "meanwhile we'll keep going." she reached into the desk again and took out a purple box.
"what do you know about the fairweather poker game case?"
"i never heard of it," sally said. "i don't even know how to play poker."
"you never just answer just yes or no, do you? you always have to add a little something."
"i'm just trying to be helpful and keep things moving. "
"it's evidence of guilt. obvious guilt. you never heard of the fairweather poker game? it was in the news."
"how long ago? and i don't pay much attention to the news."
"you see? you give two answers when one will do. two-faced all the time."
sally didn't answer.
"let's talk about your own case, since you never heard of any others. when did you first report the letters?"
"isn't it in the file?"
"i'm asking you. what was the first letter you reported?"
"i think it was the fourth one."
"you think? what was in it?"
"you mean what did it i say?"
"what did you think i meant? what else would be in it - some instructions from your co-conspirators? some exhortations to do good for the cause?"
"where's my sandwich?"
charlotte laughed. "trying to change the subject?"
"it's not changing the subject. i already asked for it."
'the combined law enforcement agencies of the universe are getting you your sandwich. it's on its way."
'then where is it?"
"what was in the first letter?"
"i don't know - i love you baby, something like that, i can't remember exactly."
"that was in the first letter?"
sally thought for a moment. "the first letter just said "love". i thought you meant the first letter i reported."
"i said the first letter."
"this is so stupid. can't we just move along?"
"move along where? did you think you were going someplace?"
the door opened and jeanne came back in and sat down.
charlotte didn't look at her. "why didn't you report the first letters?" she asked sally.
"i just thought they were stupid."
"like this conversation we're having?"
"you said it, i didn't."
"why did you report the fourth letter? because it wasn't so stupid? did you think it was intelligent? let me read it to you. 'me love you baby you so totally beautiful. ' pretty intelligent stuff. not like my questions. "
"i thought it was getting serious. i thought i better report it."
"why didn't you report the first letter?"
jeanne spoke for the first time. "the first letter was clearly abusive. you had a duty as a citizen to report it. how is law enforcement supposed to protect the citizenry when it doesn't receive the most basic cooperation?"
"a good question, jeanne," said charlotte, "if we were dealing with a misguided victim, and not a master conspirator."
"nobody said anything before when i brought the letters in. they just thanked me for bringing them in." sally looked out the window. "detective kelly was nice."
"yes," said charlotte, "detective kelly was a nice young woman, sincerely dedicated to fighting sexism and abuse. but where is she now? who knows where she is now, while a piece of lowlife conspiratorial scum like you sits in a nice comfortable chair, looking out at a nice sunny day. and waiting for a free lunch."
the door behind charlotte opened and a thin little man entered. he wore a plain black suit and a white lace shirt, he put a small plastic bag on charlotte's desk.
"thank you, robespierre. are the travel arrangements all set?"
"yes." he looked over at sally. "we have a bag packed for her."
the little man went back out the door and closed it behind him.
"where were you when detective kelly disappeared?"
"you know where i was. i was right in your headquarters. it was just last night!"
"you must have been pretty uncomfortable."
"i slept ok."
"did you dream?" jeanne asked.
"i never dream."
charlotte held up her hand. "please, jeanne, that's enough of that. where were we?" she looked at sally. "what i meant was, it must have been uncomfortable in headquarters, not being able to communicate telepathically with your fellow conspirators. especially while detective kelly was being abducted."
"i'm not a conspirator. i don't know anything about any conspiracies."
charlotte held up the little plastic bag robespierre had left on the desk. "aren't you going to ask about your sandwich? it looks tasty."
"you'll give it to me when you're ready."
"i see we are beginning to understand each other. what do you know about the port arthur timetable case?"
"i never heard of it?"
"are you a darwinist?"
"no. i don't know anything about darwinism."
"really? nothing at all?"
"it's some religion, that's all i know."
"are you a charles darwinist or an erasmus darwinist?"
"neither. i wouldn't know the difference."
"for a master conspirator, you aren't a very good liar."
"i don't know anything about any conspiracies."
"i think you know everything about every conspiracy."
"i don't know what any of this is all about."
"really? then what do you know? what do you want?"
"i just want to go to work and then go home and watch my shows."
"and eat sandwiches."
"what else is there to eat?"
"i think you want a little something more. i think you you want to overthrow the new universal order."
"i still don't know what this is all about."
"what is it about? it's about enlightenment versus ignorance. i'm enlightenment and you are ignorance."
"i'm ignorant about you're talking about, that's for sure."
"i'm talking about the conspiracy to overthrow science and enlightenment and restore religion and magic - the conspiracy you are part of."
"religions are legal," said sally. "some of them anyway."
"do you belong to any?"
"exactly. but you are not fooling anybody."
"there are magicians all over the place."
"are you one?"
"what do you think?"
the door behind charlotte opened and robespierre came back in. he nodded to charlotte.
"you are going on a trip," charlotte told sally. "a trip so long you will need to pack. what do you think of that? you probably thought trips that long were something you only saw on shows about the old days. "
"but we can continue this conversation a little longer. that's what this is - a conversation. where you are going will be an interrogation."