A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
Steel Bolt performed chaotic spirals with his mouse and pounded away at his keyboard while a concerned Beth Breath watched over his shoulder. “Dear god, Miss Breath,” he said, “do you realize what this looks like?”
She nodded grimly, but he felt the need to elucidate anyway: “It looks like someone—me—has embezzled all of Bolt Fasteners’ money.” The corner of Steel’s mouth twitched and his left eye winked spasmodically. “I could be arrested for this!”
Ironically, it was that exact moment when the two of them heard the elevator doors open. Moments thereafter, Detective Moogoo Guypan, not seeing Beth at her post, poked his head into Steel’s office. “Steel, can I have a word with you?”
Even though all of the muscles in Steel’s body were threatening to snap they’d been contracted for so long, he managed to sound casual as he said, “Sure Moogoo, come in.” He even succeeded—mostly—in controlling his nervous tics.
Once Beth had left the room, Detective Guypan shut the door and walked toward Steel’s desk, shaking his head. “Steel, this isn’t good.”
“What do you mean?”
“Don’t bullshit me!” Moogoo replied with the first bit of acrimony in their relationship. “You know perfectly well that Ling Ping was killed last night and that you had dinner at her family’s restaurant.”
“I had nothing to do with it!”
“The mere fact that you ate at that restaurant makes you culpable. At this point, that’s enough for Police Commissioner Gordon and the Mayor. They want you arrested, Steel! I had to lie and tell them I had other leads to investigate to keep them from coming down here and taking you away in shackles.”
“Gordon and the Mayor are ineffectual toads,” said Steel.
“For chrissakes, Steel,” Moogoo yelled, his face turning red, “this isn’t about them! This is about the fact that every time you go out for dinner, whoever has the misfortune of serving you ends up with her skull smashed and her private parts on display.”
Steel’s lip and eye went berserk. “I didn’t do it,” he insisted.
“I know, but I told you not to eat out anymore and you didn’t listen. As a result, a beautiful, intelligent, 18 year old girl will never see another day.”
The memory of sweet Ling put Steel on the offensive: “Maybe if you spent more time looking for the real killer, rather than harassing upstanding citizens like me, you’d solve these crimes!” he countered loudly.
Moogoo shook his head. “I am doing everything I can to save your ass, Steel, and that’s the thanks I get?” He sighed. “I’m going to try to fend off the powers-that-be for a few more days in the hopes that I can crack this case, but don’t be surprised if the next time you see me, I have handcuffs waiting for your wrists. Until I do see you again, do not go to any restaurants!”
As Moogoo got up to leave, no pleasantries were exchanged.
When he got to the door, the Detective stopped and said (have you noticed, by the way, that nobody ever leaves Steel’s office without stopping to say something?), “I shouldn’t be telling you this, but while looking into your potential connection to these murders, certain financial irregularities here at Bolt Fasteners came to light. There’s now an investigation underway into those, so I suggest you get your fiscal house in order pronto.”
Continue Reading: Episode 92: Steel Wilts