Thursday, October 3, 2013

the disappearance, chapter 4

by jeremy witherington

illustrated by eddie el greco and danny delacroix

to begin at the beginning, click here

for previous chapter, click here

4. the library

"nikki and i were just roommates," jody repeated.

"probably you both wanted it that way, to avoid complications," robbie noted.

"exactly," jody agreed.

"you are sure about that?" suzi asked, with her pencil poised over her notebook.

"yes, i am sure. how many times are you going to ask?"

"you don't have to get snippy. it's a reasonable question, and you gave a reasonable answer."

"one that we get all the time," robbie added. "it's a common situation."

"i was just making sure," said suzi. she made a mark in her notebook. "next question - did you find nikki attractive?"

"do i have to answer that?" jody asked.

"you don't have to answer anything," suzi answered. "you can be helpful and speed things up."

"because we can find out anyway," said robbie.

"really? how?"

suzi answered. "we can run every call or message you have ever made or received and check if you ever said something like 'nikki is hot' or 'that nikki sure is cute.'"

"but even if you didn't find anything, that wouldn't be absolute proof."

suzi rolled her eyes. "what do you want, a course on probability 101? we go on probabilities. if you never once recorded anything about nikki being attractive, we would go on the assumption that you did not find nikki attractive. does that answer your question?"


"good. i answered your question, now be a pal and answer mine. did you find nikki attractive?"


"thank you. next question. did nikki bring sex partners or contacts to the apartment?"



"i never saw any."

"did you bring sex partners or contacts to the apartment?"


suzi looked over at robbie.

"actually, all the time," jody added.

"thank you." suzi made another mark in her notebook.

"don't tell me you are going to want the names of all these people?"

"hopefully not," suzi answered. "we hope it doesn't come to that. do you know all their names, by the way?"

"mostly. some of them, anyway."

"whatever. we can always find them if we have to. "

"but you don't want to?" jody asked.

"not at this point."

"i have a question," said robbie. "did nikki ever bring people - or other entities - back to the apartment and present them as just friends?"

"yeah, a few times."

"did you get their names or numbers?"

"if i did, i don't remember them. i really wasn't interested in nikki's friends."

suzi and robbie exchanged glances.

"you might have to come down to the station to describe these people," suzi told jody.


"it's not certain," said robbie. "but you should probably expect to."

"but i hardly took any notice of them!"

"we'll be the judge of that."

"the station? does that mean p j?"

suzi laughed. "no, no. probably just some little local station. just a recording station."


"i should probably start looking around here," robbie said. "did nikki leave anything behind, that you noticed?"

"no, i didn't really look. i hardly looked in the room."

"but you did look in the room?" suzi asked.

"just a quick look when i first saw the note. to make sure nikki was really gone."

"i'll look in at it, " robbie said. "which door was nikki's ?"

"the further one."

robbie moved toward it. "of course i am going to look in your room too."

"of course," jody answered.

robbie moved over to the doors to the two bedrooms.

"can i ask you a question?" jody asked suzi.


"you know you can't really keep track of everything everybody does every second of every day?"

"you don't think so?"

"there aren't enough of you. every person would need their own police."

"that's not true. it would be if we had to sit outside the building in a van and listen to everything you say as you say it. but look at it this way. every person on the planet is like a book in a library - a book that is always being updated.

now the book will probably just sit on the shelf and no one will ever come along and take it down and read it. probably not, if you just follow the rules. but the book is there. you are there."

"i still think - "

"we don't really care what you think. now while robbie is looking around i got a few more questions, so we can get this over with. at least for now. okay?"

"i guess."

"all right. now when you are bringing all these sex partners home and nikki is not, does nikki ever evince any jealousy?"

"not that i noticed."

"not that you noticed. here's another question. did you ever make any remarks, sort of twitting or teasing nikki about this situation? either when the partners were present or when they were not?"

"do i look like the sort of person who would do such a thing?"

"did you in fact make such remarks? we can certainly find out if you did. this isn't the dark ages, you don't have any secrets."

jody hesitated. "i did not go on any kind of deliberate crusade to embarrass or torment nikki. i may have let a few things slip out, i don't really remember."

"moving right along. here's another question - "

5. a discovery

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