It was a slow day. Like most days. Slow and sweaty. I had read the news many times. “Roosevelt’s Health Deteriorates.” “Hitler increases pressure on Neighbors.” “Vodka-powered Russian Army to Defend.” Nothing new. I looked out my window at the stores. Matt’s Laundromat. Kent’s Electronics. The Finer Diner. Same view as for the last fifteen years.
I followed the path of my shoelaces again, feet propped up on my desk before me. They say patience is a virtue. I bet they were detectives, too.
I heard a rap at the door. “Come in,” I shouted as I hastily put my feet down, picking up the papers on my desk. I could tell from the silhouette that this was going to be a good assignment. The door squeaked open. She was beautiful. She had a veil over her face, but with a body like that, I couldn’t imagine being disappointed.
“Are you Aaron Maglue?”
I gave a good snort and responded, “That’s what it says on the door, isn’t it?” As interested as I was, I tried not to let it on. She came to me, and every step I take in her direction is a dollar out of my pay.
“I desperately need your help. I heard you’re the best.” It’s the truth. My word in the courthouse is as good as a personal confession, a photograph, or even the whole city as witnesses. I dare say even God would have more difficulty presenting evidence than I have.
“What possible problem could you have that would interest me? I’m a very busy man.” I put my grocery list down and looked at her straight through her veil. “I only take the best of cases. My time is diamond-encrusted gold.”
“Well, this is actually a little odd. Might I sit?” I waved my hand indifferently, and picked up a cookie left-over from lunch as she dragged the wooden chair under her body. “Everyone laughs at me when I say this, but you have to believe me. I think my life depends on it.” She paused. I knew this would be a good assignment. “I think my appliances are trying to kill me.”
I choked on the cookie. You can’t get a batch of chocolate chip cookies anymore without finding any nuts in it.
“Dear, we all think our appliances are killing us. Just the other day, my toaster sprung my toast straight into my face. It’s a tragedy, to be sure, but one that we must all live with.”
She slid forward in her seat and leaned in, and I could almost imagine the panic spread across her pretty face.
“No, it’s worse than that. I feel like they’re watching me, planning in the night. Just the other day, the plug for my toaster blew, sending sparks into my cooking oil. I don’t know what I would’ve done if it had caught fire.”
She looked like she was in need of comforting. I stood up, walked around my desk and put my hand on her shoulder.
“Look, we all worry about those devilish devices, but it’s crazy to think that they’re alive and plotting against you. Now, why don’t you just pick up the phone, call a cab, and go out to a nice restaurant. Food always helps to calm the nerves.
“She looked up at me through her veil, nodded, and reached for the phone. I patted her, then walked back around the desk.
She didn’t hear a ringtone. I didn’t hear a ringtone. I did hear a current run through her entire body. And her scream. I smelled something burning. I could taste it, too. I saw her body go limp.
This was bad news.