He brought a plate of pastries into the room where we sat, and I eagerly helped myself to one while he began his discourse.
“My name ees Raoul, and I knew Rachel very well. I should have known zees would happen.
“Rachel came to me several deys ago, telling me hair toaster was trying to keel hair. I zought zee same zing you probably did, and told hair to calm down, but she was very eensistent.
“She was sitting just where yoo are now, telling me about everyzing zat had happened to hair, and I just kept reassuring hair zat eet would be okay. Pairhaps I shood have paid more attaintion.”
He paused, and I immediately jumped in. I didn’t have time to waste.
“So did you ever notice anything suspicious going on? As of right now, the only suspect that I have is, well, the appliances, and you would have to be crazy to think those would be capable of actually attacking her.”
“Actually, now zat you mention eet, eet ees very possible.” Geez, is it too much to ask for a witness who isn’t off the deep end? “See, togezer, zee machines could act like a human.”
“That’s outrageous!” I wasn’t willing to listen to this. “A machine can’t think. I’ve seen the insides of a blender, and there is nothing there that could possibly bring about the spark of life.” I began to stand, but James motioned for me to stay. He always was my calmer side, so I gave Raoul another chance.
“I never said zey would zink. I said zey would act like a human. Clearly, zey would need a soul to be alive, but as zey are, zey could behave in a life-like manner. Maybe zee electricity gives zem life. Appliances could become a system capable of something like zought.”
“That makes sense!” James cried out. I knew where he was going, though I still thought it was hokey. “The toaster was blown by a surge, and if the electricity is the ‘life’ of the machine, it could easily do that.” He looked awfully proud of that, and Raoul nodded in approval.
“Elementary, my deal James. But alright. I’ll bite.” I concede that if nothing else, I was curious where he was coming from. “Tell me how appliances could plot to kill someone.”
Raoul stared at me some before he answered. “Well, eet’s somewhat more complicated zen zat. Everyzing depends on zee electricity. Zat might inspire zee machines, like zee blood in your veins. Zey may only be programmed to do sertain zings, but together, it becomes one. And that one may be big enough to zink and feel.”
“You know, he has a point,” James said. “Maybe there are spirits or such in the electricity that could bring them together. It’s awfully scary to think of what they might do if they could join like that.”
“What do you want?” I was incredulous. James was supposed to be steady. “Do you expect me testify against a can opener?”
“Of course not.” Raoul seemed very tolerant of my skepticism. “Not a can openair. All of eet. Together.”
“Well,” I said, rising from my chair. “You’ve been more than kind, and I value your input in this case. I’m assuming if I need any more help, I can find you? Good. I will trouble you no more, then.”
He led us back to the doorway, and we left, with me perhaps more puzzled than before I had arrived. I expected answers, a narrowing of possibilities, but Raoul had planted the idea of living machines of sorts. Unbelievable.
“James, I think it would be fair to put Raoul on the suspect list. He’s awfully close to her, and that was quite some excuse he was spinning. Now, I believe our ‘favorite’ physician has a dead body waiting for us.”