05 June 2009

"The Color of Questions"

By Curtis C. Chen

As Detectives Jacob Lanosky and Andrew Dixon watched, Lieutenant Eugene Adler led Jeremy Solis into the observation area next to Interview Room One and right up to the glass partition. Seated inside Interview One--"the box"--were the suspect and Detective Mason Nava.

Jeremy folded up his cane, put his hand on the glass, and asked, "What is this material?"

"Glass," Adler said. "One-way mirror. They can't see you."

"Which one is the detective?"

"The one closer to us."

"Are you sure?"

Jake gave Andy a look that said, I don't know how much longer I can put up with this crap.

Adler looked again. "Yeah. Detective Nava is on this side of the table."

Jeremy removed his dark glasses, and Andy saw the blind man's eyes. They looked like polished gray marble, missing irises but veined throughout with silver streaks, like lightning frozen inside a storm cloud.

"Your detective is the wrong color," Jeremy said.

"Okay, that's it," Jake said, and started for the door.

"Lanosky!" Adler said.

"It's not enough you gotta bring in some bullshit psychic, now he's a freaking racist, too?" Jake made a point of turning his back to Jeremy as he spoke.

"My apologies, Detective," Jeremy said. "Perhaps Lieutenant Adler didn't explain the nature of my sight."

"You let me know when the show's over, LT," Jake said. "I'll be getting some coffee. Black coffee."

Jake spun on his heel. Jeremy raised his arm, stopping the detective with a flat palm.

"You got five seconds before I arrest you for assaulting a peace officer," Jake growled.

"You and your partner are the same color," Jeremy said.

"What the hell is he talking about now?" Jake asked Adler.

"I see people's histories," Jeremy continued. "I don't have a good way to describe it. I just call it 'color.' You and Detective Dixon and Lieutenant Adler are the same color because you're police." He pointed to the glass. "The man in there is not."

Andy did a double take. "You're talking about Detective Nava?"

"Yes," Jeremy said. "His color--what I see of his history--is different. He is not like you."

"So what is he, then?" Jake asked.

"I don't know," Jeremy said. "I haven't seen his color before. On anyone."

Jake folded his arms and took a step back. Adler said, "Happy now, Jake?"

"No," Jake said. "But I'll take the bloodhound."

"What's going on here?" Andy asked.

"Sorry to keep you out of the loop, Andy," Adler said. "We couldn't risk you saying anything to Mason."

"I'm a little confused, myself," Jeremy said.

"We also had to convince Jake that Mr. Solis here was the real deal," Adler said.

"Wait a minute," Andy said. "You already knew there was something wrong with Mason?"

"Yeah," Jake said. "We dusted his keyboard for prints yesterday. Whoever that is in there, it's not Mason Nava."

"Nice performance," Andy said.


Andy looked into the box. "It's another goddamn clone, isn't it?"

Jake shrugged. "We'll find out soon enough."


Audio: "The Color of Questions"

Music: instrumental stems from "Re: Your Brains" by Jonathan Coulton, licensed under Creative Commons.


Over There

No witty banter this week; I'm in Switzerland for jra's wedding, where the keyboard layouts are unfamiliar and flaky Internet access costs CHF 2.40 an hour. More later!