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Submitted in 2004


Mr. Sockforahead Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Joshua Blanc

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At his desk in the evidence room, Peter Gumption stared at his cryptic crossword. An hour had passed, and all he'd written was `beetroot' in the five-down column. He frowned, and reached for the white-out.

He would typically spend many of his hours at work in this manner, even on busy days. Sometimes, if he really got bored, he'd venture into the forest of shelves behind him and rummage in the dusty boxes. That at least gave the impression he was doing something important.

The door in front of him opened, and a thin cop loaded down with boxes walked in.

"Here you go, Peter," the man said. "The latest collection."

"Excellent! Thanks, Terry."

He stood up. The boxes made a satisfying `thud' as Terry dropped them onto the desk. He lifted the lid off one and made a quick survey of the contents.

"Anything interesting in here?"

"I expect so," said Terry, "but I ain't gonna spoil it for you. I know how much you enjoy this sort of thing."

He sat in the chair by the door.

Peter had the lid off each box now. He flipped open the log book and took up his half-chewed pen.

"This place seems more... cluttered than usual," said Terry, wiping his brow.

Peter pointed to a waxy green mass in the corner.

"Plastic rubber-plant," he said.

"Plastic? What's the point of that?"

"Gloria, the self-proclaimed `workplace beautification technician,' brought it in to brighten the place up."

Terry frowned.

"I don't know about that, but it certainly enhances the dinginess."

"There'll be one in your office next."

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