A man staggered in.

   "Help me," he croaked, before collapsing to the floor.

   I looked up over my desk. A big pool of sticky red stuff was quickly forming on my good carpet. Muttering a string of curses under my breath, I slid the chair out and stood to my feet.    This is the third body this week, I thought, exasperated.

   The body took that opportunity to emit a croak. "I--I'm not qu--quite dead yet." I edged closer. "Th-the secret pl-plans are i-in--ooof!"

   Stepping on the body as he made his way in, a poofy-haired man stormed through the front door of my office. "What the hell do you think you're doing?! You're supposed to be announcing Allan's loss of an Internet connection, not throwing out poorly written dribble that would be ashamed to find itself in a romance novel, let alone a mystery!" the man practically shouted at me.

   "Well I--you see, I...err," I stammered, not quite able to grasp the fresh burst of reality.

   The man lowered his head and sighed. "Look. Just tell them that Allan's going to be away for a day while he kicks serious ass at his ISP. He'll probably be back tomorrow. Is that so difficult to do? Remind them that they can keep on sending him letters to his regular address. That's it! You're finished!" I nodded, and he left the room a little quieter than he came in.

   Boy, he's really got poofy hair, I couldn't help but think.

- Brian Glick

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