lost time incident 19 – water war is over

War is Over

lost time incident 19
What’s shakin’, bacon? We’ve recovered from our spate of electronics-related difficulty and are back in fighting trim. Metaphorically, of course. I mean, we’re in no condition to fight anyone or anything because we maintain a horrifying inverted food pyramid diet would cause a doctor to blanch and our preferred activity over a long weekend is “sitting still for long periods of time.” (Related: that’s why there was a new Signal mix posted on Saturday if you want 45 minutes of downloadable music, and why wouldn’t you?)

Today’s daylight hours were spent either typing away at the fiction you’ll see below, or watching strangers stream video games, while my wife and two cats dozed on the living room couch.

What else is going on.

I think the answer is “literally nothing else” so I should probably get this show on the road!

Here we go!


bee bee queue


Behind the Scenes: Originally, “Shy” was going to be “Meek” but I needed every character allotment I could get from Twitter’s 140 character limit. That’s also why I had to compromise and leave the ellipses to abut the colon in the BOSS dialogue… and so of course that’s where my eye goes, resentfully, every time I revisit the tweet.

The presence of the phrase “flavor profile,” though, makes it all worth it. I love its jargon-y mouthfeel.


Two police officers looked into an interrogation room, hidden behind the reflective glass. Inside the room was a man, his left arm handcuffed to the table, his right arm centrally placed on the table, not connected to his torso. Its leather straps dangled over the table’s edge, a prosthetic limb, as still as the man in handcuffs.

“They say this guy Medhardt is the killer,” said Singh, his thumbs in his belt. Lopez frowned. “But so far, he’s sticking to his story that he was compelled to do it. By his prosthetic arm.”

“That doesn’t make any kind of sense,” said Lopez.

“Probably just laying the groundwork for an insanity plea, I imagine,” said Singh.

“I mean,” continued Lopez, “an arm can’t talk. So how does it convince you to do anything?”

“My understanding is that it’s more of a compulsion. He claims that he’s just found himself at the crime scenes, but that the prosthetic limb committed the murders he’s been accused of.”

“Weird,” said Lopez.

“YES IT IS,” boomed a voice from behind them. Singh and Lopez glanced back to see their colleague, Detective Yeti, standing behind them. Yeti was six and half feet tall of white furred justice, a friendly smile revealing yellowed, sharp teeth.

“Oh, hey Detective Yeti,” said Lopez. “How’s the day going? Pretty good, I hope, considering the lifestyle adjustment required to have moved from the Himalayas where you mostly ate goats to our town, where you’ve decided to dedicate your life to fighting crime, even though everyone has told you to please not do that because you’re not qualified.”

“I’m fine,” said Detective Yeti. “I am here to solve this crime.”

“Great,” said Singh, but it was evident he did not think this was great.

The mountain creature pushed his way into the interrogation room.

“What the heck ARE you?” asked Medhardt, the suspect.

“I… am a VERY GOOD DETECTIVE,” bellowed Yeti, causing the mirrored window to rattle in its frame. “On the mountain where I was born, the winds blow cold. Cold as the heart of killers. And I would know, because these very claws have traced cursive notes of hatred on the sinews of goats and sherpas, on the tendons of yaks and explorers who sought me out.”

Medhardt tugged at his handcuff, glancing over at the reflective glass. “Are those— are there any other guys who might want to ask me questions?”

“Finally, they caught me. Humans. I was slowed by drugs, entangled in nets. They brought me to a court of law. In my cell, I watched American television. I absorbed the lessons taught by crime shows. Law. Order. Mysteries. The fire in the blood that leads to murder. I knew it well.”

Detective Yeti leaned over the table and sniffed at the prosthetic arm.

“I was thought a myth. I am not. Likewise, my colleagues do not believe a prosthetic arm can kill. But I am open… to the POSSIBILITY!” Detective Yeti roared the final word at the arm itself, then leaned in closely, as if to be sure it was not moving in reaction.

“Are you a real cop?” asked Medhardt.

“We use fingerprints to identify individuals,” said Detective Yeti, ignoring the question. “This arm has no fingerprints. Suspicious. As if trying to hide its identity. Didn’t work. Now you’re in here with me. AND NO CRIME ESCAPES ME!”

“I CAN ONLY— oh, you’re done,” said Medhardt. “I can only cover half my ears when you yell, so could you not?”

“You can go,” said Detective Yeti.


“I will remain here and speak with this arm. You will leave.” Yeti uncuffed the suspect and lead him out the door. “You are an alligator and I will see you later.”

“That’s not the saying,” said Lopez, standing outside the interrogation room.

Singh, standing next to Lopez, pointed after Medhardt. “Where’s he going?”

“It’s quite simple, my colleagues,” said Yeti. “So long as we don’t have any further murders where there are no fingerprints, then we know that our imprisoned arm, possessed by evil, has been prevented from continuing its dark work.”

Lopez looked puzzled. “But if that guy, who you just let leave, kills someone else, he’ll just be using his left arm and will HAVE to leave fingerprints, so… Wait. We already found his fingerprints at the scene of the crime, actually. Several of them.”

Singh ran down the hallway after Medhardt. “Not so fast, buddy! Get back here!”

Detective Yeti quietly slipped back into the interrogation room and pushed a chair under the door handle, ensuring that no one from outside could open the door.

“And now, fake arm… we begin the questions in earnest.”

From outside the room, the sounds of breaking furniture could be heard, but to be honest, no one was listening or watching.



think piece

ending theme song
We made it! When we set out, we weren’t sure what shape the road would take, but it took the shape of words in a single column. Finally, we found ourselves here, writing the outro because our stomach is growling and we have plans to go out to dinner. Peruvian. Hearty food for mountain living.

Why don’t the Andes have a version of the Sasquatch myth, I wonder?

[Quick Google search]

Oh, they do. The Patagon. Okay, that’s settled.

You’ll have to come back in later weeks to see if this is the seed that finally sprouts into a pastry shop AU with Pastry Chef Patagon, who is VERY GOOD AT CAKES.

See you in a week for the big TWO ZERO.

Thanks to my wife Amanda for the illustration of the diabolical prosthetic limb!

–Michael Van Vleet

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