12-12-2011, 03:19 PM
Here is thy gold, worse poison to men's souls
than these poor compounds thou mayest not sell.
Shakespere, Romeo and Juliet.
The bomb was a fake! Alicia forced herself to refrain from shouting aloud with joy and relief inside the public library's computer lab. After two days of frantic worrying over Criss' fate, the news of the false alarm felt like a huge boulder rolling off her shoulders. In her joy, she posted a reply to the same thread she herself had posted two days earlier, expressing her relief and her curiosity over who planted it in the first place. "If this is someone's idea of a joke, I don't think it's funny," she typed.
Though the library's policy restricted her access to sixty minutes, it was a relief for her to log on without someone looking over her shoulder. She checked the timer on the computer: fifty-three minutes left, just enough time to compose and post her latest poem as well as catch up on her overdue science assignment. Alicia had discovered that she could post and receive messages on the public library's system as easily as the ones in school with no restriction save that of downloading pornography, and she had no desire to do that, for God's sake. She also found that the library's computers were high-speed, much faster than the ones at school.
The poem was completed in record time. The timer read forty-six minutes left. Alicia decided it was best to get started on her homework or she'd receive a failing grade and Mom would ground her. Thankfully, a classmate leant her a copy of the assignement so she could just fill in the blanks and hand it in. As she slogged through her homework, she thought it curious that she could compose poetry on the spot but it took forever to do schoolwork on demand. Maybe that was the price of being an artist, she thought.
Tina laughed in Detective Meridian's face when he told her she was being taken in for questioning about the phony bomb in the Luxor cleaning cart. "You honestly think I had anything to do with such a lame-assed stunt as that!?"she exclaimed, falling back on the overstuffed sofa in her penthouse living rooom. "What do you take me for, a moron? If you think I planted that thing in the hotel, well, you'd better phone your village, Sherlock, because I think they're missing their idiot! Besides, Junior's the one who's guilty! Ask him!"
"I cleared him already," Meridian told her. "It all comes down to you, Tina. Tell me, did you pay someone to do it, or did you disguise yourself as a housekeeper, sneak in with the Gucci bag containing the bomb and slip into the hotel without anyone seeing you?"
Tina rolled her eyes. "Oh, for the love of God!"
"Listen, Tina," Meridian growled, "you can come with me, get printed, and co-operate with the investigation, or I can have you arrested as a suspect. Your call."
"I'm not going anywhere with you, Sherlock!" Tina snapped. "I am completely innocent. Besides, I have an alibi."
Meridian braced himself. "Okay, what is it?"
"I was at the day spa all day that day," she replied loftily. "You can check their records if you wish."
"You were at a day spa," Meridian echoed skeptically. "At seven-thirty in the morning?"
"Oh, don't be ridiculous," Tina said dismissively. "You know I don't get up until after ten in the morning."
Actually, Meridian didn't know that Tina didn't get up until after ten in the morning, but it didn't satisfy his need for answers. "Can anyone verify this?" he asked. "Your daughter, perhaps?"
"Heather!" Tina shrieked. "Get in here!"
A skinny girl with blackish brown hair wearing a mid-calf green skirt and a baggy sweater timidly walked into the living room, her eyes darting between her mother and the floor. "Tell Sherlock here I was home until noon two days ago," Tina ordered her.
Heather eyes darted up to Meridian's face. "Mother was here until noon," she muttered. "She never leaves the house before then, sir."
Meridian nodded, still a bit skeptical. "Okay, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, Tina," he said. "But don't leave town for the next two weeks. I'll be watching you."
Tina just smirked, gloating over her victory.