It’s hard to tell if the truck stop is in the swamp or the swamp is in the truck stop. Either way Detective Murky stands at the bathroom urinal trying to teach himself to whistle while he pees. He’s not good at it. No one ever taught him to whistle. Or to flush. He kicks open the stall door. The home of It’s Poddy Time. Velvet Einstein greets Murky and gestures for him to take a seat next to Sanchez. Murky shakes the blood off his body like a dog. Velvet and Sanchez duck.
Sanchez: Sit down, ya animal.
Murky sits on the floor next to Sanchez.
Velvet: Thank you for joining me on It’s Poddy Time. Let’s get right into it.
Sanchez checks their phone.
Velvet: What can you tell us about townsfolk in Unthinkable Cramps communicating with their appliances? Is Russia involved? Are we on the brink of another Cold War?
Sanchez: We suspect when the visitors arrived they managed to somehow put —
Sanchez’s phone vibrates until they look at it. An unwelcomed number. Sanchez ignores it.
Sanchez: Sorry. They managed to put their consciousness into these toasters and stuff.
Murky: Toasters and stuff.
Velvet: Are you certain it’s their consciousness?
Sanchez: No. But we’re looking to get to the bottom of it.
Murky: We’re looking to retire as many as possible.
Velvet: It doesn’t quite seem like you two are on the same page.
Murky: Of course we aren’t. Pages are small. It would be impossible for us to fit.
Sanchez’s pants vibrate again. The whole stall shakes in anticipation. Another call sent to voicemail. No message left. Typical of a ghost.
Velvet: Did you need to take that?
Sanchez: It’s just my biological father calling after thirty six years.
Murky: It’s almost like he doesn’t care about you.
Velvet: Almost? I’d say not speaking to someone for that long indicates you don’t care.
Murky: But he did call.
Velvet: Why don’t you answer it, Sanchez?
Sanchez: I have nothing to say.
Velvet: Maybe he’s dying and wants to give you money?
Sanchez: Why does everyone keep saying that? This guy does not want to give me money.
Velvet: Has a life in detective work left you with this pessimism?
Murky: Hey! I don’t appreciate you proposing such deep questions to my partner.
Sanchez: It’s fine, Murky. My pessimism comes from my failed writing career.
Velvet: Did you know about this, Detective Murky?
Murky: Of course I knew.
Sanchez: No one knew. I never told anyone. I was too ashamed. But now I’ve come to terms with burying my dreams.
Murky: If any kids are listening: Don’t have dreams.
Velvet: What if I told you, Sanchez, that your dad was here and wants to talk to you?
Velvet reaches in her bag and pulls out an electric can opener. Murky kicks it out of her hands and unloads six bullets in it before it lands in the toilet.
Velvet: Whoa! Easy. It was just a joke.
Murky: You thought we would…make laugh sounds?
Velvet: I was trying to lighten the mood.
Sanchez: By bringing up my biological father in the form of a can opener?
Velvet: I apologize. But if he was here now, what would you say? Imagine he’s sitting here with us right now. Imagine his face if you can. How does it make you feel? What would you say to him after all these years?
Sanchez opens their mouth and vomits into the toilet.
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