When I awoke, I found myself tied to a chair with a binder on my right pinky finger. The room was dimly lit by a single hanging bulb, which revealed a significant quantity of dingy, dusty grunge layering all surfaces. Positioned directly opposite me, there was an electric blue padded wingback leather armchair, quite spotless and pristine. As you might imagine, it looked very out of place. There were some large multi-pane windows on the wall to my right, similar to the ones I had crashed through. These were all intact, so Carver had either moved me to another room or repaired the windows. I didn’t much care which. My head felt uncomfortably warm and stingy where it had impacted the wall, and it was achy everywhere else. Quick head movements were quite unpleasant.
While I was in the middle of making these observations and taking stock of my situation, Carver strolled into the room. “Ah, you’re awake,” he said, seating himself comfortably in the leather armchair and crossing one leg over the other. He leaned back, produced an ornately carved pipe from somewhere, and lit it. The delicious aroma of burning pipe tobacco filled the room.
“How’s the head? Not too painful, I hope?” he asked. I didn’t answer. He sighed and went on. “I can tell you’re eager for me to get to the point. It is this: You are to explain yourself for your actions this evening. I make this request as both a peer and your supervisor. Don’t leave anything out, and don’t waste my time. I have a dinner appointment tonight that I intend to keep, and I have no qualms about leaving you here until I get the answers I believe I’m entitled to.” So saying, he puffed complacently on his pipe and waited for me.
I briefly considered my options. From his words and demeanor, I surmised that he was using some means of lie-detection. This was rather limiting. I could attempt to lie, but with my right pinky finger out of play, I was in no position to elude lie-detection of any kind. Furthermore, I had my doubts that I could counteract anything of Carver’s, even with the use of my finger, after my abysmal showing in the alleyway.
I could just refuse to talk and hope for eventual rescue. Almost immediately, I ruled out that course of action. With the fate of the God of Toast at stake, there simply wasn’t time for a contest of wills.
That left telling the truth as my only real option. I remembered Heather’s talk of the previous evening, and her favorable opinions on open dealings. We had all scoffed at her naivety, but now here I was about to test her theories. I hoped I would survive long enough to tell her about it; I knew she would be pleased.
I cleared my throat. Carver, who had been daydreaming, turned his attention to me again. “Are you ready to talk?” he asked.
“I am,” I replied.
“What do you have to say for yourself, Andrew?”
“I am on a mission from the God of Toast,” I said.