Brent returned to work but had a difficult time concentrating. Durk had expressed relief that Assistant Plethor was dead. It was wrong to feel this way, as Assistant Plethor was an appreciated instructor who always kept the Mynerthins hard at work. Plethor made certain they did not deviate from their assigned informative discussions. As a matter of fact, Brent felt he achieved more when Assistant Plethor was actively encouraging him to complete his duty faster!
Brent paused his typing. Something was terribly wrong, he realized. For some reason, Brent was feeling more happiness at Assistant Plethor’s passing than he was supposed to. For the second time that day he wondered if he should seek out a medical evaluation. He searched the room and found the two men with dark sunglasses staring back at him. They approached.
“Brent,” the tall, slender one said. “Come with us.”
Brent followed the two men out from the main work area and into a compact, dimly lit private room. The shorter of the two men secured 2 bolts and a padlock after they shut the door. Brent noticed Steve placed what was called a “handgun” beside himself on the table. Brent had never seen a real one before.
“Call me Steve,” said the tall one, before thumbing toward his stockier, mustached counterpart, “This is Horatio. Do you’re know why we brought you here?”
“Yes,” said Brent. “Director Limely informed us you would help us engage and sort out our feelings toward Assistant Plethor’s death.”
“Great! Now let’s get started.”
Horatio clicked a pen and prepared to scribble notes on a piece of paper. Steve pressed a button on a recording device and a light began to blink red.
“It is a tragedy and something worth feeling sad about,” said Brent. An unsettling image flashed through his imagination – it was Assistant Plethor, only he was screaming and had the head of an axe wedged into his skull.
“It certainly is,” Steve finally said.
“Assistant Plethor always helped us get a massive amount of work completed. He was one of the best at ensuring our productivity.”
Horatio spoke with a chunky, burly voice. “I figure Assistant Plethor won’t be barking orders at you anymore. You must feel good about that at least, huh?”
“Yes,” said Brent. “Yes I think that is relief that I feel. How did you know that?”
The AC vent hummed as Steve scratched his chin. “What were you doing last night around the hour of 2200?”
“I took a shower and went to sleep.”
“Before the shower,” said Steve.
“I was either reading or writing.”
“Which was it?” said Horatio.
Brent thought about it for a moment. “I believe writing. I have been doing that lately.”
“About?” said Steve.
“I journal every night. It’s supposed to help organize my thoughts and feelings.”
“Did you murder Assistant Plethor?” said Steve.
Brent burst out in laughter and pounded the table with his fist. Sarcasm was a rarely acceptable form of communication for the Mynerthins, but one that he secretly enjoyed. It was believed to be a reflection of negativity and passive aggressive attacks, but Brent always found it to be more of an intellectual inflection.
“No, I did not murder him. Would you like to see my journal?” said Brent.
Steve leaned heavily onto the table as he tapped his fingers against his cheek. His eyelids squeezed together as he kept his gaze firmly trained on Brent. “Are you lying to us?”
The smile disappeared from Brent’s face. Being honest and truthful at all times was the most important virtue of the Mynerthins. Their purpose to human civilization was centered on the knowledge that they were the truth-tellers, provided with the authority to correct wrongful thoughts and dangerous opinions. A Mynerthin that was a known liar was better off dead.
“You have disgraced me,” said Brent. “You have not relieved my grief but sorely aggravated it. Assistant Plethor’s death was a tragedy and worth feeling sad over. I beg you to perform a lie examination on me and grant me the opportunity to redeem my integrity. I demand it.”
Sometime went by before Steve finally exhaled a heavy sigh.
“Horatio, go with Brent to his quarters. Check out his journal. And take pictures. I’ll bring in the next grief-stricken warrior.”
Horatio smiled as he stood. “You’re a natural therapist.”
“I demand a lie detector!” said Brent.
“You’re not getting it,” said Steve, before turning to Horatio. “The title’s Grief counselor, and you’re goddamn right I am.”
Brent felt as though his face were boiling as he watched Horatio unclasps the locks.