“Good evening, Ms. Tanner.”
“Good evening, er, Jack. Have a good night. See you tomorrow.”
“Yes, Ms. Tanner.”
She’s always in that hammock, Percy. In her underwear; maybe, sometimes, without any clothes atall. Not that I’m perving.”
“Sure you are,” Jodie Tanner’s sometimes lover joked. “You sit here after work is over, *pretending* you’re doing more work and you’re just perving. Sitting here spying on that poor, pitiful woman over there. Percy peers over as well from her somewhat less advantageous position in the booth. “Never moves, huh?”
“No. Not even to go to the bathroom. Not even to change clothes. I suppose she does both remotely.”
“It’s just a bot,” concluded Percy. “Marwood’s full of ’em. Have you seen the mime?”
“No, this is different,” countered Jodie Tanner.
“I don’t *think* so,” offers up a convinced Percy, matching her tone.
“Alice Farrowheart’s in the same apartment building. The Monarch Too.”
“Yeah? Your point?”
“I mentioned it to her the other day. When we were discussing the (Red Umbrella) collages — just catching up with all that (after my vacation), you know.”
“What’d she say?” Percy’s interest was perking up again.
“She didn’t say anything, which was odd. Alice F. likes to *talk*, you know. But she was strangely mute when I brought the woman up.”
“Alice F.? When did you start calling her that?”
“Oh it’s just we’ve been seeing each other so much lately. Farrowheart’s kind of a long word. So we agreed to shorten it. Alice F. she is now. When I’m off duty, of course. Alice Farrowheart, the full name, around other police people.”
Private detective Percy Pierce looked over again, trying to see more details. “Maybe — we should arrange to go see her.”
“Exactly what I was thinking.” But Percy was thinking of Alice F. and not the woman.