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Gus had been sleeping more than usual lately, but he’d just put that up to... well, everything. There wasn’t a single thing he ever did that didn’t take a massive amount of energy. Even living under an assumed name is hard work, even if you don’t do anything.

So when there was a knock at his door at ten at night, there was plenty of cause for concern. Gus woke with a start at the noise, hoping that maybe he was dreaming.

A second knock dispelled that theory at once. Gus didn’t keep company, and there was no reason anybody should be knocking on his door this late. Or... ever. Grumbling, he managed to pull himself to his feet and made his way to the door. Making sure that both chain locks were secure (he did live in Manhattan, after all), Gus opened the door to peer out at whoever dared wake him up.

“Martin Fisher?” a guy in a suit asked stiffly.

“...Yeah?” Let’s hope that was the right answer.

The guy in the suit held up an NYPD badge. Trying not to cringe, Gus held up one finger as he gently shut the door.

“Shit!” he hissed to himself as he unlocked everything, quickly running down his options.

Did he even have any options? He could make his way down to the laundry room and... what? Get trapped at Milliways again? Time would stop here, so he’d either be imprisoned there again (which wasn’t as fun as it sounded), or stay here and be imprisoned in, well... prison.

There’s always a third option. Bullshit your way out of it.

Gus opened the door and tried to offer a friendly smile. “What’s this all about?”

“You tell us,” Mr Suit’s friend said.

“Listen, uh... Detective. I don’t really get out much since getting home this winter.”

“Afghanistan, right?” the first detective asked. He looked like someone who might be on Law and Order.

“Yeah,” Gus said cautiously. This was not going well.

“Which unit?”

“Uh...” Yeah, not going well at all.

“How many Martin Fishers do you think got shot in Afghanistan in January?” the first detective asked.

Gus laughed nervously. He never even had a chance. “Heh, fuck. Let’s... get this over with, then.”

Cooperation is always the best way to deal with these things. Go quietly and think of an exit strategy by the time you get there. They took his prints, so he knew it was just a matter of time before they figured out what was going on.

What he couldn’t figure out is why they wanted to question him. Everything seemed pretty out in the open, but there he was.

“It’s funny,” Detective L&O said. “We would have never found you if it weren’t for Mrs Fisher.”

“Who?” Gus asked. “Oh.” Duh. “What... what about her?”

“Most people steal someone’s identity and they use it as a free ticket to go nuts for a few weeks,” the detective said, ignoring Gus’ question. “You stole someone’s identity to try to make their credit score better? What’s going on?”

Gus laughed. “I’m wondering the same thing.” Seriously, what the fuck? “I don’t know who any of these people are, I swear.”

“So you’re just living under a dead man’s name for no reason?”

Blink. “He wasn’t dead when...” And here’s his exit strategy.

“When what?” The detective asked, picking up on this immediately.

“I am not going back to jail,” Gus said simply. “And I ain’t talking till I get a lawyer.”
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Gus Dickinson

September 2010


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