Mr. Sharp rested in the corner, polishing his lenses while Arthur attended to the paperwork. Arthur's idea of attending to the paper work often involved filing it away; usually in Mr. Sharp's burner. Mr. Sharp didn't mind too much, though paper always left such unseemly soot.
Arthur was mildly worried. The tax collectors were getting rather forwards in their requests for the their next contribution and the landlord was also waiting on a few weeks worth of rent for their office, a small room above a bakery on Lamp Street. Work hadn't been very good recently, a whole lot of nothing had come their way. Mr. Sharp had maintained his usual infuriating good humour about the situation but Arthur had been getting nervous. Which was annoying since it always gave him the hiccups.
Arthur was filing away the last of the paperwork when the bell rung and in walked a woman of about 40, she was of average appearance, dark brown hair with matching eyes and a blue, floral patterned dress.
"Hello? Is this the investigator's office?"
Arthur dropped a pile of paper and made his way amongst the boxfiles and stacks of various case-related paraphrenalia until he was close enough to shake her hand.
"Yes, Kynnes and Sharp, Private Investigators. How may we help you?"
"Well, it's my husband. He's gone missing. He was scared, I think he was running from something."
"Really? Well, take a seat Mrs...?"
"Mrs Parley and we'll discuss your case. Mr. Sharp, are you taking notes?"
"So Mrs Parley, could you describe you husband for me?"
"Well, he's about 8 foot tall, round, he has the cutest little burner."
"Excuse me, are you telling me that your husband is a Mechanoid?"
"Why yes, is that a problem?"
"W-Well no, it's just, well, I've never heard of that happening before, I mean, how do you, you know..."
Mr. Sharp interrupted, he lenses whirring as he glared at Arthur. "What my colleague is trying to say is, he is marvelling over how you must cope with the prejudice. Mechanoids certainly aren't second-class citizens anymore, not since they passed the Mechanoid Equality Act, but there are still some undesirable which would wish to make trouble for a marriage such as yours."
"Oh yes, well, Mr. Parley is always very good about that, he wouldn't take any nonsense, no sir. Sure, we've had trouble, but Mr. Parley has always dealt with it, god bless him. He'd never allow anyhing to happen to me or our son."
"Son!?" Arthur spluttered.
"Yes, our son, Mr. Kynnes. Of course, he is adopted. Mr. Parley and I have obvious... difficulties, but we overcome them in our own way." Mrs. Parley said, then realising what she might have implied blushed deeply and fanned herself with a hand.
"Sorry about the heat Mrs. Parley." Mr. Sharp said knowingly. "I'm sure you understand."
Mrs. Parley smiled and nodded. "Yes. So, I suppose I had better start at the beginning."