Presenting Proof

After a silence that seemed to Angelica more like four months than the four seconds it actually lasted, the officer turned to face her again. His doubt was as easy to read on his face as she was sure her confusion, fear and anger were on her own.

"Have you been drinking tonight ma'am?" he asked.

"Absolutely not," she snapped. What cheek! "Can you smell any alcohol on my breath?"

"What about hallucinogens?"

"Excuse me?"

"You know - mushrooms, acid, that sort of thing," he said carefully.

"Well I never!" It was true - she really had never. Not even in college.

"Sorry ma'am, but I had to ask," he told her. "I'm just looking for an explanation for what you believe you have seen tonight, you understand that -"

Angelica marched past him without letting him finish. I'll show him I'm not crazy or on drugs or... or whatever! She reached the chair and flicked her eyes around the disturbingly quiet room before crouching down. She found the crumpled up biscuit package and stood up to present it to the officer.

"You see?"

"Er, see what, exactly?" he asked as he shifted from one foot to the other and back again.

"I didn't eat these!" Don't shout Ange, just keep calm. He's here to help. "I bought this package yesterday and only had three... where did the rest go?"

The young man stared silently at her, obviously impressed. He reached for his radio but stopped halfway and let his hand fall back to his side. He looked around the room, his eyes stopping momentarily on the staircase, then returned to her. Finally he pulled a notebook from his back pocket and cleared his throat.

"Can you describe the intruder for me ma'am?" he asked with pen poised over paper.

"Well, she's wearing a beige cardigan and tights, with a blue skirt, short gray hair," Angelica said as she struggled to remember the details. This whole mess seemed to have begun so long ago. "You'll probably find her stuffing her face full of raisins and biscuits and whatever else she can get her hands on. She's a bit..." She puffed out her cheeks, held her arms well away from her sides and waddled a few steps towards the officer.

"Overweight?" Angelica nodded emphatically. "And you said you've never seen this woman before tonight - not even at the shops or the pub?"

"Not once, not ever."

"Then how do you explain that?" The officer pointed to the TV. Angelica gave him a puzzled look and turned to see what he was going on about. She let out a half-squeak, half-gasp and put her hand to her heart.

Sitting in a wooden frame atop the telly was a picture taken in a vineyard, possibly in Italy. Angelica was smack dab in the middle of the shot, happy as a clam. And there beside her, wearing a beige cardigan, tights and a blue skirt, with one arm around Angelica's shoulders and the other holding a package of half-eaten biscuits, was the intruder.

It was all just too much. Angelica's eyes rolled back into her head and she collapsed to the floor in a dead faint.

The End

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