Nov. 15th, 2011

Holter, Hosiah and Dexter sat in the young woman's living room and drank coffee from borrowed mugs. Their hostess looked pale and drawn, but she wasn't crying. She answered their questions readily enough.

"So you and the deceased were married?" asked Holter.

"No, but we were engaged to be," said the woman.

Hosiah frowned. "But…. You lived together."

"Yes," said the fiancée.

Hosiah and Dexter exchanged glances. Holter arched an eyebrow. "Can you tell us about your Arabic fiance's confrontation two nights ago?" he asked.

The woman smoothed her skirt over her knees. "Well, his family has a tradition of eating pizza together at the end of the week," she said. "We were all at Stromboli's, sitting outside, when this big skinhead guy came up and started picking a fight."

Dexter was confused. "So… you were part of the family?" he asked. "Because, you know, you lived together."

"Almost," said the woman sadly. "Anyway, that crazy guy got mad over nothing. He was out of his mind! Fortunately the restaurant manager threw him out, but not before he threatened to come back and 'finish the job'."

"Is it possible," Hosiah asked, "that you were actually common-law married?"

"I don't know," said the victim's girlfriend, now thoroughly confused.

"Had you ever seen this person before that night?" asked Holter.

"No, never," the woman said firmly. "I'd remember that face."

"And did your fiancée know him?"

"I'm certain he didn't," said the girl.

"Are you positive?" Holter peered penetratingly at the woman. "You know, sometimes they lie."

It was her turn to frown. "'They'?"

Holter shrugged. He pulled out a metal case and opened it on the coffee table. He removed two metal cylinders with leads snaking out of them, and he handed them to the woman. "Hold these firmly in both hands," Holter said, "and answer the next series of questions as truthfully as possible."

"What is this, some kind of lie detector test?" asked the woman.

"No, no," scoffed Holter. "You know, lie detector tests are terribly inaccurate."

"This is a Dianetics test kit," Dexter explained. "We're going to audit your engrams."

"But," said Hosiah, almost to herself, "you *lived* *together*."

"Hush," Holter ordered, and began.

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