AN: The irony of this story is that when I wrote it, I could actually see the Nile from my balcony.

Originally, this was going in a completely different direction, but then inspiration struck in about the middle of the second sentence. I blame the food poisoning. Stupid lentils.

Disclaimer: You know, a funny thing happened on the way to the patent office...

Spoilers: Bait

Summary: Old habits die hard, and Samantha Spade found herself sitting in a taxi theorizing about what muddy stories the FBI would turn up if she were to vanish tonight.

Hypothetical Scenario

It was something of a fascination with her. More than a little morbid, this she would readily admit, but nothing detrimental to her health or her profession. She still didn't tell the psychiatrist about it though. There were some barriers of privacy she wouldn't cross, even for the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Still, old habits die hard, and Samantha Spade found herself in the back of a taxi theorizing about what muddy stories the FBI would turn up if she were to vanish tonight.

The first person interviewed would be the taxi driver, because Vivian would tell them that she had left in a cab. The cab driver's English would not be good, and the first thing he would tell them was that he was legal. Then Danny would tell him that he didn't care, he just wanted to know about a fare the driver had picked up last night. Over coffee but still in an interrogation room, Danny would ask the driver if her remembered a blonde woman who had come from a bar late the previous night. The driver would remember her. They always did.

And then, he would drop the bombshell.

The pretty blonde had not been by herself. She'd been with a young, well dressed man. They had quibbled about directions and distance, but only one address had been given. Danny would recognize it immediately as hers, but would wait until the driver was gone to tell Vivian that she had been with Martin.

If Jack hadn't left, he might have been the one to interview Martin, and it all would have stopped right there. But Jack was gone and Danny was to attached and Vivian was new and bogged down in paper work. No, Van Buren would get wind of the whole thing and insist on bringing in an outsider to conduct the rest of the investigation. Jack would have protested. Vivian knew when to let the bureaucrats have their day.

So a stranger would come in, and since he or she was unfamiliar with her, he or she would request her profile. Given the recent additions, the psychiatrist would be questioned. This would be done in the doctor's office, and she would politely withhold information while subtly insinuating insight into Samantha's character. If the outside investigator was perceptive, he or she would figure out that she was an emotional gun-shot victim with relationship issues. If he or she was really good, they might even have an idea who.

Regardless, the next interview would be with Vivian. Vivian would tell him or her that she was a good agent, regardless of what her file or psychiatrist said. If asked flat out about Jack, Vivian would lie, because she knew when lying was the thing to do. After the interview, she would leave the office and call Jack. Just to be sure.

Danny might not be interviewed at all. Then again, as the only member of the team whose observations of the night would not be infused with alcohol, he might be. The outside investigator would ask about her behaviour that night; if it was her custom to leave with co-workers. Danny would answer honestly that he didn't know, but that the Samantha Spade he knew did not play that sort of game.

And finally, Martin would be called in. Usually, as the last person seen with the missing, Martin would have been interviewed first, but since this involved two federal agents. The outside investigator would be sure to have all of his or her ducks lined up before calling him in.

And what would Martin say?

Samantha paused in her musing to glace across at the man sitting beside her. He wasn't drunk, or at least she didn't think so, so his memories of this night would be relatively unobscured. But what would those memories be? Was he celebrating the promotion of a friend while mourning the loss of a mentor? Or was he celebrating the departure of the rival who stepped on him both professionally and personally and looking for forward to the opportunity the absence would present?

Martin had kept up a conversation throughout the ride. She had answered correctly and during the appropriate intervals. She was nothing if not a multi-tasker. He talked about Seattle and how much he wished he wasn't so awkward when it came to the job. She had never been to Seattle and she told him a couple of her more humiliating blunders during her first while at Missing Persons. They did not speak of Jack.

The cab stopped in front of Samantha's house. This would be the last time the drier saw her, disappearing into a building. From here on, the scenario belonged to Martin. The outside investigator would take his or her time working up to this point. He or she would reword questions, making sure that Martin was telling the absolute truth.

Samantha opened the door and slid out. She looked back at the cab. What would Martin say?

"Good night, Samantha." He said, and leaned over to pull the door shut.

finis

AN: A girl can dream, can't she?

And really, who among us hasn't done this while walking home alone in the dark and humming the theme song?

gravitynotincluded, August 24, 2004