Lee: Well… well… well, how did you
know Dr. Malone had been a nun?
Lyra: (snorts) She looked frumpy. She either had to be a grandma or a nun.
Lee: She wasn't that old!
Lyra: (rolls her eyes and shrugs)
Lee: Moving on… well, if you made up all that
stuff, how did you make the hands on the alethiometer move?
Lyra: Dust and magic.
Lee: (sighs at the lie detector) You'll HAVE to
do better than that.
Lyra: (mutters under her breath) Annoying Texan
nincompoop. (continues in louder
voice) There were magnets. In the sides of the alethiometer and in the
hands. You could move the magnets and
make the hands swing around…
Lee: So all of your readings were LIES?
Lyra: (thinks for a minute) …yep.
Lee: (huffs in frustration) NEXT question… why do
you like popping open soda cans?
(smiling slyly) Honestly?
They turn me on.
(interrupting quickly) NEXT QUESTION!…
What was it like being separated from Pantaliamon when you went to the
Land of the Dead?
Lyra: (opens her mouth and considers lying, but
looks at the lie detector and gives it up as a lost cause) It actually wasn't
that bad. (sees disbelieving look on
Lee's face) I'm serious! I mean, all we
were doing was going over two meters away from each other; it's not that big of
a deal. Actually, it was nice to get
away from him for a while; you spend your entire life with some weird animal
and you get sick of them after a while…
And me and Will got a chance to be alone for once.
Lee: But… but you were crying! You felt like something was being torn out
of you! And Pan was being ripped apart
too! He was watching you from the end
of the dock with his sad eyes and being very noble and sad and all sorts of
other depressing things!
Yes, Pan was quite good, wasn't he? I
believe he was nominated for "Best Supporting Actor in a Fantasy Novel" at the
Literary Awards this year… And as for all that crap about how I felt, you
shouldn't believe everything you read.
Lee: God, you're USELESS. (turns to Will) Will, I hope you aren't as disappointing as Lyra! Here's your first question- did it really
hurt that badly when your fingers were cut off?
Will: What kind of dumb question is that? Of course it hurt! I had two fingers sliced off!
Did you notice the description of the blood flowing from the
wounds? Did you read the part about the
constant throbbing ache? Did that sound
painless to you?
Lee: Well, I was just asking. Next ques… whoa! The needle's scrawling everywhere! So it DIDN'T hurt, then, when your fingers were cut off!
Will: Um… yeah… that's right…
Lee: Why's the needle moving?… WAIT. (looks suspiciously at Will.) …Were your fingers really cut off?
Will: (sighs in complete and total exasperation)
NO, they WEREN'T, nosy idiot!
Lee: (snatches Will's hand and sees five whole
fingers) How the HECK did you manage that?
Will: See, in my world, they have these things
called novelty shops, and they sell things like rubber fingers…
But what about all that blood?
Will: Well, it wasn't really blood.
Not blood? What did you use, then?
Will: It was ketchup. (Sees blank look on Lee's face and rolls his eyes.) Come on, ketchup! Smashed up salty tomatoes!
You know what this is!
Lee: (weakly) How?
Will: (sarcastically) Maybe ketchup has an
inexplicable attraction to my hand and comes flying from all corners of all the
worlds to gather around it. (keeps
talking as Lee opens his mouth to comment) Yes, yes, I know the damn
needle's moving! Fine! I have a… problem…
Lyra: Deranged kleptomaniac obsession…
Will: (to Lyra) Shut up! (to Lee) I have a… deranged kleptomaniac obsession… with ketchup
packets. Every time I see one, I pick
it up and take it with me, wherever I go.
It was quite easy to use this ketchup for blood. People didn't even notice that my blood was
Lyra: (smiles and licks her lips) VERY zesty.
Lee: How did you carry all of that ketchup with
you?… never MIND, I DON'T want to know.
Next question: How did you get the subtle knife to work?
I suppose it will do no good to tell you about finding a small gap between the
worlds and sliding the knife in and along this gap?
Lee: (examines lie detector) Um… nope.
(sighs at the weight of Lee's stupidity and annoyingness) The knife had a
little hologram projector at the end of it.
I just pressed a little button in the handle and it shined out a picture
of another world… it was quite convincing, actually, even Lyra believed it was
real at first.
(scowling) Until you shined the thing in my eyes as I was trying to sleep.
Will: Well, that really was funny, you know- not
everyone can make sounds of a wet cat being systematically poked apart by
deranged chickens. You were quite good
Lyra: How reassuring.
Will: I found it attractive, really.
Lyra: (brightening) You did? (clears her throat in preparation for making
the wails of a wet cat being systematically poked apart by deranged chickens)
Lee: (hurriedly breaks in before any sound can
come out of her mouth) What happened when the knife broke?
Will: (pouting) Yeah, that was pretty
annoying. The colloquial tube
overheated. But we fixed it. You know that gas that swirled around the
blade when Iorek put it back together?
Will: That gas was used to put the readers to
sleep, while Iorek did the REAL work of putting the projector back
together. He managed to get it
right. The author just added all of
that other stuff to cover it up.
Lee: (blinks in confusion, then just decides to
give up understanding altogether.)
Whatever. How did you feel when
you discovered your daemon?
Thrilled. Overjoyed. Elated.
Lyra: Oh, are we a thesaurus now?
Lee: (eyes to the ceiling) Why do I bother? Here I am, just trying to earn an honest
extra buck with this lie-detector gig, only to be met by sarcastic sadistic
pre-teens with screwed up hormones…
Will: (defensively) Look, just because you're too
old and crusty to have hormones anymore…
Lee: I am NOT old and crusty!
Lyra: (puzzled) But you're dead. If you weren't old and crusty before, you're
certainly old and crusty now.
Lee: Just because I'm dead does NOT mean I'm
Lee: (glares down at Will) Can we just continue,
(snorts) Be my guest.
Lee: You were in the process of answering a
Right. Well. I could really care less about that
demon-thingie. It gets fur all over the
place and makes weird noises. Besides,
she was only a temp; she was just hired for the last few chapters of the book.
Sure. Look, last question- I
don't even care WHAT you answer at this point, I just want to get this over
Will: Go for it, big guy.
Did you ever discover what happened to your mother?
(Lee kicks him.) OWWWWWWWWWWWW!!! What'd you do that for?!?!
Lee: If you're stupid enough not to answer with
the truth by this point, you deserved it.
Will: You're just mad because I insulted your body
Lee: So what if I am?!? Answer the question!
Fine. I found out. (He stops, closed his mouth defiantly, and
glares silently at Lee.)
Lee: And that would be…?
Lyra: I thought you said the question you just
asked was the last one.
Lee: I lied.
Lyra: Ooooh, the administrator of a lie detector
test lying, not good…
Lee: Ask me if I care. (to Will) Why aren't you
Lyra: (breaks in) Because he hates your freakin'
Lee: (ignores Lyra and looks imploringly at Will)
Please. Answer the stupid
question. I'm begging you.
Lyra: (mutters) Well, he DOES…
All right then. Mrs. Cooper…
well, Mrs. Cooper ate her.
silence fills the room for a weighted moment)
(heavily) Ate her…
Will: My piano teacher, you know. I couldn't honestly go off into other worlds
having all sorts of adventures with my mother still around. For one thing, she'd come after me and try
to make me stop. Mothers are wonderful
at that; she actually cares whether I get hurt or not, for some stupid
reason. For another thing, I'd feel
obligated to live with her when I got back.
I figured it'd be easier just to live with Dr. Malone instead of that
crazy woman. I needed to get rid of the
problem all together.
Lee: (heavily) Ate her…
Will: Yes, yes, ate her. I knew she was a cannibal, you see. The solution just grew from there. When my mom was gone, the rest of it was all just acting. It got to be kind of a joke- me "worrying"
about my "mother" and all; it was quite hilarious.
Lee: (heavily) Ate her…
Will: (impatiently) Yes, ate her. What part of this is difficult to
understand? I dropped my mom at Mrs.
Cooper's house, told her what needed to be done, let her borrow some ketchup…
Lee: (lurches up, puts his hands over his mouth,
and runs from the room, making alarming gagging sounds.)
(watching Lee run away.) I thought your
mom went to the States and started a park bench inventory business.
(cheerfully) Ooops, my mistake. Shall
we go then?
stand from their chairs, take off all the lie detector gadgets, and stand together
holding hands, looking at each other with sickly, gooshy eyes.)
Lyra: (sighs romantically) Let's go eat some