Even though the note instructing him to be at the library at 8 PM sharp was unsigned, Sage knew who it was from.
There was only one person on earth who would want to meet him at the library.
He arrived at the meeting a few minutes early, his stomach flopping nervously as he pushed open the heavy wooden doors and stepped inside.
He had a sneaking suspicion he knew what this meeting was about…
Sure enough, Buzz was waiting for him in the Quiet Study Room, a mountain of really big books surrounding him.
Sage inhaled slowly, building up his courage before finally approaching him.
"Hi, Buzz." He greeted the officer quietly, sliding into the chair across from him. Buzz glanced up from the book he was reading, gently removing his glasses and setting them aside.
"Oh. Hello, Sage." He greeted, also in a library-appropriate whisper. "Thank you for meeting me on such short notice. I apologize for the inconvenient accommodations, but I couldn't pull myself away from my thesis. I'm sure you understand."
"Yeah…" Sage mumbled, his mind working furiously to remember what, exactly, a thesis was. He seemed to remember something about it being a sentence in a report…
"Anyway," Buzz continued, folding his hands neatly across the open book in front of him. "I need to discuss something with you that is of the utmost importance, and couldn't in good conscience postpone it any longer."
"What is it?" Sage asked, proud of himself for understanding about 90 percent of what Buzz was saying.
"Well…" Buzz sighed thoughtfully, crossing his legs and leaning back in his chair. "You know I don't generally watch the show…it's terribly silly. Juvenile humor, pop culture references, completely ridiculous murder plots…it's enough to make you dive back into Byron and Shelley and hold on for dear life."
He chuckled at his own wit, but Sage just continued to stare blankly at him, trying to figure out what he was getting at.
"Yes….anyway," Buzz pushed on when his humor went unappreciated, clearing his throat. "I happened to catch the episode last night….completely an accident, you know. I was looking for the Ken Burns documentary...anyway, I happened upon the show. And your portrayal of me…"
This last sentence was spoken with a distinctly reproving tone, which Sage immediately picked up on.
"My portrayal of you?" He repeated slowly, finally catching up. "You didn't like it?"
"Well, it's not that I didn't like it, per se." Buzz corrected him quickly. "It was quite amusing in some parts, actually…in a provincial sort of way."
"My problem, Sage, is that it was supposed to be me."
"Right. Buzz McNab." Sage agreed, nodding eagerly.
"So, you see my problem."
Sage's brow wrinkled in deep thought as he struggled to understand the problem.
He had worn the name tag with Buzz McNab printed on it through the whole episode…
He had responded to the name every time someone called him…
He had even stitched the name into the character's underwear…
What was he missing?
"Sage," Buzz sighed, finally realizing his alter-ego had no idea what the problem was. "You played me...well…"
He hesitated, looking for the most tactful way to put this.
"Well…you made me seem kind of…just slightly, mind you…slow."
For a moment, Sage didn't say anything.
"Slow?" He repeated finally.
Buzz rolled his eyes, starting to grow slightly impatient.
"Yes, Sage. Slow. Now, I know it's not your fault…the show needs some….what do you call it?...comedic relief?...But I shouldn't be the comedic relief, Sage. I am not a clown."
"Of course not!" Sage agreed. "You're a cop!"
"Exactly!" Buzz grinned, nodding. "I joined the force for the intellectual stimulation, not the donuts. I've solved over a hundred cases on my own. I have two Master's degrees and a PhD, and I'm working on my second PhD. Ask Detective Lassiter! I'm an asset to the force, not the trained monkey. Okay?"
"Trained monkey?" Sage repeated, this time looking slightly offended.
"I'm sorry. Was that harsh?" Buzz asked, blinking.
"Well…it kinda hurt my feelings…" Sage mumbled.
"Then I apologize…but you see my dilemma. I am a highly-effective officer of the law, and to see myself portrayed as…well…"
"Yes…thank you. Slow…was a bit disconcerting, if I may be completely honest."
"Okay…" Sage nodded slowly, leaning forward. "I can work on smartening up."
"That's all I ask."
"Where should I start?"
Buzz sat back in his chair, regarding his protégé discriminatingly.
"Well, let's just start with not appearing on-screen in boxer shorts, shall we?"