Select Excerpts: Ms. McGill and Nevada

(From Alien Law, Ch. 2 - Ms. McGill and Nevada on the train to DC)
After they had settled in to a quiet corner of the train, the whistle had blown and the tracks had started click-clacking away underneath them, Nevada unzipped his binder and, with a noticeable flourish, whipped out his pen.
“I'm afraid I must now subject you to the standard S.P.I. client questionnaire, Ms. McGill. Some of us jokingly refer to it as the SPIT form, for Strange Phenomena Investigator's Trial,” Nevada said with a cackle. “Some clients do find it a bit off-putting, shall we say, and have likened the experience to being turned on an actual spit.”
“Mr. Nevada, you seem a bit cavalier,” said Ms. McGill, “considering the weight of the circumstances and possible consequences for the planet if my suspicions are anywhere near correct.”
Nevada leaned in a bit and spoke softly. “I would ask that you keep your voice down, Ms. McGill. It wouldn't do for us to get the general population into a blind-funk panic about the world ending just yet, although that seems to be a very popular thing to do these days. I'm already convinced that some or all of your suspicions are correct to one degree or another. I'm also convinced that the world will come to an end at some point. Worlds do come and go, you know. Never the less, a contract is a contract, and for it all to be on the up and up I must give you the SPIT.”
“You needn't lecture me on contracts, Mr. Nevada. I may have neglected to mention that I am a practicing attorney.” Ms. McGill leaned back in her seat looking like she was beginning to have second thoughts about Nevada. This was something Nevada was quite used to and didn't concern him at the moment. It was usually the third, fourth, and fifth thoughts that proved problematic.
Ms. McGill leaned her head on the train window with her eyes pointed skyward, her flowing hair now partially covering her face. The flickering daylight flirted with her face and her (most likely real) pearls glistened against her black silk blouse. “How did you know, Mr. Nevada? How is it you seemed to know what I was coming to tell you?”, she asked quietly.
“I know things,” Nevada said matter-of-factly.
“Yes, but how? How do you know things?”
“I don't know,” he replied thoughtfully. “That's the paradox. I don't know how I know things. I suspect none of us really do.”
“I suppose it's the power of deduction,” she said confidently. “Like the way Sherlock Holmes always figured things out.”
Nevada shook his head emphatically. “No, madame,” he said. “Not at all. Firstly, I'm nothing like him. I have no addictions, nor am I ever bored, two serious problems for Mr. Holmes. Another major difference, I need hardly point out, is that he is a fictional character. And then there is the very different nature of our respective cases, which requires a different investigative approach. I think you'll find my insights are more intuitive than deductive.”
“I see,” said Ms. McGill sharply. Part of her, it seemed, had hoped she had hired a Sherlock Holmes clone, or at least an admirer of the man, fictional or not.
“By the way,” Nevada said, “You needn't have told me you are an attorney. I knew that right away as well.”
“Divined with your intuitive powers, no doubt?”, asked Ms. McGill.
“Oh, no,” replied Nevada with a big grin developing on his face. “It was elementary, my dear Ms. McGill. Elementary.”
Ms. McGill opted not to return the ball. She just nodded her head slowly and remained silent.
“Now then,” Nevada said looking down at his binder. “Back to the SPIT. Question #1: Have you ever been abducted by aliens, and if so was there any contact of a sexual nature?”
Ms. McGill crossed her arms and sighed heavily. Her soft brown eyes began to harden a bit as she stared off into the distance. After a moment, she spoke. “You know, Mr. Nevada, if I didn't think that you might be the only sad hope at the moment for this sad little planet I'd stand up and kick you in your cumquats.”
“I understand. The questions can be, well... They're meant to be revealing and can be a bit intrusive. I should have prepared you better, but, as you say, time is short.”
There then followed several moments of awkward silence during which time Ms. McGill just stared out the train window at the passing scenery, if you can call what you see out the window of a train heading south out of Philadelphia “scenery”. Nevada busied himself with his binder.
“I have a question for you, Mr. Nevada.”
“Of course, of course. You can and should ask me anything. I'm an open book to my clients, Ms. McGill.”
“What does the “R” stand for? R. Nevada. What's your first name, Mr. Nevada?”
“Oh, yes. Well I should have said that you can ask me anything but that. Suffice it to say that my parents were obsessed with Area 51 and that they shared a strange sense of humor. Ask me something else, Ms. McGill. Absolutely anything else.”
Ms. McGill pretended to think for a moment, but she knew what she wanted to ask him. “Okay,” she asked, “ What makes you such an a-hole?”
“Ah,” said Nevada pensively. “Well, that may have something to do with my parents as well.”
Ms. McGill turned to look at Nevada. “Yes, I think so,” she said.
“I'm sorry. You think so what? That my parents may have...”
“No, no. The answer to your Question #1. The answer to the first part of the question is yes, I think so. And that's also the answer to the second part.”
“Oh,” Nevada said thoughtfully. “I see...”
Without writing a word on it, Nevada quietly folded the SPIT questionnaire in half and tucked it into one of the inside pockets of his binder bag. He had no intention of getting it out again.


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