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LJI:22 Sweep the leg
I glanced through the one-way glass at the prisoner, and then back at his file.  Peter Winston, 46, a veteran who had been awarded a Purple Heart, and had been with the company for a long, if undistinguished, time. Nothing in his file indicated he was anything other than conscientious and trustworthy.

He had been in custody for nearly 24 hours and was huddled in the corner of the room. Loud music was playing through the speakers.  No one had talked to him in hours in the hopes that by now he’d be desperate to tell us what he knew.

I entered quietly.  The moment I closed the door the music turned off; Peter looked dazed by the absence of noise.  He looked around until he registered that I was there.

“Hello Peter.”

“I didn’t do this thing” he whispered.

“Now Peter, let’s not start there.  I want to get to know you.”  I sat down in the only chair in the room.  “Tell me about yourself.”

“I – I didn’t do it.”

“Oh, Peter, of course you did.  The investigation was very thorough and we’ve eliminated every other possibility.”

“Why would I do this thing?”

“Money, I expect.  You’ve been at the same company for more than two decades and only received cursory raises and promotions along the way.  How did they approach you?”

“I haven’t met anyone new; I never talk about company business to non-company people; I know all the rules and I haven’t broken any!” His words picked up speed and volume.  He climbed to his feet and shouted “I didn’t do this!”  Then, more quietly “Please, I didn’t, just let me go home.”

“Then help me solve this puzzle, Peter.  Important company information has been showing up publically for months, never in the same place twice.  We narrowed down the suspect pool to six people; the only ones who had access to everything that has leaked.  On Monday each of you had a brief meeting with Mr. Todd.  That room was clean and guarded, and everyone was scanned on their way in.  Mr. Todd told each of you about a classified document.  Of course they were made up, and all six people heard something different.  Guess whose version was found on the internet yesterday?”

Peter looked at me horrified, shaking his head no.

“So you see, Peter, you absolutely did it.  But we need to know who your buyer is, or at least the name of your contact.  Why would be nice too, but isn’t strictly necessary.”

Peter slumped down into a crouch, his eyes darting around the room.  “But ma’am, I really didn’t do it.  I didn’t tell anyone about the hot air balloon delivery system Mr. Todd shared with me.”

“Do you talk in your sleep?”

“I’m single, I don’t sleep with anyone. I don’t have much of a life outside work. After combat, it’s what I wanted; something quiet and steady without huge demands.  But I guess that’s unbelievable.”

“It does seem unlikely, that a man with your accomplishments would have settled behind a desk so calmly.”  I continued to stare at him.  The evidence really was airtight; Peter was the only possible source.  I thought when faced with the facts he’d stop playing games, but apparently I was wrong.  I sighed and stood up.

“Wait!  I – oh hell – I think I might know what happened.”

I turned to face Peter, who had dropped to his butt and appeared to be stretching.

“You have all my records and you missed it.  The other thing combat left me with, the reason I’m perfectly happy with my quiet life behind a desk, and probably the solution to this whole thing.”

“What are you talking about?”

Peter contorted and pulled at himself, and then something let go which he threw at me.  I caught it on instinct and realized that I was holding a prosthetic limb.

“In the last year I’ve had to regularly see doctors and physical therapists because that thing has been uncomfortable in a way it never used to be.  I thought I was getting old, but instead someone must have found a way in.  You want to find out who is leaking your secrets?  Sweep the leg.”

***Yup.  Here's my entry for this week's LJ Idol topic, 'sweep the leg' others can be found by following the link.  Also if you've been reading along and thinking that maybe this crazy game looks like fun there's another chance to jump in available right now.  Come on, you know you want to do it.***

Oh, that was just wonderful. I bow before you and your superior pun abilities. *applauds*

Thank you. I was really struggling with this topic, lots of ideas but nothing that would gel into a story; so I started looking at alternate meanings for sweep and leg. Thus, a shaggy dog story was born.

Nicely done. I didn't see the ending coming at all.

Thank you. I'm a little nervous that this isn't connected enough to the prompt until the punchline, I'm glad it kept you reading.

Well damn. Of course someone bugged the leg...

Especially because the structure of a fake leg likely sets off all kinds of scanners all the time, even better if the person with it actually doesn't know. I may have given this too much thought.

This was very clever! It doesn't come off as a pun to me, just a legitimate alternate use of the phrase.

A bugged prosthetic-- sneaky, and who wouls even suspect, including the wearer?

Thank you, I was stuck for a while until I hit on this definition of sweep.

Right, no one's going to make you leave your leg outside for a meeting?

What a great pun! I loved the set-up, and the way you worked the prompt into your story.

Thank you. I had a lot of vague ideas this week but nothing that was turning into a story, until this demanded to be written. Sometimes, the silly is where it's at.

Wow! Puntastic! I like the way it all came together.

Puuuuuuuuuuns! Yes! I love it. :3

Puns are an important part of your daily balanced breakfast ;)


That was a surprise! For some reason, I was certain he was going to attack the interrogator. Very interesting ending!

That means I had the tension cranked high which was the goal.


Whoa! Great Shot! Wonderful work...I loved it..didn't see it coming at all..Kudos!

I picked up on where this was going partway through, but probably only because the idea was mentioned in the Work Room at some point. Great job with making this sound believable, though! :)

Was it? Dude I should have kept reading the work room, I was stuck for days until I came up with this.

Thanks, thrillers aren't something I ordinarily do so I'm glad it read believably on that front.

I like your take on the topic. And the prose kept me wanting to know more. Well done!

Great use of the prompt!

Thank you! Sometimes it's just silly.

I liked the set up. Didn't see the end coming at all. :)

Thank you. Thrillers aren't usually my thing so I'm glad it worked for you.