Rhonda arrived at the office an hour-and-a-half late to compensate for her earlier than usual arrival the previous day. She plopped a CD wallet on her desk. It was filled with a dozen of her father’s CD’s.
Sid looked like he also had spent a sleepless night, probably worrying about Zafitg.
Rhonda called her mother on her cell phone while she filed papers in a cabinet near Sid’s desk.
A man in a rumpled, ill-fitting suit walked in and sat down in a chair by Sid’s desk. He flashed a wallet with a badge. “Immigration. Inspector Wadley.”
Rhonda stopped listening to her mother’s gossip to concentrate on the officer. She had an inkling this could be about the pair of touring aliens. What if the government leaked the news to the media? It would damage the exclusiveness of her story.
“I have a report that you hired foreigners. I want to see their immigration papers.”
“I have no foreigners on my payroll.” Sid pointed at Rhonda. “My only employee is my niece here.”
“This is true,” Rhonda said.
“What is true?” her mother asked.
“I can’t accept your unsubstantiated word,” Wadley said. “I’ll have to audit your payroll.”
“What is this?” Sid spoke through clenched teeth. “You accept the word of an informer but not a business man?
“In a way, informers work for the government. You don’t.” He put a briefcase on Sid’s desk and pulled out a thick form. “In the meantime, you can begin your defense by filling out this form IA-39/DX explaining why you believe you are innocent.” Wadley grinned at Sid. “Or perhaps we should say, not guilty?”
“Do you have witnesses or some evidence for these charges,” Rhonda said.
“What charges?” Her mother’s voice had a hint of panic in it.
“Really? Do you think I’d waste my time if you weren’t guilty. Witnesses saw two very strange people leave your office yesterday and I want to see their documents, whether they work for you or not.”
A buzzing noise interrupted the meeting and the room developed a smell of ozone. Wadley ignored the sound and smell until his feet dissolved. Then he took alarm.
“Ohmygwad!” Rhonda shrieked as she dashed to her desk to grab her purse. A girl can’t go traveling without her make up and other essentials.
“What’s happening? Tell me. I’m your mother.”
“Gotta go, Ma.” Rhonda disconnected the phone before her hand disappeared. She knew a transporter beam when she saw one.