Yes, someone’s here. I’m in the back, by the photo-making stuff, where I always am. Try not to knock over that box of pictures on your way—Really? No, don’t try picking them up, I’ll get it later when the lights are on.

Two of you this time, huh? Look, officers, I’d love to help you with your case. It is a murder, right? Yep, it always is. But here’s the problem: I really need to get my work done. It’s hard enough trying to run a photography business without having to stop every few hours to answer questions about the various murders in this town. I’ve already had 4 different cops in here this morning, and one private dick. Yeah, I know that sounds weird, but that’s what the guy called himself, take it up with him.

No, I can’t stop hanging picture on the clothesline as we talk. As I said, I’m busy.

Anyway, you have to realize how many times you all screw up my photos by flinging the door open unexpectedly, or poking around with a flashlight. It’s called a darkroom for a reason. How do you think the Andersons feel when I deliver their family photos, and half of them are so overexposed that you can’t see the barn they’re leaning on? Do you think they care that it was because I had information on the Amway Strangler? No, they do not. They just ask for a discount.

Look, I’m not a bad guy. But this is my busy season, I’ve got clients breathing down my neck, so maybe just call first or schedule a—

Excuse me, miss? Please either leave or come inside—every second you stand there posed in the doorway lets in light and destroys my film.

No officers, she’s not my wife. She’s just some lady here to seduce me.

Yeah, yeah, I can see it on your faces, “What a lucky guy!” I used to feel that way too. But honestly, after a while, it gets a bit rude. Every time I bump into some lady on the subway or down at the OTB, three days later she’s in here rambling about how she has a secret and needs someone to talk to. Except there’s not a lot of “talking,” if you catch my drift. And there goes another afternoon I could have spent finishing up the stills from Westfield Packaging’s company picnic.

Yes, ma’am, I see you slinking around like that, very sexy. Please don’t run your fingers down those photos, though. That’s not sexy, it’s destructive.

Anyway, guys, I get it; there’s 35 unsolved murders in this town, and somehow I have information on most of them. And I should be a good citizen and all that. But c’mon, I have 300 prints to process by tomorrow morning, or I’m not getting a check when Principal Winston stops by to pick up the school pictures. You know what I’ll get instead? Calls from hundreds of angry parents.

What? Yes ma’am, I see you leaning back like that. Very sexy. Just be careful, you’re going to—Ok, you just sat in one of the tubs of photo water. That stuff’s not cheap you know, it’s got chemicals and stuff. No, don’t undress, I can get you a towel. Just give me a—

Kids! Oh hey, is it Wednesday afternoon already? Gee, here’s the thing: I know this is when I normally let you use the room for your detective club, but I’m kind of swamped today. And I know that if you have to go back to school, those teenage bullies will get you. But I’m kind of on deadline here, and—

Hey, who are you guys? Aren’t you the bullies? I don’t know how found us, but you leave these kids alone, they’re good kids!

What’s that, kids? You invited them? They hired you to find out who stole their case of Natty Light, and you’re friends now? Well kids, I have to say, I’m quite proud of you. Help yourself to anything here. No son, not the lady, she needs to leave now before—

Hey, officer, stop putting those pictures in your pocket! Don’t pretend, I saw you do it. You really think you’re going to find any clues in Stephen Cameron’s senior pictures?

You did? Huh. No, I don’t know anything about the mysterious figure standing behind the barn in that photo. But good catch. You guys are some good cops after all, I must say. Look, maybe I was too harsh before, I know you’re just doing your—

Kids, stop playing with the photo enlarger, that’s not a toy! I literally spent my life savings on it.

Yes, I said life savings. I know that’s crazy. Everyone said I was crazy, trying to start this business. But I just wanted to try and make a new start for myself. Turn my hobby into something that would finally get me out of living paycheck to paycheck. Stop chasing debts. Maybe even make my father proud. And dammit, if I could only just get 8 solid hours to focus, I know I could—

Oh for Christ’s sake, who is it now? Mr. Vice President? Damn you, leave me alone! No, I don’t know where the CIA Director is, he was perfectly fine when he left here yesterday. Maybe these cops know, they found a body, it could be his. No sir, I will not be influenced like this, stop leaning back all sexy…and, you sat in the photo water. Great.

That’s it, everyone, it’s time to go. Old Mrs. Caldwell is coming in to take portraits with her cat, and that’s an easy $500. But she doesn’t like being stared at, so you all have to leave. I know, I know, but it will just be for an hour and then you can all—

Oh, hello officer. Another one? Let me guess: Mrs. Caldwell?

Of course.

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