Some Kind of Allegory

He had all the mannerisms of the well-practiced liar; leaning forward, easy smile, making sure to keep his hands away from his face, but this last was the tell, the one he hadn’t quite naturalized, and the one Dzinski caught on to right away.

In the half an hour they spoke in his office, Dzinski was sure the man, calling himself Christopher Fairburn, and having the business card to collaborate the story, made no less than five attempts to scratch his chin or nose, but stopped himself, noticeable only by a brief pause as he spoke.

Dzinski smoked and listened to the man talk, and took it for what is was, a fable, something with crows and foxes and rabbits each trying their best to outsmart the others.

These stories usually only ended one way, with each of the characters holding a handful of nothing.

But Fairburn knew his tale, and there was something to the story. It hit all the usual beats, hit them a little too easily, a little too practiced. The delivery was smooth, and he paused at the right moments, to light the small cigarillos he smoked, or to check his watch, or to see if his performance was still on schedule.

When he finished it all, he looked up and asked if he should repeat anything.

“No,” Dzinski said. “I believe I have most of it.”

What he couldn’t figure out was which of the animals this man across from him was supposed to be.


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