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Tropical Leaves

Heinrich Hogfreek's Requiem

Did I ever tell you the tale of Heinrich Hogfreek?

He was a good soul, at bottom. But his fundamental goodness in no way excuses him for what he did.

Was he hog, or was he man? These are the sorts of questions historians ask in his wake, and yet I feel the point is moot. What does it matter, man or hog? All that matters is the unimaginable heinousness of his crime, and whether or not we, the people, are going to stand for it.

It is now widely thought that Hogfreek had an accomplice, and one wielding considerable guile, to be sure. In fact, it is presently held by the majority of Hogfreekologists that Heinrich Hogfreek occupied, if anything, something more akin to a supporting, or even a background role, in the grand operation which would see our dear city ravaged.

Is Hogfreek himself then blameless in this whole traumatic affair? This does indeed appear to be the glaring, gleaming reality emerging from the smouldering wreckage of his passing. Inconceivable though it may seem to the Hogfreekologists of yesteryore, nonetheless, it is so.

But who then is this grand maestro, who apparently not only controlled Hogfreek like a puppet, but also played on the public's perceptions perfectly, performing with the panache of a practiced pianist? As I have already explained to the detectives innumerable times, I haven't the foggiest notion who this treacherous conman might be, and even if I did have some inkling of his identity, it is likely he would have gone "that-a-way", as it were, and vanished into infinity.

Why then have the detectives not let up on me after all this time? Well, it seems that my alibis, though initially rock-solid, quickly began to crumple under the discerning eye of Senior Detective Roquefort, a man whose name alone inspires a whole smorgasbord of emotions within me, ranging from base malice and fear, to profound respect and admiration, even verging on reverence.

It would seem that I am the principle suspect in the Hogfreek case, this thanks to a great deal of evidence which even I find to be irrefutable. The detectives seem to be of a mind that there was no Hogfreek at all, and never was. This leaves me, the supposed accomplice, left to bear the lion's share of the blame for what happened to the financial district.

Credit for this I would gladly accept, were it not for the fact that I have already made my innocence clear to the detectives, and I am loathe to contradict myself at this stage.

It doesn't matter. Roquefort knows. They found my schematics, and though they don't come right out and say so, I know it to be true. Roquefort's questions cut through the chaff with the alacrity of a man who has not only seen my schematics, but has in fact comprehended them as well.

Comprehended them! To imagine that a simple police detective, even one so elevated as Roquefort, could actually understand my schematics! You begin now to grasp the origins of my tremendous respect for the man.

Do you have any idea how many have died, yes, actually died, trying to comprehend my schematics? No, not expired in the labyrinth of horrors which leads to the sanctum simulacrum, where my schematics are housed, though these hazards undoubtedly claim a great many lives, but actually croaked from the mere act of trying to read these documents? I have had advanced physicians examine these naughty boys, and I am told that they have what can only be compared to third degree burns tattooed all over their cerebellums, almost as though their brains had been cooked.

Roquefort smirks at me. He speaks of the outer edges of my schematics only, and always in riddles. He teases me in this way, for everything he reveals could feasibly be deduced by the multiverse's ultimate supercomputer, given infinite time, but I know this is not his source. I know he has my schematics. He only seeks to drive me insane with the uncertainty, and he almost succeeds.

Little does Roquefort know, I have a trump card stashed up my sleeve.

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