“Why are you out here in the middle of the countryside?” Amanda asked.

Blackbeard smiled. “I could ask you exactly the same thing.”

“I’m here on business.” She said.

The beard bristled and Amanda watched as the mouth twitched. “You know our officers found the strangest thing this morning. A dead citizen in his own home. Murdered, it would seem, by someone carrying a pistol. If I recall correctly the first time we met you were carrying a pistol, do you still have it?”

“No, it was lost, recently in fact.” She said.

Amanda stood looking at the beard on the box waiting patiently. She knew what was coming but it was important that she didn’t rush things.

There was a sigh from the box. “Amanda I don’t know what you’re involved in and I’m not going to interfere but really, where did we go wrong?”

“This isn’t the time or the place for this discussion.”

“Well what else can I do? You won’t answer my calls, you’ve told your secretary to tell me that you’re out of the office whenever I call you at work.”

She rolled her eyes aware that the box couldn’t see her without the eyes of the police to help it. “I’ll tell you why it didn’t work if you tell me why you’re here, though I already have my suspicions.”

The mouth in the beard turned into a thin line then blew out an exasperated sigh. “You killed the gnome didn’t you?” Blackbeard said.

“Is that why you’re here because of the gnome?” She asked.
The beard shuffled forward on the box. “Yes, fine we’re here about the gnome, a call came in.”

Amanda watched the beard now. She knew Blackbeard, she could tell when he was lying. “Does that normally require this many police? Aren’t you a bit above rural murders?”

“Your turn, why are you here?”

He was lying, or at least deliberately leaving the important information to one side. “You don’t care about that Blackbeard, you wanted to know why it didn’t work between us and I’ll tell you if you really want to hear it.”

He interrupted, “It’s because I’m a box isn’t it?”

She sighed. “I knew we’d get to this again, it’s got nothing to do with that. The only person who had a problem with you being a box was you.”

“It’s not easy you know. I had to give up a lot go get to where I am today. Without people like me it would be anarchy.”

“Oh for crying out loud Blacky nobody forced you to become a box, you chose it. I met you after you’d already made your choice. If I had a problem with you being a box I’d never have gone out with you in the first place.”

“Why did you then?” The beard was mumbling half turned away from her on top of the box.

She put a hand on the corner of the metal rectangle that the beard sat on top of. “You were interesting, charming, you’re a decent guy Blacky. It was never going to work between us though. I think we both realised that and I didn’t want to keep fighting to make it work.”

“You chose your job.” The beard said, its bottom lip quivering.

She tapped the box with one finger then stood up to leave. “So did you Blackbeard. Now, I’m leaving and the bird’s coming with me and if you want to risk being made a fool out of by all means put out a bulletin for our arrest. If I was you I’d leave me the hell alone.” With that she strode out of the room not turning once to see the lip quivering behind her.