The Common Courtesy Chapter

Pryk looked up at the plant creature as it sat rooted to the mud-covered office floor. Pryk had just given his report and his boss wasn't saying anything. Was it possible that it didn't know what to say? Possible, but highly unlikely. The plant creature was capable of talking for hours at a time about absolutely nothing. It was highly skilled at re-phrasing and re-re-phrasing the most simple of subjects. So the only conclusion Pryk could reach was that the plant creature was waiting for Pryk to say something else. (Of course the ideal scenario was that it was dead.)

The plant stirred, leaned over towards Pryk, and the English speaking monkey said, "I don't know what to say."

"No. I refuse to believe that."

A branch shot out and knocked the wretched lawyer backwards into the mud. "I said I don't know what to say! And I meant it! Your report baffles me! I think we're in a tricky situation! And you had better do some pretty quick thinking to get us out of it! Do you see what I mean? Because if you don't, then we'll be for it. And I don't want to be for it. Being for it is a bad thing... from what I have heard. So you are to see that we avoid it."

Pryk nodded as he crawled back to his corner of the office. "A plan! A plan begins to form in my mind..." he mumbled as he leafed quickly through his legal books. "We'll get him."

And then Colin Buchanan stepped casually the room.

Pryk dropped the book through which he had been fumbling and shot an accusatory finger straight at Colin's face. "Bad!" He clenched his fists and shook them as rapidly as if they were a couple of vibrators. "You were given a second chance to have a good time! And with two chances... you must have! You must have had a good time! I insist!"

"Well," Colin said, and then paused. He thought for a moment. He hadn't really had a miserable time. But it could hardly be called a good time. He shook his head, "Not really," he said with a sigh of resignation. But that was okay. It didn't really matter anymore.

Pryk handed him some papers.

Colin took the papers, but didn't even glance at them. "What's all this?"

"We are counter-suing you."

"How can you counter-sue me when I'm not even suing you in the first place?"

"Ah," said Pryk simply as a delay tactic. Then his mind began working again. Laws began to swim through his memories, previous cases... and then his mouth began moving to catch up with his mind, "But... but you have grounds to sue us. We therefore have grounds to counter-sue you, whether you sue us or not!"

"Well, that's okay. If you can't catch me, you can't sue me," Colin said flippantly, tossing the stack of papers back to Pryk, who didn't catch them in time.

Frantically picking up his precious papers, the lawyer flustered, "You can't leave. If you do, we'll have no choice but to sue an android replica of you. On the other hand," another idea occurred to him, "yes." He smiled and sat back with newly acquired arrogance. "Now that we have had time to reflect, you will find that we don't have any responsibility for you now that you have died."

"But I'm not actually dead."

"Ah, but you did die."

Colin nodded, "Hm, that's true."

The human wasn't fighting back. He wasn't terrified at the mention of a lawsuit. Pryk wasn't sure how to react to this. He felt like a dog barking at a cat who just sat still and stared quietly back.

"What are you doing here, anyway!?" the plant creature asked.

"I just came to let you know that I'm alive again and safe. I think it's something we mistakenly call common courtesy."