Virtual Season Two
  • Blood and Thoughtstalking
  • Psychodiagnostiks
  • 360 Maple Grove
  • Oestrus
  • Game Over
  • The Loyal Ones
  • Hypnagogia
  • Electioneering
  • Dreamscape
  • Callipso
  • Teporingo
  • The Jade Monkey Project
  • Bitter Revenge
  • Red Tide
  • Chi
  • Human Nature
  • Asthenopia
  • Ley of the Land
  • Everything To Live For
  • Warden
  • Grimm
  • A Piori

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    The class was bustling with noise and the teacher was growing impatient. Fourth graders should know enough to keep quiet during a test, he thought.

    "Quiet down, please, class. It's test-taking time. No talking during a test," Mr. Anderson murmured in the voice he used when talking to kids. Why do I bother kissing their asses? He wondered. They're going to walk all over me, anyway. The class quieted down, but not by much. He was growing impatient. He walked over to his desk and sat down. He had to calm down. The veins were beginning to stick out of his 27-year-old forehead.

    Mr. Anderson couldn't recall why he had chosen elementary education as a major in college. He remembered thinking that it would involve less thinking because he knew how to multiply and construct sentences and everything else that a fourth-grader could do. But he didn't realize, fool that he was in high school, that teaching younger kids meant that more patience was needed. He opened the top drawer on his left side. Beneath the candlesticks, long-forgotten bracelets that weren't supposed to get messed up in science, matches, and a dissection kit, he found it. The jade figurine stood at two-inches tall. It looked up at him with anticipation, telling him it was time. He picked up the stone monkey and held it in his hand for a bit. He could swear that he felt it tingling.

    His eyes focused on one student who was sitting at his desk, minding his own business. Probably sleeping, he thought. He walked over to the kid and nudged his shoulder with his index finger.

    "Patrick?" He called. That elicited no response. He tried again, louder, "Patrick?"

    "Mmmmhmmm?" Patrick responded groggily.

    "Patrick, wake up. I will not tolerate students sleeping in my class during tests."

    "But...but Mr. Anderson, I'm done with my test." Patrick whined. He moved the top half of his body off of his desk and produced the test paper. The young teacher took the paper and walked back over to his own desk to grade it. He opened the drawer above his lap to retrieve a pen among a few blood-stained pieces of used chalk, some broken number two pencils, a burned match, and a mostly melted candle. Geez, he thought, Who the hell had this desk before me? Some Satanist? He grabbed the blood-colored pen and closed the drawer.

    Looking over the student's paper, he noticed that all the answers were correct. He worried his upper lip and looked up and across the room at Patrick. They made eye contact, and he motioned for the student to come to his desk. Patrick reluctantly rose, anxiety rising in his throat. Man, he knows about the Poke’mon trading ring in lunch. I'll have to tell Paul to stop it, he thought as he approached the desk.

    "Yes?" Patrick squeaked. Mr. Anderson motioned for Patrick to make it over to his side of the desk. Patrick slowly did as he was instructed.

    "Patrick, your answers are all correct. How did you manage that?" The teacher crooned. The boy just shrugged. "Okay, enough small talk."

    Mr. Anderson took the boy's hand and placed the jade monkey in it. It looked so large in the smaller hand that he thought the boy may not be competent enough to handle the task at hand. He quickly dismissed the thought, and removed his hand. Patrick stared at him as though he had sprouted another head.

    "Wha...what's this for?" Patrick mumbled.

    "It's a present. For passing the test, you know? But you can't tell anyone else about it, because the government could find out, and that's a bad thing." Patrick remembered learning about the three different branches of government.

    "Which branch? The executive, legislative, or judicial?"

    "All three. You have to keep this thing safe, Patrick. I mean it."

    "But my mom says that we should trust the government. That it provides for the people, and, without it, we would all starve and kill each other and stuff."

    "She would tell you that, Pat my boy, she works for the government. What did you say she was again?"

    "An agent for the IRS."

    "Figures. Just keep it safe, okay? Good job. Go sit down and keep quiet." Mr. Anderson muttered. The boy walked back to his desk, looking at the figurine in wonder. Suddenly, the door to the classroom burst open and soldiers wielding guns rushed toward the teacher.

    "WHERE'S THE MONKEY?!" The commanding officer yelled. Mr. Anderson shrugged, smiling, and was smacked swiftly across the face.

    "Please, you're traumatizing the children," he mumbled, "step into my office." He rose slowly from his desk, his hands behind his head and walked out into the hallway, closing the door behind the soldiers. A slight scuffle was heard, and at the end, a maniacal scream.

    "You'll never find it! HA!!" Mr. Anderson yelled. One of the soldiers opened the door.

    "Ummm...any of you kids see a small stone monkey?" The soldier said slowly and almost sheepishly. Patrick rose.

    "Is that what this is?" He produced the figurine and held it in the air. The soldier gasped. "I just thought that it was some rock with a bunch of dents carved in it."

    "It's much more than that, kid, much more than that." The soldier mumbled and called to his commanding officer. The C.O. stepped into the room, and once he saw the jade monkey, he stopped dead in his tracks.

    "Don't do anything crazy, kid." The C.O. said slowly, as though he was trying to negotiate. Patrick smiled slowly.

    "My mom says I do crazy stuff every day, like poking road kill with sticks." He stated simply. The other students finally stopped talking and looked at Patrick, their mouths agape. "What? I DO."

    "Just relax now, kid, everything will be all right. You don't have to do this." The C.O. edged slowly over to the kid, sweating profusely. This had to be done exactly right, or the kid could flip his lid.

    "You want this thing?" Patrick asked slowly. The C.O. nodded vigorously. He handed the older man the monkey and a huge expression of relief crossed the man's face. "That's the ugliest piece of junk I've ever seen."

    "Hoo boy!" The C.O. shouted in glee. He jumped in the air and clicked his heels as he was walking out of the classroom. An outraged roar was heard.

    "I told you to keep it safe!" Mr. Anderson yelled as he was led down the hallway in handcuffs. Then, he sighed angrily and shrugged. I knew I should have taught high school students, he thought. They're more disillusioned and trust the government less.

    Special Agent Fox Mulder worried his bottom lip. He wasn't looking forward to telling his partner about this case. He knew that the petite redhead would reply with the same skepticism that she always did. Besides, who would want to investigate a case about malformed dung heaps in South Dakota?

    Special Agent Dana Scully strode down the corridor to the office she shared with Agent Mulder. She looked at the closed door for a second, a tinge of resentment hitting her before she opened it. She had been his partner for a while now, and her name still wasn't on the door. She sighed and pushed the door open, a satisfied grin tugging on her full lips as she noted the expression on her partner's face. His brown hair was neatly combed, giving way to the slightly worried look crossing his features. He never did do a good rendition of a poker face. But there was time for him to learn.

    Mulder opened his mouth to speak, but Scully quieted him with the wave of her hand.

    "No, Mulder. I have another case for us to work on." Scully declared triumphantly.

    "Oh, and I was SO looking forward to investigating cows with intestinal disorders." Mulder mumbled and looked up at his partner quizzically, encouraging her to go on. She raised her eyebrow for a second and then continued.

    "The Jade Monkey. One of the prized possessions of the President. It's missing." Scully took a slide reel from a box she was carrying and walked over to the slide machine. She struggled, trying to put the reel on the machine correctly. After a few minutes, she gave up. "Mulder, how on earth do you do this?"

    "Miss Technological Wizard can't figure this out?" He chided, walking over to her side and snapping the reel into place. "So what is this case like? Mission Impossible or something? Are we going to be strapped up in leather, belaying up the side of a mountain?"

    "I doubt it, Mulder. This reel isn't going to self-destruct in five seconds, so I think we're safe."

    "Damn. Just when I was looking forward to watching those stubby little leather-clad legs struggling up the face of a cliff." He rolled his eyes in mock disapproval. Scully, ignoring her partner's comments, went on. She'd get back at him for his little remark later.

    "No one is quite sure why this trinket," she pressed the button and an upside-down picture of a jade figurine was displayed, "is so important to the President or what power it holds, if any."

    "Scully." Mulder motioned toward the upside-down picture of the monkey. Scully looked at the picture of the monkey and back at Mulder.

    "That's just to show you what it would look like upside-down." Scully mumbled without missing a beat. Mulder grinned.

    "The next thing you're going to tell me is that the Bureau is beefing-up its physical fitness requirements and agents are now required to stand on their heads." Mulder joked, staring at his partner.

    "Make do with what you're presented, Mulder."

    "Why should my brain have to suffer because you don't know how to operate a slide machine?"

    "Actually, your eyes view things as being upside-down, anyway. Your brain flips them over." Mulder rolled his eyes at Scully's explanation and she took a deep breath. Exhaling, she turned the machine off. "I don't need this thing anyway."

    She reached into her jacket pocket and produced a two-inch tall jade monkey. Mulder gasped.

    "Scully, where did you get that from? Get rid of it as soon as possible!" Scully waved it around Mulder's face.

    "I have my sources." She said, curtly. Mulder was stunned.


    "An owl? That's pretty impressive, Mulder, but this is no time to be imitating an owl. Like I said, I have my sources."

    "Your sources are the same as mine." Mulder said, stretching his legs and putting his feet atop his desk. He wasn't about to let Scully get to him like this.

    "Are they, now?" Scully sighed, bemused. Mulder reached into a desk drawer and produced a bag of sunflower seeds, putting one in his mouth and spitting the shell into the garbage.

    "Scully, you wouldn't have had sources if it weren't for your pairing with me." Mulder said, trying to assure himself more than he was trying to let Scully know he wasn't falling for it.

    "Relax, Mulder. This is a prop. No powers are contained in this replica of the Jade Monkey. Our lives are not in danger." Scully grinned, knowing that she had had her partner, at least for a moment. Mulder tried not to let Scully see the sigh of relief that left his lips before he spoke.

    "But where did you get it?"

    "The same source that told me that sunflower seeds are just the government's ploy to get this nation an oral fixation."

    "Is that a limerick, Scully?"

    "No, it's a fact. Apparently the government wants the public to have an oral fixation to distract them from the truth."


    "I'm not telling you who it was, Mulder. Give it up."

    "You lie."

    "Do I, now? Plane leaves at ten o' clock. Be there or investigate dung heaps." Scully turned on her heels and strode toward the door.

    "Yeah? Well, tofrutti rice dreamcicles are the government's answer to Roswell!" He shouted after her. He wasn't going to let her know that he was about to believe her.

    "Nice try, Mulder. Ten o' clock." She called over her shoulder and walked slowly into the elevator that led her to the main lobby. She held the door open, waiting for the bounding partner that she knew would come.

    Mulder sat in his office, staring at the sunflower seeds in his hand. He threw them back into his desk in disgust, arose from his seat, grabbed his jacket and hurried after Scully, closing the office door behind him.

    Army Captain Charles Blake looked at the small trinket in delight. Having this small jade figurine would be the tool that awarded him his promotion. He was sure of it. Turning it over in his hands, he nearly fell asleep dreaming about the appreciative look on the President's face when he found out his precious monkey was recovered.

    As he was drooling over the artifact in his hand, Lieutenant Nicholas Brundt opened the door loudly. The two fifty-something men glared at each other for a second, as an old wound not quite healed was reopened. Tension crackled in the air between their gaze and the hair on their arms stood stiff. The Lieutenant sharply saluted the Captain, still glaring at him through disrespectful eyes. The Captain stared at the Lieutenant a moment longer, and then waved his hand to offer the lower-rank a seat.

    "By this time tomorrow I'll have you cleaning out my office." The Captain grumbled.

    "Oh, another unfair promotion?" The Lieutenant challenged.

    "I can have you court marshaled for insubordination. Keep that in mind, Lieutenant." The Captain spat the other man's title out with a venomous glare through his gray eyes. The Lieutenant glared back. "Time to bury the hatchet. I'm an honorable man, so I'll give you this one last opportunity to make amends. After this, I'll be seeing you in Hell."

    "With all due respect, sir," the Lieutenant hissed, "only men who lie go to Hell."

    "That's not necessarily true, Brundt," the Captain sighed, ditching the man's respective title, "liars, cheats, murderers, rapists all go to Hell. But in this context, yes, I do believe you're correct, liars do go to Hell."

    "How would you know, Blake?" The Lieutenant decided to throw his boss's respective title away as well. "Have any more dealings with the Devil?"

    "That's between Satan and I."

    "Before the Army turns into a religious cult, answer me this one question: why?”

    "Why what, Lieutenant? Why will you be cleaning out my desk tomorrow?"

    "No, that's not it. I see what you've found. I want to know why you cheated at that game of Scrabble all those years ago."

    "I did not cheat." The Captain sneered and walked over to his office door, opening it. He and the Lieutenant were going to take a walk around the base and make sure everything was in order during their off time.

    "Sir, you can't use a word that is non-existent."

    "It DOES exist, just not in Webster's Dictionary."

    "That's the first time I've heard you say that anything exists."

    "Well, it rubs off on people." The Captain remarked, walking back to his desk and placing the Jade Monkey in a locked drawer. He motioned the Lieutenant to the office door and the two men left.

    "But sir, aside from that, which may be true, it is strictly against the rules to use a word that wraps around the board." The Lieutenant complained.

    "Where does it say that in the rules and procedures manual?"

    "It doesn't. It's an implied rule. You just cannot do that sort of thing."

    "Well, I'll do what I please until otherwise instructed, Lieutenant. You're not in a position to tell me what to do. Antidisestablishmentarianism is a word and I intend to prove it."

    "What does it even mean, sir?"

    "I'm not sure, Lieutenant. I don't believe anyone knows. That's another of your orders, Lieutenant. Go look that word up in the Oxford English Dictionary." "But, sir, with all due respect, the Sergeant does the secretarial work, not the Lieutenant."

    "But I'm the Captain, and I say you're going to do it, am I understood? I'm not going to put up with your insubordination just because we were in the same squad and I was promoted to a higher rank than you." The Captain interrupted himself as a pudgy private jogged by, struggling to keep up with his group. "Better catch up with your platoon, Private, or the obstacle course will make minced-meat out of you!"

    "Yes, sir!" The private gasped and gave a feeble attempt at running faster. The Captain grunted under his breath and the two men continued walking. The Captain looked at the Lieutenant, a self-conscious grin crossing his wrinkling face.

    "Care to see exactly WHY you'll be cleaning out my office tomorrow?" The Captain nudged the Lieutenant.

    "Would I ever! There are so many rumors floating around the base about it, and it would be nice to get a confirmation." The Captain had every right to want to show his prize off. It wasn't every day that an important presidential nick-knack wound up in the hands of a powerful naval officer. "I heard you can perform magic with that thing. Is that true?"

    "Yes, it is." The Captain responded back, deciding that he'd try that out later, as he wasn't quite sure of the Jade Monkey's capabilities. The only thing that he had seen it do was sit there. But that didn't mean that the Jade Monkey wasn't capable of far worse.

    "And does it speak? Can you make it speak?" A Private picked up on the conversation and decided to chime in.

    "Yes, we have conversations all the time," the Captain lied, "but I would appreciate it if you paid attention to your duties rather than listening in on a private conversation. Get back to work NOW!"

    The Private turned on his heel and sped off to his duties. He sure as Hell didn't want to be court-marshaled.

    The Captain and Lieutenant continued on back to the office. Everyone they passed looked at them questioningly. The Captain stuck his chest out in pride and the Lieutenant thought of another question to ask.

    "Why, why is this thing so important?" He asked cautiously, testing the parameters of the Captain's knowledge of the Jade Monkey.

    "Because" the Captain thought for a moment, "Because it belongs to the President! The Commander In Chief! Stop asking me such stupid questions!" He roared. He arrived at his office and flung the door open forcefully. He stalked over to his desk. The truth was, of course, that he had no idea why this stupid figurine was so important to the President. But he couldn't let on that that was the case.

    He opened the locked desk drawer that he had placed the Jade Monkey in. However, as one might expect in the case of the "magical" Jade Monkey, it had disappeared.

    "Where did you put it?!" The Captain roared, veins popping out from under the skin in his neck. His face was fire red and his temperature had risen about a thousand degrees. The gray hair peeking over the edges of his flattop crew cut smiled at the Lieutenant in contempt. He growled a low guttural sound, and the Lieutenant cringed before the angry man leapt on top of him, causing him to fall.

    The Lieutenant pushed at the man futilely, trying to free himself. As he did so, he grunted, "Idon'tknowwhatit isyou'retalking about!"

    "You know EXACTLY what I'm talking about!!!!" The Captain roared and punched the Lieutenant. After all, this was his promotion on the line. The Lieutenant flipped the Captain off of him and onto his back, spitting in his face accidentally as he did so.

    "I do NOT! I did nothing with that stupid monkey! Maybe you misplaced it!"

    "Horse shit! You know who did this! You KNOW!!!!" The angry Captain growled, his face now glowing an almost radioactive shade of purple in his rage.

    "So is THAT what this is about?! You think I know where that damn thing is?! You think MY promotion is on the line here?! I have news for you, CAPTAIN Blake! I don't go through UNFAIR means to attain MY promotions! I don't RIG tests and KISS asses! I'm an honest man! And I don't CHEAT at Scrabble, a game I could EASILY whip your ass at any day!" The Lieutenant spat, angrily.

    "You and your dumb-ass can look that word up in the Oxford English Dictionary! It's there!" The Captain yelled in self-defense. He actually had no clue if it was there, hence his previous order to the Lieutenant to "look it up".

    "Yeah, antidisestablishmentarianism. I'll find that before I find the large picture of you next to the word 'ass', right?" The Lieutenant quipped, almost releasing his grip on the Captain.

    "Actually, yes." A voice said. The men looked up to see two figures standing in the doorway, one of a tall man and the other of a petite woman. And neither was in military uniform. "Special Agent Fox Mulder and my partner, Special Agent Dana Scully. We're with the FBI, and we're investigating the disappearance of a certain special presidential nick-knack. You men wouldn't happen to know what I'm talking about, would you?"

    The men shook their heads in response, still a little shocked at the intrusion.

    "Already?" The Captain asked.

    "What do you mean, 'already'? It's been missing a couple of weeks, now." Scully retorted. The Captain gazed up at her from the floor.

    "It's missing from my office." He said, feeling sheepish.

    "We were led to understand that you had the Jade Monkey in your possession. That you and a troop busted into a classroom and threatened it out of a little boy." Scully muttered.

    "You're not comprehending something here, Agent Scully. It WAS here about twenty minutes ago. But this INSUBORDINATE here," he glared at the Lieutenant, "took it and won't tell me where it is!"

    "You're Captain Blake, right?" Mulder asked. Before he got in the middle of this, he wanted to make sure he had the right people. Them just stating that they had HAD the Jade Monkey did not necessarily prove who they were. The Captain nodded.

    "And you are” Scully intoned.

    "Lieutenant Brundt, first class."

    "Soon to be 'Dishonorably Discharged Lieutenant Brundt'!" The Captain chimed in. The Lieutenant picked up the Captain's shoulders and then slammed him back down on the ground.

    "Will you two get up and stop acting like a couple of children? You're in the military, for crying out loud! The public has faith in you!" Mulder shot, and Scully nudged him, trying to suppress a grin at his last statement. He had no more faith in the military than the most paranoid man in the world.

    "You're right." The Lieutenant admitted and got up off of the Captain. The Captain got up and brushed himself off.

    "You say that the Jade Monkey continues to elude people as to its whereabouts?" Scully sighed and brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes. She looked the men over skeptically and waited for their responses.

    "That's basically what I said, yes." The Captain said, glaring at the Lieutenant, who was doing the same.

    "And NEITHER of you have any idea where it is?" Mulder stated, trying to spot a crack in the fronts the men were presenting. He found none. Neither truly knew where the Jade Monkey was.

    "How many times do I have to say it? No, I don't know where the damn monkey is, but I'm not so sure about the Lieutenant here."

    "I can assure you that I, as well, do not know where the monkey is." The Lieutenant spat and intensified his glare at the Captain. The tension in the room became nearly radioactive again, and Mulder started to back out of the room.

    "Okay, then I see that the two of you are of no help whatsoever with this case. We'll be in touch." Mulder grumbled and turned out of the room. Scully followed. As they were walking down the hall toward the exit, the tension exploded in the office and the Captain again leapt on the Lieutenant with an animalistic roar. Mulder and Scully didn't even flinch, they just continued walking. Scully raised an eyebrow and looked up at Mulder.

    "Antidisestablishmentarianism isn't a word, Mulder, so why did you say that it was?" She asked slowly. Mulder shot her a glance.

    "Actually, Scully, it IS a word."

    "Then why haven't I ever heard of it before? Not in Med. school or ANY of my history classes?" Scully sighed.

    "Because not many people know of it."

    "It is NOT a word, Mulder."

    "I'm telling you, it IS!" Scully was quiet, trying to choose her battles wisely. Mulder continued, "Look. Who went to Oxford here?"

    "Oh, so now this becomes a case of what COLLEGE you went to?"

    "No, Scully, but since I went to Oxford, the only dictionary we had to use was the Oxford English Dictionary."

    "I find that hard to believe, but for right now I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. And so since you used that, you think you know every word that's in it? Come on, Mulder. You were a PSYCH major, not an English major."

    "I have an eidetic memory, remember?"

    "Oh, big word, Mulder. That only means that you remember things in detailed photograph form. It doesn't mean that you remember EVERYTHING that you've seen."

    "I would remember seeing that word, Scully."

    "Alright, if that's true, then what does it MEAN?" Scully stopped walking and faced Mulder. Mulder worried his bottom lip, thinking. "I thought so, Mulder. You've never seen that word before in your life." Scully mumbled, turning around and continuing to walk.

    "So? Just because I haven't seen it doesn't mean it doesn't exist, Scully."

    "Ever the open-minded one, you are." Scully grumbled and kept up the pace. She flung open the exit door and walked out toward the rental car. Mulder hurried after her.

    "Jeez, Scully, will you slow down?" Scully saw her opportunity to get back at him for his earlier remark.

    "What? My 'stubby little legs' aren't good enough for you anymore?" She grinned, satisfied at the grumble she received in response. She got in the driver's side of the car and waited for Mulder to get in before she started it. When Mulder climbed in, Scully turned the key in the ignition and the engine sprang to life. Scully thought for a moment.

    "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy, Scully." Mulder mumbled.

    "Sometimes I wonder about you, Mulder. Where did you get that from?"

    "The look on your face. One might wonder if they were having a lover's quarrel. I wondered the same thing."

    "I wasn't thinking anything like that, Mulder. Their sexual orientation is of no concern to me." Scully responded, rolling her eyes. She began driving, and they soon arrived at a guarded gate. Then, they were allowed onto the expanse of country road that stretched for miles.

    "Say that again, Scully."

    "Say what again? Sexual orientation? Why?"

    "That's the first time I've heard you say that. You make it sound so kinky." He grinned and looked out the window. Scully raised her eyebrow for the umpteenth time and glanced at Mulder quickly.

    "Mulder, you're sick. There is nothing kinky about sexual orientation." Mulder growled seductively at this and Scully rolled her eyes.

    "You see, Scully? That's what makes our partnership or whatever you want to call it so great."

    "What's that, Mulder?"

    "The sexual innuendo. We can joke about it without actually doing it." Mulder grinned again and looked out the window at the countryside. It was going to be a smooth ride back to the hotel, unless, of course, Scully brought up antidisestablishmentarianism again.

    "So you're telling me that he carves little monkeys out of bars of soap?" She asked incredulously, brushing another unruly strand of auburn from her eyes. She yawned slightly and looked at her partner in the passenger seat. He leaned back and closed his eyes.

    "That's what I'm saying, Scully." He sighed.

    "How? Inmates aren't allowed to have or make sharp objects."

    "You're forgetting razors for shaving. You'd be surprised at how many inmates are killed every year with the razor from a shaving kit." Mulder responded. Why was carving monkeys out of bars of soap such an unbelievable occurrence?

    "So he just flipped out?" Scully continued with her line of questions.

    "That's what I've been told." Mulder mumbled. He found it almost comical that Scully had presented this case to HIM and yet he had all the information on it. "Scully, why am I telling you this? Shouldn't it be you telling me this?"

    "You're the one who wanted to call ahead to the jail and set up an appointment to interview Mr. Anderson. I wouldn't have objected to just dropping in on him." She responded.

    "I had nothing else to do in this godforsaken car. I've already lost count on how many bugs have committed suicide on the windshield and I got tired of cataloguing road kill. There are only so many raccoon corpses one can come across before you get to know exactly what part of the car the poor animal hit." He cringed as they came over another road kill created speed bump. "I think I can now be certified as a mortician for furry road pizza."

    "Alright, you got your point across." Scully mumbled and turned onto the exit that led to the prison. She looked down at the odometer for a second, mainly because she was mildly curious as to how many miles the car had on it. "You know, Mulder, this car has 39,640 miles on it."

    "Really? Amazing. So does my ass." He retorted.

    "Still, that's not too bad for a rental car."

    "It's not bad for ANY car, Scully. In fact, that's pretty damn good. A little TOO good." Scully couldn't resist tossing one of her patented looks his way.

    "What are you suggesting, Mulder? The rental company fooled around with the odometer? Fudged the mileage?"

    "That's a nice way of putting it." The car came to a guarded security gate and the two flashed their ID's and were allowed in. "Scully, have you noticed that every place that we have gone to concerning this case so far has had a guarded fence around it?"

    "That's what you get when you're investigating the Jade Monkey."

    "Stop it, Scully, you're beginning to sound like me." Scully pulled into a parking space and the two ascended into the building.

    Sitting across the table and handcuffed to it was the tortured shell of Mr. Anderson. His blonde hair was sticking every which way, he had dark circles under his eyes from lack of sleep, and cuts ran up and down his arms from his many confrontations with correction officers. He found the dull lighting in the room to be nearly blinding, and so he squinted. Hunched over in his seat, he held a monkey carved out of soap. Mulder and Scully watched him closely. Scully backed away momentarily, for psychology was not her area of expertise and she had decided to let her partner assess the fragmented mental state of this poor man.

    "Thomas Anderson?" Mulder cajoled gently. The anguished man nodded, rocking back and forth slowly. "Do you have any idea why you're here?"

    "The monkey willed it. It wills things. Did you know that?" He rasped. Mulder chanced a look in the man's eyes.

    "So the monkey has powers?" Mulder asked in his best psychologist form.

    "Yeah. Controls lives, you know. Controlled mine there for a bit, but I showed that bastard who was boss."

    "The monkey tried controlling your life?"

    "Had to give him away to Patrick. Good kid. Trusts the military too much, though."

    "Mr. Anderson, have you ever seen this 'monkey' perform some of the things you claim it can do?" Scully intoned. Ever the skeptic, she didn't quite believe in the powers of the Jade Monkey.

    "No, ma'am, but that doesn't mean that it can't do anything." He answered.

    "So exactly WHAT would you blame this monkey for?" She asked, trying to prove to her partner that the little piece of jade had no powers whatsoever.

    "Everything, damn it! Look at the current state of the world! We have men and women in high positions of power who want to distract us from the real goings-on! Bargain soap is a conspiracy!" He shouted, getting angry. Mulder turned to Scully.

    "See? Here's someone who agrees with me. The next time you disagree with one of my theories, consult my friend, Mr. Anderson." Mulder muttered and turned back to the man. "So do you know what the prison doctors are saying?"

    "About my mental health? Sure. They think I'm nuttier than trail mix." Mulder laughed.

    "That's a good one, I'll have to use that sometime."

    "But that's what they think of me, right?"

    "That's what I've been told. Do YOU think you're crazy?"

    "Do normal people carve monkeys out of soap?"

    "Sometimes, but only when they're either extremely bored or looking to make some money."

    "You lie. Who did you say you are, again?"

    "I'm Special Agent Fox Mulder, and this is my partner,” he motioned toward Scully, "Special Agent Dana Scully. We're with the FBI."

    "Oh, right. You're with the GOVERNMENT?!"

    "Relax, we're on your side!" Mulder countered, trying to keep his hold on the man's trust.

    "That's what they all say! And they all say I'm nuts! All of them! But they would be too if they held the Jade Monkey! Have you ever held something in your hand and felt that you had so much power that it was overwhelming?"

    "Yes, Mr. Anderson, I have. It was liver bile. And I had to suppress the power that I felt." Mulder mumbled.

    "What power could you possibly get from liver bile?"

    "Did you ever just have a bad day and want to ruin someone else's by smearing a good handful of liver bile on their nice, dry-cleaned suit?" Scully looked appalled at this confession, but decided that it was a moment from the past, and she would rather not get into it.

    "Ah, I see what you mean. Hey, do you want this monkey? I just carved it and I have nothing to do with it."

    "Are you sure?" Mulder asked, extending his hand to receive the monkey.

    "Absolutely. You're the only one who has believed me this entire time. Plus, I already have fourteen of them decorating my cell. The prison maintenance crew notices that soap is missing from the shower area and they just keep replacing it."

    "I noticed that you haven't been shaving," Scully said, gesturing toward the thick blonde stubble on his drawn face, "do you use your razor to carve them?"

    "Oh, goodness no. I use the steel bars in my cell to rub the different ridges in. I've been trying to grow a beard, though. So the razors are of no use to me."

    "None at all?" Mulder asked, almost disappointed that he had been wrong in his statement to Scully during the ride to the prison.

    "Nope. The others are all scared of me. They call me monkey man."

    "They're afraid of a meek man like you?" Mulder asked, surprised. The same surprise was mirrored on Scully's features and the man went on to explain.

    "You'd be surprised what effects my stories of the Jade Monkey have had on these men. They treat me like a God." Mr. Anderson got up as a prison Guard entered the room.

    "Time for his shower, agents." The guard muttered his apologies and led the man out. Mulder stared at the soap monkey in amazement. Scully began walking out of the room and Mulder, hearing her descending footsteps, followed.

    "It's strange." Scully mumbled.

    "What's strange?" Mulder asked, not quite understanding where her little outburst had come from.

    "Mulder, you don't find it the least bit disturbing that you could actually relate to Mr. Anderson?"

    "Why is that disturbing? You relate to people every day, and some of them are dead!" Mulder quipped, throwing his partner a sidelong glance in their journey back to the car.

    "But Mulder, this is different. This man is crazy!"

    "And dead people don't speak! Aside from that, he's not crazy."

    "What?! The man carves monkeys out of soap!"

    "So? What do you do when you have spare time on your hands?" Mulder asked, knowing in his analytical brain the reason that Mr. Anderson would pretend to be psychotic.

    "Whatever it is that I do, Mulder, it sure as hell doesn't involve soap monkeys."

    "To each his own, Scully, to each his own."

    "Anyway, why don't you think Mr. Anderson is crazy?" Scully wondered aloud, opening the door to the outside world and holding it for Mulder.

    "Scully, he admits that he's crazy."

    "How so? When did he say the words, 'I think I'm crazy'?" Scully asked, for the second time that day stopping in front of Mulder and giving him one of her patented brow-raised looks.

    "Scully, I believe his exact words were, 'Do normal people carve monkeys out of soap?' Normal people do NOT carve monkeys out of soap for no reason, and Mr. Anderson knows that. People who are clinically insane are not aware, at least in most cases, that their activities are abnormal. His behavior does not appear to be maladaptive" Scully turned and began walking again, rolling her eyes.

    "You wouldn't call obsessively carving monkeys out of bars of soap maladaptive behavior?"

    "He's not a risk to himself or anyone else, Scully. He doesn't even use a razor. YOU saw his medical chart. He's not on any medication, is he?"

    "No, but"

    "But nothing, Scully," Mulder concluded as he opened the passenger door of the rental car, "the man's not crazy, and that's it. His doctors cannot diagnose him because he does not exhibit all of the classic signs of any mental disorder, and so they can't medicate him."

    "Not even for his repetitive behavior?" Scully asked, getting in the car and turning it on.

    "I admit, Scully, it does seem that he suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. But they're not medicating him for it. I'm not aware of any type of therapy or treatment that they may be giving him."

    The car got quiet, neither Mulder nor Scully could think of any arguments to pose.

    "Come on, Scully, let's go back to the hotel. I'm tired." Mulder complained. Scully, however, was not about to show some sympathy.

    "No way, Mulder. We're interviewing that kid if it's the last thing we do. We haven't had ANY leads today, we're stuck on square one, and I'm damn pissed off." She grumbled back. A lot of grumbling had taken place between the two during the day.

    "You don't have to say that twice." Mulder mumbled under his breath. Louder, he went on, "Scully, 'that kid', as you so lovingly called him, is in bed right now. It's 10:30, for crying out loud! Let's pursue this tomorrow. I doubt he's doing anything other than going to school. Besides, he's nine years old. How far to you expect him to flee on his bike? Face it, he's not going anywhere."

    "Mulder, We've been interviewing pointless witnesses all day. None of them have left us with a single thread to work with. Captain Blake, Lieutenant Brundt, who, I might mention, is soon to be dishonorably discharged over a game of SCRABBLE, and Mr. Anderson didn't leave us anything to go on other than a damn soap monkey that is going to melt in the heat! I would LIKE to go back to the hotel with something that will let me know that all this driving has been worth it."

    "Hey, it hasn't been a complete waste. Those pancakes that we had at IHOP were good."

    "Mulder, we've been eating at IHOP all day. If I see one more pancake I'm going to pour the blueberry syrup all over your head."

    "Oh, touchy. See? You need to rest, too. I mean, come on. There is only so much traveling without air conditioning that the human body can take."

    "We had the windows open, Mulder. Stop complaining."

    "Bugs kept flying into my mouth!"

    "It's your own fault that you sleep with your mouth open. The air conditioning smells funny, so you can forget about that."

    "God, Scully, we sound like a married couple. Now you KNOW that's a sign that we need to get back to the hotel."

    "Fine, Mulder, but you're driving tomorrow, and I don't want to hear any more cockamamie excuses." Scully sighed, slowing the car down as she decided they didn't have anywhere that they were needed urgently.

    "That's another new word for you, Scully. Keep them coming, I get a kick out of them."

    "What? 'Cockamamie' doesn't turn you on?" Scully grinned wryly and kept her eyes on the road.

    "Not in and of itself, no. But if you were to say something like 'cockamamie sexual orientation', I think I may be forced to lock the adjoining door tonight."

    "You're a strange, sad little man, Mulder."

    "No. I believe a 'strange sad little man' would be that sheriff with the buck teeth that drugged you when we went to investigate those vampires a while back." Mulder retorted.

    "He did NOT have buck teeth, Mulder."

    "Oh, please. He had a face only Granny Clampett could love."

    "If that's what you choose to call me, go ahead. But then I get to call you Jed." At this, Mulder made a crucifix with his fingers and hissed. Scully just rolled her eyes and kept driving, relieved when the blue and yellow Holiday Inn sign came into view.

    She had to admit, the water did feel nice against her aching skin. She had yearned to be clean ever since they began driving around aimlessly after interviewing Mr. Anderson. They had a late start, and so they got back to the hotel late, but not without some trips to nowhere in particular. Scully turned the water off and dried herself, wrapping one towel around her body and another around her head. Padding into the bedroom, she sighed as she plopped down on the bed.

    She enjoyed lying on her bed in the air conditioning and thinking. She especially enjoyed the coolness against her skin. She looked down at the mirror at the foot of her bed. But standing in the way was the soap model of the Jade Monkey. Scully sighed and rolled her eyes, staring at the ceiling. Mulder found the monkey's unblinking gaze disturbing, so he had it resting on her bureau. The man's been shot, attacked by invisible forces, subjected to viewing men with their heads blown off, and went through college as a psychology major, yet he finds a simple monkey made of soap disturbing, Scully thought, grinning. She'd have to bring that up to him later. Her cell phone rang, and she jumped up from her bed to answer it.

    "Scully." She said briskly.

    "Are you naked?" The breathy voice asked in response.

    "What if I am?"

    "Cockamamie sexual orientation, Scully."

    "Mulder, you're sick. What do you want?"

    "If I'm sick, do I have to go driving around this hellhole and interview people tomorrow?"

    "You're not that sick, Mulder. We need a lead. I'm not ditching this case without a lead."

    "You're not planning on ditching this case."

    "Mulder, this is the most ridiculous case that we have ever been on. Alright, so I thought the anti-electrocution suitcase was stupid. I didn't even want to get into that psychotic dream case from a while back. But Mulder, those cases had...maybe it was possible that they had..."

    "Just say it, Scully."

    "They had merit. They intrigued me. Granted, I didn't have much of a choice but to get involved in the corporate cult case, but after I came to, it fascinated me for a good five minutes. This case has NO merit. We are chasing a two-inch tall jade figurine of a monkey that people believe has magical powers. And aside from that"

    "Scully, if I recall correctly, it was you who wanted us to investigate this little gem. It wasn't me this time, so why are you saying this case is ridiculous? After all, aren't all of the cases you pick out legitimate?" Mulder mumbled, deadpan.

    "Shut up, Mulder. Why did you call?"

    "We have to interview that kid, Scully."

    "Did I not tell you that earlier tonight?! Honestly, Mulder, I don't think you ever listen to me."

    "Huh? What? I'm sorry, what did you say? Something on the television distracted me." Scully hung up and glared at the adjoining door. She threw her cell phone at it, hitting the door with a thud. The instant the phone hit the floor, it began ringing again. Afraid that it was someone important, Scully ran and picked it up.

    "Scully." She breathed.

    "You never could ditch me quite like I can ditch you."

    "Goodnight, Mulder."

    "The boy knows something, Scully."

    "Sure, he does. He's in the fourth grade. He knows how to add, subtract, multiply"

    "That's not what I'm talking about and you know it. He knows something about this case."

    "Fine, Mulder. When you're driving tomorrow, we can interview whomever you designate. Even though I did want to interview him tonight."

    "Great. Be up at 7:30 or take the bus, where there won't be any stinky air conditioning."

    "But there will be stinky people"

    "Goodnight, Scully."

    "But, Mulder, we're not being monitored by the AD, can't we wake up a little...hello?" Mulder had hung up, as was seemingly customary for him.

    "A Digimon for Meowth? Give me a break. They're not even in the same league." Patrick sighed. Poke'mon trading was not easy. Especially when it took place during lunch. And especially when school rules forbade it.

    "Oh, come on, Pat. Meowth is a pretty crappy Poke'mon." His dark-haired friend said.

    "I agree. I've always liked Togapi." An adult male voice intervened. The two boys looked up into the eyes of Special Agent Fox Mulder. A smaller woman was standing by his side, undoubtedly his partner, the "enigmatic" Dana Scully. "I'm Agent Mulder, and this is my partner, Agent Scully. We're from the FBI."

    After the boys heard that, they hastily shoved their Poke'mon and Digimon cards into their pockets. A third boy casually tossed his own cards away from himself and whistled, walking away.

    "Are you Patrick?" Scully asked the shaking boy.

    "Depends…is Patrick in trouble?" He answered. Scully shook her head and the boy relaxed slightly. "Okay, then I'm Patrick."

    "Good. We're investigating a case about a so-called Jade Monkey. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?" Mulder asked, trying to bridge the comprehension gap between the agents and the nervous boy.

    "First tell me what jade is. Otherwise, I think I've heard of it before." The boy answered, loosening up still.

    "It's a type of stone." Mulder explained.

    "Mineral." Scully interjected.

    "Stone, mineral…when it comes down to it, they're all just rocks. Anyway, Patrick, as I was saying…have you seen a monkey carved out of a greenish-colored stone lately?"

    "My teacher handed it to me, and then he was arrested. Some psycho military guy has it."

    "Yes, and we've spoken to him, too. That's why we need to get any information from you that we can." Scully muttered to the boy. He grinned.

    "Are you gonna strap me down in a chair, shine a light in my eyes and ask me questions until I confess?" The boy's grin grew wider by the second.

    "No, but we may tie you on the rack and stretch your limbs until you squeal." Mulder said with a wry grin forming on his lips.

    "Cool! I didn't know the FBI could do that!" Patrick's astonished expression showed that he didn't know it was a joke.

    "There are a lot of things we do that you don't know about." Mulder winked. "Tell you what. Tell me all you know about the monkey and I'll give you this nice monkey carved out of soap."

    "No thanks, Agent Mulder. I thought the stone monkey was ugly, and this one can crack a mirror!" The boy exclaimed when he caught a glimpse of the soap monkey. "I'm not looking for a bargain. My teacher was just telling me not to trust the government and stuff after I took a test. I think he watches too much TV. He said that there was something funky going on in all three branches of the government. I just learned about them. Mr. Anderson said that I got a perfect score on the test," the young boy said with a huge smile, "and he said that as a gift, I could keep the stone monkey thingie."

    "This test was on the three branches of government?" Scully asked, genuinely curious what the curriculum for today's fourth graders was.

    "Yeah. I got the highest score in the class and I didn't even try."

    "Well, that's a very good quality to have, Patrick, but remember to study once in a while. Otherwise you'll turn out like a couple of the people we've interviewed." Mulder smirked, suppressing a laugh when he remembered the scene that he and Scully had come into when interviewing Captain Blake and Lieutenant Brundt.

    "You know," the boy muttered, deep in thought, "I do know someone else you can interview if you don't have anyone else to talk to." This earned him two inquisitive glances thrown his way. "My friend Chris was there. He saw the whole thing with the monkey. He could probably tell you more than I can."

    "Where does Chris live?" Scully asked, her interest piqued.

    "Ah, crap, Scully…” Mulder groaned when the two pulled up to the house. It was quaint, set in suburbia with a white picket fence and grass that was greener than the Jade Monkey itself. To the common onlooker, everything would seem fine. There would be no obvious reason for Mulder's outburst…that is, until the onlooker would catch a glimpse of the front door. Taped across the top of the door was a banner that read, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHRIS!"

    "So? It's a child's birthday party, Mulder. We've been through far worse." Scully mumbled.

    "Yes, but we're here to talk to the birthday boy, and we don't even have a present. That's rather uncouth of us, don't you think?" Mulder said, worrying his bottom lip as he shut the car off.

    "Mulder," Scully rolled her eyes and reached for her purse, "I've been carrying around this damn soap monkey all day, and it's getting heavy. Why don't you give it to him?"

    "A soap monkey. Just what every nine-year old wants."

    "If I'm not mistaken, Mulder, this is his tenth birthday."

    "Oh, so for the honor of becoming a double-digit, he gets a soap monkey? Gee, when I turn forty, can I have one?"

    "No, Mulder, you're afraid of it." Scully grinned and opened her door, rising out of the car. Mulder sighed and did the same, closing his door quietly. He crossed over to Scully and leaned over as they were walking to whisper in her ear.

    "This is the kind of house where you're not allowed to walk on the grass or else something will come out and eat you." Mulder whispered, a grin forming on his lips.

    "Please, Mulder. They have a young child. He probably plays on the grass all the time."

    "Yet note the absence of footprints."

    "Are you suggesting…"

    "Mothboy, Scully." The two reached the door and Mulder knocked. A young woman came to the door.

    "Yes?" The woman asked, raising an eyebrow.

    "I'm Agent Scully, this is my partner, Agent Mulder," Scully said with a sigh, whipping out her identification and shoving it back in her pocket almost instantly, "we're with the FBI. We would just like to ask Chris a few questions."

    "About what? My boy hasn't done anything."

    "No, but we believe he may have witnessed something, and we need his testimony." Mulder monotoned.

    "Fine, I'll go get him." The woman said, turning on her heel and retrieving her son. When the boy reached the door, he stared at the pair of Federal Agents with skepticism.

    "Hello, Chris," Mulder smiled, "I take it your mom told you who we are?"

    "Yeah. You're people from the government. But I don't pay taxes yet, so I don't know why you would want to talk to me." The boy mumbled, looking down at the ground and digging at the carpet with his foot.

    "We're not that kind of government employee. Why don't you come outside and we can have a nice chat?" Scully consoled the shy boy. The boy reluctantly opened the door and plopped down in a chair on the porch.

    "Chris, first I would like to say happy birthday. Agent Scully has a present for you. Scully?" Mulder motioned toward his partner, waiting for her to produce the soap monkey. When she did, the boy's face lit up first in joy, then in apprehension.

    "What…is it?" The boy asked, considering his question carefully.

    "It's a monkey made out of soap. Do you like it?" Mulder grinned, hoping to get the small soap token out of his hands. The boy nodded and accepted the monkey, placing it carefully out of his own line of sight.

    "Chris…we spoke with your friend, Patrick." Scully started, looking down at timid boy. "Oh no…Am I in trouble? I swear…I won't bring another one to school. I cross my heart and…"

    "We're not here to talk about the Poke’mon trading game that you and your friends have." Mulder chimed, noting the boy's quick huff of relief.

    "Do you remember a little while back when you were in school and your teacher gave your friend Patrick something for passing a test?" Scully asked slowly, making sure he understood.

    "Patrick always passes tests…but the teacher gave him an odd gift the last time. He gave him a chipped green stone." Chris said, looking up at Scully and suddenly feeling more secure with the line of questions. Scully nodded, smiling.

    "What happened after Patrick was given the little 'chipped green stone'?" Scully asked, settling into a seat of her own.

    "The army came and took it."

    "And what then?" Mulder asked, leaning toward the boy, not intentionally trying to intimidate him.

    "The stone was gone and Mr. Anderson was screaming like a nutcase." Scully nodded her approval and went on.

    "Chris…do you know where that little stone is?" At this question, the boy shook his head, then nodded, and then shrugged, as though he wasn't sure of the answer.

    "Well, do you or don't you?" The boy's mother chimed in, being rewarded with a glare from both Mulder and Scully. She retreated back into the house, sighing. The boy reached under his seat and pulled out a small stone, grinning timidly. He looked down and handed it to Scully, her eyes widening as it advanced toward her.

    "Where…where did you get that?" Mulder gasped, walking over to Scully and leaning down to look into her hand.

    "I told them I had to go to the bathroom." The boy shrugged, then got up and hurried inside his house. Mulder and Scully stared at each other, then looked toward the door. This case was getting more and more peculiar by the second.

    As Mulder and Scully drove away, a mother held her son close.

    "Good job, Chris. Wouldn't want them to find out where this baby really is." The woman said, pulling the real Jade Monkey from under the windowsill that they were standing at.

    "So do you think Chris' story holds water?" Mulder asked his skeptical partner, who was staring at the scenery that was speeding by. She glanced over at him and sighed, a strand of auburn hair blowing away from her mouth.

    "Mulder, there is something odd going on. The poor kid's mother seemed WAY too anxious about what her son was saying to us…like she, herself, knew something. Don't you think maybe we should interview her?"

    "Scully…she wasn't there when the so-called 'transaction' took place. She wouldn't know anything." Mulder sighed, pressing on the gas slightly harder, causing Scully to bite her lip.

    "I doubt that Chris would have been able to take the monkey by himself. He's a young boy who, according to his story, faced the United States Military and won. That just isn't possible."

    "I'll make a believer of you, yet, Scully. How many people have opposed the U.S. Military and won?"

    "None, Mulder. At least not by themselves."

    "That's what they WANT you to think, Scully. You mean to tell me that after all of the time that you and I have spent together, investigating cases and nearly being attached at the hip, and only because, I might mention, our investigative…"

    "Mulder, enough."

    "Anyway, Scully, After all of our time together, none of my bizarre rationalism has rubbed off on you?" Mulder grinned, glancing briefly at his partner before returning his gaze to the road.

    "Did you actually think I'd ever let it get to me? There aren't enough syndicates in the world."

    "Oh, and just when I thought I was beginning to love you." Mulder deadpanned, stepping harder on the accelerator.

    "Anyway, Mulder, there are holes in that boy's testimony."

    "You mean like how he could possibly get the statuette from a big, burly military man?"

    "Didn't I already present that objection?" Scully said, tearing her eyes away from the outdoors and focusing them on her partner's face.

    "Yes, but you failed to develop it. You would think that after the monkey was missing for so long, they would value possessing it. Don't you think that it would have been kept under tight military security?"

    "Well, yes, Mulder, but…"

    "I mean tighter than an army captain's briefs, Scully."

    "So, of course, the boy shouldn't have been able to obtain it."

    "Exactly, Scully. So the boy was lying." Mulder nodded, worrying his lower lip for the umpteenth time during that particular car ride into oblivion.

    "It seems like that is what I have been trying to say since this conversation began," Scully grumbled, "and all that you have been doing this entire case has been regurgitating what I have been saying. And stop chewing on your lip, Mulder. I've noticed that you've been doing that a lot."

    "It's an oral fixation, Scully." Mulder admitted, the tips of his ears turning red in embarrassment.

    "I thought that sunflower seeds took care of that."

    "Oh, it's much more far-reaching than that. Pen caps, my lip, sunflower seeds…nothing is safe."

    "I haven't noticed you chewing on anything other than sunflower seeds before, Mulder. You didn't…oh my God, Mulder, you did!"

    "Did what?" Mulder asked, eyeing his partner in alarm for a second.

    "You gave up sunflower seeds, didn't you?" Scully confronted, the laughter rising in her voice.

    "Why would I do that, Scully?" Mulder asked, the blanch of his ears spreading to his face, causing him to feel unbearably warm.

    "You believed what I said about them. That they were all part of a governmental conspiracy."

    "Don't you want to know where we're going?"

    "Mulder, don't change the subject. Don't even try it. I got you bad."

    "But haven't you even been mildly curious as to where we're headed?"

    "Well, yes…"

    "We're going to interview one of the Secret Service Agents that are stuck on the presidential detail."

    "And where do you expect that will get us?"

    "Scully, the man knew all about the Jade Monkey even before the president did. You can't get better testimony than that."

    Agent Rourke awaited the instructions that were to be transmitted to him through his ear piece at any second. The dinner was a very tense occasion, as were all functions concerning the President of the United States. The agent's job description included inspecting all guests, which meant performing extensive background checks and identification inspections at the door. He also had to constantly keep an eye on the president, along with the eleven other agents. He had to know at any given second where the "head honcho" had ventured off to. He practically knew the president's every bowel movement, and his responsibilities didn't end there. There was one particularly nasty incident where the First Lady had gotten angry at her husband and attempted to fling a lamp at him. Agent Rourke had been the first agent to tackle the hostile woman before the lamp could leave her hand. Yes, even the president's "marital bliss" was no secret to the Secret Service.

    The weary agent sighed, having nothing to do other than watch the president plaster a false smile on his face and attempt to flatter the wife of the Ambassador of Tibet by telling her how thin she was getting. Rourke grinned inwardly, knowing every word was false. The woman was as big as a barge, and had only gotten bigger since the president's last international function. Maybe she was just big-boned? He had no problem with larger women, he just didn't appreciate the president's dishonesty, even though he understood why the man was a compulsive liar. It was all part and parcel to the whole national security situation that he had to worry about.

    Rourke pressed on his ear piece, the awaited transmission making its journey to his ear drum. To any lay person, it would seem as though he had an itch in his ear that was dangerously close to his brown sideburn. He grinned as a belch was transmitted through his listening device. He leaned in close to his collar and pressed a small button that was connected to a microphone.

    "It's called Gas-Ex, Michaels." Rourke muttered into the microphone and watched as the faces on the other agents lit up. Agent Michaels' pale face became as red as a tomato, and he leaned down into his microphone.

    "How did you know it was me?" The blushing agent mumbled, intelligible only to those with listening devices. Rourke grinned.

    "Call it a gift." He muttered simply, keeping his eye on the president.

    "Enough, you two." A voice boomed into their ears, momentarily causing them to cringe.

    "Geez, Billig, turn the volume down!" Rourke grumbled into his microphone, struggling not to say something that would have been purely unprofessional.

    "Anyway, there are two Feebees here to see you, Agent Rourke." Agent Billig stated, having lowered his volume considerably.

    "Why me?" Rourke responded, curious as to why two FBI agents would want to discuss anything with him, specifically.

    "How the hell would I know? Just humor me, will you?" Billig grumbled back. "Their location is the front foyer."

    "Rourke signing off." Rourke growled in his cryptic Secret Service manner, turning off his ear piece and microphone to the objections of his coworkers. He began his descent into the front foyer, noticing immediately two people who seemed oddly out of place. It was somewhat humorous how, even though the federal agents were dressed similarly to everyone else in attendance, they could still give off the impression that they had stepped off of a different planet.

    "I'm Secret Service Agent Rourke," he said, extending his hand first to the man and then to the woman, "how may I help you?"

    "I'm Agent Mulder, and this is my partner, Agent Scully. We just need to ask you a few questions."

    "Did you know President Nixon and several of his Secret Service Agents claimed to have seen a UFO?" Mulder asked, grinning to mask the seriousness in his voice. He always felt like people were evaluating his sanity when he acted the way he felt regarding UFO's, and his attitude toward UFO's was definitely serious.

    I've heard that story, I think." Agent Rourke responded, wondering where in Hell that remark came from. Mulder decided to save face, so he formulated a reason for his inquiry.

    "Well, I've been hearing a lot of stories, too," he mumbled, "and I'm beginning to wonder about what I'm hearing."

    "What is that?" Rourke asked, his curiosity piqued. The Federal Agents standing before him were certainly the strangest people he had ever met, especially the tall one with brown hair. His petite partner had put on a serious façade, but, through years of training, he could see that she was mentally rolling her eyes. The tall man went on:

    "The Jade Monkey. A famous nick-knack, at least throughout the government and some top-ranking officials." The Secret Service Agent gasped, and Scully stepped forward, raising an eyebrow.

    "Agent Rourke, since you're close to the President, we believe you may know the origins of the monkey." Scully stated simply. Rourke surveyed his surroundings to see if any of his fellow agents were listening, then responded.


    "The Jade Monkey was made in China?" Mulder asked incredulously, raising an eyebrow. The Secret Service Agent nodded, glancing as one of his coworkers approached his side. The other agent smiled at Mulder and Scully, the "feebees" as they were called, and grabbed Rourke's arm.

    "Rourke, the Ham Hock is ready to retreat to the oval office now." The shorter agent mumbled, grinning still.

    "Ham Hock?" Scully asked, raising an eyebrow.

    "Our code-name for the President." Rourke whispered, grinning. He gestured his goodbye, turned on his heel, and followed the other agent into the dining hall.

    "Hey, Scully, is the trunk locked?" Mulder asked, referring to the trunk of their car, where the Jade Monkey was hidden. Scully nodded in the affirmative and decided to ask her partner something that had been plaguing her during this particular visit to the White House.

    "Why don't we just give the monkey to the President now and get it over with?"

    "We could do that, Scully, or we could give him the real thing."

    "What do you mean? I thought we had the real thing."

    "Senior moment, Scully? Don't you remember the conversation we had on the way here? Besides, something that our dear friend, Agent Rourke mentioned before rang a bell, and it wasn't the good kind."

    "Mulder, the only meaningful thing he said was that it was made in China."

    "Exactly. I looked all over that thing, and there was nothing mentioning where it came from."

    "It could have been on a sticker, Mulder"

    "Not likely. When dealing with Jade or other stones"

    "Minerals." Scully interjected, causing Mulder to roll his eyes.

    "And other STONES, the country of origin is commonly inscribed on the bottom."

    "And this replica doesn't have it?"

    "Nope. Someone thinks this monkey is important enough to hide."

    "I came to that conclusion long ago, Mulder, when our interview with Mr. Anderson occurred." Scully sighed, flipping her auburn locks and beginning her walk out of the White House and toward the car.

    Thomas Anderson rubbed frantically at the bars of his cell with a small bar of soap. One more groove and he'd be done. This, the latest addition to his collection, was the twelfth he had carved that day. The prison guards just walked by his cell and made disapproving clicking sounds with their tongues. One guard stopped in front of his cell and stared a moment, raising an eyebrow before ordering Mr. Anderson to put the monkey down and to put his hands through a rectangle-shaped opening in the bars so he could be handcuffed. Mr. Anderson complied, of course, for he was a very accommodating-and very insane-inmate.

    "You have a couple of visitors." The pudgy guard sneered, unlocking the cell after handcuffing his inmate.

    "But it's not visiting hours." The former teacher complained.

    "Interrogation, my man. They're giving you the third degree." The guard sighed, tugging Mr. Anderson out of his cell, and practically dragging him over to the interrogation room.

    I don't understand why you have to cuff me. I mean, I'm a pretty meek man, I refuse my razors, and I make soap monkeys all day. It's not like I'm going to kill you or anything."

    "You committed a crime against the United States Military. That doesn't dictate that you should be roaming free."

    "I haven't even had a trial yet! Remember 'Innocent until proven guilty'?"

    "You're a crazy son of a bitch. You think anyone really believes in that? You've already been tried, convicted, and lynched as far as I'm concerned." The stocky guard growled before opening the interrogation room door. He led the prisoner into the room, cuffed him to the table and left, calling over his shoulder, "He's all yours."

    As soon as the door closed, Mr. Anderson became fearful. Before him stood two very disgruntled and very deadly Federal Agents. After a moment, the tall, dark-haired man spoke.

    "How many replicas of this damned Jade Monkey are there?!" Mulder yelled, leaning over the table and slamming his palms down, causing Mr. Anderson to jump.

    "Being as it were, Agent Mulder, I had assumed that it was implied that there would be copies." The timid inmate countered, regaining some of his resolve.

    "Don't use big words you can't understand." Mulder spat, sitting back in his seat when he felt Scully's hand on his arm.

    "We were given what we had thought was the Jade Monkey, but it turned out to be a fake." Scully stated calmly, sitting next to her partner and across from the inmate.

    "Where did you get it from?" Mr. Anderson asked, amusement surpassing fear in his voice.

    "The house of one of your former students. Mr. Anderson. His name is Chris." Scully sighed, the fire in her eyes smoldering with every breath she took.

    "Geez, you feds really cut to the chase, don't you?"

    "What do you mean?" Scully asked, crossing her legs and leaning toward the eccentric inmate sitting across from her.

    "You could have gone to at least a hundred other places and they would've all given you the same thing-a replica."

    "And?" Mulder sighed, getting impatient.

    "You don't get it, do you? You were in the right spot. That kid has the real deal, but you didn't dig deep enough."

    "Are you saying," Scully said thoughtfully, "that every one of these 'hundred other places' that we could have searched has a replica of the Jade Monkey, but a 'real' one as well?"

    "No, silly. You over-analyze. You just happened to get lucky by going directly to Chris' house. He is the only one who has the actual monkey."

    "And how do you know this?" Mulder asked, less angry and more interested than before. Mr. Anderson grinned.

    "The monkey I gave to Patrick was a diversion. The plan is ingenious"

    "I'm sure." Mulder said dryly, tired of the game of cat and mouse that seemed to constantly be going on.

    "Do you want to hear it or not?" Mr. Anderson growled, glaring at Mulder. Mulder shut his mouth and gestured for the criminal to continue. "Alright, well you see, Chris' father is a Secret Service Agent, Agent Phelps. He took the monkey from the President, and it was my job to create a distraction to lead the military away from the monkey. So I gave a replica to a student of mine, fully knowing the military was on its way."

    "Oh my God" Scully whispered, covering her mouth with her hand.

    "No, far from it, Agent Scully. Just your friendly neighborhood conspiracy."

    "Well, thank you very much for enlightening us, Mr. Anderson." Scully sighed, rising.

    "Where are you going next? Chris' house?"

    "No. We've been traveling all day. We're going back to the hotel." Mulder said, rising to his feet and yawning, stretching his arms behind his back.

    "Ah, I see." Mr. Anderson grinned, staring at the soap in his fingernails.

    "But one more thing before we go: This whole 'crazy''s an act, isn't it?" Mulder asked, walking toward the exit.

    "You betcha." Mr. Anderson stated simply as Mulder pounded on the door to be let out.

    The air around the Holiday Inn was still, save for the incessant chirping of the surrounding crickets. The only other sounds heard were the slamming of two car doors, a pair of weary Federal Agents making their way into the main lobby.

    "Scully, I miss my couch. Why couldn't we just work from our apartments instead of from this damn hotel?" Mulder whined, rolling his head around his shoulders to try and relieve a cramp in his neck.

    "Only you would miss sleeping on a couch, Mulder." Scully sighed, pressing the "up" button to summon an elevator.

    "And that's why you love me." Mulder said coyly, a small grin flitting across his face.

    "Of course, Mulder." Scully said dryly, rolling her eyes. She was looking forward to taking a warm, relaxing bath, free from Jade Monkeys and soap replicas.

    "So stop avoiding the question."

    "Mulder," Scully sighed, "I chose to book hotel rooms because this hotel happens to be midway between the White House and the prison, and it is also closer to Chris' house than we would be had we stayed home."

    "Oh, like you knew we were going to be paying a visit to our favorite Commander In Chief and America's number one teacher." Mulder said sarcastically, stepping into the elevator and pressing the button for the fourth floor. "Admit it, Scully. You just like the jacuzzi down in the basement."

    "You caught me, Mulder. You've found one of my guilty pleasures."

    "I can find another one, I bet." Mulder said seductively, moving closer to his partner and proceeding to invade her personal space. The petite woman smiled and raised an eyebrow.

    "Do you have a chemistry set in your back pocket that you haven't told me about?" Scully breathed huskily, closing the millimeter-wide gap between her partner and herself. Her partner frowned and looked down at the floor of the elevator as it stopped.

    "No." He said in a small voice, digging the toe of his shoe into one of the floor tiles.

    "Then you can do nothing for me." Scully said in her normal tone, pushing herself away from her partner as the doors to the elevator swished open. The two agents walked out of the elevator and turned left, toward their rooms. They bid their goodnights and unlocked their doors, walking into their respective rooms and closing the doors, returning the hallway to the blissful silence of the hum of halogen lamps.

    The angry mob lined up at the sign-in desk of the Holiday Inn, waiting impatiently for the receptionist to return from the ladies room. A particularly agitated man started repeatedly banging on the service bell, wanting to do nothing more than wreak havoc. After a few tense seconds, the way-too-cheery secretary returned to her desk, wearing a huge, idiotic grin.

    "And what can I get for you fine people this evening?" The woman sang, bearing perfect, pearly white teeth and minty-fresh breath.

    "The rooms of Special Agents Mulder and Scully." The man ringing the bell growled. The receptionist looked at him for a moment, a scowl flipping her grin upside-down and coldness creating frost on the glass of her demeanor. The man stopped pounding on the service bell and looked down at the ground, clearly aware that he had been making a veritable ass of himself. The secretary's face soon grew warmer and her toothy smile returned.

    "I'll see what I can do." She sang, typing the names into the computer. After a few minutes she frowned, a crease appearing in her brow. "I'm sorry, folks, there is no one here by the name of Skully. We do, however, have a Fox Mulder residing on the fourth floor." The mob collectively cringed at the mention of the agent's first name. An angry woman came to the head of the mob.

    "What the hell are you talking about? There has GOT to be an Agent Scully in this hotel! The woman grated, her fingernails digging into her sweaty palms.

    "How do you spell the name?" The secretary sang, slightly frazzled. A hum came and went in the group as they discussed the spelling of the enigmatic agent's last name. The angry woman shouted forth her response after the group had quieted: "S-C-U-L-L-Y!" At this, the receptionist typed in the letters and grinned as the results to her search inquiry were displayed.

    "Ah, you see, I had thought it was spelled with a 'k' instead of a 'c'. That's why nothing came up on the computer." The secretary laughed, looking at the angry faces of her customers. Clearing her throat and lowering the brilliance of her smile by a few watts, she mumbled the room number.

    "What??" Came the collective response of the mob.

    "I said," the secretary shouted, her cheeks turning a deep rouge, "Mulder, room 4216 and Scully, room 4218!"

    The mob grumbled it's thanks and continued over to the elevators. A few of them started repeatedly pushing a few different "up" buttons, but no elevator came. A minute later, there was a tinny "ding" sound as a "down" elevator arrived on the floor. The doors opened to reveal a petite redhead wearing a blue swimsuit. Five seconds later, those doors swished shut and the elevator continued its descent into the basement. Too bad the mob had it's back turned to that particular elevator, for it carried Special Agent Dana Scully, on her way to the jacuzzi.

    A scream was heard coming from down the hall a bit, rousing Mulder from his sleep. He listened in the darkness for a moment and was rewarded with a sheepish response from the offending party: "Oops, we're sorry, ma'am. Wrong room."

    Mulder got up out of his bed and looked out of the peep-hole in his door. Hearing footsteps approaching from both the left and the right, he stayed glued to his hole, waiting to see who could be patrolling the halls. After a few seconds, a man wearing an ugly scowl and a mustache knocked on the door. He heard someone else knocking on his partner's door and his heart sped up a notch. Keeping the lights off, Mulder lumbered around the dark room in search of his gun. Before he could reach it, however, a deafening crash broke the silence in his room and light poured in through his open door.

    "What the hell?!?!" Mulder gasped in surprise as a group of about five angry people stormed into his room, surrounding him. One of the people wielded a lighter, it's flame flickering in the air. A third man looked at the man holding the lighter and sneered.

    "What the hell are you doing, Mark?!" The third man fumed, stopping in his tracks.

    "I thought I'd hold a lighter since we didn't have any flaming torches. We are supposed to be an angry mob, right?" Mark, the dumbfounded man holding the lighter reasoned.

    "This isn't television, and this isn't the movies! This is REAL LIFE, so quit it with the theatrics!" The angry mobster yelled, the veins popping out of his forehead. Mulder was kneeling on all fours on his bed, staring at the flame coming from the lighter. His mouth dropped open ion confusion and the flame went out.

    "Jesus Christ!" The third angry man growled, rubbing his temples and pacing back and forth in frustration.

    "He's not here right now, can I take a message?" Mulder quipped, rising to only his knees on the bed.

    "Shut up!" The frustrated man screamed, and yet a fourth man came up to him, laying a hand on his shoulder.

    "Relax, Peter. You get yourself so worked up" The fourth man soothed, keeping his hand on Peter's shoulder for support.

    "I know, but it's this whole 'angry mob' thing, and I've been at this for FIFTEEN years! Can you believe it?! FIFTEEN years"

    "And you've been an exemplary mobster"

    "And without a hitch"

    "He's a new boy, Peter, he doesn't get it yet. Just take a few deep breaths and everything will be fine." Peter stopped pacing and took a deep breath, thinking about what to do about this latest predicament. A crash in the neighboring room snapped him out of his reverie, and he rushed to the doorway. Throughout all of this-the pep talk, the anger, the crash in Scully's room-Mulder kneeled on his bed, confused. He moved suddenly and got up off the bed, moving toward the table on the opposite side. A burly man stood in Mulder's way and wasn't about to let him past to get his gun. Mulder sighed, realizing that he had no way out of both the room and this dilemma.

    "Is she in there?" Peter asked, leaning slightly on the splintered door frame and trying to look into Scully's room. The angry woman who got into the confrontation with the receptionist growled in response.

    "She's not in here." The woman rasped, coming out of Scully's room and into Mulder's. Peter turned back toward Mulder and the rest of the crowd, sighing.

    "Turn on the light, Bruce." Peter mumbled to the big man standing in front of Mulder. Bruce reached behind him and flicked on the light. Mulder stared up at him angrily, balling his fists, his cheeks turning a deep red. Peter stepped forward.

    "I'm sorry for the inconvenience, Agent Mulder. You see, Mark, he's new. He doesn't know the drill."

    "Shut the HELL up! Who the fuck are you and WHAT do you want?!" Mulder screamed, struggling to maintain control because, after all, slugging Bruce could prove to be painful-and not for Bruce, either. Peter pushed Mulder hard down on to his bed.

    "It's OUR turn to ask the questions, Agent Mulder. Where's the monkey?!"

    "I don't have the monkey, and neither does my partner." Mulder whined, then gasped as Peter climbed on top of his sprawled form, straddling him. "Wait! What are you doing?!"

    "You're going to get just what you deserve, Agent Mulder." Peter growled, holding Mulder's shoulders down with his strong arms.

    "Loogie of death! Loogie of death!" The other henchmen in the room shouted, encouraging Peter. The first gleam of spittle began it's descent down Peter's slightly parted lips.

    "No! Nooo! You don't understand," Mulder screamed, trying to squirm under Peter's grasp, "I don't have the ACTUAL monkey! I just have a replica!"

    "And for that you must face the loogie of death." Bruce said calmly, exposing white teeth between pinkish-brown lips.

    "Freeze!" Two voices shouted in unison. Peter flung his head over his right shoulder to see who shouted, causing a large glob of spit to land on Mulder's forehead, which, in turn, caused Mulder to scream.

    The two police officers advanced into the room, motioning for their back-up to follow. Peter was pulled off of Mulder and promptly handcuffed. The other members of the band of angry people were also handcuffed and led out to the prisoner wagon waiting in the parking lot. Mulder just lied on his bed, whimpering, afraid to move lest the loogie should slide down his face. Scully showed up covered in a green bath robe in the doorway and questioned one of the officers as to what happened. She then jogged to her whimpering partner, taking a few tissues to him on her way.

    "Relax, Mulder, its just spit. Do you see where oral fixations get you?" Scully sighed, wiping up the spit blob and tossing the tissues into the garbage. Mulder sat up and ran to the bathroom, running the water. Scully nodded to the officers that she had everything under control, then sauntered into the bathroom after Mulder as the officers left.

    "Who said anything about an oral fixation, Scully?" Mulder asked as he obsessively scrubbed his forehead.

    "Spitting, my friend, is an oral fixation."

    "Yeah, well"

    "Come on, stop that, Mulder. You're not going to die because of a little spit." Scully murmured, turning the water off and leading Mulder to sit on the lid of the toilet, handing him a paper towel. "Now dry your head and go to bed."

    "You're a poet and you don't know it, Scully." At this, Scully gave him an insistent glance, making him hurry up and climb back into his bed. "Scully cancan I sleep in your bed tonight?" Mulder asked in his best rendition of a little boy's voice, causing Scully to roll her eyes.

    "Goodnight, Mulder."

    "Wait, where are we going tomorrow?"

    "Hopefully home. But first, we're going to arrest Agent Phelps and return the real Jade Monkey to the President, to the cheers and adoration of millions of tourists."

    "And the doors to our rooms?"

    "They're going to be fixed in the morning, billed to Uncle Sam."

    "And how did the cops know to come here?"

    "One of your neighbors heard shouting and called them after previously being scared by a mob of angry men. Enough questions, Mulder, sleep. We have a big day tomorrow." Scully sighed, entering her room through the adjoining door.

    "G'nite, Scully." Mulder murmured.

    "Goodnight, Billy-Bob." Scully responded back, closing the door between their rooms.

    The birds chirped in the warm afternoon air, advising each other of the latest bug nest in which to find food. The grass was green, the picket fence white, and all seemed perfect in suburbia. All except, of course, the raging Secret Service Agent being handcuffed in his front yard.

    "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law." Scully monotoned, having read the Miranda Rights on occasions too numerous to mention.

    "I know my rights, but you don't seem to understand!!" Agent Phelps yelled as the second handcuff was snapped around his other wrist. Mulder made sure the cuffs were tight, but loose enough to be fairly comfortable, then motioned for Scully to stop giving the man his rights.

    "What aren't we understanding? You stole from the President after he entrusted you with his life and his possessions, and now you're being carted off to jail. What is there to misunderstand?" Mulder asked, stepping in front of the man.

    "I didn't steal the Jade Monkey!"

    "That's what they all say, Agent Phelps. They all claim not to have done the deed." Mulder mumbled mournfully, returning to his position behind Agent Phelps. "Come on, now. Into the car."

    "Wait! Wait!! Before you take me to jail, can you please, please stop at the White House?" The man begged, resisting as Mulder tried shoving him forward toward the car.

    "Why? So you can steal more nick-knacks?" Mulder asked dryly, sighing in disgust. "I can't believe we were led on for this long."

    "You're being led on still! You will continue to be led on unless you just do as I ask!"

    "Is that the line you use when disciplining your son?" Mulder deadpanned, taking the man by the arm and dragging him toward the car. Scully gave Mulder a look and he stopped dragging the man just long enough for her to get a word in.

    "I think we should take him back to the White House. Call it intuition, Mulder, but I don't think he's trying to hide anything anymore." Scully said in a firm voice, looking Agent Phelps directly in the eyes. The Secret Service Agent slumped slightly in relief and walked to the car under his own power. Mulder submissively opened his prisoner's door, belted him in and closed his door, then sat in the passenger seat.

    "Lead on, Sister Scully." Mulder mumbled as Scully began the drive to the White house.

    Agent Stevens met the two FBI agents and a handcuffed colleague in the foyer in the front of the White House. Mulder and Scully had been told that he was the man to meet in order to find the truth.

    "Follow me." Agent Stevens said in a hushed tone, leading the trio to a janitorial closet and motioning for them to sit down. Agent Phelps accepted, but Mulder and Scully gracefully refused the offer, for fear of soiling their freshly dry-cleaned suits. "Alright. Here's the truth: the Jade Monkey was never missing."

    "What?" Mulder whispered incredulously, starting to get angry again, for he believed this was all just another lie.

    "Let me finish. It was here the entire time. Two hundred and twelve replicas were made, but there is only one true Jade Monkey. It has been hidden here, in this closet, for the past three weeks."

    "But why? Why hide the monkey and go through all the trouble of contacting the FBI if you knew it was in here the entire time?" Mulder asked, recalling all of the investigative work that had to be put into this case.

    "It was a birthday present to the President a few years ago. He claimed he never liked it much, but the guys and I would have to stand outside the Oval Office for an hour every day while he talked to it and tried to get it to cast spells. We all decided that we would like to try this Jade Monkey. To see if it works, you know?" Mulder and Scully nodded simultaneously, feeling sheepish. Agent Stevens produced the Jade Monkey from behind a corroded mop and placed it on the bottom of an overturned bucket, kneeling on the floor beside it.

    "I don't think you want to witness this." Agent Phelps sighed, rising from his seat and walking toward the door, Mulder and Scully following close behind. The trio shut the door behind them, listening as Agent Stevens tried his best to summon the powers of the monkey. Mulder unlocked the handcuffs around Agent Phelp's wrists, allowing him to rub them once the cuffs were off.

    "You're free to go." Mulder said, turning and walking away.

    "What, just like that?" Phelps called to him, watching him shrug in response.

    A knock came at Scully's newly repaired hotel room door, and she looked up from her work, sitting Indian-style on her bed.

    "Come in." Scully called, looking back down at the bulky book in her lap.

    "Ready to go?" Mulder asked as he opened and walked through her door.


    "What are you doing?"

    "Trying to find 'antidisestablishmentarianism'."

    "You haven't given up on that yet?"

    "Well, now I have," Scully said, closing the book, "it's not anywhere. There is no such word." Mulder shrugged and picked up his partner's bag on his way back out her door. She slid off of her bed and took one last look at the room before turning off the light and closing the door behind her.

    The radio suddenly sprang to life, pealing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" as a replica of the Jade Monkey rested on the pillow of the bed. Or was it?

    The cover of the Unabridged Webster's English Dictionary flew open and the pages blew as though there were a breeze coming through the room. The pages stopped turning when this definition came into view:

      "Antidisestablismentarianism- (n) Opposition to the disestablishment of a church or religious body; specifically, strong opposition to the disestab- lishment of a State Church, as was manifested in Ireland in 1869, when Gladstone disestablished the Irish church (Protestant) to which all the People, including Roman Catholics, had been compelled to pay tithes."