Wednesday, July 8, 2009


This was my response to a challenge on "Doubt."

"I'm William Muenster of Internal Affairs and I'll be taking this interview. Will you please state your name for the record?"

"Officer Joe Spurgeon, Chicago PD."

"Okay, Officer Spurgeon. You understand that this deposition interview is being recorded and that the transcription may be entered into evidence at the trial?"

"Yeah, I understand."

"Good. Now, what exactly is your complaint against the Chicago Police Department."

"They got me pigeonholed in this total joke of a job. It ain't right. They're discriminating against me."

"Let's address those points one at a time. Why don't you describe your job?"

"I work for the 'Arcane Threat Division.'"

"Excuse me?"

"Yeah, you heard that right. The Arcane Threat Division."

"Arcane? As in magic?"


"The Chicago PD has a Division devoted to magical threats."

"So they say."

"Wait, you're in this division, right? What do you mean 'so they say?'"

"I mean that they put me in this division, but I ain't ever seen no magic. Other cops in the division, they swear this stuff is real, but I ain't never seen any of it."

"What kind of 'stuff' are they talking about?"

"Crazy stuff, like magic and voodoo, evil spirits and fairy dust."

"You're kidding, right?"

"I sure as [expletive deleted] ain't! Just last week they claimed this guy was throwing fireballs at couple of our boys and called for backup. I show up and find this freak in black magician robes just standing there, flipping his hands like Spiderman, expecting something to shoot out. I walk up to him, sock him in the nose and cuff him. The other guys thanked me for saving their hides, but the guy didn't DO anything. What a bunch of [expletive deleted.]"

"And this happens often?"

"Every [expletive deleted] time. They claim they're in trouble, but when I show up there's nothing out of the ordinary going on."

"Interesting. "

"It ain't interesting, it's [expletive deleted] insane!"

"So what exactly is your role in the department? Officially, I mean."

"You're not gonna believe it. My job title is 'Paranormal Skeptic.' I am, in the words of my Lieutenant, the 'Official Doubter.'"

"The Official Doubter? So what are you supposed to do?"

"According to the Lieutenant? Doubt everything."

"That's it?"

"Yup. I'm supposed to show up and doubt."

"And what's that supposed to do?"

"Again, according to the Lieutenant, magic can't survive in the face of disbelief."

"So, if I understand this correctly, when you show up any magic is supposed to stop working."

"That's what they say."

"And you've never seen any magic."

"I ain't seen, [expletive deleted]."

"Hm. Officer Spurgeon, have you ever considered - and I can't believe I'm actually about to say this - but have you ever considered that you might actually just be very good at your job."


"Okay, I know it sounds crazy, but say, just for a minute, that magic really exists and that your division really tracks and contains magical threats. The fact that you have never seen any magic actually lends proof to the theory that you stop magic from working. Your ability to doubt would then be invaluable to your team."

"You have got to be [expletive deleted] me."

"I know it sounds far fetched, but you've got to admit it would explain what has happened to you."

"I can't believe you're feeding me this [expletive deleted]. I'm the one with the complaint here. You're supposed to be on my side."

"I'm on your side, Officer Spurgeon, but I also need to be fair. Let's say I could bring you irrefutable proof that you are actually performing the duty your job description prescribes. Would you be willing to believe it then?"

"I doubt it."

"Somehow I thought you'd say that."

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