A smiling, totally bald and very tall FBI agent named Pilf Masner approaches a podium, clears his throat and acknowledges a large cardboard photograph on an easel nearby. The photograph is of an unattractive, disheveled fat man in a t-shirt. He motions as if he is about to begin his presentation, but pauses briefly before doing so as he reads a note handed to him a minute before. After a moment he begins. The smile disappears and those present provide polite attention to the imposing middle-aged man.
"This is the last known photograph of Darren W. Lyle, which was taken by Mr. Lyle with his "webcam" on the morning of April 29, 2008. As you can see, he's a handsome young man with mistaken faith in the aesthetic appeal of his beard."
Pilf Masner pauses, ostensibly to allow his audience to appreciate his joke. The room is quiet until he continues.
"Many of you are familiar with the details of this case, either through personal experience in the department or through the media. That said, I want you to all approach this case anew, to consider the details with an open mind. In the last year, much has been said about the mysterious disappearance of Mr. Lyle and that will make it hard to be disinterested, but we must endeavor to do so. We are professionals.
"Our team is made up of representatives from law enforcement agencies around the world. Your job will be to guide them in their investigations and make progress, while at the same time withholding classified information from your fellow investigators. Naturally, this will not be easy, but those are your orders. I have no doubt in your abilities at reconciliation.
"You'll find the classified elements of the case in a sealed red envelope that is being circulated around the room by Lt. Krikorian of the FBI, as you all know he was present at the event and will be speaking to you momentarily. The Red Envelope and it's contents are not to leave the room. You may view the contents any time you like, but absolutely no copies are to be made. I wish you luck ladies and gentleman. I'm going to let Lt. Krikorian go over the details of the event with you now. Thank you."
There is no applause, and an awkward moment when Agent Pilf Masner's tie gets snagged on the cheap, flake-board podium. Masner tries to laugh it off, but most pretend not to notice, or are indifferent. Agent Pilf Masner is not well-liked.
Agent Alvis Krikorian gracefully ascends the three steps to the podium, but first acknowledges the presence of a friend nearby. He then produces a loud, single cough and begins speaking.
"Thank you, Agent Masner, I'll be brief in my little talk here today, at least regarding the more famous aspects of the disappearance and subsequent catastrophe. We all know that on April 29, 2008, the City of Boston was destroyed by a wave of Bavarian creme that originated at the corner of Tremont and Park Streets, and that it originated from the body of Darren W. Lyle. We also know that Mr. Lyle spoke for five minutes as he hovered above the Gardner Brewer fountain. Four different security cameras, and one cell phone recovered from the scene, show this plainly."
Alvis Krikorian opens and then sips from a bottle of water left for him on the podium, and continues.
"That's what we know, ladies and gentleman, as surely as we know our names. Until now, however, we didn't know what Mr. Lyle said as he sailed above the assembled crowd like a Macy's float. Now we know."
Several members of the audience, all law enforcement and intelligence people, looked at each other. The red envelope was not circulating around the room. Instead, three agents were studying the photograph and paper it held carefully, and it was annoying the other 36 people in the room.
Agent Krikorian could see that this was a problem, and motioned for the red envelope and folder to be passed to him. Within a minute, Alvis Krikorian had the folder open and in front of him on the podium. After a brief conversation with two other agents, he spoke.
"Ok, listen up everyone, given the time constraints, and the importance of digesting this new information before you return to your respective units, I'm going to go over what we have here. It's not complicated, but important." Agent Alvis Krikorian seemed annoyed.
"First, let me go over time revised time-line, shall we?" His attention turned to the paper, from which he read.
"Ok, let's see. At 9:40am on the day in question Mr. Lyle stood in a crowd of approximately 400 people, mostly tourists and State House workers, near the Brewer Fountain on Boston Common near the Park Street subway station. Video forensic analysis was done, and this can be clearly seen from several angles. It is, however, impossible to know what he said, up until now, but I'll return to that in a moment."
Most of the assembled sighed or shifted their weight; they wanted to get to the classified file. Alvis continued. "What we do know is that at 9:47 Mr. Lyle disappeared, and in his place was a pistachio nut, about the size of a...pistachio nut. The nut kept talking, apparently, as it still drew the rapt attention of everyone in ear-shot. At 9:49, Mr. Lyle re-appeared briefly and turned back into the nut exactly one minute later, at 9:50 and 48 seconds, and was never seen or heard from again."
None of this information was new to anyone. Much like the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the events of April 29, 2008 were known to everyone within a few weeks. A year had passed since the incredibly odd disappearance and subsequent Bavarian creme flood that killed 291,000 people. Alvis Krikorian continued.
"At 9:52am, complete disaster. The creme originated from the pistachio nut itself as it hovered. We've all seen the security video. Now, to the contents of the red envelope." Krikorian wasted no time reading from the classified document.