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XX. Sugarpig Productions

McCain sat in the stylish lobby of the up and coming video game production company, Sugarpig Productions. It was located in a wealthy part of the city that has stood as a bastion of success while so many other areas of Atlanta had completely fallen into ruin.

The building was very new and used the new building style for office spaces. In the old world, buildings were made of large glass panels and let in the natural light and showed off the surrounding area. Now the style was still glass but it was “smart” and instead of showing what was outside it showed whatever the girl behind the desk wanted, today it was a jungle scene. Something about it made McCain feel uneasy like something was watching from under the simulated leaves. He swore he saw a pair of eyes from under a broad leaf when he was startled by a voice in his ear.

“Detective McCain, he’ll see you in his office now.” The secretary said and smiled in an ‘it's my job to smile like this’ kind of way. Playing his part he smiled the same way back and said,

“Excellent, thank you mam.” He stood up from the comfortable chair and looked back at the still shaking leaf.

He followed the secretary through the lobby and through a set of fine dark wooden doors, She sat herself behind a large desk and motioned for him to continue through.

Sitting behind a large black stone desk sat the president of Sugarpig Productions, he saw the detective enter and stood to shake his hand.

“Officer McCain, a pleasure to see you again sir.” The executive said with genuine warmth in his voice. McCain noticed that none of it touched his eyes.

“Yes. A pleasure to see you again, I hope this meeting is not as gruesome.”

The other man in the room seemed for a moment to not realize what the police officer meant by that remark and then laughed to himself.

“Oh yes, that horrible incident with the young man in my building.” The pair had still been shaking hands and with that comment McCain stopped.

“No one has released that information to the public. How did you know the victim was male?”

Not breaking his stride at all the slick man answered “I just assumed, it seems most of the people on the street seem to be men.”

The host motioned for the detective to have a seat in a black leather armchair while he returned to sit behind the large stone desk.

“An interesting desk. A custom piece?” McCain asked, rubbing his hand on the carved stone noting the art style as somewhere south of the border.

“Ah yes. Aztec actually.” He said “Our first project focuses on a group heavily influenced by early South American civilizations, so I picked up something to keep my mind sharp and on task.”

McCain nodded.

“Some of those South American groups, the Aztecs in particular, were known for human sacrifice were they not? I heard it's part of the reason they collapsed. Something about sacrificing too many people instead of solving their real problems?”

The man sitting behind the desk laughed.

“Ah yes some of that good old Georgia education. No, no detective, the Aztecs and many South American groups, as well as countless groups around the world for that matter, engaged in human sacrifice at one time or another. The Aztecs collapsed however due to the invasion of the Spanish. Sadly nothing to do with their... erm.. preoccupation with sacrifice.”

The detective just nodded and looked toward one of the large windows.

“Is that a rat?” he asked and stood and walked over towards the large glass case containing a large white creature. Before he could reach in and touch it the man was at his heels and quickly picked up the small creature and held it to his chest.

“It's not a rat, it's a chinchilla!” he barked.

“My mistake.” The officer said and looked down at his notepad.

“I was just speaking to a man in your home neighborhood yesterday and he mentioned that everyone in your building seemed to own one of these rat… chinchillas.”

The man appeared to be flustered at this and strangely enough so did the animal.

“Checking up on me officer?” The man asked, stroking his chinchilla and walking back to his desk.

“Just following up.” McCain said and stayed where he was carefully watching the man and his pet.

The tension in the room began to rise and McCain became very conscious of where his service weapon was and slowly began to move his hand towards the strap securing it. As if on cue, the secretary opened the door and came into the room.

“So Sorry sir, and Detective McCain.” The woman said, sounding genuinely sorry. She was another one whose emotions did not seem to go all the way to her eyes. Like a doll going through the motions, something fundamental missing from her that the officer couldn't quite put his finger on.

“Yes?” the man said with some annoyance in his voice.

“Sir. They've come to a point in development and well. They would like your input.” The man sat there for a moment and nodded.

“Bring me two headsets please.” He said and the woman quickly left the room.

“Detective, let me show you what exactly weve been working on here.”

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