"Canary in a coal mine," said Olivia. She took the bracelet off her wrist and handed it to Oliver.
"Cool as a cucumber," he replied, handing it back.
"Cast a wide net," Olivia returned, throwing the bracelet at his head. He caught it before it made contact with his nose.
He opened his mouth to reply. "Crazy—"
Someone cleared his throat from across the counter. "Excuse me. Hello. My name is James McNair."
Oliver turned to face him, expressionless. "May I help you?" he asked.
"Yes. I mean, I think so. I got this card in the mail." James placed a simple black business card on the desk the separated him from Oliver. It said, in small silver type, "Your wish is my command."
James continued. "This address was on the back. I have no idea why I got this. But, here I am."
"Just one moment," Oliver said. He turned to Olivia. "Do you want to take this one?" he whispered.
She gestured to the bracelet that he was still clutching. "I believe it's your turn."
Oliver stood up. "Right this way, sir. Just follow me." As he moved away from the desk toward a red door marked, "Inward," he muttered, almost inaudibly. "Cat's out of the bag." He threw the bracelet over his shoulder to Olivia, who was waiting to catch it.
Oliver and James passed through the red door into a wide open space with a domed glass ceiling. The wall were lined with hundreds of what appeared to be post office boxes, each with a number. James McNair eyed the boxes closest to him. They were uniform in size, about 6 inches square.
Oliver strode confidently across the tiled floor until he reached box number 6262. From the pocket of his pale green scrubs, he withdrew a ring of keys. He chose one, seemly at random, stuck it in the box's keyhole, and turned. The door popped open, revealing a cheap looking cell phone. A confused James McNair turned to Oliver, but before he could ask a question, the phone began to ring.
"Answer it," said Oliver. "It's for you."
James picked up the phone. "Hello?"
"Susan? Is that you? Where have you been? I've been worried sick."
A longer pause.
"I'm on my way home right now."
James ended the call and handed the phone back to Oliver.
"I don't understand," James said. "My wife has been gone for two weeks, I had no idea where she is, and I come here, and somehow she calls me on a phone I've never seen before? This makes no sense.
Oliver took James' arm and led him gently back toward the red door. "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth."
Following James McNair's departure, Oliver resumed his place behind the desk next to Olivia. With their matching green scrubs, medium brown hair and round brown eyes, they could be twins, but they were not.
"You're awfully quiet," Oliver said to Olivia. I've been back for three whole minutes and you haven't said a thing." He stared at the bracelet that she was now wearing as he said this.
"Counting your chickens before they've hatched, are you?" Olivia replied with a smile. She slid the bracelet off and held it out.
He took it with two fingers and held it suspended in the air between them. "You were waiting to use that one. Nicely done. Unfortunately for you, you can't keep a good man down." He extended his hand with the bracelet back towards her.
"That didn't start with a C," she said. She did not take the bracelet.
"Remember? Last week we amended the rules. Pronouns and articles don't count," Oliver replied.
"Oh, that's right. And here I thought I'd caught you red handed," Olivia said.
"Nice one," Oliver replied. He slipped the bracelet onto his wrist.
"Hello? Am I interrupting something?" Both Oliver and Olivia turned. Standing in front of their desk was a slight, blonde woman. Olivia looked over at Oliver, then down at the bracelet. She motioned with her head back at the woman.
Oliver sighed. "May I help you?"