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When Mori arrives at the station the desk sergeant makes a big show of finding her name on the twenty-page authorized translator list; by the time she gets back to Interrogation Two, Yusuf is fuming.

“About damn time!” he says. “So I’m right? They speak Pinter?”

“No,” says Mori, “Mamet. Not my specialty, but…”

“Are you actuallygonnafucking–” yells one of the perps.

“We’vebeentalking all morning and it’s like–” says the other.

“TRYING to spillthebeans–”

“‘Cause thesemotherfuckers–”

“FuckingMORNING they’ve been–”


“Areyougonnalisten? Huh?”


“So?” says Yusuf. “Can you make sense of that?”

“I think they want some beans,” Mori frowns.


“English is a shitty first language.”

“Better a first than a second,” Jarrod chuckles.

“Exactly!” says Mori. “So it would be easier than ever as a zeroth language.”

“Oh, like how they teach babies sign language?” Jarrod says brightly. “I’ve heard that can be really helpful when–”

Mori flaps that away. “So zeroth has been done,” she says. “But know what hasn’t? A negative-oneth language.”

“Negative-first,” says Jarrod.

Mori frowns. “No, I checked,” she says. “There’s nothing in the APA Manual–”

“So what’s after that?” Jarrod laughs. “Twoth? Threeth?”

“A negative-oneth language wouldn’t have these problems,” Mori grumbles.