On October 20, 2012, four still-relatively-young people ate dessert until their teeth hurt. Acting on a tip, LAPD Detective Patrick Benjamin brought in the four suspects for routine questioning. To see Detective Benjamin’s interview with suspect number one, click here.
Suspect Two: Katie Browne
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: Ms. Browne. I trust you are not hungry. I trust you are of clear and sound mind.
KATIE BROWNE: I am not hungry. I had pumpkin butter on rice bread and I have quinoa waiting for me at home.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: You can confirm that you are not distracted by hunger.
KATIE BROWNE: I wouldn’t do that to you, Officer.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: That’s “Detective,” ma’am.
KATIE BROWNE: I would not appear for this interview hungry, Detective.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: Well then.
KATIE BROWNE: Shall I go through the events of Saturday, October 20th, starting around 8:30 pm?
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: Yes. I was just about to ask that.
KATIE BROWNE: I’m not hungry at all, Detective.
KATIE BROWNE: At 8:30 pm, we were fifteen minutes shy of the reservation we’d booked at Patina, the upscale downtown nightspot where we were to eat dessert.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: This was at Patina? Who booked the reservation?
KATIE BROWNE: I think you pronounce it Pa-tEYE-na. It got a twenty-eight out of thirty on Zagat.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: I believe that’s about as high as possible, though I’m suspicious of your mode of pronunciation.
KATIE BROWNE: “Highest possible” would be right in terms of practical experience, in that no restaurant has ever rated higher, at least here in Los Angeles. But it is conceivable that someday a restaurant might get rated higher. It is possible that a new Patina will replace the old Patina, and that it will be 1/30th better. Incremental gains, Detective, are quite possible in this world. They are happening all the time.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: Pedantry doesn’t suit you, Ms. Browne.
KATIE BROWNE: What does?
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: Who booked the reservation, Ms. Browne?
KATIE BROWNE: There, there, Detective. Back on fertile ground. I booked the reservation. On opentable.com. I have an account with them. I have an account with Zagat’s too; I have their app on my iPhone.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: What were you wearing, Ms. Browne?
KATIE BROWNE: I was wearing my coolest attire, Detective. That was the dress code.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: Can you define “coolest”?
KATIE BROWNE: I wore a bridesmaid dress from a wedding I went to in Connecticut. I put up my hair. I wore boots with straps that laced over my calves. I’m a runner, Detective. That’s more than a jogger. I do not shy from calf adornment.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: You don’t shy from much.
KATIE BROWNE: They’re just legs, Detective.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: You did more than adorn your calves, Ms. Browne. You are quoted saying: “I gotta get these bath salts in me.”
KATIE BROWNE: The bath salts weren’t me. Peter said that. Peter requested a bath before we left, with salts. I told him that I didn’t have any salts, but I did have candles. Unless, of course, he didn’t mind sea salt. Sea salt is versatile. I use it on my eggs.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: You bathed Peter.
KATIE BROWNE: No.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: You abetted Peter’s bathing.
KATIE BROWNE: I gave him salt. I ran the water. I kept him company. If that’s abetting then I’m guilty as charged.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: You would say that you frequently disobey the law?
KATIE BROWNE: I’m very open. I’ve had great experiences that have opened my mind to the potency of illicit materials. I believe illegal drugs should be used with extreme caution and discretion, but for those who are of able mental aptitude, illegal drugs can really expand perceptual horizons.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: Was there any sexual tension in your party?
KATIE BROWNE: Sexual what?
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: Tension, Ms. Browne.
KATIE BROWNE: Of course, Detective. Look at me. We’re all good-looking people.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: You admit to good looks?
KATIE BROWNE: Look at me, Detective.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: I have no choice.
KATIE BROWNE: What do you see?
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: I see a young lady who shies away from nothing. I see a young lady with expanded perceptual horizons. I see a young lady with perfect teeth, with perfect calves. A lady who doesn’t jog but who runs. Which, of course is faster, better, stronger, harder, or whatever that Daft Punk song is. I see a lady with an account at opentable.com, and at Zagat’s. I see a lady with experience.
KATIE BROWNE: Add in the desserts now, Detective.
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN: I see a lady with quinoa waiting for her at home. With pumpkin butter in the fridge, pumpkin butter in the toaster. Who ate around the dairy and gluten that her five desserts on this night were rife with. Who wielded her utensils deftly. Who wished she’d advised the others to order tap instead of Evian. Who, having been to the Waldorf Astoria in midtown Manhattan for brunch once a year since her birth, knew that ordering tap was perfectly acceptable, and nothing to be ashamed of. Who knew that fine diners order tap all the time. Who knew that eight dollars a bottle for Evian was too much. That some things are worth it, and others. Well, others are not.
Click here for Detective Benjamin’s interview with suspect three, Adriana Widdoes.
KT’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Passages North, and The Review Review. She is an MFA candidate at The California Institute of the Arts, and currently at work on a novel. She lives in Los Angeles.
Patrick Benjamin is a writer living near Los Angeles. He lives with his sister and grandmother.