The Institute:Daddy Issues(4)

By: Evangeline Anderson

He sat back in his chair and frowned at both of us.

“Have either one of you ever heard of ‘Age Play’?”

“What’s that?” I asked blankly. Tampa has a pretty large kink com­munity but since Salt and I are Hom­icide and their prob­lems usu­ally fall un­der Vice, we don’t have much to do with them. Con­sequently, most of my kink edu­ca­tion con­sisted of what I could glean from watch­ing the 50 Shades of Gray movie which I’d thought was pretty stu­pid, to be hon­est.

Al­though there was that one scene where the guy puts the girl over his knee and spanks her…but I pushed the thought away. That kind of thing never did any­thing for me—I had no idea why that par­tic­u­lar scene lingered in my mind when the rest of the in­sipid movie was thank­fully for­got­ten.

“Age Play is where one part­ner acts much younger than they ac­tu­ally are and the other part­ner as­sumes an older role.”

“Huh?” I said and Salt said,

“I do not un­der­stand.”

Cap­tain Douglas sighed. “Look, it’s not my area of ex­pert­ise either. But ba­sic­ally one of you will have to dress up as a little girl and the other one is the Daddy.”

“What?” I de­man­ded. “Cap­tain, you can’t be ser­i­ous! That’s sick.”

“I’m afraid I am ser­i­ous, Sug­ar­baker,” he said, frown­ing. “Look—it’s not what you think. It’s not about in­cest or pe­do­philia—it’s…ah, hell…” He sighed. “I’m mak­ing a mess of this. Let me get someone in here who can ex­plain it bet­ter than I can.” He picked up his phone and spoke into it while I sat fum­ing. I knew ex­actly who was go­ing to be the little girl and who was go­ing to be the Daddy. It wasn’t like Salt would look good in a sailor dress and knee socks!

There was a subtle rap at the Cap­tain’s door and then a middle aged man with thin­ning gray hair and spec­tacles poked his head in.

“Hi, ex­cuse me. I’m Pro­fessor Stevens and I was told to come back?”

“Come on in, Pro­fessor.” The Cap­tain made a wel­com­ing ges­ture and I thought I saw re­lief on his face. He was passing the buck—bring­ing in the ex­pert so he could sit on the side­lines and not have to take the fall for whatever hareb­rained scheme had been cooked up for me and my part­ner. I crossed my arms and tapped my fin­gers im­pa­tiently as the man came to sit in a chair be­side the Cap­tain, across from Salt and me.

“Hello.” He smiled at both of us but he didn’t seem en­cour­aged by our re­sponse. I was scowl­ing at him and Salt was giv­ing him that pat­en­ted blank Rus­sian stare that most people find so un­nerv­ing.

“Dr. Stevens holds a PhD in Psy­cho­logy with an em­phasis in Al­tern­ate Sexu­al­ity,” the cap­tain said, mak­ing the in­tro­duc­tions. “He’ll be con­sult­ing with us on this case. And Dr. Stevens, this is De­tect­ive Salt and De­tect­ive Sug­ar­baker.”

Pro­fessor Stevens looked sur­prised. “Are those your names? Really? ‘Salt’ and ‘Sugar?’”

“Ant­oinette Josephine Sugarbaker, De­tect­ive First Class,” I said, em­phas­iz­ing the last part of my name. With a mouth­ful like that, is it any won­der I go by Andi? My mom read way too many ro­mance nov­els when she was preg­nant with me.

“And I am Viktor Pet­ro­vich Saltanov, also de­tect­ive,” Salt growled. “If you are here to ex­plain our as­sign­ment, please get on with it.”

“Uh—okay.” The pro­fessor cleared his throat.

“Ex­plain to them about Age Play,” the Cap­tain said en­cour­agingly. “Go on—just like you did for me, if you would, please Pro­fessor.”

“Of course.” The little man straightened his tie and as­sumed a lec­tur­ing air. I could al­most see him stand­ing in front of an aud­it­or­ium full of bored stu­dents with a pointer in one hand and a sheaf of notes in the other. “Age Play,” he began, “Par­tic­u­larly Age Play in­volving a per­son as­sum­ing the role of a younger child is of­ten widely mis­un­der­stood. Con­trary to what some people be­lieve, Age Play­ers are not pe­do­philes.”

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