“Explain yourself, doctor. Such accusations are not taken lightly.”
“I have here four specimens for your perusal.” The doctor lay upon a table the items he had found in Misha’s head: three tiny fingers, a small red conical cap, and the crisped carcass of a spider of unusually small stature. “These, along with nearly one-point-five kilograms of ash, were found inside Misha Temkin’s skull postmortem. I propose with confidence that these are the fingers and hat of a gnome” — the audience’s eyes widened — “and obviously the remains of a spider” — the audience tensed — “and what’s more they existed together inside Temkin’s head!”
“Blasphemy!” shrieked the Priest. “Satan! Satan! I see Satan in our midst!”
Mama Temkin, who had only moments earlier revived, once more passed out under the feet of the commission, and the audience again needed to be silenced by the Mayor’s hammer and the Peasant’s yelp.
“I am not amused, Galashnikov!” said the Mayor to the Sheriff.
“Nor I, Mayor, nor I. Misha Temkin had smoke from the ears, this is now widely known. It was this very smoke which was the greatest mystery and yet was also the mystery’s undoing. As I said, a gnome and a spider lived together in his head —”
“Did they fight?” asked the Peasant.
“I thought so at first, but it is counterintuitive. The gnome was tense and rambunctious, while the spider idly diddled all day. If thrust together, instead of vying for territory, I imagine they would opt for mutual avoidance. They had neither aims nor interests shared, and so they would do their best to live and let live, and cohabitate peacefully.”