Regi says “What began with tweets?” Farley gestures “All of this. Arkaby turned my brother’s demise into a sordid dimestore detective tale.”
“You hated my father!” “We had our differences, but I never wished him dead or serialized.” I say “You’re trying to put the blame on me?”
“Who else is responsible for the paradigm shifts, the shortages, the outages, global climate change.” “You blame me for the weather?”
“Don’t play dumb. You know climate change isn’t the weather.” “I’m not playing. Are you serious?” “You think climate change is the weather?”
Farley smirks and turns away. I walk up and grab his collar. “From now on I ask the questions!” “Get your damn dirty paws off of me!” “Huh?”
I slap him across the face, hurting my hand in the process. “Ow! What’s the big idea?” “Humans releasing CO2 causes climate change.” “What?”
“Please complete your question.” If my hand wasn’t still throbbing I’d hit him again. “What releases of CO2?” “CO2 from coal, oil and gas.”
I grab the Farley by the shoulders and attempt to shake him. I can’t budge him. “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?” “I’m talking about weather.”
“Everyone talks about weather but no one does anything about it.” “Then our days are numbered.” It’s time I show what climate denial can do.
There is no blunt object within reach so I take out the ERUPT Manual to apply some book learning. Farley says. “Where did you get that?”
“Let me explain it to you.” I give him a head shot with the book, tearing the cover again. “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”
Haven’t I heard that before? The ERUPT cover falls off. Farley mocks me with silence. I raise the book for one more attempt at incompetence.
“ARKABY! ” Regi jumps between us. “Why are you fighting with my uncle?” Farley and I say “He started it.” “I don’t care WHO started it.”
“He called me a climate denier.” She turns to Farley “What do you mean?” Farley rubs his head. “He overreacted. I never called him that.”
“I just called him a two-bit dimestore detective with unresolved masculinity issues and a serious Twitter addiction.” “How is that better?”
“It’s better because it’s true.” “Granted, but you admit he’s not a climate change denier?” “I don’t know.” I say “I’m standing right here.”
Regi says “Farley, what do you want?” “The only way to fight the Singularity is to cut off its roots. We need to bring down the Internet.”
“I thought the distributed nature of the Internet prevents that sort of one shop stopping?” “Yes. We need to do three things.” “Only three?”
“First, we take away everyone’s smartphones, starting with this tweeting fool.” “You’ll have to pry this phone out of my cold dead hands!”
“Ah, a volunteer!” Farley turns, his rigid arm coming up with a gun at the end like a hollow blue finger. “You’d shoot me?” “With pleasure.”
I don’t know what he means. “I won’t give up my phone. I’m under contract.” “What if I reimburse you the cancellation penalty?” “No.” “OK.”
There’s a place I go in my mind at times like these. I don’t know why shooting me gives my opponent pleasure. I don’t know what to expect.
Turning sideways to shrink my moving target area, I bend knees to lower my center of gravity. I remove my jacket and wrap it around my arm.
I slip off my necktie and wind it around my fist. Farley says “What the hell are you doing?” I say “Getting ready.”For what, a strip tease?”
I’m ready, certain I’ll withstand a gun blast, a knife stab, a fistfight, jujitsu or anything else, up to and including a vehicular assault.
He glances down the barrel of his gun. Any second he could shoot, without preparation, without anger. All he has to do is pull the trigger.
I’m ready. I haven’t many clothing items left to remove. “Uncle Farley, wait!” Regi takes me aside and whispers. “Put your clothes back on.”
“Don’t fight him!” “Why not? He’s being a dick!” “I know my uncle is being of a dick, but he’s MY dick.” “Huh?” “I mean he’s my uncle.”
“And he always wins his fights.” “We’ll see about that.” I turn back to Farley. “Don’t make me take that gun away from you.” He shoots me.
I step back but feel fine. I assumed it would be a bigger deal. “You shot me!” “Yes. Now you fall down.” “I don’t feel like falling down.”
“What does it take to stop you?” “More than you’ve got!” Regi says “Um, guys.” “How about I shoot you again?” “Why don’t you try?” “Guys?”
I grab Farley’s gun and we wrestle for control. Regi shouts “LOOK AT ME!” We stop and look. Regi is holding her arm which is dripping blood.
“You didn’t shoot Arkaby. You shot me!” Farley releases the gun. “How is that possible? I aimed point blank at him. I never aimed at you!”
We rush over. Farley says “How badly are you hurt?” Regi rolls up her sleeve. “It’s nothing. Just a scratch. Oh! Arkaby’s fainted again.”
Another black pool opens at my feet. If this keeps up, next time I bring swim trunks. Regi shouts “Arkaby! Snap out of it! I’m not hurt!”
I open my eyes “I’m all right.” “We know that. Regi was the one hit.” “You idiot! You almost killed us!” “I don’t kill people. My gun does.”
“Maybe so, but your gun doesn’t shoot straight.” “Second time is the charm.” “We’re talking about your actual gun, right?” Farley frowns.
“Regi, let’s get that looked at.” We head for the exit. “Leave at your own risk.” “Back off! I have your gun.” “I’m not talking about that.”
“If you leave this room I can’t protect you.” “Protect us? You shot at us!” “How long are you going to hold that against me?” “Pretty long.”
“This is the lab’s only safe room. The walls, floor and roof are reinforced steel. Once I lock that door from the inside, nothing get’s in.”
“Why do you hide in plain sight?” “You aren’t listening! The Singularity has already happened!” “Really? Where are the computer overlords?”
“My secret is very simple. It is only with the heart that one sees rightly; The essential is invisible to the eye.” “Huh?” I feel sheepish.
(The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery)