The serenity is short-lived. Raymond Chandler pokes my shoulder. “Stop stealing my stuff.” “I’m not stealing, I’m aggregating.” “Right.”
No, it’s David who pokes. He says “Wake up sleepyhead. We’re here.” We’re on the runway at San Juan International. Regi yawns and stretches.
I wake up with two flannel blankets in my mouth, a splitting headache, and sore for all that. I feel terrible. I feel like an amputated leg.
Regi looks like she feels the same. She says “We landed? I slept through it?” “Yes. We made it.” “This is the worst flight I’ve ever taken.”
David says “Here’s your bill.” “I paid you double going down.” “For you, not for the girl and her body, not to mention the cadaver cargo.”
“This is an outrage!” I hand Regi the bill. “If I were you I wouldn’t pay it.” “It includes my dad?” David says “Your standard carrion fee.”
“You are the world’s worst pilot.” “No one’s all bad.” “You come closest. I should get a freaked-out flyer’s discount.” “And yet you slept.”
“You too and you were piloting.” “Being awake’s only important on takeoff and landing. I think my terms are very reasonable.” “How so?”
“Reasonable considering I helped wreck a university, steal a cadaver, chase through a jungle, fall off a mountain and escape a Cuban jet.”
“Are you arguing for or against your position?” I say “Pay him. We have bigger fish to fry.” I point to her father’s body on the tarmac.
Regi says “I have no money.” I sigh and hand David a wad of bills. “Thank you. I hope you’ll fly with us again.” “Please, hold your breath.”
Airport security surrounds us. One says “What have you got in the bag?” I flash my cellphone police badge. “This is my body of evidence.”
“We don’t recognize virtual IDs. Do you have transport papers for this body?” Before I reply an ambulance drives up and Dr. Dot jumps out.
His dark suit perfectly pressed, his black bow tie perfectly tied, he doesn’t break a sweat striding forward. “Arkaby, don’t say anything.”
“Doc, I got this.” I tap my cell phone’s body shipping app. Regi says “Arkaby, let him do it.” He smiles. “Hello Ms. Granger.” “Hello Dot.”
He hands a large binder to the guard. “You’ll find everything in order.” The guard looks at the cover. “What the hell is ‘Body Parts R Us’?”
“Body Parts R Us is an organization devoted to cloning body parts.” “Organ-ization. I get it. You’re head of clowning?” “Cloning. Yes I am.”
“Our slogan is ‘We Take Your Part’.” “What do you do with it?” “What do we do with what?” “My part after you’ve taken it.” “Make it better.”
“I’m sure you do. What’s the story with the body?” “That’s Willum Granger, our founder. We’re taking him back.” “Why? His warranty expired?”
Nobody likes a smart aleck security guard. A second ambulance drives up. Dr. Dash jumps out. He shouts “Wait! I’m here to collect the body!”
Before passing to the great beyond Willum Granger appointed Dot and Dash Co-Directors of Body Parts R Us. They’ve been fighting ever since.
(The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery)