I miss the days when I could hammer a landline phone handset on the desktop until I got a response. Pressing cell buttons isn’t the same.
I consider smashing my phone against the wall. Instead I say “Listen IVR. Patch me through now or I will hunt you down and disconnect you.”
After a pause the IVR says “To speak to the Desk Sergeant, press 1.” That’s more like it! I press 1. “OK. I’ll connect you. Please hold.”
At last! A familiar voice comes on the line. “Rixey speaking.” Rixey? Why him? Rixey has been my nemesis since I began with the Department.
Throughout my police career Rixey has never failed to undermine my activities and or belittle my performance. I never could figure out why.
My suspension from the force was the happiest day of his life. Why did the IVR connect me with him? “This is Arkaby.” “What do you want?”
“I want to report shots fired at a police officer.” “Which officer?” “Me. The shots were fired at me.” “Aren’t you off active duty?” “Yes.”
“You aren’t really reporting shots fired at a police officer.” “OK. Just shots fired.” “Who fired them?” “Farley Granger.” “Did he hit you?”
“No. He hit Regna Granger. His niece.” “Uh huh. Is she OK?” “Yes. We’re at the Body Parts R Us Hospital. Are you sending a car out or not?”
Silence. “Rixey?” “A minute while I visualize your girlfriend taking a bullet for you.” “Regi’s not actually my girlfriend.” “Uh huh.”
I hear muffled laughter. “Am I on speaker?” “Maybe.” “Do what you want. I’ll handle things here.” “Keep your pants on. We’ll be over ASAP.”
“Listen Rixey. You and I had our differences in the past. You think I’m an incompetent boob. I think you’re a self-righteous narcissist.”
“What’s your point?” “Something’s happening here. We need to put differences aside. Stop being an asshole for once and take me seriously.”
“I’ll take you seriously when you stop being an idiot.” “Let’s both stop on the count of three. 1, 2, 3.” A pause. “You’re still an idiot.”
I sigh. “And you’re still an asshole.” “Nice talking to you.” “Wait. There are real crimes here and I can’t make any arrests.” “Like what?”
“I’ve discovered an illicit Caribbean trade in cadavers.” “A what?” “A Caribbean medical school has been importing cadavers illegally.”
“That’s why Farley Granger shot at you?” “No. He shot at me because I wouldn’t give up my cellphone.” “Why did he want you to do that?”
“Because of the Singularity.” “The what?” “The inevitable emergence of human level machine intelligence.” “Arkaby, have you been drinking?”
“Not a drop. It’s very simple. Farley shot at me because I brought my active cellphone into his shielded safe room here at Body Parts R Us.”
“He believes that a self-aware computer is controlling us through our cellphones and the only solution is to go completely off the grid.”
“Why is that computer selling cadavers to a Caribbean medical school?” “That’s a separate issue. I don’t yet know who is trading corpses.”
“I need evidence. What proof do you have of cadaver trafficking?” “I have Granger’s body on which an autopsy is being performed right now.”
“Wait. Farley Granger who shot at you is dead? Who killed him?” “No one. The cadaver I brought back is Willum Granger, Farley’s good twin.”
“Good twin or reasonable facsimile?” “Dead twin but not forgotten. Or buried.” “You found his body at the Caribbean medical school?” “Yes.”
“How did you get possession of the body to transport it back here?” “That’s a long story.” “Sounds to me like you’re the lawbreaker here.”
“Like Granger, you are nothing if not persistent. Actually, you are nothing. Send a car. I need some shuteye.” “Just don’t leave the state.”
“You think you can threaten me?” “I just did.” “I can make threats too. Once I have Granger’s autopsy results, I’m gone.” “Try it, idiot.”
My phone reads “Call Ended.” He hung up on me! I say “I love you too” into the severed connection. “You are one sick puppy.” Rixey replies.
“Rixey? I thought you hung up!” “Uh huh. I’ve logged your call as required by law. We’ll get to you when we get to you. NOW I’m hanging up.”
“Make it soon or I take matters into my own hands.” Silence. He really hung up! “You self-serving sonavabitch!” Rixey says “I’m still here.”
“Don’t do anything stupid ’til we get there…oh wait.” This time he really hangs up. To be certain I press the “End Call” button repeatedly.
My call to HQ complete, I am ready for action. Do I confront Farley in his safe room? Do I go another round with the Evolution Museum robot?
What about Willum Granger’s autopsy? Has Dr. Dot figured out the reasons for his DNA self-modification and the root of his imperishability?
One thing is certain. I stand at the epicenter, the sole individual capable of reversing the course of possibly paradigm-shattering events.
Not a moment to lose. I return to Regi’s hospital room. She is adrift in sleep, her long blond hair splashed across the starch white pillow.
I tread water beside her. Rixey said the police are on the way, but I won’t hold my breath. I am exhausted. When was the last time I slept?
The other bed looks very inviting. Regi’s eyes open. She pats the space next to her. “Come sit here” she says “We have unfinished business.”
I sit beside her. “What business is that?” “When A locked us in the PD Morgue freezer something started we’ve never had a chance to finish.”
I thought back to the day we confronted Granger’s cold-hearted killer at Police HQ. He got the drop on us and dumped us in the deep freeze.
Facing certain death, we sought comfort in each other’s arms, huddling together to ward off the cold. What had we started in that freezer?
I remember how Regi’s lips were reminiscent of a petite madeleine soaked in hot limeflower tea. I remember melting together despite the cold
I remember the freezer door suddenly flying open and half the police department and all the principles of the case standing at the entrance.
(The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery)