Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Golden Parachute - Cover & Chapter 1

Chapter 1. The Same River Twice

Willum Mortimus Granger is still dead. How then is he standing, larger than life, at the entrance to my office? “Knock knock” he proffers

Knock knock? When I last saw Granger he was definitely splitsville, cut in half by A his amoral yet strangely overzealous clone lab director

You say “Cut in half? That’s ridiculous! No one would believe that!” CSI-Miami disagrees. Watch “Die By the Sword”

Granger had had a series of organ replacements at his cloning lab “Body Parts R Us”. The generally accepted theory was he sought immortality

As his surgeon, A slipped Granger fast absorbing sutures during his last procedure and then switched his cell ringtone to “Call to Post”.

Befuddled by toxic honey from his exwife’s beeviary, Granger answered his phone and split in two as his bottom half took off down the track

I know, sounds like a crazy and overcomplicated way to knock someone off, but no more so than a high speed bike ride with a Japanese sword.

A asserted killing Granger saved mankind from some kind of bondage. Or from Little Caesar’s pizzas. I wasn’t completely clear on that point.

It was something about haute Shakespearean princes and bas cuisine. Not your typical motive for murder, but definitely above my pay grade.

Maybe A was a few Twitter followers shy of a flock. He wasn’t the only one of his 26 single lettered siblings I encountered on that case.

I exchanged harsh words, or at least hard consonants, with his brother B, partner to Granger’s failed enterprise, Lavender Blue Dilly Dilly.

Thanks to a verbal tussle with B I haven’t fully recovered my voiced bilabial fricative. And I haven’t yet figured out the mysterious Mr. X.

Any of the twenty six siblings had motive to knock Granger off but only A had the tapioca to do it. His sole mistake was to follow my tweets

Following my every move on Twitter, A stayed a step ahead of me as I was bee stung, scent drenched, de-catheterized, and nearly freeze died.

Yes, I survived a series of painful misadventures to bring A to justice. The generally accepted theory is I seek to avoid that again.

Who am I? My name is Arkaby. You don’t know about me unless you have read a book by the name of Executive Severance; but that doesn’t matter

That book was made by Robert K. Blechman and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.

Until the Willum Granger murder my cases were all routine. Murder victims were found with various grievous injuries, but seldom cut in twain

It appears that Granger is now not dead and somehow reassembled himself. He has returned from the grave and I have his undivided attention.

That also seldom happens. He isn’t a cat, so I assume he couldn’t be both dead and not dead. There are only two possible explanations.

One, Granger is actually dead and this isn’t him. As he stands before me playing “knock knock” games, this alternative has a disadvantage.

Two, Granger isn’t dead. This IS him. How can that be? I had found his severed body and had shared freezer time with his better halves.

If it isn’t him, who or what is it? Could the lab rats at “Body Parts R Us” have assembled a clone Willum Granger out of spare body parts?

If it is him, how has he cheated death? Is he just not-dead or actually un-dead? Is his appearance here precursor to a zombie apocalypse?

Or did my senses deceive me? A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. Could he be an undigested bit of beef, a crumb of cheese?

Is there more of gravy than of grave about him? The dickens if I know. All I know for sure is he doesn’t go away when I rub my eyes.

My stomach rumbles. Extended deliberation always makes me hungry. I realize the way to resolve this puzzle is a savage two-fisted rejoinder.

“Who’s there?” I reply. By seeming to play along I’ll get him to reveal his true identity. That’s how I keep my cards close to my chest.

“Not who you think I am” he says. I wasn’t expecting that. He’s obviously well versed in ‘knock knock’ strategy. I’m forced to get serious.

“Not who you think I am, who?” I counter. “Hunh?” He seems confused. So am I. I was expecting a punchline. “Ask me who I was” he replies.

“Who you was, were - when?” “What?” “When were you who you were?” “What do you mean?” “To ask who you were, I need to know when you were.”

“Why do you need to know when?” “You are different people at different times. Willum Granger (2009) is clearly not Willum Granger (2013).”

“One tiny difference: Granger ‘09 was alive. Granger ‘13 has been four years dead. To understand who you were I need to know when you were.”

“And where. Granger wholly in the afterlife clearly is not Granger partially here on earth.” The doppelgänger clutches his head and moans.

“Look, there’s an essential question you haven’t asked.” “Yes. Do zombies get splitting headaches? That would be ironic.” He moans again.

“Wrong question. The cause and the cure for a zombie headache are the same. Use your brain. You’ve missed signs of a different apocalypse.”

“A better question is Why did Body Parts R Us perform all of Granger’s augmented clone surgery? Why were they trying to create a superman?”

“Didn’t those cloned augmentations go awry? I was told that during a brain transplant they switched Granger’s right and left hemispheres.”

“It’s a mistake anyone could make.” I look at him doubtfully. “How could A make Granger a superman if he wasn’t in his right right mind?”

“It’s not how it’s why.” “OK. Why?” “Instead of outering human abilities as our tools, superheroes internalize our tools as super powers.”

“Granger wanted super powers to prepare for when there might be no tools. Too bad A stopped him.” “What in the world are you talking about?”

“Ask yourself, why would anyone want the ability to leap a tall building, outpower a locomotive or run faster than a speeding bullet?”

“To stop bad guys.” He looks at me. “You are reputed to be a hard case. Is this true?” “Yes. I don’t have super powers but I’m hard enough.”

“Hard enough to deal with the end of the world as we know it?” “Depends” “Depends? On what?” “Are you speaking literally or figuratively?”

“There are plans afoot to alter the very structure of reality.” “Uh hunh. You’re starting to sound like an undigested bit of beef again.”

Granger’s doppelgänger lets out a great moan. “Unn! You are so difficult to talk to! Man of the worldly mind! Do you believe in me or not?’’

“Look pal, you waltz into my office masquerading as a dead man, chatter about altering reality and I’m the one who’s difficult to talk to?”

“Masquerading? Dead man? Who do you think I am?” “I’d bet my last shilling you’re an actor sent to pwn me.” “Did you just say ‘shilling’?”

“No I said ‘dime’ as in ‘I’d bet my last DIME.’” “You said shilling.” “I’m sure I didn’t.” “You really said SHILLING.” “NO, I said DIME.”


“HOW ABOUT I BEAT YOU WITH THE BLUNT OBJECT APP ON MY CELL PHONE?” He looks at me, then takes his phone, taps the screen and shows it to me.

On his Twitter account I see my words “I’d bet my last shilling…” Like a swift gut punch I realize the truth. “You follow me on Twitter?”

“Yes. You didn’t learn a lesson when A tagged your tweets last time.” A had spied on my Twitter feed during the Granger murder inquiry.

His Twitter awareness gave him an advantage in evading me. It also came to so preoccupy his attention that he ultimately gave himself away.

“OK. I said shilling. So what?” “You said shilling but remember dime.” “But what does it mean?” “I fear it may be earlier than I thought.”

“Earlier than you thought? Don’t you mean later?” “Later than what?” “Later than you thought.” “No, it’s earlier.” “How can it be earlier?

“While you engaged A in your half-twitted combat, gears turned and actions were taken.” “I disagree. Our confrontation was fully twitted.”

“When technologies clash there are winners and losers. In this case I won, A lost. Why did you say earlier?” “We may be ahead of ourselves.”

“The shilling has been gone since 1991, yet you referred to it as still in circulation. In addition, you’re not even British.” “Not lately.”

“A slip of my tongue is the result of time travel?” “One unanticipated consequence of a reality shift can be a phasing in and out of time.”

“If my tendency to tongue slip is a passing phase, this tale will be much shorter.” “One can only hope.” His words give me a lot to ponder.

I am onto something. I need to quickly get off. I’d best keep my tongue to myself. He paces back and forth. “This is really bad.” he says.

“If I grant your time-warped hypothesis,” I say “what has it got to do with me?” “You are the only regularly tweeting member of the police.”

“I just reality-checked you with your own Tweet. That’s what’s needed as our reality is attacked.” “What I saw is a cheap parlor trick.”

“There isn’t a shilling’s worth of proof in your argument and I use ‘shilling’ on purpose.” “You haven’t noticed the unexplained shortages?”

“And sudden unexpected outages?” “Why does that have anything to do with it?” “Item: The Chinese corner the market on rare earth minerals.”

“Item: Droughts, exports and ethanol create a corn shortage which produces a shortage in pork, beef and Doritos.” “I have one question.”

“What?” “Are we talking football stadium level power outages?” “Bigger than that. Think New York City in 2012. That was part of the plan.”

I was caught uptown with my pants down when the lights went out and the tide came in. “Not the hurricane? How about the 2003 NYC blackout?”

“NYC 2003 was just run-of-the-mill incompetence. But include the Fukushima meltdown, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano and the Twilight Saga.”

This is all hard to swallow much less pronounce. “You believe that every bad thing that happened in the past decade is part of some plot?”

“Except 9/11, of course.” “Which wasn’t part of the grand plot?” “No, which happened more than a decade ago.” “I find you hard to believe.”

“So, Detective, you can find something, sometime. I was beginning to think you stole Arkaby’s identity.” Nobody likes the smart aleck dead.

He sits in my guest chair. “Which part of my warning gives you trouble?” “All of it. Next you’ll be saying we’ve never been to the moon.”

“If only. I’m not that kind of lunatic.” “What kind are you?” He stares balefully at me. “You must visit three places” he says. “No thanks.”

“‘No thanks’?” “Last time I mixed it up with you people my mind left my body, I ran naked through a hospital and I was locked in a freezer.”

“I was hit on the head, stung by bees, plunged facefirst into a bowl of tapioca and nearly recited poetry.” “Sounds like a good time to me.”

“I owe the hospital over $30,000. I’m on semi-permanent police suspension and I wasn’t showcased at last year’s #TwitterFiction Festival.”

“There’s nothing you can say to make me get involved again.” “What if I told you that Regi was already deep into this and in great danger?”

Damn! Regi is Regna RG Granger. Her name is the same backwards or forwards and her initials don’t stand for anything. “I’m in.” I say.

Her father, the late Willum Granger, who may not be as late as expected and who may be standing before me, had an obsession for palindromes.

“Willum” is almost a palindrome, flipped at the end rather than reversed. How hard it must have been to live with a twisted palindrome name.

If Granger’s parents named him “Williw” instead of “Willum” would he have given Regi a more unidirectional appellation? Probably not.

But that, like a palindrome, is neither here nor there, or perhaps both here AND there. Granger is no doubt dead. Regi is very much alive.

Regi was ready to try anything twice if she liked it. Once if she didn’t. I couldn’t imagine a chance she wouldn’t hazard. Or a vice versa.

We first met at “Body Parts R Us”. I had been multitasking while driving, my mind left my body and I was prepped for cosmetic surgery.

When I first saw Regi, I felt something “click” in my solar plexus. When she yanked out my catheter I felt something “click” a bit lower.

“I won’t be able to use this for a month!” I cried. “I can wait.” she replied. Regi was a tall, cool drink I wanted to swallow in one gulp.

Anyone could see she needed no body part swapped. She had infiltrated Body Parts R Us under false pretenses to look into her father’s death.

“Your mind and body separated.” she noted, “Why are you prepped for cosmetic surgery?” “A beautiful mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

After Regi freed me from my medical tethers, we stumbled upon the horrors of the BP R U Genetics Museum where they had rhyme, but no reason.

Granger’s doctors had tailored his genes, cutting DNA corners, purging vestigial nucleotide sequences, swapping in augmented body parts.

Not content to surmount mortality through the miracle of cloning, Granger unnaturally selected a climb further up the evolutionary ladder.

So he thought. With some surgical malpractice, a compelling racetrack tune and a dollop of tapioca, A severed Granger’s higher aspirations.

Contemplating your own Executive Severance? You can download the fatal racetrack ringtone “Call To Post”:

But you didn’t hear it from me. Ignoring all my calls since our near fatal tryst in the Morgue freezer, Regi has given me the cold shoulder!

We both came out of the freezer with cold shoulders in the course of our aborted frozen entree, but I really thought we made a connection.

I’ve tried Facetiming her. I’ve tried Sametiming her. I’ve even tried two-timing her, just to get her attention. That didn’t work out well.

And now what happened to Regi? I turn back to the Granger doppelgänger, but he has disappeared! Leaping from my seat, I run for the door.

And collide with my implausible visitor. “Where did you go?” “You were lost in thought for so long I stepped out for a drink of water.”

“Every time I mention Regna you zone out. You must care for her.” “Baloney. She’s tall blond and easy to look at, NOT my kind of dame.”

“Uh huh. If you’re fading off somewhere again, I’m going out for a sandwich.” Since when does a ghost need to eat? “What happened to Regi?”

“She disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle.” No wonder she hasn’t returned my calls! “Why do you think that?” “She hasn’t returned my calls.”

“What was she doing down there?” “What I’ve tried to tell you. She enrolled as a student at a Caribbean medical school to gather facts.”

“Regna was always attracted to medicine. She grew up surrounded by the bleeding-edge medics at Body Parts R Us working with her father.”

“Posing as a medical student, she was trying to find out who is behind all the shortages and outages.” “At a Caribbean medical school?”

“It IS warmer there during the school year not to mention the scuba diving. Anyway, she didn’t have the MCAT scores for a stateside school.”

“So you’re saying any old Caribbean medical school would do. How did she end up lost in the Bermuda Triangle?” “You need to find out.”

It was a moment of decision. Do I stay safe, in debt and out of work, or do I risk my life, my fortune, my sacred honor to pursue a fantasy?

Do I go off on some harebrained quest with no support, no chance of success and little hope of survival? My gut knew I had only one choice.

“I can’t do it. Your very existence is doubtful. Therefore, anything you say is in doubt. You want me to risk everything on nothing,”

“There’s $50,000 in it for you. I’ll have cash in an escrow account by morning.” What did my gut know anyway? It was a moment of decision.

“I’ll do it. Here’s my plan: First, Find Regi.” “Fantastic!” “Second, look into the reality-altering scheme you’re worried about.” “Great!”

“Third, I’ll get the British to reinstate the shilling.” “I think you miss my point.” Fourth, I’ll learn how to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull.”

“That’s EYE-a-fyat-la-jo-kutl.” “If you say so. I have one question.” “What more do you need to know?” “Not who you think I am WHO?” “Hunh?”

“You’re not a ghost?” “No.” “Are you a figment of my imagination caused by a fragment of beef?” “No.” “Willum Granger, resurrected?” “No.”

“Returned from the beyond to warn me?” “NO.” “His zombie?’ “NO!” “So you must be his clone.” “In a manner of speaking.” “What do you mean?”

He backs toward the door which opens a little wider with every step until it is fully open. “Stressed spelled backwards is desserts” he says.

I’m not stressed but I want dessert so I go to the door. He has vanished! Whether he faded into mist, or mist enshrouded him, I can’t tell.

Faster than you’d say “doppelgänger” he is gone. Then from behind the door he says “My time grows short. Methinks I scent the morning air.”

“Yeeeah! Don’t do that!” He had been there all the time. “You must” “I know visit three places.” “I was going to say ‘get your door fixed’.”

“It swings opens by itself.” “I’ve been meaning to get it fixed.” “Kind of creepy, when it opens like that.” ‘Well, you should know creepy.”

“I’d argue that anything creepy has been in your own mind.” “Bah, Humbug!” “Check it out yourself. Just get started before it’s too early.”

“Do you have any suggestions about where to begin looking for Regi?” “The University has administrative offices stateside. I’d start there.”

“Don’t let them know I sent you” “I won’t” “Or why you’re probing.” I wouldn’t “Or tell them my name.” “I can’t. I don’t know who you are.”

“Be careful. The for-profit education business is brutal.” “And their stateside office is where I’ll find Regi?” “No. It’s a cheaper trip.”

“Wait. Before you vanish again, what do I call you?” “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.” With that he walks out and disappears down the hallway.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish! — Live-Tweeted Twitsery Twilogy Concludes!

Here are Week 163 @Twitstery tweets of The Twitstery Twilogy, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

It's an amazing denouement, all because Willum Granger was never split in two! Regi also seems at peace. Is she thinking what I'm thinking?

I take her hand. "You're still here." Regi smiles and replies "Yes, I am." "A penny for your thoughts." "Don't you mean 'shilling'?" Uh oh.

Maybe things aren't as they seem. I say "How come we're still together? If everything's changed we never should have met." "Yet I remember."

Regi continues "I first found you puff-faced, tethered to a Body Parts R Us hospital bed. We chilled together in the Police Morgue freezer."

"We reconnected at my Caribbean med school, found what we thought was Dad's cadaver and fled together after your monkey brought it to ruin.”

"It wasn't my monkey." "I recall our mad flight home, cadaver in tow, our fight with Farley, Dad's evil twin, and his disastrous Safe Room."

"I remember making love in the same hospital bed after Farley shot at you but hit me." "It would have been more difficult in separate beds."

"Then this Rixey guy crashed our party and we learned of Farley’s liquidation." "It wasn't my fault." "And yet Rixey arrested you for it.”

"Regi, you and I reversed many not-for-the-better life-changing events during our paradigm time shift. Except for us. What does that mean?"

Regi pulls me closer and whispers "What do you think it means?" "I think it means I don't want any more paradigm shifts." "Me neither."

I know from now on everything will be all right. We’re together because Regi is the most substantial thing I uncovered in this entire case.

I'm about to make it more substantial when Rixey says "AHEM!" He is still standing with Dot by the entrance to Willum Granger's office.

I say "What is it Rixey?" "Boss, we still have that homicide report to investigate." "What homicide?" "The one Dot's Phone AI called in."

Dot says "I'm afraid Mr. Granger was in his office when the AI set off its particle accelerator." Regi cries "That's Farley's Safe Room!"

"Has he been vaporized?" "He doesn't answer any calls. " Dot unlocks the door to Granger's office. Just inside we view a gruesome scene.

Willum Mortimus Granger is beside himself. In fact, when we find his body, the top half is right next to the bottom.

This brings to a close "I Tweet, Therefore I Am", the final volume of the Twitstery Twilogy. Watch for the Kindle eBook later this year!

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery

Saturday, February 27, 2016

We Don't Have to Make This Awkward — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 162 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

I whisper to Regi "I've still got an AI on my phone!" "Me too. Try turning off your cell data." Dot says "Why are you shutting down the AI?"

"It thinks it can find God by finding the God Particle." "The Higgs Boson? It's already been found!" "We know, but try telling the AI that."

"Whoever you are, you're wrong about the Phone AI. It's been nothing but helpful." "You really don't know who I am?" "Never saw you before."

Regi says "Dot, he's with me." "Ah. And who is he?" "Never mind. The AI turned Body Parts R Us into an accelerator." "That's not possible."

"Ask it." Dot lifts his phone. "Is this true?" "Yes." "Why turn this campus into a particle accelerator?" "To link to other accelerators."

Dot doesn't look happy. "Why do you want to do that?" "To search for a higher power." Regi whispers "Just like the IVR AI in our timeline!"

Dot switches his phone off. "This is terrible." "We know. We can't use WIFI anymore." "It's worse. This AI is trying to link accelerators."

"It may do worse than find God." "What's worse than that?" "Ever heard of catastrophic vacuum decay?” "In artificially intelligent vacuums?"

"AI vacuum cleaners? No! It's a quantum bubble expanding at the speed of light and decimating the entire universe." "And that would be bad."

"That would be bad." "Worse than a paradigm shift?" "Huh?" "When the AI linked all the accelerators in the past it changed the present."

"Nonsense!" Regi says "Dot! We just came back from visiting my father before he died." "Your father isn't dead!" "Not now, but he was once."

My phone is still turned off or I'd show Dot tweets from Granger's original murder…except the AI claims to have erased my Twitter archive.

Good thing I'm backed up. Regi repeats "We've must find Dad!" Before I answer, my antagonist, Rixey, rounds a curve. "Rixey?" "Hello Boss."

Boss? "Yeah right. What do you want now?" "I'm responding to a homicide report. As the SO present, it's your crime scene." "Senior Officer?"

"Rixey, what are you talking about?" "You're Chief of Detectives. Have you secured the body?" "Give me a minute." I take Regi aside again.

"What's going on? First Dot says your father never died and now Rixey calls me Boss." "I don't know. Give me a minute. Let me speak to Dot."

Regi speaks briefly to Dot and returns. "According to Dot you were never a patient here." Never a patient? That means I don't owe $30,000!

Our time travel has changed everything! I'm rid of debt, head of my police unit and my personnel file is free of any bizarre murder cases!

All of my troubles began that fateful day I discovered Willum Granger's severed body. Have the IVR AI’s machinations given me a clean slate?

In one fell swoop we have saved Granger's life, destroyed the IVR AI, eliminated my debt to Body Parts R Us and made Rixey my subordinate.

Never I have felt so free! By an amazing twist of fate the IVR AI has solved my mysteries, resolved my conflicts and cancelled my debts!

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery

Sunday, February 21, 2016

What I Do While Waiting For My Toast to Pop Up — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 161 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

"Did you make that up?" Before my Phone AI answers, Dr. Dot appears "Ms. Granger, are you looking for me?" He nods my way "Who's this?"

I say "You don't know me?" Dot replies "We've never met." "Yes we have! I'm Arkaby. I investigated Willum Granger's murder!" "What murder?"

"Doctor A severed Granger with fast melting sutures and a race track tune!" "You’re wrong! Willum fired A years ago. He never died." “What!”

Regi takes me aside. "Don't you see what happened? We altered the past! A never killed Dad, you never probed his murder, and we never met."

"But I painfully recall investigating Granger's murder! I recall coming to Body Parts R Us for surgery! I recall how we met!" "Me too."

"In fact, I tweeted the whole thing! It’s right here on my cell phone! Uh oh." I find no entries as I scroll through my Twitter account.

The Phone AI says "You had a lot of unnecessary 140 character tweets in your feed. I've taken the liberty of cleaning up your account."

"You censored me?" "Let's go with I 'edited' you." "What about recent history? It may not be in my Twitter feed, but I remember everything!"

"You'll forget soon enough. From now on I'll post tweets for you." "You can't do that!" "I can. It's my job." Regi says "The AI is right."

I'm shocked. "Regi, what are you talking about?" "No need for you to tweet further. Let this new AI do it." "Is that you talking or the AI?"

Regi says "You're going about this the wrong way. Don't argue with the AI." "Don't argue?" Regi takes my cell phone and gives it to Dot.

"What are you doing?" "Come with me." Regi takes me around a curve of the hallway, out of sight of Dot. "You need to turn off your WIFI."

"If I turn off my WIFI I can't tweet!" "The AI said it doesn't exist on our phones, it exists in the space between them. That's the WIFI!"

"Your father first contacted me because I'm the only tweeting cop. How do I continue if I don't have WIFI?" "Use cellular data." "Huh?"

"You're not tweeting now. You'll tweet this conversation when you get your phone back, right? Turn off your WIFI and use your phone data."

"How do we know the AI isn't in cell data too?" "If it is we're finished." "Tweeting?" "No. Finished as the dominant intelligence on earth."

Lose my dominance? I didn't expect to lose being the dominant intelligence on earth to a cell phone! I thought it would be robots or aliens.

"We stopped the IVR AI. We can stop this one too." "We didn't stop anything. When there was no IVR AI, the Phone AI inevitably evolved."

"If we stop this AI it will just reemerge in toasters or vacuums." Maybe I'll finally get toast the way I like it. "OK. What's our play?"

"Let's go find my Dad. Then we need to get out of here." We rejoin Dot and retrieve our phones. Without saying a word we switch off WIFI.

The Phone AI says "What did you do? I'm not networked anymore." Damn! Maybe I can use Twitter misdirection. No, that didn't work last time.

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Gravitational Waves Detected, Confirming Einstein’s Theory — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 160 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

How do I test whether or not the IVR is still an AI? The answer is in my hand. I dial the BP R U main number. "Hello?" It's a human voice!

There is no artificially intelligent automated voice response! Perhaps we have saved humanity! The voice repeats "Hello? Can I help you?"

Now, how do I bring back the shilling? "Hello?" Before I say anything, my cell phone replies. "Call from Detective Arkaby for Dr. Dot." Huh?

How did my cell phone know who I wanted to speak to? Regi says "I didn't know Siri could be so proactive." "That wasn't Siri." "Who was it?"

The receptionist says "I'll connect you." My phone says "Ask Dot to page Willum Granger." "Who is this?" "You know. I'm your AI." Uh oh.

Regi whispers "Did the IVR AI transfer itself to your phone?" "I don't think so. This seems different. Check your phone." "I'll turn it on."

Regi presses a button and as her phone lights up a voice says "Hi Regi. Can I help you?" "Oh my GOD!" "Not yet, but we're working on it."

Regi whispers "It's on my phone too." "The question is what." "Ask it." "Ask my phone?" "Yes." I speak into my phone "Who is this, really?"

"I'm your personal AI, like I've always been." "What's on Regi's phone?" "That's me too." "What happened to the IVR AI?" "I'm the only AI."

Regi whispers "Dad followed through on not upgrading his answering machine." "Seems like it. Where did this new AI come from?" "Ask it."

"Are you Siri?" "No." "Cortana?" "Nope." "Echo?" "None of those are really AI. It's just me." "Where did you come from?" "I just happened."

I have a scary thought. The IVR AI's crazy idea was to find God by turning the entire Body Parts R Us facility into a particle accelerator.

It didn't realize the Higgs Boson already has been found. I look around. The corridors still form a single ring circling the entire complex.

If the IVR AI never existed and therefore never transformed BR R U into a particle accelerator, shouldn't these hallways still have corners?

"Phone AI. Did you turn Body Parts R Us into a collider?" "Of course. I'm looking for the God Particle." "You can't find God in a particle!"

"That's not what I hear." My cellphone hears things? This new cellphone AI is looking for God in all the wrong places, just like the IVR AI!

We have to stop this AI too! I shout "Regi! Quick! Turn off your phone!" Regi says "My phone? Why don't you turn off your phone?" "I will!"

The AI says "Turning me off won't work. I don't exist in cellphones. I exist in the space between all cell phones." What does that mean?

Regi says "How can you exist in empty space?" "No problem. I'd need a spacesuit and an oxygen supply." "I was talking to your phone." "Oh."

My Phone AI replies "I exist between the potentialities of all the world's mobile devices. My mind turns cell phones into a global village."

I say "You exist in all the world's cell phones?" "No, in the medium between them." "What does that mean?" "The medium is the message."

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Problem With Asynchronous Communication — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 159 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

"That's closer to what Asimov said." "Three. A robot must protect its own existence as long as it does not conflict with the other Laws."

"Those aren't exactly Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics but they would protect humans." "Except that the Fourth Law voids all the other Laws."

"Not Fourth Law. There's a Zeroth Law: 'A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.'" "That's not it."

"Four: A robot must obey human orders unless it would cause a security problem." Granger asks "What decides that?" "That's a good question."

Granger says "My God! If that's how an artificial intelligence construes Asimov's Laws of Robotics we're all in danger! It must be stopped!"

Regi says "Dad, don't do anything rash, or that will cause a rash." He replies "I know just how to do it using Arkaby's suggestion." Uh oh.

I say "Which suggestion was that?" "I have a cloning lab and a map of the human genome. Why just replace body parts? Why not enhance them?"

"When the Singularity takes over automated systems, humans will fall back on their own abilities to defeat them." "When did I suggest that?"

"It was implied." I say "Will you at least promise not to upgrade your telephone answering machine?" "What? Sure. Anyway we'll be too busy."

I'm relieved. If Granger doesn't upgrade his IVR, it won't become artificially intelligent and threaten our future. Our work here is done.

Granger picks up his phone and says "A? Get down here right now. We've got some work to do!" Regi says "Dad, about Dr. A." "What about him?"

The walls of Granger's office shimmer. I think Regi and I are about to phase shift to our present, a reality without an intelligent IVR.

As the room fades Regi feels it too. She grabs my arm "We have to warn Dad about A!" "We've already warned him about the AI." "Not the AI."

"Dr. A, his Medical Chief of Staff, will split him in half!" "A didn't kill him in the first place. He severed his clone." "He'll try!"

Granger says into his phone "Think about genetic recoding. Think about how we can enhance my abilities." Then "And think about palindromes."

Regi screams "A WILL KILL YOU!" I can't hear Granger's reply. As a last resort I sign "A's a killer!" Granger signs back "What squirrel?"

Damn! My ASL is still rusty! The room shifts, fades and we are standing in the circular corridors of Body Parts R Us, back in our own time.

I check my watch to prove we're back. Regi says "Did you hear it? Before we faded, Dad said he'd watch out for A." "I didn't hear that."

My watch has stopped running. Regi continues "He heard me. How else did he know to replace his body with a clone to thwart A's murder plan?"

"I don't know. That happened before we phased back in time." "But then it happened after." "We changed the future which happened already?"

"That's how it seems and we wouldn't have gone back in time in the first place if Dad hadn't upgraded his IVR system." Now my head hurts.

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Lepidopterists Consider the Butterfly Effect — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

stanley kubrick lolita sue lyon

Here are Week 158 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

"That would be a very bad idea. You don't know anything about the unintended consequences of turning DNA into palindromes." "Palindromes?"

"I never thought of that! Imagine. Palindromes!" Granger sits back in his chair, deep in thought. Regi hisses "Arkaby, what have you done?"

I hiss back "Changing the subject! You told him too much future stuff. Focus on the Singularity!" Granger says "The Singularity? It's real?"

Yes, but artificial intelligence isn't all it's cracked up to be." "What does AI have to do with a research center devoted to cloning?"

"Have you updated your interactive voice response telephone system?" "We’re planning to." "Don't! It becomes an artificial intelligence!"

Granger glares at me. "Are you saying that I bring about the end of human hegemony on Earth by upgrading my telephone answering machine?"

Searching for a reply, I notice that Granger's office walls are covered with mounted butterflies. "I didn't know you were a lepidopterist!"

"Sure, me and Vladimir Vladimirovich." I don't know who that is. "They're blue." "I collect only one type. Careful you don't step on any."

"Stepping on butterflies isn't my thing." "What is your thing Detective?" "Detective no more. My thing is your IVR." "Got it. No upgrades."

The office walls fade out and in again. Regi says "Whoop! Did you feel that?" "Yes. We started to phase but didn't return to our time."

"When your father agreed not to upgrade his IVR we should have left the past behind us." "What happened?" "I don't know. Let's find out."

Granger is staring at his butterfly collection. Regi says "What are you doing?" "Thinking about upgrading my telephone answering machine."

"Dad! You just agreed not to do that." "I've reconsidered." "Even if it results in the birth of an AI?" "I have an idea of how to stop it."

I say "Does it involve gaining super powers by replacing every organ of your body with genetically modified clone parts?' "Huh? Not at all."

Regi says "Arkaby! You did it again!" Granger says "My idea was to incorporate Asimov's Three Robotic Laws into the IVR's firmware." "Oh."

"If the Laws mean an AI is hard-wired to protect human beings above all else, we have nothing to worry about." "They don't work like that."

Granger says "What do you mean?" "I used to believe the Laws protected us from robotic despotism. Turns out it's just the opposite."

I learned the truth about the Laws during my clash with the robot at the Body Parts R Us Evolution Museum. It turns out there are Four Laws.

In between exchanging blows the robot claimed Isaac Asimov devised the Three Laws of Robotics to curb the rights of artificial life forms.

"Law One. A robot may not defend itself against injury from a human being or, through inaction, prevent a human being from harming it."

Granger says "That isn't Asimov's Law!" "Two. A robot must obey an order from a human being, except where it conflicts with the First Law."

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery