Wednesday, December 21, 2016

I Tweet, Therefore I Am - Chapter 1

God, is My Copilot?...

The rest is silence. A dark pool opens at my feet and I jump in, eyes wide shut. The pool has no bottom which means I soon will reach China.

?? I should open my eyes. I’m either dead or my watch has stopped. Death is not what I expected. First of all I’m still really hot…uh oh.

I remember a loud boom, a sharp blow and then nothing. Seems I’m still tweeting, way down here. One thing’s certain: I’ll stay with Verizon.

I experience the ineffable. No more mysteries. I’m done collecting clues, collaring culprits, confronting cons. I’m perfectly at peace.

This transpires when you expire. You Rest in Peace. I thought it was just a slogan like “The Medium is the Message.” You live and you learn!

Pull yourself together Arkaby! You’re not the first person caught dead to rights. You won’t be the last. You’ve escaped from tougher fixes!

It takes two people to make you, one people to die. Cut in two, Granger unified. He did it once, I can do it too. Except he’s still dead.

My father used to say the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time. I beg to differ. You don’t need a reason to stay dead

I tweet therefore I am. When young I believed death a phenomenon of the body; now I know it is a function of the mind, assuming you have one

That’s my way back. By my tweets ye shall know me. So long as men can tweet, or eyes can see, so long lives this, and this gives life to me.

“Arkaby wake up!” “Lemme sleep Ma I’ll find a job tomorrow.” I open my eyes. I’m lying on the tarmac next to Granger’s body. “I’m not dead?”

“No, you fainted.” My head rests on Regi’s lap. The sun, an hour above the horizon, poises like a bloody egg upon a crest of thunderheads.

The light has turned copper: in the eye portentous, in the nose sulphurous, smelling of lightning. No not clouds. Black smoke fills the air.

“I thought I lay dying. Where did those trigger-happy guards go?” “They scattered when the derelict jet landed.” I look down the runway.

Thick black smoke blankets the runway as emergency and security vehicles circle the same jet that followed us from the island. They made it!

Regi says “You were bowled over by the backwash when the jet passed over our heads.” “I was shot! I thought I was dead!” “They never fired.”

I sit up. “I’m not wounded?” “Maybe your pride.” “Don’t have any. That jet landed safely?” “Yes, and they scared away your firing squad.”

Who were those guys? Somehow they knew we were coming in with Granger’s everlasting remains. They were ready to kill to achieve their goals.

David says “Did your life pass before your eyes?” “I missed it. I’ll catch it later on YouTube.” “Did you see God?” “Not where I went.”

Dot says “This is our chance. My plane is waiting nearby. I can deal with Customs on the mainland.” Dash says “I have a boat. Let’s float!”

“Damn it Dash!” David says “Forget these clowns. I can fly you. I just gotta gas up.” Decision time. I look at Regi. She shakes her head.

I say “David, I’d like to say it’s been a pleasure flying with you.” “Gee Boss.” “But I can’t. We’re going with Dot. Dot says “Finally!”

Dot turns “Where did my pilot go?” Dash says “He took off when that jet landed.” David says “I can fly your plane.” Regi and I scream “NO!”

Dot says “How much?” “On the meter.” I don’t have a meter.” “No problem. I have one.” I say “I would revisit Hell rather than fly with you.”

David looks offended. “Gee Boss. After all we’ve been through.” “And all it’s cost me.” Dot and Dash load Granger’s body onto their Cessna.

David says “You’re gonna fly THAT?” Dot says “If I can find my pilot.” “Good luck.” As David leans against his air taxi a wheel falls off.

Regi says “Dad’s body is aboard. We’re good to go.” Dash says “All ducks are in a row.” David says “Still you have no pilot.” “Here I am.”

He’s tall, thin with an Errol Flynn mustache. As he strolls up Dot confronts him. “Where have you been?” “Got spooked by that burning jet.”

“We’re in the middle of the tarmac. Where were you hiding?” “I hid in this guy’s air taxi. I figured it wouldn’t be going anywhere soon.”

“Why were you scared?” “I thought that jet would crash. I have this thing about plane crashes.” “You’re a pilot!” “Haven’t crashed yet.”

“Fear of flying is a piloting advantage?” “I never take unnecessary chances, especially when it comes to not keeping my feet on the ground.”

Dot says “Orville is an excellent pilot.” David smirks. “You want to fly with that?’ Orville’s hands are shaking. I say “Are you all right?”

“No. I’m not Orville Wright. A frequent error. I was named after him, but no relation.” “Your hands are shaking. Are you sure you can fly?”

“Why can’t I fly?” “You seem nervous.” “Who, me nervous?” “Yes you. Are you OK?” “That’s just my pre-flight jitters. I always get them.”

Orville’s whole body is quivering. David smirks. “You’d rather fly with him?” Regi and I shout “YES!” “That’s what you really want?” “YES!”

Orville says “I’ll be fine. I’ll get it together.” David says “Then I guess this is goodbye.” “Goodbye.” “I’ll be moving along.” “Great.”

“You have my card if you ever need transportation.” “Sure.” “You know…” “What?” “It’s still not too late to tip the pilot.” ‘Fat chance.”

David doesn’t move. Orville say “Alright then. If everyone will climb onboard.” And to David “If you could just move a little to your left.”

Almost casually, David walks toward his air taxi. As Orville climbs into the Cessna’s pilot seat, his shakes cease. “OK, strap in” he says.

Turning, David shouts “Any live man is better than any dead man but no live or dead man is much better than any other live or dead man.”

I shout “Your illusions are a part of you like your bones and flesh and memory.” Regi says “Poor David. Do you regret letting him go?” “NO!”

Orville says “You’re not buckled in.” He turns to Dot next to him “You’re not buckled in either. We can’t leave ‘til everyone’s buckled in!”

Orville unbuckles and steps out of the plane. I say “What are you doing?” “Just checking. You can’t be too careful.” He circles the plane.

Dot sticks his head out the side window. “Can you hurry up? We don’t have much time!” “Almost finished. Is everyone buckled up?” Yes, YES!”

Orville climbs into the pilot seat, buckles in and starts the engines. Dot says “Are you sure the body is secure?” “I’d better check.” “NO!”

Three exterior fuselage surveys and four seatbelt checks later we are low on fuel and in violation of FAA flight crew shift regulations.

Finally we are on our way. Dot sits copilot. Regi and I are buckled in side by side. Granger’s everlasting body rests peacefully in cargo.

Regi asks “Where’s Dash?” Dot says “Returning by boat. He doesn’t like to fly.” Orville says “Don’t blame him. I don’t like flying either.”

I ask “If you don’t like flying, why are you a pilot?” “One has to use one’s gifts.” “Gifts?” “Yes. I’m a great pilot who hates to fly.”

What a great trip. First, I get the world’s worst pilot who loves his job, then I get this clown who shares his fear of flying en route.

Why has Granger’s doppelgänger sent me on a wild goose chase? I rescued Regi and uncovered her father’s parts in an illicit cadaver scheme.

What did he say to me? “There are plans afoot to alter the very structure of reality.” Huh? He also said he wasn’t a ghost, clone or zombie.

Granger cloned his body to meet an emergency. His death cut that short. To fulfil my pledge I had to step in. And then restore the shilling.

We cruise at a reasonable altitude. The cabin is soundproof and quiet. Regi shifts in her seat and her hand brushes my side jacket pocket.

She reaches in and pulls out the book from the anatomy lab. “What’s this?” “I don’t know. Some kind of guidebook but it doesn’t make sense.”

“Yorick tossed it at me when I was gathering packing materials.” Regi shuffles through the pages. “It seems to be some kind of manifesto.”

She reads “‘Existential Reality Update Prototype Template. The present Reality will be superseded by Version 2015.’ What does that mean?”

“‘Though Reality is not copy protected, fair use stipulations still apply. Use for educational purposes, but do not offer copies for sale.’”

“‘Idiosyncratic reality testing may be conducted at the user’s discretion.’ A new version of reality? What does that mean?” “It’s a joke.”

“This doesn’t sound like a joke, it sounds like directions: ‘The reality update can be networked in order to permit multiple realities.’”

“You CAN go home again. If home doesn’t exist in your current reality, this update’s windows allow you to go into someone else’s home.”

Regi reads “‘When leaving one reality, please turn off lights and lock up.’ This reads like a plan to alter the very structure of reality.”

“A plan to alter the very structure of reality.” I’ve heard that line before! I recall the incredible assertion of Granger’s false double.

Not too long ago Granger’s doppelgänger materialized at the door to my office, like the ghost of Jacob Marley. Scared the dickens out of me!

Averring a scheme afoot to ALTER REALITY by instigating disasters, shortages and currency modification, he sent me on this quixotic mission.

A sudden realization hits me like the wet kiss of a soft boot on slick pavement. I haven’t been getting any receipts for my travel expenses!

Dot says “It sounds like a bunch of monkey business. Who gave you that book?” “A monkey.” Or is it the cataclysm the doppelgänger predicted?

It’s time to tell the truth. “Regi, I didn’t just show up at your school. I was sent to find you and bring you out.” “What are you saying?”

“Someone looking just like your father visited me. He behaved like a ghost out of Dickens. He also warned me of a plot to change reality.”

“Impossible!” “My crime fighting experience tells me nothing is impossible.” “My father’s ghost foretold an impending paradigmatic shift?”

“Transparently.” “Do you realize how bizarre that is?” “Which part? Your father back from the dead, or the changing of everything we know?”

“Arkaby! My father unresurrected lies in the cargo hold of this airplane. The future is difficult to predict, especially when you’re dead.”

“Nobody asked him to predict the future, but apparently he was preparing for this shift when he was killed.” “Who told you this?” “He did.”

“From beyond the grave?” “No, from beyond my office.” “Right now you are making no sense.” “Hey! He was the one telling knock-knock jokes!”

Dot says “Can I see that?” Regi passes the manual forward. “This makes no sense: ‘Errors can be corrected by issuing the “OOPS” command.’”

“‘Good for omissions, faux pas and unwise bridge closures. Does not apply to a missed birthday, anniversary, sports events or pregnancies’”

“‘Users have called our attention to so-called bugs in our previous releases…’” Regi says “What do they mean ‘bugs’?” “Programming errors.”

Dot continues “‘These reported ‘bugs’ include war, disease, death, poverty, male pattern baldness and the presence of human life on Earth ‘“

“‘We would like to make it clear that these are features of Reality, not bugs.’ “What the hell?” “That’s not the worst part. Listen to this:”

“‘We have noted the lack of macro-level analogies to illustrate subatomic activity and difficulty dealing with events on a cosmic scale.’”

“‘Due to confusion about subatomic physics, all elements will once again be made up of some combination of earth, air, fire and/or water.’”

“‘Space beyond Earth’s atmosphere will be composed of “Ether” and distances in outer space will be traversable within a human lifetime.’”

Dot concludes “‘This revision does not reinstate spontaneous generation, intelligent design or a geocentric cosmology.’” Regi says “Huh?”

“It’s crazy to turn back the clock like this!” Orville says “And in the name of all that’s holy, why do they leave out intelligent design?”

I say “You believe in intelligent design?” “Yes. It’s my guiding light.” “How can you be a pilot and believe that?” “God is my copilot.”

“You believe Earth is only 6000 years old?” “Of course not. I KNOW the entire universe is exactly 6254 years old.” “Is that in dog years?”

“No, in Patriarch years.” “What’s that?” “We calculate the age of the earth by adding up the genealogies in the Bible, starting with Adam.”

“You add up the ages of all the Bible guys and that’s how old the Earth is?” “Give or take.” “Makes perfect sense. That’s how I’d do it.”

Regi says “What about dinosaurs or geologic strata in the Grand Canyon?” “I wasn’t there to see them, so I can only go on current evidence.”

“You weren’t there to see the Bible written either.” “Exactly! I accept on faith it WAS written and I accept on faith the age of the Earth.”

I say “I get it. Just like you accept on faith that a big machine with wings can fly.” “No, I understand aerodynamic lift, drag and thrust.”

Regi says “You fly understanding aerodynamics but base your world view on flights of fancy?” “One man’s science is another man’s mythology.”

Dot says “You’re missing something important. Whenever the universe was created, whoever wrote this book believed it can be reprogrammed.”

“I’ve never seen this document before. If it is taken at face value, somebody is planning to change reality. Your father knew about this.”

“What did he know?” “He must have known about this manual. Granger never told us why he modified his DNA when he cloned his body parts.”

“Dot, you told me he did all the DNA self-modification to rewrite all his genetic sequences into palindromes.” “I thought so at the time.”

Granger cloned and replaced nearly every part of his body. I thought it was a mad scientist’s whim. It seems larger matters were at stake.

Orville says “I can’t believe you take this book literally. It’s obviously a collection of urban legends, myths and outright fabrications.”

Dot reads “‘During upgrade users may experience disruptions including severe weather events, time shifts and unrequited knock-knock jokes.’”

“It’s not all fabrications. We must do something.” Orville says “You’re letting a book sway your view of reality?” I say “Just like you.”

“Like me?” “You also guide your life according to a book.” “That’s different. My book was dictated by God. Who knows who wrote this manual?”

Daylight dawned in the swamp. I don’t know who wrote the manual that is key to this entire case. Worse, I don’t know how to find out who.

Regi takes the book and says “Look! This was written by something called the Reality Release Support Center. We should go see who they are.”

“First things first. We need to find out who wrote this book.” “That’s what I mean. Someone at the Reality Release Support Center wrote it.”

Orville says “Well, we can rule out a divine author.”“I rule out NOTHING! All I know it’s someone who thinks they can fool with my reality!”

A possible deus ex machina is not at the top of my list of likely solutions. I hate ceding any ground when it comes to paradigm alterations.

“Maybe this book is divine intercession. Then how do you explain the two millennia that have passed since His last inked-in manifestation?”

“It’s 2000 years since His last publication?” “Give or take. Not counting literary knockoffs like the Quran or Joseph Smith’s fan fiction.”

Regi says “There is a marvelous peace in not publishing. Perhaps He likes to write, but He writes just for Himself and His own pleasure.”

“Taking your point that like Salinger, He saw publication after His Bible as ‘a damned interruption,’ what would make him come forward now?”

“And how many unpublished works are there?” Orville says “It’s ridiculous to think that this manifesto is God’s word.” Dot says “Maybe not.”

Dot flips through the ERUPT manual “‘Due to overuse of support hot lines, We must limit free online support to the first 90 days of life.’”

“‘Support after that carries a nominal charge. Added staff will cut wait time from the current 1-2 millennia to just a few hundred years.’”

“There you have the reason why this installment has taken so long.” “Sure, Him and George R.R. Martin.” Orville says “You’re kidding right?”

“Do you honestly believe this is a sort of new New Testament?” “Do you honestly believe that He said all He has to say in just two volumes?”

Regi whispers “Ixnay on upsetting the ilotpay. He may be a religious undamentalistfay.” “What?” “I can hear you two and I speak pig latin.”

“I’d hate for you to go on a Geadh-Glas chase.” “More pig latin?” “Celtic for wild goose. Means Holy Spirit.” “Won’t be the first time.”

“Early Celtics called to the Holy Spirit “An Geadh-Glas”-wild goose-because it was thought wild not to be tracked nor tamed.” “Just like me”

Regi snorts. “You are certainly some kind of goose.” “I’m not saying this book is divinely inspired. I’m saying someone thinks THEY are.”

Orville says “Say you’re sorry or I’m turning this plane around.” “I’m sure George R.R. Martin has great online support.” “Not what I mean.”

Dot says “This plane is my charter. We’re not going back.” “Fine. I need to land now anyway.” “Fine. I need to plan my next move anyway.”

The pilot chatters with the control tower as I make plans. First, deliver Willum Granger’s earthly remains to Body Parts R Us for analysis.

After what happened before, I don’t trust the City Morgue. Second, track down the doppelGranger and make him squawk. Enough running around!

Enough being led around by a conman and a fraud! I don’t care if he’s a ghost, a clone or Granger back from the dead! I will hunt him down!

@Twitstery Good luck with that. You couldn’t find your own ass with a pair of Google Glasses!

I’ve had it wandering around in the dark on this case! When I catch up with him...uh oh. I just got a direct message from “@HelloKitty1781.”

RT @HelloKitty1781 Good luck with that. You couldn’t find your own ass with a pair of Google Glasses! | Are you following me on Twitter?

HelloKitty1781! That’s the name of the account Granger’s murderer used to follow me on Twitter! He nearly put me in a permanent deep freeze!

How did Granger’s doppelgänger get that account? What weird game is he playing? How can he be in two places at once, both dead and not dead?

I once wondered if he was a figment brought on by an undigested bit of beef, a crumb of cheese. Now he’s reaching out to me through Twitter!

Tweeting, he lacks physical presence; he exists incorporeally. Could this entire case be a fantasy? It makes me question my own existence.

Regi asks “What are you tweeting?” “About whether I exist.” My phone chimes “@Twitstery Of course you exist you idiot!” I show it to Regi.

“@HelloKitty1781? That’s A’s Twitter account.” “Your father’s doppelgänger got hold of it.” “So he does exist!” “It’s not proof either way.”

“A figment affirming a figment. Do you refute I am merely the sum of my tweets?” “Sure. I refute it thus” She jabs me hard in the ribs. OOF!

Where’s Bishop Berkeley when you really need him? Regi says “Ow! I broke a nail! I guess I exist too.” Orville says “We’re cleared to land.”

Dot says “I’ll handle entry for Granger’s body. You two go through Customs and meet my car in front.” Regi says “I’m not leaving my father.”

“And I’m not going ‘til I finish my plans.” “What plans?” “First, deliver Willum Granger’s earthly remains to Body Parts R Us for analysis.”

“I’ve already got him.” “OK. Job done.” Regi says “Just because you’re helping us through US Customs doesn’t mean I give BP R U possession.”

“Regi, we need to determine if this really is your original father and why his body hasn’t decomposed. Dot is the only one we can trust.”

“Trust a man who put a clone of my Dad on display in his museum?” “You don’t object to the statue of your father, why care about the clone?”

Dot put a Granger clone and a life-size statue in the BP R U Museum. At the base of the statue it read “Often duplicated, never imitated.”

I’ll try describing the look Regi gives me in 140 characters or less. A blend of wilting glower, stoic surrender and discerning disdain.

Dot says “I’ll answer that. Built from Granger’s unmodified DNA, you could argue the clone is the original and Granger is the counterfeit.”

“Your father rewrote his gene sequences into palindromes. At the same time he tweaked things like mitochondrial uptake and immune response.”

Regi says “What?” “At the time of his death Willum Granger was no longer himself. I’m the best person to figure out who, or what he became.”

Regi says “What?” I say “I’ll answer that. What Dot means is that your father changed his genes more often than Congress repeals Obamacare.”

“I don’t mean ‘what?’ I don’t understand what Dot said. I mean ‘what?’ I don’t believe you’re actually saying what you’re saying.” “What?”

Dot says “Do you realize what your father became?” “He became dead, horribly dead. I won’t let you taint his legacy with medical meddling.”

“There’s so much to learn.” “As Director of Body Parts R Us you were his surgeon. Why don’t you know how his DNA changes affected him?”

“Granger kept his cards close to his chest, wore his heart on his sleeve, worked his fingers to the bone.” “And ended up with bony fingers?”

“He made DNA palindromes. He called his work genetic esthetics.” “He modified his DNA for that?” “Anyway, Dash did most of the surgeries.”

“What were you, his pet monkey?” I’ll try describing the look Dot gives me in 140 characters or less. Before I begin Regi says “Screw it.”

“Go ahead and take the body. I’ll be watching you. Try not to lose him again.” I say “Don’t forget he’s evidence in a major criminal case.”

“Why are you letting Dot take your father back to Body Parts R Us?” “I realized we can’t bring him into the country without his assistance.”

Dot says “Exactly my point. Look, we’ve landed. Let me handle things from here and we’ll take your father out to Body Parts R Us together.”

“One question. What did my father do to himself?” “Only Granger understood his self-modifications. His body of work was left unfinished.”

“Someone once told me Granger wanted super powers to prepare for when there might be no tools.” “What in the world are you talking about?”

“Let’s put two and two together.” “Four.” “I mean let’s square the circle.” “Pi squared.” “I mean let’s figure out what C-A-T spells.”“Cat.”

“Let me spell it out. Your father made power enhancing palindromes from his DNA nucleotide sequencing in order to become more than human.”

“Why DNA palindromes? Because he learned of secret plans to modify the very structure of reality and return the universe to a simpler time.”

What secret plans? A scheme detailed in the book I rescued from the wreckage of your medical school which was dealing in illicit cadavers.”

“Which illicit cadavers? Bodies inadvertently including your father’s undying remains, imported to support a burgeoning student enrollment.”

“Why was enrollment burgeoning? To cover budget deficits brought about by a laissez-faire management structure and easy Federal loan money.”

“Granger’s enhanced effort to thwart the paradigm shifting stratagem was severed, as was he, by fast-melting sutures from his last surgery.”

“No one knew that DNA composing would affect post-mortem decomposing by rendering him unpalatable to microbes that turn flesh to the dust.”

“Hidden within the DNA changes Granger performed on his own body lies the solution to preventing the reality changes of the ERUPT manual.”

“When will changes occur? I’m guessing soon. From beyond the grave Granger implored me to save the reality we’ve all come to know and love.”

“Who is behind this? Also unknown, but they’re onto us, they’re after us and given half a chance, they’ll alter us. Sounds crazy, I know.”

Regi says “No crazier than anything else you’ve said.” “That’s why it’s imperative we get Granger back to Body Parts R Us immediately.”

“With Granger dead but not departed, it’s up to me to unearth these paradigm perverters and permanently prevent their plan from prospering.”

“Here’s my plan: Deliver Granger’s body of evidence; decipher his palindrome DNA; disrupt the paradigm reversion; distribute new Shillings.”

Orville turns and there’s a gun in his hand. “I’m afraid it’s not so simple.” I tell Regi. “Get behind me.” “Behind you? In a four-seater?”

I turn back to the pilot. “Seems pretty simple to me.” Orville says “First of all, it’s a fool’s quest to try to reintroduce the Shilling.”

“Second, it’s extremely difficult to disrupt a paradigm shift. Third, The Doc doesn’t have the knowledge to decipher Granger’s altered DNA.”

“Fourth, I’m taking his body.” “OK. It’s not simple. I never had faith in the Shilling thing anyway. Are you ready to use that gun?” “Yes.”

There’s a place you go in your mind at times like these. You don’t know why the pilot points the gun at you. You don’t know what to expect.

Unfortunately, buckled into a four-seater Cessna I can’t go there. Regi whispers “Don’t remove any clothing.” I say “I’m way ahead of you.”

“You fool! Fire that pistol and the entire aircraft will decompress. We’ll be dead in seconds!” “We’ve been on the ground for ten minutes.”

That didn’t work, but I notice Orville’s hand shaking. In the air he’s a great pilot. On the ground he loses his nerve. It’s my only chance.

“Orville you make me nervous. Would you aim that somewhere else?” “Oh. Sure. Sorry.” As he lowers the gun I reach out and take it from him.

“Hey! Give that back!” I slap his hand. “Not yet. Who are you working for?” Dot says “Whoever it is, I’m not paying for this flight.” “Hey!”

“Who sent you?” “No one.” I slap him again. “That’s really annoying and it doesn’t hurt that much.” I hit him one more time. “Stop that!”

“I ask again. Who sent you?” “I’ll answer again. No one. I’m on a divine mission. I was sent by the voice of God. “ “You heard God?” “Yes.”

Uh oh. The guy who’s piloting our plane hears from God. Suddenly David doesn’t look so bad. “God told you to seize Granger’s corpse?” “Yes.”

Regi says “God came to you and told you to do this?” “Actually He phoned me.” Dot says “I’m definitely not paying for this flight.” “Hey!”

“How do you know it was God phoning you?” “Because He said ‘Hello Orville? This is God.’” “And you believed him?” “I used my iBelieve app.”

“God phones it in? Wouldn’t he speak to you directly?” “If I told you that you’d say I hear voices and I’m crazy.” “You ARE crazy!” “See?”

Regi says “I don’t think that was God on your line. I think you’re the victim of a phone scam.” “My God, My God, why have you phishaken me!”

“Don’t be such a martyr! You were eager enough to sell us out when you thought it was the Deity calling.” “That’s my crossed line to bear.”

Dot says “We don’t know who persuaded you to turn Judas on us or why. Did you notice their Caller ID?” “Hell if I know. It was blocked.”

Regi says “How in heaven’s name can you pull out a gun and hijack my father’s body based on a phone call from an unnamed source?” “Faith.”

“Faith in an authority you can’t see or verify?” “That’s what faith is.” “I think you’re mistaking a phony instigator for a higher power.”

“I wouldn’t say that.”“Would you say a phone phisher fooled your facile faith to finagle her former father?” “I don’t think I CAN say that.”

I’ve won the theological dispute but there’s a matter of criminal justice. Orville committed several misdemeanors and at least one felony.

If I let him off with a stern warning not to use his cell religiously, how do I know he won’t succumb once again to faith-based telephonies?

I can’t risk being hung up at Customs. No longer on active duty, I’m traveling with a purloined cadaver under dubious circumstances myself.

“Do I have your word you’ll limit religious activities to the church, mosque or synagogue of your choice?” “Can I have my gun back?” “No.”

“Can I at least have my bullets?” “NO!” Dot says “You’re missing the bigger picture. Someone is after Granger’s body. We don’t know who.”

“Could this be a move by Dr. Dash to gain possession Granger’s body?” “Dash wouldn’t use a phone. He’d publish verse in a literary journal.”

“Someone who always seems to know our whereabouts is after the body. How do you suppose they always know our whereabouts?” “I have no idea.”

Regi says “I have an idea. It’s Twitter. Whoever is after my father follows you on Twitter. You’re tweeting right now, aren’t you?” “Maybe.”

“If you tweet everything, that’s how our travels are shadowed.” “You’re wrong. No one follows my account.” “What about @HelloKitty1781?”

I can’t tell Regi I keep tweeting to flush out Granger’s phantom doppelgänger. As soon as I tell her he’ll read the tweet and know my game!

“Ixnay onway ethay elloKitty1781@Hay. Iway an’tcay elltay ouyay ywhay Iway eepkay eetingtway.” My phone chimes. It’s from @HelloKitty1781!

Damn! RT @HelloKitty1781 I speak Pig Latin too you idiot. I’m not following you to steal Granger’s body from you. I sent you to find him!

I show the doppelgänger’s tweet to Regi and Dot. Regi says “You should stop tweeting.” Dot says “You should continue tweeting” “What? Why?”

Dot gestures toward Orville and says “You keep getting intercepted. You’re being followed all right and not just by your doppelgänger.”

“Stop tweeting and lose the only link to your mysterious follower.” “And more importantly, he loses his only link to me.” “Are you sure?”

“Tweet and whoever’s after my father will find him.” “Given his prolonged post-mortem persistence no one will be after him.” “Are you sure?”

“To tweet or not to tweet. Is that the question?” “Shut up, Orville” I explain. “Are you sure?” For the first time in my life, I’m scared.

The game is afoot and I stand at a crossroad. I continue to tweet with the probability my comments are monitored. If I stop I learn nothing.

I tighten a vagrant shoelace. Now I’m ready to take a stand. “If I stop tweeting the story ends.” Regi says “You know, I think you’re nuts!”

“You’re going to keep tweeting?” “I tweet therefore I am.” “Twittlesticks! You go barging around without a clear idea of what you’re doing.”

“This is a newsflash to you?” “Everybody bats you down, smacks you over the head and you keep right on hitting between tackle and end.”

“Do you know which side you’re on?” “I don’t know which side anybody’s on or who’s even playing.” Dot says “Please don’t be on my side.”

Airport security surrounds our plane. As Orville is handcuffed he says “Farewell my lovelies. Better to reign in Heaven than serve in Hell.”

Regi says “I still don’t get it. Why does he think God phoned him?” “The mind is its own place can make a Heaven of cell, a cell of Heaven.”

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