Thursday, October 17, 2013

7. mysterious universe

by jeremy witherington

illustrated by roy dismas

to begin at the beginning, click here

for previous chapter, click here

"so, the names garrett and bonney don't mean anything to you?"

"no, jody answered. "names don't really mean much, do they?"

"well, people used to think so," molligan said.

"i don't know what you even need names for any more. i mean, people used to need names so they could be found. if there was a crowd of people and you didn't know who was who you would say, where's john smith? and john smith would say, here i am. but now everybody knows where everybody is and who everybody is anyway. and you have your number. names are kind of a fossil."

"people still use names to be friendly, sometimes. or if there are three people in a room and one wants to specifically talk to one other."

"you can just point."

"that used to be considered impolite."

"used to be. anyway, what do you need two names for? that seems like overkill to me."

"people had two or even three or four names."

"four names! maybe, before they had numbers."

"but some people - old humans - have trouble remembering their numbers."

"people sleeping in drainpipes."

"no, like me," molligan smiled.

jody stared at him blankly. "like you? isn't your number hardwired?"

"no, i have a rare neurological condition that makes hardwiring numbers dangerous."

"so what happens if you - uh - forget your number?"

"well, that's probably not going to happen. but just in case, i have my number written down on a piece of paper that i carry around in my pocket."

"wow." jody looked away. "and you're a detective."

"it is pretty unusual."

"why are you telling me this? isn't that kind of personal?"

"i've learned to live with it. where were we?"

" we were talking about names. having two names and stuff."

"about garrett and bonney."

"yeah. you brought the subject up."

"billy bonney was a famous outlaw in history. and pat garrett was a famous sheriff who tracked him down."

"um - that's really interesting."

"and now here you are named garrett and nikki bonney was your roommate. quite a coincidence."

"right. pretty incredible, i guess."

molligan laughed. "you are not much interested in history?"

"not really."

"but you were taught some in school?"

"yeah." jody was getting restless, and looked around the apartment again. where was this stupid conversation going? and where was the tech with the coffee? the coffee would at least be some kind of diversion. even though jody didn't even like coffee.

molligan pressed on. "you remember any of it?"

"just some names. hitler. confucius. cleopatra. dylan. but there you go - even back in the old days people had only one name."

"no, they had more than one. cleopatra had two names and a number - number seven. hitler had two names - his full name was adolf hitler."

"wow, that's amazing. i never knew that."

"so you are not interested in history. you must be interested in something. astronomy? astrology ? art? botany ?"

"no, i don't care about any of that stuff."

"so what does interest you?"


"the universe is a vast, mysterious place. filled with infinitely expanding mysteries. don't you fell any desire to explore any of them?"

"no, i just want to get fucked."

"that's certainly your prerogative."

how boring was this? why didn't he just ask questions about nikki - or about the gun or whatever it was - so jody could say 'i don't know' to all or most of them and get this over with? please?

jody looked around the room. even though two of the techs had been sent away, there were still a total seven people in the apartment, including jody and molligan.

"this is the most people i've ever seen in one place," jody told molligan, "unless you count shows."

"these are unusual circumstances."

"how unusual? don't people disappear every day? how far can nikki get? with a number and all?"

"probably not very. but we - the t-squad - are only incidentally concerned with nikki at that point. we are here because of the weapon, remember?"

"oh, yeah, right. how could i forget?"

benson reappeared behind jody. "don't worry, we won't let you forget."

"find anything?" molligan asked benson.

"nothing that doesn't need analyzing." benson looked down at jody. "you know what i think?"


"i think we should take this personage down to a station right now."

"no rush," molligan answered.

"let me guess," benson said. "we've got all the time in the world."

"all the time in the world," molligan agreed.

"in this mysterious universe," jody added.

"what did you say?" benson asked. "are you being smart with us again?"

"i didn't mean to be."

"you're a bright new human, aren't you? a real bright new human."

8. rabbit

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