Sunday, June 28, 2015

Interactive Voice Response in the Dark — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 127 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

There's a place you go in your mind at times like these. You don't know what's going on in your living room. You don't know what to expect.

Anticipating possibilities, I turn sideways to shrink my target area. I shift to my heels and bend my knees to lower my center of gravity.

Without taking my eyes off the room, I remove my jacket which I wrap around my left arm and my necktie which I wind around my right fist.

I just put on my jacket and tie! Oh well. I'm ready, certain I'll withstand a gun blast, knife stab, a fistfight, jujitsu or anything else.

As I think about that I realize I haven't tied my shoelaces. Regi shrieks. Times up! Springing into action I trip headfirst down the stairs.

I try to grab the banister but my tie-wrapped hand can't get a purchase. I try to shield my fall but my other arm is pinned under my jacket.

There's not much time for reflection. I had put faith in defensive rituals. Now I plunge headfirst down my stairs. I'm not ready for that.

Regi yells "For God's sake Arkaby, drop your damn phone!" No time for that. A dark pool awaits me at the bottom of the stairs. I dive in.

Down, down into a darkness far deeper than the blackest night. It has no bottom. I don't remember this being here when I bought this house.

A black pool, but somehow familiar. I consult Twitter, going back to the beginning. "Black pool at my feet. I dive in." I HAVE been here!

If I had a shilling for every dive! It can't healthy to be so often in the dark. I'd check my pulse, but in the dark I can't find my wrist.

Last time I was here I thought I was finished. I accepted my fate and waited for the bright light to lead me to my final destination.

That's not the case this time. I'm probably resting at the foot of my stairs, my head cradled in Regi's lap as she and Stuart revive me.

When I wake my tongue will be parched like it crossed the Sahara barefoot and my head will burn like the Hindenburg exploding. So I hear.

One question: How am I tweeting? From deep in the dark I hear a voice. "Arkaby wake up!" "Lemme sleep Ma. I'll look for a job tomorrow."

I slip back down into darkness. "Arkaby!" My phone chimes. "Hello?" "You have reached Body Parts R Us. Press 1 for Farley Granger's killer."

"Huh?" "Press 2 to discover how he was killed. Press 3 to find out why." I press 1. "OK. I'll connect you with the killer. Please hold."

"Wait!" Music plays. What the hell? Torn Between Two Lovers? After what seems an eternity the music cuts off and a voice comes on the line.

"¡Bienvenido a Partes Del Cuerpo R Nosotros!" Oh no! That damn IVR again! "Pulse 1 si se conoce el órgano o miembro que desee reemplazar."

That robotic sonofabitch has really gotten under my skin! Not only am I dreaming about interactive voice response, I'm dreaming in Spanish!

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery !

Monday, June 22, 2015

Our Peaceful Ways — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 126 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

Regi says "I never thought of Farley as evil. Overly impulsive, but not actually evil." "Don't you get it? The Singularity killed him!"

"An intelligent computer targeted and vaporized Farley?" "What other possible explanation is there for his death?" "That's ridiculous!"

I'm listening to and tweeting this uncle/niece dispute. I say "Do I have time to change clothes and eat something before computers stop me?"

Rachel says "Why bother if intelligent computers are about to kill us all?" I also need a bathroom, but I decide not to make that public.

Rachel continues "Anyway since when did you become an advocate for 'The Singularity will kill us all' School?" "Stuart has convinced me."

"Let's look at the facts." "Must we?" "#1: I didn't kill Farley." "Oh! I've got #2: I also didn't kill Farley." "That's not how this works."

We stare at each other. Stuart says "Well I certainly didn't do it." "So you say." I continue. "FACT #2: My department thinks I did it."

"Unlikely. Between you and the AI, I'd put all my chips on the chips." "#3: I must clear my name to rejoin the force " "Also unlikely."

"I shouldn't clear my name?" "No. Yes. No. It won't get you back on the force." "Catching criminals is in my DNA!" "I wouldn't go that far."

"Though not genetics-based, there's lots of things you could do with your particular set of skills." "Like finding missing persons?" "No."

"Free kidnapped sex workers?" "Uh uh." "Unaided, topple criminal enterprises?" "Nope." "What then?" "Aflac needs for benefits consultants."

Regi says "Uncle Stuart. Do you really think Arkaby would make a good insurance agent?" "Yes, I do, especially if it's double indemnity."

I say "I won't consider any career change until I find Farley's killer and clear my name." Stuart says "I've told you who the killer is!"

"Either you're crazy or you're lying! Show me hard evidence!" "Evidence proving the AI killed Farley?" "No, evidence Aflac is hiring."

Stuart grabs my arm. "Mock me all you want. You'll be sorry." "Are you threatening me?" "You'll know when I'm threatening you!" "Maybe!"

I try to break his grip. He's stronger than he looks. I say "Where is this artificial intelligence? How did it kill Farley?" "I don't know."

"You don't know or you don't want to know?" "Both." Stuart finally releases my arm. "You're a bigger fool than I imagined." "I doubt that."

Regi says "Arkaby this isn't getting us anywhere. Let me try. You go change." Regi is right. I'm not going to get anything more out of him.

I realize I'm famished. "See if you can get anything out of him. Then, why don't you whip something up." "Oh I'll whip something all right."

I've used the bathroom and put on a spare suit when I hear sounds of struggle downstairs. I quickly slip on my shoes and run to the landing.

Deafening music shatters the darkness. Peering over the banister, I can just make out furtive shapes struggling in the center of the room.

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery !

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Distracted By Poetic Literary Constraints — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 125 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

"Fact #2: At the same time Granger undertook to double down on his double helix by rewriting it into palindromes." "We know that already."

"Fact #3: Though bisected and reconnected, Granger's body persists and will continue to persist indefinitely." Stuart says "And your point?"

"By transforming his DNA into palindromes, Granger made his non-living body into an incorruptible message sent to a time he would not see.”

Silence in my darkened home. Then Stuart and Regi say "Wait. What?" "It's obvious. We've focused on interpreting Granger's DNA palindromes."

Regi says "We have?" "Yes. We were so concerned with discovering why Granger rewrote his genetic code that we never considered 'whether'."

"Whether what?" "Whether humans can respond to the Singularity. Willum sought to address the rise of artificial intelligence in computers."

"That's why he replaced every part of his body. He sought super powers to withstand the rise of intelligent machines." "Why did he do that?"

"What's the first thing computers will do when they achieve human or greater-than-human intelligence?" "What?" "Kill all humans, of course."

Stuart says "That's ridiculous! Why would computers kill us when they can enslave us?" "That's why your brother tried to get super powers!"

"But his clone augmentations didn't work. All he did was make his corpse imperishable." "He was distracted by poetic literary constraints."

Regi says "What's his message?" "The body of his message is to meet the Singularity threat we must become more alive." "Or more than dead."

"Willum Granger was ahead of his time" Stuart says "Me too." Regi says "For a time you were just a head...and I didn't know you existed."

"I need to be off the grid." "Who are you hiding from?" "Not from who, from the Singularity." "Which may already have happened." "Yes."

“Artificial intelligence will sever human sovereignty on Earth. As awareness spreads of the Singularity, people everywhere will get this."

I consider Stuart's words. Like his brother Farley, he went into hiding in the face of smart computers. Do they really pose such a threat?

Standing in my t-shirt and “Juicy” sweat pants, I feel a chill. I say "That explains the fascination with superhero movies." "And zombies."

Regi says "You fear computers? You should be ashamed of yourself!" Stuart says "You don't see AI as a threat?" "Maybe they'll ignore us."

"Doubtful. The only AI choices are enslavement or death." "At least my father resisted the fear of change." "Hiding is also resistance."

I say "Hiding didn't work out for your brother Farley." Stuart stands up "Farley's dead?" "Yes. Vaporized. They got him in his Safe Room."

"Don’t you follow my tweets?" Stuart is visibly upset. Regi says "Are you OK?" "Dead?" "Uncle, it's OK. He thought YOU were dead for years."

Stuart looks around as if the Singularity is listening, motions us closer and whispers "Don't you get it? Farley was the evil twin!" "Huh?"

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery !

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Unraveling the Scarlet Thread — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 124 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

He continues reading "'Though Reality is not copy protected, fair use stipulations still apply. Use for educational purposes…What the hell?"

"The ERUPT Manual isn't what brought us back. It was my Twitter feed." "What?" "We tried to find an answer in the Manual. Nothing worked."

"But when I reviewed my Twitter feed suddenly we returned to the 21st century." "Do you know what that means?" "Social Media run our lives?"

Stuart shakes his head. "No" "Twitter makes us stupid?" "No!" "Facebook friendships are weak?" "No!" "Twitter fiction is an oxymoron?" "NO!"

Regi says "Whatever is changing reality can't affect social media?" "Or doesn't want to. You came back by reviewing your Twitter history."

The truth hits me like a swift gut punch. "Stuart, you faked your death with one of Willum's cloned heads." He looks at me pensively. "Yes."

"It wasn't you at all." "Yes, it was no part of me." "When you first came to my office you knew I'd mistake you for Willum Granger." "Yes."

"Why did you do that?" "To get your attention. I assumed you could put two and two together and deduce I was Willum's brother, not a ghost."

"Obviously I couldn't." "Obviously." "Then you sent me to find Regi. Why did you do that?" "She needed rescuing." Regi says "No I didn't."

"Arkaby rescued you in the nick of time from a disaster befalling your university." "Arkaby WAS the disaster that befell my university!"

I say "Your school was a medical diploma mill trafficking in stolen cadavers that located to the Caribbean to avoid regulative oversight."

"They got the disaster they deserved." Regi says "I'm not saying they didn't deserve your disaster. I'm saying I didn't need rescuing!"

Stuart says "What stolen cadavers?" "While rescuing Regi I stumbled upon Willum Granger's body in an anatomy lab, prepped for dissection."

"His whole body?" "Yes. Someone put Humpty together again." "Willum died four years ago. How was his body still intact?" "We don't know."

Regi says "Dr. Dot's autopsy at Body Parts R Us showed Dad's cells are no longer digestible by the usual decomposition microbes." "Why not?"

"Turning DNA into palindromes makes it taste bad to putrefaction proponents." Stuart sits an armchair, a worried expression on his face.

He says "This is worse than I thought!" Regi sits beside him and takes his hand. "Which part of this is worse Uncle Stuart?" "All of it."

"I thought if we could unravel the mystery of Willum's self-cloning palindrome fixation we would discover the solution to the Singularity."

"Now it appears that all he accomplished was to leave immortal remains." I say "That's not it at all. I know what Granger was trying to do."

Both turn towards me with expressions of surprise and disbelief on their faces. Regi says "You do?" Stuart says "YOU do?" I say "Yes. I do."

"Let's examine the facts we know. #1: Granger replaced every part of his body with a DNA-modified clone for no apparent reason." "Granted."

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery !

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Super Powers Cause Awkward Situations! — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 123 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

"The purpose of superpowers is not to fight crime?" "In comic books, yes. But that just shows the lack of imagination of comics writers."

"I don't get it." "Consider this: Marshall McLuhan said tools are outerings or extensions of human capabilities." "Like a hammer?" "Yes."

"A hammer extends your hand." I hold up my hand for a high-five and shout "Nailed it!" Stuart just frowns, leaving me high-five and dry.

"To an idiot with a hammer everything looks like a nail. That's not the point." Regi says "What do human extensions have to do with my Dad?"

"Instead of extending or outering abilities in our tools, superheroes internalize tools as super powers. Super strength instead of a crane."

"Invulnerability instead of body armor. Laser eyes. Telescopic vision. Super speed." "Flying your personal friendly skies?" Stuart frowns.

"My Dad was the sum of his tools?" "He was obsessed with becoming more than he was." I say "Yes and with doing it with poetic constraints."

Regi says "So Dad went through those painful operations to gain super powers because he thought an AI would return us to a simpler time?"

"Pre-technological possibly pre-verbal. Fortunately that part hasn't happened." "Um." Stuart says "What?" "I've been through some changes."

The room grows quiet. Stuart says "What changes?" "Nothing much. When Regi and I returned from the Caribbean it was to the 19th century."

"We rode in a horse and carriage." Regi says "Don't forget the Marines who thought they were in Grenada in 1984." "Yeah. That happened."

"Those weird experiences phasing in and out of the past are the only times time changed. Stuart says "Don't forget the shilling episode."

The shilling episode? Ages ago when Stuart appeared in my office I happened to say 'shilling' instead of 'dime' as in 'Stop on a shilling.'

He thought I had phased to a time when the shilling was still in use. I say "That wasn't an episode. It was a slip of the tongue." "Uh huh."

"Admit it or not, you time-slipped. You thought the shilling was in circulation." Regi says "Maybe he was just confused." I say "Exactly!"

"Not just confused, but often reckless, feckless and out of his element." "Feckless? Uh, Regi..." "He may seem not to know what he's doing."

"But he always knows the current year!" "Well, often." "If that's so how do you explain the horse and carriage or the Grenada 1984 marines?"

"Cosplay?" "Unlikely. How did you return from the nineteenth century?" I look at Regi. How did we return? Regi says "You read that manual."

Stuart says "What manual?" I open the bag containing my belongings from lockup and remove the ERUPT Manual. "I found this on the island."

He opens to the title page. "ERUPT: Existential Reality Update Prototype Template. The present reality will be superseded by Version 2015."

"You found this at Regi's medical school?" "Yes. A monkey threw it at me." "This undid your time phasing? It calls for a paradigm change."

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery !

Monday, May 25, 2015

Maps DNA and Spam — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 122 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

Stuart says "Ah yes. Willum, the Unsevered Executive. What was he doing in that Caribbean hell?" "Not rotting." "Do you think he was mad?"

"Well, he wasn't too pleased about it." "He was definitely nuts to mess with his DNA." Regi shouts "HE WAS ALSO MY FATHER AND YOUR BROTHER!"


"Easy Regi. No one is objectively correlativing your father." "Oh no? Dad modified and cloned nearly every part of his body. Deal with it."

"That's what Dad wanted." Stuart says "The question isn't what. The question is why." "Why what?" "Why did Willum do that to himself?"

With arms folded, Regi frowns. "I once asked him that." "What did he say?" "He said if we don't do it to ourselves, it will be done to us."

Stuart says "I knew it!" I say "What?" "They said he was crazy but I knew it!" "What?" "Willum was getting ready. I KNEW IT!" "KNEW WHAT?"

Regi says "Let me handle this. Uncle Stuart, what did Dad know and when did he know it?" "There's an essential question you haven't asked."

I know the question. "That's easy. Why did Willum Granger rewrite his DNA into palindromes?" Stuart sighs. "That isn't the right question."

Now I'm puzzled. While replacing every body part with augmented clones Granger resequenced his DNA to read the same backwards and forwards.

He was so palindrome obsessed that he wed Rachel Lechar for her name and created a palindrome moniker for their daughter Regna R.G. Granger.

Stuart says "The real question is: Why did Body Parts R Us do all of Granger's augmented clone surgery? Why were they building a superman?"

Regi asks "What do you mean augmented clone surgery?" I know the answer to that. "Nothing. It didn't work. All he got were DNA palindromes."

"That's horrible!" "Yes. It's sometimes impossible to coordinate final to formal cause." Stuart says "You're still not thinking about why."

"I give up. Why did Willum Granger modify his DNA and replace his body parts?" "Isn't it obvious? He was anticipating the Singularity."

"Willum wanted to prepare for when there might be no tools." "What do you mean?" "What happens when computers become smarter than people?"

"What?" "They kill all humans." "You predict total human genocide?" "Not really, but they might turn humans back to low-tech societies."

"No tools, no threat to the Singularity." "How does Dad becoming Superman change that? Does he smash the machine?" "Nothing so dramatic."

"Regi, ask yourself, why would anyone want the ability to leap a tall building, outpower a locomotive or run faster than a speeding bullet?"

I know that one, but before I can answer “To stop bad guys” Regi says "That's easy. When men feel a lack of self-worth, they show off."

"I mean REAL superheroes." "There are no REAL superheroes. Only superhero worshippers." I say "To stop bad guys, right?" They both say "No!"

(The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dark Matters — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 121 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

"We go solve Farley Granger's murder." Beside me Regi says "Here's your place." We stop and she turns off the engine. "I have one question."

"You want to know how he was killed." "No. Not that." "You wonder how we trick the real killer into revealing himself." "Not that either."

"You wonder how I'll solve this case while I'm not a cop?" "Not really." I'm stumped. I have one final place to go. "What is your question?"

Regi says "How in heaven's name are you able to tweet all the time without walking into walls or bumping into things?" "Multitasking."

"No seriously. How do you do it? Arkaby?" "One minute." I finish the previous tweet before I respond. "I've learned to divide my attention."

"You can have it. Tweeting is not my cup of tea." "It's an acquired taste." I'm home at last! As we enter the house I sense something wrong.

We pause at the dark entrance. I haven't been home for a while. Did I leave the gas on? Regi asks "Why don't you just turn on the light?"

There's definitely someone in the house! Pushing Regi to the side, I tap my phone to activate my gun app, crouch down low and take aim.

Regi says "What the hell?" as a cell phone in the darkness chimes and deep voice cries "What the hell?" I switch on my phone flashlight.

Shadowed but big as life, Willum Granger's doppelgänger stands in my darkened living room and holds up his phone to show the message "BANG!"

The doppelgänger says "You SHOT at me? What the hell are you doing?" I say "Are you for real? You're trespassing!" Regi says "Uncle…Stuart?"

Stuart? Stuart Granger? What was Willum Granger's missing identical triplet doing in my living room? Regi says "You're supposed to be dead."

He gazes at Regi. Does his mien soften? "The report of my death was an exaggeration." "Exaggeration? You were decapitated!" "I got over it."

Funny how things work out in self-exoneration crime solving. Finding Stuart Granger was #1 on my "hard to do" list. Looks like we found him.

Regi says "But they found your head!" "I knew if they found my head they would stop looking for the rest of me." "That doesn't make sense!"

I say "We need answers right now." Stuart says "OK." "I mean it. No more games. No more misdirection." "Fine." "I'm not kidding." "Alright."

Regi says "You are my father's triplicate brother?" "Yes." "You let yourself be thought dead, decapitated?" "Yes." "You son of a bitch!"

"Regi, I" "Don't 'Regi I' me! What's the idea of being kept a secret my entire life? Why are you hiding?" I say "Regi, let me handle this."

I stand toe to toe with the evil triplet. "OK doppelgänger. Time to spill your guts." Regi says "Arkaby!" "Oh right. Your brother did that."

I grab the doppelgänger's lapels and lift him up. He IS real! He says "You'd be a lot more intimidating without the Juicy pink sweatpants."

"I've been to hell and back because of you! I've wrestled a tumescent cadaver away from lactose intolerant medical school administrators!"

(The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery)