Sunday, September 29, 2013

the disappearance, chapter 3

by jeremy witherington

illustrated by eddie el greco and konrad kraus

for chapters 1 and 2, click here

3. suzi and robbie

as it turned out, jody did not have long to wait.

a police car pulled up outside.

night was falling, and jody could just make the police car out from the tenth floor window.

the police car had not had its siren on and it did not have any lights flashing. maybe those were good signs.

jody watched as two police got out of the car.

one, getting out of the driver's side, looked like an original human, kind of short, and from the distance looked female.

the other was a robot, very tall, apparently of the old r-7 class that you did not see so much of any more.

they disappeared from sight as they entered the front door.

jody went over to the refrigerator and took put a can of mountain dew, and popped the top and started drinking it while waiting for the knock on the door.

it came quickly enough, before jody finished the can of mountain dew.

one thing you had to say about the building , it was quiet.

if you listened really carefully, you could hear the ding of the arriving elevator, but not the elevator doors opening. jody did not bother trying.

the police made no sound coming down the corridor.

the knock came, not too loud or soft, and jody opened the door.

the shorter one was indeed a human female. she looked jody straight in the eyes.

"jody garrett?"

"that's me."

they both walked in past jody. the robot had to duck to get in the door.

the female sat down and made herself at home at the kitchen table. she took what looked like a small old fashioned paper spiral notebook and and a lead pencil out of her pocket.

"would you like something?" jody asked her. "i have mountain dew, classic coke -"

"yeah, i'll take a classic coke. thank you. that's very thoughtful."

"your records show that you are very polite," the robot said.

"can i get you anything?" jody asked the robot.

"no thank you."

"would you like a chair? i can get one from nikki's old room."

"no, i'm good." the robot looked around.

jody got the female her classic coke and sat down across from her at the kitchen table.

"let's get started. i'm suzi, by the way, and this is robbie."

"what do i call you? officer? sergeant?"

"we're all friends here. suzi and robbie are good." suzi took a sip of her classic coke. "you know why we're here, right?"

"about nikki."


"i understand nikki's mom is very concerned."

"uh - yes. speaking of nikki's mom, she called us about a note. do you have it?"

"right here." jody handed her the note, neatly folded.

she unfolded it and started to read it. "pretty good handwriting. you can actually read it." she began reading - "jody i am sorry to leave so suddenly - but - ". she looked at jody. "could you make out any more than that?"

"no, that's what i read too."

suzi handed the note to robbie. "how about you?"

the robot studied it. "it might be 'i have -' after that. maybe. we will just have to have it analyzed."

"yeah." suzi took the note back. she folded it up and stuck it in the spiral notebook.

"there's not much else there," said robbie. "it can't be more than a word or two."

"no." suzi took another sip of coke.

"maybe it says ' i have dobo'".

dobo was a new disease.

suzi nodded. "could be. could be 'i have - any disease'. i have the hiccups."

"i got the blues."


"by the way," robbie asked jody, "do you know why the note is smudged? t looks like it was wet, and then dried."

"there was a beer bottle on top of it."

"do you still have the bottle?"

jody thought for a second. "it must still be in the recycle bin. trash day is tomorrow."

"but you didn't keep it separate?" robbie asked.

"no, i didn't think of that. i'm sorry."

suzi glanced at robbie. "no problem, we'll just take all the bottles."

"um - there's a lot of bottles," jody told her.

"yes, we know. or we figured."

"nikki liked lowenbrau, you are a rheingold person," robbie added.

"yeah, that's right. sometimes i like genesee bock."

suzi flipped her notebook open. "back to serious business. what was the relationship between you and nikki?"

"we were just roommates."

"that tracks with the records we checked. we have no record of you or nikki applying to have totally hot sex with each other, or even grade b or c sex."

"that's right."

"and nikki had a lot of applications for all sorts of sex."

jody shrugged. "if you say so."

"anything else you can tell us about that?"

"why don't you ask the people nikki applied for?"

"don't worry," said robbie. "we will. they are being asked even as we speak."

"but right now," said suzi. "we are asking you."

chapter 4. the library

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