Had an impulse, sat down at the computer, and this emerged.
Bobby felt good in the back of the Uber as it rolled towards Arlington, Virginia. It was the beginning of his new life. He’d miss William and Mary. He’d miss the Frat. Well, most of it. All but one night of it. But the more miles and days and security clearances he could put between himself and that night, the better, and this ride was the first step. He felt as good as he could. The sick feeling was ebbing back, like a wave. It came in waves. \
It was controllable. Except when there was a trigger like a surprise view of the ocean. Then it twinged back. He stuffed it down. He had to be crisp today.
He had no idea why a company like IQTECH was interested in him. He wasn’t an engineer. He wasn’t a scientist. He wasn’t anything that they said they were looking for on their website or on the interview parameters. So why him? They’d come after him with a big check, a commitment and a get out of jail free card for the last five units he needed for graduation.
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
He’d never known what that meant. It either had to do with horse racing or the Trojan Horse. He’d have to google it. It was one of those phrases that had outlived its original meaning.
It didn’t matter. It worked. Of course, like all clichés and old heuristics, it had its opposite: ‘If it looks too good to be true, it usually is.’ But he pushed that back.
He went over what he knew about the Calvin guy he was meeting. He’d tried to do his research. Couldn’t dig up much past the corporate bio, but there were bits and pieces here and there. Apparently, Calvin had discovered Hank Johnson, when he was an obscure grad student, long before Nomad. Maybe Bobby would be the next Hank Johnson.
An unwanted thought snuck in through a ventilator shaft in his head. Was the truth going to come out? Only three people knew what happened on ‘the bad night’ and none of them would talk. It would mean jail and trials and extraditions and ruin. None of them would talk. Or would they? Would somebody get drunk or get religion or would something weird happen? The only way to make sure that wouldn’t happen would be to silence them. But he wasn’t going to do that.
Would the body bob up?
He stuffed it back down. Nobody was going to find out. Not until long after anything was prove-able. And it was murky anyway. To all of them, except maybe Bobby. And none of them could point searchers to a spot. She was gone. Wasn’t she? Maybe a tooth washes up. Can you identify a person from a tooth? And would anybody notice it, take it into the police and extract DNA. He imagined the chain of unlikely events. And then there would be a lot to prove.
Nobody was going to find a body. Hell, they couldn’t find an entire Boeing 777 in the ocean. Much less a girl who mixed the wrong stuff at a spring break party.
And the irony was that they hadn’t done anything wrong. At least Bobby hadn’t. He just had to make the decision. Do we go to the police or do we make the whole thing go away?
The Uber was stopped. He didn’t even feel it. He looked and saw IQTECH chiseled in the granite above the door of a retrofit DC building. The company couldn’t be ten years old, but they were trying to make their mark on immortality by chiseling their name in stone. Told Bobby a lot. A company that trades in the intangibles. Ideas. Ideas that become technology. Bits of code that he knew were slowly stockpiling themselves to the Singularity.
Of course, he didn’t know what the Singularity was. He’d heard ten definitions, but it was something about when humans and computers were the same.
He got out. It was frictionless. The ride was paid for invisibly somewhere from an office. He pulled out his wallet. The Sikh driving waved the cash away.
He smiled. Bobby flashed on the dead girl’s teeth. That was the image that stuck with him from the murky night on the Bahamas. The girl’s teeth. He didn’t remember her name. They never checked for stories about it on the internet. Local girl goes missing. No digital footprints were to lead back to that night.
“Who are you here to see?”
Bobby looked up. Somehow, despite the creepy thoughts about the teeth, Bobby had made it to the reception desk, which looked more like the command center from some ‘B’ thriller… Monitors, buttons, all stuff installed in the Post 911 security frenzy.
“I’ll tell them you’re here.”
Islander- News article about a missing girl in Nassau.