Transplanted Life
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Explanations are, of course, demanded.
Well, it was only a matter of time before I had to tell Alex about myself. I'm not sure of the exact ettiquette for what to do when a date becomes a visit to a crime scene, a Federal one no less, but even if I'm not under any societal duty to explain everything, he's going to be naturally curious. It might be easier for me if I surrounded myself with people who just saw a nice body and tended to be good sheep, ignoring anything unusual. I figure someone like that would have broken up with me soon after Korpin's murder, and perhaps used the nights I was spending watching tapes of the FBI interviewing a bunch of female Harvard underclassmen (instead of with him), and I wouldn't have blamed him for it.

But, that's not Alex, or anybody I know outside of work. So, today, when Agent Jones said they didn't have anything for me to look at yesterday, I invited him over so I could give him dinner and answer any questions he may have.

That probably sounded a lot better to him than it wound up being. I cook like a chemist, in that I can follow directions, but I really have no creativity at all. I'd be tempted to call it a boy-girl thing, but that's stupidly sexist. And I've shared meals with Maggie, and unless there's something she's never told me, she's all woman.

Anyway, I marinated a couple chicken breasts and threw them onto the contact grill when Alex arrived, and in about ten minutes we were sitting at our table, still not talking about anything. "So," I said, "last Friday. The man who was killed... He and I have a history."

"I figured as much. You said you dated him."

"Kind of. It's like... Remember when we met for the first time, and you recognized me from the marathon, and I asked if you were really into science fiction or if you had just been at the marathon with friends? You see, it's not just a matter of making sure our tastes line up. If you're going to be a part of my life, you've got to like sci-fi, because eventually you're going to be living it."

He gave me a funny look. "The man, the dead man. The FBI found something in his bloodstream and in his brain, a sort of large molecule that lodges in synapses, unfurls a tiny, molecular scale antenna, and on receiving a signal stimulates the neuron, and broadcasts the information while at the same time receiving information and overwriting the data in the synapse. It's a kind of nanotechnology, used in conjunction with a computer that rapidly maps and redirects the information. The net effect is to exchange the contents of two brains. The body Gertie found belongs to a man named Mikail Korpin, but Agent Jones and I are pretty sure that the brain had someone else's memories and personality."

He, of course, did not believe me. Look, he said, I understand if this is some sort of matter of national security and Special Agent Jones told you to give me some sort of outrageous cover story. I don't need to know everything.

Yes, I said you do. I'm involved in this because my brother Telly and I thought he was someone else when he first appeared. We thought he - well, we thought he was me.

Come again?

"I... I've only been around, like this, for a little under three years. Before that, I remember being someone else. His mind and Michelle Garber's were switched--"

"Did you say his??"

"Yeah. It's got something to do with how information is recorded in the brain; evidently men and women do it in a complementary fashion, which means that the switching has to be between members of the opposite sex."

He started to laugh, and I said, look, they've been keeping quiet about this, but all my friends know, and now that you know, they're going to stop tiptoeing around it. We're not playing some sort of prank on you. Those blood sample they took from me and Gertie? To make sure. Laugh it off, but your world just got a lot weirder

"How about dangerous? Did it just get more dangerous?"

I nodded. It may have. We don't know why Korpin is sticking aorund Boston; it would make much more sense for him to get the hell out of Dodge. Whatever girl's body he's in, I don't think he'll stay there longer than absolutely necessary. If I'm important to him somehow, he may see you as a way to stay close to me. It's happened before.

He looks at me, and I don't like the look. "You're breaking up with me."

"What? No! This is important!"

"But it's ridiculous and insulting. Just say it - say you think you can do better. That's what this is all about, isn't it? You're telling me this story because you being a man will freak me out and make me break it off."

"Oh, right. I murdered someone so that I could make up a ridiculous story that may push you away or, you know, really turn you on."

"I didn't say that! But I think there might be something going on between you and that FBI guy."

"Me and Jones? No! I freak him out. Even if he were interested, he's still not my type. I like guys like you, Alex. Maybe because I remember being one, maybe because we like the same things. OK? My life is weird, but I'm not kidding about liking you. That night Misha was killed, I was really looking forward to having sex with you."

"Well, I'm glad you didn't!"

"Now, that's just stupid." Probably the dumbest thing I've said in a while.

Needless to say, we didn't get to dessert. I do hope he calls after he's had a few days to think about everything, though.


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