“Hi Maxine, I did some checking on line at school today between classes. Why don’t you stop by the tax office this morning and have a talk with your friends down there. I bet there is some leverage somewhere we can use to persuade the A1 people to sell that building.” Sylvia suggested. The building’s address was 210 Park Place which would have been more impressive had we been playing Monopoly. Unfortunately in our town Park Place was right in the middle of the downtown blighted area.
The real problem for me was that the courthouse had a metal detector on the entrance door. I was reasonably sure that the creator had some trick up his sleeve, but since I could not fly commercial maybe not. “Tell you what Sylvia, let me make some calls and I’ll get back with you.”
Even I knew that in spite of what I said about a steel frame, most of my body frame was made from non magnetic polymer parts. A fancy way of saying I was made of plastic, just like the frame of a Glock pistol. But of course not even a silicon based unit like me, as the geeks referred to us, can avoid all metal.
Okay, get me a geek on the line, I messaged to the controller. When I had a geek, I sent the following message. How do I beat the magnetometer?
You might want to go back to the basic introduction lecture to your body. You know the lecture you didn’t have time for while you were at the facility, the message in my head said.
Come on guy, you know I’m not worth a shit at school. Not only that, I was busy trying to figure out how I was going to get fucked in this new body. It probably didn’t record. I knew when I said it, that they would either laugh or be pissed beyond words.
You can not joke your way out of this. Are you sitting down somewhere? The geek du jour asked.
Yes of course, I replied.
I am going to send you the information on the evasion features of the roomba 9000 as we have begun to call you around here, so listen up bitch. I couldn’t tell if the geek was joking, or if one of the controllers had come on line.
Please do, I need to go into the courthouse tomorrow, I messaged.
These will work on everything except TSA scanners and CIA headquarters type security. I am sending you a list of places that have those as well. There are no more than a dozen in the country outside of airports.
Suddenly the information just appeared in my mind. It had been buried in my circuits I am sure. but if I searched forever I might have never found it. There was a huge amount of shit in my circuits that I never looked at. I didn’t even know how to find the help menu for my body.
I found the cloaking device would not work on the TSA airport scanners was because they were not just magnetometers, they were also body xray scans. I might get away with a full body hand search, but nobody thought they were a good idea. Sometimes they might be fun, but not if the agent noticed something wrong. Some of those guys were good at their jobs and very serious about security.
The way the magnetometer cloaking device worked was not explained. It obviously caused my body to put off some kind of signal that interfered with the magnetometer’s detection equipment. I just knew that it reduced the magnetic signature of my body to that of a metal zipper on a pair of jeans. In other words it was absolutely minor. There were only a dozen places where that level would register.
Call first, if you plan to visit CIA headquarters or the Pentagon is all I can tell you, was the message which suddenly appeared in my brain.
“Well, if I have to go somewhere like that, I will opt for the full body search.” I said aloud.
When I finally figured out how to activate the cloaking device, I returned Sylvia’s call. “You want to ride down to the Tax office with me tomorrow. I decided to see how much distress that property is in. Maybe we can get a better deal.” It wasn’t the deal. I would have paid the few extra bucks, it was causing suspicion, if I didn’t act right. Acting right, was running down every lead just like I would have done the year before.
We agreed to meet at my downtown house at noon. then to ride down to the tax office together. Sylvia and I both felt that the pressure was on to make it happen. Dead of winter was not the best time for construction work, so Delbert was anxious to get started. We knew this because he had called one or the other of us three times in the last two days.
We had all been waiting not so patiently for the owner of the building to come up with a sales figure. Since the A1 Check Cashing Service and Payday Loan company had gone out of business two months before, the local Realtor had been on hold.
Sylvia had just stumbled onto the building, because we were in a real hurry. Sylvia had also heard that it was my habit to wait until a seller was motivated, before I tried to purchase a piece of property. The A1 people had been out of town only a couple of months, so they might not realize how bad the outlook for a quick sale really was. She knew that it was likely they were not properly motivated. However if they were in financial trouble, I might be able to motivate them.
When we arrived at the metal detector I wasn’t too concerned. Even if I failed to pass it, I had enough scars on my body to convince the security guards that it was metal pins and hinges. I didn’t want to strip off, but I could certainly do it without any big loss of dignity. I wasn’t all that dignified in the first place.
What I found interesting was that I had required a learning curve to know about the cloaking device and how to use it. I wondered why I didn’t just know everything there was to know from day one. That was going to require some explaining. Were computers capable of learning and understanding not just storing facts, I wondered. Of course they were to some extent Watson had proved that on Jeopardy, as had Lucy and Eve before me. They learned things, but I never was sure how much they understood.
We found the information to use against A1 not in the tax office, but in the Clerk of Court’s office. They had title to the building, but only because their creditors hadn’t tried to force a foreclosure. The jumble of claims was a case for Super Shyster.
Since Jennifer was in court for the remainder of the day, Sylvia and I went back to my place to discuss other projects. It was after five when she went home. I settled into the second story window of the Downtown House to rest. I was how I saw my downtime. I used the time to gather free electrons from the air.
When I was the other me I could never have spent an entire evening looking out the window at almost nothing. I had to keep the time between adventures filled with what I thought of as real things at the time. Since I was the new me, I realized the adventures were the only things I could remember clearly. All the rest of what I had thought was real had turned to just night and fog memories. So living in the moment was bullshit. It was really just living for the big moments.
“Jen, I need you to check on a buildings title for me. It is a mess but I really need the building at the best possible deal of course,” I said it when I reached her the next morning.
“Right, give me the information that you have, and I’ll get back with you after my paralegal checks it out.” she informed me.
“Fair enough,” I said.
When she got to the Townhouse that afternoon, Sylvia and I spent some of the time discussing my next project. The project was going to be some kind of housing units for sure. I just didn’t know what kind or where and when I would begin it.
Sylvia was the one who brought up the low income units again. She explained to me how she had seen some of her classmates living. I couldn’t hope to provide housing at a level they could afford, but they still had to live somewhere. I planned to just file the need away in the back of my memory bank, because I couldn’t see an easy answer.
Eve came into my mind while Sylvia was trying to convince me to take another look at low cost group housing.
Maxine, I have an invitation for you to attend a party at The DC Hamilton Hotel. It is actually being arranged by one of those Housewives TV shows. They wanted you, since you are part of that whole Reality TV thing.
So when do I have to decide?
I can send you an invitation by email and you can respond anytime before Wednesday. The cocktail party is 7PM Friday night.
Okay, send me the details and I’ll be there. I can spend the weekend, and if you have any places for me to look at, we can do it then. At the very least the country boys will be footing the bill for all this nonsense. We can have a good time for a day. You know I’m not really comfortable at these things. Too much of the old me is still at work.
True, but you need to be seen at this kind of crap, so that you get invited to more of these empty headed events. Then guess what? You get to give them or something like them yourself.
I haven’t gotten the guide which surely they will send. You know telling me what to do, I messaged to Eve.
Maxine the most I can tell you is it’s supposed to be about blackmail and intimidation. I’m not sure which side you are going to be on. You might be rescuing the wayward politicos, or you might be blackmailing them into giving the CIA more money. Either way, it’s going to be interesting I expect.
Yeah me too, I messaged in agreement.
“So would you consider running a group home for students at the community college?” Sylvia asked breaking my concentration on Eve.
“Would I consider it? Hell no, but I know someone who would. We might have to help out some, but that shouldn’t be too hard to arrange.” I thought that if I was going to blackmail congressmen, there might as well be something in it for me. “So Sylvia, it’s time you met Reverend Archer.” I said it with a smile.
“So when do we I meet the preacher I have heard so much about?” she asked.
“Hell sweetie, you are the social secretary set it up,” I demanded. I knew that it would take at least one day to make it happen. There would be phone tag and then schedules to arrange.
I got the call the next morning before Sylvia came to work. “Maxine, what is it you want to discuss with me this time?”
“Frankly Reverend Archer, my new Partner Sylvia wants to talk to you. I’m just helping her arrange it.” I admitted.
“When you say partner, what exactly do you mean?” he asked.
“I mean partner, like Luke was my partner. Sylvia will be helping me put some things together here.” I said calmly.
“Very good, it’s time you got focused. You have been all over the place for the last year or so,” he said.
I have also been dead a bit of it, I thought. Instead I said, “Well we are trying to refocus on the local area promotions.”
“Okay, how about Sunday after services down in West End?” he asked.
“How about the old mission for old time sake,” I suggested.
“That would be great. Let’s get together and see what kind of Scheme you have in mind.”
“You should love it, it’s all filled with good deeds and profits, I think.” I said.
“There are no profits in the service of our Lord and Savior,” he demanded.
“Yes of course,” no sense pissing him off before I asked for a favor.