Melinda Koi flexed her right hand, enjoying the new freedom the tune-up gave. The thumb still felt a little gummy, but it was better than it had been in months. Someday, she thought, she was going to get the whole prosthesis replaced. Mercedes were making some nice parts these days, but that would take a lottery win.
It made her think of Karl. She had to remind herself that it was okay to be not in love with him because he wasn’t really Karl anymore anyway. Her hand was a constant reminder.
“Earth to Mel,” Damon said.
“Sorry,” she said. She came away from the apartment’s balcony. Beyond, out over the bay, a gull called, looking for somewhere to settle for the night.
Inside Damon lay stretched out on the lie-low, staring up at her curve.
It hung over him, bowed and floating like a jellyfish.
“What are you doing?” she said.
“Like I was trying to tell you. Messages from Karl. He wants us to bring out his lobotomy fragment.”
Melinda flexed her hand again. “Bring it where?” She glanced over at the icebox, glad that she’d been able to give the disgusting thing back to Damon. She had a tiny inkling that Damon had only shifted apartments so that he didn’t have to have it around. It had seemed like a favor, but four weeks with a piece of Karl’s brain in her refrigerator was a month too long.
“He says the DeCataur brothers want their money.”
Melinda sat on the velour squab next to the lie-low. Pulling up the side of the curve, she looked in at the display. Her thumb twitched.
The curve twisted a little, the display daughtering across and reformatting to her view. It showed her a news ticker. The DeCataur company facing more litigation and class-actions over the state of the Delaware Bay.
“Here.” Damon sat up. The curve flowed away, settling on the vertical, looking less like a sea creature and more like a television. The weather appeared as if it was going to rain once more. Damon spread his hands and the news ticker and weather faded into thin, faint strips around the edge with the ads for Coke and Hyundai. His mailbox filled the main part of the display. “Here,” he said, pointing at one of the messages.
Fourteen million. Can you get that through today?
“Fourteen!” Melinda said.
“Keep reading. It’s not that bad.”