Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong

Book: Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong Read Free Book Online
Authors: David Wong
pause—ever so slight—from Will before he said, “Absolutely.”
    He was lying. Zoey knew she wasn’t going to get the truth by just asking, so instead she said, “And we have no idea why he designated my brain as the key instead of yours, or hers, or … literally anyone else’s??”
    Will shook his head and said, “Trust me, no one is more surprised than we are. In fact, as far as we know this is your first visit, so we’re not even clear how the vault can be set with your brain’s imprint if he never brought you in to let it scan you.”
    Zoey started to say, “I have no idea…” but trailed off halfway through, when a memory suddenly popped into her head. “In the fall my mom made a doctor’s appointment for me, she said it was something they had to do for the life insurance. But it was weird, they put me in something like an MRI machine and I was in there for a solid hour. They told me they were checking for early Alzheimer’s or something, but … I don’t know. It seemed fishy. Like they wouldn’t answer direct questions. Could Arthur have arranged that?”
    Echo glanced at Will and said, “Well, there’s one mystery solved.”
    Will asked, “And how long ago was this?”
    â€œSeptember, early October, around there.”
    Glances. Traces of confusion and alarm. This was a bombshell, apparently. Zoey tried to think of why, then it occurred to her that this meant she wasn’t here due to some drunken last-minute decision or a mix up with the vault’s programming. Her father had planned all of this months in advance—in other words, he had known he was going to die. Or at least, he was making preparations for the eventuality. And no one in this room had known.
    Echo shook her head and muttered to Will, “I keep imagining him up there, laughing at us while we scrambled around the country trying to figure out exactly which trailer park he spilled his DNA in.”
    Budd adjusted his cowboy hat and said, “‘Up there’? Echo, I don’t know exactly what religion you believe in that has Arthur Livingston makin’ it to Heaven, but I reckon I wanna join.”
    Andre said, “Eh, probably just bribed his way in.”
    Will, raising his voice to cut off the banter, said, “It doesn’t matter. The daughter’s here, let’s get this over with.”
    The daughter . Zoey realized he had already forgotten her name. She sniffed, wiped her nose with her sleeve and took a drink from her water glass. She glanced around the room—a wreath on every wall. The stuffed and mounted buffalo, wearing its stupid Santa hat and beard. Yet another Christmas tree in the corner. Zoey and her mom had a plastic artificial tree they put together every year. It had a bare spot where two of the branches had broken off, so they had to keep that part facing the corner. Her estranged father, she observed, apparently had a real tree in every room. Zoey suddenly realized that her yearly salary would not even pay to decorate this place for Christmas, and that her entire trailer wasn’t big enough to serve as off-season storage for all of the ornaments, lights, and holiday tchotchkes that encrusted the walls of this place.
    Once, as a teenager, she had spent all of Thanksgiving and Christmas with a cracked tooth. She endured the throbbing molar for six weeks, due to the wait list to get into a dentist that accepted Medicaid. Every day at work with this pain stabbing like a shard of glass when she bit down on anything harder than pudding. The cost of one bottle of whatever scotch these people were drinking would have paid for her appointment. And now, here were Arthur Livingston’s people, in suits that could probably put her through college, looking at her like she was a muddy dog running through their wedding reception. Her ears were getting hot. She pulled off her cap and shook her

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