By Tim Kujawa
How do you differentiate your best friend from shape shifting androids who have a copy of said friend’s memories? That’s the inconvenient question Sawyer had to answer as he held his gun at two Geoff’s, only one was his friend. He had to think of a question to ask them that just having his friend’s memories alone couldn’t answer.
Both Geoffs looked nervous. These androids were good at simulating emotion, though they never actually understood it. The only way to know for sure someone’s one of them is by killing them and see if the corpse combusted into flames. Sawyer’s hands were jittery, he kept his finger, the one on the hand with the tattoo that said ‘Elizabeth’ off the trigger, for now.
“What’s the song?” Sawyer asked. The two Geoffs simultaneously cocked their head to the right, typical Geoff reaction.
“What?” asked Geoff 1
“What is, the song?” Sawyer said.
Geoffs went deep into their memory. The fake one, was applying algorithms to all the songs the two friends listened together. The vagueness of the riddle perplexed it but numbers would prevail. Logically the one they listened together the most would be the answer. The real one was just remembering. Before the techno uprising, before these two scholars became soldiers. He remembered his friend come up to him one afternoon.
“There was this girl, we met at the checkout line at Target. We were both really disgusted at the song ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ playing in the store. Then, I dunno
we got coffee and talked for hours. She had to go but we exchanged numbers.” Sawyer paced in front of Geoff.
“So what’s the problem?” Geoff asked.
“I don’t know what to say to her when I call back. I mean she’s just so beautiful, and smart, and funny. How the hell could I have any kind of shot with her?”
“Just call her, she liked you enough to give you her number so that has to mean something.”
‘Achy Breaky Heart? No, look further.’ Thought the real Geoff.
“Amazing first date!” said Sawyer as they sat at their bar. “I took her out for dinner then she took me to this karaoke bar and we actually got up and sang ‘Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto.’ It was a great night.” Sawyer took another drink from his glass. Geoff took note in the gleam in his friend’s eye.
“She’s gotta be something to get you up on a stage and attempt the robot.” Said Geoff.
“She is man, I can’t wait for you to meet her.”
‘Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto’? No, further, much further. Geoff started to sweat as did his counterpart, the android was doing its job at imitating well.
The two friends were dressed in tuxedos holding their scotch and puffing on their cigars.
“Hell of a toast you made Geoff.” Sawyer tapped his glass to Geoff’s as they watched everyone having a great time at the reception.
“I should write a book ‘how to give a kick ass best man’s toast.’”
“Has a nice ring to it.”
“Nah, Mrs. Rachel Sawyer has a nice ring to it.” Said Geoff. Sawyer put down his drink.
“Here comes our song.” Sawyer walked over to his new wife and they danced to the song ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love With You’ by Elvis.
‘‘Can’t Help Falling in Love With You’? No, more powerful.’ Thought Geoff.
Geoff let himself into the house and stomped the snow off his boots.
“Hi Geoff. Come in here and get warm.” Said Rachel from the other room. Geoff walked into the living room where Sawyer and Rachel sat on their couch between the Christmas tree and fireplace.
“Hey buddy. I bet having a fireplace in front of you is a nice change from a computer screen.” Said Sawyer.
“I promised myself no work for the rest of the year.” Geoff sat in a chair.
“As much as I like the idea of downloading memories of our wedding night into a hard drive the world will have to wait a little longer.”
“How’s the peanut?” asked Geoff
“Kicking like crazy. Must know Uncle Geoff came in.” said Rachel rubbing her bulging tummy.
“Can’t wait to spoil the crap out of that kid. I’m going to load it up with sugar and toss it back to you.”
“Yeah, you just lost any supervision over it.” Said Sawyer then laughed. Rachel gently rubbed her belly and began singing.
“Silent night, Holy night, All is calm…”
In spite of his dire straits Geoff grinned. That Christmas was one of his happiest memories. But that wasn’t the song. No, the song that will forever stay imprinted in his mind, and Sawyers, the song he had wished he never heard, was two years later.
Geoff and Sawyer walked into the E.R and saw Rachel sitting in a chair next to a hospital bed. On the bed laid a little girl with brown hair that went down to her shoulders. Her eyes were closed and her little chest slowly going up and down.
“How is she?” asked Sawyer.
“She’s stable for now. But her fever won’t go down.” Said Rachel. Sawyer rubbed Rachel’s back and kissed her head.
“Why don’t you go get some coffee sweetheart, I’ll be right here.” Rachel nodded and got up, gave Geoff a hug then left the room. Sawyer sat in the chair Rachel was in.
“Hey Lizzy girl, Daddy’s here.” Sawyer put her little hand into his and rubbed it with his thumb. His other hand lightly stroked her hair as he began singing
softly. “Baaaby mine, don’t you cry…”
“’Baby Mine’.” Said Geoff 2.
“What?” said Sawyer. The other Geoff looked at Geoff 2 surprisingly. Tears weld up in Geoff 2’s eyes.
“The last song you ever sang to your daughter, was ‘Baby Mine’.” Geoff 1 looked between Geoff 2 and Sawyer.
BANG Sawyer turned his gun to Geoff 1 and shot him. Geoff 1’s body fell, seconds later the body on the ground combusted into flames. Sawyer dropped to his knees and looked at the tattoo on his hand, tears rolling down his cheek. He held on tightly to a hand full of grass. Geoff went up to his friend and massaged his shoulder.
“You have to let go. We have to move forward.” Sawyer’s fingers slowly loosened. His right hand went up to his face as ‘Elizabeth’ wiped the tears. Geoff helped up his friend once again and they moved on.