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  Readers! Here we are back in Teaser Tuesday territory already. This week, we continue with the touching story of a girl, her boyfriend, and his metal detector. His metal detector?  


What’s in the bag?

Yeah, I should have known it would be in a garbage dump. Where else do guys with metal detectors hang out? OK, the beach, but we don’t live anywhere near the beach.

“This is the spot. See that bag? There’s a body in it.”

“That’s just gross. How are you sure? Shouldn’t it be inflated with gases from decomposition?” My specs said it should be.

“Whoever it was, they were shot after they were put in the bag. It has bullet holes in it.”

My specs said that some of the holes were blown outwards. Whoever was inside still had a gun and had tried to shoot back.


We argued, but Neel won. I helped him clear away the rest of the garbage bags, and he opened it. Yep, that was a dead person. 100% DNR. My specs couldn’t tag him, which was weird. Didn’t everyone have a tag cloud? This guy was naked. I mean, he had clothes on, but no tags. Very weird.

Neel turned on his metal detector. “Molybdenum.”

“This guy is carrying molybdenum?”

“No, that’s the password for my sweep. I guess I’ll have to change it, now that you heard it.”

A password protected metal detector. Right.

“I customized the settings, OK! Do you know what one dB difference can mean in wet sand?” Neel must have been doing some predictive tagging of his own. Or maybe he was just defensive.

Neel swept the body with the detector and found the gun. Not hard, it was in the guy’s hand.

“All plastic, but with boron nitride hardening on the rifling spirals. Cool.”

My specs tagged that WHATEVER before I could even think it. The guy had something in his other hand, though. Neel swept it.

“Circuitry, wrapped around a tube of inward facing resilin microvili. All these openings, it’s baffling.”

“My specs say resilin is a protein. There’s no way you can tag that with a metal detector.”

“Your specs don’t know that if you sweep the background to establish a baseline database, then resweep in MRI burst mode, you can subtract the background and see the non-metals. It’s like the adaptive optics in telescopes, but different. We were chatting about it on the SWEEPERS channel. Proteins are going to be the next big thing in sweeping, you wait and see.”

I had a sudden realization that I was not Neel’s first love.

“So are we calling the cops?”

Neel’s specs projected a pair of wild, bloodshot eyes.

“Are you crazy? They’d grab my sweep! Besides, they wouldn’t be interested in a death that was obviously natural causes.”

“Lead poisoning.”

“In a garbage bag.”

“In a garbage dump. Quite natural.”

“OK, maybe it was rough sex or something!”

“So, we’re just walking away?”

Neel heaved a big sigh. “Yeah. I don’t want to get involved. I just wanted to show you my sweep could do cool stuff.” He sounded miserable. “I just wanted to show off ‘cause I like you.”

Suddenly there was a shaft of glorious sunlight surrounding us, and birds were singing and small choir of angels was tuning up in the background.

“OK.” I grabbed his lapel and gave him a light kiss on the cheek. “Let’s go back to your mom’s place. I have a sudden urge to show you my affections. Maybe you can touch them this time.”

Neel bent over the body and spread the ripped bag over it again, and weighed down the edges with a few more bags of household detritus.

“Let’s go.”

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