Author : Joseph S. Pete

The detective demanded to know why Kyle’s friend offed himself with the plasma blaster.

“He was playing Russian roulette,” Kyle stammered. “We had just seen it, in a movie.”

“What kind of movie?”

“An analogue movie, that he was streaming from some vintage hipster site.”

“What’s the difference between a plasma blaster and a revolver?”

Kyle clenched his jaw and stared hard. He opened his mouth, then judiciously closed it.

“What’s the difference between a plasma blaster and a revolver?”

Kyle stared vacantly at the opposite end of the table in the fluorescent-lit interrogation room.

“What’s the difference between low-tech and high-tech? What’s the difference between a revolver with a six-round cylinder that must be manually loaded with metal bullets and a plasma blaster that’s powered by an unending electrical channel of superheated, ionized gas? What’s the difference between an antique peashooter and a death pulse?”

“I.. I… “

“What’s the difference between an ancient dinosaur revolver with a spinning chamber that could hold six bullets or four or three or two or none, and a raygun you never need to reload?”

“We had just seen it, in the movie ‘The Deer Hunter.’ He wanted to try it out.”

“He wanted to try it out? He wanted to try it out? When would a raygun have an empty chamber? How dumb is your friend?”

The detective looked like his neck would explode in a rage aneurysm, that his temple would protrude like a balloon and then burst.

“You can’t play Russian roulette with a plasma blaster you stupid cretin dunce. Your friend is dead. He’s dead. Dead. I hope you’re happy. I hope you can live with this.”

The detective stormed out.

He had dismissed Kyle, written off his intelligence. Kyle made a dangerous gamble by playing dumb but it paid off. It paid off in spades. He had never felt such a shimmering thrill, never felt so alive.

He was there, he was alive.

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