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Dead Men Tell No Tales (standard:fantasy, 2405 words)
Author: The Hoss ManAdded: Sep 15 2000Views/Reads: 4095/2238Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
An important witness is dead... or is he?

Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

monitor you can imagine for the past 30 minutes, and they all say the 
same damn thing: 'Dead as a June Bug in a Polish Immigrant's Ice Box!'" 

Senator Fink watched Gettman eat his pudding through the two way mirror,
keeping the flat-line EEG and EKG visible in the corner of his eye. 

"I'm still waiting on a few more test results, maybe when I've had a
chance to go over them I'll be able to explain his condition better.  
In the mean time, I'd like him to stay here for the next few days, so I 
can keep an eye on him."  A nurse had come in to clean up the room.  
Fink watched her bend over, and watched Gettman stare at her while she 
did so -- all the while, the monitors showed nothing; no heart beat, no 
brain activity, Dead. 

"Will he be able to testify in Washington next week?" 

"Assuming he doesn't get any more dead, that shouldn't be a problem." 

"Fine.  I'm going back to bed.  Hussey, I want you to figure out this
whole 'Death' problem.  I don't care if the little Imp is alive or not, 
just as long as he testifies next week.  Make sure this won't fuck us 
in some way.  I don't want his testimony getting thrown out on a legal 
technicality of his being dead.  I swear Hussey, if you blow this I'll 
serve your ass at the next party fund-raising dinner!" 

*       *       * 

"Are we sure he's actually dead?  I mean, I've tried to take my own
pulse lots of times when I'm out jogging, and I can never find it -- 
but that doesn't mean I'm dead."  Wendy Moslof, office loud mouth, 
looked around the table at the other staff members for nods in support 
of her (alleged) point.  Finding only raised eyebrows and the 
occasional "I wish you WERE dead" look, she rolled her eyes and passed 
the Moo-Goo-Guy-Pan to a 'Yes' man sitting next to her. 

Executive whipping boy Hussey glared at her just long enough for his
disgust to be completely evident -- but not long enough for someone 
else to think they had a right to speak. 

"Yes Wendy, we're sure.  Believe it or not, doctors and nurses tend to
be better at this sort of thing then you might be." Hussey felt a 
moment of pride hearing the childish snickers emanating from around the 
table as the rest of the Senator's staff paused in their fight over 
take-out cartons to mock Wendy's arrogance.  Hussey: +1, Moslof: -1.  
When you spend so much time being referred to as "Dip Shit", it's nice 
to feel superior to even bigger Dip Shits -- especially in politics.  
"See, besides using their fingers, they have this thing called an 
'EKG', which monitors a persons heart rate very closely.  And they have 
this other thing called an 'EEG' which monitor a person's brain waves.  
Both of them say that Gettman is a dead little man. 

"They also have this machine called a 'CAT Scan', and some other really
complicated tests involving blood samples, and bone marrow samples, and 
urine samples, ... all of which indicate that Gettman is not only dead 
-- but he's evidently been dead for at least a week.  That quack 
Osborn's even crazy enough to think that he may have never been alive 
at all." 

Of course, thought Wesley, it's not so crazy when you consider that the
dead man in question had been complaining bitterly about some of the 
more painful tests performed on him for several hours; But Hussey 
decided not to point that out.  It would seem humorous, and Hussey 
needed to regain some dignity this morning.  Not one to cede a point, 
Wendy didn't back down: "I realize they are trained professionals, with 
a lot of complicated electronic equipment, but electronic equipment can 
break.  All I'm saying is that their machines might just be on the 
fritz, and we shouldn't get carried away until we've tested them." 

"Fine." said Hussey, realizing that she was not only slightly right, but
that this was a prime opportunity to score some points, and get her out 
of his hair.  "I'm putting you and Nasland in charge of validating 
Osborn's experiments.  I want the two of you to personally undergo 
every test Gettman has, is, or will undergo -- using the exact same 
equipment.  As for the rest of you: I want research.  Have there been 
any similar medical cases of conscious dead people recently? Ever?  
What are the legalities of a witness who isn't clinically alive?  Do we 
have to prove he's alive, or is the burden of proof on the opposition 
to show that he's dead?  Will Dr. Osborn's test results give them that 
proof, or is it enough that Gettman can walk and talk? 

"Time's wasting people, let's get on it!" 

Wendy sighed, realizing that she had walked right into a very shitty,
physically painful, assignment -- working with a totally immature 
pervert.  In the far back corner of the room, part time community 
college intern Ryan Nasland looked up with wide eyes and white rice 
stuck to his chin.  Wow, an assignment ... with Wendy! 

*       *       * 

"Alright people, you've had a whole day to work on this, what've you got
for me?"  Hussey felt better today then he had the previous morning.  
Partly because there hadn't been any phone calls about dead witnesses, 
and partly because he had gotten laid last night -- two things that 
always made him feel chipper in the morning. 

"Well sir, in terms of the legal issues of being dead, we shouldn't have
any problems.  The only precedent in this area have involved witnesses 
who were assumed dead, for whatever reason, but then turned up alive.  
In a few of these cases, the opposition challenged the witness' 
identity, on the grounds that they were supposed to be dead.  But in 
every case we've found: fingerprint comparisons, dental records, and 
affidavits from people who know the 'deceased' have always been enough 
to convince the court to accept the witness' identity.  No legally dead 
witness has ever had to prove that they were actually alive, just that 
they are who they claim to be.  As long as Gettman walks into the 
Senate chambers and no one challenges him when he get's up and swears 
that he is Randall J. Gettman, we should be OK." 

"Fine.  So far the media just knows Gettman was hospitalized, they don't
seem to have picked up on the fact that he's dead; the opposition seems 
pretty clue-less as well -- but I don't want to count on that. Have 
some affidavits and fingerprint comparisons ready to go just in case we 
need them.  The key word here is 'discrete', I don't want any of this 
dead witness stuff to come up in the press, or in chambers, or anywhere 
-- but if it does, I want to be ready for it. Understand?  Good, now 
.... Where the hell is Wendy?" 

From the corner of the room a timid man raised a timid hand. "Uh, Mr. 
Hussey, Sir.  She's not feeling well sir.  She's still at the hospital. 

Nasland.  What a idiot. 

"What the hell's wrong with her Nasland?" 

"Well sir, after the meeting yesterday, we went to test the medical
equipment as you instructed and, evidently sir, she's dead. She was a 
little upset by the news, and had to be sedated.  I went by and checked 
on her again this morning on my way here.  According to the nurse I 
talked to, she's still in shock and can't take visitors -- something 
about psychotic behavior, a suicide attempt, and needing to be 
restrained -- but I'm going to try to stop by again after lunch." All 
heads in the room slowly and silently turned from the dopey young 
intern, to the slightly less dopey chief of staff. 

"Son of a ... How many fucking dead people are there?" 

*       *       * 

"Evidently Senator, this is not an isolated incident."  Wesley hated
having to give the Senator bad news, it tended to sour his normally 
horrible mood.  "I had some of our staff go through old medical records 
looking for anything out of the ordinary.  They found reports dating 
back to the dark ages in which doctors reported being consistently 
unable to locate the pulse -- or in more recent cases: brain activity 
-- of certain patients.  In nearly all of these cases the problem was 
blamed on a variety of things; from poor circulation, rubber gloves 
that were too thick, broken electronics, improper medical procedure, 
voodoo ... the works.  As near as we can estimate, roughly one in every 
hundred-thousand people aren't really alive -- at least not in a 
clinical, medical sense.  So far, as a result of our own private 
inquire over the past few days, we've confirmed the existence of four 
dead people currently alive -- in addition to Gettman.  One is Wendy 
Molsof, a member of your own staff!" 

"That dish water blond that's always yapping?  I never did like her
much.  But tell me Hussey, how come no one's ever discovered this?  You 
make it sound as if this has been going on since Napoleon marched his 
dead ass into Waterloo!" 

"As I said Senator: there have been cases of this in the past, but it
was always explained away without anyone bothering to really 
investigate.  The only evidence we found of anyone realizing the 
situation before us are a few scattered references to the research of a 
Doctor Lud at the University of Berlin in the 1920s.  He evidently 
believed that our understanding of life was only applicable to the 
majority of the human race, but did not account for all of mankind. He 
was considered a quack by most of the world's medical communities at 
the time, no one even printed his papers outside of Germany -- And of 
course, nearly all of his original work was lost during the Wars." 

"This is the craziest shit I've ever heard of Hussey -- and I've slept
in the Lincoln bedroom, talk about hearing crazy shit... but never mind 
that; what I want to know is: Will Gettman Testify?  And will his 
testimony hold up?" 

"We should have no problem there Senator.  Gettman's fine, and no one
outside our office knows anything about this.  Even the people in our 
office don't believe what they DO know!  But I think you're missing a 
bigger issue here Senator, there are people walking around that aren't 
actually alive!  We owe it to the American people to investigate this 
and figure out --" 

"We owe the American people shit Hussey.  Besides electing me, and over
paying you, what in hell's name did the American people ever do for us? 
 Do you know what investigating this will do?  It will bring it out in 
the open so that the whole world will know.  And then no one will care 
about Gettman's testimony, or the election, or who wins the Super-bowl. 
 Instead we'll just have a couple of billion people worried about who's 
dead and who's not -- what the hell difference does it make! 

"Kill your investigation Hussey, make this whole thing disappear.  I
don't want to hear any more talk about it around the office, I want 
everyone focused on getting ready for Gettman's testimony. 

"And tell that loud mouth sack of estrogen to get back to work; how many
sick days does the little tart think she can use at one time anyway?" 


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