A Bad Encounter

“Papa, up.” Robert stooped to lift his little girl. Biologically, his niece. Mama Traci, unawares, turned a corner. They were heading to a Sysadmin convention.

As she passed a dark alcove, an arm snaked out, encircling her neck. “Pretty girl,” a voice murmured.

Just as quickly, Traci ducked and twisted, and he spotted a pistol in her hand.

“Uh, I guess you’re not happy to see me.”

“Not the least bit.”

“Do you want to kill me?”

“No, I want you gone.”

He went.

Robert arrived just then. He had Alia in one arm, a pistol in the other hand. At the same moment, a conference attendee arrived. Seeing pistols, he put up his hands. “Are you all right, ma’am?”

“All good.” replied Traci. She returned her pistol to its hidden pocket. “Heading to the convention? May we buy you a coffee?”

Giovanni was visiting from France. He held a chair for Traci, and helped Robert and Alia settle. Introductions were made.

“Wait, you’re Robert and Traci Li? Of the backdoor paper? And the PIMASA distro?”

Robert nodded. “Part of the team, yes.”

Traci suckled Alia. She mindspoke a waiter, and a security firm, placing orders with the one, requesting surveillance from the other.

“I hate to be all fan-boyish, but I am in awe of you and your fellow authors. The PIMASA distro is super! May I ask, what does PIMASA stand for?”

Robert began, “An ancient Sanskrit word …”

Traci shooshed him. “My brother is a tease. If you request a Free Slap, I’d like to watch.”

“Uh, perhaps I’ll let that one go.” Giovanni was mystified, but courteous enough to leave some questions unasked. “Did you call the police?”

Traci replied. “The acronym is Peace Is Morally And Socially Acceptable. He’s being watched.”

“Should I worry about your weapons?”

“Only if you wish to do harm.”

“In that case, I feel very safe indeed.”


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