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28 November 2017 @ 07:17 am
_Stone_ part 20  

"Umm, I have a laptop and as soon as I get signed up with cable and internet and so forth, I'll be golden. Really, there is life without the idiot box. Is this Monday? I'll need to find a Sports Bar." I hauled the tray of flat ware to the kitchen, then folded the box flaps in and placed it where I'd assemble the shelves.

"Uh huh. And which box has the microwave?"

"I have a toaster and a coffee maker. See this object? It is called a frying pan. It produces much better food than a microwave." Small pot, the frying pan, cookie sheet cake pans. Into the cupboards with them!

Office stuff and tools out of the next box, flaps in, and place against the wall.

Wally eyed the boxes and shook his head. "This is way too bachelor for me. Those can't be shelves, they'll collapse. My mother fixed me up with all sorts of stuff. Actually, I think she was cleaning out her attic."

I just grinned and produced the toaster and percolator from the next box. Along with books and the thin slats that kept my shelves from collapsing.

The last boxes were just books and clothes. I fixed up the boxes and put the clothes back in.

"Don't tell me, let me guess. You never bring girls home."

"Umm, well, no." Werewolves should not date.

Three boxes on the bottom, well spaced. Two boxes bridging the gaps, then the last one on top. The heavy stuff—the tool boxes—went on the floor between boxes. The books went in the bottom boxes and the clothes in the next two. The little clock radio in the gap between them . . . once I'd gotten the power cord behind the bottom box and plugged in. A couple knickknacks here and there.

"And," I whipped out the little box of framed photos and had Mom and Dad on the wall in no time at all. "Voila! I am moved in."

He shook his head in disbelief.

"So, about this Sports Bar thing? Any around here? Or a restaurant with TVs will do." I grabbed a clean shirt and pulled it on. "Buy you dinner? I owe you for taping me up."

"Sure Dude, if you're not short on cash, there Gambi's down the street." He looked worriedly at my shoulder. "It's an easy walk and the parking's atrocious."

I checked the time . . . "Uh, Pacific daylight, right so it's . . . "

"Six Pee Emm, and Monday Night Football is underway as we stand here missing it."

"Lead on, Wally. Xavier. Whatever."

Gambi's had superb steaks, with the big screens streaming the commentary. After the steaks we shifted to the bar for another beer or two, to watch the end of the game. And wander home in the fall twilight . . . a man approached in a rather aggressive fashion.

Leo stared at him, and thought really hard. Armed, dangerous, just drunk enough to actually kill me.

The man veered abruptly away, shooting a nervous glance at them.

Hehehehe! I should do visualizations while drunk more often.

Wally sighed. "And that, Leo, is one of the few advantages to being large and black."

"Oh, is that why . . ." Leo sighed. Okay no magic, Darn it all. "Huh. I thought you'd be a babe magnet."

"That's the other advantage." Wally grinned. "So . . . what acting experience do you have?"

"Two high school plays."

"Oh, Leo . . . you've got a problem."

"I know. What I'll actually do is loaf around until my shoulder's healed and then I'll get a real job. From what I've heard, actual acting jobs are few and far between, so I can, you know, go to a few . . . do they really call them cattle calls?"

"Absolutely. Now I've got street cred, so I get . . . the same treatment. But I've got a better chance at a speaking role than you. Mainly because I'm better looking." Wally grinned.

Leo grinned back. "Ah cud exagerate mah suthern akcent an be ah evil white dude, ya thank?"

"Don't, just don't, that was so fake. It's been half a century since accents that bad were heard in the land."


"Thursday. I'll show you how it works."


So I staggered into my new home, not drunk, I mean three beers on top of a huge dinner . . . I peeled out of my clothes and pulled on a pair of sweat pants. Sat on the futon and closed my eyes. I could see or feel or sense for a couple miles all round. Little glowing bits. White and clean. Gray and tired. A few messy reds that I'd learned to associate with the seriously mentally ill, winos, and dopeheads. There were rushing lines of the glowy bits, marking the roads. But most of the bits were still and quiet. Sound asleep. Absolutely nothing scary.

I sort of fell over and grabbed the pillow. I pulled out the blanket, and let the world go away.

Tuesday, I waited for rush hour to abate, then went out for a drive. Every three or four miles I'd pull over and "look" around. Mark the area on a map, and drive on. Several stops later I reached hills, without houses. I shifted west four miles, and went a few miles north, then headed south.

After all, I was here to locate some murderous werewolves and call down the Wrath of God on them. Or the NSA, whichever came first. I was not betting on the NSA, having not seen them in action when a single FBI agent and I had taken out most of the Phoenix gang.

Although they'd probably been useful for find the werewolves who's fled into the desert, and concealing the uncanny parts of the "drug bust outside of Phoenix."

Anyhow, I figured I could drive a grid and find any Hunters--they called themselves "The Hunters of Men" in suitably deep portentious tones and I was really horrified to to be related to them--in town. Of course it was a huge metropolitan area, so it wasn't going to be fast.

Unless I advertised.

If I showed up in, like a crowd shot . . . of course, when would anything actually air? And it wouldn't just be local, would it. Okay, bad idea. I'd pretend to looking for an acting job, while hunting for werewolves. A couple of weeks to heal, and I'd start applying for jobs.

And keep driving around. I parked, looked around, drove on. Turned and headed west, turned back north. I could knock this corner of the city off today, another tomorrow, cattle call Thursday, then back to work Friday.

I had lunch, drove on, stopped for gas, drove . . . stopped at a grocery store bought the basic necessities, paid extra for bags . . .

"You have got to be kidding me."

Bored checkout lady. "Ten cents a bag."

I looked at the rack of reusable ones. Yellow with big red flowers.

"There's a pink one with white lace hearts." The lady in line behind me snickered. I grabbed a blue one. Clouds and sail boats. Kindergarten level graphic. I handed it to the check out lady. "And a tosser for the hamburger and chicken, please, in case the raw meat leaks, you know?"

"Poor dead animals." A loud comment from a gal at the next register.

I handed over cash and retreated. Checked for werewolves, drove home.

". . . microwave them? They might get mushy." Some young good-looking guy, white, blonde hair, two day stubble like all the movie stars . . .

"So?" Wally was trying to loom and having a hard time of it. They were both a bit over six foot tall, and while Wally had him beat in the muscles department, Blondie had a dress shirt and nice slacks and a superior attitude.

"Hey, Leo. This is Mike. He claims that microwaving frozen french fries doesn't work." He frowned at the ten pound bag of idahoes I was toting in under my right arm. "Those aren't actual . . . potatoes, are they?"

"Of course they are. Hi Mike, nice to meet you. Wally . . . yes, microwaving frozen frensh fries is contra-indicated." I set down the groceries to fish for my keys. "Didn't your mother teach you to cook?"

"I don't think she knew how to cook."

Mike was shrugged. "Mine sort of knew how. Mind you she burned a lot of stuff."

They both peered in my bags.

"Is that raw chicken?"

"And hamburger?"

"Look, do you guys need cooking lessons?"

So I cooked. Fried chicken and mashed potatoes and Mike had canned peas so it looked virtuous until I brought out the pan gravy. Mike apparently had about as much furniture as me. As in a real bed, but no table at all. So Wally supplied the table, and a humongous TV showing a baseball game. "The Dodgers are leading their division. World Series material, unless they totally blow it." Wally jerked his thumb at me. "He's a football fan."

Mike shook his head sadly. "Heritic. But the Nationals will take the Championship."

"Ha! So you're another Easterner, like Leo?"

"Hey, I'm from Georgia. I think that makes me a Southerner. The Atlanta Braves will win."

Wally shook his head. "Dude, they suck this year. Last in their division."

"Oh? Oh, well, whatever." I shrugged.

And cheered a beautiful double play.

Both the other guys yelled at me.

Mike stopped in mid-tirrage, and I looked over my shoulder at the open door. And the old lady glaring at us.

"What pray tell is all this noise! And shouldn't you lock your doors?" She glowered at us from under white eyebrows.

Wally snorted. "He was cheering the Cards getting a double play."

Her frown turned on me. "Indeed! And what heathen parts do you hail from?"

"Atlanta, Ma'am."

"Never call a California woman Ma'am!" But her gaze had fallen to the fried chicken and if there had been an intended sting, it never reached the words.

I elbowed Wally. "Get the person of unknown gender a plate, quick, before she has me for dinner."

Her glare returned to me, but drifted chickenward and she accepted the chair Mike pulled out of the corner, grabbed the chicken I placed on the plate with both hands and within minutes was cussing out the Ump like one of the guys.

Apparently she was my next door neighbor, and Mike was Wally's. So we wandered around a bit, always returning to the Big Screen, only slightly diverted by the smell of backing cookies coming from Mrs. Armstrong's apartment, and few minutes later served hot, and Mike produced ice cold milk.

Wally had lots of unpacked stuff, despite his claim to have moved in three months previously. Mike's recliner and midsized TV had tags and his mattress and boxsprings were still plastic wrapped . . . "Did you just get here?"

He looked at his watch. "Eight hours ago."

We were alone for a moment, and he looked suddenly alarmed.

I raised my brows. "Do you work for or with Mr. Wright?"

His face blanked with something akin to panic or shock hiding behind it.

"Excellent. You can drive tomorrow."


"I can't drive and search at the same time, so I have to keep finding parking spaces. Slows it down badly."

"I have no idea what you're talking about, and I don't know a Mr. Wright." Stiff rigid muscles.

I nodded. "Of course not. See you in the morning." I wandered back to Wally's in time to see the Dodgers make a comeback in the eighth and lose in the ninth.

To near-universal moans. Then we all helped with a bit of clean up. Mrs. Armstrong complimented my cooking and took the last piece of chicken home, in exchange for the last cookie.

Wally gave me a careful swat on my uninjured shoulder. "Damn, that was more fun than I've had in three months of living here. You better stick around, you're a people magnet."

mbarkermbarker on November 29th, 2017 01:13 am (UTC)
Gad, Stone's a people person! Cool! Which probably explains why he's having so much trouble with his in-laws...

Keep it coming, this is fun!