This afternoon's brunch was interesting...
When Case and I arrived with the terror in tow, we were escorted to a private room, complete with a touch screen for filling our buffet plates. Bri loved that. She'd touch the screen and watch the door expectantly until a waiter would arrive with her order.
It was really hard convincing her that she was not to order a bunch of grapes one grape at a time. Sometimes the child is too clever for her own good.
When the manager visited us to make sure everything was in order, he apologized for ‘segregating' us– but it seems when we walked in there was enough of a stir that he knew we wouldn't have been able to eat in peace.
I thanked him, as did Case. Bri smiled up at him and then hit the grape button.
The manager was about to leave when he turned and studied me for a moment.
"Jess," he asked. "Things like... that accident... where you uhm...."
"Had to be hosed down?"
He smiled. "Yes, that. Does that sort of thing happen often?"
I laughed. "Only when someone's filming it," I confided.
It took him a moment but then he smiled and nodded. "Next week," he told me. "You go back to being normal customers."
He glared lovingly at Bri. "Your daughter seems to like this too much."
We finished our brunch and we had to remind Bri of the concept of ‘one' when she went for the desert menu. If we hadn't stopped her she would have had the entire desert cart.
We really need to watch that child..
Remember what I said about my co-worker's maturity levels– they also don't know when to quit.
I got into the office this morning and found a wall of toilet paper inside my door-- 160 rolls of toilet paper... I have to admit it was an amazing feet of engineering... they somehow managed to have the ‘wall' right up next to the door so that when I opened it, I knocked the whole thing down.
As I grudgingly started cleaning up, the shift commander walked in.
"I wondered what happened to our supplies," he sighed.
I looked up at him, unsure if he was kidding or not. There was a wicked gleam in his eyes.
"Better get that back to janitorial services," he admonished.
I started to object– tp was kept in the supply closet with the soap and towels. Then I smiled as I realized what he was doing– a subtle lesson in the proper allocation of equipment.
After I'd accomplished my assigned duty– with no witnesses mind you, I got back down to work. There were two weeks worth of reports that needed to be reviewed, summarized and filed.
Hero one day, filing clerk the next. – gotta love it.
The one bright point of the day was finding out that Roberts had saved a man from drowning in a pool filled with Jell-o. I have no idea why he had a pool filled with Jell-o, I'm not even sure I want to think about it– but I do know that a pool full of Jell-o takes precedence over my– unfortunate accident.
I made the mistake of breathing a sigh of relief– a big mistake in this business. I mean– I didn't let down my guard, but– Dolphin boy was back– only this time he missed the dolphin tank...
They'd rearranged the exhibits down at the aquarium– the Dolphins had been moved to the tank on the west side, and the Polar bear exhibit had been moved to the other side... We got him out... it wasn't easy, or pretty– still they say he's going to make it...
I don't think he'll be swimming with the dolphins anymore...
I took it like any mature adult with my job would... I made some Jell-o for Roberts.
You know– I've never given the Wednesday night calls the credit they deserve...
I mean usually they're interesting calls, tonight's were no exception. As a matter of fact there were a lot more of them down town– especially around AZT and the Arcology. The trouble seemed to close in on AZT at first... almost like someone was setting something up.
The usual warning signs, odd calls flooding the switchboard, reports of gunfire on AZT's property... three men shot outside AZT's pyramid– I was busy on several of the calls– some were real, others simply diversionary.
Those were the ones that really ticked me off. I mean, fine– you want to distract people and give yourself a better chance at... whatever, fine. Distract the police– distract security but dammit, leave the fire/rescue people out of it!
We ended up having to stretch out the other districts so that downtown was covered...
As the calls were dying down– I got one, a bike accident down next to the Arcology. As I neared the place I noticed that most of the construction equipment was gone... I saw the bike and as I dismounted I caught the movement out of the corner of my eye– and a 2x4 to the back of the helmet.
I landed hard.
Next thing I know I'm looking down a barrel of a shotgun. The guy holding it on me was dressed in riding leathers and a full face helmet. I could see he was hurt, but I could also tell he had no intention of allowing anybody here to treat him.
He racked the shotgun and pointed it at me again. I think he would have killed me for my bike if his partner hadn't moved between us. Her movements were fluid, graceful and yet forceful– the kind of movements no human or meta human could manage by genes alone.
As I started to breathe a sigh of relief, I felt a pressure in the back of my mind. It wasn't entirely pleasant, but it wasn't entirely unpleasant either. I could feel myself falling...
Next thing I know Dwight is kneeling over me getting my vital statistics.
My bike was long gone– but our friends didn't count on the fact that it had a tracer unit on it. The Star found it and them in a bar down in Redmond– toasting the success of their mission, whatever it had been.
I've been ordered to take a few days off– it might be a mistake...
That gives me too much time to let myself think about the risks of what I do– about what could have happened last night...
Case arrived at the hospital as I was leaving. Nothing was broken– no permanent damage, no permanent physical damage at any rate.
He looked at me– the way I carried my helmet. He knew. He knew and he didn't say anything, just held me and let me get it out of my system. Then he took me over to council Island to let Mom check me out.
Mom took me in back– I think she was seeing to my spirits, because when she finished I felt much better and much safer. The memory was still there, but now at least I knew what had happened– The pressure I'd felt had been a sleep spell– and a word of advice– don't use them as sleep aids, you sleep but you wake up feeling... well, like you'd been hit by a 2x4.
After Mrs. Walker declared that I was all right, Case took me out for breakfast and then down to the station to identify my attackers– or at least their gear. The leathers and even the helmets were common enough– but the shot gun was a different story.
I knew it too well. I recognized the sound it made when racking it, the scratches around the barrel– I knew them all. Its amazing what you can memorize in five seconds.
I looked at the shotgun, and then again at the leathers– I found the bullet hole I'd seen in the man's pair, there big as life. I began wondering why they'd done it– and what they'd been up to. Case saw the change immediately and went from being my supporting protector to my partner and husband.
I don't know how he does that– I don't know how Therese could have missed it.
I looked up at him and asked what last night's incident was all about
Case gave a slight snort and smiled at me. He knew I was going to be all right then.
They didn't have all the details, but he promised to find out for me. Then he took me home and put me to bed. I wasn't sure I could sleep, but Case stayed with me, letting me know that he was there to watch over me– and to help me relax.
I'm so glad we found each other.
I was invited down to the courthouse this morning for the arraignment hearings for my friends in black leather. I didn't have to be there– at least not officially, but for my own well being I did. I needed to know what I'd almost been killed over.
As the bailiffs led the man and woman in, they managed to glare at everybody there. For a moment I thought that the man gave me a particularly dirty look– but then I remembered that there was no way they could have seen my face.
The woman sat there and somehow managed to convey contempt and hatred for everyone there– without saying a word. The man on the other hand conveyed his contempt rather vocally.
Then the bailiff came and led the man forward. The woman would be charged when they were finished with him.
Breaking and entering, theft, assault, assault on a police officer, grand theft motorcycle... the list of charges went on. The man seemed to get more disinterested in the list as they were read out.
Disinterested and more contemptuous.
When they made read off the ‘assault on a police officer,' he actually smiled.
I couldn't believe the contempt and disregard for human life– actually I could. He would have killed me for my bike...
When allowed to speak he simply declared that since society had turned their backs on him– he did not recognize the right of the court to charge him for his actions. He said something about none of ‘THEM' (them being the people involved in his escapade) having ever done anything for him except try to keep him ‘in his place.'
He was almost believable– but I knew better. I'd been there. I was part of the ‘establishment'.
When asked about the bike, he said something about wishing he'd killed that Star...#$@@%!
But when he said it he looked straight at me. So much for not being recognized. Guess I'm not the only one who notices build and such. Idiot. Can't tell the difference between red and white and red and blue.
Since he continued to glare I stood, and slung my jacket over my shoulders– so that caduceus showed and shook my head. I started to leave when the woman turned to me and spoke for the first time.
"I saved your life..."
I gave her one of my best consternated looks. She was looking at me like I owed her.
"You were part of my almost being killed." I couldn't help myself.
She shook her head with one of those slow fluid moves she was so good at. "You owe me."
That got to me. Of all the audacity... I owed her because she knocked me out instead of letting her buddy shoot me.
I shook my head. This was neither the place nor the time to get into it– but it was too late. Leaving during the arraignment was bad enough– but allowable, but now I was the center of attention.
"Do you have something to add," the judge asked looking at me.
"No sir," I answered and walked out of the court. It was the only thing I could really do at that point.
But it stayed with me: that woman glaring at me– telling me that I owed her.
She knows nothing about.
The world owes you nothing more than a chance. I offered my had in assistance– the assistance her friend claimed was never offered to them– and my reward was being clocked....
Life debts are a thing of the past– and saving someone from the threat you posed is not worthy of it.
Still– I had trouble sleeping.
I was tired when we headed over to Council Island-- I didn't sleep very well. Every time I started to doze off I saw the woman's face and heard her telling me how I owed her.
I had hoped to talk to Mom Walker about the whole situation, but she had been called away on some sort of tribal business. Mr. Walker wasn't all that happy about it since it meant that he had a choice of Trina's ultra-healthy organic, odd-tasting concoctions or my firehouse chili.
Trina and I ended up putting our talents together and coming up with an ultra-healthy, organic concoction that tasted exactly like firehouse chili. I was just glad nobody asked what was in it.
Bri stayed awake for about the first 10 minutes of our drive home. I don't know what it is about kids in cars-- but it can really be a blessing sometimes. Case finally let out a deep breath and plunged in-- asking me what had set me on edge.
I told him about the hearing-- the man's lack of concern or remorse-- and the woman telling me I owed her.
Case shook his head and told me that I was too honorable for my own good sometimes. He told me everything I needed to hear and kept telling me until it actually got through my thick skull.
I'm glad one of us has our head on straight.
Copyright 2000 M.T. Decker