Lab Rat part 48

Posted: March 4, 2011 in Fiction, Test Subject

As I run, I check my pockets. I still have my wallet. At last, some good news. I slow to a walk and start looking for cabs. I don’t see any. It’s just after dawn. Too early to have many out, I suppose. I keep going until I come to a gas station. There haven’t been payphones around for years because everyone has a cell phone. I weave my way through the pumps and go inside. The door opening sets off an electronic chime. As I grab a pair of energy drinks and a handful of granola bars, a scraggly looking old man appears from somewhere and meets me at the counter. I look at the junk I’m piling onto the counter. Not exactly my ideal meal, but I’ve been burning through powers. Taryn’s not around to resurrect me right now.

“That be it for you?” I watch him try not to stare at my shredded limbs and bloody shoulder.

“Sort of. Any way I could use your phone?” I start fishing out my wallet. “I need a cab.” I fish out my brand new bank card hand it to the guy. He takes it with a shaking and withered hand.

“I can git ya one. You sure you don’t want an ambulance instead?” He runs my card and hands it back. I take my card back and stuff it in my wallet.

“Cab is cheaper, and I’m not dying,” I tell him. He shrugs. I watch as the guy pulls out an old touchtone phone and calls a cab company. I peel open the first granola bar and take a bite. I must be pretty hungry. The thing is gone in three. I’m about to start on my second one when he hangs up the phone. “Cab’ll be here in fifteen.”

“I appreciate it.” I scoop the rest of my breakfast up into my arm. “Have a good one.” I head outside. I sit down on the curb and eat. As I chew, I brush the gravel off of my arms. A couple of people come and get gas while I’m waiting. They eye me warily as the walk in and out. They don’t say anything. No one will. The Bystander Effect, my dad told me. It’s like inertia. It’ll mostly keep people from lifting a finger on the assumption that someone else will. Usually it’s a bad thing, but right now I need to stay away from any government agencies. I gotta duck Parish’s guys too, but those are both less numerous and harder to identify.

After what seems like an eternity, a yellow sedan with roof lights finally pulls into the gas station. Standing hurts more than I was hoping. It’s mostly sore muscle though, and I fight through it. My head swims a little. I grab my drinks and get into the back of the cab. “How’s it going?” The cab driver is a humorless woman with what’s probably a buzz cut underneath a flat billed hat. Her face is a mask of indifference. I’d guess she never smiled at all, except for the crows’ feet at the corner of her brown eyes.

No news today. Just me trying to get a handle on everything I’m going to need to keep and what I’m willing to flat out dispose of.


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