Lab Rat part 70

Posted: April 8, 2011 in Fiction, Test Subject
Tags: ,

“That’s my boy.” We stop at the bus stop. I let Dad and Jennifer take the bench, and I stand. The vest is hot, but it keeps me from sweating through my shirt. I guess that’s a blessing of sorts. “So where are we headed?”

“Taryn had a storage unit. I don’t know where it is, exactly, but I do know she planned on destroying it. Given the way she disposed of the lab, I’m betting it wouldn’t have been subtle.” I wipe the sweat off of my scalp. I can’t wait for my hair to come back. “We just look for the one that’s had a structure fire in the last four days.”

“Kid, that’s a lot of leg work to be doing on literal legs.” I look from him to Jennifer. She’s got pewter heels on. Not exactly practical footwear for what I have in mind.

“Yeah. I’m kind of short on other ideas though.” I look down the street. I think I see a bus, but the heat-shimmer of the road turns everything into a bright wavy blur. I look back at Dad. “Unless you think we should do it Indian-style.”

“What?”

“Light a fire and let Johnson see the smoke. He’d take us right to where we want to be.”

“You’ve got to be kidding.”

“Sort of. It’d be faster and easier.”

“There is no way that we’d be in a position to help anyone if you did that. You really think Johnson is going to let you keep your little bracelet?” I fiddle with the injector. The pinch of the needles shifting inside my wrist is oddly comforting.

“Not after last time.” I frown at the memory of letting Johnson get away, but I couldn’t let the paramedic die. I shake my head. Life might have been easier if I had the guy, but I don’t know that I would have been able to live with myself. “Damn it. What are we doing? What the hell could we possibly find at a storage shed that would lead us to Taryn?” I can feel the sense of calm that came with having help dissolving. This is still too big.

“I don’t know, Asher.” Dad peers up at me from under the brim of his hat. “Investigating isn’t always fun, and it takes time and patience.”

“I’m not gonna lie, Dad. I’m short on both.”

“You’ve got time.”

“Unless they move her.”

“They may already have moved her.”

“We’re talking in circles now.” I clench and unclench my fists. There has got to be a better way. “Maybe we can make this smoke signal thing work.”

“No.” Dad spits his toothpick into the street. “I’ll help you with anything else, but you get your own ass thrown in prison for the rest of eternity.” Jennifer smacks him on the arm.

“Ken, give him a chance.”

“Yeah, Ken,” I echo.

“No one likes a smart-ass.” Dad glowers at me. Compared to the sun, it’s nothing.

“Yeah, I know.” The idea isn’t even fully formed yet, but I plow ahead anyway. “Listen.” I take a deep breath. “So we know how they’re trying to find us. They’ve got all of my electronic assets under surveillance, right?”

“Without a doubt.”

“So we bait them out, and follow them home.”

“That’s crazy.” He pulls out another toothpick. I’m starting to get a picture of how much he used to smoke. Probably a good thing he quit.

“Yeah, well, would it work?”

The last couple of days haven’t been great in terms of literary productivity. I felt like I wrote myself into a corner, and I was contemplating trying to back-track a little bit to get out. Thing is, I don’t know what I would have changed to make it easier. That totally doesn’t matter now though, because I have what I think is a pretty entertaining solution to the problem.

My shoulder is doing better. We went down to Colorado Springs to fight, and I really needed to fight. Frustrations are building up fast these days. I want to be employed again. I want to have somewhere to go during the day. I need things to keep me outside my head and engaged in the world.

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