Lab Rat part 71

Posted: April 9, 2011 in Fiction, Test Subject
Tags: , ,

“Maybe. There are a lot of failure scenarios here, kid.”

“I know. We already went over that.” The bus pulls up behind me, kicking up a cloud of grit from the curb. I close my eyes as I wave the driver on. The diesel engine is deafening, and the machine trails a cloud of black smoke. As soon as we can hear again, I continue. “Okay, so baiting these guys is simple, right? I mean, all I have to do is buy something on my card and they’ll swarm the location.”

“Is that how they found you last time?” Jennifer asks. She’s twirling a strand of golden hair around a finger. The idle fidgeting makes her seem ditzy, but I get the feeling it’d be a mistake to underestimate how smart she is.

“Yeah, I took a taxi to the lab.”

“How long did it take for them to get to you?”

“We were in the lab for almost an hour, and as soon as we left they had set up emplacements and had choppers standing by.”

“So you’d have maybe fifteen minutes before they were on you, right Ken?” Dad squeezes her.

“Sounds about right. You wouldn’t be able to count on it, but there’s nothing we can do about that.”

“Okay. So I’m going to buy a phone, and I’m going to get some cash.” I fiddle with the tracery of burns on my left arm. I really need to show this to Taryn. Deep breath. I’m working on it. “I figure that the transactions will raise a red flag, and I need a phone. The cash will be for later, in case I’m still on the run.”

“Well, that’ll bring them down on you, all right. And there probably won’t be a time when you’re not on the run for a while, kid.” He stands and pulls Jennifer up with him. “So let’s go find a spot to stir up some trouble.”

“Is there a good place to set up an ambush on a government strike team around here?”

“Quit being a smartass. There’s no such thing as a good place for what you’re going to be doing.”

“So I guess we’ll just find the closest electronics store and wing it.” Dad puts his index finger on his nose. We backtrack toward the motel, and after a few blocks we come to a little strip mall. It’s got a cracked grey parking lot with only a couple of cars in it, and a low retaining wall. Most importantly, it has a Radio Shack. “Do you guys want to hide or anything?” I’m itching to get this ball rolling, but I don’t want to screw it up. Dad’s right. It’s a pretty high risk maneuver.

“We’re just going to go sit on one of the retaining walls.”

“Okay. Be back in a few.” I smirk to myself. I’ve never been able to buy a new phone in only a few minutes. If the last few days are any indication, I won’t make it out of the store before someone starts shooting again. It’s not exactly pessimism. More like pattern recognition. I cross the sweltering parking lot, and pull open the glass door. A wash of Arctic chill rolls over me. I can feel the beads of sweat on the back of my neck frost over. It feels fantastic.

There’s a lot going on in my head these days. The first and foremost is the recognition that maybe I’m drinking a little too much lately. I’m hung over as all hell every morning. I can’t wait to have a job again. All this free time is giving me a chance to reacquaint myself with some of my more destructive hobbies. I was talking with a friend of mine about how I missed the good old days, where we’d have week-long benders in my shitty little apartment. On an intellectual level, I realized that I kind of don’t want to go back to those days. I’m having a hard enough time coping with being in the same place I was last year. The way out is forward.

  1. Saw a link to this post over at Stumble Upon. Thanks for posting it.

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