Lab Rat part 72

Posted: April 13, 2011 in Fiction, Test Subject

A chime sounds when I walk in. I push my shades up onto the top of my stubbly head. The place is lit by fluorescent lights, but the sun pours in through the glass store front and washes out any artificial light. The walls are lined with assorted cables and devices, and there are shelves on the floor running parallel to the walls. In the center is a hexagonal counter that corrals a pair of bored-looking salespeople in black shirts and khaki pants. It’s apparently the default work uniform. I think I saw a couple of Parish’s men rocking that same look. “Can I help you,” one of them asks. I can’t really blame him for the lack of enthusiasm. I didn’t do so hot with jobs like this either. If I was cut out for the service sector, I wouldn’t be getting ready to thumb my nose at the government.

“Yeah, I lost my data card for my phone.”

“Phone number?” I give him my number.

“Name on the account?”

“Asher Brinks.”

“Alright. That’ll be twenty two fifty.” I pull out my wallet.

“Hey, I also need a pre-paid phone. One of the cheap ones.” The cheapest phones were always shitty, but I’m probably going to need a phone that Johnson isn’t tracing. I’m drumming my fingers as the kid rings me up. I can’t stop looking out the windows. I can see Dad and Jennifer sitting on the concrete retainer at the edge of the parking lot. I hand the kid my card. Here goes nothing. He slides the card through the reader. I can feel a prickle of sweat creep up my spine despite the cold air.

“Uh, it’s declining your card, man.” Son of a bitch.

“Try it one more time.” The kid slides it again.

“A’ight, you’re good.” I let out a sigh. Okay, well that means Johnson is on his way. It also means he hasn’t frozen my bank account. Finally, some good luck. The kid bags up my phone and the data card. He hands my credit card and the bag over to me. “Have a nice day.”

“You too.” I head toward the door. It takes every ounce of strength not to break into a run. I push my way out into the scorching heat, but it feels good after my brief stay in that refrigerated store. I squint and pull the sunglasses back down over my eyes. Dad is looking at me, but turns away and stands up. He knows, so I don’t have to signal anything. I look around. I need a place to hide. There are no buildings over two stories around here, and I look too shabby to hang out in an office. If I had any way to keep track of the parking lot, the sewers would be perfect. I think I have a power that would hide me, but I need to play frugal with my toys. I settle on going up to the roof of a building across the street. I drop the prepaid phone down inside my vest and pocket the card. I drop the trash in the parking lot.

I’ve been remembering too much today. I was honestly tempted to hit my head against a wall just to stop myself from remembering things. I can’t recall it being so brutal. Perhaps that is the effect that anesthetizing myself with booze has had. For the record: I didn’t do anything harmful to myself. The world is rough enough without self-inflicted harm.


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