Z365

Z365 – 008 – Booty Call

The entire way home I spend with my teeth clenched, grumbling inside my head. Don’t lie—you know exactly what I mean. Nobody just shrugs off losing a pointless argument. Least of all me.

It gets better as I slowly climb up the stairs to my humble abode. I’m two floors up when I can already hear Kelly and Mario going at it. At least I presume it’s them. That, or someone is redecorating with a sledgehammer.

Stopping in the hallway between my door and Kelly’s, I balefully stare at her door before pulling my food and the foil-wrapped dessert out of the bag and leave the rest on her doorstep. Serves them right for their bad timing.

I knock and press the buzzer for her doorbell. Neither makes the incessant pounding stop.

Oh well. Their loss.

Once I’m back in my apartment, I reflexively fire up Netflix, only to realize that the connection is still too bad for anything to load. Perfect. Every single piece of entertainment I own relies on internet access. The only physical, readable things are three coding bibles and my tax statements. I have a myriad of ebooks on my kindle—thankfully auto-downloaded—so that’s it for now, unless I want to head out to get some physical books or go see a movie. I’m not that desperate yet.

Worry keeps gnawing at the back of my mind but I do my best to ignore it. As long as we have power and the AC is still blasting, I don’t really care. My latest client hasn’t called with complaints; that’s a bonus.

I’m done polishing off my food when the latent noise pollution ceases, and I hear the door across the hallway open and close. At least they are well fed now, if without delicious sweetness afterward. 

All is well and good.

Three hours later, I’m bored out of my fucking mind, but that’s my life now, I guess.

Damn, but I really miss the internet.

Mostly because it’s the only animated thing in sight rather than actual interest, I gaze down at the street below. People and cars are still moving this way and that, if sluggish in the afternoon heat. 

Can you die of boredom?

If this goes on for another day, I think I’m going to find out.

The day drags on, afternoon turning into evening. Apparently I’m not the only one bored—and without anything better to do—as around 7 P.M., Kelly and Mario are at it again. One has to admire their stamina. Theoretically. It’s not really entertaining. 

And they didn’t even have the decency to say thanks.

I spend the evening re-listening the few podcast episodes on my phone that I haven’t deleted yet because I’m lazy like that, playing the single one offline game I have on there. I idly wonder if I should call someone to ask about the connection issues but being in call center purgatory sounds even worse.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll run into someone who has already gone to that length. After all, still no packages have arrived and I’m fresh out of food. Again.

This sucks.

I’m about to call it a night at 2 A.M. when suddenly my phone lights up with a call. Who’s calling me? At all? Worse, at this time? Worse again, not just an unknown number but with suppressed caller ID? 

I’m about to swipe it away into oblivion when I halt. That could be the CDC.

Better even, it might be Hottie Mason. Why he’d call from an official phone rather than his personal, I have no clue. Maybe he’s not allowed one? Whatever.

I feel very low in self-esteem as I accept. “Hello?” I ask with all the eloquence of someone who is very at odds with herself right now.

Static garbles the first word, but then I can make out what sounds like my name—and the voice does sound like Mason. I think. “Malory? Is… you?”

“Speaking,” I quip, because really, if I’m wrong, no harm done. “I can hardly understand—”

More static, then, “…need to listen! Do you… stand?”

I frown at the display before bringing it back to my ear. There’s a single bar of reception, which is curious since usually, I have full, crystal clear reception that is totally wasted on my lifestyle.

“Hardly. Can you repeat that?”

“… Josh Mason! I was… door earlier…”

So it’s him. That’s something. Also, his tone is low and pressed. Either he just ran a mile in full gear, or he’s terribly tense because something upset him.

I don’t like this one bit.

“Yes, I remember. What’s this—” 

Before I can ask more, he interrupts. For once, the line clears up, although I can hardly understand him from the noise going on in the background. It sounds as if he’s standing in a crowd of people, and all of them are yelling at the same time.

“… need to leave the city! Right fucking now!”

That’s either the most desperate of desperate booty calls in the history of telecommunication… or something is else is going on.

I really don’t like this.

“I don’t have a car,” I find myself stammering, because obviously, that’s an important talking point.

Glancing outside, the street is virtually deserted, which is slightly strange but not that out of the ordinary.

“Go on foot,” Mason advises. More static cuts off half of his next sentence. “… Road blocks. But you need to leave now!”

And that’s where the call abruptly ends.

Shit.


>> 009

One Comment

  • Tom Anderson

    Well, I am so happy to be at the party, late, but it was easy to catch up. Good stuff, love the cliffhangers, especially how you leave them. Keep up the fun, could be edited for vulgarity (just kidding) storyline. I like it.

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