This one gave me an opportunity to play around with the chat device. Good time for it, too, since these characters don’t always get to be as dynamic as some of the others.
aqualass logged in
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aqualass –> Aronshy
Aronshy scooped her cell phone, quelling the temptation to deliver a swift, vicious kick to her computer desk. It was one of the sturdiest things in the apartment, and could certainly withstand a barefoot strike. But she was tired of fixing things, and it would be another two days before Garret shipped out again.
It took a few minutes for the phone to ring, playing the first few bars of an old song. Phone cards made international dialling take even longer.
“Hey, you reached me. What’s the matter?”
Her friend didn’t call her often, usually just on birthdays or special circumstances, such as when a storm had left her alone in a blackout, with Garrett overseas and nightmares in her pillow. But she was always surprised to hear he had a steady tenor, so high that he didn’t sound as old as she knew he was.
“I’d apologise for scaring you, but that’s actually the right reaction. I know I’m damn scared.”
“Crap.” Nervous energy started building up to an ache in her stomach. “Just the other day, everything sounded great. What happened?”
“Last night, I heard some crashing around outside. I just went back to bed, I thought it was Nintendo getting into the garbage cans or attacking the car again.”
Nerves made it harder not to laugh. Aronshy muffled a snort. “But it wasn’t.”
“No. When I let him in this morning, he ran into my room and he won’t even go out into the hall. I had to move him to bathroom so he’d stop shitting in the closet.” After a pause, Kaapo added quietly, “And I found some bullet casings in the driveway.”
thelibrarian –> Kaapo
Even before he’d finished punching in the numbers on the phone card, Kaapo regretted calling. He wasn’t a lot older than Aronshy, but he could never quite help thinking he’d overdone the experience thing. It wasn’t that she made him feel old. His life made him feel old.
But one thing he could say was that she didn’t often struggle for words. “Did you call the police?”
“I’m not sure if I should.” He had, but they hadn’t done much. There wasn’t much to do, and even if there was, he was not overly eager to have a bunch of cops around his place, highly visible and sending out a message.
Aronshy huffed into the phone. She lived on a military base and believed in justice. Being friends with her could be a bit like going to a party with Superman. “How do you know if you don’t try? You can’t let them mess things up for you, Kaapo. You’ve got your cartoon going, and you didn’t even have to quit your day job.”
A few weeks ago, he would have argued that he couldn’t quit his day job, but she was right. The donation button on his website was finally receiving a significant amount of sweet click-y love. Which, he suspected, had somehow come to the attention of his former associates. He hadn’t thought any of them knew how to use a computer for anything but MMOs until he’d gotten a threatening email.
He ran a hand through his hair, knocking off his signature hat. The problem was still there, but he already felt calmer talking to Aronshy about it. She was good at that.