The Uprising in Building Three Pt. II.
By Johnny Apocalypse
I spent most of my shift in the truck. When I had to check a building, I kept my weight off of my knee and stayed away from the buildings next to number Three. If the plush militia had started spreading out across the campus, I was in no condition to do anything about it.
Finally the clock read three in the morning, and I cruised to the supervisor's office in building two.
Tony was already in the office when I lurched in. He thanked me for working two hours after the fight even though he knew I must be worn out, and then asked me again for the short, medium and long versions of the matter.
Once I felt fully interrogated, he let me go home. My thermos was empty, and I only had the sounds of Motley Crüe to keep me awake. The drive took only fifteen minutes since the streets were empty.
I pulled into the driveway, stumbled out of my car and crawled to the front door. I was tempted to sleep in the front yard, but figured that my neighbors would assume I was a bum and have me arrested.
I shoved the door open, and was immediately greeted by Gideon. He saw how tired I was and gave me a get-well lick on the nose. I hugged him before taking on the stairway that led to my bedroom.
It seemed to be hours later before I finally reached my room and flicked the light on. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw someone lying in my bed. The lump underneath the blankets rolled over and I saw it was Beth.
"You're home early," she said.
"Yeah, Tony relieved me. Ugly night. I'll tell you about it tomorrow. Why are you sleeping here?"
"I like your bed. It smells like you."
"How did you get in my house?"
"You left the back door unlocked. That's a bad idea, you know."
With my girlfriend helping me, I managed to pull my shoes and shirt off before crashing into bed. Beth put an arm around me and kissed me behind the ear.
"I'm too tired for sex right now, honey," I said.
She kissed me again. "At least give me a chance to wake you up a little."
Beth's lips crawled down to my neck, her warmth breathing a little life back into me. Her hand lingered on my chest for a moment before it slid below my stomach.
"Okay," I said. "It's working."
When I woke up, the early morning sun poured through my windows. I turned my head to look at the alarm clock. Eight o'clock. Gideon sat right next to the nightstand, looking at me with hopeful eyes.
I looked back at the ceiling before I noticed that my room smelled like weed. I already knew that Chris was sitting on the foot of my bed before I looked at him.
"Good morning, bro," he said, grinning like the pothead he is. "How was work?"
I blinked a few times, clearing the fuzz from my head.
"How the hell did you get in my house?" I asked.
"The front door was unlocked."
I turned back towards Gideon. "Why didn't you tell me I left the door open?"
The look on his face was clear. "Don't blame this on me, asshole."
Looking back at Chris, "So you just figured that it would be okay to walk right in while I was sleeping?"
"Yep. Like the bible says, 'If thy neighbor's door is open, help yourself to his fridge.'"
There's no use trying to understand the logic of a stoner. I sat up, trying to find the strength to stand. "I'm glad that I got off work early, or I would only have one hour of sleep in me."
It turns out that I survived enough of last night to climb out of bed. Beth still hadn't stirred, so I figured that I would let her sleep a bit longer.
"I'm going to hit the shower," I said.
"Cool. You want me to whip up some breakfast?"
"Sure. Eggs, some sort of meat, coffee. No weed in any of it."
Chris agreed to my terms and sauntered off to the kitchen while I washed the fatigue and soreness out of my body. The back of my knee had sprouted a slightly yellow bruise, but it didn't ache too terribly.
A hot shower is the best cure for a long night at work. When I arrived in the kitchen, I felt ninety percent normal. I sat down in front of a plate of scrambled eggs and a dark, thin slab of beef.
"What's this?" I asked, pointing to the mysterious meat.
"Fried liver," Chris said, sitting across from me. "There wasn't any bacon or sausage in the fridge, I had to do the best with what I had."
I was in no mood to be picky, and liver doesn't bother me too much. I began to shovel the food into my mouth, only stopping for coffee. Chris lit a joint while I ate, grinning at Gideon. Gideon stared back, wondering what my friend was looking at.
Pretty soon, I could hear Beth upstairs, getting dressed. Within minutes, she came trotting down the stairs, a bounce in her step and a smile on her face.
"Hiya, Chris," she greeted my friend. "You just get here?"
"Nope, I've been here for a while. Your man left the front door unlocked, so I took that as an invitation."
Beth turned towards me. "You left the door unlocked? After I told you about the back door? A burglar could have come in."
"Hey, Gideon would have scared him off," I answered.
The dog gave me a look. "You must be kidding." We both knew that his protective interests were centered on the squirrels constantly invading the back yard.
"I'm off of work tonight," I told the group. "So we can have a movie fest."
"Coolness," Chris said. "Can I bring my girlfriend?"
"Since when do you have a girlfriend?"
"Since last night, man. You had to work, so I got my philosophy circle together. Once we were done for the night, me and Frankie decided to hook up."
Frankie was the only girl in Chris' philosophy group, and could nearly out-smoke him day or night. I've never been one for the stoner ladies, but she was definitely a cute one.
"Sure, you can bring her," I said. "I just don't want to hear any of that pothead philosophy bullshit tonight."
"Oh, no problem. If we started getting deep without the rest of the group, they would feel cheated."
It was starting to get pretty deep in here, I thought. I stood up to refill my coffee when Beth spoke up.
"So, what happened at work last night?"
Chris immediately started smiling. He's come to love our little run-ins with the supernatural.
My mug was full again before I started. "Okay, do you want to hear about the fist-fight first, or the evil teddy-bears?"
"The fight," Beth said, alarmed.
"The teddy-bears!" Chris cried.
I mentally flipped a coin, and it landed on the fight.
There have always been great ways to start an epic story. "Once upon a time", "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away", and even "the guy was dead as hell" if you read Mickey Spillane. None of these ever really worked for me. All of my stories take place in modern times, on this planet, and they never involve dead people.
Instead, I like to fall back on the opening of many a great bar room tale.
"No shit, there I was. I had just run out of building three after being chased by a bunch of evil teddy bears, and I was recuperating by the security truck when I noticed five punk kids in the parking lot, skateboarding. I can't have this ninsense on my shift, so I tell them to clear off. They say they aren't going, so I had dispatch call the cops. This was when I realized that these punks were up to no good, and they started to advance on me.
"I knew that I couldn't fight them all off, but I had to keep them from killing me until the cops arrived. The first one rushed me, so I cracked him one on the chin. As he was falling, another kid came after me. A flash kick later, he was on the ground too. The next one made his move, nailing me in the leg. I hit the asphalt rolling, coming up in time to tackle the guy who kicked me.
"I was rapidly running out of energy, when finally sirens screamed in the distance. I was about ready to whip out my deadly spin kick on the remaining skateboarders when they ran for their lives. I'm not sure if it was the cops that got to them, but I like to think that I had scared them off."
Alright, so I took a little liberty with the actual tale. But do I tell a good story or what?
"Are you okay?" Beth asked.
"Yeah, my leg's a little bruised, but it doesn't hurt much."
"Tell another one! Another one!" Chris said, as happy as a kid during story time.
I decided to let the theatrics go for a bit, and gave them the medium version of my run in with the toy army of Building Three. Beth was alarmed, Chris was ecstatic and Gideon was scratching himself.
"Oh my God," Beth said. "What are you going to do?"
I shrugged. "Beats me. I'm kind of hoping that the toys will realize they have no chance in taking over the world and calling it quits."
Chris was let down, but I knew it wouldn't be that easy. I know my luck, and nothing is ever is that easy.
Chris took a trip to the video store before picking Frankie up. While he was out, Beth and I made a quick booze run. Guinness for me, Coors for Chris and a few wine coolers for the ladies.
Beth and I were hanging out with Gideon when Chris made it back. The dog made a show of greeting the two potheads before coming back to me, demanding to be scratched on the belly.
The night went well. We started off the cult-film fest with one of Chris' favorites, Scanners, followed up by one of my top choices, Eating Raoul. It was an evening full of cheesy science-fiction shows and tacky kung-fu movies, combined with some light to moderate drinking and a living room full of marijuana smoke.
When one in the morning rolled around, I remembered everything I had dealt with twenty-four hours ago. A plan was starting to come together in my half-drunken mind while we finished off the last rental, Naked Lunch.
Once the movie was finished, everyone agreed that they were pretty tired. I showed Chris and Frankie to the guest bedroom, warning my friend to clean up any sex-related messes before I found out about them. Beth and I adjourned to my room. Five minutes hadn't passed before we heard the bed squeaking one room over.
I figured that I probably wasn't going to get much sleep until they were done. I turned to Beth, saying "I bet we can be louder."
When I came to the next morning, a dog with a full bladder was running circles around my room and the phone was jingling off the hook. I jumped out of bed, running downstairs to let the dog out before he peed in the house, managing to pick up the line right before the answering machine did the job for me.
"Yeah," I answered the phone, wobbling to the coffee pot.
"Justin, it's your boss," Tony's harsh voice cut through my brain haze. "Is Beth over there?"
"That's privileged information, Tony."
"Quit playing games. If she's not there, then find a way to get hold of her. We're having an all-staff meeting at nine and you two are expected to be there."
All-staff meetings were damn rare, usually only being held after something ugly happened at work.
"What happened?" I asked.
"Last night, some skateboarders tried to attack Skip, and once they ran off, something in Building Three scared the shit out of him."
My heart lurched in my throat. "Is he okay?"
"Yeah, but he's in the hospital. Doctor's don't think it was a heart attack, but something close. Once you come in, I'll tell you about it."
I told Tony that I would be there, and so would Beth. Once I hung up, I checked the clock. It was seven thirty. I jogged upstairs to wake my girlfriend.
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