Chapter 5: Headline
“I have only three shells,” I say to myself, thinking it over. “The fire station is overrun, and I only have a shotgun, but if I use it, it’ll draw a lot of attention. I need something else to draw them away.”
Peeking over at the fire station again, firefighter zombies standing on the outside and inside, I scratch my head.
“Why did I have to die,” I scream, grinding my teeth. “Come on! I had so many flares!”
Their annoying cube-shaped heads mocking me, I look around some more. Besides the zombies-infested fire station, there is also the zombies-infested diner, the zombies-infested gas station, and the zombies-infested police station where I was able to find a shotgun and three shells, four if you count the one already loaded.
“Hmm. Maybe, but that’s still a risk. Even if I did manage to get away, the zombies won’t stay away for very long. Still, I need a melee weapon, something that can hit.”
Seeing a fire ax near one of the entrances, I risk it and very silently crawl over to the back of the fire station. Pulling out the pump-action shotgun, I then aim down the sight right at the head of a zombie firefighter.
“Sorry about this,” I say, about to click when, all of a sudden, a song stops me. Jumping out of my seat, I follow the music until I find the source: my cell phone.
“What! What! What! What! What! What! What!”
“Hey,” Brian answers, “What’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing,” I reply, “Except my friend is calling me while I’m trying to get a weapon from a fire station.”
“Playing Unturned again,” Brian asks, his ‘subtle’ chuckle easily being heard.
“I was,” I say, looking back at my screen to see a bunch of firefighter zombies and a few chef zombies dine on me. Apparently, when Brian called, I accidentally fired my shotgun, drawing the zombies’ attention, and stood completely still as they ate me.
“Sorry about that,” Brian starts, “But I was wondering if you could help me with something. I have a job interview in about an hour and I need your help to get me there.”
“Why my help?”
“Because you have a car and know the alleyway better than literally anyone else I know. You can probably get me there in half an hour!”
“15 if we speed through red lights and do a few more illegal things we shouldn’t,” I joke, turning off my computer and heading downstairs. “I’ll see you in ten minutes.”
“Oh, hey dad,” I say, waving at him as I pass on by. “How is everything?”
“Bad,” my dad replies, tossing a Los Angeles Times newspaper he was holding down onto the kitchen table. “I can’t believe this!”
“Oh,” I moan, stopping a foot from the dad. “Is it another Thrill Rider story?”
For anyone wondering, Officer Jonathan Peterson of the Los Angeles Police Department is a tall and humble man, with a strong, unbreakable sense of duties and a moral compass that always points him in the right direction. He also really hates Thrill Rider because to him, Thrill Rider is nothing more than some idiot moron causing more trouble than he thinks. Also because once, when trying to arrest Thrill Rider at a construction site, in order to escape, Thrill Rider had to tackle him into a cement roller. The cement roller tipped over, spilling all over, and Officer Jonatha Peterson fell right into it. The cement dried for the record.
“No,” my dad replies, adjusting his police uniform and badge. “It’s actually someone worse than that troublemaker.”
“Worst than Thrill Rider,” I repeat, holding my head. “Wow! What did this guy do?”
“Robbed three banks in the last two weeks.”
Picking up the paper, my dad gives it to me. On the front page is a man in a black motorcycle helmet walking out of a bank, with what looks like a submachine gun in his hand!
“What in the world,” I ask, lending closer and reading the article.
“The Times is calling him Run-and-Gun,” my dad starts. “That’s because he’s in and out of the banks in less than ten minutes, his backpack filled with cash, and by the time we arrive, he’s already on a dirt bike riding away. We tried to catch him but with him firing at us, it makes it almost impossible to get close. He has already gotten away with about a quarter of a million dollars.”
“Shoot,” I say, lending back after reading. “Any idea who he is?”
“I’m afraid I can’t tell you that son,” dad answers. “Anyway, where are you going?”
“To Brian. He needs me for something. Bye, dad.”
Waving bye to my dad, I rush through the front door and into my car.
“This is where you needed to go,” Micheal asks, his head arching upward as he looks at the massive building in front of us. “The Los Angeles Times building?”
“Yeah,” I reply, elbowing Micheal. “Where did you think my job interview was?”
“I was kind of hoping at a comic book store,” Micheal replies. “That way, while you talk, I read.”
“I don’t want a job at a comic book store,” I say, walking through the double glass door. Micheal, following after me, I walk to the front desk for direction.
“Why not,” Micheal asks after getting the direction.
“Because at a comic book store,” I start, “You’re not in the loop.”
“Micheal, I want to be in the loop. I know to know what is going on at all times, what is happening, and what is about to happen. I don’t want to not know. For me, ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is just an empty mind.”
“In that case, my mind is mostly empty most of the time anyway. So how did you get an interview here?”
“I started a blog about two months ago, and guess who is the center of that blog?”
Pulling out my cell phone, I show it to Micheal.
“Thrill Rider,” Micheal screams, grabbing my phone. On the screen is a picture of Thrill Rider, with his batons out and about.
“Hey,” I say, pushing him down. “Be quiet, will you? No need to draw a crowd?”
“How did you start this,” Micheal asks, “And why?”
“I started this two months ago,” I say again, grabbing my phone back. “And I did it because, as I said, I want to be in the loop. I want to know things. I want to know about Thrill Rider. I want to know who he is. Why is he doing this? Is it because of something that happened to him, or it is just because he’s, I don’t know, a samaritan with a golden heart?”
“Frankly,” interrupts a voice from behind us. “I think it’s number two. He’s a samaritan with a golden heart.”
Turning around, I face a woman, only slightly taller than Micheal and me. Dressed in a pale-blue shirt and grey skirt, she offers me a hand.
“Are you Brian Wane,” she asks, smiling.
“Yes,” I answer, smiling back and shaking her hand. “Yes, I am.”
“Awesome. I’m Jane, Mr. Madd’s assistant. He asked me to personally greet you and to show you to his office. Follow me please.”
Pushing the button, an elevator opens up and both she and Brian step in.
“Oh sorry,” she says, stopping Micheal. “He only asks for you. I don’t know if you can come or not.”
“Oh,” Micheal says, puffing a little air into his hair. “It’s fine. I’ll wait here. See you man, and uh, best of luck.”
“Same,” I say, shooting Micheal a wave as the doors close.
“Oh my god,” my mind screams as soon as Brian is gone. “Oh my god! What are you doing! What in the world are you doing! You started a blog! About Thrill Rider! About me! Do you know how dangerous this is! People will think we’re friends, or allies, or something! Something that could lead to you being visited late at night by guys in masks with guns! Oh my god! Okay. Calm down. Calm down. Take a deep breath. Breathe. Breathe. Don’t panic. Just talk him out of it. Just take him out of it. Just talk him--”
“Excuse me,” someone asks, tapping my shoulder and making me turn around. “Uh, are you waiting for the elevator? ”
“Oh shoot,” I say, hitting myself in the head. “Sorry, I’ll go now.”
“Hello,” he says, waving his hand in front of me. “Are you okay? Hello?”
“Ooohhh,” my head says, realizing my mind is the one talking and not me actually. “Bye.”
Waving at him, I head for my car.