That Freelance Kid

Chapter 4

Even at four in the morning, Los Angeles was still bathed in the light of buildings, though the streets were empty, Apollo looked at these semi-deserted streets through his bedroom window, while rubbing eyes that felt grainy from a lack of sleep. He had only went to bed three hours ago, and here he was, up and about again. Apollo yawned, and looked at both the bed and his girlfriend, sleeping away. He thought about climbing back in, but knew all he would do was lay there and stare at the ceiling. He sighed, and decided to head into the living room.

The apartment wasn't small, but it certainly wasn't huge either. The living room consisted of a T.V, a loveseat, a desk with a laptop and a phone on it, and paintings depicting varying sceneries hung all over the room. Apollo thought about turning on the T.V, but changed his mind and went straight towards the desk. He sat down in the chair and opened his laptop, and looked at the word document that held the budding pieces of his novel. This was about the hundredth time he had re-read it, and he still felt that it was garbage, no matter how many times he edited. Garbage or not though, Apollo's financial situation wasn't exactly in the best place and if push came to shove, he'd just finish it up and publish what he'd written. Even if he didn't make much money off of it, any little bit would do.

"But what am I doing wrong?" Apollo thought out loud , staring at the words on the screen. "My last novel didn't sell too badly, but still..." He didn't even bother to try and fix anything this time around. No matter what he did, he knew he wouldn't be satisfied. Apollo decided he'd just continue on, and whatever happens, he would let happen, even if he had to disappoint the small amount of fans he had recently obtained.

Before he began to start on a new paragraph, the phone rang, making Apollo nearly jump out of his chair. He scrambled for the phone, and as soon as he managed to catch it from falling off the desk, he put the phone next to his ear. "Who is this?" Apollo asked, annoyance evident in his voice.

All Apollo heard was a chuckle on the other end of the line.

"Who is this!?" Apollo repeated, more agitated. "I don't find prank calls very funny."

"Calm down, calm down." The voice on the other end said. "Just take a breath, all right? No need to get so worked up over a little phone call."

"A little phone call? Sir, it's two in the morning. This is a ridiculous hour to call anyone."

"Oh?" Said the man. When Apollo heard nothing else from him, he decided to speak.

"Sir, did you call for anything in particular, or did you just want to harass me?"

"I need to talk to you, Justice."

"You're talking to me right now, aren't you?"

"Heh, you have a point."

"Look," Apollo started, "if you're just going to laugh all night, I'm going t-"

"I mean," The man interrupted, "I need to talk to you in person."

"Talk to me in person? Then you should have called earlier. I don't exactly like planning meetings with strangers in the dead of night."

The man was silent for a moment, before he spoke again.

"I've got something I need you to do, Justice. That only you can do."

"What are you talking about?" Apollo asked impatiently.

"You could say...I have a job for you."

"A job? Sir, I'm a writer, not a-"

"I know exactly what you are."

"Then you should know I'm a freela-"

"That has nothing to do with what I need you to do."

The man's easygoing tone of voice had turned serious, almost grave.

"Justice? Are you still there?" The man asked.

"Uh..Yes" Apollo cleared his throat nervously. "I'm here."

"I really need to meet you in person. Please, I'm asking nicely here."

Apollo almost laughed. Nicely? The man sounded about ready to kill him.

"...Fine." Apollo said, relenting against his better judgement. "Uh, Where did you want to meet up?"

"You know a place called Gummy's Burgers?"

"Yeah, I passed by there a few times."

"I'd appreciate it if you met me there at noon. And just for being so nice and deciding to change your mind, I'll even buy you a burger."

"That's not really necessary, sir."

"Oh, but it is. Have you ever tried one of their burgers? They're phenomenal. " That seriousness had gone out of the stranger's voice, and Apollo sighed with relief.

"All right. Gummy's Burgers. Noon. I got it." Apollo said quickly, dying to end the conversation. "Well, I'm going to bed now, and I'd appreciate it if you never call at this hour again."

"Thanks a lot, Justice. Sleep tight."

Apollo hit end, then stared at the phone, still trying to process exactly what had just happened. He was so caught up in his reverie, that he failed to hear the soft footsteps approaching him, and jumped when a hand placed itself on his shoulder. Apollo turned his attention from the phone to see his girlfriend looking at him with wide eyes.

"Apollo?" She asked, startled by his strong reaction to her touch. "Are you all right?"

"Uh, yeah, I'm fine, Vera." Apollo said, placing the phone back. "What are you doing up?"

"I heard you talking, and I was wondering who you were talking to so late..." Vera said softly. No one else would have heard the slight tinge of suspicion in her voice, but Apollo did.

"It was just some guy. He wanted to meet me tomorrow, to talk about some sort of job deal. He probably works for a publishing business, or whatever. But he seems pretty weird. Well, more like crazy, to call at this hour."

Vera looked at him, biting her bottom lip. "Are you sure it's safe?" She asked after a minute. "There are a lot of shady people out there, and..." Vera trailed off, and looked at Apollo worriedly.

He hadn't even considered that. Anxiety tugged at him, but he smiled and wrapped his arms around her, then pulled her into a hug to ease her nerves. "I'll be fine, I promise."

Vera nodded, but somehow he could tell that she didn't really believe him.

"Are you coming back to bed?" Vera asked.

"Yeah, I'm actually pretty tired." Apollo yawned. "I need to get some rest for my impromptu meeting tomorrow."

When they got back into bed, Vera fell fast asleep again. Apollo stayed up for a little while longer, staring at the ceiling, wondering just what job that mysterious man would have in store.

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