Saturday, March 17th, 2029
We’ve been driving for what seems like forever, we’ve crossed into Wyoming now. We drove past Indiana and Ohio, Andy even pointed out the college that Gavin was going to on the way. I’m thanking every divine being out there for the emergency funds Jay left in the glove compartment. I don’t know how else we would have refilled up on gas without it. Not counting the money spent on gas we have about three hundred dollars to keep us going until California.
We’ve been using the small transmitter that Jay gave us, well, it is part transmitter and part receiver I guess. It has a little electronic display on the front that shows a number that is slowly decreasing. Right now it shows 1,100, just changing from 1,101.
“So, 1,100 miles until we reach John? How much longer of a drive is that?” I ask, turning to face Andy.
“About…Seventeen hours, maybe a little more, maybe a little less.”
We pass by a large sign that says “Welcome to Laramie! Home of the University of Wyoming”.
“I’m going to find somewhere to rest here,” I say, driving into the town.
“No, we should keep on going.”
“Andy,” I say, turning to face him, “We need to stop. I’ve been driving for…six hours now. I’m exhausted.”
“Let me take over then.”
“I’m not letting you drive now.” I say. “No offense, but just not now, not after what happened. We both need some time to rest…and not even mention eat. I know you haven’t had anything to eat for as long as I have,” I say.
“Okay, okay, but we’ll need to head out soon, we’re really strapped for time,” he says.
“You think I don’t know that?”
“I’d continue going, but what use would we be half asleep and starved? What do we gain from throwing our lives away like that?” I ask.
“You’re right,” Andy says.
“You’re damn right I’m right. We aren’t robots, we need time to rest and process everything.”
“Okay, I understand. Why don’t you ask the woman up there for some directions around here?”
I slow the car to a near halt as we pass by a woman who looks to be in her mid twenties rocking what seems to be a large yellow sundress. Her orange hair is almost too bright against the sun for me to keep staring.
“Um, excuse me, ma’am?”
The woman turns around and looks from us to our car.
“Well, what a ride do we have here?”
“We were just wondering about directions, miss, if that’s alright,” Andy cuts in. The woman walks up and brushes her hand against the slick red paint of the ZX Hybrid.
“If you take me around in this speedster I’ll tell you anything you want to hear,” she says seductively.
“Ma’am, we’re just looking for a place to rest, maybe like a…hotel or something like that,” I say, hesitating with memories of our last hotel venue.
“Fine, spoil sport. The Calgary Hotel is a few blocks down past the old library.”
“Thank you much, Sarah, lead the way,” Andy says.
I take off and look through my rear view mirror to see the woman gazing longingly at us as we get farther and farther away.
“This place is radically different than New York,” I say.
“Yeah, it’s one of the towns where by looking at it you couldn’t even tell anything was wrong anywhere else.”
“New Jersey was the exact opposite of this.”
“Yeah, the area around The Continental Inn was all abandoned like the entire state had been ransacked. I wonder how many others are like that.”
We drive by an elderly woman sitting on a bench, reading the morning paper. I see her bring her hand back in a flash, she must’ve gotten a paper cut from turning the page. I can see a speck of red fall and hit the sidewalk.
“Wait, stop the car, up there,” Andy says, pointing ahead.
I follow his hand to what I believe is a small child reaching up for the sky.
“What, the kid?” I ask.
“Look above the kid.”
I do so and notice that the kid is reaching upwards because his kite is lodged within the branches of the tree in what I presume is his front yard. When we get closer I begin to slow down and notice he’s screaming something. “Mooom! MOM!” He’s calling for his mother to fetch his kite.
“Now, watch this,” Andy says.
I pull the car to a complete stop at the side of the street. In the next moment I can see the tree branches starting to vibrate.
“Wait a moment…you’re not trying to…?” I start, but stop as I see the branches moving faster.
“Hold on, I’m sure I’ve almost got it,” Andy says.
The two branches that have hold of the kite are pushed to the side, and it falls gently down to the screaming child.
“That was sweet,” Sarah says.
“I think I have a hang of how this thing works. It’s not really how you would expect,” he says.
“Oh yeah, and how is that?” I ask, putting the car back into motion.
“Well, for starters, it isn’t like…throwing your arm out and ‘willing’ it into motion. Like, it isn’t the force here we’re dealing with.”
“The force…you know, like…Star Wars?”
I look at him once with a confused look on my face and then turn back to the road.
“Never seen it,” I say.
“What? That’s almost blasphemous…” Andy says.
“Anyway, you were saying how it wasn’t like this force or whatever?”
“…Right. So, like, the world is full of particles.”
“Like, imagine if everything were solid particles, tiny spherical orbs. To simplify it it’s like I can connect my body to these particles and extend force out of them. Like, if I reached my hand out-“
“Which is nothing more than theatrics,” I say.
“Right, but if I did, then I could influence the particles touching my hand, and those ones touching those particles, extending all of the way out. In a sense that’s how it is, except without the need for the theatrics. I can, if I’m right on this, add force to any of the particles surrounding any of the particles around me.”
“That’s kind of hard to grasp, but I think I understand.”
“Hey, isn’t that the Calgary up there?” Andy asks.
I turn to see a somewhat large building at the end of the lane. It stands about seven stories tall, roman-like columns line the entrance. On the front of the building is plastered in bright golden letters “CALGARY ENTERPRISES”.
To the right of the building I see a parking lot that is nearly packed to the brim with cars that, honestly, don’t look half as good as the ZX.
“Let’s pull in there, I kind of want to flaunt this thing a bit,” I say.
“I see the powers of the Hybrid have indeed influenced you,” Andy says, laughing.
“Alright, alright, then I guess we should exit the vehicle immediately before I want to marry the thing,” I say, joking.
I pull into the lot beside two white vans and fit the ZX Hybrid in nicely. I open the door to the hybrid and step out.
“If you guys were pretty much living on the move how could you afford to get something like this?” I ask.
“I worked some cases in New York before John’s. Some seriously dirty murders and arson cases that kept the car on the road and a roof over our heads. That’s how we rented out the warehouse for as long as we did.”
“John’s case was my first case in a while for obvious reasons, so there hasn’t been much of an income lately.”
I step out to the trunk of the car and prop it open. Underneath the abundance of cans I see two empty suitcases propped underneath.
“What’re these for?” I ask.
“I saw them in the inn, decided we might need them if we need to make a getaway without the car. They’re for storage of the cans.”
“Oh! We can also have the bellhop or whoever bring them up to our room in these!”
“I guess it’ll save us money on room service.”
I begin grabbing cans two at a time and stuffing them into the suitcase nearest to me. Andy does the same with the suitcase on his side.
We can fit all but seven of the cans into the two suitcases.
Andy shuts the trunk with his free hand and we begin walking to the entrance of the building.
We pass by people who I could easily believe to be celebrities as we reach the door. There is a sign beside it that says “NEVER FORGET, MATTHEW SHEPPARD IN OUR HEARTS FOREVER AND EVER”.
“Who’s Matt Sheppard?” I ask.
“I heard about him in school, he was a college student that was murdered just because he was gay about thirty years ago.”
“And people memorialize him?”
“It’s meant to be like, one of the turning points on people’s view on homophobia.”
“I don’t understand why people have to be so ignorant.”
“Yeah, I mean, who cares who you want to fuck?”
“On both sides, Andy.”
“Think of Matt’s parents. How do you think they must feel…felt if they’re still even alive, seeing constant reminders of their son’s death? I mean, it’s a terrible thing that he was killed, don’t get me wrong, but imagine having that be your son. Imagine seeing and hearing nothing else other than anything else except for his death all over town.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
“I don’t know, sometimes things happen and people do terrible things, but you also have to think of the living.”
I press open the door to the Calgary and step inside.
“Yeah, I hear you. I guess it’s just the fact that the attention that this case brought did help others in his situation or people that could’ve ended up in his situation is what causes me to lean towards the other side.”
A well dressed man with a smile that is a little too white approaches us and offers his hand to me. “Why, hello there fine patrons of the Calgary! My name is Inigo Campioni!” He says, looking straight into my eyes. His face is smooth and his features Adonis-like.
“Right...” Andy says.
“Really I am Inigo Campioni IV, as my father and his father and even his father were all Inigo Campioni before me.”
“So, you’re great grandfather was unoriginal, huh?” I ask.
“Ah, but that of course isn’t what it was at all. He simply was proud of who he was!” Inigo boasts.
“And who was he?” I ask.
“He was a very famous war general back during the World Wars!”
“That’s certainly...interesting,” I say.
“Now, who do we speak to about renting a room?” Andy asks.
“Oh, certainly, you would just speak to Terry at the front desk, he’ll be the one to help you with that.”
I look over to my right to see an older man standing at the front desk, his eyes glued to a magazine propped open in front of him.
“Thank you,” I say, walking away.
“Wait! Miss!” Inigo runs up to me, grabbing my arm.
“Could I ask of your name? I want something to associate with that pretty face,” he says, smiling.
“Sure thing, it’s Agnes,” I say, walking away again.
Andy follows behind me, and I don’t have to turn around to know Inigo is standing there with a slightly disappointed look on his face.
“Why’d you tell him that?” Andy whispers over.
“Well, when he goes to bed tonight and decides to jack off to me, he’ll do so knowing only the name ‘Agnes’,” I whisper back, stifling a laugh. We walk up to the man named Terry behind the front desk.
“Excuse me, how much is a single room here?”
“Just a single? That’ll be about sixty dollars,” Terry says.
“Only sixty? I’d honestly been expecting much more,” I say.
“That’s the times for you,” Terry replies.
Andy nods and hands over the cash.
“Okay, just sign on this sheet and you can have your key.”
Andy does so and I lean in to whisper to Terry. “We can carry our own bags up, thank you.”
“R-Right,” Terry nods.
He hands Andy the key and then returns to the magazine he’d been glancing at before we came up.
“Alright, let’s head up and grab something to eat,” I say.
“Great, I don’t know about you, but I’m absolutely starving,” Andy says.
I nod my head and we both start walking down the hall on the right towards the elevator.
“So, which floor are we on?”
“Third floor, Room 204,” Andy answers.
“Alright, not bad at all.”
We reach the elevator and press the button.
I’m so hungry I could eat a horse, and probably even the person riding it too. I look down to the suitcase full of cans at my side. “Hey, did you bring the can opener?”
“Yep, it’s in my bag,” Andy says.
The elevator dings and the doors open up. Inside are a woman I’d only describe as pompous and an elderly gentleman. We step inside to join them, and then the doors close.