Chapter 45

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Alex woke the next morning with a pit in his stomach. His plan was to start following Ethan after school that day; he just had no idea how to do it without being seen. After a quick shower, he pulled out the bag of camera equipment and dumped it out on his bed. The last thing he wanted to do was fumble with a bag of stuff he knew nothing about while he was trying to concentrate on staying out of sight. It was a digital camera, and by no means a point and shoot. Three extra lenses fell onto the bed next to the camera itself, and luckily for Alex, and instruction manual. He flipped through the manual with impatient frustration. It was at least an inch thick and may as well have been written in Latin. Alex knew nothing about photography and didn’t have the time to learn all of the technical lingo that filled the overabundance of pages in the book.

After almost a half hour, Alex was finally able to at least figure out how to get the camera on all automatic settings, and even managed to figure out how to put the biggest lens she had on the thing. He pointed the camera out the window and took a couple pictures of the furthest thing he could get it to focus on. Feeling satisfied when he saw the pictures come out alright on the tiny screen on the back of the camera, Alex carefully found a place in his backpack to store it where it hopefully wouldn’t get destroyed. A quick glance at the clock told him he didn’t have much time to get going, leaving the rest of the camera stuff scattered on his bed, Alex went into the kitchen for a quick breakfast. Mark was burning food between puffs on his morning cigar. Alex rolled his eyes and sat down opposite him at the counter.

“What you burning today” Alex asked.

“Your breakfast, black eggs and toast sound good to ya” Mark responded. He took a long puff off his cigar and tapped the ash out into a cereal bowl next to the stove, then filled a plate with half charred food and slid it in front of Alex.

“Well I guess it’s about time anyways.” Alex said.

“‘Bout time for what?”

He gave Mark a grin, “about time I threw something up, I was starting to get worried I may be getting fat off all that real food I’ve been eating lately.”

“Smart ass,” Mark said, “by the way, I got you something as an early graduation present. Wasn’t going to get you anything but a buddy of mine had it and it was too good a deal to pass up. Course, if you’re going to make fun of my cooking again, I may just keep it after all.”

Alex took a bite of eggs and did almost throw up, it had been too long since he’d had Marks cooking. “What is it” he asked after choking down the bite.

Mark took a puff off the cigar and grinned at Alex, “first finish your breakfast, then I’ll decide if you’re going to get it or not.”

It took nearly ten minutes of gagging while Mark laughed at him, but Alex managed to finish off the entire plate. Feeling like he just ate something bad for a dollar, he looked back to Mark with a sour expression and wiped the tears from his eyes. Mark laughed at him again, gagging himself on some coffee that went down the wrong tube.

“Serves you right, now where is it” Alex asked, grinning at Marks coughing fit.

“Alright, alright. Go into the living room, it’s on the couch.” He said.

Alex got up and took a few steps into the living room to find a long cardboard box sitting on the couch. Fumbling with the tape he knew Mark had overdone for his benefit, he finally got the box open. There was a rifle inside, it looked just like the .22 he had, but it was much bigger, and when he picked it up it was much heavier. It was a lever gun just like his, same gold color and everything, but this one had elaborate engraving covering the brass. Alex looked at the barrel, it was labeled .44mag instead of .22lr. There was a box of ammo tucked into the corner of the box the gun had been sitting in.

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