FIFTEEN - A Long Weekend

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On Friday morning, Hobson woke up in his flat and looked around the place. Nothing was happening. He made a point of keeping his home tidy, no casual drinking or ordering takeaway – all part of staying clean. He was a force of nature, trapped in a deliberately boring life.

He dragged himself into his tedious kitchen and began making a green smoothie. The wounded leg still hurt like hell, even with the stitches and painkillers, so he dropped another couple of pills, even though he couldn't remember when he'd taken the last dose. He wouldn't end up using a cane, would he? Hobson may have retired from the all-action life, but that didn't mean he wanted to be a cripple.

As he sipped the horrible veg-goo, he wondered what to do now. Ellie accompanied him to the hospital, but hadn't hung around long. Once the docs confirmed he wouldn't lose the leg, just needed stitches and injections against animal diseases, she'd patted him on the head and left to start processing Pete Vole.

Maybe he'd call Choi, he thought, before shaking his head. She's about seven years old and his work experience girl, not a friend. Hobson turned to his last resort: putting the TV on.

*****

Angelina always enjoyed visiting her friend Zoё's house, treating it as a fun exercise in the unfamiliar. Zoё's parents were chatty and messy, their house a tip, cardboard boxes spilling clutter everywhere. Angelina's Mum would faint at the sight of it, which made hiding from her here all the more satisfying.

They made it to Zoё's room with a takeaway pizza and talked work experiences, as shelves of coloured book series creaked around them.

"How's it going, Angelina? Is it exciting working for a detective? I bet it's pretty exciting. I saw you guys working on that dog murder on the TV."

"Well, yeah, it was pretty amazing at times, I saw loads of... I mean... it was cool, but you know, people died. Some of them I knew, too, that was sad."

"And how about being on the news?"

"That was a bit... I dunno, they wouldn't leave us alone. It's not as fun as it looks," she said, trying to crack a smile. "My parents aren't super-keen on me working there, but hopefully I'll get to finish it out."

"Oh, right," said Zoё.

"How's yours?" Angelina said.

"Oh, it's been quite interesting, actually."

"Yes?"

"Yeah! I learnt to do a VLOOKUP on Excel and generated a load of spreadsheets for the MD and she said I'm just the sort of enterprising young woman who could go far and she's the most successful woman ever in the company and she said to call me if I ever..."

Angelina tuned out.

*****

"Evening, Tony."

"John. You look like shit."

Hobson limped around the table and dragged the chair out, inch by scraping inch, before levering himself into place for an arse-drop. When it came, Tony almost jumped out of his seat, an amusing physical jerk from one so skinny.

"Jesus," he said on recovery. "So, this is why you dragged me out to your neighbourhood."

"Yeah. Sorry, Tony. No long commutes right now."

"Fucking good footage of your dogfight on the telly, though."

"Yeah?"

"Fuck yeah. Makes you look like a total superhero."

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