39 0 0

An insistent noise dragged him back to consciousness. Through the haze of pain and dizziness, he tried to figure out what was going on. He was on his bed, and the room was almost entirely dark. So it was night. The only light came from under the bedroom door: lamplight. The noise was a television.

He was pretty damn sure he hadn't left the television on. And he hadn't set his home computer to turn it on automatically. So... why was it on?

Was there someone else in the apartment?

His mind spun. Who could it be? No one else had a key. Was it an intruder? Someone had broken into his apartment to watch television? A news program, apparently...

As silently as he could, he rolled out of bed and padded over the thick carpet to the door. Gently, gently, he opened it.

The television was in the living room, around the corner and a few steps down the hall. He would be able to grab a knife from the kitchen on his way...

And he lost his footing, landing against the wall with a thump. That would be it: surely that noise was heard, surely the intruder would come and kill him, and it would be Walden's own fault for being too drunk to sneak around properly. Not how he'd expected the day to go.

But there was no noise from the living room. He made it to the kitchen, and started casting around silently to find a clean knife to confront the trespasser with. All his knives were dirty from his party two days ago.

- Why was he looking for a clean knife? He grabbed a dirty one from the sink.

A pundit on the television was yammering about Prescott Bush, and whether he was as much like Reagan as everyone said. Why the hell was this intruder sitting in his living room watching conservative news?...

It was at this point that it occurred to his sloshed brain that this was very stupid, and he should just call the police. He fumbled in his pocket for the phone, and the knife slipped from his hand and clattered on the floor.

"Wally? Is that you?"

That voice -- it was --

"Logan?" he said. "What the hell?"

It was Logan, all nearly-seven-feet of him, suddenly looming in the hall. His fiery red hair was illuminated from behind by the blue glare from the television.

"Wally! Thank goodness you're awake at last. Do you know you're almost out of beer?"

"What the hell are you doing here?" demanded Walden. "You can't just waltz into a locked apartment! I almost called the police --"

"Come on, Wally," said Logan. As he spoke he pushed his lanky frame past him in the hall. "You can't rely on locks anymore, not when you can take a picture of it and print a key right out."

Logan leaned into the fridge, and Walden, deciding grimly to call the police anyway, realized he wasn't holding his phone anymore. Logan had lifted it right out of his hands without his realizing it.

"I always thought that was the biggest potential of Pwinter, actually," Logan continued. "Make breaking and entering a mass market. -- This is your phone? A Microsoft phone? Really?"

"What the hell are you doing here, Logan? This is the... third time, I think, that I'm asking you. And give me my phone back."

Logan stopped and looked at him carefully. "Wally!" he said. "You're drunk, aren't you?"

"So what?" demanded Walden.

"I have no idea if it'll work, that's what," said Logan. "I've never tried it drunk. I guess we'll see. But no beer for you. Have some water -- hydration is important."

Axon, Inc. [SAMPLE]Where stories live. Discover now