“Where are you?! You were supposed to be here almost an hour ago!”
Arin stood by as Gene paced back and forth, bristling with anger. He couldn’t quite make out the muffled responses from the other end of the phone, but he was fairly certain Kyle was coming up with several excuses. By the time Gene spoke again, Arin was sure he was going to toss the phone off the roof.
“I don’t believe this…You’re such an idiot!” He ended the call as he gripped the phone tightly, simmering.
Arin piped up. “What happened? What’d he say?”
“He just confirmed that he can’t do anything right. First, he got stopped and fined for speeding, then it turns out that he bought way more fireworks than he was supposed to, so now those have been confiscated and he’s been taken to a police station in a town I’ve never heard of.”
Arin groaned. Fireworks were hard to get hold of in Basingden with the strict regulations on who could by them and how many you could buy. As a result, most consumer displays were lacklustre at best, unless they managed to get hold of some from outside the city, then smuggle them in without the police catching them. After that point, you were free to set off as many as you wanted; the authorities rarely made an effort to crack down on the use of fireworks obtained this way. Arin had been relying on Kyle to bring in the extra firepower, but instead Kyle had ended up shooting his plan down completely.
He wandered to the wall, leaning heavily on it as he looked over the city under the dark sky, watching the cars down below. For three days he had been parading around campus, advertising his grand fireworks show to celebrate the end of the academic year, and for three days, the thought of the witnessing the greatest spectacle the campus had ever seen was enough to overly-excite everyone involved. Though the copious amount of food and booze were keeping the students happy, they had already started becoming impatient after the hour-long delay and one or two had already left to go and join other parties around the campus. Marvin going around telling everyone how bad the show would be, that they’d be better off anywhere else but here was not helping either.
Arin drummed his fingers on the railing. It was far too late to try shopping for more outside of town, and with the previous set of fireworks bought and now confiscated, extra money was in short supply as well.
Gene shrugged, and leaned against one of the nearby air vents. “Well, I guess that’s that then. I told you guys not to leave it until the last minute…”
Arin didn’t bother to turn around, resting his head on his hands. “Yeah, yeah…Look, you’re not helping. Never mind what I _should_ have done, tell me what I can do _now_.”
“Aside from call it off?”
Arin frowned. “I _can’t_ call it off! That’s not an option; I don’t even know why you’re suggesting that. Marv will never let it go if that happened. I might as well leave campus right now”.
Gene stared blankly at Arin for a few moments then shook his head. “Either you let your ego take a hit, or you keep deluding yourself…Unless you happen to have 100lbs of fireworks in your back pocket, there _is_ no show anymore. The sooner you let the others know, the better. No point dragging this out any longer…”
Arin finally turned to face Gene. “No. We’re not stopping. I’ll think of something.” He paced back and forth for a few moments before he stopped abruptly, reached for his wallet and fumbled around inside it, taking out a few notes and holding them out to Gene. “Just take this to the nearest store in town and buy as many fireworks as you can”.
Gene looked at the money, then back at Arin, barely managing to suppress an amused sneer. “...With this? This could buy maybe three sparklers and a picture of an exploding firework-”
YOU ARE READING
Born from the January Writing Challenge, I give you this short story, which the Title Gen has christened "Scattered". Below are the results from the Gens I used, though not all of the suggestions were incorporated. Archetypes: *Tinkerer* Bully Rich...