Chapter 13

22 6 3

by Phoebe

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by Phoebe

Now that my phone's charged,
want to hear an update?

DeeJAY:
You've only had it
plugged in
for five minutes.

Phoebe:
It has twenty percent—

Philosopher Jones:
You should let it
charge to full.

Phoebe:
Don't tell me what to do.

Buttercup:
How dare you speak
to our elder that way!

Philosopher Jones:
Back down, Buttercup.
Phoebe is an elder too,
as you will be
soon enough.

Phoebe:
I'll just read the update
from the hoomans, then...

SMS:
At the Lanai Market,
we find the raw
cube-cut fish,
aku and he'e,
lined up like in
a sandwich deli
or meat counter,
locals serving
other locals
in a community
on the outskirts
of a country
ruled by fear
of Centaurians
and Orange Man.
On the other side
of the counter,
an old television
buzzes with news
of Allen Weisselberg
potentially leaking
the financial reports
of a corrupt White House.
Hooman #A squints
his eyes at the television
while I order the delicate
slices of fish requested
by Lahea Ikaika,
our second-choice savior,
after losing Happy Rock
to the lizardmen living
in our neighborhood.
Perhaps I should peel
Hooman #A away
from the television,
back to the mission
at hand, except
I've got other issues,
like the glint
of lizardscale
on the edge of
the poke server's wrists.

Philosopher Jones:
That's no good.

Tom:
Are they all right?

SMS:
Not knowing
what else to do,
I lean to Hooman #A
and say, "Hey, I forgot
my wallet; you have cash?"
I remember he left
his wallet at our hotel,
so we won't be able to pay,
and in that supposed
moment of embarrassment
we'll be able to sneak out.

Buttercup:
Not a bad strategy.

Greg:
It's terrible, actually.

Phoebe:
Shh.

SMS:
"Hmph," grunts the lizard
in poke server human-skin
as Hooman #A searches
his pockets, murmuring,
"I left my wallet at our room."
When we're outside again,
under the Hawaiian sun,
I whisper,
"The poke server!—
he's one of them!
A Babylonian.
It's like they're everywhere..."

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