Peru and Ninjas: Chapter Three

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The Hub Pub - Downstairs

Meanwhile, Priya lead Tonya down the stairs into the basement below the Hub.

She was about to open the door when Tonya stopped her. "Just five minutes. I'm here for you but this isn't my thing."

"You're gonna love Ducky."

Tonya had never seen her new friend so animated. "So why don't you date him?"

"Why date? I just wanna hook up with his NEX-VG30H."

"His what?"

She licked her lips and spoke breathily. "I like to take my SLR lenses, and screw them onto his powerful cam."

Tonya laughed. "You're nuts."

"No, just not camera shy. But Ducky and me, it's just a fling. You and him," she jabbed a finger at Tonya's chest, "are Destiny. You'll see." She flung open the door.

Tonya followed Priya into a windowless meeting room. It wasn't hard to figure out who Ducky was. He had short blonde hair, intense blue eyes and wore a black, cameraman's multi pocket vest over jeans and a checked shirt. The others crowded around to speak with him so Tonya heard only snatches of what he said.

"You don't need film school...  

"Moving to California's a waste of time...  

"Finance mirages...  

"A guy I know made a horror film for $6000.00. Got distribution, and sold out on Amazon."

"Sellout!" Priya yelled over the chatter.

Ducky smiled. "Excuse me." He pushed his way through the huddle of would-be filmmakers and gave Priya a bear hug.

"I see you've brought me an actress. What's your name Honey?" He pretended to leer and waggled blonde eyebrows up and down. "Wanna see my casting couch?"

"Don't mind him, he's an idiot," said Priya.

"As advertised." He held out his hand and Tonya shook it.

"This is Tonya."

"You can call me Tim."

"Oh good. I didn't want to call you Ducky."

"Tim isn't his name," said Priya.

"It's not?"

"You can call me Markus," he smiled.

"Is that your name?"

"I don't use my real name. A name gives supernatural forces the power to summon you and..." He looked at Tonya and stopped smiling. You don't think that's funny, do you?

Tonya shrugged. In Loon Lake people didn't joke about such things.

"Unlike you, she doesn't do horror movie marathons," said Priya.

"Oh, an artiste like you then?"

"Nope," said Priya. She put on an old tyme cowboy accent. "Folks like her don't come around much to these parts. Tonya's what you call a real girl."

"Well make me blush. Let's start over." Without asking, he took Tonya's hand and kissed the back of it. "Mademoiselle, welcome to Digital Ninjas." He led Tonya back into the scrum where they joined a loud, boisterous, art-versus-commerce argument. She even made a couple of points in favour of Art for Art's sake. Tonya felt comfortable here. These kids were interesting outsiders, like the ones she hung out with in high school. Priya had sniffed out Tonya's type from the first day they'd met in the Registrar lineup, and deposited her right back where she belonged. Question was, should she stay there?

The Ninjas were elucidating their 'Indie Filmmaker Manifesto,' but her mind kept wandering back to peer group. The whole point of eating salads for two months and swimming all summer was to reinvent herself. Nobody in university knew that in elementary school, she was the shy girl who looked at her feet when she asked to join a game. In high school, she ate lunch in the hallway or snuck food into the library so she didn't have to sit in the cafeteria alone.

Here she could leave the past behind and pretend she had been anything in high school: an athlete, an actor, even a cheerleader. Well, maybe not that. The idea of shaking her almost-naked ass to promote male chauvinism repulsed her. She just wanted to be popular. There had to be a way, but if she joined the Digital Ninjas, she was afraid of remaining a geek forever.

Ducky was standing on a chair gesturing with one arm for emphasis. In the other hand, he held a camera he was using to film the scrum. "I want to document this moment. We're gonna do Priya's installation." He smiled at her. "Then we're gonna make the best campus horror movie of all time!" They cheered.

He really was charming. Tonya wondered what it would be like to go see a movie with him, but caught herself. She couldn't, even if he asked her, which he wouldn't. It was okay for Priya to hang with these guys, she exuded charisma like perfume, but Tonya couldn't risk it.

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