Hooky (Anime)

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Lenny dialed Mr. Johnson’s office. A quick convo with his secretary and he’d be all set.

Two rings.

“Hello?” A gruff man’s voice answered.

Today Johnson would answer his own phone.

“Hello, Mr. Johnson,” Lenny said, voice pitched high and straining.

“Togue? What do you want? You better not be calling in.”

As a matter of fact..

Lenny swallowed, making it as audible as possible.

“Unfortunately, sir, I came down with something last night. Been up all night in the toilet.”

Have to find the balance, suggestive but not too graphic.

Lenny held the phone away from his ear as Mr. Johnson’s volume increased; he could barely make out the words over the shouting.

“Yes, sir. Worthless sack of dirt, got it. Sorry, sir. I’ll be in tomorrow.”

The yelling trailed off in something that might have been acceptance. Lenny hung up.

Done, and done.

Lenny climbed out of bed, stretched, scratched, and padded downstairs in sweatpants and a worn t-shirt. The house was quiet, the rest of his roommates must already be at work.

Suckers, he thought as he shuffled through the sunlight pouring in through the windows in the hall. Tuesday or not, there was no way he was spending a day like this in sub basement B of the Randolph building.

Penni was sprawled on the sofa in shorts and a tank top, staring at her tablet as he came into the living room. Another woman dressed similarly might have perked Lenny up, but with her lack of figure, and lack of interest in him, he didn’t even glance in her direction.

So not everyone’s at work. Though he couldn’t remember her ever actually working.

“Morning,” she said in her high pitched voice.

He mumbled a response and she looked up, blonde pigtails bouncing, cheeks bunched in a smile.

As she caught sight of him, her smile fell.

“Shouldn’t you be dressed for work?” she asked.

“Not going,” Lenny said, flopping down in the sagging arm chair.

He scooped his tablet off the end table and started thumbing through news articles.

“What do you mean? You’re supposed to go to work today,” Penni said.

Supposed to do a lot of things, Lenny thought, eyes rolling.

The news was the usual crap. Strange meteor or something found on a farm outside of town. Fire in a warehouse at the edge of the city. Two cops killed in the middle of night downtown, their cruiser wrecked.

“I mean I’m not going,” he said and tossed the tablet down.

“You have to,” she said, blue eyes wide, concerned. “You should be there today. That’s what I foresaw.”

Not this again.

“Where I’m going to be is at a movie, or maybe down by the river. So what does that say about your ‘visions’?” he asked, adding air quotes with his fingers.

“It means you’re changing the future,” she said.

Lenny sighed, ran a hand through his hair.

“Why is it everytime I do something I’m changing the future? Maybe you’re just not very good at knowing what’s going to happen.”

She crossed her arms across her lack of chest and glared at him.

“Look, if this is what I was going to do, shouldn’t you have seen it coming?”

“You’re very hard to read,” she said, pouting. “Very unpredictable. That’s what drew me here.”

That, and a Craigslist ad for a roommate.

He couldn’t help himself. “Uh, right. And where was that from again?”

“A place far, far away. It’s ... complicated,” she said, looking away.

I’ll bet.

“Well that’s where I’m going to be. Far from here, and right close to a frosty six-pack.”

He could already imagine the cold aluminum in his hand, the sun on his back. Maybe his eyes on a few bikinis if he was really lucky.

“You should be at work,” Penni insisted. “You’re safe there. I really think you should go.”

He was getting sick of this.

“I really think you should --”

There was a knock on the front door.

They both turned toward it. It was too early for any good news.

He looked at her, eyebrow raised. She shook her head, pig tails swishing, but her eyes were worried. He shrugged and shoved himself up out of the recliner.

Probably want me to join their cult, Lenny thought as he wandered to the door and peered through the peephole.

Two men in dark suits, wearing sunglasses stood on the porch. They looked serious. Lenny hated serious, it usually meant trouble. And usually for him.

They didn’t look like cultists, or cops for that matter, more like accountants. Very serious ones.

IRS?

He squeezed his eyes shut and swore softly. He knew he shouldn’t have claimed that weekend in Vegas as a business expense. Sure he’d left the contents of his bladder and stomach across multiple restrooms, but that probably didn’t really count, even for a janitor.

“Who is it?” Penni asked.

“Some guys in suits,” he said, trying to keep his voice low enough they couldn’t hear him outside.

Through the door, “Mr. Togue?”

They knew his name, that couldn’t be good.

He peered outside again then leapt back. A large green eye was staring back at him from the other side of the peephole. He didn’t have anything against green, but this eye was glowing.

Lenny licked his lips then tentatively put his eye to the hole again. The man’s sunglasses were off, and his eyes were definitely glowing, maybe even smoking. The second man had pulled something out of his jacket. Something that looked like a gun, but the barrel was pulsing crimson.

He jumped back again.

What the hell?

“They’ve got guns!” he said.

Then he noticed Penni standing beside him in the doorway to the living room. Her face was now serious, and she was holding something that might have been a huge rifle. She swung it up onto her shoulder as she shook her head.

“I told you, you should have gone to work,” she said.

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