Emily paused, looking at them both for a moment before her jaw dropped. "You didn't." When Owen didn't look back, she placed her hand on his, which was enough to make him look. "You did! Oh-my-god. You have to tell us everything!"
"It's no big deal," Owen said, failing to play it off, if he had even been really trying to.
"No big deal? You are on—" her voice dropped off so her increasing excitement wasn't heard by every person in town. "The news. How did you manage to pull that off?"
"I think I might have actually glitched myself into it?" Owen paused, not really wanting to tell everyone the embarrassing story. Amilia wasn't like Lance. It wasn't like when he simply asked for Lance to join and he did. Amilia was...perplexing.
"Lore doesn't do me a lick of good when your glitchy ass is so fortunate," Neal grumbled.
Owen looked over to him, scrunching up his face with a bit of worry, before Emily, with great enthusiasm, flagged down the waiter.
"I need a round of shots!" she called. The waiter leaning against the bar looked over, his expression shifting to horror when he noticed who was calling. Emily rolled her eyes. "Maybe I should just give you the money instead of me trying to order."
"Geez, Em," Neal laughed, his bitterness not lasting long. "You're going to give him a heart attack. Poor guy will have to worry about his tip or his ethics."
Owen got up from the bar stool. "Don't worry about it. I think I learned my lesson about accepting drinks from people." Neal and Emily shot each other a look as their friend went over to the bar, hoping the other could fill in whatever story they had clearly missed.
Several shots and a cab ride home later, Owen sat in front of his computer. He was too drunk to play, so looking into things for work seemed like the next logical choice. Owen couldn't tell if the first few candidates were actually clean or not, they simply were old enough that they didn't have a very big digital trail. If they had secrets, they were hidden the old fashioned way.
The fourth candidate, Suzanne, he found on Twitter. Her tweets were mostly really boring political comments linking to even longer, more boring topics. But, when he dug back enough to find more casual things like silly photos of animals lazing in a manner similar to his own, he found exactly where she ruined her whole campaign. Either haphazardly, or not caring at the time, Suzanne had turned on the location marker. Most showed she was tweeting from out of state, and if she lived outside of New York, it would disqualify her from being elected. Sure, it wasn't hard evidence, but enough to make news, and enough that her opponents would bring up a complaint and demand they officially check into it.
Owen's excitement was dashed as he groaned suddenly. He leaned back in his chair as a deep pain in his stomach hit. The other names on the list would have to wait. The once friendly buzz had shifted. Without much grace, he twisted out of his chair and stumbled into the kitchen to get some water. He leaned against the counter, and massaged the headache that was trying to settle in his temples. His room wasn't far, but the trip there felt like it took forever. The bed was a relief. He didn't bother to struggle with getting under the sheets. For now, this would do.
He rolled into work at the barely morning hour that was 11 am. Falling into his office chair more than sitting in it, Owen tried his damnedest to look up the rest of the names, but his headache was making it hard to read anything.
"Owen!" His boss' voice was an air horn going off next to his ear. Wanting to completely give up on the respectable adult thing, Owen put his head down for a second. He took a deep breath as he gathered the strength to get up and collect his papers.
YOU ARE READING
Bone Diggers (Paperback out now!)Science Fiction
When everyone IRL lies, the only person you can trust is an NPC. Dirty little secrets can't be hidden behind player avatars, because Bone Diggers like Owen expose the lives behind the code. When his two worlds blur, he must decide which is more impo...