I sat in work wrestling with a giant conundrum. Fortunately, the battle was short lived and it came frapping out of me in a series of explosive bursts.
I clucked appreciatively at my own prowess before wiping my Hampton hedgehog and getting the hell out of there.
Back at my desk, I pondered over my progress on the EAGER ZERO case. I had a few leads for sure. I knew that the DBA's were involved. They were meeting in secret in various coffee shops instead of working and something code-named MARS was involved. In fact, one of them had stated that I was practically up MARS.
What did MARS have to do with time travel?
Could it have been a red herring designed to throw me off the scent of EAGER ZERO? And why now was I naming the case in capital letters?
It seemed that there were more questions than answers.
I smiled wryly, there was one man I always turned to in these kinds of situations and I turned to him now.
The guy who sat to my right sighed.
Alright, I fucking give up, you win. I am Mikey. Happy now?
I'm going for a coffee Mikey, you want one?
His face brightened.
Yeah, go on, I will have a Flat White please?
Flat white, gotcha. You know how they make Flat Whites in Prison Mikey?
Oh god, not the Prison chat again. Look, a Flat White. It's all I ask. Please?
They smuggle the beans in via someone's 'Apple Fritter.'
Mikey looked aghast.
What is it with you and the shit talk? Gods man, beat it. Go get the coffee.
I sauntered away.
Why do you think it tastes so 'nutty' Mikey?
I called over my shoulder. I smirked. One coffee and Mikey was anybody's. He just didn't know it yet.
After I returned with his coffee I let him have a few slurps of that brown gold before I started probing him. He resisted at first but as I pushed harder and harder, he began to open up.
So Mikey. Eager Zero, you must know something. Spill the beans and I don't mean the nutty ones.
Mikey took an eager swig of his Flat White.
Look, there isn't much I can tell you. The word on the street is that Project Cirrus is a bust. Our encryption product isn't playing nice with the cloud and we are seeing degradation of performance in the region of 40 to 50% in some cases.
I gave Mikey my flattest of stares, flatter than his Flat White, flatter even than Grandma's pancakes. Or at least so the old man told me.
Buillshit Mikey, I ain't never heard such hogwash. You think I'm your momma's old busted sofa Mikey?
My mum's sofa? Eh, of course not?
Then why are you fucking me between the cushions Mikey?!
I stood, trembling with rage. Two bucks for Mikey's Flat White and he had the audacity to bullshit me with some yarn about performance in the cloud? Mikey gulped and wheeled his chair back holding his coffee protectively as if I would take it back.
Suddenly his eyes peeled back until all I could see was whites and pupils. He looked set to faint. I took a step toward him.
What the hell is wrong with...
I stopped. A click clack'ing noise sounded from behind me and a familiar scent assailed my nostrils. A scent that spoke of fetid things and dying flowers in the sun. A scent of corruption and unspeakable acts in hotel rooms.
Every fibre in my body stiffened in response to that scent and when I say every fibre, I mean my penis. Slowly I turned around.
Clicking her way to an impossibly tall halt before me was Carlate.
Carlate, I thought they had let you go?
I croaked, willing my meatball marinara to subside.
She chuckled and placed a hand on her hip and cocked it at me in a cadaverously sexy way.
BoomDawg. So pleased to see you too. I am back, as you can see.
She did a small twirl.
Now come with me on the 8th floor. We have work to do you and I.
She glamorously spun on her heel and strutted off.
I gulped and glanced at Mikey. He was all red and broken looking as if he had just eaten a hot beef sundae.
I waved with one of the hands that weren't attempting to hide my erection.
Gotta go, Mikey, If I don't make it back, tell the good lady, I love her. Even though she isn't the one I left behind.
I got up and followed Carlate. I didn't know if I was heading to my almost certain doom or if I was finally going to find the answers I had been seeking but one thing was for sure.
Something was going to get cracked open.
I hoped for all our sakes that it wasn't going to be me.