2085 words (8 minute read)

Second Thoughts

Chapter Two

It wasn’t the fact that someone had been playing with my stuff that pissed me off so much. I did that sort of thing all the time. It was that they had accessed my user profile and continued my saved game. There’s really no excuse for that. I could have lost hours of hard work. Hell, on some games, I could have lost real world money. Fair enough, it was my own fault for not password protecting my PSP but still that kind of shit’s just not on.

I tended to avoid using passwords wherever possible, since I always struggled to remember them but nowadays it seems like you need to register an account in order to do just about anything these days. I’m pretty sure that one day soon we’ll all be forced to setup an account and remember a 32 character password before we can wipe our asses in any public toilet, with our bog roll usage statistics likely being broadcast over the internet for the titillation of Japanese businessmen everywhere. While I’m offloading about my annoyance at the whole password saga, why is it that there isn’t a standardized format for passwords yet. One site tells you it needs to contain a number, while another forces you to use a special character, or capitals, or it’s too long, or not long enough. It’s so frustrating. After a bit of trial and error, I just ended up defaulting to using “Wd40isGr8L00b!” for everything and it tended to work fine. Sometimes I had to drop the exclamation point but that’s a simple change to make if my first login attempt fails. It’s worth noting though that I no longer use this password for anything anymore. Not since the hacking incident. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We’re not quite there yet.

Brad was sat on the living room sofa with his girlfriend across his lap, while others stood about or sat cross legged on the floor. This one ginger haired guy, I think his name was Malcolm, was stood infront of them giving a speech of some sort.

‘I’m certain that our efforts last night will have had a significant impact, disrupting not only the institute’s research but also their ability to operate properly.’

I stood in the doorway, quietly seething. After a moment of listening to Malcolm’s bullshit, the urge to speak up grew too strong. ‘Let’s face it’ I said loudly, causing everyone to turn their heads and look at me. ‘All you idiots have done is steal a bunch of animals from a lab that was likely producing something beneficial to mankind and have pushed back the release of some awesome product that, I don’t know, eradicates cancer or something. Even worse, you dumped one of them into our sodding pool’. I stared straight at Brad but he refused to look at me. His girlfriend did however. Her eyes were shooting daggers so hard, I felt compelled to roll a D20 and add my dexterity bonus to try and dodge them. ‘Bravo.’ I clapped mockingly. ‘Ten bucks says a new batch of animals are already on their way there right now. Cute puppies and fluffy kittens the lot. Now enough about that bullshit, which of you fuckers has been playing on my game machine?’

Stunned silence.

After a moment, everyone turned their heads back to the ginger who had cleared his throat and started talking again. ‘As I said, their ability to operate will have been severely compromised and so I suggest we…’

I shook my head and walked out.

Heading back across the patio towards the pool house, I was hailed by someone over the fence. ‘Whassup Homo’ shouted Baker as he climbed through a hole in the fence and into the garden. ‘You played that game yet or what?’

I knew this would be his first question. ‘Yep and I’ve come to the conclusion that it rocks.’ I said enthusiastically.

‘Really?’ said Baker raising his eyebrows in a mixture of surprise and delight.

‘Nope, it’s a big pile of wank’ I said deadpanning it.

‘Fuck you’ Baker said flipping me the bird.

‘No, fuck you’ I replied. This kind of exchange usually goes on for a minute or so every single time Baker and I get together.

‘I hear your jerk off friends hit up a lab again last night’ said Baker once we’d made our way inside the pool house. He’d gone straight into the fridge and grabbed us a couple of cool beers but the dopey ass redneck started walking away leaving the fridge door wide open, a regular occurrence and one that really pissed me off. He knew full well it did. I barked at him until he grudgingly sloped back and shut it.

‘They’re not my friends but yeah, they were out doing something like that last night. How did you find out’ I said carrying on our previous conversation.

‘It was all over the news this morning. Whenever I see shit like that I just assume its sad Brad and his save the dung beetle brigade. So it really was them? Damn. My opinion of them has just gone up a little bit.’ Baker nodded to himself for a bit.

‘What do you mean’ I asked, a bit confused.

‘You gotta have balls of solid adamantium to break into a military testing lab, I mean, it sounds as if that place was doing full on X Files, Fringe levels of shit.’

‘You’re kidding’ I said in fascination and then reeled myself back in. I realised he was likely talking bullshit and I was in danger of seeming exceedingly gullible.

‘Nope’ he said after taking a long swig of beer. ‘Check it out for yourself, just turn on the TV or look it up on your phone.’

I flicked on the TV but couldn’t find anything remotely related to a lab break in. Against my better judgement, I picked up my phone and typed the words “animal activists” and “break in” into Google and then hit the “News” tab. I then sat for about five minutes flabbergasted by what I read.

‘No fucking way’ I said eventually.

‘See what I mean’ Baker said in response.

I was shocked. Not only had these dumbasses somehow broken into a military grade facility, they’d broken into one that was supposedly developing biological weaponry. I wasn’t sure if that meant training sea creatures to attach mines to submarines or mass producing animals infected with disease but I suddenly started to feel unwell, very unwell indeed. I was now convinced I had unwittingly gone swimming with a plague infested octopus. I started to reflect back on my morning and it all made sense. Shortly after being in the pool, I’d vomited, then passed out and obviously suffered episodes of amnesia.

‘I think I’ve caught something off one of them’ I said point blank, looking Baker in the eyes.

‘Fuck, you might be right’ he said, ‘you ain’t looking so good dude.’

I was shaking. My heart was pounding and I started to feel incredibly warm. I tore off my hoodie and laid down on the bed.

‘You OK’ said Baker. I ignored him and closed my eyes for a bit, which was when Brad came storming into the pool house with his girlfriend in tow.

‘That’s it Toby’ he bellowed, ‘you’re fucking out of here. I…’ He stopped mid-sentence. He’d obviously spotted Baker. They’d known each other since kindergarten but following some sort of altercation back in high school, they tended to avoid each other as much as possible.

‘Ah Bradley, tell me. Which of your loser friends has the clap? I think they gave it to Toby when they last sucked him off. At least, that’s what Toby said. My moneys on the ginger dude with the goatee.’

‘Shut the fuck up Baker’ I said without getting up from my bed.

‘What are you talking about dickhead’ said Brad. ‘None of my friends are sick. He must have caught it off his mom the last time he went home to breastfeed.’

‘Ewww, Brad that’s disgusting’ said the girl next to him.

‘Sorry Autumn” Brad said sheepishly back to her.

‘Stripper name’ coughed Baker.

‘Oh bite me’ said Autumn.

‘With Pleasure’ said Baker in his rape-iest sounding voice ‘Just bend over and drop your shorts’.

Brad was on him like a flash, his powerful fists delivering blow after blow to Bakers face and body. I jumped off the bed and broke the two of them up while Autumn just stood in the doorway, watching her man beat on Baker.

‘Bit on edge today are we Bradley?’ asked Baker as he spat a little blood onto the tiled floor.

‘Oh for fucks sake Baker, you’re cleaning that up’ I said to him bluntly.

‘Don’t know what you mean’ said Brad, looking Baker in the eyes intently.

‘Just wondered why you’re so hot-headed today that’s all. Perhaps it’s because both the FBI and the army are looking for your sorry ass and you’re shitting yourself over it.’

Brad pointed first at me and then at Baker ‘you told THIS fucking clown?’

I just shook my head and said ‘It’s all over the news Brad. You guys are in deep shit. Ripping off an animal testing lab is one thing but breaking into a fucking military lab that makes biological weapons? I mean, what the fuck were you thinking dude? And then you go and put one of them in our pool. What the hell is wrong with you?’

Brad and Autumn were looking at me dumbfounded. I’m pretty sure there would have been complete silence for ages had it not been for the noise Baker made rushing out of the pool house door. ‘Where do you think you’re going’ I shouted after him, but I already knew. He was off to check out what was in the pool.

‘Err, that wasn’t a military facility’ said Brad stupidly, looking first at me and then at Autumn, genuine concern plastered over his face.

‘He’s lying’ said Autumn shaking her head. ‘If it was military, there would have been soldiers and tougher security. We would never have gotten inside.’

‘Well now, looky what we got here’ came Bakers voice drifting in from outside.

‘We’d best get out there’ I said ‘before Baker jumps in and tries to mate with it.’

As we stepped outside into the sunshine, I shouted at Baker to get his hand out of the pool. ‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you Baker’ I said. ‘I was in that pool briefly earlier and haven’t felt quite right ever since. I’ve thrown up, passed out and suffered from amnesia. At least I think I have.’ Baker guffawed. He obviously thought I was talking bullshit.

‘Sounds like a damn fine Friday night to me.’

‘There’s nothing wrong with that octopus’ said Autumn sternly.

‘How the fuck do you know’ I said aggressively. I still had not warmed to this chick.

‘Well for starters, that lab had no biohazard warnings on any of the doors, cages or tanks, so it’s unlikely that any of the animals would harbour any sort of disease. Secondly, if it did have something, we’d have all gone down with it when we loaded him into the paddling pool in the back of Todd’s pickup truck last night.’

‘Nope’ said Baker. ‘The lab they showed on the news had loads of biohazard signs all over the place. They said it was a low key, covert military establishment and as such had a minimal security presence. Due to this, there are government regulations that say they needed to make it very clear to anyone entering, I guess by accident, that it was home to some very dangerous stuff.’

While Baker recounted what he had seen on the news, I noticed that Brad’s right leg had developed an involuntary tremor. It wasn’t long before he and Autumn disappeared back into the main house, looking more than a little concerned.

Next Chapter: Third Wheel