Vaporware

Vaporware by Richard Dansky

Book: Vaporware by Richard Dansky Read Free Book Online
Authors: Richard Dansky
“And since you can’t
drink anything else without dying of alcohol poisoning, it’s time we cleared
out and let the nice people at the bar have some new paying customers.”
    “I’ll
pay you back,” I promised, my head flopping down and my chin hitting my chest
as Leon hoisted me out of my chair. “Hey!”
    “Easy,
man. Just helping you get out to the car.” He slid one arm under my shoulder
and wrapped it around me, yanking me up and toward him so that my constant
collapse could be translated into forward motion by his direction. We played
table slalom as we lurched toward the door, Michelle presumably following, as I
didn’t see her in my admittedly narrow field of vision. Behind us, I heard the
waitress who’d served our end of the table call, “Have a nice evening!” over
the clank of glasses.
    Evening?
Jesus. How long had I been there?
    Outside,
the sky was dark, or nearly so. As I gaped at the few visible stars, Michelle
came around and got her weight under me. “My car’s just over there,” she said.
“Help me dump him in the passenger seat and I’ll take care of the rest.”
    “My
car’s right there,” Leon answered. “Last chance—”
    Michelle
tensed. “Look, Leon, if you want to say ‘Sarah’s going to be there,’ go ahead
and do it, and I’ll still say the same thing. I’ve got no problem with Ryan, or
with Sarah. If she’s got a problem with me, that’s her issue, and if she’d
rather Ryan wrapped himself around a tree instead of having me drive him home,
then to hell with her.” As if to emphasize her point, she dropped her half of
the dead weight that was yours truly and headed for where she was parked.
    “Michelle,
wait. Oh, man, I didn’t mean—” Leon’s excuses trailed off into muttered
under-the-breath frustration, and he followed after her as fast as my limp
presence would allow.
    She
was already in the car, windows down and engine running. “Door’s open,” she
said, not moving to help. “Just open it up and dump him in.”
    “I
didn’t mean that, Shelly,” he said, propping me against the side of her car as
he yanked the passenger side door open. I slid a few inches but stayed mostly
vertical. Don’t drool on the window, I told myself. Surely you can handle that
much. Then Leon was grabbing me again and shoving me inside. A dangling arm was
pulled out of the way and thrown into my lap, and then the door slammed shut.
“I just don’t want you doing a nice thing to become a problem, you know?”
    She
shot a withering glare past me, one that gentled a bit after a moment. “Silly
man. Nice things always become problems. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
    “See
you, Shelly,” he answered, and then turned and trudged off. We sat for a
second. Michelle put it into gear and the crunch of gravel announced that we
were leaving. Cool air slapped me in the face as we picked up speed, and I
could see my car, tucked into the corner of the lot, as we turned out into traffic.
    “The
windows are down so you can puke if you want,” Michelle said conversationally.
“I’m not going to slow down, though, so be careful where you aim.”
    “Don’t
need to puke,” I answered, and then pressed my gut experimentally with my
fingers to test the hypothesis. “Just sleepy.”
    “Uh-huh.”
She spared me a glance with all the leftover scorn she’d pulled from Leon. “You
need coffee, and a hot shower, and a lot of water, and maybe a B complex
vitamin, and then you need to sleep.”
    “Sorry,”
I said, and turned my face to the cool plastic of the seat. “Didn’ wanna be a
bother today.”
    “Today
you’re entitled,” she said, a little more gently, as she made a left and went
around a minivan doing a leisurely cruise in the passing lane. “Tomorrow, God
help you, but today, you get a freebie. What Eric pulled on you was a dirty
trick.”
    I
shook my head, or tried to. “He’s right. Gotta take care of everyone.”
    “Including
Eric,” she said. “He just killed

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