There he is, Tiny Tina thinks. The miserable sod. Time to get him out of here before it’s too late.
Tina approaches. “Mr. Oden,” she pronounces clearly upwards. “Mr. Gregg Oden.”
Gregg looks down, spots her. “I’m Gregg Oden. I drink…”
“Yes, yes,” Tina interrupts, hands still on hips. “Is that all you have to wear out of here?”
“I have some watercolors. Would you like to see?”
“Can you *wear* watercolors out of here?” Tiny Tina chirps acidly, making Gregg pause. She blows out a minuscule puff of air. “This will have to do, then. Get up. No time to lose.”
“I’m Gregg Oden?” he says while rising off the jail bed.
“That remains to be determined. But we have to get you out of here. If they found out what you *really* were there would be tests after tests. And we don’t want that.”
She sprints across the floor and back to the open door of the cell. Gregg takes steps to follow. “You’ll have to move faster than that, Mr. Oden,” she shouts upwards and forwards while waiting. “Burt’s on a coffee break. He always takes a coffee break at 3:45am sharp. He always returns at 4:00am sharp. So *move*.”
“Too late,” Tina whispers as loud as she could, peering down from over the top of the stairs. “We’ll have to kill him.”
Basically like clockwork, Earie passes Jiff’s abode a couple minutes beyond total darkness. 7:30 tonight, but winter is coming and the days are getting shorter. Tomorrow he should pass at approximately 7:29, the next day 7:28, and so on until time turns around or he leaves the sim. One day Jiff will follow the punk to see where he goes, but right now he needs to get some sleep. Jiff’s usually in bed by about 8 and rises around 6. Sometimes he even sees Earie pass the other way. Then it’s off to work at the Gaston-Berry Police Station as staff psychiatrist. A new and troubled male inmate has just arrived who goes by the name of Wilson. Pretty face, though. Maybe that’s the screw’s turn, Jiff ponders, knowing other information. Maybe this town demands too much from its citizens.
Broken Heart led Earie through a series of backyard passages where they met several colorful characters. I’ll get to that story more later. But true to her word they were here outside the Joint Joint, with Jacob I. supposedly within. Broken Heart had further explained that the I. stood for nothing. “Think Harry S. Truman,” she said while striding over some old tires on their journey. Seeing Earie not reply, she added, “or U.S. Grant.” “So his full and legal name is Jacob I.,” Earie replied back, dodging a broken coke bottle. “Formerly Jacob the Lawnmower,” he furthered, alluding to earlier conversation. By this time they were passing through Old Lady Bedford’s clothes line in another tight spot, being careful not to get, well, clotheslined (caught in the neck). At 96 she represented the town’s oldest prostitute, but her only remaining customer was Billy Tokesalot, a nonagenarian himself. Sometimes it took them 10 days.
In the present moment, Earie tried the door to the establishment. Locked. “Don’t knock the knockers,” Broken Heart ordered from below. “He’ll come.” Nothing happened for several minutes. Earie glanced over at the policeman standing beside them a couple of times, but his gaze remained fixed on the window. “Nice night,” Earie finally offered. The policeman didn’t answer; focus unchanged. At 4:45am Jacob I. opened the door, and stared at each figure in front of it. “Broken Heart,” he said, nodding down to the cat-person. Jacob then came back to Earie. “I thought I told you to stay away, Chuck.”