[This is a riff on a dream G-man had the other night, which we both thought was a fabulous, top-notch dream. It almo made me think about an old scratch fiction topic that was also a lot of fun..—Suzanne]
The start of another work week, and while everyone from the morning djs to the barista with the caramel-colored skin and MAC-encrusted eyes, the zombie men and women filing into the elevators and settling into their cubes like last year's leaves on the bottom of a pond, hated Mondays, Jeremy experienced a thrill of anticipation every Monday morning at 7:05 am when, while waking up to the day, he realized that it was game night.
So while his Gap and Old Navy-clad coworkers got out on the fourth floor and left the elevator to the Banana Republicans who populated the upper floors, dragging their feet and plopping their doughy behinds in their chairs, Jeremy plopped his doughy ass down, flicked on his screen and checked for email about the coming night's session. Yes-s-s-s-s! Gaming at Rob's house tonight. Jeremy read through the rest of the email and nodded appreciatively at the thought of the dependably-superior snacks Rob's wife Tracy put out for them.
What they played was less important than their still getting together every Monday for five or six hours of role-playing fun, the six of them stubbornly refusing to give up this last, best gasp of their college days. "You'll get my dice when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers"—Remi made them all tshirts one year, convention favorites.
Six o'clock on the dot. Jeremy rang the bell to Rob and Tracy's apartment and waited for them to buzz him in. Remi and Tony showed up as he was walking in. Richard's bike was locked to the fence across the street, and Lee's car was parked down the block.
"Looks like we've got ourselves a full house tonight, guys. Time for some major hack and slash!"
"I think I smell cookies—score!"
"Has Rob found his killer dice yet?"
"Whoa, dude, you redecorated. Tres chic!" The three of them walked into Rob's apartment, and Remi plopped down on a large, blue velvet sofa in the middle of the living room. "Nice! Where'd you get it?"
A woman's voice piped up from the kitchen: "We found it on the sidewalk yesterday."
"Yeah, and it was a bitch to get up those stairs, let me tell you." Rob came walking out of the back room. "I tried calling you guys—"
"Why's it in the middle of the room?" Remi, not a tall guy to begin with, looked like a hobbit, sunk deep into the sofa's cushions. Even his arms, thrown over the back of the big blue monster looked more like holding on for dear life rather than casual ease.
"Tracy wants it there; I'm just the man. End of discussion! Remi, get your ass off that sofa and let's start playing."
"...so you can see Tin-tin and Ponzu inside the gelatinous cube, and they're not looking happy. Richard, your guy is still hiding behind the chest, right?"
"I'm using it for cover while I continue to detect for traps."
"Uh, okay. Lee and Tony, what are your guys doing?"
"Perfect Tommy is attacking the cube with his +4 sword."
"I'm lying there dead."
"Okay. Lee, your sword is just bouncing off the gelatinous cube, which is...oh, hey, hello!"
Jeremy and the others turned to look at who Rob was talking to: some Asian guy was peeking his head around the corner. "Uh, a-Dungeons & Dragons, yes?"
"Yeah, do you have any dice?"
"Oh, hell, he can use mine. I can't do anything until Lee gets the cleric out of that jello anyway." Tony pushed back from the card table and patted the back of his chair. "Sit down, man, and have a go. I hope you have a high-level character with you." The stranger sat down and Tony said, "I'm gonna see what's up with Tracy; BRB."
The new guy said his name was Seichi, and while his English wasn't too good, he knew his D&D so after a few minutes the six of them were back in the thick of things; they left Tony's fighter lying on the floor while the party went off to a new part of the dungeon; "It's not like we can't come back and resurrect him later." 11 o'clock came, and Tracy stuck her head in, which was their signal to wrap things up for the night. The five of them walked out to the sidewalk, laughing and backslapping over the night's adventure. Richard got on his bike, Lee into his car, Remi and Jeremy headed off to BART. Seichi watched them disperse, then stuck his hands in his pockets and wandered off down the street.
"Hey Rob, hey Tracy, it's Jeremy. Look, I just got a call from Tony's mom; she hasn't seen him since Sunday and is freaking out. Do you know where he went Monday after Seichi showed up? Call me back. Bye." Click.
"J-dawg, this is Rob. Can you come over tonight? It's important. Call me back. Bye." Click.
"Rob, I'm not kidding, she's seriously freaking out." Jeremy had to get that out before any hellos. "Hey, Tracy." He turned back to Rob. "I don't know what to tell her. Should she call the cops, or make a report or something? It's not like Tony would go anywhere."
Rob wrung his hands together. Jeremy almost told him to knock off the Mister Burns impression but caught sight of Rob's expression: seriously worried. "What's going on?"
Tracy spoke up. "I was in the kitchen doing my Sudoku book when I heard the TV go on...you guys were in the back...Rob says Tony's guy died? And that a new guy showed up and he came in to talk to me? Well, all he did was stick his head in the kitchen and say 'Hello' then I heard the TV go on? I think he sat down on the sofa to watch it." She and Rob exchanged looks.
Rob broke away from Tracy's gaze. "So...it's a transporter sofa."
"What's the brand have to do with Tony?"
"No, man, you don't understand. It's a transporter sofa."
"Sometimes when you sit on the sofa it transports you to another transporter sofa. You can't really predict when it'll transport you; that's why I think whoever owned it before put it out. It's not the kind of thing you want to leave to chance."
"You have a transporter sofa."
"And Tony sat on it and...transported?"
"I think so."
"I don't know; to some other sofa. I would have thought he'd call and tell us where he was."
"Well, he didn't." Jeremy eyed the sofa and it's soft blue cushions. "Now what?"
"I don't know if this is a good idea."
"Just call us wherever you end up."
...to be continued...