Hangover | Book Four The Fog Series | Chapter Four
“Thank you,” Sara said.
Benjamin turned to look at her. At the soft sound of her voice, Benjamin felt warmth flood his face. He had really saved her, hadn’t he? All on his own! Mostly. He felt suddenly like a superhero—like Sara’s very own Thor! Benjamin may have even puffed his chest out a little bit. The effect was ruined, though, when he caught a glimpse of his reflection in the apartment window and realized that he was covered in blood. Gross! Benjamin shivered as he thought of bloodborne pathogens and diseases. This was just awful!
Knock, knock, knock!
Everyone sprung into action, reaching for their weapons. They had been caught off-guard when Chad turned and attacked Sara, but that was absolutely not going to happen again. Benjamin grabbed the lamp and joined his friends in stalking forward, inching towards the door. The knocks grew louder.
“This might be our greatest foe yet!” Elijah yelled. “Let’s get them!”
Elijah pulled the door open and yelled a battle cry directly into the face of a baffled sandwich delivery man, a scrawny man with red hair, freckles, and a nametag declaring his name as ‘Sam.’
“Holy crap!” Sam shouted. “What’s wrong with you people?”
Benjamin slowly lowered his lamp.
“We thought you might be a Ted,” Daisy exclaimed.
Sam stared uncomprehendingly at them.
“You know, a zombie person,” Alex said.
Sam shook his head and glanced inside the apartment. He froze. “I—is that a dead body on the floor?” Sam asked.
“It shouldn’t surprise you. There’s another one further down the hall,” Amber pointed out.
Sam gaped, looking like a particularly startled fish for several seconds. “You know what?” he asked. “I don’t care anymore! The world’s gone crazy, and they don’t pay me enough to be delivering sandwiches with all this crap going on. Whatever. Pay me, so I can be on my way.”
“Pay you?” Sara asked. “My boyfriend gave you his card.”
“His card declined,” Sam said impatiently. “We tried to call him back, but no one answered. We take cash. Two-hundred dollars.”
“I…I have twenty,” Benjamin said, sheepishly pulling out a half-torn bill.
Sam’s face reddened. “I hope the rest of you have some cash.”
They exchanged looked with one another.
“I’m really more of a credit card kind of girl,” Sara said.
“And I…um, tend to get buy paying with my charms and good looks,” Elijah said.
“I might have two dollars,” Alex added proudly.
“I think I spent most of my tips at the bar,” Daisy said.
“I don’t suppose you’ll take a debit card either?” Amber asked.
“Are you telling me I came all the way out here with zombies roaming the streets, and you can’t pay?” Sam shrieked. “Are you kidding me?”
“Hey, we’ll look. We can probably scrounge it up,” Benjamin said placatingly.
“You had better,” Sam said.
So everyone set about searching high and low for cash. This was, of course, except for Sam who stood judgmentally in the doorway, guarding the food and muttering about how he should have stayed in college and just tried his luck with student loans.
Benjamin managed to dig a couple of extra dollars from his jacket. Someone pulled sixty from Chad’s wallet. That left a hundred-twenty dollars for the six of them to scrape up. At one point, the women returned to their apartment and began searching high and low for money. Finally, after nearly twenty minutes of looking, they emerged with a haphazard pile of twenties, fives, ones, and at least five pounds of change. Same narrowed his eyes and counted every single cent.
“Exactly two-hundred,” Sam announced. “Thanks for the tip.”
“I’ve got it!” Daisy exclaimed in a sing-song voice.
Daisy proudly presented Sam with a paper with the words: Coupon, worth one Ted killing for Free.
Sam clenched his fists and looked distinctly unamused with this turn of events. “You realize that I spent so much time here waiting for you guys to get change that it’s going to throw off how much I would have made today, right? You realize I drove through zombies to get here, right?”
Elijah swore softly. “Well, uh, tell you what. Our roommate died. Why don’t you just take something from his room? Whatever you want.”
“Yeah! That’s a great idea!” Alex exclaimed.
“From your dead roommate,” Sam deadpanned. “Are you serious?”
“Absolutely!” Sara chimed in.
“But he—he probably has a will,” Sam said, “And I’m not getting sued—”
“He doesn’t,” Elijah said. “I promise! Just take whatever you want. We can always claim it got broken, and we threw it away.”
“It’s either that or the zombie coupon,” Sara said.
Sam scowled and stormed into the room Alex had indicated.
“There,” Alex said, once Sam was out of earshot. “See? It’s a perfect solution. We need to clean out Ted’s room anyway. Why not let the delivery guy do some of that for us?”
“It’s not a bad idea,” Amber admitted.
“Unless he takes something I actually wanted,” Benjamin replied.
“Like what?” Alex asked. “Ted’s bedding? The mattress? His old man suits?”
Sam emerged with Ted’s massive TV held shakily between his hands. “Like that,” Benjamin hissed. “Are you kidding me? That’s the best thing in the room!”
“But he did fight through zombies to give us our food,” Elijah said.
“Yeah, well, so did all of us,” Benjamin said. “Fighting zombies isn’t exactly a special skill these days.”
“Thanks for the TV,” Sam said. “Don’t call again.”
Elijah slammed the door behind Sam. “Can you believe the nerve of that delivery guy?” he asked. “After we gave him a TV?”
“Who cares?” Daisy asked. “At least, they brought our food. I hope they remembered the extra pickle spears.”
“Well, I don’t know about everyone else, but Chad’s decaying body is kind of turning my stomach. Maybe we should move him somewhere before we start eating?” Sara suggested.
“Oh, right,” Elijah said, “Probably.”
Sara grabbed Chad’s ankles, Elijah his wrists, and together, they dragged Chad out into the hallway. Benjamin and the others trailed along behind them. Finally, Chad found his resting place on the carpet, right beside his Ted brethren.
Benjamin wrinkled his nose. The smell was dreadful, and he knew it was only going to get worse the longer the bodies remained there.
“Maybe we need to figure out a long-term plan for disposing of these bodies,” Benjamin said.
“Definitely,” Sara replied, “But we’ll figure that out after we eat.”
“Yeah, I don’t think there’s much that could ruin my love for subs,” Elijah said, “But how to dispose of a body is probably one of those things.”
“Right,” Benjamin said.
They turned back to the apartment. Already, Amber had donned latex gloves, poured a good half-dozen chemicals into the rug, and was fiercely scrubbing the blood out. Benjamin wondered if all those chemicals were safe to be mixed together or if Amber had inadvertently created chlorine gas. It wasn’t that Benjamin doubted her skills per se; she clearly had a huge fixation on cleaning. Rather, it was just that people sometimes legitimately didn’t realize that there was danger in mixing cleaning chemicals together.
Finally, they all crammed into the tiny kitchen and around the even tinier table. Benjamin opened his sandwich and felt as though he had found the Holy Grail itself. “Thank God,” he said, taking a massive bite out of his sandwich.
“And we have extra for the next few days,” Alex said, “Assuming someone doesn’t eat them all.”
“Hey!” Elijah exclaimed. “I take offense to that! It was Ted who always ate all the food in the place.”
“Well,” Sara said, “This night didn’t go how I expected it to.”
“But you got a cool story out of it,” Amber pointed out. “I mean, when people ask about your ex, you can tell him that things got a little…shady.”
Sara groaned. “I would expect a pun like that from Daisy, but from you?”
Daisy hadn’t even touched her sandwich; instead, she was texting feverishly beneath the table.
“So Benjamin gets first dibs on the shower,” Elijah said, wrinkling his nose.
“Thanks,” Benjamin replied. “How is the water pressure here? And the water heater?”
“Terrible,” Elijah replied.
“Great,” Benjamin sighed.
“You know,” Sara said, “We haven’t actually gotten to test ours out yet. I hope there isn’t a problem. I’ve been through the whole process of trying to get maintenance to work on something before, and I seriously doubt that the zombie apocalypse would make them any more efficient.”
“God, if there’s something wrong, we’re going to be without hot water for a year!” Amber exclaimed.
“You could always come over to our shower,” Elijah said, using an affected purr.
“Uh huh. And enjoy your poor water pressure?” Sara asked.
“And the bad water heater?” Amber added. “Do you know how freezing that water would be if we all took a shower?”
“Well, maybe if we double—” Elijah began.
Sara reached from beneath the table and produced a knife. “I wouldn’t finish that suggestion if I was you,” Sara said.
“So guess who has a job tomorrow?” Daisy asked, slapping her hands on the table.
“You?” Sara replied.
“Yes! Two-hundred dollars to go and knock out some Teds with my beloved baseball bat! I can’t wait!”
“Too bad you couldn’t get that job today,” Benjamin said. “I could have kept a TV if you had.”
“True,” Daisy said, “But I promise that we all deeply appreciate your sacrifice.”
“Two-hundred dollars isn’t bad,” Sara mused. “Even if you only got to kill for one person, that’s still more than you would make working your usual job. If business is steady, we could just do that full-time and quit our old jobs.”
“No kidding!” Daisy exclaimed. “I think I could get used to being Daisy, the Ted slayer!”
“Maybe don’t put ‘Ted’ on your business cards,” Benjamin said wryly.
“Right, I wouldn’t,” Daisy replied.
“So where are you going for this job?” Sara asked.
“The Bronx, baby!” Daisy replied. “Apparently, there’s a problem over there, and they need little, old me to go bash some heads!”
“You know,” Sara said, “I should go with you. I’m broke, too, and if this really takes off, I could quit at Trader Joes. I can’t stand those tacky Hawaiian flowered shirts they make us wear.”
“I don’t blame you there,” Amber said. “They’re hideous. I don’t know if I want to go on a killing mission, but I could always help you with clean-up. I’m pretty good at that!”
“You’re great at that,” Sara said.
Daisy nodded in agreement.
Sara’s lips curved into a smile. “I think, ladies, that we have a wonderful idea here,” Sara said, raising her chipped coffee mug filled with half-flat soda that she had pilfered from the fridge.
Unfortunately, they had forgotten to order drinks, and calling the sub place and asking for them to deliver more didn’t seem like the best idea at the moment.
“To us!” Sara announced. “Our new Ted-slaying service!”
Benjamin exchanged looks with Alex and Elijah. The latter awkwardly shifted his seat further away from Daisy, making a sharp screeching noise as the metal folding chair was scooted across the floor.
“You boys make fun all you want,” Sara said. “We’re going to be rolling in money from this!”
“I’m sure you are,” Elijah said, nervously eyeing Daisy’s bat. “You’re just all very excited by the idea. That’s all.”
“What’s not to love about getting the bills paid?” Daisy asked.
“And having extra money? I make about two-fifty a week,” Sara said. “This is nearly a whole week’s pay! Like, I would be a fool to turn that down!”
“And if we can all get paid…” Amber trailed off.
“Precisely,” Sara said, her eyes bright. “This is going to be a blast. What’s wrong, Elijah? Are you afraid to get a little dirty?”
“No,” Elijah replied. “That’s not what I meant.”
Benjamin knew exactly what Elijah meant. These girls were frightening in enthusiasm, but Benjamin was definitely not going to point that out.
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