Penny knew she had no idea what was going on in any of her classes, but she didn’t care. She didn’t know what she was eating right now at the table in the school’s cafeteria, and she wasn’t exactly sure how she got there. She especially didn’t know what her other friend was saying.
“My cousin just had a new baby!” Jade gushed enthusiastically.
“That’s nice,” Penny said absent-mindedly. “What did she do with the old one?”
“So what else do you enjoy?” she asked.
Tyler moved the opposite pawn. “You mean besides winning?” he asked.
Penny rolled her eyes and took his bishop with hers. “Yeah, besides winning, which you don’t seem to be doing right now.”
Tyler made a show of thinking. “Setting traps,” he stated slowly, moving his knight so that it was endangering her bishop and she couldn’t get out.
Penny muttered something under her breath, and Tyler decided not to ask her to repeat it this time. He just quietly reminded her that it was her move. She shrugged carelessly and took his other bishop with her knight. “You’re not nice, Tyler. You’d think you’d be much nicer to me. I know where you sleep!”
Tyler rolled his eyes. “Who taught you to play chess?”
“I want to make sure I never recommend them.” Tyler moved his rook up and leaned back. “Ten moves at the most, Reine.”
“Jr!” he barked.
Jr showed up at his elbow instantly. “Sir?” he asked expectantly. He was having a rather bad day, or he would never have dreamed of the exchange that followed.
“Get me the fourth phone from the right on the seventh table from the back wall in front of you when you go into the room up two flights of stairs and five doors down on the right.”
“What’s the magic word?” he asked, trying to sort out the instructions.
“Glock,” Taggart said, unfeelingly, reaching for the hand gun that never left his hip.
Jr swallowed hard. “I’m on it, Sir!”
Penny’s face fell. “How do you know it’s a guy?” she asked. “And what’s his next move?”
“I thought we had this conversation before, but I guess not,” Tyler started. “I just can’t see a woman doing any of this. I mean honestly, can you?” When Penny just stared at him, he thought about how he must sound and shrugged. “So I don’t know yet, okay? His next move? Do we want to talk about that?” Still no response came, so he just kept going on. “Well, I’ll take that as a yes, so let’s look at this stuff over here. I was rather confused for a while because the villain skipped the Benton movie with his last move and jumped straight into the new movie that hasn’t been written yet. When I looked back, however, I remembered that this move came previously in a different movie, but our man didn’t do it. When I noticed that, I realized that he was just backtracking. This presented me with yet another problem. Would he keep going straight through again, or would he jump back to where he’d been before he jumped back?”
Penny lifted her hand quickly. “Wait, Tyler.” He nodded patiently. “Repeat that last sentence?” she requested. “I have no idea what you said there.”
“Weren’t you listening?” Tyler asked in mock disapproval to hide his real confusion since he had no idea what his last sentence had been.
“Of course I was listening,” Penny sighed, “but you lost me somewhere with jumping back before jumping back after jumping back. Where’s this guy jumping?”
Tyler dropped his suddenly dancing eyes to the papers in front of him so she couldn’t see his mischievous expression when he answered, “Back.”
“You know, this is really all your fault, Tyler. If you’d died the first time, I wouldn’t have had to kill all those extra people to get to you.”
Tyler remembered that the next line would get him punched, so he decided to leave the script. “You’ll never get away with this, Lance.”
Lance suddenly looked truly upset. “Must you ruin my moment of triumph with your painfully accurate predictions?”
Tyler would have laughed, but he figured that it wouldn’t go over too well, so with the grenade in mind he kept his mouth shut.
Lance apparently tired of the torture session now that Tyler wasn’t playing along anymore, so he stood up and stalked over to Tyler with murder very apparently in his mind. “Hey, Jr! Get in here now!” he yelled.
Tyler heard footsteps coming tearing down a hall. He was absolutely taken back when Cedric, his new young manager and pal, ran in, though. “Cedric? How could you?”
Lance smiled. “Yes, Cedric, how could you? Now you know that button I told you never to push?” Cedric nodded. “Push it.”
Lance lifted the hand gun from the ground and turned it over slowly in his hands. “You swore to fight me till the day you died, Tyler. Well, my friend,” he was careful to stress the friend, “I’m afraid it’s time for you to stop fighting.”
Lance stood slowly, and Tyler stood to face him fearlessly. “Just like that? You’re going to kill me?” he asked.
“Uh, what did you think I was going to do? Tell you I was your father or something? Please don’t be ridiculous, Tyler! Besides, you have a father!”
Tyler winced at that. “Actually, uh, I’m an orphan,” he admitted slowly.
“Oh really?” Lance asked genuinely. Tyler nodded. “Oh, crap. I didn’t mean to imply any–wait!” he glared at Tyler. “What are you trying to do? I’m killing you here and now!”
“Boyfriend?” Eddy was still stuck on that part. “Where was she? What were they doing?”
“Oh please. Can’t you just be normal for once and ask one question at a time? They were out on a date at the bowling alley, and they were just leaving.”
“Bowling alley? What kind of date is that?”
“Well, if Justin Beiber thinks it’s okay,” Brinkley started.
Eddy gazed at him incredulously. “You would.”