We got the job! we shouted, in unison.
The big job! Shaun said, putting me down and grinning at the intercom like he thought it could see him. The biggest big job in the history of big jobs!
The campaign, I said, aware that the grin on my face was probably just as big and stupid as the grin on Shauns. We got the posting for the presidential campaign.
There was a long pause before the intercom crackled again and Dad said, You kids get dressed. Ill get your mother. Were going out.
Can go into the fridge. If you two are going to go stalk politicians all over the country, were going out for dinner first. Call Buffy and see if she wants to come. And thats an order.
Yes, sir, said Shaun, saluting the intercom. It clicked off and he turned on me, holding out his right hand. Pay up.
I pointed to the door. Get out. Theres about to be nudity, and youll just complicate things.
Finally, adult content! Should I turn the webcams on? We can have a front-page feed in less than five I grabbed my pocket recorder and flung it at his head. He ducked, grinning again. minutes. Ill go get some nicer clothes on. You can call the Buff one.
Out, I said again, lips twitching as I fought a smile.
He walked back to the door between our rooms, stepping through before he shot back, Wear a skirt, and Ill release you from your debts.
He managed to close the door before I found anything else to throw.
Shaking my head, I moved to the dresser, saying, Phone, dial Buffy Meissonier, home line. Keep dialing until she picks up. Buffy has a tendency to leave her phone on vibrate and ignore it while she follows her muse, which is basically a fancy way of saying screws around online, writes a really depressing poem or short story, posts it, and makes three times what I do in click-through revenue and T-shirt sales. Not that Im bitter or anything. The truth will make you free, but it wont make you particularly wealthy. I knew that when I chose my profession.
Playing with dead things is a little more lucrative, but Shaun doesnt make enough to support us bothnot yet, anywayand he isnt willing to move out without me. A lifetime spent within arms reach and counting primarily on each other has left us a little dependent on one anothers company. In an earlier, zombie-free era, this would have been dubbed co-dependence and resulted in years of therapy, culminating in us hating each others guts. Adoptive siblings arent supposed to treat each other like theyre the center of the world.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, that was an attitude for a different world. Here and now, sticking with the people who know you best is the most guaranteed way of staying alive. Shaun wont leave the house until I do, and when we go, well be going together.
By the time Buffy picked up her phone, I had actually managed to find a dark gray tweed skirt that not only fit, but that I was willing to wear in a public place. I was digging for a top when the line clicked, and she said, peevishly, I was writing.
Youre always writing, unless youre reading, screwing with something mechanical, or masturbating, I replied. Are you wearing clothes?
Currently, she said, irritation fading into confusion. Georgia, is that you?
It aint Shaun. I pulled on a white button-down shirt, jamming the hem under the waistband of my skirt. Well be there to pick you up in fifteen. We being me, Shaun, and the rents. Theyre taking the whole crew to dinner. Its just them trying to piggy-back on our publicity for some rating points, but right now, failing to care.
Buffy isnt as slow on the uptake as she sometimes seems. Her voice suddenly tight with suppressed excitement, she asked, Did we get it?
We got it, I confirmed. Her ear-splitting shriek of joy was enough to make me wince, even after it had been reduced by the phones volume filters. Smiling, I pulled a crumpled black blazer out of my drawer and shrugged it on before grabbing a fresh pair of sunglasses from the stack on the dresser. So were picking you up in fifteen. Deal?
Yes! Yes, yes, deal, hallelujah, yes! she babbled. I have to change! And tell my roommates! And change! And see you! Bye!
There was another click. My phone announced, The call has been terminated. Would you like to place another call?
No, Im good, I said.
The call has been terminated, the phone repeated. Would you like
I sighed. No, thank you. Disconnect. The phone beeped and turned itself off. With the strides theyve been making in voice-recognition software, youd think they could teach the stuff to acknowledge colloquial English. One step at a time, I suppose.
Mom, Dad, and Shaun were in the living room when I came breezing down the stairs, shoving my handheld MP3 recorder into the loop at my belt. The backup recorder in my watch has a recording capacity of only thirty megabytes, and thats barely enough for a good interview. My handheld can hold up to five terabytes. If I need more than that before I can get to a server to dump the contents, Id better be bucking for a Pulitzer.
Mom was wearing her best green dress, the one that appears in all her publicity shots, and Dad was in his usual professorial ensembletweed jacket, white shirt, khaki slacks. Put them next to Shaun, who was wearing a button-down shirt with his customary cargo pants, and they looked just like the last family publicity picture, even down to Moms overstuffed handbag with all the guns inside it. She takes advantage of her A-5 blogging license in ways that boggle the mind, but its the governments fault for leaving the loopholes there. If they want to give anybody with a journalists license ranked Class A-7 or above the right to carry concealed weapons when entering any zone thats had a breakout within the last ten years, thats their problem. At least Moms responsible about it. She always secures the safety on any gun that shes planning to take into a restaurant.