Jenkins locked the back door of Retro Records while eyeing Tim, who was standing beside him. Jenkins had changed into his street clothes, wearing a blue-grey v-neck light sweater, a white collared shirt underneath, fancy, midnight-blue pants, and black-laced leather shoes.
Tim pulled out his cell phone from one of his trench coat pockets and was surprised to see many text messages and calls from Sarah. He had missed so many calls that the thought of phoning back unnerved him.
“Oops … it must be really urgent,” said Tim. “Sarah almost never calls me.”
“Your sister?” Jenkins inquired as he straightened up from the door and pocketed the key.
“Yeah—oh, there she is again,” said Tim as his phone vibrated. “Sorry, man, gotta take this call … hey, Sis—”
“Bro, where are you?!” Sarah’s voice boomed.
“On my way home. Why?” Tim signaled to Jenkins, indicating that it was okay to walk.
They started heading east. Jenkins lived in a respectable neighbourhood right before the forest. He watched as Tim limped, wondering if he’d be able to walk all the way home in his condition. He felt a bit guilty for letting Tim handle all the restocking by himself. Abby had offered to swap closing shifts with Tim, but he turned her down, believing that it wasn’t necessary. Haley had left immediately after work. According to Abby, she had a martial arts class to attend to. Mr. McCarthy instructed the new employee, Rodney, to swap with him. The boy had listed a string of excuses as to why he could not stay before finally explaining that his mother needed his help at home. Mr. McCarthy had given up at that point.
“The baddies that you bagged earlier were busted out by a large spider-like Blood on their way to the Hub!” Sarah explained. Tim flinched when he heard the word ‘spider’ — those nasty buggers. “You need to watch your back or you're gonna end up as chalk lines!”
Over the phone, a crash could be heard. Tim knew right away that it was his mom.
Sarah could be heard talking to her, “Mom, maybe you should put off washing the dishes for now …”
“Oh, er …” said Tim as he glanced at Jenkins, who was on the lookout for potential trouble. “… how many did mom want me to buy?”
“Wha—oh. Three confirmed so far … we think there might be more. Terry’s on his way.”
Hm, Terry’s finally back? thought Tim. “Okay, three of them … did she want anything else?”
“Answer your phone.”
Tim paused for a moment, trying to think of an appropriate response. “I loooove you too, Siiiiis—” Sarah hung up before Tim could finish. Guess he was going to get chewed out at home; she seemed awfully mad.
“Sorry, man, gotta run an errand,” Tim apologized to Jenkins. “Will you be okay on your own—” He cut himself off when he realized Jenkins wasn’t behind him. He glanced around the street, but there was no sign of him anywhere. Worried, Tim retraced his steps.
“J.K.?” he called, “J.K—hmmmph!!” Tim’s phone went flying as he was abruptly pulled into the alleyway. It spun in the air before crashing onto the pavement.
He was dragged roughly through the alleyway. Soon, he saw a trembling Jenkins kneeling on the ground by Hyssss, who was holding him down. Hyssss had bruises from where the rounds had hit him the night before.
“J.K.!” he shouted. Tim glared up angrily at his captor. He already guessed who it was.
“Heh-z heh-z,” laughed Wazp. He had a very obvious black eye as he stared down at him. “Itz the-z puny-z little-z ant-z!”