“We’re here!” yelled one of the rats.
Slacker was comfortably sleeping on the top of a hatbox, when one of the rats in the luggage area of the bus yelled at the top of his lungs.
“Where?” Slacker asked.
“Station 22,” the rat replied.
Jimmy had given Slacker very specific directions.
Get off at Station 22, walk directly across the street to the ice rink. From there you’ll be able to see the buildings. Head towards the street and it’ll take you straight to the lab. Can’t miss it.
In usual Slacker fashion, he heard MOST of the directions.
As he headed towards the street he realized he had one VERY big problem.
All of the buildings looked THE SAME.
And he DID miss it.
As he walked over, he noticed several different rats milling around.
I’ll just ask someone, he thought to himself.
Just as he was about to walk up to the first rat closest to him, walking right in front of him was a vision of pure beauty.
Her bright eyes, cute smile and rough exterior drew in Slacker’s gaze.
“Um, can I help you buddy?” she asked.
Slacker was in a daze.
“Hey, hey you! Take a picture it’ll last longer,” she fired off.
“Sorry…um…you from around here?” Slacker asked, finally realizing he was staring.
“What’s it to you?” she asked.
“Nothing, I’m just lost,” Slacker said.
“Yeah, well, that makes the both of us,” she replied.
“Can we get lost together? Um, I mean, maybe we can get some help from someone,” Slacker said, hoping his nerves weren’t showing on his face.
Can we get lost together? Did I just ask THAT??? Slacker thought to himself.
“Sure, whatever,” she replied.
“I’m Slacker, and you are?” Slacker asked.
“Petri,” she replied.
“That’s a pretty name,” Slacker said.
“It’s a dish, so…” Petri replied.
“Sorry, I meant – “ Slacker said as she interrupted.
“It’s a joke. Lighten up,” Petri said, “I’m trying to find this lab that someone told me about.”
“A lab? Me too, that’s where I’m headed right now,” Slacker replied.
As they walked from rat to rat for the next few hours, trying to figure out what building they were supposed to head to, they realized something; they were running out of time but not buildings to check.
“Are you getting hungry?” Slacker asked.
“Actually I am,” Petri replied.
As they walked and talked it seems like only a few minutes had gone by, but in actuality it had been several hours.
They talked about life, where they had come from and where they were headed.
They talked about how they found out about the lab, the mutual friend they had in Jimmy Two shakes and what their hopes and dreams were.
They had only just met, but it seemed like they had known each other for years.
“I have a confession to make,” Petri said, “When I first saw you today, I thought you were a little creepy.”
Slacker didn’t know what to say.
“I don’t think you are any more,” Petri continued with a laugh.
“Gee, thanks,” Slacker said cracking a smile.
“So, Valentine’s day is coming up…your boyfriend coming out to visit?” Slacker asked fishing for information.
“Boyfriend?!” Petri blurted almost choking on her food, “Ummmm, NO. That’s a big negative….why? Is your girlfriend coming?” she asked, now fishing for herself.
“Don’t have one,” Slacker replied.
They both looked at each other and smiled at the same time.
“So, well, we gotta find this lab soon or – “ Petri said as Slacker interrupted. Petri was trying to break the awkward silence.
“OR, we can just wait until morning to see who may be able to help us, seeing as it’s already dark out,” Slacker said looking up at the sky.
“Nice night tonight, clear as I’ve ever seen it. You can see all of the stars,” Slacker said as he walked over to a grassy area to lay on his back and gaze up at the sky.
“Yeah, it is,” Petri said as she laid down next to him.
As they continued to talk, pointing out the stars and constellations they knew, they both knew something was happening.
They both felt the connection that they had.
While no words were spoken further about it, they knew that something special was going on, but they were both still a bit unsure.
As they talked about life, Petri felt something slip under her hand.
It was Slacker’s hand.
As he held on to her, he turned and smiled at her.
She smiled back.
In that instant, they were unsure of many things, what the future would hold, what they would end up doing at the lab and where they were to go from here.
They were sure of one thing though.
They were sure that they weren’t going to be going it alone, any longer.
They now had each other.