Lessons in Sharing
Delta 1 scanned the crowd, looking for that messy bright glint of hair that would lead him to his target. It didn't help matters that his target was short, quick, and had a sixth sense of avoidance. But surely he had her trapped here: it was chicken finger day at the cafeteria. Yes, he thought, Holley would never pass that up. As Delta 1 continued to scan, he found something else that might lead him to his quarry.
At a table in the far corner, he saw another girl that caught his eye. She had light green hair, done in a method that defied physics. Even from the distance he could see the A-Grade fashion sense. A distinctive laugh came from her direction as well. Yes, a girl that could only be Medria Maria Myers, one of Holley's best friends. Though to Holley, and by extension everyone else, she was just Meddy. This required a closer look.
As Delta 1 walked toward the table, he saw that Meddy was joined by two other girls. Holley other two best friends, Sherry and Harriet. Holley had to be close, if not, they had to know where she was.
"Afternoon, ladies." Delta 1 greeted the trio as he walked up to them. He slightly bowed his head and imaginary hat to them.
"Ah, very good. Service at last." Meddy greeted back. She always had such a playful voice. "I believe I was going to have the club on rye. Ah, Sherry, didn't you say you were going to have the soup of the day?"
"Oh, yes. I believe I did." Sherry confirmed with a slight smile. Sherry was a hidden treasure. Rumored to be able to ace any test, correct any teacher and outwise any 190-year old, she was be too good for this world. While those rumors came from Holley (of course), Delta 1 had seen enough to believe nearly everything. Everything about Sherry was modest and balanced. Her appearance, her demeanor, even the way she talked. "I'll also have a tuna fish sandwich to go with that." Sherry added, brushing aside her long dark hair.
"And the chicken finger special for Harriet!" Meddy said.
"Mmhmm!" Harriet nodded. Harriet was both the easiest and hardest to make of. Always happy-go-lucky, entirely honest, but also entirely a mystery and nearly impossible to read. If it wasn't for her infectious smile, it would be easy to miss her in a crowd. He was the smallest of the group, just a few hairs shorter than Holley.
"Of course," Delta 1 made note of their orders, "anything for these three beautifully lovely ladies." Backhandedly dissing Holley and hitting on her friends? This would surely expose her from hiding.
"Oh, you’re so bad." Meddy caught on quickly, "But Holley's not with us today. However thank you for stating the obvious." Meddy playfully pampered her hair.
"We haven't seen her for a few days." Sherry said with a slightly concerned expression, "I hope she is well."
"Mmhmm…" Harriet added.
Come to think of it, Delta 1 hadn't seen Holley for a few days either. Time flies when you're not being dragged into trouble.
"Now what would you be doing looking for her? Hmmm?" Meddy asked, "We're not going to help if you're out for revenge."
Delta 1 pulled up a chair and sat down at the end of the table. He began his sad tale, "Holley borrowed my Gamestation Portable. She said her batteries ran out just before some final boss. So I lent it to her and…" Delta 1 paused when he noticed Holley's friends had identical expressions of bored surprise.
"And you'll never see that again." Meddy regretfully informed Delta 1, "She probably bricked hers with a naughty firmware and knew you'd be an easy mark."
"If you do find it again, it will be in a form that you may not recognize." Sherry said next.
"Mmhmm…" Harriet said, putting in her two cents.
"Really?" Delta 1 sighed. "I was hoping it wouldn't be like that." He really should have guessed it would turn out this way.
"You have much to learn about her, don't you?" Meddy went into what would be considered a flashback pose, hand on her chin, wistfully looking away into the past. "A few years ago, I let her borrow this holo-book once. She claims she doesn't remember, but I've heard her quote from it!"
"She borrowed my glasses once to attempt to make the x-ray spectrum visible." Sherry went next. "When she returned them, the lenses would glow in the dark."
"Oh and poor Harriet!" Meddy said in a dramatic voice, "Her backpack! Borrowed for a day! Eaten by a subspace monster that shut down school for the month."
"…" Harriet remained silent, looking slightly traumatized.
Delta 1 was unsure if he should be believing some of these tales. However they seemed plausible if Holley was involved. He then suddenly realized something important, something he could take no chances with. "My save files!" He got up from his chair and bolted to save his digital progress.
"Boy, he's almost too easy." Meddy commented to the other two, "I can see why she keeps him around. But did he not think to phone her or anything?"
"He didn't get us our food." Sherry said clutching her stomach.
"That's okay. Alternate cute guy at 2 o'clock." Meddy got up, "I'll be right back."
"You are a terrible person."
"Just like Holley always says, 'food before ethics.'"
Delta 1 ran through all of Holley's normal hangouts again. The hangar, the clubroom, the holo-arcade, the park with free wireless holo-net. Nothing. He decided to try her quarters again. As Delta 1 made his way to the upscale executive living levels, he was running through a draft of his rant to Holley.
Delta 1 stood outside the suite doors, he could hear the faint sound of a holovision show playing inside. He had found her! He pressed the door chime button and waited. And waited. And waited. Oh come on, Delta 1 thought to himself, I know you're in there. He began knocking on the door.
The door finally opened. Holley stood at the door, her hair was a bigger mess than normal, her purple and green pajamas looked quite worn in. "What do you want…" She said as tired as she looked.
"Geez, Holley. It’s the afternoon, and you're just waking up now?" Delta 1 pushed Holley aside and let himself in. He was horrified at the mess he saw. Glasses everywhere, plates and bowls on the floor. "This place is such a mess. How do you live here?!" Delta 1 dared not turn the lights on, there was no telling what creatures might be startled. His mentally penned rant had escaped his mind, so he decided to cut right to the chase. "Where's my Gamestation? What did you do with it?!"
"Huh…?" Holley stumbled over to a couch. "Namestation…?"
"Gamestation!" Tossed around some trash on the floor. "Red with gold highlights. 178 hours spent in Dark Crossings!"
"Oh right, I got that." Holley walked over to a shelf littered with unorganized holo-disc covers. She picked up the red portable gaming machine and began to slowly walk back to Delta 1. "Sorry I didn't give it back sooner, but I…" Holley stopped in her tracks. "I…"
She sneezed all over the object in her hands.
"You, uh, feeling okay…?" Delta 1 said.
"Had this dumb space-cold for the past few days." Holley sniffed and wiped her nose on her sleeve. "Here." She offered Delta 1 his item.
Delta 1 froze. "You know what, you keep it. A present. A token of our friendship."
"Huh?!" Holley was getting more awake and irate by the second. "You barge in here, wake me up for this dumb thing and now you don't want it?"
"I changed my mind!" Delta 1 turned for the door. "Think of it as a keepsake of our friendship!" Did his jacket touch anything infected? You can't wash this kind of leather. He put his hand over his mouth, wait no, he handled potentially infected objects. Delta 1 could begin to see the germs attacking his bodily temple. He hit the door button and began his mad dash outside. Just as he cleared the door, he felt a sharp pain in the back of his head. He fell forward, head first. Holley had thrown the Gamestation Portable at the fleeing Delta 1.
Holley wiped her nose on her sleeve again before closing the door.
In the end, Delta 1's Gamestation was still intact and functional, saves and all. Delta 1 was grateful for this, especially during the next couple of days, as he too became bed-ridden with Holley's space-cold.
Delta 1 had learned a lot from this. Such as how friends can share anything. And you should phone ahead before barging into someone's home. Also following your friends on social media may clue you into whereabouts and current status. Saving your game to the cloud is a great idea too. Finally, never lend anything to Holley. Ever.
Yes, Delta 1 would never forget any of these lessons.
Next month, Holley attempts to run for School President.