[This is part of the #wheresfree collab – more here.]
Brianna Clemons was at home on her day off, trying to ignore the commotion in the other room long enough to finish up washing the last of the darned dirty dishes.
Skyler and Aliyah, the two darling daughters she’d just left quietly doing homework in their shared bedroom, were at the front window horsing around — laughing and chattering and not doing homework.
Whatever the two of them were looking at out there must’ve been darned amusing.
“What the plum!” snorted Skyler.
“Skylerr!” whispered Aliyah, shocked at her sister’s choice of words.
“Plum, plummity-plum!” she sang-teased.
“Skyler – language!” Brianna shouted from the kitchen.
The girls went back to gawking out the window.
Skyler was just positioning herself to video the scene on her phone when her sister had a pang of conscience.
“Mom!” Aliyah called, “There’s an old naked guy in the yard!”
Brianna sighed and shook the soapy water from her hands, and went to check on her beast-children.
“Alright, now what’s this fuss about? You girls and your imaginations, I swear..”
Although she’d already been informed of the situation in the front yard, Brianna wasn’t quite prepared for what she saw when she reached up to close the shade.
“What the actual PLUM?!” Brianna blurted.
Skyler erupted in giggles.
“Momma did not say that.” Brianna assured her girls unsuccessfully.
The man behind the mailbox didn’t seem to realize, or didn’t seem to mind, that he was walking around in his birthday suit. He cheerfully approached the door and knocked.
They didn’t answer.
“Hello?” he probed.
Everyone held still & kept quiet.
I do not have time for this plum, Brianna thought.
Brianna turned to glance at her daughters, posturing like a mother bear. When she saw that Skyler still had her phone out, it gave her an idea. She relaxed her stance a little and winked at her daughter.
“Honeypie?” she said, extra loud.
“Yes, mother?” Skyler overly-enunciated.
“Please tell your large, Athletic father that I would like him to call the police. Right now.”
“But dad’s not –“ Aliyah whispered.
Brianna put her finger up and Aliyah caught on that she was bluffing.
It worked on the old naked guy, anyway. He hightailed it outta there.
Once she was sure he’d gone, Brianna drew the shade, settled the children, and got back to her housework.
. . .
. . .
Free-Jon left the Clemons house and wandered out into the desert, wondering where his friend Emelia might be. He couldn’t quite remember what had happened to them before he showed up here. There was a secret pact, child-sized bear suits, Emelia’s drawings all over the walls, something about Blicblock, and being really hungry, and only having a minute where things were timed just right or else they’d risk jumbling time and space up, maybe irretrievably.
“Nice night for a walk, eh?” he heard from behind him.
It was true. It was a nice night and despite being naked, he was actually pretty comfortable.
“Nice night for a walk!” Free-Jon agreed.
The teen’s eyes lit up for a second. “Wash day tomorrow. Nothing clean, right?”
“Now you’re supposed to say, ‘Nothing clean right.’ ” the teen coached hopefully.
“I don’t even know how to do laundry,” said Free-Jon impatiently. Was everyone in this world daft? “My fairy god-mom gives everyone five outfits and I can change what I’m wearing any time just by thinking about it – and she doesn’t use mods!”
The light went out. Ace tried to smooth things over.
“Sorry. I thought, since you were raised by a Geek, you might appreciate some bad Sci-Fi movie ref– nevermind. Hi, I’m Ace. Not a cyborg – just a Sim.”
“Maybe you are and maybe you aren’t!” snipped Free-Jon. “And anyway, everyone knows it takes a village to raise a –”
Free-Jon interrupted his own rant, suddenly remembering where he was. “Oh! You know my cousins too!”
Ace paused a moment, worried where this might be going. “Yes? But.. they might not know you. At least, not this version of you.'”
“Your cousins are pretty smart, but they aren’t exactly what I’d call ‘game aware,'” Ace began to explain. “Hardly anyone in this save is. Introducing such a concept to account for your appearance here might be kind of dangerous.”
“I dunno,” Ace continued. “In this matter, ‘truth’ is highly subjective. I just think you need to be careful.”
Free-Jon frowned. “Like the thing with that lady calling the police.”
“I’m not saying you can’t see them, it’s just –” Ace heard that last part. “Wait, what?”
Free-Jon’s stomach growled audibly. He realized that he hadn’t eaten since he was a kid, back in Jordan’s world.
“Hey, did you hear that? It’s like there’s a dragon in my tummy and he’s about to breathe fire on the whole village! Do you have any spinach frittata? Or cupcakes?”
Ace did a quick visual scan for police and then tilted his head and regarded the strange child-like visitor, not sure quite what to make of this conversation or of him.
“Look,” Ace said, “Why don’t you just come inside? I don’t have any gouda, but I’m pretty sure I can help with some of the other stuff.”
Free-Jon hadn’t warmed up to this save game’s Geeky ambassador entirely yet, but he was just hungry enough to give Ace a chance to prove himself.
. . .