He sat up in bed, half awake, picked-up his t-shirt, smelled it, shrugged and put it on. The early morning sun was just peaking over the eastern hills of Boise, his newly adopted town, and it was chilly outside. He still hadn’t got used to that, moving from Santa Monica and all just a few months before with his mom and his brother. Running his fingers through his hair, he slowly arose and walked to the bathroom to pee. The clock on his dresser showed it was 5:05. Jesus!
Padding downstairs, trying to be quiet, he walked through the kitchen and then through a door that led down to the basement. The eerie glow of many computer screens was all that illuminated the space, and the only sound he heard was the rapid clickety-clack of his brother’s typing on a computer keyboard.
“Any pizza left from last night?” he asked his brother.
“Yeah. It’s still in the box over there,” his brother indicated with a casual toss of his head, continuing without interruption his typing on the keyboard.
Grabbing the last cold slice of pizza from the box, he moved behind his brother and looked at the computer screen as he ate. “Any specials today?” he asked, his mouth half-full of pizza.
“He’s offering a thousand for any officer above colonel today,” was his brother’s answer.
“Nice. How about equipment specials?” he wondered.
“Same as always. Heavy artillery, rocket launchers, and comms centers are all five hundred each,” his brother replied matter-of-factly.
He moved into the seat next to his brother and logged-in to the same program his brother was using. “Okay, I’m live. What am I seeing?” he asked.
“Got a phone convo going between Moscow and some muckety-muck near the front. I’ve designated it as Red 1. See it?” his brother said.
“Yep. I’m listening in. Guy in Ukraine is asking for clearance to attack. Want to earn a thou, bro?” he suggested.
“Read my mind. I’ve armed the drone and am moving to within range as we speak.”
Just then their mother appeared at the top of the stairs and yelled down, “Hey, you two, breakfast in ten minutes. You got to get cleaned up and ready for school! You know what happens if you’re late again for home room.”
“Okay, mom. Be up in a jiff,” his brother yelled back. He turned, put his finger on a red button, and looked at his brother. “We good?”
“Yeah. I’ll stay on the line and let you know what happens.”
His brother pushed the red button and as he listened over the phone, his brother counted down. “Three, two, one!”
“Okay. Phone went dead,” he said, smiling. He looked up at the clock on the wall that showed Ukrainian time. “Ruined somebody’s dinner I’d say,” he chuckled.
“Whatever,” his brother replied as he shut down his computer and headed for the stairs and breakfast.