Steve slept fitfully seeing the faces of the thieves at the party. When his phone rang at 8 in the morning Steve awoke with a start. Surely Peter was not awake already?
"Hey Steve, it’s Sharon, I just wanted to know if you were coming to the party Wednesday."
"Oh my god, did I just wake you up?"
"Aw, sorry man, go back to sleep. I’ll talk to you later alright?"
The interruption, as jarring as it was at first, did help Steve sleep more soundly for the next few hours. He saw the faces of the criminals less at the party and the face of his friend Jessica more often. Each time he woke up Steve pushed the investigation farther back in his mind. He knew he would be worthless if he did not get some sleep.
Steve had one more dream set at the party, then after he woke up for a while he fell asleep, still in pain, and had another dream. He was sitting on a sterile bed in a room decked out in all white. There were white walls and a white bedspread. Clear plastic tubes were going right into his mouth. He turned as he had this dream.
He woke up for the last time that morning and had his legs all aching. His stomach was cramped. He felt his pain in another nearby part of his body as well. Was that his spleen? Steve wasn’t sure what was inside him where. But he knew it hurt. And now the exhaustion from running all the night had induced a pain in his stomach.
Steve turned on his radio. He listened to the song "Flipside" by the Dragonflies. He tried to get up to drink something but he felt all dizzy from the adventure last night. He plopped back down on his bed and lay down some more. That feeling that felt like saying "Whoooo!" was in his head. Something in his mind was flashing vertically then horizontally then vertically again, alternating. He felt something, but he had temporarily forgotten where he was and what was in the world around him. Finally, he just lay. Then, he saw the room swirling once around him and realized where he was. His head cleared up. He got up for a second time and grabbed a Fanta from the kitchen. He went back into his bedroom.
Steve hadn’t fallen asleep in a while. The pain was starting to subside, and he thought the worst of it was probably over. His legs weren’t aching from escaping the thieves anymore. The radio had automatically turned itself off and was not playing anymore. Steve decided to get up.
He realized he was still wearing the same clothes he had on the day before. He took off his brown suede jacket and put it on the hook. He took off the button-down shirt and khakis and put them into the hamper. He grabbed a new pair of khakis from the dresser. Steve put on a white T-shirt, then put on a striped polo over it for Saturday. While he was getting dressed he thought about what he would wear to the party. Sharon’s parties tended to run pretty casual. Maybe if he put on his cargo pants for that day.
When he finished getting dressed Steve went out to the living room to recover. He made telephone calls to Sandy, Richie and Adrian Kerekes. He got out his iPod. Steve sat down on the sofa and listened to his headphones with his eyes closed. An album by Ethan Milian played as he sat there. He listened to the soothing lyrics and Ethan’s dusty voice for minutes on end.
Then suddenly he felt something in his throat. Oh no! It was that terrible stomach acid! He took off his headphones and rushed to the sink where he spat out all that nasty stomach acid. After one last release of acid from his mouth, the gastric sickness and sore muscles that had resulted from running too long on a cold night had left. He sighed and hoped that he would never feel that bad again.
Steve had caught up on his sleep and Peter had probably too by now. Peter should be calling soon. Steve put back his headphones and got out a box of Tropo-bran he had bought at the local Trader Joe’s so he would have something to eat before the telephone rang. Tropo-bran was a cereal made of golden bran flakes, with chunks of banana, sapodilla and pineapple thrown in.
Twenty minutes later, Steve heard it ring. "Hello?"
"Hi, Steve. I’m ready to go over the tapes."
"Great. I’ll be right there. Do I need to bring anything?"
"No, I have everything."
"Great. See you."
"See you." Click!
Steve arrived at Peter’s house in his new clothes. Peter had apparently changed after the night, too; he was wearing a T-shirt with red and white stripes as always, but this one didn’t have the dirt stain on it that had appeared when he rubbed against the dumpster.
Peter got out the audiotape. He put it into the CD and cassette player that would allow him to make copies. Steve helped him by handing him a blank cassette from his pile and putting it in.
Peter turned it on and listened.
"Welcome. We’ve got the cards."
"You say it’s $100,000?"
"Yep, we’ve got them", Peter said after the conversation ended. All in all, they had caught the voices of Frank, Lee and the man in the leather jacket. Peter and Steve gave each other a high five.
"Now are we going to check the videotape?", asked Steve.
"You bet." The videocamera was already on its tripod.
Peter rewound. He set it up at the beginning where it was zoomed in on the four thieves and their leather-wearing dealmate. The screen read 04.15.2028 in the bottom right corner. John, Switcher and Frank all showed up, but the best image was of Lee’s back.
"Are we going to see his face?", asked Steve with his brow wrinkled.
"We’ll see", said Peter.
After a few minutes of viewing, they got to the point at which Lee was shouting, "Hey! It’s the kid from the coffeeshop!" He had his face turned right to the camera. It was perfect.
"Great work man!" Steve was glad he had a friend like Peter who would get the evidence needed. Steve would have turned the thieves in but thanks to Peter there was no way these guys were getting off.
"Thanks." Peter was happy his work had paid off. "How you feelin’ Steve? That was a lot of runnin’ last night."
"I’m alright. I hurt for a long time last night but my legs finally stopped hurting this morning. And I had the stomach acid but once that was out everything was better."
"Aw man, that sucks. I hate the stomach acid too."
"No big, I’m good now." Steve got up and began pacing the room. "So we need to get these copied and then get the copies to the authorities."
"Done and almost done." Peter grabbed the cassette out of the dupe side of the machine and slid it into the envelope that they would be taking with them later.
"Perfect." Steve then went back to deciding on what shirt would look best with his cargo pants for the party. Maybe stripes? Nah, Peter would be wearing stripes. Was Peter going? All this time he had been spending with Peter and he had no idea what he was doing Wednesday night. Steve grabbed his chair and swung it around backwards. He plopped back into the seat straddling the back. "Dude, you going to Sharon’s party Wednesday?"
"Nah, I’m going to a rave that night."
"Oh. okay." So that leaves stripes open. Steve felt like he really needed to figure out just what to wear. He always felt that way though. Everything had to be planned. But that was enough of that for now. They had to get the tapes to the authorities. "The tapes ready?"
"Yeah, they’re ready, you?"
"Yeah, let’s go."