The Jock and the Geek(2)

By: Sidney Bristol

The day she’d left him standing speechless at his locker after busting his balls—watching her single, long braid swish back and forth—was the day he knew she was…something to him. He hadn’t figured it out until college and then…well, he had a lot of regrets.

“I’ll be sure to pass along your concerns to the Secretary. Enjoy your evening, sir.” Oliver smiled and turned away from the man, eager to get a moment of peace.

He turned to face the wall and hoped no one else approached him. Most of the world was still trying to figure out how to interact with the new Secretary, and an easy way to feel him out was through Oliver and the rest of the staff.

Okay, what he really wanted to do was check out the ongoing Monster-Go battle taking place over at the White House dojo. Ever since the game hit the news, the Secretary had wanted to know more about it. Was it a security risk? Could they use it to interact with the public? How did it work?

Timothy could always have asked his middle daughter, Rashae, for the scoop. The game was totally in her wheelhouse. But for some reason, he’d wanted the rundown from Oliver. He hadn’t understood the initial craze and neither had anyone in their office.

So he’d installed it.

And it all went downhill from there.

At first, he’d simply done what anyone curious about the game had done.

He’d signed in, captured his first little…monster…thing, and gone outside. The game wasn’t all that intuitive, but he’d caught on fairly quick. He followed where the screen led him by identifying places within the game that were associated with real world landmarks. The first one he’d gone to was a waystation where Monster Masters congregated to fill their digital bags with equipment. When he’d run into other people staring at their phones, he’d asked them the need-to-know facts he hadn’t figure out on his own and gone from there.

Yeah, in the first two weeks he’d grumbled about it and played off his addiction by blaming it on work.

It wasn’t work.

He was hooked.

The concept was easy. Walk around looking at his phone, and when a monster popped up, capture it with little yellow and white balls. In addition, players could join one of three teams and compete for things called dojos where monsters and their masters trained. That was what had hooked him. Having the most badass monster…and winning. It appealed to his competitive streak, but also gave him something to do when he needed to clear his head.

He activated the app and waited for it to load.

His avatar appeared on the screen. He was just out of range to pick up what was going on in the dojo not far away. Though he was in the White House, the dojo was in the public areas clear on the other side of the building. Lightning bolts signified the dojo was still hotly contested.

Maybe if he went out on the balcony he could check in?

Chances were, he didn’t have any monsters at a high enough level to participate. Landmarks like the White House brought out the Monster-Go All Stars, people with behemoth creatures that were near impossible to beat. It didn’t mean he wasn’t invested in the outcome. He was a proud team blue member, after all.

Oliver glanced around, his gaze lingering on Sam’s bare back.

He’d had her once, and he’d fucked that up. He was man enough to recognize that now, and that Sam would never let him forget it.

He ducked out to the empty balcony. This time of year, it was hot and humid in DC, plenty enough of a reason for most sane people to be inside. And yet, here he was, about to sweat his ass off for the chance to get in on the Monster-Go action. If only Rashae could see him now. She’d laugh at him.

He loosened his tie a bit and went to the very edge of the balcony. He could barely pick up the dojo, but he got the current rankings. His team had overtaken it about an hour earlier, painting the digital location blue. Of the other two opposing teams, red was the only one who stood a chance at knocking them off the pedestal. From the looks of things, someone was actively chipping away at their power base.

How long could he be away from the party? Long enough to give his team a bit of a boost?

If he went into the dojo and trained, he could contribute to his team.

Oliver shouldn’t, and he knew it. But the temptation was too great. It was a contest. And he could never say no to anything that tickled his competitive urges. He clicked into the dojo, and powered up his best monsters.