Camille smiled at the group. “Someone talked about going dancing.”
Hunter raised his hand. “That’d be me. My mom has friends who own a club in Denver. It’s called Club 32. It used to be an old factory. We can walk right past the line if we want to. Vincent Sucks is playing, but they’ve got a DJ after that.”
Keon rolled to a stop next to the van. “I’m in. I love dancing.”
I’d been thinking Keon would be my best potential ally for going to a movie instead.
Evidently, I made too many assumptions about paralyzed people.
Gifford grinned at Hunter. “Works for me. If no one’s got a problem with that, let’s consider it done.”
Given a choice, I wouldn’t be going dancing, but given a choice, I wouldn’t be here with a group. I didn’t have a right to complain, so I didn’t.
With no one saying anything, Gifford turned to Hunter. “Do you need to make any calls to set this up?”
Hunter narrowed his eyes, and tightened his mouth, not saying anything for a second. Then he looked up. “I don’t think I have to, but maybe I should. I bring friends there all the time when we’re at the Castle Rock house, but this’ll be the most friends I’ve brought.”
He pulled his phone out. “How many more?”
Gifford shook his head. “Dunno. Might be three. Might be six.” Gifford pulled his own phone out of his pocket. “Tell you what, the other people I invited have their own cars. You ride with me, and call ahead if someone calls back while we’re driving. Everyone else can fit in the van, right?”
I glanced back toward the van. “Five people? That’ll work. We’ll have room for the wheelchair too.”
“Excellent. Then I’ll start leaving some messages.”
Haley frowned. “Couldn’t we wait for the other people, and then go?”
Gifford raised an eyebrow. “Nah. They’re late. Don’t worry about them.”
“Ok,” Haley said, and then turned toward me, scowling.
As we turned toward the van, Haley muttered, “Do you think it would have killed him to wait ten minutes? If you know people are coming, you don’t just take off.”
“I would have waited,” I said. “We could still wait.”
Haley waved her hand as if swatting the suggestion away. “No. Gifford’s calling them. It’ll all work out, but it doesn’t seem very nice.”
A few minutes later we were on the road, leaving me with one more project for my list–add a chair lift to my van. It didn’t have one.
Keon sat behind Haley. Camille sat behind me, and Courtney sat alone in the third row.
Traffic wasn’t bad, and even when it slowed down, it was never bad enough that I was tempted to put the van into catmecha mode and fly over the highway.
Keon leaned forward in his seat. “So what are you using? I heard it was gravitics and rockets, but were you using alien gravity tech or your own?”
“Alien tech, but I modified it a little–not in a big way. I just needed to get the mech in the air.”
Keon nodded. “I came up with my own stuff. The alien gravitic tech can’t touch it. They don’t do much with movement. Half their stuff only goes up and down. If they do get it to move, it usually takes separate panels, doubling the size. I can control speed and direction with one panel.”
We drove down the highway in twilight, the sun low in the sky off to our left. I thought about my own experiments. “Doesn’t that use a lot of power?”
“Depends how you do it.”
Trying to keep one eye on the road, I asked, “Have you solved the problem where the gravity generator gets too small to do much more than slow somebody’s fall?”
He shook his head. “No, and you don’t know how many hours I wasted on that one. I got my panels smaller, but not as small as I want.”
As we descended into tech talk, Haley and Camille talked through us. I didn’t catch much of it.
Courtney interjected into both conversations unpredictably.
By the time we rolled into Club 32, we’d stopped talking. In the middle of a parking lot that wasn’t much more than dirt and stones. A factory surrounded by factories, it was a beige concrete building with a nearly flat metal roof.
The crazy thing was that we weren’t the only ones there.
Half the parking lot had already filled. Unlike the concrete buildings around it, Club 32 had a big, red, glowing sign, and spotlights all around the building.
A line of people stood around the side.
We happened to spot Gifford’s Porsche. Neither he nor Hunter were inside. I guessed that they must have gone into the club.
As I set up Keon’s chair, Haley’s phone rang. She talked for a moment, and then put it back in her small, black purse.
“Gifford says he’s inside with Hunter. They’ve left directions to the bouncers to let us in.” Haley frowned for a second, and then turned to help Courtney get Keon out of the van and into his wheelchair.
It didn’t take long.
As Keon strapped himself in (“Don’t worry about it. I can do it better and faster.”), Haley said, “I forgot to tell you that Gifford told me that the other people were almost here.”
“Cool,” I said.
In a low voice, she continued talking, “You might not be as happy when I tell you who it is.”
“Sean?” I asked.
Haley gave a brief smile. “No. It’s Keith and his new girlfriend Zoey.”