The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 87

by Mark Figueroa aka Anthony Abyss | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen


Chapter 87: In the woods! A wild pizza! Throw a pizza box at it!

“I’ll get it! Did you pay online or on the phone or anything?” I ask while walking toward the front door.

“Good question,” Eliza giggles as Kanti yawns a few feet away from her. 

Of course. I open the door.

The pizza guy’s tall, and greasy with a cigarette hanging from his mouth; exactly the reason my parents only order from mom and pop pizzerias. “Sup’ bruh? Can you sign here?”

“Sure.” I sign Eliza’s name with a bunch of scribbles. 

“Alright, here ya’ go.” 

“Thanks.”

The doorbell rings after I close the door.

It’s the pizza guy again.

“Sorry to bother you, kid. But, you accidentally left the tip blank.”

I slam the door in the pizza guy’s face. “Next time you order Pizza, can you avoid Pizza Cabin?” I call out to Eliza. “The people there are always rude and probably spit in their nasty, over-buttered pizza every time they deliver.”

“Fine. Just bring it here! I got the munchies!” Eliza opens the box of pizza and does a double take. “Ewww. The cheese is torn off from this slice. Look at this!”

“Looks like the guy tried to grab a slice and ripped some cheese off instead,” I say examining the glistening, unnatural-looking slice of pizza. “I’m not eating that.” 

Eliza whimpers.

“Did you just…?”

“I got the munchies! But I can’t eat this!” She yells slamming her fist on the table.  “Let’s get something else!”

“Where? You can’t drive! You’ll kill yourself like that.”

“And, you.  You’ll die too.”

I laugh. “Just call an Uber.”

“I can’t wait that long, Em’! My stomach’s eating itself! I’m getting ulcers! I’m dying! People in France are getting shot! American classes are shrinking! And I have the munchies!” Eliza turns her head dramatically and places the back of her hand on her forehead. “Aye dios mio!”

The doorbell rings again.

“Get out, splounge! There’s no tip for you here!” Eliza shouts slurring her words.

“Eliza it’s me! I brought food! Lemme’ in.  It’s cold.”

I wonder who’s at her door… that voice… I’ve heard it, but I can’t place it.

“Fuck—I made a plan b without even realizing it. Throw the pizza in the woods! He can’t smell it,” Eliza says sharply. “Gimme’ a minute!” She calls out. “Quick, turd, how’s my hair? How do I look? Can you tell am I fucked up?”

“You look fine. Your hair’s good… You look high as hell. Like Whiz Khalifa on an album cover high.”

“That’s fine, can you tell I’m drunk too?”

“Not really… you’re surprisingly coherent. You’re slurring a little bit though. Maybe I can just tell since I know you. Your s’s sound like ssss’s, when you say some stuff, but that’s about it.” I shrug.

“Eeek! Egh! Fuck it. If you can tell, I know he can…” Eliza stands up and paces. “Just cleaning a few things!” she yells out.

“Take your time… It’s only 22 degrees outside.”

“Fuck it, Tameer knows I’m not perfect. Ugh.”

Tameer? Why does that sound so familiar? I think that’s one of Dad’s new friends, or business partners. No—it can’t be the same guy. I’m trippin’. “Perfection and stupidity are two different things,” I mutter to Eliza.

“Hey!” Eliza shouts. 

“Eliza, it’s cold,” Tameer says calmly. His voice—it’s so familiar. 

Kanti’s ears perk up. He stares at me and sighs. “More theatrics.” 

Eliza’s heels clack against the hard wood as she anxiously scurries around adjusting phantom hairs and random parts of her shirt. She opens the door.

Kanti warps out of the kitchen.

“Hey!” I shout telepathically. 

“There are matters to tend to and red herrings to avoid, Young Emery.”

Red herrings…?

Heavy footsteps are followed by the door shutting and a few inaudible words. 

A tall, dark-skinned guy in a nice coat and khaki pants walks into the kitchen holding Tupperware. “I hope you guys like Egyptian food.  Made it myself, with a little help from my friend Kalcyphir.”

Eliza giggles and stares at me. “Well… Em’?”

“Sure,” I shrug. 

“Cool! Anyway, Emery, this is my friend, Tameer. Tameer, this is my nephew, Emery.”

Tameer and I shake hands. 

Dammit! What is it about this guy? Wait! He doesn’t have a presence! Who are you—what are you, Tameer? I slowly look up at him. Crap… This isn’t good. What am I going to do?

Tameer tilts his head, giving me a smug look. “Nice to meet you…” he leans in, “Bearer of the cloak.” Tameer chuckles. 

“Nice to meet you too…?” 

“I have it on good authority, that you’re both starving.” 

Of course… I have it on good authority that I should’ve guessed who it was. I let out a sigh. 

Tameer smiles.


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