“Felicia isn’t going to like this,” Chris said. He wiped his paint-stained hand on his jeans.
“And that only matters because you’ve got a thing for her,” Ant said.
Sal scowled. “Leave him alone, Ant.” She picked up the red spray paint, closed one eye, and waved the can on an arc over the wall.
She put her finger on the button, and sprayed the arc.
Harmony and Felicia walked around the corner.
Chris lost his grip on the yellow paint and just barely avoided knocking the nozzle off. He swore quietly. “Hey, Felicia!” He waved.
“What’s going on?”
“We’re making a new dream. It’s just something to pass the time,” Ant said.
“Does it have to be downtown?” Felicia smirked. “We don’t want to tip them off, you know.”
“It’s not going to tip them off, Fel,” Ant said.
“What does it do?”
“Ask Sal. It’s her design.”
Sal raised her eyebrows slightly. “It makes chain restaurants and coffee smell less attractive.”
“Like how much?” Felicia said.
“I dunno. It won’t make them smell like sewage … probably.”
Felicia laughed. “How close is it?”
“Five minutes maybe? Depends on how fast your boy gets his part done,” Sal nodded at Chris.
“Ooooh, so tempting,” Felicia said. “I’m going to go grab some chain coffee while it still smells good. I’ll help you cast it when I get back. You want some, Chrissy?”
“Sure thing, Felicia. The usual.”
The five joined arms and hummed. They fell into a rhythmic pattern and their voices grew loud.
The moment passed. They opened their eyes and breathed sighs of relief. The mural had already faded. Brief traces of yellow, green, and red marked the mortar between the bricks, but no one would notice.
Chris reached for his coffee and wrinkled his nose. “I think we might have done too good a job.”
Harmony bent over and smelled Felicia’s cup. “Oh, it’s not that bad.”
A large crunch sounded nearby.
Sal swore. “Did that sound like—”
“The coffee place?” Felicia asked. “Yeah. Pull out your sleeping pills, people!”
Chris swallowed his dry. Sal, Felicia, and Harmony took theirs with Felicia’s coffee, and Ant took his with bottled water.
They ran to a hotel and took the elevator to the top floor.
“Hey, I think we can conk out in this broom closet,” Harmony squeaked.
The group piled in the closet.
Chris slumped into the corner and Felicia sat against him. Sal and Harmony giggled picked another corner. Ant’s eyes fluttered and he collapsed on the cement floor.
The Monster Coffee’s golem rumbled through the city streets. It stopped outside the hotel briefly. It considered the probable consequences of attacking a hotel when the hotel developed its own golem.
The hotel’s golem crumbled at its sickly white edges. It stomped slowly toward Monster Coffee.
Monster Coffee held a fist up high and brought it down slightly. Then it looked around as if it couldn’t see Hotel. It peered at the plaza intently for thirty seconds before it gave up and walked back to the store.
Two hours later, Felicia roused. “Well, I’m not going to tell you ‘I told you so,’” she said. “But I did tell you so.”
Chris’s eyes fluttered. “Hi, Fel,” he said.
“You sound drunk,” she said.
“I wish. Can’t we find something else to take next time?”
“Nothing else works that fast. We can take the slow route when the leader of this mutiny doesn’t trigger guardians.”
“Hey,” Sal sounded hurt. “You’re probably right.”
“So,” Ant said. “When does the real fight start?”