Tempo Trigger Chapter 17

Late Night TV

By Nanaki

1995 A.D.

"Not only are we back," Tempo shouted, "but we're only about a half a mile from my house! That guy is good." There was another flash behind them, and Tempo turned back to see Schala and Lion vaguely in the darkness. "Oh yeah. What am I going to do with you guys?"

Silva smiled thinly. "Yeah, good luck with that Tempo. I'm going home."

"I can't say that I blame you." Tempo nodded to her. "Go right ahead." Silva turned and ran off into the darkness without a glance back at them. He turned back to Schala. "Well, I'll try to smuggle you guys in past my dad, but I can't promise anything yet. Now stay quiet." Tempo slowly walked back up the steps to his house. He was very glad to be back in his own time, but not that overjoyed to be going back here. Maybe he could go over to Sowell's house... No he didn't want to hear any bitching about missing practice at the moment. He reluctantly went up the steps to his house and started to search for the fake rock that held the spare key.

"Hold it right there." A flashlight suddenly shown in his eyes. As Tempo blinked the blindness away, he saw a police officer was holding the light. "Just what do you think you're doing?"

"Hey man, this is my house." Tempo held up a hand to ward off the light.

"You're Tempo?" The cop asked like he didn't believe it.

"That's right. What's the problem?" His vision finally cleared to a reasonable degree.

"You're father filed a missing person report on you several days ago. Where have you been?"

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you. Or you would, but you'd think I was on acid or something." Then Tempo glanced around, and noticed there were no lights on in the house. "Hey, where is my dad?"

The cop shrugged. "Business meeting, I think. He said he'd be gone for about a week."

"Figures." Tempo folded his arms. "So you gonna bust me for something or what?"

The cop shook his head. "Doesn't look like it. You're your dad's problem now. I'll go notify the station that the search has been called off." He turned off the flashlight and walked off down the road.

"Well, I guess you guys can come on inside." Tempo said to the darkness. Schala and Lion appeared out of it. "Lion, there's a guest bedroom downstairs that you can use. Schala, you can take my dad's, I suppose." He unlocked the door and went inside. As soon as the door was shut and he took off his shoes, he almost seemed to forget that they were there. He went off into the kitchen and came back with some sort of cream filled cake in a plastic wrapper. He walked into the living room and jumped down onto the sofa, then picked up the TV remote. Schala and Lion uneasily followed him around in what, to them, was a strange house. He momentarily turned and looked back up at them, chocolate crumbs and cream filling already smeared around at the corner of his mouth. Schala smiled. "TV?" He asked them, then glanced at a clock hanging over his fireplace. "It's only about 12:30 in the morning, so it won't be all infomercials yet."

"TV?" Lion raised his eyebrows. "I've heard about this exceptionally low brow form of entertainment, and, no thanks. I think I'll go ahead and get some sleep." He wandered off to find the guest bedroom downstairs.

"TV?" Schala asked curiously.

"Short for Television." Tempo explained offhand. It almost sounded as though he was starting to enjoy explaining things to someone who had never seen them before. "Moving pictures and sound formed out of electricity." He picked up the remote and turned it on. Schala sat down next to him on the sofa. "Most programs are shown in half hour segments. The best ones are on once a week, with crappier or older ones "in syndication" on every day." He sighed. "Unfortunately, they're interrupted about every ten minutes by these..." He turned the volume up. "Commercials."

The TV shouted at them. "At Honest Ron's Used Cars, we're having our annual 85% off sale! Really!" Tempo turned the volume back down.

"People buying advertising time to promote their own products." Schala looked confused. "Don't worry. If you spend much time here, you'll understand real soon. Now, the best way to watch TV during late night hours like this is to channel surf."

"Channel surf?" Schala was actually paying rapt attention to this. Tempo smiled.

"Sure. You watch every channel you get for about three seconds. Observe." Tempo pointed the remote at the TV again, and the picture changed.

"Whiz-O-Clean lifts stains right out-" Click.

"The new three for three special at McDinkle's-" Click.

"New MicroSquish: Curtains '95-" Click.

"It's Late Night with Icy O'Brian! Tonight with guests Hironobu Sakaguchi, Supermodel Tifa Lockhart, and musical guest Neverclear! With Nanaki Richter and the Samantha Arthur seven!-" Click.

"You stayed on that one for longer than three seconds." Schala observed.

Tempo laughed. "Yeah, that's actually a good show. I'll go back to it after I check some of the other channels."

Schala studied him for a minute. He seemed awfully laid back all of a sudden. Of course, he was in his own home now, and there was nowhere he would feel safer or more secure. "You know, I'm actually feeling pretty tired." She told him.

He shrugged. "Well, there's no rule that says you can't zonk out right on the couch."

"Zonk out?" Another puzzled expression came to her face.

"Go to sleep." He explained without the faintest hint of impatience.

"Well, I don't want to miss anything." Schala turned back to the TV. Tempo changed the channel again.

"We've got a great show lined up for you tonight. For once, the entire cast is sober."
"Uh, Icy?"
"What's up Nanaki?"
"Um... I thought that was tomorrow night."

He smiled softly. "Don't worry. You won't."


"Well, well. This is a fairly compromising position to find you in." Tempo opened his eyes to find sunlight streaming in the living room windows. His vision was still all blurry, so he couldn't see much else yet. Over half of his extremeties were asleep. He used his right arm to yank up his left arm, which would not respond. He slammed his left arm against what he thought was the back of the couch. Just as he had thought, there was no feeling at all. He began shaking it to get the blood flowing.

"Huh?" He felt someone moving, and realized that Schala had been leaning on him. Great, nothing like a night with no blood circulation to make you feel good in the morning. On the other hand, there was nothing a like a night spent with a girl either. It balanced out in his mind. He sat up and saw that the TV was still on, now turned to "Good Morning Locorn." He found the remote and clicked it off.

"Yeah, I guess we both dozed off out here." He finally responded. Lion dropped down into a large chair, observing them with amusement. Tempo began shaking his left leg as well.

"Let it sleep." Lion told him. "The faster the blood rushes back in, the more uncomfortable it is. Believe me, I've slept in the chairs in the Ranger often enough to know."

"I don't think... Ow, augh, ow!" Tempo stood up, and began limping around. "That ain't pleasant." He limped around the living room until he came face to face with fancy digital clock. He narrowed his eyes at it for a second. "It's Saturday! I've got things to do here!" He began to limp toward the door, then stopped. "But first, I'm going to take a shower and get out of these clothes that I've been in for a week." He shook out his leg and ran upstairs.

"Well, that's fine for him." Schala rubbed her eyes. "What are we supposed to do?"

"You should probably look for some food." Lion shrugged, then turned to look out the window.

"I might, but it's pointless. I don't need food."

Lion looked at her with surprise. "Well, welcome to the club then." Then he turned back to the window. Schala wasn't sure what to make of that. After what could have been ten minutes at most, Tempo reappeared downstairs. He had on a shirt similar to what he had been wearing before, but now he had on some thick camouflage pants made of a very tough material, with more pockets than could ever be used. "That was fast." Lion observed.

"That's me, master of the four minute shower." Tempo bowed facetiously. He picked up a set of keys seemingly from nowhere, and headed for the door. "I need to get over to Sowell's. He's my best bud." He turned back to look at them. They hadn't moved. "Schala, you're coming with me. Lion, you might as well too, since you don't have anything better to do." Then he ran out the door.

Lion turned to Schala. "You ARE going with him, but I just "might as well?" Guess you rate a lot higher on his list."

Schala shrugged. "Well, you did stick a huge gun in his face not too horribly long ago. C'mon, let's go." They both walked out the front door, and closed it behind them, then started on down the road.

Suddenly, there was a roaring from the side of the house. A vehicle Lion recalled as being called a "car" raced out of Tempo's driveway backwards, then raced forward, and stopped very abruptly. "So are you just going to walk all over a town of 300,000 people or what?" He asked them. They just stood, staring at the car. It was a reddish brown, tiny, box looking thing, and it was pretty beat up as well. "Get in!" He told them. The front seat tilted forward, and he gestured for Lion to get in back. He put the seat back up, and Schala tentatively climbed in as well. "I'd tell you to fasten that seat belt Schala, but I don't think you have anything to worry about."

There was a lot of clanking in the back seat. "I don't even HAVE a seat belt, and how many soda cans is it possible to have in here?" Lion complained.

"Remedying those problems would cost me money, and time better spent drinking more soda." Tempo responded. "Hey, you see my CD case back there?" He squinted at the rearview mirror.

"No." Lion said, folding his arms.

"Dude, you're not even looking." Tempo continued to squint at him through the mirror.

"I said no." Lion said in the same neutral voice.

"Fine, be that way." Tempo responded, then put the car in gear and released the brake. "Ready? Then let's go." He slammed his foot onto the accelerator, and proceeded to race down the residential street at at least thirty five miles per hour.


"Television is very educational. Every time someone turns on the set, I leave and go read a book." - Groucho Marx


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