“2:45 am,” Bree thought to herself. “Time to get to bed.” Several empty cans of Mt. Dew were scattered on the floor by her desk. She stood up and gathered them. John was always scolding her about leaving food or pop cans in her room. He blamed every ant on her.
Exhausted, she tried to clear her mind of the lines of code she had scoured looking for the bug, haunting the Android version of SN Connector. She didn’t have a problem with the iPhone, PC or Mac version; just the Android version and she couldn’t find where she had gone wrong. It wasn’t a big bug. It just had difficulty accessing the GPS data. And not all the time, just when it was accessed from the Locals Only screen.
Locals Only had been the most talked about feature of SN Connector and had created more revenue than she knew how to deal with. She socked away the money, knowing how these things pop at times, and living as frugally as she had when she quit Zerbitz and packed up to Merriton to find Random McCain and volunteer to work on whatever he was working on.
She hadn’t expected the Thunder Brothers Ranch, but living here had been the best thing she had done. She could smell the sickly sweet stench of Oreo crumbs and citrus soda. No wonder John was so bugged with her. Her hands were so full of soda cans that she had to put a few down to open her door. The hallway was dark and she slinked past John’s room to the stair case. A slim sliver of light glowed around his door. What was he doing awake at this time of the night?
She heard him moving about in there and she panicked. She didn’t want him to see her transporting empty cans out of her room, but it was too late. His disheveled hair stood out at different angles and his pajama bottoms hung loosely off his slim waist. He looked at her armful of garbage and held out his own hands to help her.
Silently, they crept down the stairs, transporting the cans. When they got to the kitchen, he finally talked. “Shoulda just put ‘em in your garbage can and brought it down instead.” Bree blushed, not answering and he continued, “Unless your garbage can is full, too.” She nodded and he just crushed the cans with his bare hands before putting them into the recycling bin.
Bree tried to change the subject. “Why are you up so late?” John yawned and crushed another can. “I’m trying to figure out how to make the ranch profitable.” He looked at her and tossed the can into the recycle bin. “I’m kinda sick of losin’ money every year. I know it don’t bug James none, but it sure bugs me.” He crushed another can, squishing it flat so more cans would fit in the bin. When they took them to the recycling center, it would be easier to haul them all in the truck.
“Bugs me that we’re growing corn. Poison.” She had argued with her father many times about growing corn in Montana, but all those arguments had devolved into an impasse. The same had held true for the Thunder Brothers. “Glad you said that. I’m thinkin’ we need to grow somethin’ completely different.”
Bree yawned. “What’s that?” John looked excited about his idea. “Lavender.” She was so tired from bug squashing all night without squashing a single bug. “Like the flower?” John nodded. “Yeah, I think it will grow better here than corn, so we don’t have to hafta pay Monsanto for their seeds and weed spray. We can just use our own seeds at the end of the year.”
The thought of growing flowers instead of corn sounded frivolous to Bree. “Can’t eat lavender.” John folded his arms over his bare chest. “You keep complainin’ about corn poisonin’ everybody. Which is better to grow? Flowers you can’t eat or poison you can?” Bree shrugged and headed back toward the stairs, but John followed her, continuing, “Plus, you can eat lavender. It’s one o’ them edible flowers.”
Bree laughed softly as the two of them padded upstairs quietly. John whispered, “What you up so late for?” Bree sighed. “I’m trying to fix a problem with SN Connector.” John frowned, “Don’t you got the early shift at Mount Zen Cafe tomorrow morning?” He looked at his watch. “This morning?”
Bree whispered, “Yeah.” She was so tired and she felt so defeated because she couldn’t find the bug in the Android version. “Hey, by the way, I have this problem with your thing.” John went to his room to get his phone and then followed her into her bedroom. “Whenever I try this Locals Only thing, it can’t tell where I am.”
Sasquatch squealed at John when he sat next to him on Bree’s bed. The cat stood up, stretched and hopped off the bed to get away from him. “I know, John. That’s what I’m trying to fix. For now, you’ll just have to enter your location in like this.” She tapped on the location field and started typing in their town, M-E-R-R-I-T-O-N. As she typed the letters, she wondered if that field was somehow overriding the GPS query.
She handed his phone back to him and pulled up the code on her computer again. Sure enough, the Android version was waiting for completion of that field BEFORE it would query the GPS chip. Bree sighed with relief. She’d be able to fix the problem in just a few hours. She looked at her watch. She didn’t HAVE a few hours before her shift at the restaurant. Something had to GO and it sure as hell wasn’t going to be SN Connector.
John looked at her room, “Hey, you’re gonna get ants if you don’t clean up in here.” She scowled at him as he gathered her full garbage bin, the rest of the soda cans and discarded Oreo packages.