I was almost out of patience listening to the muzak on the phone, but it did finally give way to a person.
“Thank you for calling Milpack Customer Service. My name is Debbie, how can I help you?”
“Yeah. I need to send my backpack in for some repair.”
“Can I have your name, sir?”
“I see you have two of our backpacks. Is this the charcoal or the navy?”
“I see. Can you describe the damage? It might be covered under our warranty.”
“Heh, doubt it. So there’s this real douchebag takes a disliking to me. A Hothead who was showing off with his flamethrower, and he got it too close to my pack. Entire front is roasted, almost gone.”
“He apologized,” Natalie said. “After.”
I flipped her off. It was just as much her fault for goading Carl in the first place.
“A flamethrower?” Debbie said.
“Yeah. Live hard, play hard, you know?”
“I suppose so. Well, I’m afraid that is not covered by our warranty, and if it’s as damaged as you say, we won’t be able to repair it. However, it is an interesting story, and if you send in the bag, we might be able to give you a discount on a new one.”
“That’s great. Got it all boxed up with the story. Just need the Return number.”
“How did you know to—Oh! I see that you’ve used our return service before . . . four times?”
“That sounds right.”
“Sir, can I ask what line of work you’re in?”
“I’m a Storm Rider.”
Natalie rolled her eyes at me.
“One of those people who chase down storms?”
“No, those would be storm chasers. We’re kind of an elite, private, um, security firm, and we get lots of experimental weapons.”
Natalie chuckled at that, sending out a quick lightning bolt to blast one of the beer bottles we had set up. It was a small bolt, so it only sizzled and popped instead of boomed.
“A-all right. The return number is Ax678324. I have a card on file for you, should I charge the new backpack to that card?”
“Yeah, the Visa, that’s fine.”
“You should get it in red this time,” Natalie said.
“I’m sorry, sir, did you say you wanted it in red?”
“No, navy is fine.”
“Well, we will rush the order to you as soon as we receive your shipment.”