Justin honestly couldn't believe he thought he was in Alabama for so long. It was surprising he hadn't realized it wasn't Earth after his first trip to Trog's. Maybe he's not as smart as he thought he was if it takes a cartoon car chase to make him believe this isn't Kansas anymore.
Inside was unexpectedly fun to live in, and certainly better than Atlanta. Food was plentiful and his cash, while more useful as toilet paper in the wasteland, had actual value, maybe even moreso than caps, which he had to argue with vendors to use. Best of all, everyone carried around gold coins for some reason! Gold coins were small, valuable, easy to swipe, and they were like pennies here. He didn't even need to feel bad for stealing them.
The only thing he was missing was a regular place to sleep. As rich as he had accidentally become, he didn't have have enough for his own house. He could always just stay at Trog's, but that place was too crazy for his liking. Staying on the street was an option, he supposed, but he'd probably just give up and stay at Trog's if it was available, and it was always available.
Justin decided to drop the issue for the day. He could worry about it tonight. For now, he wanted to explore this stupidly huge Escher print of a city.
He had been looking around a section of the city that was probably the most like Atlanta. As similar as the cityscape looked like superficially, it was a completely different feeling. The emptiness of the crumbling downtown Atlanta made him feel anxious, scared of what would come out of each building, brandishing weapons or claws or whatever else it wanted to use to kill him. Inside was more comforting to him. People walked about, not really afraid that at any minute, a squad of mohawked idiots could come out screaming and shoot up the place.
That afternoon had been spent lollygagging in the park until that evening. He would have just gone to Trog's but the urge to explore and see what this place was like at night was incredibly alluring. At night, everything changes. The feeling of safety in the daytime had left, and the familiar anxiousness returned. He was used to it though, and it felt exciting to be so nervous after spending so long feeling safe.
As he explored well into the night, sticking to walls, avoiding the light, and sneaking about with a kind of silly glee of a child playing hide and seek, his pip-boy sounded a notice. This was strange, as it was the first time it had done so since he had arrived in the city. Reading the notice, he learned that he had discovered Laneside Bowling. Looking up toward the building he had been sneaking against, he saw the busted old sign that had lost several of its letters from what had probably been years of neglect.
Never being able to resist some newly discovered building was a curse of Justin's. Back with his old team, one of the few ways he was allowed to induldge in his kleptomaniacal habit was scavenging, so he took every chance he could. All of the front windows and doors were boarded up, so he decided to sneak around the back. The back door had been locked shut, but that had never been something to stop him before. It wasn't an instant before he heard that ever so satisfying click of a perfectly picked lock.
Justin entered the pitch black bowling alley and was greeted by the smell of dust, metal, and grease. He realized that this must be where the machinery that sets up the pins was. He closed the door behind him and listened very closely for sounds. He was looking for any signs that he might not be alone in the building: footsteps, murmurs, or the tell-tale hiss of a feral ghoul. Unable to hear anything, he decided it was safe to turn on his pip-boy light. He was right, this had been the pin setting machinery. He could see the lanes from where he was standing.
With his wrist mounted lamp he was able to find his way to an unlocked door that lead to the the far left of the main room, where he could begin searching.
The snack bar had been cleaned out of most of its contents except for several bags of chips and candy under the counter and a soda machine that must have been too much of a hassle to take apart. He pressed the button for Coke, but was unsurprised when nothing came out. Of course it wouldn't work, the city probably shut the power off years ago. Pocketing the candy and chips, he moved on.
The old arcade area was in a similar state. It was mostly empty space except for an old crane machine sitting in the corner still full of ugly unofficial merchandise of copyrighted characters.
Finding the men's room rather suddenly reminded him that he hasn't gone all day. After finishing, he pulled the plunger out of habit and was quite surprised at how loud the flush had been, his ears having grown used to the silence. Then he was surprised that it even flushed at all. He turned on the sink faucet to make sure, and although it sputtered at first, water ran just fine. That didn't make sense. Water should have been turned off years ago, but if it's still running, then maybe the power still worked!
Justin rocketed out of the bath room, after washing his hands, because he was raised better than that, and back into the machine room. It was a short search before he found the switch box. When he flipped the master switch, he heard the sound of a few machines whirring and lights flickering on. As he began to turn on more he heard even more machines turn on, coming to life again with the power restored. He could even see the the lights in the main room from the lanes.
Justin left the pin machines behind to see just what he had accomplished. The room looked completely different than earlier. In the light, he found a hall off to the side he might have missed earlier. There was a storage closet, a janitor's closet, and a manager's office he would have to look over thoroughly
This was probably the best find he had ever come across. Running water, working electricity. . . Secluded. . . His. This building is boarded up and abandoned. For whatever reason, the city forgot to turn off the water and power, and he could use it however he wanted. It would need cleaning, and maybe a mattress, and a way better lock than that dinky little thing, but those were cheap fixes. His head was buzzing with so many ideas on how to improve this place, but Justin decided to drop the issue for the night. He could worry about it in the morning. For now, he wanted to enjoy his new dustbin of a home.