James and the League of Vivoneely

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Chapter 24

Bill Settfour and Paolo Rodriguez hated each other. They had worked together before, but usually it ended in a fist fight and a couple of black eyes. The other men got a laugh whenever the two would start going at it. “They are like a couple of old women,” they would say. But today, they seemed to think they could manage to keep their tempers down. As they pulled into the costume shop, things seemed to go fine.

“All we need are two painter’s outfits,” Paolo said

“I thought we were going to be street cleaners,” Settfour responded.

“Painter, cleaner, whatever, they’re still the same costumes.”

“No they aren’t, we need to be cleaners, what would we paint?”

“Oh shut up; just let me get the costumes.”

“As he walked in to the store, Settfour tried to come up with some way to get back at Paolo. He looked in the glove compartment for anything sharp for him to sit on. Nothing found, he started to look in the back. He then saw a glint of something in the back seat. It was a unicorn horn. He knew Paolo had it all along. Yet, he was just as greedy as Paolo, so he took it and hid it in his pocket. They all knew the thing had power; they just weren’t sure how to get it. They had tried rubbing it, putting two against each other, but nothing ever happened.

Paolo walked out with two white jumpsuits. “How’s this, Billy?”

Settfour groaned.

The Securatron building was still running, even without the legendary leadership of George Fibbler. Still, there was a feeling among the staff that the business was slowly falling apart. Stocks had been dropping a half point every day since he died. Outside, debris from Lungfishfest© filled the courtyard in front of the skyscraper.

“See, Paolo. There’s a mess. Cleaners could have cleaned it up. What are we gonna do, paint over it? You are such a buffoon.”

“OK, Billy, so we could have cleaned up some junk outside the building, but how are we gonna get into Fibbler’s office? They can’t let cleaners go in there until the investigation is complete.”

“Oh. But painters can just walk right in, I guess.”

“Watch this.” With that, Paolo walked right up to the receptionist. “Good afternoon ma’am, we’re here to paint the administrative lounge area. Do you think you could guide us there?”

“Sure thing, Mr. Rodriguez,” the receptionist swooned.

“Gee, thanks ma’am.” Paolo gave Settfour a quick smirk.

“How did she…?”

The receptionist took them up to the 21st floor, home to the administrative lounge, as well as George Fibbler’s office. When they got there, they noticed Fibbler’s office closely guarded by two rent-a-cops. Settfour gave Paolo a look that can be loosely translated as, “Great job, idiot. Now we have a ditsy receptionist and two goofy goobers to contend with.” Paolo reassured him with his next move.

“Attention all! Please feast your eyes on my next trick. If she doesn’t mind, I will make this young lady disappear. Watch closely, because this may be the best magic trick you have ever seen.” Paolo then went on to grab a curtain from the window. He placed this over the receptionist, shouted “Kava-Baluba,” pulled the curtain away from her, and she was gone. The two rent-a-cops nearly fell from their chairs. Paolo then put the curtain on a table, shouted “Abulab-Avak,” pulled the curtain away, and revealed a tiger. He looked shocked as the tiger headed right towards the rent-a-cops. The tiger ripped the arm off of one rent-a-cop. Strangely, the cop didn’t scream or anything. He just got a spacey look in his eyes. The other cop reached for his gun. Just as he was about to shoot, the tiger disappeared. The rent-a-cop pointed his gun at Paolo.

“Just what exactly are you doing, sir?” the cop asked.

“I’m here to take back what is mine. Now step aside.” Paolo seemed to have taken on another life as he said these words. The cop had genuine fear in his eyes. As if floating, the rent-a-cop stepped away from the door. He stared off into space as Paolo and Settfour walked directly into Fibbler’s office.

“What the heck? Where did that come from? I didn’t know you knew magic like that…wait a second…the bank! You got me arrested!” Settfour stopped in his tracks. Paolo had cast the same spell on Settfour as he had the rent-a-cop. “That’s right Bill, I was there. I created the security system, developed by this very corporation. Without my power, Securatron© never could have made the Stunner©.” He grabbed the unicorn from the office, and in a flash of smoke, disappeared.

Suddenly, Settfour and the rent-a-cops came to. The one missing an arm started screaming in pain, just now realizing that his arm was gone. The other one shot his gun, but hit the window he had been staring at. The receptionist, slightly disheveled, wobbled into the room. “What a man,” she said, and then fainted.

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