A Large Flaw in the Plan
At the bottom of the stairs, the men groaned, stumbling around in the paint and bricks. Harry was the first to his feet. "THAT DID IT!" he shouted as loud as he could towards the ceiling, "THAT WAS THE LAST STRAW! I WAS JUST GONNA KILL HIM; NOW I'M GONNA KILL HIM AND CHOP HIM INTO LITTLE PIECES, AND I DON'T CARE IF I GET EXECUTED BUFFET STYLE FOR IT!"
"Good luck getting your hands on him," a guard groaned nearby, stumbling to his feet, "I've had enough; I'm out of here."
"Me too," another got up and ran for the door.
"Nobody's leavin'!" Harry snapped at him, "We're all in this together!"
"Oh yeah!? Well I value my health and safety, and I've had it with being beaten to a pulp by these kids!" the first guard shot back, "Go ahead and keep trying to catch them, but we've had enough, haven't we, guys?"
More than a few guards nodded in agreement. "Anyone who leaves now is fired!" Burke warned them all, getting to his feet, "I'm dead serious, men!"
"Stick it, Burke," one of the guards told him off, "Roy Walley Entertainment belongs in the Walley family, I can see it now."
About half the guards walked out the door, not looking back. "Sorry, sir, but I've had enough too," Les rose up to leave, "Being tarred and feathered is one thing, but pinning everything on the Walleys isn't worth this," he gestured at the paint and bricks around them.
"You can kiss that seat on the board goodbye if you walk, Murphy!" Burke warned him furiously.
"As I was saying, sir, being on the board's not worth going through this," Les defiantly pointed at his ruined suit, "I'm telling Roy everything when he comes in, and..."
He was cut off as Stone abruptly smashed the handle of his semi-automatic across the back of his head, sending Les crumpling to the floor. "Thank you, Mr. Stone, I knew I can could on you," Burke commended the head of security.
"So what're we standin' around here for, then!? Up, up, get up there and get them!" Harry waved his arms wildly at the twenty or so guards that remained. "Come on, guys, get with it, double time, double time!"
He wiped the paint off with his scarf as best he could, then tossed it aside, followed by his equally ruined gloves; he wasn't going to take the chance of being unable to shoot someone in the clutch with sticky hands this year. "Marv, on yer feet; we're gonna skin him alive now!" he hauled his partner up out of the paint.
"Anyone catch that steamroller's license plate?" Marv droned in a daze.
"Marv, how many fingers!?" Harry thrust four in Marv's face. "Uh...sixteen?" Marv guessed.
"Close enough. Let's go," Harry pushed Marv towards the stairs. He barreled up them three at a time, muttering under his breath out loud all the way. "Stay here and watch they don't come down behind our backs, Fingers," he shouted at the safecracker when he rushed by him on the stairs. Still frozen in cement, Fingers, certainly unable to do anything but stay there, merely grunted. Soon they'd all reached the top again. "Wait, wait," Harry grabbed Stone's hand before he could grab the door to the top floor. He fingered the knob carefully. It wasn't hot. "Stand clear," he called to everyone. He threw the door open and jumped against the wall. A barrage of golf balls from a launcher flew harmlessly over the railing. "All right, get 'em!" he shouted once the golf balls stopped. Growling, Stone charged through the door...
...his leg hitting a pole propping up a shelf built over the door, knocking it down and making the shelf collapse, dropping half a dozen bowling balls from the bowling alley downstairs onto his skull. Moaning, Stone collapsed to the floor. "Good work, pal; ya diffused another one," Harry commended him, "OK, CHAAARRRRRRGGGGE!"
The rest of the villains leaped over Stone...straight onto the sea of tacks the children had spread all over the floor. And most of them weren't wearing shoes anymore. "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWW!" they all screamed in unison, falling to the floor and clutching their feet. "This is ridiculous!" Sam bellowed in rage, "What I went through with that other kid was nothing compared to this! This is a nightmare...!"
"And this is total war now! Show yourself, ya little jerk!" Harry roared, looking around for any sign of Kevin.
"We're over here, you morons. Come and get us," came Kevin's voice from the door to the roof. "Nowhere left to run, kid!" Harry charged towards it, "Yer gonna wish ya was never born when I get through with ya now!"
"Tape recorder's rolling," Sarah crested the stairs to join the other children on the roof beneath the scaffolding of the additional floors under construction.
"OK, stand clear," Kevin waved her off the steps. Moments later, the tool chest tied to the doorknob lurched down the stairs with a loud clattering of tools. "Three," he started counting down, "two, one..."
A loud crashing sound and more cries rang out below. "Never fails," Kevin nodded in satisfaction at this trap working right for the second year in a row. "All right, Sidney," he turned to the bellboy behind them, "We'll need you for the final trap. Stay hidden till they're all on the line, then let them have it after we start on our end. Once they're down, hit the fireworks for the cops' benefit."
"You just be careful down there," Sidney told them worriedly, "Once you're down there, I won't be able to help you."
"We'll do our best. "OK guys, let's go," Kevin waved them towards Marty's fireworks line once more. "Hate that we have to do this again," Ethan quivered in fear at the higher drop down they were facing now.
"Would you rather face those guys?" Julian pointed back at the sound of angry footsteps stomping up the stairs to the roof behind them, "And funny someone who likes space so much hates heights."
"Well, the cosmos are interesting, but I like to keep both feet on the ground..."
"Just like last night, I'll be right behind you, OK?" Kevin maneuvered Ethan's hands towards the wire again. "Now just don't look down, and you'll be back on solid ground in less than a minute."
"No problem there," Ethan's eyes were now tightly shut. "All right, here we go," Kevin took a deep breath and pushed off down the wire once more. He himself looked at the sky, not wanting to take the chance of being paralyzed by looking down. In no time, they had landed safely on the roof of the auxiliary building again. "We're OK now," Kevin told Ethan, who breathed a sigh of deep relief, "Now are you sure we doused the line enough?"
"Probably," Ethan nodded, "There'll only be one way to find out, though, and that's when they're on it."
With a low thump, Nate landed next to them. "So where are the cops!?" the new arrival asked out loud, glancing at Las Vegas Boulevard for currently non-existent police cars, "I don't think it should take this long to get here from when we called them."
"Let's just hope they're on their way," Kevin rationalized, hoping the police were indeed coming at the moment, as they were now down to their last trap. "OK, Martin," he radioed Walley's son again, waving the remaining children down the line as well, "Bring the barge into position..."
"When we get our hands on ya, kid, all the king's horses and all the king's men ain't gonna be able to put ya back together again!" a furious Marv yelled, following Harry closely up the stairs to the roof, "And the same goes for all yer other homies too; it's gonna be a bloodbath like ya can't imagine now!"
He reached past Harry and shoved the now closed door to the roof open. "Where'd they go!?" he shouted, glancing around wildly.
"We're down here, you big dumb horse's rear end," came Kevin's taunting shout from over the side, "Better catch us quick before we call the cops."
The villains all ran to the ledge and glanced down at the children on the roof of the building below. "Send some men down and cut them off," Burke ordered Stone, "We can't let them get off the property."
Stone nodded and waved about five of the remaining guards to follow him. "OK, the rest of ya, follow me," Harry started climbing over the ledge, "We'll try and force 'em into a squeeze play here."
"Are you insane, Harry?" Sam protested, "I'm not crawling out on that!"
"What, are you chicken, Sammy!? Come on!" Harry was already climbing down the line. "Marv, get out here."
"I don't know, Harry. Remember the last couple years at this part?" Marv gulped at the steep drop below them.
"Marv, this is steel cable," Harry gestured at it, "He can't cut it or set it on fire. Now come on!"
Whimpering like a baby, Marv grabbed hold of the line, but chose to crawl along the top of it rather than hang underneath it like Harry and everyone climbing on behind him was doing. "Move it, Marv; you're holding up the line!" an impatient Lenny shouted at him. Marv only answered with a fearful yelp at the drop below them.
Down on the smaller building, Kevin watched the men get on the line one at a time. "Is it coming?" he asked Danielle, who was keeping watch on the manmade river below.
"Looks like it's just about in position now," Danielle told him. Kevin glanced down to see a barge floating in place right underneath the line. It came to a sudden stop. "Good," he nodded in satisfaction, "Now we just have to wait for the right moment."
He took his place by the end of the line and waited. Finally, when Harry had gone a little over the halfway point, he nodded. "OK Sidney, now," he radioed the bellboy back atop the hotel tower. He dug out a match, right as he heard Lenny exclaim out on the line, "Say Harry, do you smell that? It's smells an awful lot like..."
Kevin struck the match against the stone roof. "Hey guys," he called jovially up at the villains, "Happy New Year."
He touched the match to the wire. Instantly, the propane they'd poured on it ignited. "GO BAAAAAAAAAAACCCKKK!" Harry's scream of terror rang out loud enough to be heard all the way up the Strip. The leader of the Wet Bandits Gang spun around on the wire and tried to retreat from the now advancing flames, but Marv, shrieking louder than a peanut whistle in terror, was frozen in place and refusing to move. The guards at the end of the line started clambering back towards the main hotel, but a burst of flames at the other end of the wire now started traveling towards them as well. Sidney had set the squeeze play in action, Kevin knew with a smile. "OK, get your cameras ready," he told his partners, leaning against the edge of the roof, "This is the big finish."
He snapped a photo himself of the men frantically bunching together, trying to escape the oncoming flames from each side. Some were climbing all over each other in terror, but this was doing them no good at all. Finally, the flames reached the middle of the line, forcing them to let go in unison. All of them started falling the twenty odd stories to the river, screaming at the top of their lungs all the way down. "Five," Kevin started counting down out loud, "four, three, two, one..."
He swished his arm down the moment the men landed hard on the barge. Loud snaps rang out, punctuated by more ear-splitting screams. "YES!" Kevin high-fived everyone else. The mousetraps they'd set up on the barge had made for the perfect topper. "All right, that's it. Let's get out of here," he told them, rushing for the stairs down to the ground.
"So now what?" Sarah asked him, huffing to keep up.
"Find a safe place to stay until the cops do get here. Then we'll give them the evidence, and let them take these guys..." Kevin came to a sudden stop at the foot of the stairs and gasped in fear. Their path was now blocked by at least a dozen guards, each with their guns leveled right at them. "Thought you outsmarted us, didn't you?" Stone was glaring coldly at them, his own gun trained right on Kevin, "Well, the game's not over yet, kids."
He grabbed Kevin roughly by the collar and dragged him off the stairs. His associates grabbed the other children and started dragging them towards the river, where the rest of the villains were staggering towards shore, now covered from head to toe in mousetraps. "We've got them, Mr. Burke," Stone called to the chairman of the board.
"Excellent work, Mr. Stone. Kill them now!" a furious Burke ordered.
"Wait till we're there. Gimme him," his face plastered with carnal rage, Harry stormed over, snatched Kevin out of Stone's hands, threw him to the ground, and pointed his gun straight between his eyes. "Ya thought ya were gonna win again, kid!? Well, ya ain't that lucky, and there ain't no old geezers around to save ya now this time!" he bellowed furiously, "The war's finally over, kid," he cocked the gun and put his hand on the trigger, "and you lose...!"