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HeavyLight: Chapter 14

So I really want to tell you what happened in this chapter but first I’m going to jump ahead like an hour or so and show you what will happen. Then I’m going to backtrack to the beginning and show you how it came to that.

I landed hard on the concrete ground, taking cover behind the flipped over table. A volley of bullets came my way, punching holes in the gray walls and flashing across the metal surface of the door. Suddenly the glass of the overhead light shattered and I covered my face from the falling debris.

Angry Steve reached over cover and fired blindly at the gangsters with his pistol. “We need to get out of here! We’ve got someone bleeding out over here!” Dougman shouted.

“Who?!” I shouted back, just as another light shattered overhead.

Jumbo Jim ran in with an LMG and kicked over a bloody chair. He then stood on it and shouted “You all think you’re so smart; well guess what; here’s a math equation for ya! Me plus this gun equals what? That’s right! Your death!” He then proceeded to fire at the hip, unceasing as the gun belt flapped wildly and shells plumed out of the other side, raining down and splashing in the puddles of blood.

So let’s go back about an hour.

I’m driving down Harrison Drive with No Face Lacey sitting shotgun and Kevin Strokehard sitting behind me. Darkness had completely descended and the streetlights were now flickering on all around us. Kevin let out a disgusting belched and leaned forward. “Alright, so where are we heading again?” he asked.

“We’re going to the abandoned tenements on West Street to help out Dougman. We’ve got to be at the ready in case these thugs try and pull anything with us while we’re in.” I explained. Now, I was familiar with this place so I knew exactly which abandoned tenement it was that we were heading too. West Street is just one of those neighborhoods with alot of destroyed property and derelict looking buildings. But the place we were going was the gang hideout of the Tungsten Toboggans. Now, the East Side Butterflies are just a bunch of posers, but the Toboggans are a legitimate gang with street cred and a reputation. It’s one of those places that most people in the area know about but for some reason, the police have no idea of its whereabouts.

But we were heading there to back Dougman up just in case they tried anything with him. Hopefully things would go alright and they would agreed to lend us the new experimental explosive they were working on. Angry Steve and Jumbo Jim were also coming, but they were at the Cineplex on the other side of Cincinnati so it was going to take them some time to get over here.

Anyway, so I eventually find the address of the Hideout and pull into the parking lot. It appeared to be this 4 story tall concrete building that was in need of a bath. Most of the windows were either smashed out or boarded up. Big ugly scorch marks dotted the walls like spots on a giraffe. To top it off, the occupants had decorated random areas with sprouts of graffiti, and not the nice graffiti. Not like a mural of a dog and a cat hugging with the words “Why can’t we be friends?” painted overhead in rainbow colors. Because that would be good graffiti. No, I saw phrases like “I hate Gypsies” and “big black girls are better than skinny white girls.” I saw this one too; someone had written “Mustard Mike wuz hear” but below that someone had written “Mustard Mike is un idiote. #you dun got served” Below that, Mustard Mike had come back and written “No, U R.” And below that, a third party had written “You both make me sick. PS: Always remember to spellcheck your grafitti.”

There was a single light hanging above the front door. Sitting on an overturned crate was a guy dressed in a coat, holding a mac11 in his hand. There were two other guys off to the corner, both with automatic firearms, talking about smoking donkey tail. Lacey glanced out the window of the car and looked up at the windows of the tenement. “Wow...this place sucks...and that’s me talking; I used to live in someone’s closet. That’s not a metaphor, either. I mean someone had literally rented out their closet and I occupied it for ten days. Ironically, the owner of the closet actually was in the closet metaphorically. I only found out when she hit on me one night. I ended up getting stabbed with a pencil. I’ve told this story before...” She muttered.

Kevin was too busy rummaging around in the backseat. “Dude, what are you doing back there?” I asked.

“Bro...I’m looking for loose change. The back of these old cars always have a gold mine of pennies. Maybe if I find enough I can get something off the Dollar Menu at the Taco Barn.” He said.

I parked the car and opened the door, allowing the cold air to rush in and freeze the tips of my ears. “Alright, let’s hurry up and get this over with. I’ve got to attend a Habitat for Humanity meeting in the morning. Then I gotta go to church. After that; dentist appointment.” No Face Lacey muttered while getting out of her car.

“Wow...I had no idea you had such a diverse schedule, Lacey...” I grumbled.

Kevin got out and we all made our way to the front door. I couldn’t see Dougman outside so I just assumed he’d be inside, waiting in the Lobby. So I walked up to the nice gentleman with the gun and said “Greetings, fine sir. Lovely evening, is it not? We request entry into your establishment.”

With one finger, he pulled down the bandana over his mouth and spoke. “What’s the password?”

I glanced back at Lacey and Kevin who both shrugged. Then I turned back to the thug. “Uh...we didn’t know there would be a password.”

He calmly nodded. “That’s it. That’s the password.”

“...Really?” I asked.

He unlocked the door and opened it for us. “Yep. Please come on in. Mind the threshold in the door, it’s a bit high.” He muttered. I nodded and stepped on into the room. Lacey came afterwards and dumb Kevin nearly fell flat on his face when he almost tripped on the threshold. I ignored him though and glanced around the room. The lobby was in no better shape than the rest of the building, except for the addition of some shag carpeting. There were some chairs off to the sir that were being occupied by four people.

The two black men on the far left were making out. It reminded me of those two nice college girls that I saw a few times doing the same thing. Honestly, I’d prefer to see them and not these gangstas with beer guts. But I didn’t say anything about it. The guy to the right of them might have been dead. He had holes in his wrist where he had been injecting dragon blood, and now he was just lying slumped over in his plastic chair.

On the far right end, sitting uncomfortably was Dougman. When he saw me, he jumped up and rushed over. “Red! There you are! And you brought Lacey and Kevin. Good; that’s good.” He said.

Kevin pointed at him and said “Yo, if it ain’t Jim! Oh wait, are you Roger? I dunno. But it’s cool to see you again.” He said.

Dougman saw Lacey and his eyes lit up with positive surprise. “Well, look who’s up and walking around. Great to see you again, Lacey. Whatcha been doing today?” He asked.

“Uh, me and these two losers went to a strip club. Then we broke into a secured facility and made off with a beat up car probably not worth more than one of my ear rings. But it was a cool day. We had fun.” She said.

“Alright, so we’re here. What now?” I asked.

“Well, we’re going to go ask the receptionist if we can see the gang leader. At the party, I talked with the guy in the shades, who wanted me to refer to him as Mr. Yam, and he booked me a slot of time for tonight. So we better go do that now. Did you bring any gats?” He asked.

“Actually...no. But it’s alright; if we form our hands into a finger guns and put them in our pockets, it’ll look like we’re packing.” I suggested.

Dougman wasn’t so sure about that. But we didn’t have a better option, so I turned to the two henchmen and said “alright, you two wait here. This won’t take long. If things go south, you’ll know what to do.”

“Actually...I...won't. I wasn’t briefed.” Kevin said.

“It’s simple, man, we just gotta make up a floor plan. Let’s start by taking out the two guys over there who are making out. I’ll put a bag over one of their heads and the other guy will think he’s racist and beat the spit out of him. Then we go for the guy who’s sleeping. Afterwards...” Lacey explained. She continued to formulate a plan, but Dougman was already beckoning me over to the Receptionist’s desk.

The lady behind the desk was this 20 year old african american woman with a weave that had been dyed blond. I’m not sure why she chose to dye a weave instead of just grow real hair, but that’s what happened. She was doing her nails and chewing bubble gum while Dougman was trying to give her his information.

“Alright, so I’m Dougman Stephenson and this is Red Letters. We were told to come here by Mr. Yam to meet with Box Turtle. Can we...like...see him now?” He asked.

She continued to look down at her nails while she filed them. Then she glanced up and saw Dougman’s face. Setting the nail file down, she reached up and took earphones out of both her ears. “Hello...welcome to the gang hideout of the Tungsten Toboggans...what can I help you with?” She asked as dryly and emotionlessly as possible.

“We’re here to see Box Turtle. And we want to see him NOW.” I said, the frustration driving me to slam my hands down on her desk. She didn’t even bat an eye.

“...Hold please...” She said before reaching for a really old fashion corded phone sitting on the desk. She punched (well, poked) the buttons on the panel and places the phone against her ear. “...Hey! Yo fool! It’s me, Lubiniba. I got these two white boys down here who wanna talk to you...yeah, that Mormon Mr. Yam talked to last night? He’s here...alright...I’ll tell them....love ya, bye.” She then hung up and turned to us.

“Alright, he’ll be down in a moment. For the time being, please hold.” She said. Then she began to play music. But she didn’t have a speaker to play music from her Iphone so she had to literally sing “We built this city on Rock And Roll” By Jefferson Starship to us while we were waiting for Mr. Yam to show up. The pain was unbearable. I contemplated taking the phone and shoving it into her open mouth to shut her up, but I didn’t want the deal to go sour so quickly. So I waited patiently while she sung on.

Then I heard the sound of steel heeled shoes walking down the hallway. I spotted the same guy with the fedora and the trench coat walking towards us. He peered at us through thick, circular, black glasses and gave us a nod of greeting. “Hello, Mr. Stephenson. I imagine that this is your friend, Mr. Letters, who you mentioned in our talk last night.” He said, his voice reminding me vaguely of Keanu Reeves.

Dougman nodded. “Yep. So, are you going to take us to your leader now?” He asked.

A creepy smile spread across his face. “That’s right. Mr. Turtle will be glad to make your acquaintance. We shall discuss your plans for the future heist and then, after we run through a few legal documents, we will hand over the experimental bomb. We may also provide a bit of feedback on your last heist and what we feel can benefit you in the future one.” He explained.

“Really? Great! Lead the way then.” I said. He nodded and turned, making his way down the hallway. I glanced back at Lacey and Kevin who were sitting down on the ground, texting to each other even though they were just a foot away from the other person. That didn’t concern me though. The hallway we were walking down was kind of grimy, with dim lights hanging overhead and stale air blowing out of the cold air vents.

Dougman leaned over and said “Alright...so Jim and Steve are making their way here. I told Roger to be here too, just in case. But you never know if he’s really going to show up or not.”

“Alright...I think you told me that before but I’m glad you’re validating your past point. I’m also glad you didn’t call David Pincher or his girlfriend. They would just caused trouble. Anyway, looks like things are moving along smoothly. Let’s just hope this goes well.” I said.

I glanced to my left as we were passing a wall decorated in big portraits of all the famous Rap artists from the olden days. Biggie Smalls, Tupac, Chair Master Chang, David Letterman, all the greats. Their eyes stared at me, watching as we passed. We found ourselves in another long, dimly lit hallway, where at the end there was a door accompanied on either side by two armed gunmen.

They gave Mr. Yam a nod as he stepped towards the door, pressing a button on a panel nearby. I glanced over at Dougman who was busy staring at a huge crack in the ceiling that was kinda shaped like California. Just then, the door opened up, revealing an old fashion industrial elevator. He led us inside, and the two armed thugs walked in too, so now it was really cramp inside. I was literally pushed into Dougman, our shoulders pressed together for the 10 seconds we were in the elevator before it opened up on the top floor. Now, you may not know this, but touching Dougman kinda bothers me. The thought alone makes me shiver a bit.

This hallway was illuminated blue by the overhead lights. I could see at the very end of the hall was a door and right in front of it were two separate sets of chainlink fence making like a cage. There was a weird looking guy standing in it, staring at us through big, watery eyes. I was hesitant to leave the elevator at first. “Uh...what’s up with the guy over there?” I asked.

“That door leads to the chamber of Mr. Turtle. You will first need to be searched by our trusted Guardsmen, Dupo. It’s just a safety precaution, don’t worry. Afterwards, you will be escorted in to meet with the Leader of this particular gang.” Mr. Yam explained.

Dougman shrugged. “Seems like a good idea. Keeping security tight is important.” I agreed with him but I wasn’t sure how eager I was to be felt up by some weird guy. But I didn’t say anything so about a minute and 20 steps later, that same guy had a hand on both sides of my waist, slowly and sensually feeling down. He also made this odd gurgling noise as his hands passed over my hip bone. Then he went down to my feet and started to rub the ankles vigorously. It kinda hurt because if you recall, last night I twisted my ankle a bit and the wound was still healing.

So I winced, and Mr. Yam could sense it, so he stepped up to stop Dupo. “Alright, Dupo. That’s enough.” he said.

Dupo shot up and a toothy grin spreaded across his face. “He’s clean. Ain’t no weapons on him. But he’s got a nice set of hips there. Let me check this guy now...” He walked over to Dougman and immediately began to feel up the sides of his abdomen. Working his way slowly down, he mumbled something about warm feelings and babies and proceeded to pat down Dougman’s pockets. On the way down his legs, he sneezed right on Dougman's pants and didn’t say anything about it. Talk about rude.

So he got done patting down Dougman and said “He’s clean. He’s also pretty firm along the rib cage. If this was a dog show, I’d give him a 6.3.”

“Only a 6.3?” Dougman asked, genuinely offended.

Ignoring him, Mr. Yam opened up the door and I slipped on in, getting away from Dupo as fast as I could. Dougman decided not to press any further either, so he followed me in as well. I will say that for the office of a renowned gangster killer who does lines of cocaine off of the necks of his various baby momas, it looked quite professional. It was a rectangular room with a big glass window on the other end, and in front of that window was a neat looking mahogany desk. It was decorated with a few things that made sense like some folders, a mug, and a picture frame of someone’s daughter. But there were also a few things that weren’t as common a desktop accessory like a loaded pistol, a donkey tail bong, and an unusual looking device that was like a lunchbox with a clock bolted to it and several wires pouring out the side and entering a battery pack strapped to the back.

The walls were adorned by shelves covered in books and Tyler Perry movies. The light red carpet had a variety of darker splotches here and there, giving me the impression that it was in need of a steam cleaner. Behind me was a door that was labeled “Bathroom” but a sign hung from the knob that read “In use” so in being polite, I didn’t open it up to check inside. So if the imagery really matters that much, just assume it looks like a normal bathroom on the inside.

Now, there were actually people in this room. There were two more bodyguards on either side of the desk, and sitting directly behind the desk was Box Turtle. He was this tough looking hispanic guy with a comb over and a huge tattoo of a turtle across his cheek. He had an anchor on his shoulder that had the word “cliche” written under it and on the other arm, he had a tattoo of a heart and underneath it, it said “my kitten, Waffles.” He was also wearing a wife beater, which I must say is probably factually accurate.

But despite what he looked like, he was smiling and glad to see us. He raised up both arms and said “Que pasa!? Welcome to my casa! How are you, fellow criminals?” He asked.

I stepped up the desk, ready to begin our little discussion. “Hey! We’re doing alright. I mean, as okay as one could be after being pat down by some weirdo named Dupo.” I said.

He chuckled again and waved his hand. “Have a seat, hermanos.” He said.

We glanced around the room, and noticed that there were no seats. “Uh...there are no seats...” I pointed out. Box Turtle frowned in confusion and took out a glasses case. After taking out his spectacles and putting them on, he glanced at the room around him. Then he chuckled again.

“Hehehe...that’s right. We ain’t got no chairs. Alright, well then just stand there.” He said. As he was putting the glasses back into the case, Dougman shot me a look of uncertainty. I will admit that Box Turtle was a bit unusual, but I was still trying to keep in good faith for this exchange. So he put away his glasses and then he was squinting at us again. “Alright, so you two are the ones who robbed that bank, huh? I must say, for your first heist, that was a bit...ambitious, don’t you think?” He asked.

I shrugged. “We kinda wanted to make a real impression on the community, one that would be remembered.” I explained.

He nodded. “I can understand that; my first ever heist was actually the kidnapping of an old mob boss from a nursing home. I got quite the reputation from that. It was a risky job; he may have been 93, but he still had the heart of an ox. He managed to bite me as I was carrying him out of the nursery, and I still have the mark on my butt. Speaking of which, I got a tattoo around it, and now it looks like a shark bite. Kinda neat, huh?” he asked.

“Uh...sure. Sounds good and all...listen, we’re here to talk about the bomb. We are told it would be very useful in blowing up a vault door. So...do you have it?” Dougman asked.

Box Turtle smiled. “Yep. We got it all right. We’ve been calling it the ‘Angry Baby.’ It can blow through a foot of steel, 3 feet of glass, and 5 feet of paper.” He explained.

“Alright...so...where is it?” I asked.

His hand reached out and rubbed the side of the lunchbox device on the desk. “You’re looking at it. This baby right here cost me a load of money, so I won’t just give it away to anybody. But I’d be happy to give it to a few responsible young criminals that I feel deserve it.” He said.

“Okay, that sounds great! We would like to apply to use the weapon in our next heist. Where’s the paperwork we fill out in order to obtain it?” I asked, reaching for the bomb. Just as I was about to touch it, Box Turtle suddenly pulled it away.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on, hombre. You’re not getting it just yet.” He said.

The sudden movement startled me a bit, partially because he had seemed so calm and laid back until just then. “Uh...okay. Sorry. When can we get it?” I asked.

Box Turtle thought for a moment. “You see, that’s the thing. I want to talk to you guys a bit about what’s going to go down. I’ve actually known about you guys for a long time, and I’ve been looking forward to meeting you.” He said, giving me another smile. Only this one was a bit sinister for some reason. Like he was hiding something.

I shot Dougman another look who shot one in my direction in turn. It was clear we were both quickly losing comfort. Then I looked back at Box Turtle. “...You have?” I asked.

“That’s right. I’ve heard a lot more about you than you think. You see, Mr. Letters, I have several associates who have had their own opinions about you, and I respect them. More so than I respect you. But that’s typically how it works out; you value your friend’s opinions over those of people you don’t know yet. Now, I’d be okay with you and your little gang if it hadn’t been for that one night after that bank heist.” he said.

A could feel my muscle tensing up a bit as I tried to understand what he was talking about. It didn’t sound good, that’s for sure. Then I tried to remember what had happened after the Bank Heist that might relate to Box Turtle. There was a myriad of events, but I couldn’t connect any of them back to him.

He went on, trying to stir our memories. “Twas the night that an associate of mine, and a few of his friends, decided to stop by your house and get to know you guys. But it was obvious that you were terribly house guests, and proceeded to do harm to them. Don’t you remember that?” He asked.

“Uh...I don’t quite know...the medication I take now for my chronic hemorrhoids has amnesia as a side effect so I’m not quite sure...” Dougman said. Personally, I found that it sounded familiar. After the bank heist, a few people did come over. But we didn’t attack them, they attacked us. But, I guess it might have been misinterpreted. I had a thought that perhaps....no. That can’t be right. I immediately dismissed the thought. But then it came back; was it possible that Box Turtle was referring too...?

“Uh...sir...I’m still not sure if I’m reading you right...” I said.

“Well then. Let me jog your memory a bit with a familiar face. Hey, bro! Come on out; check out these two.” Box Turtle called out. The door behind us swung open, and both me and Dougman turned to see what was behind us.

The door to the bathroom was open and standing at the doorway, smiling smugly, was the one and only Cinnamon Smack.

“Yo, what up whities?” Smack asked. A sudden surge of panic rushed into my heart as I began to put the pieces together. My earlier assumption had been proven right, and it was what you would call a worst case scenario.

“Wait, you know Cinnamon Smack?” I asked Box Turtle.

He chuckled again, only this time it wasn’t funny and lighthearted like it had been before. “Not just that; we’ve been best bros since the day Toy Story 2 came out in Theatres. We’ve always had each other’s backs, and recently my homie Smack asked a favor of me. Which I am helping to fulfill right now.” he said. Then he glanced at the henchmen at his sides. “Pin them.” He muttered.

My reaction was fast enough to know that it was time to peel out, and I managed to turn to the door with the intent to run. I think Dougman had the same idea too but just a half second before mine. But then the four henchmen converged on us, and these guys had Jumbo Jim’s size without the unnecessary fat. They grabbed us, and we proceeded to fight back. But that was as futile an effort as trying to wrestle Muhammad Ali. They had our faces pressed against the carpet, each of us held down by two guys. I grumbled angrily and fought vigorously to release myself from their grasp.

Dougman tried to bite the guys, but it just wasn’t happening. Box Turtle chuckled again and stepped around the desk. “Looks like we got ourselves two little worms who are about to be turned into tequila.” He muttered.

Between gritted teeth, I manage to spout out “what the bell do you want with us?”

I could only see his shoes right in front of my face. The guy was holding my head down so I couldn’t see past that. But he felt obliged to answer me anyway. “Well, it’s simple. When you got trash, what do you do with it? Well, here’s what we did to trash when I lived in Venezuela. We got rid of it. Specifically, we’d light it on fire and throw it at poor people, but that’s not the point. The point is; we gonna get even, son.” He said.

“But we weren’t the ones who attack Smack! No Face Lacey did! We carried them off our property!” Dougman replied.

There was a pause, and then Box Turtle addressed Smack. “Yo Smack, this true?”

“Nope. This guy and his 4 bros tossed flash bangs at us, and then while we were blinded, rolling around on the grass, he beat the snap out of us. Weren’t no chick name Lacey there.” He said.

Despite being pinned down by 230 pounds of leather vest and bundt cake, I fought furiously against the Thug as I angrily shouted at Box Turtle. “Come on! There is so much wrong with that lie I don’t even know where to begin! First off, only 3 of my bros were there, not 4. Second, we didn’t have any flash bangs! You fired on us! Third, we didn’t take you out, No Face Lacey and the Blurs came by and knocked you down! Come on, Box, don’t listen to this guy.” I yelled.

“And why should I listen to you?! Huh, el polo? Why should I listen to the guy who threw flash bangs at my best bro and then beat the snap out of him and his friends!?” He replied.

Personally, I was not only speechless but also pissed. Rage was welling up inside me like a racist locked in the closet of a mix race couple. Dougman was still able to talk. “But...didn’t you say we were going to get the bomb? Were you lying?” He asked.

Box Turtle chuckled again, and at this point I was starting to get sick of it. “Oh, you’ll get the bomb alright. In fact, here’s what we’re going to do. First we are going to organize a simple wine tasting party among all the bosses of the criminal factions around town. We will host this in the abandoned school complex on Beaufort Street. After that, we’re going to tie you guys to the metal handball pole in the old park. After that, we’ll hook the Angry Baby up to you guys and, after we all have retreated to a safe distance, we will detonate the bomb.” he explained.

“So not only will we be killing you, we’re gonna make an event out of it! Plus, I’ll be sure to pick up whatever parts of your body I can still find and bury then in an unmarked grave in the middle of the woods! Then...I’m gonna twerk on it!” He exclaimed cheerfully.

“You...you savage animals!” I spat out, there from the way I was fighting against the thug, I kinda looked like one myself.

Dougman was a bit more calm about it. He was struggling too, only because the Thug who was pinning him down saw how much I was struggling and wanted to make sure Dougman stayed down, so he applied extra, unnecessary pressure to him. “Can’t we....talk about this?”

“Pfft. Of course not! Since when do criminals ask questions first and shoot later? Personally, we’ve already decided what we are going to do. We’re going to toss you two into my storage closet. So...yeah. End of meeting. And in good time too; it’s time for a nice cup of tea. You two, carry these little prick bags and toss them into the storage closet. You gotta make sure to toss them though; I don’t want to find out that you guys were gentle with the prisoners.” He said.

The two thugs grabbed us and picked us up, making sure to hold both our arms behind our backs. As they were dragging us away, I was shouting furiously at Box Turtle “you can’t do this! You can’t keep me locked down! Cluck you guys! Cluck all ya’ll! Cluck all ya’ll!” So they dragged us all the way down the hallway, and then into another hallway, and then to a door. After the door was opened by a third thug, my personal escort grabbed me by the back of my pants, lifted me up, slung me back, and tossed me into the dark closet. Not only did I land hard on my stomach, but I also got a pretty crazy wedgie.

They tossed in Dougman pretty much the same way, but I was able to evade him by rolling left. By the time I had recovered enough to stand up and rush to the door, they had slammed it shut. In a frantic panic, I grabbed the doorknob and tried to force it open. Discovering that that was futile, I threw myself against the doorway repeatedly, grunting angrily which each slam.

Dougman only stood in the back of the closet, shaking his head sadly. Fighting like a rat in a cage, I slammed a hand against the door and shouted as loud as I could “let me back at Box Turtle! I will cluck his face up! Cluck that flipper! Clucking pitthead! Burn in bell, you jam ape!!” I paused and waiting, breathing heavily. They didn’t respond. There was no indication that they had heard me at all. So I turned to Dougman who was also as lost for solutions as I was. So I just said what comes natural to me. “...Well, jam it. What are we gonna do now?” I asked.

Dougman shrugged. “Angry Steve and Jumbo Jim are coming, but if they don’t know that it’s a trap, then they are going to share the same fate we did. Probably get tossed into the same closet and it’s cramp enough with you and me in here.” He said.

My mind was already flushed with too much aggravation for me to think straight. “We just walked into this one so easily. We were on top of this whole thing. We had everything we needed for the bank except for the bomb, we had eluded the police the whole time, and now we’ve found ourselves faced with execution by a bomb called the Angry Baby. That’s what pisses me off the most; it’s pretty manly to go out in an explosion, but to die by a bomb called the Angry Baby? That’s just wrong. Why couldn’t they have called it something cool like...like...the ‘Annihilator’ or...or...’Sister in law of the mother of all bombs?’ Something like that...” I said, trailing off at the end as the sense of defeat became overwhelming.

After letting out a shallow sigh, Dougman took a seat against the wall. “Well...looks like we’ve hit the top. Thought we could handle being big time criminals, only to be bested by other big time criminals...” He said.

“No...no we aren’t bested yet. We’ll find a way out of this. There must be a way out of here, like a vent or something. If there isn’t, we’ll wait until the thugs come and take us out of this closet so we can bite them on the arms.” I explained.

Dougman glared at me with much contempt. “Shut up, Red. You know that isn’t going to work. None of that will work. We’re totally screwed bro, sorry to tell you that. Might as well take a seat anyway. You’ve been out running around all day, you should take a break...” He said.

I couldn’t feel any more hopeless than that, not even if I was in prison. Because at least in prison the guards don’t strap you to a bomb and blow you up. Or in front of a bunch of people who thinks it’ll be funny. That’s just embarrassing. To know that my end is entertainment to a bunch of flat faced butterballs with box shaped heads. But like Dougman, I still couldn’t see anyway out. It was truly a dark turn of events.

Then I heard the muffled sound of a popular 80’s song playing in my pocket.

It started me for a second until I pulled it out and realized that it was just my phone. Dougman saw it too, and was just as startled as I was. “Hold on...did they forget to take our cell phones?” He asked.

“I...think they did. What kind of criminals are they? Isn’t that like the second step of holding someone hostage? Take away all electronic communications?” I asked.

The caller ID said “Marcy” and her phone number. She had my phone number? I guess she obtained it from Steve or something. Though she could probably acquire any phone number she wanted with a little bit of background hacking. But why she was calling me at that moment was a mystery, and there was only one way to find out. So I hit the “answer” button and put the phone to my ear.

“...Uh...hello? ...Marcy?” I asked.

“Red? You there? Yeah, it’s me, Marcy. I was calling to check up on you guy’s progress. Dougman told me you guys were going to meet up with the Tungsten Toboggans and I was worried that they could have given you some trouble. Is everything alright?” She asked.

I wanted to shout my mind on the matter but then I realized that the thugs outside the door might hear me. So I began whispering to her the problem. “Yeah...uh...things went to shaving cream immediately. Dougman and I are locked up in a storage closet but they forgot to take our phones because they’re morons. Angry Steve and Jumbo Jim are on the way and have no idea what’s waiting for them. Our two henchmen, Lacey and Kevin, are downstairs in the lobby. They will probably encounter the same fate that we did.”

“What? How did that happen? Why did the deal turn?” Marcy asked.

“Apparently it was a setup. The leader of the Toboggans, Box Turtle, is best friends with Cinnamon Smack, the leader of the East Side Butterflies. He wanted to get back at us for what Lacey did to him and his bros so now they’re gonna strap us to the bomb they were going to offer us and blow us up as a festive event for other local crime bosses.”

It took Marcy a moment to swallow all that; I could tell that she was thinking pretty hard.

“Uh...so wait, they do have the bomb? That’s good to hear; if you can get it and get out of there at least this excursion won’t be for nothing.”

“Yeah, but we’re still locked in this closet. Not to mention that the building is full of gun wielding punks who probably shoot on sight. The bomb itself is on the desk of Box Turtle, so there’s no way we’re sneaking out with it.” I explained.

“We’ll have to obtain it with force. I’m hacking into the building's system now. In a moment or two I’ll have access to all security cameras, building plans, information on everybody living there, and even some utility functions like lights. They might have a place where they store all their weapons.” She said while the sound of clicking could be heard in the background of the call.

Dougman could hear what we were talking about, and was listening attentively. I could see a faint glimmer of hope in his dull eyes. Personally, I too was a bit anxious to see if there really was a possibility we might escape this without losing our heads. So we wait a moment and she comes back on. “Alright, I’ve downloaded a full layout of the building. Looks like they’re keeping their armory on the second floor at the end of the hall. if you can get inside, there’s a whole mess of weapons to help you get that thing back. I’ll call Steve and Jim and inform them that there’s been a change in plans. They probably have guns of their own. I’m not sure about Lacey and Kevin, but they’ll figure something out.” She said.

“Well that’s all good and stuff but we still need to get out of this closet. There’s thugs outside who can wrestle elephants. We won’t be able to fight our way past them to get to the Armory even if we take them by surprise.” I explained.

I heard some more soft clicking and then she came back with “...Alright, I think I found a way out of that storage closet that’s more of a stealthy route...uh...is there a poster of the ShawShank Redemption in that closet?” She asked.

“Why the bell would there be a...” I began to say. But then I glanced at the other side of the room where hanging up above the mop bucket was a poster of the old prison movie. “Actually...never mind. I found it. What about it though?” I asked.

“These schematics say that there is supposed to be a vent behind it. Check it out.” She said.

So I did. I walked over, grabbed one corner, and tore the entire thing off the wall. Behind it was the metal grate of a vent large enough for Dougman and I to fit through. Stuck to the corner was a sticky note that read “screws are rusty. Need new ones. Whoever finds this note, replace grate as soon as possible.”

Whoever found it didn’t though; they just covered it up with a big poster. But now that I had found it, I had discovered a vent with rusty screws and a possible way out. I grabbed the side of it and pulled. Sure enough, the screws couldn’t stop me from pulling it off the wall. The ecstasy of success was almost transcendental.

So I glanced back at Dougman who was now standing up and he stared at me.

“Are we...really doing it?” He asked.

I smiled and nodded. “that’s right, son. We’re breaking out. Then, we’re gonna show Box Turtle who he's really messing with.” I said.

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