Part SEVEN?! This is getting out of hand. What was originally started as a lark has come to life and is stomping around the village! Won’t someone spontaneously form a mob to deal with this menace? Grab the pitchforks! The torches! The suspiciously dirty and cinematically decrepit people! Gather and scream crowd murmurs at the monster arrayed before us!
Where was I?
The Story So Far…
Mouths were agape! Bobo, Chris, and Moose were sequestered at work at the orders of Dane to protect them from the scheduled-obsessed ire of Lyal. No word on whether or not Moose was able to put together a new computer to do whatever nerdy gamer thing he wanted to do. Some things are best left a mystery!
In the meantime, the ever-busy Lyal raided Diana’s shop, rendering her unconscious as he rooted through her workplace looking for… something unnamed. He probably did not raid her panty drawer. Angie was originally going to merely hold Diana there to buy Lyal some time, but what with Diana’s strange protectiveness over her panty drawer, Angie’s briefs have changed. Ha! Briefs!
Lyal is captured! Katrina and Stuart were able to subdue him after Lyal was disarmed by his deadliest adversary: suspect physics. Lyal is dubious about the whole thing and suspects Katrina of cheating reality. Then he drops the stinkbomb: he tells them he was hired by the Agency to kill them. What?! How can that be?! Then Lyal escaped to the surprise of no one.
Caught up? Too bad! We’re resuming this nonsense! Time to put lipstick on this pig!
Disposable Fiction – The Rabbit’s Last Stand: Part Seven
Angela thought it would be cool to slowly walk away from the explosion. Only it wasn’t cool. The pressure wave hit her in the back like a sugar-rushed bully on a football team and her ears popped painfully. There was a heat flash on her back like someone opened a broiling convection oven. Pebbles painfully flicked across her back and head.
She resolved that next time there was a cool explosion, she was going to run away as fast as she could and admire the orange heat blossom from a distance. As it was, the pressure wave goosed her into a quick trot to the nearest mound of dirt that barely passed as shelter.
Situational awareness kicked in. She was at a construction site for a large office building. Poured concrete tubes and girders everywhere. And a hundred and thirty yards away, a cluster of smoking cars and the metallic remains of a large natural gas container.
“Did you see that?” Amy yelled excitedly. “Did you flipping see that?” Amy was fifty yards away to Angela’s side, hiding behind a large concrete tube.
“Not really!” Angela yelled back. “I was walking away slowly.”
“Why the hell were you doing that?” Amy yelled.
“Felt like the right thing to do at the time!” Angie yelled.
“Felt like the… you just missed the explosion of a lifetime! Fwooooosh! It was gorgeous!”
“Yeah, I could feel it. And hear it!”
“But not see it?” Amy asked. “The best explosion you will ever experience in your whole life and you get to feel it and hear it but not see it?! Way to go, Stevie Wonder!”
“Not nice,” Angela yelled out.
“I just blew up a ring of cars that were surrounding us! We were totally dead!”
“I was there,” Angela yelled, exasperated.
“I pulled out my whip and WHAP! Disarmed Trisha! Then she threw a grenade and I used the whip to knock the grenade towards that natural gas tank! Then BOOM! Up goes the tank AND the cars!”
“I know! I know! I was there!”
“Then,” Amy yelled, “for some reason you decided to walk away from that cool explosion? That awesome explosion that happened after I saved our lives?”
“Yeah, yeah!” Angela rolled her eyes. “Has it occurred to you that if we survived that explosion, Trisha did too?”
“How do you mean?”
“I mean,” Angela sighed, “that it is very likely she is out there and your yelling at me about your impressive whip skills and the big explosion is giving away our already obvious position!”
“You’re right!” Amy yelled. “I DO have impressive whip skills! I don’t know why the whip was Tam’s thing. It should’ve always been my thing!”
“Amy, you’re high on adrenaline and not acting like your usual unfun self. If Trisha can survive a three story fall after being pushed off of the roof by Tam, an explosion is not going to pose much of a threat.”
“Wait,” Amy yelled, “Do you really think she is still out there?”
“So do I,” Trisha yelled. She shot at Angela to further make the point.
“Damn it,” Amy yelled. “Why aren’t you dead?”
Angela yelled, “I got away in time!”
“I was answering for Trisha. That’s what she was going to say.”
“No I wasn’t,” Trisha yelled. “It was going to be something different!”
“Oh,” Angela asked dubiously. “Like what? It was going to be something like that…”
“Nuh uh!” Trish yelled.
“…I mean not in those exact words, but you know? Variations on the theme!”
“Nope, something completely different.”
Angela rolled her eyes. “Like what? What were you going to say?”
“Well,” Angela yelled. “Waiting! Tick tock!”
“The moment’s passed,” Trisha yelled. “It was going to be so cool, but I can’t do it now. It’d sound stupid.”
“Come on!” Amy yelled, “Tell us!”
“No,” Trisha yelled. “Wit is timing! It’s all messed up now, thanks to Angela!”
“Well,” Amy yelled, “Now I REALLY want to know!”
“Too bad,” Trisha yelled. “Angela?”
“Thanks for ruining the moment. Just for that…”
“Closed casket for you.” Trisha yelled. She sent three more bullets Angela’s way to make sure the point was made.
“You’re taking it too seriously, Trisha,” Angela yelled.
“No I am not!” Trisha protested. “It was a really cool thing to say! Especially after a cool explosion like that!”
Amy yelled, “I know! Right?!”
“I doubt I’ll get to see a better one,” Trisha yelled. “Of course, dumbass over there decided to walk away from it.”
Amy barked out a laugh. Angela growled.
“You know what,” Angela yelled, “I’m glad I short circuited your stupid phrase! I’m glad I ruined your timing!”
“I knew it!”
“Amy,” Angela stage whispered, “Why aren’t you going after Trisha yet?”
“I don’t know where she is. I can’t get her into whip range.”
“Use your freaking gun!” Angela yelled angrily.
Trisha yelled, “I am!”
“When you have a kick ass whip like this,” Amy yelled, “there’s no way you’d go back to a gun. This isn’t a weapon, it’s a lifestyle!”
“I got to admit,” Trisha yelled, “It IS a pretty cool whip!”
“Oh for crying in the beer,” Angela muttered, then yelled, “Look… this is ridiculous. Can you at least tell us who paid you? ”
Angela could sense the shrug in Trisha’s words. “Sure, why not. You’re dead anyway. Katrina and Stuart send their regards! Bye, ladies! Amy, I’ll be collecting that whip soon!”
Angela heard a rapid beeping next to her. She looked at the dirt next to her. There was a flashing red LED light. Trisha had already rigged the mound with explosives. Angela started running as fast as she could. She saw out of the corner of her eye Amy running as well.
The explosion threw Angela in the air. She landed heavily on her front, rolling and bruised. Her whole world was a high-pitched tinnitus squeal. Through the high whistle, she could hear Trisha scream, “NEW BEST EXPLOSION!”
“I cannot believe you were keeping those in your panty drawer.” Angie muttered.
Diana protested, “It’s not a panty drawer, it’s a…”
“…drawer with panties in it. Yeah, I know. I just can’t believe those were in there.”
Diana sighed. “You don’t get to judge,” she said. “You’re the one who’s tied up.”
Angie struggled against the ropes holding her down in the wooden rocking chair, then sighed. “I mean… SO many questions, Diana. Too many.”
“It was worth allowing you a peek so I could knock you out,” Diana said, “But you don’t get to judge here.”
“I haven’t even gotten to judging yet,” Angie said. “I am more thinking about logistics. How do you…”
“Shut up,” Diana opined. “You’re the prisoner now. I get to ask you the questions.”
Angie nodded. “Fair enough.”
“What was Lyal looking for?”
Angie smirked. “Whatever it was, he would’ve lost track if he looked inside your…”
“Panty drawer, yeah. Can we leave that?”
“I don’t know if I can. I think part of me will be in that pantry drawer forever,” Angie sighed.
Diana slapped her.
“Ow!” Angie protested. “That stang!”
“Yeah, yeah, and the back of my head is still throbbing because of Lyal. Or was it you? Anyway, I still owe you a couple of punches for the betrayal. So why did Lyal come here? What was he looking for?”
Angie shrugged as best as she could in the restraints. “I might as well tell you. He’s probably already finished his contract. He was here to gather info on Katrina and Stuart. Namely, where their main stash is. He’s going there to meet them.”
Diana’s eyes widened.
Angie smiled slightly. “It’s too late to warn them. I mean, you can try if you want to. I’ll wait here.”
Diana growled, then ran to her phone. She picked it up and said, “Siri, call Katrina.”
“I don’t recognize ‘cull carbiener.'”
“Siri, CALL… KATRINA.”
“I don’t understand ‘coil careener.”
Diana growled, “Siri, C – A – L – L – K – A – T – R – I – N – A!”
“I don’t understand ‘see a falafel crate eye in hay.'”
“Gah!” Diana screamed! She unlocked her phone and dialed out.
The phone picked up. She heard the message, “Hi, this is Katrina. I am away from my phone right now, probably avoiding you. Leave it. Or don’t. I am not invested in the outcome.”
“Shit,” Diana sighed, then realized she was being recorded. “Er… please don’t be dead! Lyal is on his way. Angie is a traitor…”
“Hey!” Angie protested.
“…Lyal knows where the drop is. Do the alternative one. Number twelve. Call me if you’re still alive! If you’re not alive, don’t bother.” Diana hung up her phone and started pacing.
“I am not a traitor,” Angie sighed. “I am just not with you. I work for other people and am completely loyal to them.”
Diana turned around, her face a mask of rage. “Whatever! How long have you been working with Lyal?!”
“Oh, for years now. He’s one of my best customers. Pays more than you do, certainly.”
“So why kill Katrina and Stuart?”
“Didn’t you ever want to know what Katrina’s special project was?”
Diana shook her head.
Angie shrugged. “Well I know what it is. And there are people who don’t want that project to happen. People like The Agency.”
Diana shook her head. “The Agency doesn’t pay to kill. They are paid TO kill.”
Angie sighed. “Well, suit yourself. So now what?”
Diana sighed. “Trying to decide that.”
Angie nodded. “Toughy, yes? Here I am, yet you’re not a murderer.”
“I’m thinking I can be.”
Angie shook her head. “No, you can’t. You know it. The problem is I know it too. Just turn me loose. I’ve done my job and have been richly compensated. You’ll never see me again.”
Diana growled. “You mean I’ll never see it coming.” She paced, then turned around to Angie. “You’re right. I am not a murderer.” She smiled a wolfish grin. “Which is why I am taking you to Sarah.”
Angie blinked. “Oh, f*ck.”
“Wooooo!!!!” Moose yelled. “Did you see that?!”
Dane’s voice came out the speakers. “I saw it! I saw it! We did it! Endgineer Omegaplugg! And only eleven wipes!”
“Bored,” Bobo said. “You’ve been screaming orders at that computer for four hours.”
“Who is that,” Dane asked over the speakers. “Is that Bobo?”
“Nope,” Bobo said, “It is Karl Von Habsburg, head of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine and advocate for the Pan-European movement.”
“Shut the f*ck up, your majesty,” Moose offered.
“Could all of you shut up?” Chris asked. “I think I’ve found something here!”
“What’s the website’s name? I bet I have it bookmarked,” Bobo said.
“For the last time, Bobo,” Chris said, “I am not surfing porn.”
Bobo shrugged. “Your loss. You’ll notice that none of the big porn sites are blocked. Isn’t that right, Dane?”
“What?” Dane asked, alarmed.
Moose said, “Shut it, Bobo.”
“Guys, not porn again,” Chris said. “HR is this close to blocking my number.”
Bobo smiled. “That’s because the head of HR is as pervy as they come.”
Moose barked out a laugh.
“Glenn is a fine guy,” Dane said over Moose’s computer. “Nothing weird about him.”
Moose shrugged. “Yeah, if you don’t mind certain fluids, he’s good people.”
Chris sighed and shook his head. “I’m not surfing for porn. I found something else.”
“More interesting that porn?” Moose asked.
“Very much so,” Chris said.
“Bullshit!” Bobo yelled. “You’re insulting the Internet, which is based entirely on porn. Apologize to the Internet right now!”
“Yeah,” Moose agreed. “Apologize to the Internet’s face!”
Chris sighed again. “No, guys, I am not going to apologize to the Internet. Not again. Besides, this isn’t even on the Internet.”
“Everything is on the Internet,” Moose said.
Bobo said, “Your mom is on the Internet.”
Moose nodded sagely. “This is true.”
“This isn’t on the Internet. This is in our local network,” Chris said.
“Dane,” Moose asked, “is The Agency hosting it’s own porn site?”
“For the last time, Moose, no. We are not nor will we ever host our own porn site,” Dane said.
Moose muttered, “what a waste of bandwidth.”
“Oh, for… guys, focus up!” Chris said, “I found something irregular. Dane, get over here.”
“Gah!” Dane protested. “I just sat down!”
“You just sat down over four hours ago! Get over here!”
“Fine,” Dane growled.
“See what you did?” Bobo asked. “You woke him up. Now he’s grumpy.”
“As long as he’s coming down,” Chris said. “This is important.”
Dane came storming into the room. “What now, Chris? What’s going on?”
Chris swivelled in his chair towards Dane. “Well, I was nosing around the network, looking into alternate ways to report Bobo and Moose that might get me past the human firewall that is our Human Resources help line…”
“Hey!” Moose and Bobo cried.
“…when I came across some suspicious looking folders. They were kind of buried, but it was like leaping down a rabbit hole. It’s taken a while, but it looks like there are some major irregularities in Human Resources. Like, a lot of money is being moved all over the place. It’s a jumble.”
Dane walked over to Chris’ desk and looked over his shoulder.
“See?” Chris asked. “It looks like a ton of money is being moved around. And here’s the weird thing. Every time the money moves, a little is deducted. Here, it reads ‘processing fee’ or ‘processing convenience fee’ or ‘processing finalized’ or whatever. It’s all part of the Human Resources budget and the money is being moved between the departments, but always ending up back in Human Resources.”
“And?” Dane asked. Moose and Bobo walked over to the computer.
“And processing fees? Within our own company?”
Bobo shrugged. “Every department has their own cost center. Everything they do has a cost. I bet it’s just a matter of keeping track of employees who are working these projects and the resources used when they do a job for another department.”
“What projects?” Chris asked. “The money is just being shuffled around. Is it part of the ‘move money around because I’m bored’ project?”
“Is some accountant just trying to justify their phoney-baloney job?” Moose asked.
“Man, what is it with you and accountants?” Dane asked.
Moose shrugged. “I don’t like them is all.”
“It doesn’t track how much is being eaten by processing fees,” Chris said, “but with the amount of money being moved around, the cost must be enormous!”
“This,” said Bobo, “would be a lot more interesting if porn were involved.”
Chris shrugged. “It kind of is… someone is seriously f*cking with the budget. This is happening very frequently. It seems to be targeted in a way to ensure that no single department will miss the nickle-and-diming happening to their budget. No single fee is large enough to create notice. But it is happening often. These finances… they are completely hosed. But it all seems to center around Human Resources.”
Dane looked thoughtfully at the monitor. “But we have auditors who look into these things.”
Chris shrugged. “Who watches the watchmen?”
“I’m going to have to look into this.” Dane grumbled.
“I don’t think that will be necessary,” David said. “I would advise you to stay right there.” David’s AR-15, pointed at Dane, Moose, and Bobo, made his advice absolutely valid. “Chris, you should have stuck to your previous surfing.”
“I was NOT looking up porn!” Chris yelled.
Trisha is back AGAIN?! What kind of badass falls three stories into a dumpster, gets up, then ambushes Angela and Amy later at a construction site? What do you think Trisha wanted to say but couldn’t because her momentum was stolen by Angela? Did Katrina and Stuart hire Trisha to kill Amy and Angela? Which explosion did you prefer? The first? The second? And did I completely forget to mention what happened to Amy’s leg? (Answer in the back of the book: yes I did.)
Will we ever get to find out what it was in Diana’s panty drawer, or is it going to be something else I completely forget about and therefore never address, kind of like Amy’s leg? What is going to happen to Angie at the hands of Sarah? And how many times?
And what exactly did Chris discover? Did it have anything to do with porn? Is The Agency hosting its own porn site? Undoubtedly not, despite Bobo and Moose’s constant entries into the Agency Suggestion Box. Will Chris ever apologize to the face of the Internet? If so, will the Internet forgive him? What is the deal with HR? And what is David up to?
I’ll bet PART EIGHT will address at least one of these questions – hopefully the one about Amy’s leg. I sure hope I write it!