From deep in my underground lair below the offices of Herman Shalhoub, C.P.A., about as deep as the basement is, I sent out a signal. Using improvements of the signal interceptor, I blanketed Memphis in PGTV! Bwahahahahahaha!
I don’t mean I stuck them all with Disney shows or Justin Bieber concerts, though. There’s evil and then there’s unforgivable.
Nope, I cut in to city’s TV time to make a bold proclamation. I was standing there, shirtless, my upper body oiled up, eyes bulging out, and with a gold belt around my waist. “Ooooh yeah, let me tell you something brother. Brother, I know the Geckomaniacs are just itching to see a rematch, brother. Can I get a hell yeah?” The pirates, off camera, gave me a hell yeah. “Oooh yeah, see I don’t think one fight was just enough for us. The people weren’t satisfied. I wasn’t satisfied. I know you weren’t satisfied. And if there’s anything I’m good at, it’s satisfying people. And myself! So this is going to be best of three. You’ve already got one win. Now comes the greatest challenge ever…two wins. And you better know, if you even have the testicular fortitude to come after me, that I’m going to take this championship belt,” I held it up close to the camera, showing off that it was for the 2010 hog wrasslin’ contest at some county fair, “shine it up real nice, turn it side ways, shove it straight up your candy ass, and then out your mouth so I can have it back after I detail it a little bit.”
I dropped the belt and motioned to the crewman behind the camera. “Alright, that’s a cut.” I turned around and pulled at my crotch. “The oil must be reacting to the armor.” Then I reached down the back of my pants and gave a good scratch in the crack. I even started shaking one of my legs, like a dog.
“Hey, is that thing still on?” I asked, as I turned around.
“No, it isn’t,” came the reply from the cameraman.
“It isn’t. We turned it off when you waved. Good thing, too, all that stuff you just did would have been embarrassing.”
See, that’s why I hate having seamen at my base.
Another of Flamebeard’s crew chimed in, “The whole thing was pretty embarrassing, actually. I thought you killed people for a living? You came across like an idiot.”
See the kind of morons I have to put up with when I don’t work alone?
Nothing really happened that first night. No fights broke out, though we came close to it. I had the guys stay inside my somewhat cramped little hole in the ground and tossed a couple of bear traps out in the hallway leading to it. I also unscrewed the lightbulb. Those are some high tech deathtraps right there. Mhm, that’s quality.
The next day, we were all just sitting around, me playing cards with the crew, Flamethrower cooking smores, Flamebeard sleeping off the last of my vodka, and Snowblower watching some Mexican soap opera when we heard it.
“So how do you think they’ll find this place? You think they’ll track the signal or look through financial records or something?” asked Flamethrower.
“Moai there. Went out, did a bunch of loud things to get attention with Moai by my side, dropped a subtle hint about his presence on a phone call to her, and I also dumped hot dogs on that woman not that far from here. Eventually, you can narrow down a place where you see a man act like that with a Moai sometimes seen moving around on its own.”
“Huh, sounds- what the fuck?”
We were cut off by a clank and a howl of pain from the corridor to the stares.
“Who is it?” I called out to the door.
“It’s Steve! Steve the pirate! Fuck, I went out drinking and you put down a bear trap?!”
I pointed to the cameraman and the guy who insulted my excellent promo work. “You two, go out and get him.”
Flamebeard had woken and pulled himself to his feet. He held his sword out, the flat of the blade against my chest, “No one gives orders to my crew but me. I hear you try it again, and we’ll keelhaul you once our deal is done.”
“Geez. Fine, you take the formalities, Cap’N Crunch.” I bowed sarcastically.
He pointed at the same guys I ordered. “You two, go out and get him.” This time, they hopped right to it, opening up the door and heading out into the darkness beyond. They were barely out there before I heard two metal clanking sounds and two more screams.
I looked to Flamebeard, eyes were close to matching the flickering of his beard, “Hey, I have a twisted sense of humor. What was your excuse for sending them out there with the traps?”
He growled, not having known about the traps, but just then, we heard fighting from the hallway. I reached out and closed the door, just in case. Then I put the little chain on the door. Nobody’s invading my secret base without a good, hard shove, I’ll tell you that much.
I barely got it on there when the door was knocked in. A note here, it doesn’t really happen like in the movies or comics. The door doesn’t swing open really fast with splinter flying or anything like that. The door frame cracked and the thing came loose. THEN it swung hard, slamming against the wall, smacking into a crewman who had run to the door to try and brace it. I rushed the door before our intruder could get a clear view and was rewarded with Venus kicking me in the balls. Wait a minute, that’s a terrible reward. Someone ought to say something to her about that!
The initial pain wasn’t so bad, but by the time she leapt on my and forced me to the ground with her knees against my shoulders, the reverberations were really going to town on my boys.
As Venus found out when Magic Moai, the crew, Flamebeard, Snowblower, and Flamethrower surrounded her, my other boys were prepared to go to town on her.
After that point, she was a model prisoner. We had her tied up. And handcuffed. Zip-tied. Gagged. Blindfolded. Fingers duct-taped together. Sound-canceling headphones were put on her head. It almost got me a little hot. If only we’d had some latex to go with it.
“What next?” asked Snowblower.
Flamethrower stopped scratching with a plastic straw down his arm cast long enough to add, “Yeah, you’re going to kill her, right?”
“Of course I am, but I’m going to do this the old fashioned way. We need a deathtrap.”
The big crewman with the harpoon just looked around, “Uh, I don’t see anything for a death trap. No sharks, no mutated sea bass, no mechanical octopus.”
“Well I didn’t originally plan for this, I just didn’t think this was going to go over so well,” I told them. Then I spotted more lights at the end of the corridor. Then a can of tear gas came flying through the doorway and began to expel its contents.
“Gentlemen,” I said as I grabbed my coffee blaster and fired hot latte at the advancing SWAT team, “I have no problem massacring cops, but at this time I really feel a proper deathtrap is more important than the potential of her going loose because we’re all busy brawling with the popo. Now is the time we show our true colors, gentlemen!” I threw Venus over my shoulder and headed for the back of the basement to the escape hatch built into a wall-hanging flatscreen TV. Functions perfectly well, but press a latch and it swings out. Ta da! Instant hole to freedom.
At first, some guys wanted to go after their buddies. It was Flamebeard who shut them up, “We can lose three people or we can risk losing the rest of us. We’ll do this the Gecko’s way this time.”
So all the seamen packed into my freedom hole and we liberated ourselves from the Man.
I gave them orders to find me a few useful items, then stay out of sight and meet me when the heat was off. After a day of hiding out in various places that no one would find us at, like the stadium during a Tennessee Titans game, we all made our way to a YMCA. A Y-M-C-A-a!
“So what is all this for, again?” said harpoon guy, who was dragging along a shopvac. Someone else had spaghetti and meatballs. Another guy was blowing up whoopee cushions.
“It serves a very important purpose. Hey, I need someone to dive into the pool here and loosen up the lightbulb. It needs to barely flicker on every few minutes. Someone want to do that?”
Snowblower raised his hand, then began to strip down to his underwear. He was a tighty whitey guy.
“Ok, good. Now, where’s that motor I wanted?” I looked around. A crewman helping to carry a box took a hand off it to wave. “Alright, set that down, fix it into place real well, and I’ve got the rope here. Harpoon fellow, think you can get this rope over those rafters?” I pointed to the metal rafters above the pool. He nodded.
Flamebeard came marching in then with a bulk case of ketchup, growling, “What is the meaning of this?”
“It’s a pronoun or adjective to indicate someone or something close at hand, or an adverb implying an extra degree or extent of something. But that’s not important right now. We have to dump that ketchup in the pool.”
“What is this ridiculous thing you’re having us do!” he roared, causing everyone but Snowblower to turn and look at us.
“Fine, fine,” I put an arm around Flamebeard’s shoulder. He was not amused by this. “I didn’t put any work whatsoever into a deathtrap. Last minute addition to the plan. I had that stuff I got from Max, I had the way they’d find us figured out, all that, but no deathtrap. So here’s what we’re gonna do. The pool is going to be dark. The lights in the room will be off. Venus will be suspended and slowly lowered toward the water, still bound and gagged, but no longer blindfolded or deaf. She’s upside down. She can’t get a clear view. All of a sudden, a single pool light flickers. Red ooze is in the water. Mysterous dark tentacles and odd masses and round things are barely seen. She craps her pants and as we all know, shit flows downhill, obscuring her vision even more. And she’s being lowered into that…and she drowns, probably thinking some genetically engineered alien squid thing is about to eat her. The panic will make it all go quicker.”
Flamebeard shook his head. “I can’t believe it. It’s not half bad.” He nodded to his guys and told them, “Back to work, do what he wants.”
I turned with him to watch as harpoon guy got the rope over the rafters and people began to tie up Venus. Snowblower climbed out of the darkened pool, distractingly wet in those tight white underwear. The shopvac with its hose was dumped in the water and sank. Someone began emptying ketchup bottles into the water. The spaghetti and meatballs were tossed in. For good measure, Flamethrower even began unwrapping Snickers bars and throwing them in.
Flamebeard stepped well away to the side as I squeed. “Oooh, this is great. You think she’ll like the deathtrap?”
Flamebeard patted me on the shoulder, “It’s the thought that counts, and you put a lot more into this than you otherwise seem capable of.”
I turned to him, “Well, I decided I needed to do something very special for her. You think I should propose something?”
He raised an eyebrow, “Like ‘We’re not so different, you and I?’ or that she join the dark side? You’ve only been feuding less than a month. Give it some time. You two need to feel each other out more as arch nemeses before you ask something like that. Just relax.”
“I kind of wish I could be here to see her face when she finds out there’s no monster, but she’s going to be upside down and underwater when that happens anyway.”
“You can still keep her in your thoughts while we’re all ransacking the city. Oh, shush,” he said as the lights went off and they took her blindfold and headphones off.
I walked right up to her, took a bow with a flourish, and told her, “1-1, princess. Try and make it to our third fight, if you can.” I turned and walked away, joined by Moai hopping after me, Venus’s muffled response somewhat harder to hear as the crew began to hoist her into the air over the pool.
The only way I’d have looked cooler was if I was in slow motion and something exploded behind me.