The Mad Waxxer, laying low and keeping an eye on the Chief of Police, did so from the comfort of the hot tub in the bathroom using cameras and a tablet. Modern technology made it so much easier to enjoy simple pleasures like hot, bubbling water on the body while he helped himself to a sirloin sandwich. He’d have preferred a good burger, though not just any fast food. Unfortunately, the Presario’s burgers left something to be desired.
In short, the Mad Waxxer was, at the moment, the Mad Relaxer. He’d even left his mask on the side of the hot tub, further exposing himself to the world consisting of his bathroom. It was a world with only himself in it, though he accepted calls from those who knew him well enough to have his number. That meant Theodora, whose voice made an already-pleasant day all the more pleasant. He pressed a button that took the call while he kept an eye on the cameras. “Have I died? An angel calls me.”
Her words didn’t lighten his mood. She spoke in a rush of concern. “You need to move. Dad has people coming for you.”
“How do you know?” He tried to set his sandwich down, but knocked the plate onto the floor, shattering it. He stood up, tablet in one hand, sandwich in the other, and tried to hit the switch to turn off the jets with the back of his foot. He nearly slipped when loud knocking at the door of the hotel suite startled him. He didn’t ask who it was.
“Housekeeping!” called a gruff voice. Unless housekeeping had taken to wearing nondescript tan and black clothes while delivering a load of shotguns, his visitors were here to clean him up instead. The Waxxer eased himself out of the hot tub, then scrunched up his face and forced his mouth shut before he could yell at having stepped on broken shards of plate. He hopped on one foot over to the sink and counter.
He let out a “Shit!” when he heard the door shatter under the heavy boots of someone meant to kil him.
Relax off, wax on. He set the tablet down, then lifted it back up. He realized that would be more useful than the sandwich. The tablet let him track the men flooding into the suite with guns. He set the sandwich down and dressed in towel and mask.
The door burst in, shotgun leveled at him. The man wielding it took a sirloin sandwich to the face and fired widely. He missed the Waxxer, but not the Waxxer’s ear drums. They fucking hurt. It felt like the pain was embedded deep in the tissues of his ears and causing the intense ringing he heard. Gritting his teeth, he balled up his fist, reached way back, and asserted himself on the man’s face. The soldier’s head bounced off the doorway and he fell down. That left plenty of time for the Mad Waxxer to yell and rub his hand.
The pain in his ears and hand was joined by a sting from a projectile whizzing right past him. He ducked to the side, suddenly wishing he’d ordered a salad, or fries, or anything else he could toss in the face of this assailant. “This diet’s going to be the death of me,” he said to try and cover up the overwhelming fear as more and more shots were fired into the bathroom while he stuffed himself as far underneath the sink as possible. He thought he wet himself at one point, but it turned out to be the water from the perforated hot tub.
At one point, the man by the doorway stirred and tried to stand, but the others didn’t halt their fire quickly enough. The Mad Waxxer was surprised how hot the man’s blood was, but he was quickly getting used to being surprised. He reached back to get whatever was pressing in on him out of the way, figuring he could at least die in comfort, and pulled out the bathroom trash can. He looked around, wondering if there was anything else he could use to help himself. He he saw shards of plate as well as pieces of the broken mirror.
When the shots died off and the first man entered, he shoved the small trash can over the man’s face. He barely even thought when he shoved the mirrored glass up again and again, cutting into the underside of the man’s face, between the chin and throat. He blinked as the man fell, looking down at his bloody, cut hands and the glass. He dropped it, looking at the blood that had covered him.
He had never taken a life before. Now, some man just like himself was… gone. Not disappeared, but he had ceased to be. It all happened so suddenly.
“It gets easier,” said the next man through the doorway, who saw the Waxxer’s shocked expression and met it with the barrel of his gun.
The Mad Waxxer looked him in the eye and puked. He was surprised when the other man didn’t give him a faceful of buckshot in return for the vomit, but after a moment, he realized he could do more than stare at the thing. As the man wiped at his face, the Waxxer grabbed the shotgun, his hand landing on the pump along with the man’s. He moved his body out of the way and tried to pull the gun away. It didn’t come free of the assassin’s grip, so he pushed it. That didn’t loosen it either, so he pulled it forward again to drive it into the man’s belly. He missed the first time and the man tried to take control of it. After a few seconds of struggle, the man threw his shoulder into the Waxxer and knocked him back. He raised the shotgun, squeezed the trigger, and nothing happened. Cursing, the man looked down at the gun’s pump, then at the floor, where unfired shells rolled around.
The Mad Waxxer saw his opportunity. He tried punching the man in the face, reasoning that it went so well the first time except for his injured hand. He was out of his element, though, and the punch nearly missed. It clipped the man’s nose instead, which had more give than the Waxxer expected. When the man glared at him, he realized his nose no longer lined up correctly.
The man yelled and raised the butt of his shotgun for a downward swing. The Waxxer ducked and tried to crawl under the man’s legs as the assassin struck, but tripped the man up instead. He tumbled into the hot tub, the shotgun skittering out of his grip. The Mad Waxxer grabbed the towel rack and ripped it off to beat the downed man over and over.
He was surprised by another shot from behind. It was easy enough to do with as many unprotected shots as he’d heard by now. He thought there would be pain at least. Or holes. He looked down at himself, and while he saw an amazing amount of blood, only a little came from his winged arm. He turned around to see if the person’s warning shot was about to become the non-warning variety and saw the man looking up. The Waxxer couldn’t see what he was looking at, but he saw another shotgun swing from above and smack the man in the head. He dropped. After a moment, a flower pot fell on him as well.
“Hello?” asked the Waxxer, stepping toward the bathroom. He glanced back to make sure the man in the hot tub was in no hurry to get back up, then ducked and looked out.
The Brazilian clung to the ceiling. “Wassup?” he heard from far away and through all the ringing.
The Waxxer let out a breath mixed with a sigh. “I can’t believe I’m happy to see you!”
The Brazilian looked around, then motioned with his hand to lower something. The Waxxer didn’t quite catch what he said next. He turned his dominant ear toward the other kidnapper. “What?”
The Brazilian’s eyes widened and he dropped down, pressing his lips close to the Waxxer’s ear. “I said, stop yelling or you’ll alert the rest.”
The Waxxer pulled away from his rival and looked around. Spotting the tablet down under the sink, he bent to pick it up and checked the cameras he could see on the device’s cracked screen. “I think that was all of them,” he told the Brazilian, who took the tablet away from him after the announcement to check for himself.
He trapped through as well, then turned the tablet toward the Waxxer. The room they were keeping Chief Johanssen in had been breached. The intruder and the Chief were both down, the Chief possibly even dead. “Grab your gear,” the Brazilian said. The Waxxer didn’t argue.
They both rushed into the holding room, Waxxer in his mask and smoking jacket only, to begin checking over both of the men on the floor. The Chief had one hand free of his handcuffs and some bruises forming already, but he was breathing. The other man wasn’t. The Brazilian jumped back as Johanssen lunged at him suddenly, but was able to grab the man’s arms and hold him.
“They tried to kill you too?” the Waxxer asked.
Johanssen swallowed, then grimaced in pain. “Yeah. I identified myself when he burst in, but he attacked anyway.”
“Theodora said her father sent people. He’s trying to clean all of us up,” the Mad Waxxer said.
The Brazilian nodded. “We need to take him down.” He looked between the two other men, then asked Johanssen, “Are you in favor of the Pinkertons?”
The Chief of Police looked down at the body next to him. “I think that answer should be fairly obvious at this point. No. I didn’t get into this so people could do whatever they want without any justice. Even when I came here, I thought I would just look the other way on some harmless stuff. I didn’t think they’d start killing whoever was inconvenient.”
The Waxxer shrugged, “You didn’t stop their small crimes. Why did you expect them to follow more important laws?”
The Chief wiped some blood off his face that had begun to trail toward his eye as he looked at the Waxxer, but the Brazilian spoke up, “Actually, there’s some controversy over the efficacy of Broken Windows Theory. At it’s worst, it’s a neutral-sounding way to be racist. The rich can always pay their way out of being held accountable. I bet they’ve threatened to fire Chief Johanssen here many times.”
“A few. And they could. They bumped me up to Chief of Police out of nowhere,” Johanssen said, then grunted. “Ow… nobody needs all of their lungs, do they?” That got a smile all the way around. “The things they do to control the police around here are legal, because they made sure the politicians left it legal. Someone who cares about law and order can’t do anything to them without breaking that law themselves. I’m sorry. I’ve really fucked up. I let the money go to my head.”
The Brazilian put his hand on the Chief’s shoulder. “It’s fine. We are all just folks here. We’ve been pushed down, kicked down, and, from time to time, we’ve fallen. You have the opportunity to find out if you’re the kind of man who stays down when you’ve been kicked, or if you’re the kind who stands back up and faces it.”
He offered his other hand. The Chief took it and they both stood up, with the Waxxer helping Johanssen when he started to falter and trip over the body next to them. He could have said something snarky about the short speech the Brazilian gave Johanssen, but something about it reminded him of his insecurities over Theodora, and his desire to never be without her. “First, we put an end to Ted Hunnicutt’s plans,” the Waxxer said. “Then, perhaps, I take a long vacation to make my life about that which I love, instead of that which I hate.”