Hey, hey, hey, folks. It’s Pygmalion on the mic on the late night shift once again. We’re about to go into another of my Power Hour of Metal, starting off with some Powerwolf and Gloryhammer. Hold up, my lovely assistant’s joining me. Hands off, guys, I made her myself. I’ve just been informed that I’m going to have to delay the Power Hour of Metal briefly while I go retrieve my car from the tow truck currently trying to hook up and repo it. I know what you’re doing, Charmer, and it’s not going to work. You don’t get a prize if you cheated. Convincing someone to tow my car is dirty pool.
I’ve got to go get my car back. Now’s as good a time as any to throw on some Outlaw X Presents. Let me see what submissions we’ve got here and… oh yeah, top of my personal list when I first heard about this one. You all are going to love this one.
One of the masked men looked around at the equally unidentifiable crew in the van. “I heard this guy’s so rich, he’s got solid gold toilets at his house. What do you think he’s got in there?”
A few of the bunch sighed at the nervous newbie. He was unidentifiable except for a large number 9 on his chest. The nearest one, Six, cleared his throat, then spoke, “It’s a paint factory. So paint. Oils, watercolors. I don’t know what else they do.”
“Road paint, anti-graffiti paint, anti-fouling paint, anti-climb paint…” Four droned on.
“You didn’t look that up on a phone, did you?” Fourteen said. They didn’t have fourteen people, but someone realized it could be more confusing to others if they inflated their numbers. “We’re not supposed to bring phones.”
“I didn’t!” Four insisted. “I have a cousin who does procurement for public works. She’s told me about some of the trick paints they get.”
“Like what?” asked Nine.
Four shook his head, then looked at him. “There’s a type of paint out there made to be especially bouncy to pee.”
“Hold up. What does that mean? How do you bounce pee?” Fourteen asked.
“Christ. It’s special waterproof paint so that if you pee on the side of a building, it doesn’t drip down. The stream hits the wall and the water bounces back toward you. They figure if enough guys splash themselves, they’ll stop peeing on walls.”
“Ain’t that a pisser,” Three muttered in expectation of a laugh that never came.
“Who is going to do all the talking anyway?”
Three of the numbers gang raised their hands, including Nine.
“We’re here!” their driver, Eighty, declared. They pulled into the small, barren parking lot of the paint factory. Once in action, the games were over. Dressed all in black clothing and masks, armed with guns and usually carrying a bag or a box to spare, they unloaded from the van. Eighty actually stopped Nine real quick. “I heard that about the toilets, too. Too bad he won’t have those here, huh?”
The group kicked in the doors, guns ready. Nine took up position near the front, kicked in the door, and yelled in Finnish, “Everyone on the floor, no one near the door!”
Erno Susi, the ruler of Finland’s vast criminal underground, was quickly regretting his decision to hear out the man who had been attempting to meet with him for months. The man, dressed in a coat absurdly oversized for him, had hounded him with emails and phonecalls. He’d promised the business opportunity of a lifetime to take advantage of the removal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
Erno had finally given in. The determination of Mr. Nombre convinced him to at least hear the other man out. Instead, the pitch and economic data had been about fish and electronics parts. Erno cleared his throat and sat forward to lean against his study desk. “Mr. Nombre, this is interesting and I can see why you’re interested. I don’t understand why you come to me for this deal.”
Mr. Nombre nodded and adjusted his oversized coat. As well-built as he was, the man’s coat was practically a blanket. “These are merely the most aboveboard of items we can make available. I have other contacts in the UK. I won’t bore you with the details.”
“Do bore, do bore,” Erno said. “It would only be prudent for me to know what business I’m getting into.”
“Well, I-.” Mr. Nombre was cut off as a landline on the desk rang.
“Pardon me. You left your phone behind and this is only to be used in cases of emergency,” Erno said. He grabbed the receiver and lifted it up. Erno’s face went red and he made a low growl. “The vault? Stop them. Slow them down. We’ll be there soon.” He slammed the phone down and looked up to Mr. Nombre. “I’m afraid pressing business draws me elsewhere. We should continue this another day.”
“Oh, I would happily wait,” Nombre said.
Erno shook his head. “This will take some time. Please, another day.”
“May I avail myself of your facilities first?” the man in the large coat asked.
Erno’s nostrils flared but he nodded. “Sure. I will have my man show you out when you are finished.”
“Thank you. You know, I’ve heard things about your toilets… nevermind. Bad timing.”
Back at the paint factory, the crew of thieves found that many of the skeleton crew in the factory had suddenly found their courage. Nine was on a catwalk overlooking storage vats of acrylic when Thirteen called up to him. “Look out!”
Nine didn’t have time to turn around before a hefty worker pounced on him. The fell to the catwalk, Nine’s rifle falling close to the edge. The worker reached for it, but Nine grabbed the back of the man’s onesie. He pulled them both to their feet, and went to bang the man against the railing. The large worker grabbed him and attempted to use the momentum to send Nine over the edge. They both went.
The worker smacked onto the hard floor and passed out instantly. Thirteen ran up to the vat Nine had fallen into, watching as the man’s reaching arm was sucked into a vat full of green chemicals. And then stopped with the hand still up there. The other hand broke the surface, now colored green, as Nine headed for the edge. Thirteen looked around and spotted a ladder. He climbed it and reached out, helping guide Nine over and pulling the other man out of the paint with a gasp for air.
“You alright?” Thirteen asked.
After a bit of huffing for air and wiping his face, Nine shook the paint off his head and said, “They better hope that was the bouncy paint, because I think I pissed myself.
Nearby, Eighty stared down the barrel of his rifle at a crowd of more workers, all armed with tools. Wrenches, hammers, screwdrivers, a can opener, and one unfortunate man with a level who must have been the last to get to the box.
Eighty looked at them, then smiled as he saw they were headed into a fourway crossroad between four tanks of paint. “I’m gonna blow it!” he called. He aimed at a nearer tank, checked his angle, and fired. Cyan paint spewed out, but it was too early. The workers broke into a charge. He fired again, not taking his time as much this time. To the rear and left of the workers, the paint tank burst open with magenta paint, knocking over the first in the bunch on a floor already slick with cyan. That started a chain reaction that left them falling all over each other, slipping and sliding in a mix that quickly became a mixture of the two colors, darker and richer than mere cyan.
Sixty-Nine stepped up. “Nice, you blue it.” He clapped Eighty on the shoulder, laughing at his own joke. The workers kept falling all over themselves, unable to stand except for one of their number who, leaning all over the place, managed to stay on his feet with nothing but the aid of his trusty level. Sixty-Nine raised his gun, then shook his head. “I can’t do it. I’m kinda rooting for the guy now. Hey, you better be getting something nice from that dinkhole who expects you to do all the fighting while he pisses on solid gold toilets!”
“Hey!” Six called out from behind them. “We’re almost in! It’s time to go.”
Eighty held up a thumbs-up to signal acknowledgment and turned with Sixty-Nine to join the rest of the crew.
They jogged past where a man lay tied-up and gagged by tape next to a phone hanging off the hook. Just past him was the door marked “Payroll,” that all the numbers were crowding into. Four pulled the door closed as the last of the numbers filtered in. At the rear of the room was a bookcase that had been rolled to the side to reveal a huge vault door. As soon as they were in, they started throwing stuff in front of the door.
“Everyone ready?” asked Five. A wave of affirmations came back. “Good.” He reached into his bag and pulled out a large coat. “Strip off your clothes. We’re getting out of here in this thing.”
By the time Erno Susi arrived at his factory, he found it a mess. Two of the tanks had blown and one guy looked to be in real bad shape. He turned to one of his body men. “Joey, get him to one of our doctors discretely.” Susi reached into his coat and pulled out a submachine gun. “Where are the goatfuckers who did this?”
A man hopped out onto the factory floor, arms and legs tied. Despite that, he gestured as much as he was able with his hands toward Payroll.
Erno’s enforcers and body men moved ahead of him, their own guns drawn and ready for a firefight. Erno must have thought to himself how unlucky this bunch of thieves had to be to But when they finally busted the door down.
“What the hell is this?” asked Erno to a room full of only his guys. There was nothing. The vault door was untouched. The only thing left was a trashbin full of the remains of burnt clothes. One of the enforcers pulled out the remains of a black mask and looked to one of the others.
Erno’s cell phone started ringing. He answered it and a voice on the other end, one of the domestic staff, said through tears, “Thieves! They robbed us!”
Back at the Susi Mansion, a team of thieves were hauling gold toilets, expensive vases, rare paintings, and expensive vintage Air Jordans to a truck waiting at the gates of the compound. Nine hefted a pair of toilets over his shoulders. Another man, having forgotten to wear pants under his other outfit, now wore a fancy pair of slacks while he levitated drawerfuls of gold-plated silverware out to the truck.
Mr. Nombre walked along behind, overseeing the last of the loading.
“Hey, why can’t we teleport all this out using the coat again?” asked one of thieves while carrying an assortment of wine bottles under all six arms.
Mr. Nombre smiled. “I can only teleport something between any coat and a coat I’m wearing. They don’t make coats big enough for everyone to get a big enough share.”
“You went to a lot of trouble,” said a pair of identical thieves at once. They finished setting a painting down in the back of the truck and merged back into one person again. “Why not do the safe?”
Nombre waved it off. “I don’t know how to crack a safe, any of you? No. Any idea what was in there? Me neither.. But you all got powers good at grabbing all this expensive stuff and getting it out. He’ll probably be too embarrassed to report it. What’s he going to tell them, he got robbed by an entire gang of thieves hiding in one coat?”
This is Pygmalion again. I hope you all enjoyed that thrilling and hilarious account of criminal awesome-doing. Now let’s start the Power Hour of Metal off right with a song inspired by my ex-wife who likes to sleep around. That’s right, Charmer, this song about a cheating spouse is just for you. It’s Beast In Black with “Sweet True Lies”. You broke my heart, Charmer, and you fucked up my bumper.
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