Chapter 32:

No Rest for the Wicked


‘Good morning, Texas! This is John Cornflake here presenting for America News Network!’

Jack prepared a bowl of instant noodles for breakfast.

‘Joining me as co-host today is Coco! Hi Coco!’

‘Hi, John!’

Puck shined her trophies.

‘What’s been happening in Texas, Coco? Something crazy, I’ll bet.’

Mezu practised in his dojo.

‘Well, actually, Texas has been relatively quiet lately.’

Sam struggled to make Lobo take a bath.

‘Really? No killer footballers? No killer clowns? No killer sharks? Nothing?’

Marilyn did her makeup in the mirror.

‘No, nothing crazy in Texas. In international news, The Wimpsons has premiered on Jackal to wild success, America has invaded Panama—go get ‘em, boys—and it’s getting closer to that special time of year. Oh, wait, my producer just handed me a card… THE PATRIOTS JUST CAPTURED BLACKFOOT PEAK NUCLEAR POWER PLANT! THEY’RE GOING TO LAUNCH THE SECRET STOCKPILE OF NUCLEAR WARHEADS AT EVERY COMMUNIST COUNTRY ON EARTH! DEFCON 1! DEFCON 1!’

Jack sighed. He put on his wooden mask, picked up his fire axe, took his cup of instant noodles out of the microwave, and kicked open the motel door. ‘No rest for the wicked.’


Everyone was screaming in the helicopter except Jack.

Puck banged the window. ‘How did the government let a slasher gang take over a nuclear power plant?!’

Mezu shook his head. ‘Why is there a secret stockpile of nuclear warheads in a nuclear power plant in the first place?!’

Jack sipped his instant noodles. ‘You guys say that as if civil servants aren’t crazier than us.’

‘Everyone, shut up!’ said Marilyn. ‘I’m trying to think!’

‘I’m not,’ said Sam as she played Super Mary Land on her new Game Man.

Lobo howled. 

The noise stung because of the small space. Everyone covered their ears.

‘Lobo, quit it!’ said Puck.

Lobo stopped.

They all scowled her, but she had such a happy, innocent expression that they all forgave her instantly.

‘Okay,’ said Marilyn. ‘I can’t come along with you all and risk the King in Yellow finding out my secret identity. I’ve had two close calls already. You’re going to have to do this alone.’

‘What?!’ said Puck. ‘How can we defeat the Patriots?! They’re monsters!’

‘You killed Girl Scout.’

‘She was a kid!’

Mezu raised his finger. ‘A young adult.’

Marilyn smiled. ‘My lovelies, you are strong. You are hideously strong. You are but five of my mortal pawns in an infinite interdimensional war and yet you still had the cheek to put whoopee cushion on my seat just now. In fiction, a group of evil villains will try to destroy the world, and the only thing that can stop them is a group of good heroes. This isn’t how things work in real life. In real life, a group of evil villains will try to destroy the world, and the only thing that can stop them is a group of worse villains intent on prolonging its suffering. That’s you. You are the black knights on the hill overlooking the Saxons burning Camelot. You need not fear the Patriots. They’re trying to end the world; they’re trying to throw in the towel. They’re weak. Hack them, slash them, cut them to pieces. Let them know that this dark little world is our plaything, and any who try to harm it will be sent to Hell screaming.’ She leant close to Sam and lightly punched her on the arm. ‘How’s that for a pep-talk?’

Sam shrugged and continued to play Super Mary Land. ‘S’okay. Little creepy.’

The helicopter landed in front of Blackfoot Peak Nuclear Power Plant. It was a complex of grey buildings and a giant cooling tower with steam coming out of it. The sky had clouded over.

In front of the entrance gate were a bloody pile of security guards and civilians with signs saying SAVE MY ENVIRONMENT!, DON’T BE MEAN! GO GREEN!, and GLOBAL MARXIST-LENINIST REVOLUTION, NOT GLOBAL WARMING!

Marilyn slapped the Blue Nasties across their bottoms. ‘Good luck! Love you! Bye!’ 

She shut the helicopter door, and the helicopter flew into the air.

One of the security guards coughed up blood.

Jack walked over to him. ‘Where are the Patriots?’

The security guard gave a wheezing laugh. ‘All over the joint. Said they were looking for a stockpile of nukes. Some went to the Data Centre, some to the Nuclear Cooling Tower, some to the Electric Grid, and some to the Control Room. We called the military already. This place is going to be a warzone soon. You slashers are going to have a hell of a time playing your Death Game here.’

‘Don’t suppose you know where the nuclear warheads are?’

‘Like they’d tell a grunt like me. Like I’d tell a maniac like you.’ He coughed up blood. ‘Damn. I was just a week away from retirement.’ With a shaking hand, he reached in his shirt pocket and produced a cigarette. ‘You got a light?’

Jack placed his hand under the cigarette and clicked his fingers to produce a flame.

‘Thanks.’ The security guard took a long drag. Then he went still.

‘Alright,’ said Jack. ‘We’ll split up. Puck, you go to the Data Centre. Mezu, the Cooling Tower. Sam and Lobo, the Electric Grid. I’ll go to the Control Room.

Sam brought all of them into an awkward group hug. There were tears streaming down her face. ‘Be careful, guys!’

Jack smiled. ‘We will, Sam. Move out.’

They split up.