Chapter 32:

No Rest for the Wicked


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

Jack prepared a bowl of instant noodles for breakfast.Bookmark here

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

‘Hi, John!’Bookmark here

Puck shined her trophies.Bookmark here

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

Mezu practised in his dojo.Bookmark here

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

Sam struggled to make Lobo take a bath.Bookmark here

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

Marilyn did her makeup in the mirror.Bookmark here

‘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!’Bookmark here

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.’Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

Everyone was screaming in the helicopter except Jack.Bookmark here

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

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

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

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

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

Lobo howled. Bookmark here

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

‘Lobo, quit it!’ said Puck.Bookmark here

Lobo stopped. Bookmark here

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

‘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.’Bookmark here

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

‘You killed Girl Scout.’Bookmark here

‘She was a kid!’Bookmark here

Mezu raised his finger. ‘A young adult.’Bookmark here

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?’Bookmark here

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

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.Bookmark here

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!Bookmark here

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

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

One of the security guards coughed up blood.Bookmark here

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

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.’Bookmark here

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

‘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?’Bookmark here

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

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

‘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. Bookmark here

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

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

They split up.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.