Awesomesquad! Assemble! 1 Revisited! (Part 3)

Since this is the third installment of the revisiting of my first Awesomesquad! post, you should read the first two if you haven’t already done so. They are here, and here.

Here’s the summary of what happened in those two, if you don’t have the time to read 17,000 words of pure written magic:

Back in May of 2009, Jessie James (our mechanic/ vehicle builder) came to us with the theory that Donald Trump was up to deeds more dastardly than his usual dastardly deeds. Against Damien Walters’s (our fighting/ parkour trainer) wishes, we flew to New York City to run some surveillance on the orange skinned millionaire. We stayed at a hotel the night before we were to carry out the stake out.

The next morning, Damien left to break into the lower levels of the Trump Tower and download a program onto the Security system so that we would have access to the cameras, while the rest of us minus Lady Caggiano (my second in command/ stubborn crazy person) went to stake out the atrium of The Trump Tower and to try and bug Trump. Our first attempt was a failure; Jessie was unable to get Trump to talk to him at all. Then, I recieved word that Damien was in trouble with security, so I had Criss Angel (Mind Freak/ the team’s wizard) distract some of the guards. Finally, when our second chance to bug Trump arrived, Jessie was about to do just that when Trump’s body guards found the bug Jessie was trying to plant. Thinking quickly, I had Criss, plant the bug instead. He successfully managed to do it, but we were all caught and thrown out of the Trump Tower. When we made it back to the hotel room, we waited for any information from Damien, who still hadn’t come back. While we waited, we watched the security camera in Trump’s private elevator, and discovered that Jessie’s theory was actually correct.

And that’s pretty much where we ended it. Now here’s the next section, told almost entirely from Damien’s perspective. Enjoy.

***

This next part was written by Damien so that he could tell the story of his time in the Trump tower in his own words. I apologize in advance if his Britishness offends any of you.

While Minigan tried to convince Lady Caggiano to come out of the WC, GMZ handed me an ID card with my picture and the name, Aaron Matthews. He explained to me that the card would get me through the service entrance. He then handed me the flash drive with the program I was supposed to install, as well as well as a router that I was supposed plug into the server that ran all the security cameras. I hid both items in my tool belt, along a my miniature keyboard, a multihead screwdriver, some wire, an electric torch, and my mobile phone.

Then, lifting his heavy hold-all and placing it on top of what turned out to be Minigan’s ( for some reason, the loveable git Minigan decided that identical bags was a clever idea), Everett rummaged through the weapons hold-all and pulled out a tranquilizer gun, a Taser, some smoke bombs, a can of black spray paint, and a small plastic canister of knockout gas. As I hid them under my baggy blue polo shirt, which only then did the size make sense, Minigan began to rummage through what he thought was his bag, but turned out to be Everett’s and began his second argument with a teammate within two minutes. Everett took the bag away from Minigan and sat on in a corner, winking at me as he did so, confirming a promise that Everett made to me the day before.

See, after Minigan and I argued about how bloody stupid this mission was, Minigan told me that I could just stay at the base and stormed off to his room to mope. I was just about to unpack my things when Everett came up to me and begged me to come along. He promised me that if I came along, he would let me test out a new prototype of his. He also pointed out that I would be the best person to keep Minigan from doing anything rash, which, honestly, I didn’t need told to me. He wouldn’t tell me what it was then, but he told me that he wanted me more than anyone to test it out. On that promise, I agreed to come.

Minigan found his actual bag, and got what he needed out of it before he sent me off to do my job. Seeing as the poor bloke didn’t need another member of his team arguing with him, I gave him a reassuring pat on the shoulder and wished them all luck as I exited the room.

I took the lift down to the main floor and briskly walked out the main doors and headed directly to the Trump Tower. As I was informed, the entrance I needed to use was on 56th street, right past the Trump Bar, because that bloody business man needs to have his name on everything, apparently. Once there I found steel door with a sign next to it that read,

Mailroom
590

IBM

Deliveries

Security

That was the door. I opened the door and was greeted by a gloomy hallway, a large electric fan, and a descending stairs. At the bottom of those stairs, I came face to face with a large and tough looking security guard. He was an older man, probably in his late forties, with a thick brown walrus like mustache, a wide, flat nose, and a pair of menacing grey eyes. Looking back, he kind of reminded me of Nick Offerman. I gave the man a friendly smile, showed him my fake ID badge, and explained in my best New Yorker accent (it might have been Bostonian- I cannot tell the two apart, honestly), that I was filling in for their regular I.T. guy, who was sick.

Without smiling, he snatched the card from my hand and studied it. After a few seconds, he handed it back to me and noted in his actual New York accent, that I was there early. I explained it off as me still having to get this one done early so that I could get another job done later that morning. He grumbled, which must have meant that he accepted that excuse, because he turned on his heels, strode down the hallway, and ushered me to follow using his index and middle fingers. I obliged.

We walked down the hallway and turned the first corner in stiff silence. I followed him, despite having memorized the path I was supposed to take, and the locations of the cameras and guards. After we had turned our third corner, passed the fourth camera, and our second guard, the security guard leading me explained how this building was a maze if you didn’t know where you were going. That was all that was said between us for the remainder of the time we zigzagged through the hallways to the lift. Intermittently, I would receive a text on my mobile letting me know when a team member had reached their position in the Atrium.

We reached the lift, and the large guard pressed one of his stubby, fat fingers into the down arrow button, and we waited. We didn’t talk; we just stared straight ahead of ourselves at the dented and scuffed lift doors. They opened, revealing the tiny lift car itself, and without a word we stepped inside. There wasn’t much to look at on the inside of the car: the walls were covered in coarse, beige, noise cancelling fabric, which was stained with what I hoped was coffee. At waist height, a resin handrail wrapped around the car, and the floor of the car was covered in a deep red carpet, which just concealed more coffee stains.   Once inside, he pressed the button for the floor I needed (it was marked “S”), the doors closed, and the lurch behind my navel told me that we had begun our trip down.

I was beginning to feel pretty at ease with making it to the security room when the guard’s walkie talkie crackled to life. A young and unconfident sounding man’s voice came on and asked someone named “Rome” where he was.

The security guard leading me grabbed his walkie talkie and answered that he was leading the I.T. guy (me) to the room with security’s server.

The young man on the other end replied, “Well, Mike, our regular I.T. guy is here and not sick at all, so who are you with?”

Security guard Rome turned to me, his face hardened with what was probably anger, and said, “I don’t know.”

Much faster than what I expected such a large man to be capable of, he pressed the emergency stop button on the lift’s control panel, and stepped between me and the door. The alarm buzzed over our heads, and I felt the lift car stop. He swung hard with his left fist. I ducked, narrowly missing the hook. Standing back up and with my hands behind my back, I grabbed the handrail, raised my legs in the air, and kicked him hard in the chest. He stumbled backwards into the doors. When he hit the doors, he hit them hard, and the entire car began to sway.

Almost instantly, he was coming back at me, swinging his heavy fists at me. The first one caught me in my jaw and knocked me down into the corner. I jumped back onto my feet just in time to take another punch to the face. That one spun me around. Before I could stop him, he had his hands on my shoulders and was about to ram me against the wall of the lift. I managed to run up the wall and somersault over his head. I kicked out my legs once I had passed over him and kick him into the wall again.

I landed on all fours, and jumped back to my feet before he could try to pin me down. I spun around and saw that he was slightly dazed, which gave me an opportunity to get out my tranquilizer gun. Unfortunately for me, my tool belt (which was totally necessary for this mission) was wrapped around my shirt, and I was unable to reach my gun without taking it off. Taking advantage of my distraction, the man grabbed me by the back of my neck and threw me against the wall. He pinned me. I head butted him with the back of my head.

He let go, stumbling backwards, clutching his nose, and groaning in pain. Quickly I spun around and threw a couple of punches at his face while reaching down my shirt from the neck to grab my gun.

He came back at me with even more vigor, and I was left on the defensive, trying to block his blows while still trying to free my tranquilizer gun. After only about a second, I was backed into the corner. A left jab of security guard Rome’s got me in the mouth, and I could taste the salty, metallic taste of blood leaking from my lip. With my hand still down my shirt, I charged at him, catching him off guard and ramming him in the stomach up against the opposite corner. My hand had my gun by the handle.

Then, GMZ’s voice came in over my earpiece to let me know that we had ten minutes before Trump was due to come out from his loft.

The announcement distracted me enough that Rome managed to grab hold of me and try to pin me to the wall. As soon as I was close enough, I planted my legs on the wall and pushed back. Rome stumbled backward and fell into the opposite wall. He hit the wall, and presumably the handrail, because we both tumbled to the ground. He groaned in pain as I freed myself from his grasp and my gun from my shirt. Despite his pain, the inhumanly tough security guard stood back up and dove at me.

I shot twice. Pampf. Pampf.

Somehow, I managed to get him in the neck both times, plus was able to get out of the way before he could tackle me. He fell to the floor with a heavy thud, and the entire lift shook. Shakily, the man climbed up onto all fours. Shit, that bloke was hard to take out. I kept my gun pointed at him as I circled around and pressed the emergency stop button, ceasing the buzz and starting the car back up. Rome did not attempt to get back up. The darts may not have knocked him out, but they did leave him dazed enough that when the lift stopped at my floor, I was able to rush out without him stopping me.

I watched the lift doors close, separating the incapacitated Rome and me, and then I took a deep breath and turned around. The hallways down here were brightly lit, but narrow, which meant I would be easy to spot and would have to rely on my tranquilizer gun and my close quarters combat skills. I wiped the sweat off of my forehead and then the blood away from my leaking lip as I rushed down the hallway and made the first left. At the end of that hallway, I saw a thin guard with short black hair waiting for me. He mumbled something into his walkie talkie and then began to run at me. Quickly, I reached into my shirt, grabbed one of my smoke bombs, pressed the activate button on it, and threw it. Within seconds, the hallway between us was filled with smoke. I ran at a full sprint down the hallway, listening past my own footsteps and heavy breathing for the guard’s. As soon as I reached where the smoke began, I held my breath and ran up the side of the wall, bracing myself with the other wall.

Without taking a breath, despite how much my body yearned for one, I crept along the hallway’s ceiling, perfectly parallel to the ground. I could hear the man’s footsteps, then his breathing. And then I could see his shape forming out of the smoke. He rushed under me, his truncheon raised into the air, missing my stomach by an a couple centimeters. Right when I was confident that he was far enough away for me to take a breath, the guard came rushing back, whipping his head from left to right.

He screamed, “Where are you!?”

He stood directly under me, completely unaware that the intruder wasn’t even a meter above his head. I bit my lip, just trying to keep myself from taking a breath. My lungs ached. By body was on fire. My head was swimming. The sweat on my palms was making it harder to stay up on the wall, and my muscles ached from both the effort of keeping my body up and the lack of oxygen. Unable to take it anymore, my body forced my lungs to expand and take a breath.

The man gasped when he heard the breath come from above him, but before he could do more than that, I let myself fall on top of him.

I knocked him to the ground and managed to slap the truncheon from his hand. The guard squirmed beneath me, his cries for help muffled by my chest. With a few swift punches to my sides, the guard managed to knock the wind out of me and push me off of him. He crawled away from me on all fours in the direction of his truncheon.

Gasping for air, I dove onto his legs and delivered a punch right to his right kidney. I then sat on his lower back, pulled out my tranquilizer gun, and shot a dart into his shoulder. He struggled for only a second or two, and was then rendered unconscious by the sedative in the darts.

I checked my watch. It was five before eight. Shit. Already, this mission had gone tits up, but I was still determined to reach the room with the security monitors. I pulled out my phone and sent a text to Minigan and GMZ to have Jessie stall Trump. Once the message was sent, I pocketed my phone and headed down the hallway, in what I thought was the right direction. A second later, GMZ’s voice came on the earpiece, telling Jessie to stall Trump.

I hurried to the corner and made the right. At the end of the hallway was a group of guards standing at the lift doors, helping a disoriented Rome to his feet. Shit, I went the wrong way. Before they could notice me, I ducked down the nearest hallway on the left. I quickly pulled out my mobile and called GMZ’s number. Before he had a chance to say anything, I explained the situation to Minigan.

As soon as I finished explaining, GMZ’s voice rang though my earpiece that he had a visual on Trump. Knowing how far away from the room I was, I decided to take a chance at being spotted and head there. I pulled out my gun and an extra smoke bomb through the neck hole in my shirt. Then, I stepped out from the hallway I was in and back into the one with the elevator. At a normal pace, one that wouldn’t draw attention for being too fast or too slow, I walked the opposite direction of the elevator to the hallway where I left the skinny security guard.

“There he is!” I heard Rome’s voice yell.

Jessie’s voice yelled in my ear to Trump. I ignored it, and instead sprinted around the corner, muttering the word, “shit.” Now back in the hallway I fought the skinny guard in, I sprinted away from the others’ echoing screams and footfalls.

I was still holding the mobile, just not up to my ear. And when I did put it back up, I heard Minigan’s panicked voice ask, “Do you think you’ll make it?”

The fog had dispersed a lot in the hallway, so from where I had stopped, I could easily see the guards chasing me turn the corner. I pressed the smoke bomb’s activation button, dropped it, and then fired several shots into the charging group of guards. Just before the curtain of thick, white smoke obscured them from my vision, I watched as the darts hit two of the guards and sent them to the floor. I turned onto my heels, and continued to sprint down the hallway, making sure to jump over the unconscious guard lying across the hallway floor.

I made it to the end of the hallway and turned right, when I responded to Minigan that I should be able to make it, But Jessie was going to have to plant that bug before I’d get to the security mainframe.

I was sprinting down the new hallway, which looked identical to the last three I had been in, minus the smoke bomb and lift, and I managed to make another left without incident. This hallway was short, and within a few seconds I had reached the end.

Minigan said that it was too late, and that Trump had left.

I made my final left, and was left facing a long hallway with the security door blocked by a dozen or so guards.

“Damnit” I said more to myself than to Minigan.

Minigan reassured me that we would have another chance to bug Trump. I quickly explained my situation and then hung up the phone. I was going to have to fight my way through these guys.

I sprinted at the nearest bloke, and at the last second ran up the wall. As I did, I hit him with a left hook, which was more like an uppercut from his perspective, and sent him up into the air. I jumped off the wall and kicked him in the chest, sending him crashing into another guard and the wall. The next guard raised his truncheon at me. I fired. The dart hit him in his shoulder. I jumped up, planted my hands on his shoulders, and flipped over his head. When my feet swung down, I made sure that they hit the backs of his knees. He fell on his face.

The next guard was ready for me, and swung his fist at my face. I dodged it, grabbed his head with my free hand, and brought my knee up to crush his nose. After three hits with my knee, the man fell to the floor. I dive tackled the guard behind the one whom I just kneed. Holding on to his shirt with one hand, I tumbled with him twice before letting him go and launching him with my feet into another guard. They both fell backwards, and as I ran past them, I fired a tranquilizer dart into both of their necks.

The next three guards had made a wall from themselves and charged at me all at once. I sprinted at them as well. As they crouched down to take me at my waist, I jumped over them, grabbed the middle by the head, and threw him to the ground. Then, I roundhouse kicked the bloke on my left into the wall. His head bounced off the hard white tile, and he fell to the ground. I spun around to the remaining guard, pointed my gun, and fired. Nothing, I was out of darts. The guard smiled, thinking that the situation had turned in his favor. That is, until I punched him hard in the face. He collapsed, unconscious on his fellow security guards. I sprinted at two more guards, jumped up, and kicked through their faces. They both flipped in the air, and landed on their chests.

The last obstacle was a single guard blocking the door. I stormed up to him, staring directly into his eyes, which were wide with horror.

“Move.” I commanded.

As if he was happy to help, He jumped out of the way and even held the door open for me.

I walked into the cramped security room, where a single, terrified looking security guard sat at the lone desk. He was pale, balding, and overweight. Despite not being in nearly as good condition to fight me as the over a dozen men I fought and beat before him, he bravely stood up and raised his fists. I smiled at him. He swung wild swings, each one missing me, and within seconds, I had his chest pinned against the desk and was removing his walkie-talkie and truncheon. I then lifted him over my head, carried him to the door, and threw him out and into the crowd of fresh security guards that had just arrived.

I slammed the door shut and locked it. Then, I broke off the wheels to the desk chair and wedged the chair under the knob. I took off my tool belt and placed it on the desk before taking out my can of spray paint and painting the square window on the door. It was one of those windows with the wires imbedded into the glass, so I was reassured that they wouldn’t be able to break through it if they tried.

With everyone on the outside of that door’s vision blocked from what I was up to, I went to the main computer, pulled out the router, the thumb drive and the keyboard. I looked up at the wall behind the monitor and saw that it was made entirely of telly screens, each one focusing on a different hallway or part of the atrium above me.

Curious as to where they were, I searched for my team. First, I found Derren on the monitor that was labeled “6th floor atrium-1.” He was casually leaning on the railing, looking down the Atruim to what my best guess was the waterfall. Then, I noticed the elevator doors on the floor I was on open and two more security guards stepped out. They were heading my direction.  A pounding on the door swiftly refocused me on the task at hand, and I plugged in the flash drive and began installing the software. As I waited for it to install, I stood up to plug the router into the server. That’s when I looked up and found Criss on one of the monitors. He was chatting with one security guard, and had his arm wrapped around the man’s shoulder, as if to hold him there. Criss then let go of him and placed his hand on the guard’s forehead.

Forgetting momentarily about the router, I watched the monitor as the security guard that was talking to Criss rose into the air, followed by a second security guard that tried to pull him back down.

“What the bloody shit is going on up there?!” I muttered to myself, not knowing if this was supposed to be a distraction or how it was supposed to help at all.

I continued to watch in amazement and mild irritation as Criss did something to a third security guard’s arm which caused him to rise up as well.

Not sure of what else to do, I grabbed the walkie-talkie I took off of the portly guard, and posing as a guard in the Atrium, I explained to the rest of the guards how there was a psychotic magician holding three other security guards hostage. One guard replied that he and some others would check it out, and from behind the door, I heard some of the men rush off. Knowing that the remaining men would continue to try to break through the door, and seeing that Criss had let the terrified security guards down, I knew that I didn’t have much time left to install the program and the router.

Replacing the belt around my waist, I rushed to the server, which GMZ had described as a large black metal box that that would go up to the ceiling, and opened the front panel. The inside of the server was a jungle of different colored wires. I pulled out my mobile, and pulled up the directions that GMZ and written for me.

  1. Plug Ethernet cable into both server blade 1 (the computer at the top of the chassis) and router.Check.
  2. Plug USB cable from Router into USB port on server blade 1Check.
  3. Install NIC (Network Interface Card) onto side of server blade 1 (use screwdriver and flashlight)OK. I think I did that one right.
  4. Connect the WAN (Wide Area Network) to the SAN (Server Area Network) via router (Use “Enter” and “Shift” on Keyboard)…OK, I didn’t really understand that one, but I plugged in the keyboard and did just that. The router light turned green, so I think it worked.
  5. Hide Router above server blade 1Done.
  6. Establish connection between user interface dataport and RAM server portal.What the bloody Hell does that mean?
  7. Just kidding. You’re done.That bloody nutter really needed to find better occasions to insert random jokes for us.

Once I finished adding new labels to the door panel of the server to throw off anyone who would be checking after I was gone, and then I closed the Server. The men outside were no longer pounding on the door, but I could hear them planning their next move and I could see their shadows from the crack under the door.

I checked on the software. It still had about a minute. The guards outside of the door got quiet for a second. I watched as their shadows melted away from the crack of the door. Something wasn’t right. I looked to the wall of monitors. There were about twenty guards outside the door, each one with their backs against the wall to let one through. It was Rome, and I could tell by the twisted look on his red face that he was furious. In his hands was a long metal pipe with a handle and a flat square welded to one end. It was a battering ram.

Acting quickly, I took some superglue that was in the desk and glued my knockout gas canister to the carpet. I then took a length of metal wire from a pocket on my tool belt, and tied one end to the pin of the canister, and the other to the doorknob. I checked the computer. 30 more seconds. Trying to think of another way to distract them from what I’ve installed, I grabbed a stack of important looking papers and threw them in the shredder. Then, using my spray paint, I drew a smily face on the floor around the knockout gas, making it look like the canister was in its mouth.

The computer pinged just as a loud metal “clang” rang out from the door. Without checking on the program, I pulled the flash drive out of the computer, pocketed it, and gathered my belongings. Then, I removed the chair from under the door.

“CLANG”

The whole door shook that time. It wasn’t going to last much longer. I closed out of the program (GMZ said that it would connect to his computer automatically if the router was installed), and looked for a means to excape.

After a few seconds and another collision between the door and the Rome’s battering ram, I decided that through the ceiling was my best option. Granted, at the time, it was my only option; there were no windows in the room, and the only door was about to be broken through by an impressively resilient security guard. I climbed onto the desk and up through one of the square ceiling panels.

“CLANG”

It was pitch black inside. I pulled out my torch and turned it on. I replaced the panel and gingerly crawled across the rafters with the torch in my mouth, its narrow beam illuminating only a half meter or so in front of me.

“CLANG”

As quietly and as softly as I could, I climbed over the cinderblock wall that separated the security room from the hallway. I found my footing on the steel rafter, and began it inch along it once again. I was maybe five meters away from the door when I heard another “Clang.” It was followed by the crash of the door swinging open and hitting the wall, and then by the hiss of the knockout gas.

I paused and listened as the hissing was momentarily drowned out by screaming. Several muffled “thuds” told me that the knockout gas did the trick, and the guards were left unconscious. Feeling that my distraction was a success, I started moving again, this time with a little bit more confidence and speed. And that’s when I slipped.

I managed to wrap my legs around the I-beam when my torso fell over the side, and that just kept me from falling through the ceiling. I hung from the beam, upside down and swinging side to side, with my head touching the ceiling panel at the bottom of the arc. As soon as my body stopped swinging back and forth, I swung my body forward and grabbed onto the top of the beam. But the beam was so dusty that I couldn’t keep my grip, and my legs slipped as well.

I felt the soft ceiling panels crumble beneath me as I fell. The world of darkness was instantly invaded by the blinding fluorescent lighting of the hallway. And I fell hard on my side. I heard a soft crack of plastic from somewhere beneath my thigh, and from above me, more pieces of ceiling tile crumbled and fell. One of the metal brackets that hold the tile came down and sliced my cheek. After a second or two, I could feel a warm drop of blood run down my wound to my jaw. My whole body ached, but I heard screaming from somewhere behind me, so I forced myself up and sprinted the rest of the way down the hallway. As I ran, I felt something hard bounce off my left leg. It was half of GMZ’s key board, connected to its other half by a single wire. GMZ was going to be furious.

I made the right into the short hallway, when smoke started pouring out of my shirt, because life’s a bloody bitch sometimes. During my fall, I must’ve activated the smoke bombs. Now leaving a noticeable trail to follow for my pursuers, I ran down the short hallway with my hand reaching down my smoking shirt and my torch still in my mouth.

I made it to the next hallway, where I had to turn right again. Grabbing as many of the smoke bombs as I could, I pulled them out of my shirt and threw them to the left. I made the right and started running again, this time using my free hand to stow my torch back in my belt. I grabbed the remaining few smoke bombs out of my shirt and threw them ahead of me. I then turned left down the hallway where I fell on the one guard. The smoke had cleared, and the guard was gone, but in their place was another two guards charging at me.

The first guard ran at me, upright and with his truncheon raised in the air. Once I got close enough, I dropped. I slid on my knees right up to him, and then grabbed both of his legs as I jumped back to my feet, effectively flipping him over my head. The second bloke ran at me the same as the first. Instead of flipping him, I quickly stopped, stepped to the side as he passed. In his moment of confusion as he passed me, I grabbed onto his shirt and swung him around. He ran face first into the hard, white wall, and then fell on his back dazed and with a bloody nose. From behind me, I could hear the yelling of the security guards that weren’t knocked out by the gas, and I knew I needed to get to the elevator.

I started sprinting again, and within seconds, I had reached the end of the hallway and made my final right. In the distance, I could see the lift. The doors were closed. Thinking quickly, I pulled out GMZ’s destroyed keyboard and ripped it the rest of the way apart. Knowing I would only have two chances at this, I sprinted down the hallway toward the lift with a piece of the keyboard in each hand. The guards, I think there was two of them, turned the corner and chased after me, screaming for me to stop. They were gaining on me. I didn’t stop. Once I got close enough, I threw the keyboard like a Frisbee at the lift button. The half of the key board spun through the air, down the hallway and at the lift door. It missed the button, and instead shattered on the wall to the right. The pursuing guards’ footsteps grew louder in my ear. I threw the second half. Luckily, I managed to hit the button this time, and the lift doors opened immediately.

I pumped my legs as hard as I could, but I could still tell that the men were getting closer. I took a deep breath and dove at the lift doors. I spun over right before I hit the ground and slid into the lift car. I then hit the door close button with my feet. The two furious looking security guards vanished as the doors closed, and their images were replaced by the sound of their fists pounding on the other side of the doors. Taking a deep breath, I quickly climbed to my knees and pressed the button labeled “G.” For a second, the car moved, and I thought I was going to get out, but it abruptly stopped after moving less than a meter.

The banging on the door, now just slightly lower, sounded louder. They had opened the lift shaft doors. I pulled out my screwdriver, and shoved the back of it into the door close button, breaking it, and hopefully buying me some time to think of a plan of escape. After about a minute, I heard more yelling come from outside the doors, and my heart, which barely had a break since the last time I was in this lift, was pounding again. I paced the width of the tiny car, my mind racing with increasingly stupid and desperate escape methods. Without a canister of knockout gas to take out most of them, I would never be able to take on a bunch of guards at once.

In frustration, I grabbed the sides of my head and looked up. Bloody hell, the access door in the ceiling! How could I be such a git and forget about that? I jumped up and pushed open the door. With another jump, I managed to grab onto the outside of the lift. I struggled for a few seconds to find a good grip with my sweaty palms, but once I did, I climbed out of the car and shut the access door behind me. It was dark in the lift shaft. Not as dark as when I was crawling in the ceiling, mind you, but still dark. The air was cool and smelled of industrial lubricant, and other than the unmuffled chatter of the security guards, the tall lift shaft sat with a heavy silence. I quickly located the nearest wall mounted ladder and began climbing up it when my mobile rang. It was Lady Caggiano. I answered it before the guards could hear it coming from the shaft and realize that I was out of the lift car.

Lady Caggiano explained to me that there was an air duct three floors up that would end right outside of the door I used to enter the building. She warned me that the path would be confusing, but as long as I followed the path of fresh air, I should make it out alright. I hung up my mobile and then turned it off, ensuring me that there wouldn’t be any more ringing giving away my position. If they needed to contact me, they could contact me through my earpiece. Except, that’s when I noticed something was off. I dug my index finger into my right ear, the ear where my earpiece should be. Nothing. Well shit. It must’ve fallen out when I fell through the ceiling.

Deciding that then wasn’t the best time to be hard on myself about losing my earpiece, I hurredly climbed the ladder, up three floors like Lady Caggiano stated, and then used my screwdriver to remove the grate from the air duct. I stuck my head inside the rectangular tube. It was pitch black inside, but despite the darkness, I could feel how cramped it was going to be. Tight spaces like that always make me feel uncomfortable, as if I was being buried alive, but I bet my lower lip and climbed in.

Once I was inside, I pulled out my torch, turned it on, and began crawling on my belly through the narrow ventilation duct. I moved slowly through the ducts, trying to make absolutely no sound that would be detectable to anyone near a vent. I tried to follow what little fresh air I felt, but my discomfort and my heavy breathing only made the air thicker. I crawled along like this for an hour before I had to stop. The discomfort of being stuck in such a tight space was slowly creeping into panic attack territory, and as soon as I found a vent, I pressed my face against the grate and took several deep breaths of cool air. I lied there for a while just taking deep breaths and focusing on the hallway beyond the vent grate.

Right as I was about to continue my trek to the outside, I heard footsteps. I pulled my face away from the grate and watched two security guards meet.

“So, you have any news about the perp?” the first one, whose voice I recognized as the one who tipped off Rome, asked.

“Nah,” the second one replied, “The camera in the elevator showed him pacing back and forth, but when we finally got the doors open, he was gone.”

“Gone?”

“Yep, gone. We figured he must’ve escaped through the access door in the ceiling, but we’re not sure where to or how long he had been gone. He must’ve rigged the security cameras somehow so that he could slip by undetected.”

The first guard then asked, “So what did he want anyway?”

“Apparently the only thing that was different in the control room was that Doug’s novel had been shredded. You know, that awful novel Doug has been writing about kids with super powers? Yeah. That one. It’s destroyed.”

“Oh shit.”

“I know. Doug was devastated. But it’s for the best probably. Like I said, the novel was terrible. No one was gonna want to read that anyway.”

“You’re probably right,” the first guard replied. His tone then got brighter when he asked, “Hey, I’m having a cookout this weekend at my house. Do you want to come?”

The second one replied, “I’d love to man, but I have to start packing my shit and looking for a new apartment. Old man Trump just bought my apartment complex and is forcing everyone out.”

“No shit? Why’s he doing that?”

“He wouldn’t say,” the second one answered, “But the letter I got said that I had until July to be outta there.”

“That really sucks, man” the first one replied, “let me know if you need help moving or something.”

“Sure.”

And with that, the two men passed each other and continued to their destinations and I clenched my teeth at the thought of having to admit that Minigan was right all along. That bloody tosser wouldn’t let me live it down.

I continued to crawl along the ventilation ducts for about another hour or so before I began to feel the claustrophobia kick back in. Maybe it was because I was desparate, but just as I reached a cross section in the cuts, I felt a breeze come from my right. Excited to finally feel fresh air, I rushed as best I could down that duct. My feelings of excitement were extinguished after about a minute when I began to feel the bottom and sides of the duct become sticky. The more I pressed onward, the tackier the metal got, and the more the air smelled like grease you use to fry chips with. I kept going. The further on I pressed, however, the more the sticky substance, which I decided must have been cooking grease, rubbed on my already dirty and probably bloody clothes. I began feeling bumps in the grease, and with close inspection with my torch, I deduced were corpses of flies looking for food. I would have started backing up then if it wasn’t for the light at the end of the duct. I was so excited to see it that I didn’t even care that it was coming up from the bottom instead of from right in front of me, and it wasn’t until I got  to the end that I realized that I had wandered into the ventilation ducts for a kitchen. Through the vent and past the fan I could see the griddle and burners of an industrial sized cooker.

With my hands on either side of the grate, I lowered my head to listen for anyone in the kitchen. Silence. Relieved, I began to lift the grate, when the whole vent gave in to my weight and dropped me onto the cooker. With a loud clang, I bounced off the top and onto the red stone tiled floor. That fall hurt much worse than when I fell through the ceiling, probably because my head landed right on one of the metal burners.

As casually as I could, I stood up, walked out of the kitchen, past the terrified wait staff that were setting up for the day, and out the front doors. As soon as I was outside, I looked around and realized that I was a mere ten meters from where I entered and that I had just exited the Trump Bar. And with that, I ran back to the hotel and up the stairs (I dealt with enough elevators for one day, I think) to our room to tell everyone what I had heard.

***

Damien finished telling his story, and then I told him about Trump’s conversation in the elevator. Damien grumbled something about me being right, and then the limey prick (yes, I read what he wrote. The douche called me a git) went to shower off the dirt, blood, sweat, and grease off of himself.

I turned to the rest of the group and said, “OK, well it looks like we’re going to have to force Trump to stop his plans then.”

“What are you thinking?” Criss asked.

“Well, we’re gonna have to break in,” I answered, “but I’m not sure how…”

“The roof!” GMZ chimed in as he spun in the desk chair to his computer. We all looked at him as he began to bring up images of the Trump Tower’s jagged triangle roof. He continued, “The rooftop of the Trump Tower is a private space for the building’s tenants. If you guys scale the building and reach the roof, you can take the staircase down to Trump’s penthouse.” He continued to type feverishly on his computer. After about ten seconds, he added, “Damn- that might not work.”

“Why?” I asked.

“The doors to the roof from the penthouse are kept locked, and they have a key code lock that can only be turned off from inside the Penthouse.”

“What if we blow them doors open with some of Everett’s explosives?” Nut’n Fancy asked.

GMZ shook his head no, “The doors are made of reinforced steel, and the only explosive that would open them would kill all of you in the process. We would need to get someone into his Penthouse in order to open the door.”

“Who?” Everett asked, his cheek swollen and black and blue from being thrown out of the Trump Tower, “They’ve seen all of our faces. We’ll be immediately recognized.”

“Not all of our faces,” I replied with a smirk as I and the rest Awesomesquad! looked to Lady Caggiano.

“No,” she stated, “Not if I’m going to have to wear this.”

“Well, that’s unfortunate,” I bluntly replied, “Because you are going to break into Trump’s loft, and you are going to wear that to get up to it.”

“But why this, Minigan?” she asked as she waved her hands at the outfit she had been wearing, “How is this going to help me get into Trump’s apartment?”

“Not Trump’s apartment,” I answered, “The Atrium. The atrium is open to the public until 10:00PM. And since they had some serious security breaches today, you can bet that they won’t let just any random person in if there. If you show up as a lost schoolgirl, however, the guards will be more willing to help.”

Lady Caggiano looked at herself in the mirror over the dresser and then cried, “But I can’t wear this into the Atrium! I look like a slightly less slutty Britney Spears!”

“Nah. You don’t look like Britney Spears,” I reassured her,” you don’t have the boobs for it.”

Offended, lady Caggiano retorted, “Excuse me, but I have exquisite boobs, thank you very much.” Then, she continued, “But I still don’t see how the guards are going to want to do anything other than hit on me with me wearing this.”

“Fine,” I said, “We’ll fix it.”

I tried to undo the knot she tied in the dress shirt, but she slapped them away. I tried again, this time grabbing tight to the knot so that she couldn’t stop me. I undid the knot in her dress shirt and let the bottom fall over her stomach. I buttoned the buttons, and as soon as I did I told her to tuck the shirt into the skirt.

“But how will doing that make me look like a slutty schoolgirl?” she asked.

“You weren’t supposed to look slutty- this is just a regular school girl’s costume!”

“It would’ve saved us a lot of time if you told her that earlier,” GMZ burted.

“Then why is the boarding school I’m supposed to be from called, ‘Bimbonia Academy?!’” She snapped. After a brief pause, she added, “Also, what GMZ said.”

I looked at the name sewn into the sweater and then back to her face. It absolutely did say Bimbonia Academy, not Bim Bonia Academy like I thought. “That,” I argued poorly, “Is just an unfortunate coincidence.”

She glared at me. Obviously, she didn’t believe me, but she didn’t argue. Just then, Damien stepped out of the bathroom looking much less haggard than what he did when he arrived.

“So,” he asked, “What’s the plan?”

“We’re going to climb up the side of the Trump Tower, and wait there while Lady Caggiano breaks into Trump’s loft and lets us in,” I answered confidently.

Damien sighed as he scratched the back of his bald head and said, “There’s, ah, just so many stupid things about that plan.”

“Like what?” I asked.

“Well,” he replied, “First of all, why do we need to scale a 58 story skyscraper when we have a perfectly good helicopter that could fly us up?”

That was actually a good point. “Jessie,” I asked, “Could you drop us off on the roof?”

“I don’t think I can, Minigan,” he replied, “The flying permit I got to fly low over New York is only for a thirty minute flight. I wouldn’t be allowed to fly you guys there and then wait around until you were done.”

“Well, shit.” Damien and I said simultaneously. Damien, undeterred then continued with his list of objections, “You guys said that he was preparing for us and that he wanted us all shot if we tried to break in, so how does Lady Caggiano stand a chance between all those armed guards when she’s only going to be wearing a school girl outfit?”

“Yeah!” Lady Caggiano added.

I pondered that question for a minute, and looked around the room for inspiration. When I spotted Lady Caggiano’s hot pink suitcase, the one she insisted on using instead of the black duffle bags I bought the rest of the group, I had it.

“Here’s what Lady Caggiano will do, She’ll use her suitcase to carry her bullet proof vest and weapons with her. Once she gets into the elevator, she’ll change into her battle gear.” I turned to Damien and asked, “So, the knockout gas really worked for you?”

“Absolutely,” he replied, “It took out at least eight men at once.”

“Good. Lady Caggiano, take a gas mask and two canisters of it, just in case. Use one as soon as you get into Trump’s loft to knock out as many guys as you can. Save the other one in case you need to escape.”

I looked at my watch, it was 6:30. We still had three and a half hours until the atrium closed, and another hour after that before we could start the mission. Jessie, Derren, and Everett gathered up all the bags we wouldn’t need, and took them down to the lobby. Jessie and Derren were going to load up the Awesomecopter, and Everett claimed that he had something important to do at the airport as well, but he would be back before 10:00.

Feeling the pangs of hunger for the first time since this morning, GMZ and I also left to bring back some food for the group. We got a bunch of subs from a nearby deli, brought them back to the hotel and the remaining six of us ate and plotted out the best way to climb a 52 story building in the middle of New York City. If this morning was any indication, tonight wasn’t going to go anything like what we had planned.

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Awesomesquad! Assemble! 1! Revisited!

Ok, so this is only the first part of what I wanted to post, but this is long enough already. There will be two more parts after this (This Awesomesquad! Assemble going to be pretty damn epic). Also, just as some background information, this section takes place back in May of 2009. Enjoy.

“If you could fuck any celebrity, which one would you choose?” Jibbles asked, peering at me through squinted eyes as if my reputation depended on choosing the right one.

“Jibbles,” of course, is only my nickname for him. For his and his family’s safety, that’s what I can tell you. Sorry. What I can tell you is that Jibbles was one of my two best friends (the other being Lady Caggiano). Quite frankly, he didn’t look like he belonged in this century. With his light brown mutton chops, grey cabbie hat, and the build of a linebacker, Jibbles looked more like he belonged in an underground bareknuckle boxing  den in late 19th century London than in a college campus cafeteria. His black Jolly Roger t-shirt, jeans, and wallet chain balanced the old timey appearance of the mutton chops, but he still looked mismatched. But not nearly as mismatched as how he looks compared to his music tastes. For a man who looks like he could easily break your arm if given enough provocation, he certainly does love pop music. He refuses to tell me why.

“Well?” he said to me, jogging me from my thoughts. He took a massive bite from his sandwich and hurredly washed it down with two large gulps of Coke.

“I’m thinking I’m thinking,” I replied. I sat across from him at the table, picking at my cafeteria food and pondered. After some serious deliberation, I answered, “Hayden Panettiere.”

“The chick from Heroes?!” Jibbles replied, “Sure she’s hot, but the show’s terrible!”

“The first season was good!” I shouted maybe a little too loudly, as some of the other students in the cafeteria stopped their conversations to look at us.

“What?” I snapped at a nearby couple, “How about you cram your heads up your asses so that you can mind your business for once.”

Ignoring the couple who promptly cleaned up their trays and hurried off, Jibbles added, “I would have guessed you would have said Olivia Wilde.”

“That was my first choice,” I replied after I swallowed the last of my greasy and over-seasoned fries, “But she’s so attractive that I’m afraid I’d just ruin her. I’m mean, would you mouth fuck the Mona Lisa?”

“I guess that makes sense,” he noted as he stuffed the rest of his turkey club into his mouth. But once he swallowed, he asked, “But have you ever tried?”

“What? Mouth fucking the Mona Lisa?! I don’t think you can even get that close to it.”

“No!” he laughed, “Fantasizing about Olivia Wilde.”

“Of course I’ve tried!” I snapped at him, “But every time I only get part of the way in before I insist that I take her someplace nice and buy her something.”

“Oh, I understand now,” he replied, “That’s happened to me a few times when I fantasize about her too.”

“Who’s your number one pick?” I asked.

“Miley Cyrus. I would let her sit on my face for sure. Hell, my ultimate fantasy is have a three-way with her and Hannah Montana.”

“You do know that Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana are the same person, right?”

Jibbles grin melted into a look of disgust, and he spat, “Don’t ruin my sex fantasies with your logic, asshole.”

I let out a loud laugh, which the other students were smart enough now to pretend to ignore, when my phone started vibrating. Jibbles turned his attention to his pile of fries and I pulled my phone from my pocket. I had received a text message from Lady Caggiano. It read:

Awesomesquad! Assemble- Urgent.

There were five levels of Awesomesquad! Assemble alerts. The first one is Request, which is the only one where the members have the option of not showing up. It’s usually for a mundane task or activity where no one is required to show up, but it’s better for them if they do. This one usually has a meeting time attached.The last time we used this, it was so that each of us could pick out our rooms in the Awesomebase!. The second is Mandatory-Group, which means that everyone is required to be there, obviously. This one also comes with a time that we’re supposed to meet. As does the third one, Mandatory- Single. This one is just like the previous one, except that the text only goes out to the person/ people that need to come in. This one is more like a reminder, because the date and time is usually agreed upon in advance. The fourth is the one I received: Urgent. This one means that everyone is required to show up as soon as they finish whatever it is that they’re doing. Since Lady Caggiano, GMZ, and myself are all still in college, that means it could take several hours before some of us would arrive at the Awesomebase!. The fifth and highest alert is Immediate, or as it is sometimes texted, Fucking Now! With this one, we have to stop whatever it is we are doing, and head directly to the Awesomebase!. It doesn’t matter what it is that we are doing- whether it be sitting in class, working out, or even bathing, we stop what we’re doing and head directly to base. This one has only been used once, mostly because it’s usually signifies an emergency or a disaster that we need to deal with right away. The only time it was sent out, GMZ had sent it because there were no more of Lady Caggiano’s baked goods left in the dining lounge. It took a large amount of personal fortitude from all of us to keep ourselves from beating the baked goods out of him with rolling pins.

I looked from my phone back up to Jibbles and back down to my phone again. Urgent. I was supposed to hang out with Jibbles tonight. Since Awesomesquad! had been taking up most of my free time, and other than our occasional lunch, we barely got to see each other, but this was clearly serious. And it could take a while. Sure, by this point we had only roughed up Chris Brown for beating up Rihanna, but we still have had a lot of work to do with finishing the interior of the Awesomebase! but even if it was just a construction emergency, it would still take us well into the night before we finished whatever it is. But I still wanted to go see X-Men Origins: Wolverine with Jibbles tonight.

Hoping that whatever the urgent call was wouldn’t take too long, I sighed, scarfed down what was left of my mediocre hamburger, stood up, and said to Jibbles, “Sorry man, I need to go. Lady Caggiano needs my help with something.”

“Sure thing,” he replied, “You still on for the movie tonight?

“I’m not sure yet,” I replied apologetically, “This might take a while.”

Jibbles sighed and said, “Forget about it then. I’ll just go hang out with my sister. She’ll want to see it with me, at least.”

Jibbles’s sister, whom I like to call Phlegm, had recently graduated from college with a Master’s degree in Psychology, which I took note of because Lady Caggiano tried to claim that she could do what a therapist does when she coerced me into letting her be a part of Awesomesquad!. I had been meaning to get her number from Jibbles to try and recruit her. Now, however, was clearly not the time to do so.

“I’m really sorry, Jibbles, but this sounds like it is an emergency.”

“Go,” he commanded with a half smirk. I could still tell that he was annoyed.

I thanked him, grabbed my bookbag and rushed out of the cafeteria.

From behind me, I heard Jibbles call, “Tell Lady Caggiano that she better give you head for this!”

I exited the cafeteria and then the building laughing at the thought of saying that to Lady Caggiano and how she would absolutely punch me in the face for even suggesting it.

I spent most of the time driving to the secluded Awesomebase! thinking up ways that I was going to make it up to Jibbles for ditching him again. I eventually decided that I would get him a couple of butterfly knives for his birthday. He already had an extensive collection of weapons, but he always appreciates a good knife.

Feeling a little better about cancelling our plans, I turned onto the gravel path that lead through the woods to the Awesomebase!’s main gate. This wasn’t supposed to be the member’s entrance, but more of a utility or delivery entrance. However, since the secret corridors were sealed shut so that the construction crew didn’t know about them, they would be sealed from us until construction was finished, which was still going to be another month.

I pulled into an empty parking spot near the outer wall, and then quickly and stealthily wrapped myself in my white gown. Then, while looking in my rearview mirror, I drew an eye on the center of my forehead with green face paint. I put on a large and clearly forced smile, and stepped out of the car. I walked slowly towards the entrance, doing my best to look like I’m gliding across the gravel, and made my way into the main entrance of the Awesomebase!

Right inside, there were two Latino construction workers talking to each other. I believe their names were Pablo and José. I grinned my large and unnatural grin at them and proclaimed, “Praise the intergalactic Gate Keeper who allowed me safe passage to the den of His glory!” I tilted my head slightly to the left and then asked them, “Have either of you been told the ultimate truths of the universe?”

Both men threw up their hands and began speaking in a very fast paced Spanish as they backed away from me and hurried through the door to the Great Room. Damn, did Lady Caggiano’s idea work perfectly.

See, since Awesomesquad! is supposed to be a secret group of vigilantes, we both need a high-tech base of operations, something that would be impossible to build on our own, and for our secret to remain intact. Those two needs contradict each other-hard. With the architects, the engineers, the safety inspectors, the construction workers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, truck drivers, roofers, and other assorted personel, there have been hundreds of different people, strangers, on the Awesomebase!, getting used to know the floor plan, and potentially becoming suspicious as to why a group of people need such an impenetrable fortress, we needed a way to keep them from connecting the dots. And since the only other person to do anything remotely similar to this was Batman, and he never revealed how he did it (Alfred probably murdered every person who worked on the Batcave and buried them somewhere on the Wayne property), we had to figure out our own way to keep the workers in the dark about what this building was actually going to be used for.

That’s when Lady Caggiano cleverly came up with the idea that we pose as a cult. She theorized that, with us being a cult, none of the workers would ask any us any questions about why the Awesomebase! would need to be built this way, because they would assume that we would try to get them to join. And as long as we acted weird enough, they would want to avoid us as much as possible. To my amazement, the ruse worked perfectly. The first person to ask why a gymnasium had to be underground but also have a retractable roof (We had them build the AwesomeHangar! as a gymnasium to throw them off and we would replace the flooring once construction was finished), got an earful about the Great Intergalactic Gate Keeper, how our calisthenics were a metaphor for lowly mortal beings trying to achieve the physique of The Great One, and how this was where the spaceship was supposed to land to take us to paradise. No more questions were asked after that.

I made my way across the Great room, and then down the sloped hallway to the briefing room, or as we called it when the builders were around, the “Praise Chamber.” Inside the briefing room was my team, each dressed in white, except for Derren who was wearing a gold lined blue gown, which signified him as the leader. Everyone, wore the same grin that I had on. I quietly stepped inside, and we all chanted in unison, “All hail the Intergalactic Gate Keeper: the Avatar of Truth, The Great One, The Protector of the Chosen.”

As soon as the door was shut, I asked without relaxing my face, “Why was the meeting called, and why was it so urgent?”

“Nice to see you too, Minigan,” Lady Caggiano quipped smartly at me without letting her oversized grin falter, “Jessie, of all people-”

“Hey!” Jessie James shouted, offended, but still grinning.

“Jessie, of all people,” Lady Caggiano continued in a slightly annoyed tone, “has come up with a lead on a potential threat.”

“Really?” I grinned, “Who?”

“Someone Donald Trump is in league with. Possibly even Trump himself,” he answered, “I first realized that something was up when I was a contestant on his show, ‘The Celebrity Apprentice.’ I was one of the final three, when I overheard a conversation between Trump, and two other men. One had a really raspy voice. Anyway, what they were talking about was buying up all the real estate for sale in poor neighborhoods of cities. Then they would build huge high-end apartment complexes to drive up property values and force all the remaining people to sell their homes.”

“This is Bullcrap!” Nut’n Fancy shouted, “Why is it that we’re going after a good, hardworking American, when Sean Penn is out there, actively trying to ruin America.”

“Shut up, Nut’n Fancy!” I shout-smiled, “Yes, Sean Penn is a horrible leather faced monster, but until he does something really awful, and not just act douchey, we’ll focus on this twat waffle.

Everyone murmured in agreement, and I distinctly heard Damien say, “His face does look like someone wrapped a skull in skin from an old man’s scrotum.”

Nut’n Fancy sat back down in a huff, impressively, still grinning, and glared at me with his eyes. I looked to Jessie and he continued.

“Once they found out that I heard this, Trump fired me.”

“So why are you telling us this now? The episode where you get fired was on last night,” Lady Caggiano asked.

“Plus,” I added, “rich people do that all the time. That’s what happened with the East Village in New York City.”

“That’s true,” Jessie replied, “But then I watched the episode last night. In the background of one of the shots, you can see a map of New York City with all of the poorer neighborhoods circled in red. I think he’s planning on driving the lower class out of the city.”

The rest of the group glanced at one another, but before I could respond, a knock came on the glass window. Everyone turned their heads towards the door slowly, still keeping up with our cult facade. It was one of the workers, a Mexican named Raul. Unlike the rest of the workers who usually tried their best to avoid us unless it was absolutely necessary, Raul seemed to be more amused our fake religious beliefs than creeped out by them. Of course, this meant that we tried extra hard at creeping him the hell out.

Derren stood up and ushered Raul with his hand. As soon as he opened the door, we said in unison, “Greetings, Brother Raul!”

Supressing a smirk, he replied, “Hello.  We are done-“

“Don’t stand there in the doorway, Raul!” Derren urged, “That’s a transitional space. It’s impossible to tell which way you want to go. Come into the room- with the rest of us.”

“Yes, the rest of us,” the other members of Awesomesquad! said perfectly in sync, just like we practiced. We were really going at it hard to try and make him uncomfortable. He smiled back at us and stepped inside. Damn, this man was difficult.

I shot up from my chair and proclaimed, “I give my chair up to our guest to the Praise Chamber!” Then, I awkwardly pushed my chair around the table up to Raul, making sure that I got it stuck on Criss’s on my way up. It took me about thirty long, silent seconds to get my chair the five feet from me to Raul. “Here you go!” I exclaimed to him, making sure I sounded slightly winded.

“Thank you,” he said, “but I just came down here to say that-“

“If Brother Raul refuses to sit, then so do I,” Lady Caggiano announced as she lifted herself from her chair. The remaining six members of Awesomesquad! followed suit, and with the clacking of  chair legs, everyone in the room was standing and grinning at Raul.

“We are done for the day,” Raul announced, totally relaxed, “See you all tomorrow morning.”

“You’re leaving?!” Derren cried (which was followed by a chorus of disappointed ‘oh’s’ from the rest of us), “Well, we should see you out!”

The rest of Awesomesquad chattered in excited agreement, and without pushing our chairs in, we awkwardly made our way to the door.

“No, that’s OK,” Raul insisted, but it was already too late- we were forcing him through the doorway.

Everyone in the fake cult formed a tight circle around Derren, as per custom, and we made our way to the main entrance, stopping at every doorway to ask “The Intergalactic Gate Keeper for safe passage through the transitional space.” Raul politely waited as each of us fell to our knees and pleaded to The Great One. I admit, by this point, our cult wasn’t giving off a creepy vibe as much as we were just being weird and annoying, but Raul continued to wait patiently for us to finish our bizarre rituals.

I kept close watch of Raul from my position to the right of Derren, doing my best to see the side of his face and catch a glimpse of any telling facial expression. Don’t take it the wrong way- I liked the guy. He was friendly, hardworking, and willing to listen to our peculiar building preferences, like a room made out of concrete walls that juts out from the ceiling of the Great Room that’s only accessible from a catwalk, or heavy, armor plated doors for each of the member’s private quarters. But his comfort with a group of cultists that regularly tried to coerce him and his coworkers to join made me particularly unsettled. Every time he suppressed a chuckle, it made me suspect that he actually knew what we were up to.

Eventually, the group of us plus Raul were on the opposite side of the Great Room, through the doors leading to the Entrance Hall, and were praying for safe passage through the transitional space that lead outside. At this doorway (being one that separates the indoors from the outdoors) we broke into a choreographed dance in which we would make our way through the door one at a time. No music was to be played while we did this. “It would ruin the beauty and sanctity of the dance,” we claimed.

With the last of us out of the door and back in formation, we waved to Raul as he walked across the parking lot to his blue Taurus. Inside were four of the other construction workers, two of which I recognized as the ones I accosted earlier. Once they spotted us, they immediately averted their gaze, as if staring at us too long would turn them into stone. Raul waved back to us, got into his car, and drove through the open concrete sliding gate. The gate shut behind them once they were through, and once the gate was closed completely, we let our faces relax.

“That was damn near unbearable this time!” Nut’n Fancy cried as he massaged his cheeks with his fingertips. The rest of us followed his lead, and began to rub our cheeks as well.

In between stretching and relaxing her jaw, Lady Caggiano asked, “Am I the only one who thinks that Raul might be on to us?”

“No,’ I replied, “I was wondering the same thing.”

“What should we do about it?” Everett asked.

“I’m not sure yet,” I answered as I turned around and headed back inside, “But we’ll figure that out once we finish dealing with the Trump situation.”

“What Trump’s doing doesn’t sound to be nearly as pressing as this, Minigan,” Damien noted.

I turned to Damien and replied, “If what Jessie said was true, then we will need to act now in order to stop him.”

“But what he’s doing isn’t uncommon! You said so yourself!” he reminded me.

“Yes, but then he mentioned how he was doing that with every poor neighborhood. Do you have any idea what kind of repurcussions that would have?”

Everyone stared at me. Apparently, they didn’t.

I rolled my eyes and explained, “OK, so if all the poor neighborhoods get replaced by high rise apartment buildings for the upper class, then were are the poor going to go? They won’t be able to move to other neighborhoods in the city because those neighborhoods will still be too expensive for them to live in. So disenfranchising the poor is the first part. Secondly, the poor will eventually move into the suburbs where they’ll find affordable housing.”

“But that doesn’t sound so bad,” Criss noted, “I mean it sucks for the lower class, but this doesn’t sound like that serious of a situation for the rest of us.”

“Well,” I replied, “that will cause the poorer suburb neighborhoods to both boom in population and in size, neither of which are good. And then there’s the fact that most of the displaced lower class people don’t have cars to drive to work, and now you’re forcing them to find their way into the city from the suburbs. And then you have to think about how that influx of people will affect the neighboring towns where the influxes will occur.  And then, of course there’s the issue of who’s going to buy the new apartments.”

“Rich people will,” Everett noted.

“Ok,” I then asked, “Then what happens to their old places? They will be left vacant. And they will still cost too much for anyone in the middle or lower classes to buy, so eventually, either half the city will be a ghost town, or all the rich people will start buying multiple apartments to make their places even bigger. And that’s still at the cost of the poor who were forced out of their homes in the first place.”

“Alright,” Damien admitted, “But that still doesn’t require us to go and fight him.”

‘No, we’re talking about Trump here. He’ll try to sue you if you tell him what he doesn’t want to hear.” Lady Caggiano noted.

“But that doesn’t mean we have to ruff him up!” Damien shouted, his voice echoing off the walls of the empty great room. “Plus, all we have is an overheard conversation from months ago and an image of a map with circles on it, most criminal investigators build up weeks’ worth of evidence before that haul someone in for questioning! And they usually get their information from more reliable sources.”

Damien (as well as the rest of us) glanced over to Jessie, who cried, “Hey, I’m very reliable!”

Ignoring him, I asked Damien, “Well, what do you suggest we do?”

“Seriously guys, I am reliable.”

“I say we do some reconnaissance before we make any kind of move. Bug his phone, his office, his loft. Just try to get more of an idea of what he’s up to and if there is a nonviolent way to stop it.”

“C’mon!” Jessie cried, “You trusted me to drive you to and back from LA when we beat up Chris Brown, but you don’t trust me when it comes to finding information on bad guys?”

“No!” the rest of us cried back in unison.

Then, I added, “Now be quiet; the adults are talking.” I looked to the rest of the group and announced, “Alright, it looks like we’re going to be going on couple day stake-out in New York City. Everyone except GMZ and Derren, pack your incognito city costumes.”

“Please no, Minigan, not the city costumes!” Lady Caggiano begged, “Mine’s terrible!”

“What’s wrong with it?”

“EVERYTHING! Can I please have, literally any other costume that we have?”

“Like what?” I replied  sarcastically, “The costumes we have are the only ones I could find at the time. We’re lucky that we’ll blend in in New York with them.”

She glared at me, and then left in a huff to her room to pack. I turned to everyone else and continued, “Derren, I need you to book three rooms at a hotel near the Trump Tower.”

“Five… For tonight… In New York City? Are you high?” he replied, “How the hell do you expect me to pull that miracle off? I’m not Criss.”

“I swear, I only preform magic tricks. Where did you get the idea that I can perform miracles?”

Ignoring Criss, I replied, “Well, standing here debating it with me isn’t going to get us them, so how about you try calling them. We need two for the eight of us, and one for Lady Caggiano.”

Derren rolled his eyes and began to walk away. From over his shoulder, he called, “I’ll be lucky if I get one!”

I called back, “Use your mentalist abilities to get us three! That’s why I hired you in the first place, remember!”

“Wait, so I’m going too?!” GMZ said as his eyes lighted up behind his thick framed classes.

“Is the Watch Tower completed and set up yet?” I asked. We all looked up to the looming concrete box in the center of the Great Room ceiling. A single doorway was cut into the box, like a jet black rectangle drawn onto a heather grey cube. There was nothing but open air on the outside of the doorway.

“No,” he affirmed.

“Then yes. If we’re going to be spying on a celebrity millionaire, then we’ll need a hacker to get into their security cameras.”

He wooted and punched the air, and then ran off to his own room to grab his gear. I turned to the rest of the group and commanded, “Get your stuff ready, both recon mission and battle gear, just in case. Trump’s going to have guards that we’ll need to subdue. Jessie, once you get your stuff, send the flight itinerary to LaGuardia Airport. We’ll need a place to keep the Awesomecopter! while we stay overnight. Then begin fueling it up.” He nodded, we walked down the one hallway and into our rooms.

Within five minutes, I was packed and pacing back and forth in my room, mentally drawing up our plans for the reconnaissance part of the mission. The Atrium at the base of the Trump Tower in New York was six stories high, with shops, dining areas, a Starbucks and several sets of escalators and walkways. That was the public area, and a place that would be hard to cover even with triple our man power. Doing the best I could with the information given, I wrote up the plan, stuffed the paper into my bag, and headed down to the armory.

Unfortunately, since the Awesomebase! was still partially under construction, we had to keep all of our weapons locked in fireproof crates in the Armory. We told the construction workers that they were filled with religious relics that were to be placed about the compound once the construction was finished, and were not to be touched by hands not first cleansed with a mixture of sea water, sassafras leaves, and the oil from a piranha. Of course, they tended to avoid the armory anyway, since we told them that that room was going to be our chapel. I casually mentioned that that would be where most of our sacrifices would occur when they didn’t look too put off by Derren calling it the Chapel. That did the trick.

I began unlocking the crates, looking for my cloak and pole arm, but I left them unlocked if I found any of the weapons or gear that would be useful on this trip. Mostly they were Everett’s tools or failed prototypes. Eventually, after searching through crates of knives, crates of guns, and for some reason, a crate of all our explosives (because in one accidentally goes off, the others will just cancel out that explosion, apperantly), and found my cloak and pole arm tucked into the bottom of  the crate with our protective vests, pants, and goggles.  Opening my duffle bag, I rolled my cloak into a ball and stuffed it into the least empty corner.

As I carried my bag and pole arm off to one side, echoes of footsteps bounced down the hallway, through the open door and across the empty armory to me. A sullen looking Lady Caggiano walked in, followed by the other seven members of Awesomesquad! Derren and GMZ each had excited grins plastered onto their faces, both of which reminded me of the smiles we were supposed to wear around the construction crews.

Once he saw me, GMZ raced up and began to talk at me so fast that I barely understood him. I managed to get, “Thanks for bringing me along!” and “I promise I’ll do everything I can to make this mission run smoothly.” The rest of what he said was a rambling gibberish to me. He could’ve been saying that my mother is such a whore that she shoots babies out of her vagina like a machine gun, and I would’ve just to continue to smile and nod like I was doing.

Once he finished saying whatever the hell he was saying, I said nothing to him, but instead paused for a second and asked everyone who was just then walking up to me, “Is everyone ready, clothing wise?”

“Yes,” they all answered in almost perfect unison- Lady Caggiano drew hers out to make it more of an annoyed groan.

“Good,” I replied, only glancing briefly in Lady Caggiano’s direction, “Then all we need to do is gather up the weapons we’ll need-“

“If, on the very rare chance we cannot reason with Trump and we need to fight him and his bodyguards,” Damien added over me.

“We’ll be able to reason with’em,” Nut’n Fancy assured us, “Trump is a standup guy who wouldn’t intentionally ruin the poor’s lives. He’ll understand.”

“Yeah?” Lady Caggiano added, “Well, he also seems like the kind of person who would sue you if you said he wasn’t as rich as he wanted to hear, so I say we be prepared for anything.”

“Ok,” I said before anyone else could add anything, “Let’s pick out our weapons and get ready to go.” As Lady Caggiano, Everett, Criss, Damien, and Nut’n Fancy went to rummage through the crates, I turned to Jessie and asked, “Is the Awesomecopter! ready?”

“Sure is!” he exclaimed, “All we need to do is get our stuff packed into it, and we’ll be ready to go!”

No shit.

“Good, I replied before turning to GMZ and asking, “We’ll need to keep in contact with you at all times, and you’ll need to hack into Trump Tower’s security cameras, and possibly his computer, so what will you need for that?”

He had calmed down by this point, so I was able to understand him when he replied, “If we just do reconnaissance, then we’ll each need ear pieces, some spy cameras, and I’ll need someone to get to security and download a driver onto their mainframe that will let me in- they’re security will be pretty tight, so I won’t be able to do that from the hotel room without them finding out. If we do have to fight him, then you’ll need the wrist communicators, and we’ll probably have to delete the files off of his computer.”

“So,” I asked, “A virus?”

“No, a virus is too destructive and would find its way onto other computers. You’ll have to get on his computer and wipe his hard drive, and maybe a backup flash drive, but that’s it.”

GMZ strode over to one of the small crates at the far end of the room, rummaged through it for a bit, and then returned with a thumb drive of his own.

“This,” he said with a smirk, “Is a password cracker. Just plug it into a locked computer and it will run through the combinations until it finds the correct one. You can also use the program on it to get into private accounts and encrypted files.” His smile became mischievous when he added, “It’s how I hacked into Obama’s and Britney Spears’s Twitter accounts earlier this year.”

“I really think a virus would be simpler, but if you insist doing it this way is best, we’ll try it. But this means that if he doesn’t change his mind, we’ll have to break into his loft. And Damien clearly doesn’t want us to do that.”

With a dismissive wave of his hand, GMZ replied as he walked away, “Fine, be a little pussy about it and let Trump control half of the properties in New York.”

Falling for his taunt, I called after him, “You’ll need to get me the floor plan to his place if you want us to break into it. You know that, right?” He raised his index finger into the air, which I took as that he understood, and he went back to the small crate, closed it, and carried it out of the armory.

I sighed to myself as I thought about what GMZ said. I was completely behind the idea of breaking into Trump’s apartment and forcing him to stop his plans, but there was no way Damien would ever be up for it. I grimaced at the thought of having to try to convince Damien, the man whom I hired partially to train us all in hand to hand combat, that we may need to use force, especially since he should be the one most willing to fight. And somehow, I was going to have to not only convince him that we would probably need to break into Trump’s apartment, but that he was going to be the one to break into security, probably fight some of the guards without drawing too much attention to himself, then download the driver GMZ was talking about, and get back out. And judging by the floor plan of the Trump Tower, he was going to have to sneak in through the service entrance in the Atrium and make his way through a maze of hallways and service elevators just to reach the room where the guards watch the cameras.  I gritted my teeth, knowing that he was going to fight me on this, and walked up to the crate he was half-heartedly poking through.

“Damien, When we get into the Trump Tower, I have a special assignment for you.”

“Oh, really? What is it?” he replied without looking up at me. Despite how long he had been looking through that crate, he had only pulled out one handgun and two magazines.

I replied to him, “You’re going to be breaking into The Trump Tower’s security area so that GMZ can tap the cameras. The route to the room where the security cameras relay to is pretty long. You’re gonna have to pose as a maintenance man, but if they find you out, you’re going to need to fight your way out.”

“Why can’t GMZ just hack into the security system remotely?”

“He said that they’ll find out if he does,” I answered. “All you’ll have to do is download a program onto one of their computers and open it. GMZ will do the rest of the work.”

“Except that that won’t be, ‘all I have to do.’” He snapped as he stood up to face me. Damien glared at me and continued, “I’ll probably have to fight a load of security guards both on my way in and out of the bloody place, yet still try to be inconspicuous. How in the bloody hell is that even going to be possible? Are there cameras lining those halls to security?”

I gritted my teeth. “Yes,” I said.

“So you want me to beat the piss out of a bunch of people while on camera and then walk into the room where they watch the cameras?! What drugs are you on, Minigan, because they must be powerful if you think this is going to work.”

Even though he was slightly shorter than me, Damien still had about fifteen pounds on me, and it showed. And somehow, despite his size, he still managed to tower over me.  This intimidated me a little, but I masked my intimidation by shouting at him, “Well, this is what you wanted Damien! I was perfectly fine with just forcing him to stop, but you wanted us to do reconnaissance first!”

“No!” He shouted back, “I didn’t want any part of this! And I especially didn’t want us to jump into this right away like we are doing! Sure, taking the reactionary approach was fine when we bloodied up Chris Brown, but Donald Trump is a powerful man! And we’re going after him with just an overheard conversation and a bloody screenshot from his show! What we should be doing is at least a month’s worth of digging into this lead before we storm the Trump Tower like we’re an invading army! Why do you think this will play out any other way than us blowing our covers and ruining this entire mission? Hell, we’ll probably screw up so much that if Trump is actually plotting what Jessie says he is, then he’ll bump up security and the secrecy of his plan, making it virtually impossible to stop him!”

I clenched my fists and pressed my nails into the palm of my hand. It was the only thing keeping me from punching Damien in the face. If I did, not only would he kick my ass, but he would also quit Awesomesquad!, and despite how much of a pain in the ass he was sometimes, I knew that he was the best at what he does- or at least, the best that I could get.

I took a deep breath, took a moment to make sure my voice was going to be steady and not come out as a scream, and said, “Fine. You can choose. If you don’t want to join us, then stay here and watch the base. Lady Caggiano claims to have ninja skills anyway, so I bet she’d be happy to do your job and not wear her costume. If you do want to come, take some normal weapons IN CASE we have to fight Trump’s security, but also bring nonlethal weapons. A tranquilizer gun with extra rounds and a hand-held stun gun in case someone grabs you should be fine. Also, bring any kind of equipment you would need for sneaking down to the security room.”

With that, I grabbed my bags- one with my clothes, and one with my weapons and gear, and exited the Armory. As I left, I noticed everyone staring at either me or Damien. I ignored them. I stormed out of the Armory and into the hallway where our private rooms were located. I was about to kick my door open when I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Lady Caggiano. I could see that mine and Damien’s argument had gotten her hopes up, but she was kind enough to hide it as much as she could.

“Yes,” I said to her, annoyed, “I meant that if Damien backs out, you can take his place breaking into security. You’ll need a Taser, a tranquilizer gun, and extra rounds. Plus whatever other nonlethal and stealth equipment you think you’ll need.” “Excuse me,” I added, “But I need to print out the floor plans for the security area.”

I stepped into my room and shut the door behind me before she could say anything. Immediately, I was at my computer, pulling up the files that GMZ and Jessie had sent me. I opened up the folders with the schematics and floor plans, printed them, and then drew a red circle where each of the security guards and cameras should be. Then, with a blue pen, I drew a path through the corridors to the elevator, and then to the security room. Folding the stack of papers I had just printed in half, I stormed back over to my door and swung it open. It was my plan to find Lady Caggiano and give her the papers, but instead she was waiting for me. The look of triumph that she discretely wore before was wiped clean from her face and was replaced a look of slight disappointment.

I thrusted the folded stack of papers at her, but she refused and said, “Damien plans to go. Give those to him.”

The anger from before had still left my blood hot, so  without another word, I headed back to the armory.

From behind me, she called, “I hope this means that I still don’t have to wear that horrible costume?!”

“That’s exactly what that means, Lady Caggiano,” I called back.

Right as I crossed the threshold into the armory, Lady Caggiano yelled back at me, “Go suck a million and a half dicks, Minigan!”

I didn’t react to her outburst, but instead headed right for Damien who was packing a black dufflebag with rope and extra grappling hooks. He saw me enter, and stood to face me. I could tell his clenched jaw muscles and the redness of his face that he was just as angry at me as I was with him.

Once I got close enough, I shoved the papers into his free hand and stated, “Here’s the floor plan and the path you should take. I’ve also marked where the security guards are stationed along the route and anywhere one could spot you.”

“Thanks.”

I was about to walk away and grab my bags, but I stopped myself and turned to say, “You know, it’s not like I didn’t just hear about this too.”

“That’s exactly what makes it so bad!” he cried, “You’re just rushing into a job that you don’t even know if it’s real or not. Bloody Hell, you don’t even know what Trump’s motivation is behind all of this! You just want a fight for the hell of it!”

I had nothing to say to this. Which I hated. I knew that he was right about everything up until the fighting part. Which I hated more. And I especially hated him for pointing all of this out to me. Instead of continuing to argue, I grabbed my bags from the corner where I had left them, locked up any remaining crates and headed back out of the armory. Unfortunately for me (as well as Damien, I guess) he had finished packing and was heading to the Awesomecopter! as well. Both of us, being the stubborn bastards that we are,  refused to either slow down or speed up in order to break away from the other, so we ended up walking through the hallway, into and then out of Great Room, into lobby, out the front doors, and around to the back of the building.

At the far end of the back yard, a section of the compound wall was swung open, revealing  a woodchip laden pathway into the woods. Together, we walked through the gap in the wall and pulled the gate shut, leaving the wall that surrounds the Awesomebase! yard unbroken once again. Still side by side, we walked along the path through the woods, refusing to say a word to each other.

After about a minute, we passed a large wooden sign that read: “Have you donated all of your belongings/ extra bodily fluids to benefit The Great One?”

I should probably explain. Since we’ve had the Awesomecopter! before the Awesomebase!, and particularly, the Awesomehangar! hasn’t been finished yet, we’ve had to hide the Awesomecopter! in a nearby clearing. To keep the construction workers off of the trail and away from the clearing, we told them that that path was for spiritual and sexual walk-abouts. We figured that that would scare off most of the workers, but on the chance that it didn’t, we put up signs along the path in order to discourage anyone from walking any farther.  We tried to make the signs as sexually disturbing as possible in order really make the intruder uncomfortable. Along the way, we also have an altar area covered in fake blood. This all must work, because after we watched the first curious come sprinting out of the woods shouting a lot of Spanish obscenities and looking like he was about to throw up. None of the construction workers even looked in the direction of the pathway after that.

After a few minutes of silence between Damien and myself, we passed a second sign. This one had the sentence, “Open your eyes, your hearts, and your rectums to receive The Intergalactic Gatekeeper’s majesty.”

After about another minute or so, we came upon a set of three signs. The first one said, “Have you fucked a goat lately? Why not?”

The second sign had the phrase, “I mean, it’s not like it’ll kill you.”

And finally, the last sign read, “You know what? Turn around right now, and bring back a goat to fuck.”

If you turned around at this point, you would then see on the back of the “It’s not like it’ll kill you” sign another sign that read, “Make sure it’s a virgin goat, and bring the sacrificial blade with you.”

Once we passed the final sign which read, “The Intergalactic Gatekeeper watches you masturbate- And he likes what he sees” (A work of Lady Caggiano’s genius), I knew that were coming up on the fake altar area.

Damien and I rounded a corner in the darkened woods, and came upon the altar area.  The tree canopy provided cover for the trampled earth below, with the exception of a small area in the center, which directly below it sat the fire pit. Behind the fire pit stood the altar, which was more like two tall piles of rocks holding up a slab of concrete. Obviously, it wasn’t stable enough for me to confident to place an empty beer bottle on, so we never did anything more than pour a bucket of red paint on it to look like it was covered with fresh blood. We also painted bloody hand prints on the trunks of the surrounding trees and on the smaller rocks that line the fire circle. Everett and Nut’n Fancy then nailed various goat bones to the trees and stuck two goat skulls on sticks at the entrance of the circle. Which we then slapped some paint colored blood onto as well. Basically, it looked like a massacre occurred there. I could understand why the man was so freaked out- with all the red, the area was noticeable immediately, and if you believed that that was all blood, it looked as though we had slaughtered twenty goats, coated ourselves with the blood, and began rubbing our bodies on everything. Honestly, I don’t know how we never managed to scare the construction workers into calling the cops or at least refusing to come back.  Clearly, Latin Americans (or possibly construction workers in general) are a n incredibly resilient people.

When we reached the fire circle in the center of the altar area, Damien and I split up, and walked aound the opposite side of the fire ring from each other. We reached the other side at the same time (damn) and headed for a large bush directly behind the altar. Damien lifted the side of the bush to reveal another path, and ushered me through with his hand. I wasn’t sure if he was doing it sarcastically or not, but I stepped passed anyway and then held the bush for him. I’m not sure why, that seemed to remove a lot of the tension between us, and I at least eased up on hoping he would just stop and look at a fucking rock for five seconds so that I could walk a head of him.

Within thirty or so seconds, we had reached the edge of the clearing and were approaching the Awesomecopter, which was being packed by the rest of the group. They saw us coming, and quickly averted their gaze back to trying to fit all the equipment and clothes into the Awesomecopter!, while still leaving room for the nine of us. Miraculously, we managed to stuff all the baggage into the helicopter with just enough room for us to sit down.

The Awesomecopter! was heavy, but Jessie managed to get it off the ground, and within seconds we were darting over the Awesomebase! and flying towards the setting spring sun. Most of the trip was uneventful. We changed out of our cult clothes and wiped the painted eyes off of our foreheads. Then, I explained to everyone the course of action for the recon mission, and GMZ interjected with any of the technical information that he had. I also explained to the group what Damien was going to be doing at the time. He barely said a word, still clearly irritated by the whole situation, but at least he didn’t try to argue with me about it. Well, since we were on our way to New York City, I guess there wasn’t much for him to say at that point.

After I finished briefing them, we decided to do what we did on our last mission: Play a single song on repeat for the entire length of the trip. I was about to play the Offspring’s Shit Is Fucked Up, when Lady Caggiano stopped me.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she asked me as I thumbed through the communal iPod.

“Looking for the song Shit Is Fucked Up. What does it look like I’m doing?”

“No,” She stated, “We’re listening to The Fame by Lady Gaga.”

“That crazy chick that wears bubble dresses and Kermit the Frog corpse outfits?” I asked, “Why the hell would we listen to her?”

“Yeah, she seems like a sexual deviant to me,” Everett added.

Many of the other members nodded in agreement, and GMZ added, “I heard she’s a dude!”

“Well, I don’t care if you think she’s weird, I like her and her music, so that’s who we’re listening to, not some band that was big thirteen years ago.”

“I swear,” GMZ interjected again, “She supposed to have a full dong!”

“Why do you think you get to choose?” I said to Lady Caggiano.

“Because you’re making me wear that stupid costume!” she cried, “Clearly I have it worst today, and I deserve to choose the song we listen to on repeat.”

Damien snorted. Lady Caggiano casted him a dark stare, before turning back around to me and daring me to challenge her claim.

“Since Damien is the one who’s being forced along on this mission,” Everett said, “Maybe he should be the one to choose.”

“I think that sounds fair,” Criss added.

“Me too,” came from Jessie, Derren, Nut’n Fancy, and Criss.

GMZ added once again,“I’m tellin’ you. Lady Gaga’s a dude.”

“Fine,” I said, “Let’s have Damien decide.”

Lady Caggiano growled at me, and if she weren’t strapped into her seat, I’m pretty sure she would have lunged at me with a knife.

“Well, if it were up to me,” Damien said slowly as he scratched his chin, “I’m gonna have to say that I feel like I’m in a Lady Gaga kind of mood right now.”

That bastard. He looked directly at me when he said it, and I could tell by the look in his eyes and the smirk on his stupid British face that he was only doing it to piss me off. Lady Caggiano, on the other hand, was delighted, and she and Damien shared in a high five.

“Did you see that, Minigan?” she asked as she lowered her hand back down to her side, “Damien actually knows how to give a proper high five’s.”

“So do I!” I yelled at her.

“No you don’t,” she retorted with venom in her voice, “Yours are always weird and static. Now play The Fame.”

I obliged, and for the remainder of the trip everyone was subject to Lady Caggiano singing over Lady Gaga.

“I love her so much!” she cried at one point, “Gaga is such a strong, independent woman!” She then continued to sing, “Isn’t it a shame, shame, baby? A shame, shame/ In it for the fame, fame, baby, the fame, fame…”

What felt like weeks later, we arrived in La Guardia airport, and poured out of the cramped Awesomecopter! and into the cool evening air. Derren, brilliantly, had called ahead and had two taxi vans waiting for us right outside the tarmac. The nine of us packed the vans full with our bags and then everyone but Jessie, who had to stay behind and do pilot things with the Awesomecopter!, piled into the now cramped vehicles for what was likely to be an awful journey to our hotel.

In about a half hour, we had reached the Peninsula Hotel of Fifth Avenue, the closest hotel to the Trump Tower. With the help of a bell hop, who, judging by the subtle holes in his face left from piercings, probably dressed up in emo clothes when he wasn’t at work, we were able to cart every one of our twenty or so bags into the main Lobby. As soon as I stepped inside the lobby, I was bludgeoned over the head with extravagance. The floor, the walls, and the ceiling were all covered in white stone tile, a giant  chandelier with tens of thousands of clear crystals hung down right above where the leaf print carpeted stairs split. On either side of the first  set of steps before the split, sat two brown marble columns with large vases filled with fragrant pink and purple flowers.

Confidently, Derren lead us directly to the right and up to the front desk. Behind it was a short and thin middle aged man, wearing an all-white uniform and a pencil mustache.

The man seemed somewhat bothered by the amount of us and our luggage, but he smiled anyway and greeted us in a stiff formal tone, “Welcome to The Peninsula Hotel. Under what name is your room registered?”

“Derren Brown,” Derren answered.

The man typed the name into his computer and then said, “Ah, yes. Mr. Brown, your request was last minute, but we did manage to find a suitable room for you and your, well,” he glanced at the rest of us, “party. Fortunately, we did have a room with the amenities your requested become available at the last second, so you will have a room facing Central Park with two queen sized beds. That is what you requested, correct?”

“Yes” Derren answered with a smile, “That’s perfect. But can we please have an extra cot brought up to the room if it isn’t too much trouble?”

The man looked taken aback by this request, which is understandable given how nice this hotel is, but the man smiled once again and replied, ‘Certainly. One will be up shortly. But Nathan here,” he waved his hand at the bell hop, “will show you to your room.”

The man handed Derren the envelope with the key cards, and Derren accepted them and thanked him. And that was it. Derren and the rest of the group followed the bell hop Nathan back across the lobby and into a lounge area where the elevators were.  When the first elevator door opened, The bell hop, Lady Caggiano, GMZ, Everett, Criss, Nut’n Fancy stepped in. There was room for about one more person, so I let Damien go in and I said that Derren and I would meet them on our floor.

As soon as Derren and I were in our own elevator and traveling up, I yelled at him, “Only one room?!?! Where’s everyone going to sleep?!”

“Excuse me,” Derren snapped back, “but I told you that was going to be impossible. Especially in New York, and especially in this Area of New York. Shit we were lucky enough to get a room facing the Trump Tower. What the hell more do you want from me?”

“But where is everyone going to sleep?” I cried.

“I have them bringing up the cot, so Lady Caggiano can use that. Then we’ll just have three people squeeze onto the beds, one person can take the chair, and one can take the floor. May I suggest that  Jessie, Nut’n Fancy, and I take the beds since we’re the oldest, as well as Everett and GMZ since they are the smaller of the young men. You, Damien, and Criss can fight it out for the last spot on the bed.”

I sighed, and said, “I guess that works. But you can choose who’s getting the last spot on the bed, and I’ll just take the floor. I don’t need to give me any more reason to want to fight me today.”

“I know,” Derren added, “Do you really disagree with him on how quickly we’re moving on this, or do you just not see a problem?”

I was about to answer with a strong and admittedly telling, “fuck you,” but the elevator pinged and the doors opened to reveal the rest of our group. Nathan lead us down the hall to our room,  and then helped us unstack our luggage once we were inside. Derren tipped the young man and closed the door behind him before he left.

The next hour or so was a mess of trying to get everything organized while also leaving enough space on the floor for us to move around and for me to sleep. After a while, Jessie knocked on the door, and he was followed shortly thereafter by the cot. By then, the stress of the trip and everything else from the day had worn us down, and we were all ready for bed. Derren gave the extra spot on the bed to Criss, who ended up sharing the bed with Everett and Nut’n Fancy. I stole a blanket and a pillow from one of the beds, found the biggest empty spot on the floor, and collapsed into a pile there. Despite the discomfort of the floor, my eyes immediately became heavy, and I was asleep within what felt like seconds.

Sorry for how little (zero) action there was in this post. I promise that the next two are going to be chalk full of it. Also, due to how long it took me to write, I did very little editing to this. Sorry about that too.

Until then,

Peace

P.S. To continue reading this story here is part 2

Awesomesquad! Assemble! 3! (Revisited)! Attack of the “Fashionista”

If you have no idea what Awesomesquad! is, then welcome to my blog! I write about it a lot. Catch up on it here. For the rest of you, this is only the first half of what I was going to write, so hopefully next week that will be up (probably not.) Here we go:

January of 2010 rolled in, about four months after Nut’n Fancy’s death, and no one in the group (including myself) felt like doing any Awesomesquading. The most any of us had done was when Lady Caggiano and I hired on our new Covert Ops expert, Series of Japanese Symbols. Lady Caggiano insisted that his name was Steve, but she also insisted that he spoke English, which he clearly didn’t. Luckily, whatever language he spoke, Lady Caggiano understood and was able to translate for me.

Other than that, GMZ and I had been spending the majority of our time scouring the internet for images of me from the Maher/ Limbaugh battle. There were a lot. Thankfully, the cameras were aimed above my waist, so I didn’t actually flash my junk to the entire world. And despite how much I enjoyed the attention at the time, I understood how dangerous to the team these pictures of me could be. Especially after our mysterious benefactor sent me an angry letter about it. Lady Caggiano had been keeping her mind off things by baking a church bake sale’s amount of cookies, Rice Crispy treats, and brownies. Everett, who was still upset about me breaking his prototype glasses, was either tinkering with some of his specialized weapons or locked in his room, moping. That is, if he was even in the Awesomebase! at all. He had his normal job, as did Damien, Danica, Phlegm, Jessie, and Criss. So for the most part, the Awesomebase! was empty other than GMZ, Lady Caggiano, our maintenance man, Raul, and myself.

As GMZ and I hacked into the next website to remove a picture of me (I think it was called The Berry), there was a pounding on the Watch Tower door. Begrudgingly, I left GMZ to continue our work, and opened the door. Lady Caggiano pushed her way through me, and into the Watch Tower. She rushed inside looking like she rolled around in a bag of flour, and had her cellphone up to her ear. She crossed the room in only five steps, practically thew GMZ out of his seat, sat down in it, and plugged her phone into the speaker.

“Why are you covered in flour?” GMZ asked.

“You’re on,” She said to the phone, ignoring GMZ’s question.

“Can you all hear me ok?” a seductive sounding female voice asked.

Lady Caggiano replied, “Yes, we can hear you fine. Please tell my teammates what you just told me.”

“Um, is the man who stripped on National Television in the room?”

GMZ put his hand over his mouth to muffle his snickering, and Lady Caggiano rolled her eyes. Suppressing a smirk, I answered, “Yes, I’m here.”

“Oh my gosh!” The woman’s voice said, sounding exasperated, “This might sound strange, but I’m your biggest fan! I think you’re hot like Mexico!”

I couldn’t contain my grin at this point, “Well, thanks. Now what is it that you need from us?”

“Wha? Oh, right.” The woman sounded embarrassed and The flour covered Lady Caggiano glared at me. “My name is Sefani Germanotta, but you may have heard of my stage name: Lady Gaga.”

I looked to Lady Caggiano in shock. She nodded her head feverishly, creating a cloud of flour around her that she had to fan away.

“Over the past couple of weeks,” Lady Gaga continued, “I have been receiving a series of increasingly violent threats against my life from Katy Perry.”

“Classic Katy Perry,” I replied, “Have you gone to the police and filed a complaint against her?”

“Of course I’ve gone to the police!” Lady Gaga cried, “But Katy Perry is famous. She’s not as famous as me, but she’s still famous. And as you know, famous people-”

“Get away with everything.” Lady Caggiano, GMZ, and I answered in unison.

“So, are you going to help?”

“Well,” I replied hesitantly, “We still need more information from you before we make the final decision.” Lady Caggiano casted an evil glare in my direction. I ignored her and continued, “For instance, how did you get this number?”

For a few seconds, the other line was silent, but then Lady Gaga answered, “I have my ways. And if you need to hear the threats for yourself I have those too.”

There was a rustling noise coming through The Watch Tower speakers, but after a few seconds, it was replaced with a recording of Katy Perry’s voice making a series of increasingly violent sounding treats towards Lady Gaga and Gaga’s family. There also was a side rant where Perry accused Lady Gaga of ripping off Madonna and doesn’t deserve to be more famous than Perry, which required me to suppress a chuckle and required Lady Caggiano to fight back the urge to stab me. In the final audio clip, Perry announced that she will be waiting at Gaga’s loft in New York City so that she could personally, “Beat the shit out of that oddly dressed ass” of Gaga’s.

“Please tell me that you’re going to help me. I’m afraid for my safety,” Lady Gaga pleaded.

I was hesitant. The fact that Gaga had Lady Caggiano’s private number and knew that she was a part of this team didn’t sit right with me. “I’ll tell you what, Miss Germanotta,” I said, “Give us five minutes to discuss it.

“I can give you anything that you desire, if that’s the issue,” she added flirtatiously.

“That’s very nice of you,” I replied as businesslike as possible, “But we need to discuss how we would go about handling the situation as well as if it is worth the risk.”

“OK, I understand. I’ll call back in five minutes,” She replied, sounding disappointed.

Once she had hung up, Lady Caggiano screamed, “WHY THE HELL ARE WE DISCUSSING WHETHER OR NOT WE’RE GOING TO DO THIS, YOU DICK?!”

“Excuse me, you flour coated, Gaga obsessed crazy woman,” I snapped back, “but I’m a little curious as to how she found a way to come in contact with us.”

“Seriously, Cagginao, why are you covered in flour?” GMZ asked again.

“Don’t be thick, Minigan.” Caggiano retorted, “It’s obvious that she thinks you’re hot. She was flattering you like crazy, and judging by how much you were blushing, you noticed too.”

“Hopefully you’re wrong about Gaga hitting on Minigan, because Gaga’s definitely a dude,” GMZ interjected.

“What?!” Lady Caggiano and I blurted out in unison.

“That’s hilarious!” I cried.

“That’s not true!” Lady Caggiano added.

“It’s totally true!” GMZ replied, “And I know of the video to prove it!”

Almost as if he had prepared for this moment, GMZ instantly had the video playing on the wall of monitors. The video was grainy at that size, but no amount of grainy video could cover what GMZ wanted us to see. It’s of Lady Gaga on stage at a concert, and she is sitting on a motorcycle for some reason. After she gets off of it, she adjusts her skirt, and for a quick second, a flesh colored- something- is poking out from in between her legs.

This made Lady Caggiano even more furious, “That could be anything!”

I retorted, “Yeah, like a penis.”

“Go to Hell, Minigan,” Lady Caggiano snapped, “Besides, this doesn’t change the fact that she needs our help.”

“I totally agree,” I replied, “But I’m still uneasy at how she found us.”

Lady Caggiano calmed herself down and explained, “I understand that. I really do. But I’m in figurative love with Lady Gaga, and I cannot imagine her making this up. Please, Minigan, If you trust me at all, you will trust my instincts on this one.”

She had to bring up my trust in her. Of course I trusted her. She’s my second in command, she’s one of my closest friends, and she’s one of the few people who was able to keep my ego in check, how could not trust her? But no matter how much I trusted Lady Caggiano, I still didn’t trust Lady Gaga. She was famous singer after all.

“It’s not that I don’t trust you, Lady Cagg-“

“OK, listen.” She interrupted as she pulled out a can of knockout gas from her hoodie pocket, “You can either agree to do this, or I can force you to go along, but either way we’re helping Lady Gaga.”

I could feel the blood drain from my face. I looked to GMZ, who looked like he was contemplating sprinting to the door.

“Fine,” I sighed, defeated, “But you call the rest of the group in and convince them to do this. And I promise you that that won’t be easy.”

“I cannot believe that all of you bastards decided to go along with this that easily,” I grumbled to the rest of Team Pugnastics as we climbed aboard the Awesomecopter!.

Damien laughed, “Well, it’s nice to have some solid evidence to go on for once, yeh know?”

“You’re a dick, Damien,” I stated as I suppressed a smirk.

“Yet, you still keep me around, so I must do a spot on job when it comes to fighting your American celebrities for you.”

“Yeah, well you Brits unleashed David and Victoria Beckham on us, so I’d say we’re even.” Everett interjected. When Damien glared at him, he quickly added, “But I agree with Damien about the whole evidence thing. The recording was a nice reassurance of what we’re getting into this time.”

Danica, who with the rest of Team Prevention came down to the Helipad to see us off, replied, “I dunno about that. That tape sounded a little too straightforward for it to be legitimate.” “I don’t know how you missed that, Lady Cagginao- Queen of bitchy rhetoric,” she added sarcastically.

From her seat, Lady Caggiano retorted, “You know what, McKellar, how about you invent a mathematical algorithm that proves that you’re a twat.”

“Enough!” I cried. I slammed the door shut before Danica could get in another snappy comeback.

The trip to New York City was uneventful and mostly filled with Series Of Japanese Symbols’s weird gibberish language and Lady Caggiano translating for me. At about 9:00, Jessie landed the Awesomecopter! on a rooftop a couple of blocks away from Gaga’s building, and we zip lined across. When we reached the roof of the skyscraper Gaga’s loft was in, Series of Japanese Symbols was able to get us all inside unnoticed.

It was nearly pitch black inside the hallway leading to Gaga’s loft. I pulled out my night vision goggles and strapped them to my head. I missed Everett’s glasses. And so did he, which he made sure I knew by stepping on my heels several times. I bit my lower lip and pretended to ignore it. We moved silently through the dark, and in no time we were at her door. Unlocked. One by one, we entered the Apartment, which was only lit by the buildings outside the windows. In the center of the massive yet empty living room sat a chair in which the blond pop star was tied to. Lady Caggiano, along with the rest of us, ran to her aid.

“So, Minigan,” Lady Caggiano asked smartly, “do you think she’s faking this too?”

“Shut up,” I replied, “Let’s just get her untied.”

When we got close enough, it had become obvious that Lady Gaga was knocked out. Her wrists and ankles were tied to the wooden chair she sat in, and she had been gagged with what looked like a dish towel. Even though she was still, the dress she was wearing glittered ominously. When I looked closer her entire dress seemed to be made out of sharp looking metal scales. I shrugged this off as being what Lady Gaga wears to bed, and I began to undo the gag in Lady Gaga’s mouth. That’s exactly when she awoke with a slight shriek that made everyone in Awesomsquad! reach for their weapons.

“Oh, Thank God!” She exclaimed as she looked up to me, “You came to save me!”

“I said that you could count on us,” Lady Caggiano reassured her.

“Right,” Lady Gaga said dismissively. She then looked at the rest of Awesomesquad and said, “She and her goons went in there.” She nodded to a nook on the other side of the room where a door stood ajar. “They heard you coming and tried to escape. If you hurry you can catch them!”

Everyone in Awesomesquad! other than Lady Caggiano and myself ran to the nook and through the door. Lady Gaga then said to Lady Caggiano, “You should go with them- her goons had some serious weapons with them, and the rest of your team could use your help. Mr. Cloak here should be able to protect me.”

Through the nightvision goggles, I could see Lady Gaga gazing up at me and biting her lower lip seductively and Lady Caggiano holding back the urge to punch me in the face. After a second or two of glaring at me, Lady Caggiano obliged Gaga and followed the rest of the group through the door.

“Don’t worry, Miss Gaga,” I reassured her, “We have the situation under control- Wait, what do you mean they heard us coming? We are experts in stealth and we landed our Awesomecopter several blocks away. No one ever hears us coming. And how did you know where they went if you were knocked out?”

Instead of answering, Lady Gaga smiled at me and said, “Don’t call me Gaga.” She then stomped her right foot on the floor. The tile she stomped on sank into the floor, and that was the last thing I saw before my retinas were obliterated by light flooding my night vision goggles. I screamed in agony and fell to the ground. From behind me, I could hear my teammates rushing back through the door, but there was whooshing noise, and their footsteps and calls for me were silenced. Despite my natural instincts, I forced my eyes open and looked for Gaga through the blur of light and tears. My eyes were adjusting, but not fast enough. A strong kick was delivered to my right ribs that sent me crashing through the chair that Gaga was sitting in and back onto the floor. I coughed and tasted blood. As quickly as my body would allow, I climbed to my hands and knees. Everything was still a blur, but I could make out the glittering Lady Gaga walking towards me. I raised up my hand and blasted her with a column of fire. She stepped through it, and ripped the flamethrowers off my wrists and pushed me onto my back.

Cherry cherry boom boom.” She seethed.

Finally I could see clearly. She towered over me, just standing there, waiting for me to make the first move, or to decide what to do with me… Actually, I had no clue what she was planning on doing to me. She stared down at me and began to speak in a language that I never thought a human mouth could make. It sounded as if someone put the puttering of a dying motor through an auto-tuner. After a few seconds of this, my wrist communicator crackled to life.

“Minigan! Are you OK?!” Lady Caggiano’s voice shouted through, “What’s she doing?”

I looked passed Gaga. On the other side of the room, in the nook was the rest of my team, separated from me by a sheet of glass. Lady Caggiano was staring at me, the anger replaced with concern, Damien and Series of Japanese Symbols were hammering on the window with legs of furniture they must have found in the other room, Criss was pounding on the glass with his bare hands in an attempt to draw Gaga’s attention to them instead, and Everett, had pulled out a camera and a tablet, I assumed to video tape my murder.

Gaga turned to see what I was looking at, saw my team, and commanded me in English, “Tell your friends that if they break through that window, I will kill every last one of them in the most horrible way imaginable.”

I pressed the button on my wrist communicator, “Don’t break through that window. If you do, Lady Gaga is going to make each of you listen to her music until you drown yourselves in her toilet. So, again, DO NOT break through that glass. Especially you, Criss.” He stopped hitting the glass and gave me a confused look. I raised one eyebrow and stated again, “Yes, Criss. Do not break though that glass.” Criss nodded, catching what I meant, and I looked back at Gaga, who was speaking to herself in that strange language again. I left my communicator speaker on.

“What do you want, Gaga?” I asked as I tried to inch backwards. A shot of pain blasted through my chest, and I realized that at least one of my ribs were fractured from that kick. I grunted and propped myself up on my elbows.

“What I want?” She replied, “I wanna take a ride on your disco-stick.

“What?!”

“You heard me,” she cooed as she got down on her hands and knees and moved her face so that hers was only an inch away from mine, “Let’s play a love game.

Her breath smelled like a mixture of meat, flowers, and pond water, which in any other scenario, I would point out to the person. But at that moment, I asked instead, “Why in God’s name would you go through all this trouble if you just wanted to have sex with me?”

“Because she’s an alien!” Everett interjected through the communicator, “Minigan, I was able to send a recording of that language to GMZ, and he crossed referenced it with the Government’s audio files from Area 51. She is from a species of shape-shifters. And since she’s chosen -uh- you as a mate, she’s probably the queen of her hive. She’s going to try and take you back to her planet to mate! Stop her by-“

Lady Gaga ripped the communicator off my wrist and crushed it in her hands. “Hey there summer boy,” she whispered into my ear, “Let’s go for a ride!

Gaga stood up, grabbed me by my arms, and with incredible force started to drag me away. I groaned in agony from my ribs, and I looked around the room for something I could wrap my legs around to stop her.

But At that moment, Criss passed through the glass, and shouted, “Stop right there, Gaga!”

Instantly, Gaga had dropped my arms and raised them to her breasts, which had turned into machine guns. She fired at Criss, who sprinted across the room and dove over the counter and into the kitchen. My team trapped in the nook dropped to the ground to avoid the bullets, and the glass separating them and us shattered. I tried rolling to the wall, but Gaga was still too quick for me. She lifted me up by my armpits and pinned me against the wall.I let out a cry of agony, as I could have sworn I was being stabbed in the chest.

“I’m sorry, babe,” she said to me, “but I’m gonna have to kill all your friends.”

“NO!” I yelled, “All they’re doing is trying to protect me! Why do you need to kill them?!”

She caressed my cheek with the back of her hand and said, “I’m on a mission, and it involves some heavy touching.” She then slapped me hard and continued, “And no one is allowed to stop me from completing that mission.”

With that, dozens of the metal scales from her dress then popped off her body, jumped onto me, and wrapped around my wrists and ankles. When I looked down at them, they had fused together to form shackles that allowed no movement by me at all. Gaga let go and looked me in the eyes. She then opened her mouth and let her long, thin, scaly  green tongue slide up and down my face. I would’ve vomited on her if I hadn’t been afraid of the pain in my chest knocking me out.

You taste just like glitter mixed with rock and roll,” she cooed.

“That doesn’t make any sense!” I yelled at her, “Who knows what glitter and rock and roll taste like?! You are the worst human impersonator ever!”

“I’m good enough to fool your moronic species,” she snapped back. She turned to face the rest of Awesomesquad! whom had her surrounded, and continued, “All of you humans were so busy focusing on my alleged penis from that concert clip to wonder why that clip ended so suddenly. It was edited so that no one outside of that concert would know my true form. Everyone who sees my true form in person becomes one of my legion of loyal monsters. They do my bidding, and they will bring to me whatever, or whomever, I want.”

“Holy Shit!” I exclaimed, remembering who insisted that we accept this mission, “Lady Caggiano, did you plan this!?”

“No!” she cried, “I swear. I knew nothing about this. I didn’t even know she was an alien until GMZ told us!”

I didn’t believe her, and apparently, neither did Damien nor Criss, who shifted their guns from Gaga to Caggiano. She put both her hands in the air and stepped backward. No one spoke, not even Gaga. We all just stared from Lady Caggiano to Lady Gaga, expecting Gaga to make a demand that Caggiano would immediately follow. I saw a wicked looking smirk grow on Gaga’s face, and I knew just she was thinking the same thing as I.

“I’ve never even been to one of her concerts!” Caggiano yelled right as Gaga opened her mouth, “And I can prove it!”

She stomped towards Gaga, pulled out a hunting knife, and slashed at her chest. Several of the scales that the blade had sliced fell the floor, showing a deep cut in Gaga’s flesh. She shrieked and pounced on Caggiano. Criss, Damien, and Series of Japanese Symbols joined in on the fight. The five of them fought in a pile on the floor, rolling around, with Lady Gaga biting them as often as she could. Everett, who avoided the wrestling match occurring in front of us, ran up to me and began trying to cut off the scales that had me shackled to the wall.

“Be careful,” I said, “I think a few of my ribs are fractured.”

“Luckily, I have just the thing for that,” Everett stated. He reached into his pocket and pulled out what looked like a modified EPI pen. He stabbed it into my side, making my whole body tense up, and then squeezed the top. Within seconds, the pain was washed away by a tingling sensation in my chest and buzzing sensation in my brain.

“It’s a mixture of adrenaline and Novocain. It should keep you numb for a while while also helping you to ignore the pain until we get out of this situation,” he explained with a grin. I’m guessing that the relief of my pain was noticeable. After Gaga roared behind him, his expression became serious once again and said, “Let’s get you off the wall.”

The scales were tough, but Everett had a strong pair of wire clippers that managed to cut through the scales and free me. Together, he and I rushed back into the fight, which was still a wrestling/ biting match on the floor. With one hard kick, I managed to repay Gaga for the kick she had given to me, and separated her from my team. She landed on her feet in front of the counter. She let out another roar, which was followed by a long tail forming from her backside. It quickly grabbed a hold of my five team mates, one by one, and threw them across the room. Each hit the wall with a loud thud, and slumped to the ground. Each of their groans assured me that they were all still alive.

“Join me, Mr. Blackwood.” Lady Gaga cooed, “We would make beautiful larva together.”

“I don’t know what part of that sentence you think is arousing,” I retorted, stealthfully freeing my taser from its holster, “but I promise you that every man on this planet would immediately suffer from erectile dysfunction   if you said that to him.”

She crossed the room to where I was standing, wrapped one of her legs around me and pulled me close. She then whispered in my ear, “Not a man from Holland.”

“Well,” I snapped at her, “I guess you should go try to get one of those guys then.”

Before she could say anything else that would make me want to vomit, I plunged my taser into her stomach and pressed the button. Her dress came alive with angry clicks. The metals scales spun and flapped around madly, the ones closest to me cutting into my hands. But the taser still did as I hoped. The metal scales conducted the electricity and directed it all over her body. Lady Gaga convulsed for a few seconds before she fell to the ground completely. It didn’t knock her out, only weakened her, but that was enough for me to get away. The rest of my team was back on their feet, and Everett was rushing towards me with a silver disk. He tossed it passed me, and it slid right up to Gaga.

“Get away from that, Minigan” Everett warned, “You don’t want to be close when the spiders come out.”

“Spiders?!” I cried, getting the hell away from that disk.

I turned around once I was a safe distance away, and saw what he meant. The disk split into five different round spider-looking robots. Lady Gaga was back on her feet, still in a mild daze, when the spider-robots climbed onto her feet. With amazing speed, the five robots wove a silvery cocoon around Lady Gaga which left her completely unable to move. She fell back down to the floor.

“Let’s get right the fuck out of this place,” I shouted to my team as we all sprinted for the door.

I was about to run out of the Gaga’s loft when she yelled, “But I’ve taken you as my mate! You have to come to my planet with me!”

“Why couldn’t you just take any other male on this planet?” I shouted back, feeling sorry for the potentially doomed soul.

“Pfsh,” she replied, writhing in the metal cocoon the spiders had trapped her in, “I don’t want no paper gangsta, I want the real thing.”

“Well… Tough shit.”

We were all sprinting down the hallway and back up the stairs to the roof when I yelled to my team, “Someone get Jessie on the line. He needs to pick us up at this roof. That cocoon will not hold Gaga.”

“But that’s a titanium nano-fiber,” Everett explained, “It will take her a lot longer than just a few minutes to break out of-“

There was a crash and a roar from below us indicating that Lady Gaga was in fact free from the cocoon.

“Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up!” I commanded to my group.

Damien got the word to Jessie, who then said that he was on his way, and we started sprinting up the stairs even faster once we heard Gaga break into the stairwell. I was running next to Lady Caggiano, who seemed to be absolutely furious about the whole situation.

She casted a sideways glance towards me and in between breaths, she warned, “Don’t even say what you’re thinking, Minigan.”

I replied, “But all I want to say is-“

“Don’t,” she interjected.

We turned the corner and sprinted up the next floor, before we heard another shriek from Gaga. I then said to Lady Caggiano in a mock conversational tone, “I just want to say that, for the record, I think she just might have been faking that whole ‘being tied up’ thing, but hey, what the hell do I know, right?”

“Shut the fuck up, Minigan, or I’m going to throw you to her.”

“Won’t both of you shut the bloody hell up and run!” Damien cried. He kicked open the door to the roof and sprinted out into the cold January night.

Everett, Criss, Series of Japanese Symbols, Lady Caggiano, and I followed, and as soon as I was through the door, Everett, Criss, and Damien threw whatever they could find in front of the door to barricade it. The wind picked up and the Awesomecopter! flew into view. The rhythmic “wop-wop” sound and the chilly downwash from the spinning blades reassured me that this was almost over. Without landing, the door opened and Team Pugnastics climbed in.

Being the last one in, I shut the door behind me and yelled to Jessie, “Let’s get the fuck out of here!”

“Ok,” Jessie replied brightly, “but not until everyone is wearing their seatbelts.”

“GO!” the six of us screamed.

Jessie obliged, and the Awesomecopter! dove over the edge of the building. I sat down in my seat, and let out a sigh of relief. The ordeal was over. At least, that’s what I was thinking before a large amount of weight tilted the Awesomecopter! backwards and sent us flying in reverse.

“Oh hey!” Jessie exclaimed, “Lady Gaga is literally on our tail! I wonder what she needs now?”

“God damn it,” I shouted, “She just won’t give up!” I unbuckled my seatbelt, poked my head into the cockpit, and ordered Jessie, “Do whatever you can to shake her off.”

“Sure thing, Boss!” Jessie replied with a grin as he pulled up on the collective and made the Awesomecopter! shoot upward. He zig-zagged dangerously over the streets and buildings of New York City, probably terrifying the citizens below. Despite Jessie’s acrobatics, Gaga was still clutching tightly to the tail boom (I swear I didn’t make up that name) of the Awesomecopter! with no intent on letting go.

I muttered an expletive to myself and then turned to my team and said, “I’m gonna need to go out there and fight her. Someone give me their grappling hook. I’m going to have to fight her while suspended from it.”

“No!” Lady Caggiano cried, “Let one of us go! You fighting her will be giving her what she wants!”

“Yes,” I replied, but she will kill each of you without hesitation to get to me. I don’t want that on my conscience. Not after Nut’n Fancy.

Everett added, “But what will we do if she manages to capture you and Jessie doesn’t see it?”

I paused for a second, realizing that that situation is a terrifyingly real possibility. I looked to Damien and asked, “Are you up for some more fighting?”

“Always,” he replied with a grin, already unbuckling his seat belt. The Awesomecopter! banked hard to the left, which almost sent Damien toppling out of his chair.

“Good.” I stated steadying myself on my empty seat. Looking to the others, I asked, “Who wants to give us their grappling guns?”

Lady Caggiano, Criss, and Series of Japanese Symbols offered us their grappling guns, and Everett pulled a large box out from under his chair.

“These are magnetic boots,” he said as he pulled to heavy looking red boots out of the box, “They work exactly as you think: they have strong magnets inside that it possible to walk on metal ceilings or walls, or in this case, keep you standing on the metal fuselage of a helicopter that’s in mid-flight.” He handed them to me and added, “Now, I haven’t had a chance to field test them yet, but I’m confident that they’ll work.”

“How many goddamn prototypes do you have that you haven’t ‘field tested’ yet, Everett?!” I shouted.

Sarcastically, he shouted back, “Well, do you want me to list them to you, or do you want to go fight the sex crazed alien that wants to kidnap and rape you?”

I pondered that question for a second, and then asked, “Can I go with the first one?”

“No!” Lady Caggiano, Everett, and (I assume) Series of Japanese Symbols shouted at me.

“But there’s only one pair of boots,” I noted to Everett, “What will the other person do?”
“Don’t sweat it, mate,” Damien replied, “I’ll hang from the copter using the grappling hooks and keep her from taking you. It’s like you said, she’ll kill me if I’m in her way to getting you. She won’t kill you cause she doesn’t want you dead- only maimed.” “Plus,” he added, patting his gun, “I’m a damn good shot if it comes to that.”

I quickly pulled off my regular boots and shoved the magnetic ones on in their place, and then Damien opened the door. The roar of wind and the Awesomecopter’s! engine poured in, making the seated members of my team cover their ears and turn their heads. Damien stepped out onto the skids, and shot his grappling gun at the tail boom. Despite the wind and the murderous alien waiting for us, he managed to get the grappling hook around the tail boom and hooked onto its wire on the first try. He jumped off the skids, doing a triple front flip (show off) and swung down to about twenty feet below the Awesomecopter!.

I sat down at the edge of the cabin door, and pressed my feet against the outside of the fuselage. Everett instructed me to press the button on the inside of the tongue to activate the magnets. I did so, and instantly felt the strong pull of magnets to metal. I then pulled myself into the standing position. Well, almost standing position. Due to the wind, and the fact that my center of gravity was turned on its side, I could only crouch and scoot my feet towards Gaga. My cloak, being caught in the wind currents created by the helicopter flying up and down city streets, wrapped itself awkwardly around me. Just about all of my hair was in my mouth. If I could’ve lifted my legs, I would have tripped over it. This was going to be the last thing my team saw me do. I was going to either die or be kidnapped in the worst fighting stance possible: crouched into a ball and fighting off my own clothes.

Gaga, on all fours on the tail boom and her claws digging into the metal, smiled at me and yelled, “I won’t ever stop, Minigan. I’ll chase you down until you love me.” She then reached down to the wire of Damien’s grappling gun, and with one fierce swipe, cut it.

“Damien! NO!” I cried, unable to do anything other than watch his wire go slack and him fall out of sight. I heard a weird clank and then the muffled screams of my teammates inside, my guess was they witnessed Damien’s landing.

I stood straight up. Despite the wind, despite the fact that I was fighting gravity, and despite the sharp pain returning to my chest with each breath, I stood straight up and took several slow, deliberate steps towards the menacing pop queen. She crawled towards me, licking her lips. I took a deep breath, feeling the stabbing pain in my ribs, and once she was within reach, I took a swing.

I caught her in her jaw with a left jab, and she stumbled backwards, almost falling off the tail boom. My knuckles screamed with pain, but the rage at her killing Damien made me ignore it.

I screamed, “I’ve got more where that came from, you interplanetary bitch.”

She righted herself and called back with a grin, “Baby, when it’s love, if it’s not rough it isn’t fun.

I took another swing and hit her hard with a right hook, but this time she only brushed it off and pounced at me. I slid my left foot backwards, and arched my back to avoid her. She narrowly missed me, but did manage to grab onto my cloak. As she fell she spun me around so that I was facing the ground. The upper part of my body lurched forward, and suddenly, I was facing the fuselage and being choked by my cloak. Gaga shrieked in horror as she thrashed around below me. I looked up (or down, I guess) and watched as my Justice stick slide out of its special pocket. I quickly reached for it, but when I did, my right foot slid out of my magnetic boot. With the weight of Lady Gaga hanging from my cloak, the remaining boot slid to the undercarriage of the fuselage.

“Hey’ Gaga!” I yelled down to her, “How about you take a ride on my Justice Stick?”

I took one swipe with my pole arm and the blade managed to cut both of her hands. She let go of my cloak and fell onto the roof of a passing skyscraper. She looked up and me and roared a furious roar. I was about to let out a triumphant laugh, when my other foot slipped out of the other magnetic boot and I fell back to the cold earth. I braced myself for impact  but out of nowhere, a pair of arms swung in and wrapped around my chest. I screamed in agony as my body came to a halt and the arms squeezed around me tighter.

“You okay, mate?” a British voice asked.

“Damien?!”

“In the flesh.”

I was amazed, “I thought you died!”

“Ah, no such luck for you,” He joked, “I used a second grappling gun to catch onto the skids. Which is what you could have done, yeh bloody fool.”

I would have let out a laugh or a sigh of relief, but the pain in my chest was preventing me from breathing at all. Damien reeled in the grappling wire, which pulled us back up to the skids. He then opened the cabin door, threw me inside, and then entered as well.

I took a couple of deep pained breaths and then weakly yelled, “Get me the Hell out of New York City.”

The Official Awesomesquad! Roster!

I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time now, seeing as though I cannot write an Awesomesquad! Assemble! Post under 3,000 words anymore. I just think it’s pointless for me to add the roster at the beginning of every post, especially where there’s 6 damn Awesomesquad posts so far. It’s pointless and annoying and a waste of space for anyone who has read any of the previous Awesomesquad! Assemble! posts before. Plus, this saves me a lot of time and hassle whenever I want to post and New Awesomesquad! blog. Plus, this makes it easy for anyone new to these posts to catch up relatively quickly. See? I am a goddamned Jeanious!

So here is my list of current and former members of Awesomesquad! For Each, I will explain what role they serve in my group, either showcase a video or describe their abilities in a short paragraph, A spoiler alert followed by their status as either “current” or “former”, and if they are a former member, a link to their last post. I would like to point out that it might not be the last post that they’re in, but timeline-wise, that one will be their final one. I will also briefly describe what character traits they each bring to the team.

In case you were wondering, Yes, I am writing this because I plan on posting another Awesomesquad! blog next week. We’ll meet new characters! And see the return of some old ones! Exclamation Points!

The away team: Team Pugnastics

Code Name- Lady Caggiano

How the leader found her- Knows her personally, Best friend

Role- Second in Command/ Creator of Baked Goods

Ability- First of all, she knows Tae Kwon Do, so she can kick some ass. Secondly, due to her motherly nature, she loves to bake and take care of people. This means that she will also help as a medic and be a morale booster.

Personality traits- Feminist, Liberal, intelligent, Catty. Despite being the morale booster, she is most likely to get into arguments with other people, especially if they’re conservative leaning. She also tends to start problems with the other females of the group, just to keep things interesting. Of course, these conflicts are always resolved when we meet one of our enemies


Status- Former Member

Code Name- Knifemaster

Well, see if I let you into my superhero club now, Jibbles. Fucking dick.

How the leader found him- Knows him personally, Best friend

Role- Second in Command/ Knife Master

Ability- Has an extensive knowledge of weapons and has the ability to scare the other team members into doing what he says, which is usually what I say.

Personality traits- Loyal, shithouse crazy. Usually, he is loyal and unquestioning to the authority figure (me) but still willing to call the leader out on bullshit if he feels that the group’s wellbeing may be in jeopardy.

Status- Current Member

Code Name- Damien Walters


How the leader found him- Internet

Role- Parkor/ gymnastics/ fight coach

Ability- This:

Personality traits- Strong willed, distinctly British, Usually but heads with the leader

Status- Current Member

Code Name- Everett Bradford

How the leader found him- Internet

Role- Weapons Technician

Ability- This:

Personality traits- intelligent , creative, Low key, Meek but quick witted in battle. He is usually intimidated by the other members of the group, but he is not afraid to stand up when one of them needs him.

Status- Current Member

Code Name- Jesse James

How the leader found him- TV, his show

Role- Vehicle builder/ Mechanic/ Driver

Ability- Monster Garage. Well, technically, he was only the host, but still…

Personality traits- Straightforward, Behind the times- Pop Culture-wise

Status- Current Member

Code Name- Criss Angel

Seriously, fix your hair. You look like an asshole.

Role- Mind Freak

How the leader found him-TV, his show

Ability- He’s magic:

Personality traits- Oblivious to the extent of his powers, almost famous so he has some doucebaggy qualities about him. He’s mostly the butt of jokes, but he takes it in good humor.

Status- Current Member

Code Name- Series of Japanese Symbols (usually called Steve)

How the leader found him-Internet, Stumbleupon

Role- Stealth/ Covert Ops expert

Ability- This:

Personality traits- Angry, hot headed, intelligent. He has a serious problem with Minigan because he thinks that Minigan is racist against Asians, even though it was Minigan’s idea to bring him on.

Status- Current Member

Code Name- Mr. Expendable

Such a shady character should be a perfect addition to my team!

How the leader found him- Knows him personally, Coworker

Role- Test subject/ standard fighter

Ability- can regenerate lost tissue quickly

Personality traits- up beat, loyal, willing to be the test subject, brave in battle

Status- Current Member

Code Name- Nut’n Fancy

How the leader found him- Internet, Best friend (turned Knifemaster) shows him videos of Nut’n Fancy shooting.

Role- Gun/ Ammunitions expert

Ability- He knows guns:

Personality traits- Extreme Conservative, outspoken, insanely loyal to the group even if he and Lady Caggiano argue all the damn time.

Status- Former member
The Home Team, Team Prevention/ Protection:
Code Name- Danica McKellar

I’d like to solve for her right angle with my hypotenuse.

How the leader found her- Internet, Probably a Cracked.com article

Role- Crime solver, and when needed, spy

Ability- Danica is a math genius. She uses her math whiz abilities to solve crimes. You know, just like that show Numb3rs. Plus, since she’s also an actress, she can infiltrate whatever organization we need her to.

Personality traits- Wildly intelligent and manipulative, a flirt, at times can be as catty as Lady Caggiano, loves to mess with everyone in the group.

Status- Current Member

Code Name- GMZ

Role- Hacker

How the leader found him- Internet- Found by Lady Caggiano

Ability- He is good at hacking. He once hacked into several prominent celebrities Twitter accounts.

Personality traits- Loner, intelligent, prefers the control room to the rest of the Awesomebase! He has a bit of a short temper, but it can be tamed with some good food, like Lady Caggiano’s baked goods.

Status- Current Member

Code Name-Phlegm

She actually killed that shark

Role-Team Psychologist

How the leader found her- knows her personally, best friend’s sister

Ability-it isn’t so much of an “ability” but she keeps every member of the team mentally stable. This is important, what with all the killing we do.

Personality Traits-sweet and caring, has a serious case of bloodlust. She has threatened Minigan on at least one occasion.

Status- Current Member.

Code Name- Derren Brown

Role-interrogator

How the leader found him- TV, his show

Ability-he’s a mentalist, so he is able to get people to talk people into telling him what they want. Here’s a video:

Personality Traits- A follower but does trick people into doing things for him, excellent speaker, intelligent

Status-Current Member

Code Name- Coco Montoya (Sean McCormick)

His eyes are dreamy in a “I’m going to rape you” kind of way

Role-Genetic scientist

How the leader found him- Knows him personally- coworker.

Ability- He has studied the Human Genome for years and has developed methods the alter a person’s genetic code to prevent sickness or give them superpowers.

Personality Traits-Hippy, abhors violence, nerdy, Intelligent


Status- Former Member

Code Name- Raul

Role- Maintenance man, occasional fighter for Team Pugnastics

How the Leader found him- He helped build the Awesomebase!

Ability- Knows guns and can shoot them well, also knows many different areas of construction and carpentry.

Personality traits- Loves women. He is easily distracted by them and, on occasion, has fought agaist Awesomesquad if they are battling against one. He is also a hard worker, and willing to help out however he can, mostly because Minigan wanted to keep him around after the Awesomebase! was built.

Spoiler Alert!

Status: Former Member

Awesomesquad! Assemble! 6!

Holy crap this is long. Sorry about that, but you know- dick jokes.

In the sake of time I’ll just give everyone who hasn’t read an Awesomesquad! Assemble post before this one some background info:

I made a crime fighting team called Awesomesquad! We’re badass. I found most of the members from either the Internet or T.V.

I am the leader I usually wear a white cloak that for some reason can hold my pole arm, which I call my Justice Stick.

My second in command is my good friend Jibbles aka the Knifemaster

Damien Walters is our parkour and hand to hand combat trainer

Everett Bradford is our weapons tech

Criss Angel is our token wizard

Mr. Expendable is a friend of mine who we’ve given the ability to regenerate lost tissue. This means that he is largely our guinea pig for experiments

Steve is an Asian guy who is our stealth and covert ops expert

Jessie James (From Monster Garage) is our driver and the builder of the Awesomeplane!, our main form of transportation

Danica Mckellar (aka Winnie from The Wonder Years) is a mathematician who uses math to figure everything out

I’ve got some serious quadratic expansion going on in my pants right now.

Phlegm is our team psychiatrist. She is also The Knifemaster’s brother

GMZ is our hacker

Derren Brown is our mentalist who mainly interrogates our suspects.

That’s all the important information. Enjoy this batch of crazy:

*****
“Fuck. Call Jibbles!” I screamed into my phone.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what you mean by, ‘Fuck call Jibbles'” Siri replied.
“Don’t fuck around, Siri, this is important.”
She didn’t answer.
“You’re a cunt, Siri.”
“Was it something I said?” she then asked.
I rolled my eyes and searched for Jibbles’ number the old fashioned way. Ugh, what a hassle. After a few tedious minutes of searching through my contacts, I had found and called Jibbles.
“Knifemaster!,” I exclaimed before he has a chance to finish saying hello, ” You need to assemble The Awesomesquad!. It’s important.
“Sure thing, Minigan, when do you want us to meet?”
“FUCKING NOW!!!”
“But Minigan,” Jibbles said in an uncharacteristically whiny manner, “you always give us some kind of advanced warning, and I really have a lot of studying to do for my finals.”
“You can study when you’re dead,” I retorted, “Right now, there’s evil to fight.”
“You know that that makes no sense, right?” he pointed out to me.
Even though he was probably right, there was no time to argue. “Just assemble the team.”
I heard a sigh come from the other end of the line, which I took as him seceding to my request, so I hung up.
After a few quiet seconds, a distant voice called out from somewhere outside my window,” Awesomesquad Assemble!”
“Man, Jibbles is getting good at that,” I said to myself, “It echoed and everything.”
My trip to my entrance, as well as my passage into the Awesomebase! was uneventful, and once inside I found Jibbles and Everett hanging out in the dining lounge.
“Quick!” I shout as I walked into the lounge, making them both jump out of their seats, “We need to think of a way to destroy a corpse but leave a living body unharmed.”

“What?!” they both cried in unison.
“A weapon.” I stated, ” We need some kind of weapon that will destroy a corpse, but leave a living body unharmed.”
“Why?” Jibbles asked.
“Because we need it to fight zombies, but still protect civilians.” I answer.
“What?!” they both cry in unison once again.
“JUST BUILD SOMETHING THAT DOES WHAT I’M ASKING FOR!!!”
Everett, looking confused by my demand, even though I made it pretty damn clear, said, “Minigan, you’re not making any sense. A corpse and a living body are made of the exact same things. You can’t build something that will destroy one and not the other.”
“Well, we need to figure out a way soon, because we’re going to fight zombies today.”
“What?!” They cried in unison for a third time, which I think means I win a free Coke or something.
“That’s right,” I said, “Now we really need to figure out what kind of weapon will kill a zombie and not a living person, and Everett needs to build it.
There was no use arguing with me, and they knew it, so we sat down at a table and began to brainstorm.
After several minutes of failed weapon concepts like, “Brain cannon” and “beheading bus,” Jibbles got up and began to rummage through the cabinets.
“What are you doing, Knifemaster?” I ask.
“Look,” he replied in a flat tone, “You called me here so suddenly that I didn’t have time to eat.” He then added after opening the refrigerator and finding only half empty condiment bottles and a really old sandwich, “Minigan, isn’t it your job as team leader to supply us with food? How about instead of fighting zombies, we fight off starvation with a trip to the grocery store?”
“Hey,” I snapped, “I go to the store regularly, you bastards just eat everything to fast. It’s not my fault we have a budget. Our Mystery Benefactor tells me how much I can spend on food.”
Without looking up from out list of awful weapon ideas, Everett mentioned how he saw some beef jerky in the cabinet above the stove. Sure enough, there was a plastic bag of homemade beef jerky. Satisfied with the choice of food, Jibbles sat back down and helped us brainstorm some more. After another ten minutes of deliberating, the best idea we had was what we called, “The Zombie Grinder.” Basically, it was a giant pyramid of steps that led up to a pit with some sort of meat griding device. A fresh human brain would be suspended over the opening, just out of reach for the zombies. The idea is that they would climb the pyramid and fall into the grinder when they try to reach for the brain. We all loved the idea, but I had some issues with how to transport the giant murder pyramid, and how to dispose of the remains. Everett assured me that he could work those out as he builds it.
“OK,” I seceded, “I like that one. But I still think we need something that you aim at a zombie. The grinder is only a trap.”
Jibbles and Everett groaned.
“This is important, you bastards!” I screamed, “We need to prepare for a zombie attack!”
Jibbles grumbled and then bit into a piece of beef jerky. After a second of chewing, he looked down at the food in his hand and then at us and cried, “Watteff wuh dehidrat vem?”
Everett and I just stared at him. Jibbles swallowed and repeated, “What if we dehydrate them? You know, with something that heats up and dries the air around them. If that doesn’t turn them into dust, then that might just kill the virus that turned them into zombies. They’d still be dead, just not eating other people.”
“Knifemaster,” I replied, “That is… not a bad idea, actually.”
“I disagree,” said Everett, the difficult bastard, “We don’t know why these theoretical people are turning into zombies, so drying them won’t be doing us any favors that way. Plus, dehydrating zombies will only turn them into mummies. So we’d still have an undead problem.”
Jibbles answered, “But that’s the thing, they will be like mummies, which means they will be totally stiff.” “Have you ever seen a mummy?” he continued, “Those things are so dehydrated that their limbs snap off when you try to move one. Now try to see an army of them walking at you. With their first step will break off their toes.”
“Fine,” Everett said impatiently, “I’ll build that too. But it won’t look pretty, not with the amount of time you’ve given me.”
“That’s fine, just have the thing built by later this afternoon.” I replied, ignoring his impatient tone, “Also, test it out on one of our test cadavers and Mr. Expendable and see how he fares against it.”
“Fares against what?” Mr. Expendable asked as he walked into the room. He was wearing a worn out t-shirt and a pair of pajama bottoms, which is even more disheveled than his normal appearance. “I just woke up,” he claimed when he noticed us taking in his attire. With an exasperated voice, he then asked, “What do I need to test this time?”
“A dehydrating ray,” Everett answered, “C’mon, let’s get this over with.”
Over the next few hours, the other members started to trickle in: first was Phlegm, then Damien Walters followed by Criss Angel. Danica McKellar and Jessie James showed up together, followed by the rest (GMZ, Derren Brown, That Asian guy who I call Steve). Some sat down in one of the couches that surrounded the table that Jibbles and I were sitting at, while a few others looked through the cabinets for any scrap of food.
“Oy, Minigan, where’s all the food?” Damien asked in what I always assume is a Cockney accent, because- you know- British.
“That’s not important right now,” I answered. “Right now, I need all of you to listen to me. We have an emergency on our hands.”
Jibbles snorted, so I slapped him and then glared at everyone who was standing up, warning them that they might be next. They understood me, and took their seat around the table.
“As I was saying, we have a serious threat on our hands. Has anyone been watching the news lately?” Confused looks passed from one member of my team to the other. “CANNIBALISM!” I shouted impatiently, “LOTS AND LOTS OF CANNIBALISM!!! And that’s not the worst of it. There are rumors of zombies in Miami, Florida.”
The group must have misunderstood me because every single one of them groaned. Phlegm asked, “Minigan, this isn’t about that man who ate a homeless man’s face is it?”
“Yes, this is exactly what this is about!” I snapped.
“C’mon, man. Haven’t you heard that that guy was high on bath salts or something?” Jibbles chimed in.
“Yes, I know that! I don’t mean that he’s the reason there’s a zombie apocalypse going in southern Florida, I mean that story is what made me discover the truth!” Everyone looked confused. Good. That means they’ll listen. “Criss, put the holographic map of Miami up.”
“What?” he replied.
“The holographic map of Miami. Make it appear.” I repeated through my clenched teeth. I was not getting any respect today, and I would be damned if I would let this fucking magician lie to me about what he can or cannot do.”
“Why do you guys think I can just make anything appear? I’m an Illusionist, not a wizard,” he claimed, rather foolishly, to be honest, because I know pretty goddamn well that he can just make anything appear. Grumbling to myself about how much of an idiot Criss is, I leaned over the table, grabbed his right hand and balled it into a fist. I then set his elbow on the table so that his forearm was standing straight up. I instructed him to open his hand, and when he did, a giant, three dimensional, greenish grey map of Miami sprang into existence and began to rotate slowly. “What the fuck?” Criss exclaimed.
I didn’t answer. Instead, I pointed to a spot on the map and said, “This is where the homeless man was attacked.” A red dot formed on the spot that I touched. “And these,” I touched the holographic map several more times, revealing several more red dots, “are sightings of shambling, almost dead looking people. As you can tell, these dots form a perimeter of several blocks. I believe that these sightings are actually of zombies.”
“Minigan,” Danica asked as sweetly as she could, “Do you know how retarded this sounds to all of us? Zombies are a fictional creature. They will never exist.”
I stood up and shouted, “Really, zombies are a retarded concept? Sure, Pauly D can shoot lasers out of his mouth, Lady Gaga can actually be an alien, we can get into regular fights with Donald Trump’s hairpiece, and Kim Kardashian can have an evil twin that is trying to take over the world with her hypnotic ass, but as soon as I mention zombies, you all jump on the bullshit wagon. Fuck, Criss is projecting a 3D model of fucking Miami In front of all of you right now, but zombies are too damn unrealistic for you cynical bastards.”
A look of shame passed around the group, and for a few minutes, everyone was quiet. The silence was only broken when Mr. Expendable, looking so wrinkly and grey that it looked like he had aged 80 years, stumbled in. As he moved, his dry skin rubbed against itself and sounded like two sheets of sand paper being rubbed together. Several members of the group, including myself, groaned in disgust. Mr. Expendable ignored our groans, and instead stuck his head under the sink faucet and turned it on. As he drank the water, his skin returned to its normal shade and texture.
“What the fuck happened to you?” Criss asked, which was followed by murmurs from the rest of us, who were wondering the same thing.
“He was being a little bitch,” Everett answered as he walked through the door, wiping oil off of his hands with a dirty cloth. Once he sat down, he continued, “Mr. Expendable here lost his shit and we needed to stop. He started yelling all of our secrets out like he was being tortured.”
“That was torture!” Mr. Expendable said with an unusually raspy voice, even after just drinking what must’ve been a half gallon of water, “You chained me to the wall!”
“You kept jumping out of the way! What was I supposed to do? I needed to test the dehydration ray!”
“Dehydration ray?” Damien asked, “What in the bloody hell is a dehydration ray?”
In order to watch what could possibly become a very entertaining confrontation between a man who can regenerate lost tissue and a man with flame throwers attached to his arms, I quickly explained to the group how I asked for a weapon that would only harm zombies and not living humans.
Still glaring at Mr. Expendable, Everett shouted, “But thanks to this whiny little bitch, living people will also be harmed if they are in the path of the ray.”
“I’ve been trying to tell you that they won’t!” Mr. Expendable shouted back, his voice back to normal, “All I wanted to do get out of the way. People who get hit by the beam will feel the same way. And unlike me, they won’t be chained up and be able to move out of the way.”
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Damn sure,” he answered.
“Good!” I exclaimed, “That means we can leave a soon as Jessie gets the Awesomeplane! ready.” I nodded to Jessie that he could start now. “Everett,” I continued, “Go with him and get the zombie grinder into the Awesomeplane!.” Once Everett left with Jessie, I addressed the rest of the group, “OK folks, We’ll be leaving as soon as they get the Awesomeplane! ready. Until then, we need to assign tasks for this mission. Team Pugnastics, instead of our normal massive array of weapons, our Benefactor bought each of us a Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit, and I took the liberty of making a vest for the knives. Also, Phlegm, do to your bizarre and sudden blood lust, you’ll be joining Team Pugnastics on this one. Jibbles, you cannot bring your chainsaw whips with you, what with the splattering of zombie juices and all, and no one needs a flame thrower. That will only make the zombies more dangerous. We can only use blades, guns, and clubs. We will also all be wearing our riot gear, as that will protect us the most against zombie bites.” “Team Prevention,” I announced, turning to Danica, Derren, and GMZ, “You’re job will be to monitor the streets of Miami for anything similar to eyewitness accounts. GMZ, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to hack into Miami’s street and security cameras, so that will be that will be how you monitor the streets. Once any of you see some a crowd of slow, shambling people, let us know, and we’ll take those fuckers out. Does anybody have any questions?”
Everyone raised their hand. I sighed; they weren’t going to fucking let this go until they actually saw some zombies.
“Does anybody have any questions about the details of this mission, not if I am in my right state of mind or if I’m on any drugs?”
Every single one of their bastard hands went down. However, instead of chastising them more, I decided to save all of our time and dismiss everyone. Team Prevention walked their path to The Eye, which is our code name for the surveillance room (Yes that is a V for Vendetta reference), while Phlegm, myself and the rest of team Pugnastics made our way down to the armory. I got Phlegm her riot gear and her Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit and then went to check on the Awesomeplane!. In the hangar, Everett and Jessie were pushing the individual pieces of the Zombie Grinder into the Awesomeplane! while our teammates watched.
“Hey,” I shouted to the rest of the team, “Don’t just stand there, help them load it. The faster the grinder is on the plane, the sooner we can leave and get back here. Isn’t that what you lazy shit heads want?”
And with that, the rest of my team started to hurry the fuck up. Back in the armory, I loaded up my weapons onto my riot vest, put in my earpiece that had a direct link to Team Prevention, and grabbed my wrist mounted GPS, my Justice Stick, and my riot helmet. I opted to not wear my white cloak, since zombies have a tendency to grab onto anything they can (They’re just like fucking children) and they are not intimidated by theatrics (Just like… I don’t know, jaded children?), and instead went for my tight fitting riot/ war uniform.
Once everyone and Awesomeplane! were ready, we all took out normal seats and prepared for take off. Right as the underground runway lit up and the engines rocketed the vehicle foreward, The Knifemaster said putting a pair of sunglasses on, “We’re headed to Miami to fight some zombies…”
“Don’t say it.” I begged.
“… I guess that means we’re going to be the Brains of their existence. YEEEEAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!”

How about, “We’re going to knock ’em dead… Again!!!”

“Knifemaster,” I warned, “If you make any of those jokes for the duration of this trip, I will throw you out of this plane.”
There several nods and grumbles of agreement, some of them even coming from his sister. The Knifemaster looked disappointed, but kept his lousy CSI: Miami puns to himself.
Within no time we had reached the end of the tunnel, and the earth spat us out into the clear afternoon sky. Once he had set us on the right course, Jessie turned to all of us and asked if he could play his Miami mix CD. We all agreed, figuring that it would mostly be rap or Latin American music, but once the CD was in the player, the speakers emitted a high pitched wailing sound which had guttural sounding grunts layered on top. 500,000 hours later, we landed in an empty parking lot in Miami. Everyone except for Jessie clawed their way out of the plane, and as far away as their weakened legs could carry them. Many of us threw up.
“Jessie, you horrible bastard,” I shouted in between gasps for air, “Why would you make us listen to a whale being raped for a trip to Miami?”
“That wasn’t a whale getting raped,” he stated with a confused look on his face, “That was Will Smith’s song, ‘Miami.’”
The rest of gasped in unison. “That’s even worse that listening to a whale getting raped!” I shouted, “At least the whale doing the raping is getting some pleasure out of the experience.”
“Listen the fuck up, you bloody Yankee wanker,” Damien said to Jessie through clenched teeth, “If you ever try to play that song again, I will spit right into your bloody mouth. Got that, chum?”
The rest of the group shouted in agreement with Damien, each of us with a look of contempt for Jessie etched onto our faces. He threw his hands up defensively and said, “Fine! I won’t play that song again. Sorry. I thought I’d try to contribute to the music list.”
I growled at him, and then turned away, pressing a button on my ear piece. “Danica, do you copy?”
“I can hear you loud and clear, Minigan,” she answered back, “Things have been quiet in the area you pointed out so far, but we’ll keep looking and update you as soon as we see something.”
“OK, good. Team Pugnastics and I will scout the area, and interview the locals to see if they’ve seen anything unusual. Over and out.” I clicked the button again, ending the connection.
I looked out from the parking lot, getting the first good bearings of our location since we arrived. The town smelled exactly as you would expect it to smell: overpriced cologne, beans and rice, and urine. The sun must have some kind of blood vendetta against the people of Miami, because it seemed as though all it did was spit out a peculiarly viscious amount of Hell fire at this town. Through the waving , almost hypnotic, undulating waves of heat rising from the asphalt, I noticed something odd. There was no one but us around.
I touched my earpiece again, and asked, “Danica, do you see anyone in our vicinity?”
She replied back with a, “No. And not for a two block radius. No one is even driving on the expressway behind you.”
I turned around, and sure enough, the towering expressway stood silently behind us. I turned to the group and said, “Be on high alert, everybody. Something weird is going on.” “in what direction was the most recent sighting,” I asked into my earpiece, “That is probably the best place to start.”
She agreed, and then gave me directions to the location of the last sighting, about three blocks to the south. I directed my team to follow me to the location, and had Steve, Jessie, and Everett set up The Zombie Grinder. I chose not to ask where Everett got the fresh brain from. Leaving Steve, Everett and Jessie to their task, Damien, Phlegm, Criss, Mr. Expendable, The Knifemaster, and myself made our way to the location. We got there to once again find the place deserted, and no trace of any human (living or undead) around. I could tell that this was pretty much what everyone expected, so I continued to repeat the phrase, “It’s quiet- too quiet.” Usually in the movies, a monster would pop out of some unseen corner, but nothing happened whenever I said it. What a jip. Anyway, once we collected all the information that seemed relevant to our mission, Danica directed us to the next sighting.
This went on for several hours, each with the same result. I could tell that my team was getting irrated with me, what with their constant glares, and occasional, “There better be some fucking zombies, Minigan.”
“There will be,” I snapped back. Then under my breath I continue, “There’s got to be.”
After another hour of this, we had gotten about three quarters of the way through the listed sightings. My team was even more irritated at this point; even The Knifemaster was threatening to go back to the Awesomeplane!. The particular location we were at had a several restaurants around, so I suggested that we take a hour break to get food and relax. This seemed to quell their rage towards me, and also gave me some time to look at my GPS. Holy shit. I traced our routes by connecting the dots of sightings and realized that we had walked a good 10 miles in the few short hours we had been in Miami. Despite the distance we walked, we were only five miles away from the Awesomeplane!. The path we took spiraled inward from the latest sighting. That means that the sightings were spiraling outward. And worse still, since we didn’t see a living person in all that time, it means that a section of Miami with a five mile radius, a section of Miami that we’re in the buttfucking middle of, is completely devoid of human life.
I Tapped the button on my earpiece and said, ” Team Prevention, do you copy?”
Nothing.
“I repeat, Team Prevention, do you copy?”
Silence on their end.
“Shit. Fuckity, Fuckity, shit, shit, fuck.” I muttered to my self. Tapping the earpiece once again, I said, “Jessie, do you copy?”
Nothing. Triple fucks.
I looked to the members of my team. They had gathered around an obviously (and for me, unsurprisingly) closed deli, knocking and scratching at the glass doors.
I ran over to them, an said, “I know I promised an hour break, but we are in the middle of a serious situation right now. I cannot get ahold of either Team Prevention nor Everett and Jessie. We need to get back to the Awesomeplane! now. I promise I’ll make it up to everyone when we get back to the base.”
“No.” The Knifemaster replied definitively, “We’re hungry now. I’m sure you’re just overreacting again, Minigan. Everything’s fine.”
“Everything isn’t fine!” I shouted, “I think we’ve been lured into a trap. We need to get the fuck out of here!”
“Oh, come the fuck on!” The Knifemaster cried, now turning to face me, his wall of a body leaning over me, “You’re just saying that because there wasn’t any zombies! This is just you trying to save face in front of us. Let it go, Minigan. You were wrong.”
“Fine. I was wrong about the zombies,” I admit, even though I’m still pretty sure I wasn’t, ” But I know I’m right about this. I can feel it. We need to get out of here.”
“I’m sorry Minigan, but you’ve lost a lot of influence over us the past few hours. You claimed there were zombies, but we haven’t seen any, and now you’re claiming that it’s a trap because you cannot contact the rest of the team? I’m not buying it.”
“We haven’t seen any zombies because we haven’t seen a single bloody person in this city so far,” Damien yelled to everyone else’s surprise, “And check your damned mobiles. I for one don’t have any service, which is odd since we’re in the middle of a blasted city. Minigan’s right. We need to get out of here now.”
“Why the fuck are you siding with Minigan on this one of all times, Damien?” The Knifemaster asked, rightly so too, since Damien has a notorious habit of disagreeing with me.
“Yes I am,” Damien snapped back, ” Because I’m the only one besides Minigan who’s been paying any bloody attention to our surroundings. Seriously, your damn culture is destroying all of your attention spans! So, are you guys coming or do we have to drag you back?”
The Knifemaster was fuming. His lips were so pursed that they barely moved when he said, “Not until we get some food.”
“Fucking fine already!” I screamed. I pushed through them and shattered the window with a swing of my elbow. My forearm was bleeding pretty bad, but I ignored it and ushered my teammates in. I left a hastily written note along with $500 on the counter and then forced everyone out of the deli once they grabbed some food.I grabbed a couple bottles of water and a roll of gauze for myself before I ran out and pulled the security gate down. I loaded the water into my vest, and dressed my wounds as fast as I could.
“Team Pugnastics, do you copy?” I voice in my ear said so suddenly that it made me jump.
“Holy shit, Danica! What the fuck happened?” I replied, feeling a little relieved.
“There was a blackout on our end. No time to explain.” she answered, “You guys need to get out of there now. You were right, there are zombies, and they’re headed your way. You need to get back to the Awesomeplane! And help Jessie, Everett, and Steve. The zombies reached them first and trapped them inside the plane.”
“Why don’t they just come and pick us up if they’re already in the plane?” Criss asked. Everyone was now listening in on the conversation, each of them with a grave look on their faces.
“Because the Zombie grinder is attached to the plane and them taking off would mean that they would be spraying zombie chum all over Miami. You guys need to hurry though, you’re already surrounded. Minigan, we’ve updated your gps with the coordinates of the zombie hoards. You will see that they’re closing in on you from all sides. We don’t know where in the hell they’re coming from. Just get out of there!”
“Done and done. Over and out.” I said into the earpiece. I then looked at my crew and said, “Well, you heard te sexy mathmatician, let’s get out of here. We should take the rooftops; that would be the safest route. Let’s just hope these zombies are the pre-2000 zombies.”
As we all sprinted across the plaza in order to get to the building closest to the Awesomeplane!, Phlegm asked, “what do you mean by, ‘pre-2000 zombie?”
“it’s simple,” I replied, slightly out of breath, “In the zombie movies before the year 2000, all the zombies did when they moved was shamble. Then, in 28 Days Later, the zombies could run. And in Zombieland, they could climb. For some reason, at the dawn of a new millennium, zombies gained new abilities.”
“So what you’re saying is that you want the zombies with poor motor skills,” she replied.
“Yes. Exactly.”
“Well, I’ve got some good news for you then, Minigan,” Mr. Expendable chimed in, ” that looks like the zombies we’re gonna be up against.” he pointed to the other end of the Plaza where a lone zombie shuffled in, groaning slightly. After a few moments of doing this, it spotted us. It then pointed directly at us, wailed a horrible, head splitting wail, and began to sprint at us along with four more that had just turned the corner.
“Fuck nuggets.” The Knifemaster said.
“Everyone,” I yelled, “climb up to the roof! Damien, you lead. I’ll hold these five off. GO!”
With Damien’s expert Parkour skills leading the way, most of my team scaled the façade with ease; this was never was the Knifemaster’s strong suit. I began to charge at the zombies, my machete and axe drawn, and from behind me I heard Mr. Expendable yell to me, “I hope they are the members of that awful band One Direction!”

In a perfect world, they would be the zombies I’m about to kill.

Once I was close enough, I threw my axe at the leading zombie’s head. The axe made its mark, and the zombie toppled to the ground. One down. With a vicious slash with my machete, I was able to behead the second zombie. The third zombie lunged at me, but it had crouched low enough that I was able to leap over it and stab the crown of it’s head. With a swift yank once I landed, I was able to remove the skull from the vertebrae and send the skull flying at the fourth. The flying skull hit the other zombie’s face so hard that both skulls shattered, and the fourth zombie dropped to the ground. I was close enough to the first zombie that I could pull the axe from its skull and swing it at the final zombie’s head. With a loud crunch, the axe connected with the zombie’s temple, instantly killing it.

With one swift pull, I removed the axe from its skull, hastily poured a bottle of water over it and my machete’s blades and returned them to their sheathes, and ran off to the building my team had scaled. As I ran, I looked at my GPS for the first time since Danica updated it. Jesus undead Christ. Other than the grey rectangles that represented the buildings and the large green square of the plaza, the entire screen was red. There had to be at least 10,000 zombies surrounding us. Needless to say, I climbed my fucking ass off. I had almost reached the top when the first group of zombies entered the far end of the Plaza. I heard one scream (They spotted me. Shit.), and then their heavy, rapid footsteps as they ran towards the building I was scaling. I reached the top and rolled over the ledge to safety, but when I looked back over, I saw the most confusing and terrifying sight ever. The zombies were scaling the building in the exact same fashion that my team and I had done. Their movements weren’t stiff and uncoordinated like a zombie, but fluid and quick like someone who was experienced with-
“Sweet virgin mother of dirty fucks, the zombies can parkour!” I screamed at my team, who had just begun to relax a little.
“What?!” they cried in unison.
“You heard me, let’s get a move- DAMIEN WATCH OUT BEHIND YOU!!!!”
A zombie just appeared from the ledge right behind him. With one fluid motion, Damien Walters round-house kicked the head right of the zombie, and into another zombie that had breached the rooftop, sending it back over the edge. (And that, my friends, is the most badass sentence I will ever write.)
Before any of us really knew what we were doing, we had run to and climbed onto the ledge of a taller adjoining building. This one was much longer too, giving us some much needed space between us and the zombies. However, it wasn’t long enough. If it had just extended about 20 more feet out, we could possibly jump to the roof across the street. Sure we’d be going in the wrong direction, but it was better than staying where we were.
Phlegm then pointed to a water tower across the street, and said, “If I can hit that with my grappling gun, we could zipline across!”
I could have kissed the woman. “Where did you get the grappling gun?” I asked instead.
“Everett gave it to me before we separated. He thought we could use it.”
“Awesome,” I replied, “All the more reason we need to get to him, Jessie, and Steve and save them.”
She handed off the grappling gun Criss (He has the best aim. You know, magic aim) and he fired it right into the center of the water tower. We tied the other end of the cable to a sturdy looking antennae near the ledge. One at a time, but as quickly as possible, my crew made it across until only The Knifemaster and I were left. That was when a zombie jumped up to the far end of the roof we’re on. Once it saw us, it sprinted as us, hurdling over air conditioning units and generators like he had years of practice.
“Well, I just soiled myself,” The Knifemaster said rather casually given our situation.
“No time to regroup,” I hurridly explain, locking his zipline trolley into place and kicking him over the edge. He screamed briefly as he zipped across the street.
Now it was my turn. The zombie had closed in fast. I pulled my Desert Eagle out of its holster and fired a single shot into the forhead of the zombie. It stumbled, fell forward and slid a foot or two before coming to a complete stop. The relief was short lived. More zombies had climbed up at the far end of the room and were now barreling down on me. I quickly set myself up on the line and jumped off the roof. I had almost made it to the other side before the antennae bent forward, because fuck me. Since it had bent, the end attached to the antennae was now lower than the water tower end, so I began to drift backwards. With my hands, I pulled myself back towards my team. And that was when the antennae gave out completely. With a loud crack, I felt myself swinging towards the red brick of the building I was trying to get to. I hit the wall hard, its hot, rough surface scraping my cheek. There were several screeches from below, meaning they had spotted me. Seriously, fuck me. I climbed up the wall as quickly as I could, But the zombies could climb so much faster, and within no time, I could feel them grabbing at my boots. Once I was close enough to the top, I felt the hands of Criss and Damien lift me to safety. They then jumped with me to the left, and the giant water tower toppled over, spilling its contents over the edge and onto the climbing zombies. I looked up to see that The Knifemaster, Mr. Expendable, and Phlegm had knocked out two of the water tower’s supports and then tipped the thing over.
We had finally caught a break when we realized that we would mostly have to cross alleys to get back to Everett, Jessie, and Steve. We didn’t waste any time being thankful, but instead immediately took to jumping from one rooftop, and landing with a somersault on the next. Several zombies had made their way up to the rooftops and were now running after us, mathing our parkour moves with their own. Periodically, I would turn around and fire one or two bullets at them, and The Knifemaster would throw a throwing knife or two at them before we would continue on our way.
At one such point, The Knifemaster throws a knife at a zombie, which hits it directly in its eye socket, and then says to me as we start running again, “Don’t even fucking say it, Minigan”
“What?” I ask between breaths.
“You goddamn know what,” he replies too, also out of breath.
In an offended tone, I stated, “This really isn’t the time to be having this conversation, Jibbles, what with zombies chasing us and all. You know, the Zombies that I said existed.”
“You know, Minigan, even in situations like these you still manage to be a total asshole.”
We laughed a little bit, and then jumped up a wall to a higher roof. Once we were on top, we saw the rest of our team sprinting across a long, narrow catwalk that should take us from the current rooftop to the final rooftop before our parking lot and the Awesomeplane!. The Knifemaster and I joined in on their dash right as a dozen or so more zombies crested the ledge and started after us.
The Catwalk was shaky and took us right above the hoard of undead on the street. Keeping my eyes away from the crawling ground below, and instead on the backs of my team’s heads, I made it across without any incident. When I looked back, 50 to 60 zombies were fighting their way across the catwalk.
“Bloody violent fucks all around,” Damien shouted.
“What’s the matter?” I asked.
“We’re fucking trapped, that’s what’s the matter! I just looked over the ledge facing the parking lot, and there’s nothing between the plane and us but zombies.And now we have a line of zombies headed down our only exit. How the fuck are zombies able to parkour anyway?”

“I don’t know,” I frantically shouted back, “How were the zombies in Zombieland able to climb amusement park rides? How were the zombies in the Dawn of the Dead remake able to run? How were the zombie strippers in the movie Zombie Strippers able to fucking work the pole? It’s just how the zombies of the new millennium work.” Then it hit me. “Holy shit! All of those movies were from 2000-2009! We’re in a new decade, which means the zombies can do do more than what they could three years ago! God seriously fucked us this decade!”
I ran to the ledge facing the parking lot, and to my dismay, the zombie hoard was so thick that you couldn’t see the pavement. A football field away was the Awesomeplane, hovering right out of reach from the zombies, but also tethered to the ground by the Zombie Grinder. On the Brightside, that seemed to be working perfectly. A constant flow of zombies were climbing the stairs, reaching for the brains, and falling right into the grinding pit. We should have built more of those.
“Minigan,” Phlegm asked with terror in her voice, “What are we going to do?”
Everyone was looking to me. I theorized, “Maybe we can destroy the catwalk before they get to us.” I looked at the structural componants of the catwalk. Fuck. Despite it being shaky, the damn thing was structurally sound. “If only we had a bomb or something, we could blow it up.”
“I have bombs,” Mr. Expendable said. We all turned to him, shocked. “Well,” he said, “I know we’re not supposed to have them in urban areas, because we could hurt civilians, but I thought just bringing some along if we needed them couldn’t hurt.”
“Very good point.” I said quickly, “If we get out of this, we’ll all be required to carry bombs and grappling guns with us on urban missions. Now, hand me one of those bombs.”
He rummaged through the sack on his back, pulled out a black sphere about the size of a coconut, and handed it to me. Although it was the size of a coconut, it weighed at least three times as much. It was perfectly smooth except for a thin groove that ran the full way around the center. Irregularly scattered along the groove was a series of short white lines, that, when lined up, armed the bomb. This was one of Everett’s bombs. I lined up the lines and then rolled the bomb onto the catwalk. It rolled to a stop about 15 yards away from our roof and maybe 20 feet away from the zombie out in front. In a crazed frenzy, the zombies ran and jumped and scrambled at the bomb. When the zombie in the lead bent over to gram it, the bomb exploded , sending zombie limbs and pieces of metal off in every direction. The remaining catwalk groaned, and after several loud cracking noises, the catwalk swayed, ripped off of the other building, and crashed to the ground, crushing and impaling countless zombies.
“Well, that’s one problem solved,” The Knifemaster said, “But how do we get to the others?”
“I have an idea,” I said to him. I then turned to Mr. Expendable and asked, “How many more bombs do you have?”
“5”
“Good.” I reply, “Criss, do you think you can levitate over to the Awesomeplane?”
“Think?” he asked incredulously , “Pfsh, I’ve levitated across much longer distances than that.”
“Do you think you could drop the bombs as you levitated across the parking lot?”
“That I can’t do,” he replied, “All of my concentration needs to be on levitating otherwise I’ll just fall to the ground.”
“Then do you think you could carry someone across?” I asked.
“Hmm, I’ve never tried it, but I guess I could give it a shot.”
“Awesome,” I said back. “Phlegm,” I said turning to her, “You’re the lightest out of all of us. You’ll need to hold on to Criss and drop the bombs into the zombie crowd. Make sure you space it out enough so that we can get the entire way to the Awesomeplane!, Got it?”
“Got it.” She answered. She took the bag of bombs from Mr. Expendable, and then wrapped her arms tightly around Criss’s torso. After about a second of both of them being still, they lifted off the ground and drifted towards the Awesomeplane!. She dropped the first bomb about ten feet away from the building. When it exploded, it left a zombie free crater, big enough for the remaining four of us to stand in, plus some extra room for each of us. Following my lead, we jumped down from the roof onto a streetlight, and then swung ourselves into the crater. In a flash, I had assembled my Justice stick and was ready to kick some mother fucking undead ass. Once Damien, Mr. Expendable, and The Knifemaster hand landed in the crater, they had their weapons drawn and were fighting our way out of the crater. The next few minutes were a blur of growling zombies, the clang of our weapons, and zombie gore. All around us, zombie body parts were flying . The damn zombies couldn’t even touch us. We were way too efficient in killing. Another bomb went off somewhere ahead of us. We watched as the firey plume sent several smaller black balls into the air. For each of those balls was another explosion, and from those firey plumes came dozens more, even smaller balls.
“Cluster bombs,” I said, to the other three, “that will make it easier on us. What all kinds of bombs did you get, Mr. Expendable?”
“I’m not sure,” he answered between beheading a particularly rotten zombie that appeared to be an old woman and chopping a zombie missing most of its face with an axe, “I just grabbed a bunch of different ones.
The zombie crowd got thinner once we got to where Phlegm dropped the cluster bomb, so we were able to move a little faster. However, the sound of another bomb exploding much farther away told us that we weren’t moving fast enough. We tried to pick up our pace, but it was no use; the third bomb dropped and sounded even further away.
I tapped my earpiece, and said, “Phlegm, tell Criss to slow down, we cannot keep up with you guys.”
“I’ve been trying to,” she replied, “But he’s so far in the zone that I don’t even think he can hear me.”
“Fuck,” the four of us cried in unison.
After a few more minutes the fourth bomb went off and Phlegm’s voice came back on the earpiece, “We’ve reached the plane. How far along are you guys?”
“Not Far,” I answered grimly. “Everett, are you guys ok?”
“We’re fine, and I discovered that the zombie remains are highly combustible,” he said, “Which is good, because the plane’s waste tank is full and the zombie grinder is overflowing.”
“Good.” I said, “We’ll save that for once we’re all on the plane. Right now you need to use the dehydration ray.”
“Got it, Boss” he said, “Over and out.”
“We need to fucking hurry,” I said to the rest of my team, which was pointless, because they already knew. There was an open space ahead of me, and at the other end, a particularly muscular and ugly looking zombie. I sprinted at him, and he at me. At the last second, I jabbed the end of my Justice Stick into the ground, and pole vaulted over the zombie. While in the air, I flipped my Justice Stick around, and impaled the zombie from the head down. When I landed, I whipped my Justice stick, it still impaling the zombie, over my head, and smashed it into another zombie. I then swung it around and hit every zombie in my path until the first zombie finally slid off. The other three caught up with me when we heard a loud hum begin.
“The Dehydration ray!” Mr. Expendable exclaimed, “Everyone, drop to the ground!”
Right as we did, a wave of intense heat washed over us. Suddenly, the zombies didn’t matter, my teammates didn’t matter, the fact that I was crouching in some weird gloop didn’t matter, al that mattered was that I get out of this heat. The feeling consumed my being. It became so intense that I swear time stood still. Within what felt like an eternity, the heat disappeared, and I suddenly found myself in the middle of a petrified forest made entirely of zombies.
The four of us were running towards the Awesomeplane! before I fully understood what had happened. And despite Everett blasting a large section of the zombies with the dehydration ray, there were still thousands more waiting for us. We bolted past the dried zombies, knocking over whichever ones were in our way and letting them fall to the ground and shatter like vases.
We made it to the Awesomeplane! while Jessie was pulling the hose out of the waste tank and closing it up. We all made it on board before Everett threw the final bomb, a “firebomb” he said with a smile, into the gloop that I remember not caring about just thirty seconds ago. The plane lifted off right as the bomb ingnited and torched the entire parking lot, killing the all of the zombies.
“We made it!” Phlegm exclaimed, “We’re alive!”
“Not so fast,” an unfamiliar voice said from one of the speakers.
“Who is this?” I asked in my firmest voice, which sounded more like a growl.
“Oh, I will not be giving that away so easily, Awesomesquad!.” The voice said in a sinister tone.I immediately guessed that normally this guy sounded like a whiny prick. “I just wanted to thank you.”
“Thank us for what?” The Knifemaster asked.
“I wanted to thank you for all the valuable information you gave me today. You see, This little zombie apocalypse was just to get you guys distracted enough so that I could hack into your mainframe and steal all of your vital information. This information will come in handy for me later on when I need to kill all of you. Goodbye!” The mysterious man laughed manically before the connection was cut.
We all sat in our seats quietly for a second or two before I finally said, “Well, shit.”

Awesomesquad! Assemble! 5.3!

OK, this is insanely long, so get yourself a strong drink, a savory snack, and buckle the fuck up because shit is about to get High Definition levels of real.

Here are parts one and two if you missed them:

part 1:

https://miniganb.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/awesomesquad-assemble-2/

part 2:

https://miniganb.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/awesomesquad-assemble-5-2/

*****

7:00. Awesomesquad did in fact assemble in the hangar like I asked, but due to a lack of foresight on my part, none of us looked anything like a typical guido. Hell, Damien is pale and blonde; there was no way any of us was going to blend in.

“So how are we supposed to get into the club dressed and looking like this?” Damien asked, apparently noticing the same thing.

“Just let me do the talking, and I’ll get us in there.”

Some of Team Pugnastics traded skeptical glances, but no one questioned me. Which is good, because if they had they would have found out that my only idea to get into that club was to butcher the Italian American accent and to throw around Italian sounding names and phrases like Fox News throws around buzz words, they probably wouldn’t have been willing to go.

I moved past the group and made my way to the Awesomeplane!. This was Jessie’s single greatest achievement.  It looked more like a remote controlled flying toy than an actual plane. Mounted to the sides of the tail as well as the underbelly of the fuselage were four caged rotor blades. These blades were the engines that would keep the plain hovering while the team and I took out Pauly D. The color was currently matte black, but Jessie designed a special type of paint that would change to a certain color when an electrical current was put through it. He also designed it so that different parts of the plane could have different colors, making it effectively invisible from every angle. To top off the stealth capabilities of the Awesomeplane!, it had a state of the art cloaking device that made it impossible to track with radar or thermal imaging technology. The damn thing doesn’t even give off exhaust. It runs on hydrogen, so we merely put water into the tank which is then put through an electrolosis machine, which separates the water into oxygen and hydrogen atoms. The hydrogen gas works an normal fuel does, igniting when it reaches the spark plugs and then forcing the pistons to move.  The exhaust is water vapor once again, and makes its way through the exhaust system back to the fuel tank for another cycle. The entire process makes it so efficient the Awesomeplane! could fly constantly for a week before needing to be refueled. Simply put, the Awesomeplane was stonecold badass.

“Is the Awesomeplane! ready?” I asked a passing Jessie.

“Almost,” he replied, “All I have left to do is double check the air filters and make sure they will hold up against the New Jersey smog.  The team can start loading and take their seats, though. This’ll only take me a few minutes to check.”

“Good,” I commented. I then left Jessie to his work and headed to the only other room on this level:  the armory.

As I entered, I was immediately accosted by Everett, who ushered me to the duffel bags that Steve was going to hide in the men’s room of the club. Three of the four were filled, zipped up, and ready to go, but  the final one had my cloak and Justice Stick sitting next to it.

“You cannot take your Justice Stick with you,” he said to me, apparently not worried about what happens when I am told that I am not allowed to bring my Justice Stick somewhere.

Yes officer, I have a permit for this. Let me show you.

I stared at him coldly. Uneasily, he continued, “Please just listen to the reason why before you attack me. Your Justice Stick is just too big to fit into any of the bags without tearing them apart and Steve cannot carry it with him into the club. It’s just too long and inconvenient.”

I paused before I spoke, mostly due to the fact that these penis jokes that are getting increasingly vague. I then replied, “Have you tried to put The Justice Stick into its pocket in my cloak?”

“Yes,” he replied, “And for some reason, it makes it impossible to fit your cloak in the bag. You are going to have to make a choice between not taking your Justice Stick and wearing your cloak into the club, effectively ruining your cover.”

I walked over and picked up my Justice Stick.  The polished steel pole felt smooth and cool in my hands. I couldn’t remember a time that I did not use it in a fight. The concept of not using it in battle was too foreign for me to bare. I looked at Everett and said, “Well, if those are my only two options, I guess I have to KILL YOU!” I jumped at him while letting out what I’m sure sounded like a demon cry. As I was airborne, I felt four sets of hands grab hold of my arms and legs. They stopped me, and I was left suspended in midair while attempting to free myself from their clutches. The rest of the team, knowing what my reaction would be to the news, had apparently planned ahead to protect Everett from me.

As I squirmed around, still unable to break free, I swore at Everett, “You fucking tell me that I’m not fucking allowed to take my goddamn Justice Stick with me. You bitch! I’ll end you! I’ll send your BUTT FUCKING ASS TO HELL, AND I’LL PERSONALLY SEE TO IT THAT YOU ARE TORTURED IN WAYS THAT ARE HARSH EVEN BY HELL’S STANDARDS. DEELK KTUAMA SSSHEWATK BOGLDRAT INTWUANAMI IZ AWTA HEEST OVTUMBA AURACRATK!” I actually spoke those words, and no, I have no clue what they mean. I assume they are a curse of some sort.

The rest of the group paused for a second and exchanged both confused and nervous glances. Then, Everett pulled a small, metallic cylinder from his pocket and let it fall to the floor. The cylinder rolled to a stop directly under my face. I then realized what it was. I looked back as best as I could to the four people holding me, and saw each of them wearing a gas mask. I looked back at Everett who was putting one a mask of his own. I heard a slight “pop” and my head was consumed by a thick cloud of blue fog. Dizziness instantly washed over me. The room spun like a top that was losing momentum. I cried out, “I will get you for this Everett! I swear!” Everything then went black. Goddamn knockout gas.

When I awoke, I was sitting in my normal seat in the Awesomeplane!, and my team members  were keeping an apprehensive eye on me. I tried to move. Nope, couldn’t move at all. They tied me up again.

“OK, guys” I conceded, “Everett, I’m sorry for trying to attack you, and I promise to not get you for using the knockout gas like I said. Can you please untie me now? I’m cool, I swear.”

Everett, The Knifemaster, and Damien Walters traded confused looks with one another. Everett asked, “What are you talking about, Thunder, you never swore to get your revenge on me.”

“Yes I did, I said it right before I passed out.”

“No you didn’t, Thunder,” The Knifemaster answered, “What you said was, ‘That smoke is going to make gorillas think they’re kittens. TYPHOOOOOONNNNN!!!!’ We still don’t know what that meant.”

We all shared a good laugh at my expense, and the Knifemaster cut me loose. I was tempted to punch Everett right in his bad news giving face, but I decided that it would be a bad idea given how close we were to battle. The rest of the trip was uneventful, other than when we hit patches of Jersey smog. Within the half hour, it was time for Steve to skydive to the club. Jessie flipped a switch, and with the moan of the hydrolics, the back hatch door lifted open. Steve did a somersault dive out of the plain, and started his decent. I couldn’t tell for sure, but for just a second, it looked like Steve flicked us off as he jumped out of the Awesomeplane!. I don’t know why he would do that.

Shortly after Steve jumped out of the plane, we reached the junkyard that would act as our hideout. I spent a minute or so going over what we could expect once we got inside. “Other than horrible dance music,” I stated, “the biggest threat to our wellbeing is going to be the guidos, who will most likely out number us at least 2 dozen to one. The place will also be cramped, so keep a sharp eye on your surroundings, and be sure, BE SURE, not to kill any civilians.” I casted a cold glare at The Knifemaster, who, on our last excursion to destroy the horrible alien beast that is Lady Gaga, killed three people who thought we were a street performance.

“What,” he asked, knowing what I was thinking about, “I told you they had Gagafication boxes and were about to use them.”

“Those were cameras,” Everett replied sheepishly.

“Everett’s right,” I added, “You reacted too rashly to on lookers. We absolutely cannot have that happen again. Disposing of the bodies was way too much trouble.”

The Knifemaster muttered to himself, “Those were Gagafication boxes. I know they were.”

After a few minutes of silence, we decided that our time waiting for Steve would be best spent playing a rousing game of charades. Upon my first turn, I acted out  the child that Awesomesquad! took care of for a little while.

Child death is never not funny.

We all had a good laugh at that, and then we continued with the game. The Knifemaster acted out V for Vendetta, Everett did his interpretation of The Knifemaster “autopsying” the guido, and Damien’s charade was a series of comical movie deaths. We were about to start round two, when the back hatch opened up, and Steve stepped inside. He gave us two thumbs up. His mission was completed.

“OK, guys” I announced to the rest of Team Pugnastics which had now formed a circle, “I’m not going to give a long winded speech this time; let’s just get this asshole!”

The group gave a rallied cry of agreement, and we all put our fists together into the center of the circle. I then raised my right hand into the air and screamed, “KAPLAH!” The group did the same. We then ran out to the ledge of the hatch, and jumped the few feet the ground. We then brushed ourselves off and made our way three blocks to the nightclub.

When we got to the nightclub, we walked up to the bouncer, each of us wearing our normal street clothes. We stuck out like sore, non-guido thumbs that were tourists in a bad neighborhood. Yeah, it was so obvious that we didn’t belong that I had to mash together two different clichés for a description to be accurate. The bouncer, who, if he just grew out his hair and put a skirt on, would be a great example of a body building transvestite, eyed us as if we were the weird ones.

“Yo,” I said to him, trying to sound as Italian American as the ¼ of Italian blood running through my veins was going to let me, “Howyoudoin’  I’m here to talk to Joey Provolone. He in dere?”

“Who’s askin’” the bouncer said in an unnecessarily gruff voice. Seriously, people with throat cancer don’t sound that bad.

I turned to the rest of my team and said, “Did you’s hear dis guy ‘ere? Who’s askin’?” I turned back to him and said, “Listen ‘ere, Tony Nodixsaloni, My name is Joey Buttafuoco, and I have a very important meeting wit Joey Provolone, capiche?”

The bouncer looked at his clipboard and back at me. He asked, “Are deez guyz wit yous?”

“Yeah,” I replied, not knowing how to say “yes” in mobster.

“Go ahead,” he stated, directing us to the door with his gigantic, veiny, over gelled head.

I was amazed that it worked so well, but I was able to stave off my amazement until I got past the bouncer.

“Minigan, that was amazing,” Mr. Expendable, mused, “Where did you come up with ‘Joey Buttafuoco?’”

“I have no clue,” I admitted, “I was hoping that the name would be a common name in Jersey. I didn’t  actually believe that someone would actually be named that.”

No body ever remembers Joey Buttafuoco

As we got deeper into the club, the music was so loud that you could feel your brain vibrate inside of your skull the beat of the base. The place was packed, the dance floor even more so.  On the other end of the room was the restrooms where Steve hid our gear.

I turned to my team and screamed over the terrible dance music, “Even though we got past the bouncer, it is still blatantly obvious that we don’t belong. We need to keep cool, and not draw attention to ourselves until we are able to—“

“BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

EEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” The Knifemaster screamed as one of the many hoochie mamas walked by. And of course the music had to stop right at that moment so that everyone in the club heard the outburst. The music cut out completely, and everyone turned to see who made the outburst.

Everyone stood there silently for a few long seconds, and then I slapped The Knifemaster on the back of his head and said, “Why’d you gotta scream at that grenade, ya mook?” I then turned to the on lookers and yelled, “What? Can’t a couple of guidos check out a couple a’bitches witout getting’ stared at? Ahhhh fogettaboutit.”

I made my way across the room. Since everyone was staring at us, they willingly separated and let us pass to the restrooms. Once we got there, the music started back up and the club goers started dancing again, forgetting that six non-guidos just entered their nightclub and started acting like a bunch of caricatures of Italian Americans. Criss and Mr. Expendable stood guard outside the restroom as Everett, Damien, The Knifemaster, and I walked inside.  Once inside, I turned around and punched The Knifemaster right in his loud goddamn mouth.

The Knifemaster looked at me like I said I hoped he gets cancer and said as tears began to fill his eyes, “Why did you do that?”

“Why,” I fumed, “Why?!?! I had just said to not draw attention to ourselves! How is screaming ‘boobies’ not going to get us noticed?”

“Would it make it any better if I said I was sorry?”

“NO!” I snapped, “Do me a favor and don’t open your fucking mouth unless it is really important.”

Under his breath, but still understandable, The Knifemaster muttered, “A nice set of boobs is really important.”

For instance, they can hold your beer for you while your hands participate in more important activities, like grabbing some boob.

I ignored him, and instead walked to the second stall, pushed up the ceiling tile that was three from the wall and two from the right side of the stall. I pulled out the four duffel bags that Steve left behind and tossed them down to Damien, Everett, and The Knifemaster. I made sure to throw the one at The Knifemaster extra hard. The last one I dropped at the edge of the toilet so that I could open it for myself. Inside was everything we needed (sans Justice stick, the bastards.) We put on our ultra-lightweight Awesomevlar! vests and each grabbed our machetes. I pulled out my white cloak and set it aside. I’ll put you on in a minute I thought as I holstered my two Desert Eagles and the extra ammo.  I wrapped my wrists and knuckles, then strapped my throwing knife sheath to my wrist. Finally I threw my camelback hydration system (product placement- money please!) full of my Awesomepotion! For those of you who do not remember, Awesomepotion consists of Gatorade, Everclear, and redbull. I stole the idea from Tucker Max.

All that was left in my bag was whatever Criss needed. Luckily for me, I am the only one willing to share my duffel bag with him, and he doesn’t need to bring much. Why does no one else want to share a duffel bag with him you ask? Because 1. We all have too many things that we need to bring on the mission, and 2. He’s kind of a dick. Anyway, all he had to bring was his trick gun, some tarot cards that have blade edges, and a live white rabbit that I am still not sure what purpose it serves. I personally hope it is actually a bomb. I put on my cloak. The thick leather was cool against my skin, and its rich scent filled my nostrils and warmed me with an overwhelming sense of calm. I felt the inside of the right sleeve of the cloak and found the small button I was looking for. I pressed it. For about a second, a light hum came from my cloak, and my cloak shrank to fit me like a shirt. I was officially ready to kick some ass.

I stepped out of the restroom to stand guard while Criss went in to get his gear. After a brief moment with Mr. Expendable, The Knifemaster stepped out and let Mr. Expendable get his stuff.

We stood quietly for a good minute before he turned to me and asked, “You mad?”

I glanced over at him, trying hard not to smile, and saw him with a big, goofy looking grin painted on his face. I turned my head the other direction, trying to force the smile that was growing on my face back into a grimace. It was no use; I can never stay mad at people for too long. And for that, I hate myself. I stopped struggling against my face, and let the smile form.  While still keeping my face turned away from him (I didn’t want to see me smiling… you know, sign of weakness) I said, You could have ruined the entire mission. Don’t let it happen again.

“I can’t promise that, Thundercock,” The Knifemaster answered, “If I see a nice set of funbags, I am going to make sure that everyone else knows about it. But I’ll make it up to you.”

“How?” I asked. My smile had faded by now, and turned into a look of puzzlement, so I was able to look him in the face.

“I’ll fuck Pauly D’s shit up so bad that the shit will pour out of his mouth literally, instead of how it always does figuratively.”

I a let a small grin form on my face and said, “That would definitely make up for it.”

After another few minutes of silence (between us, the douchebag hive that we were in was deafeningly loud), The Knifemaster noted, “It’s really taking them a long time to get their stuff.”

I agreed and said, “But what can you expect with Mr. Expendable? The guy would have been killed several times by now if it wasn’t for the fact that he can regenerate lost tissue.”

“I know!”  The Knifemaster answered, “Do you remember when we were in Lybia helping take out Gaddafi, and he got shot in the head by one of his guard?”

“Do I?” I asked rhetorically, “he wouldn’t stop screaming that the bullet was in his brain, despite the fact that it was very clear that he had already healed completely. He was crying so much that we had to leave without actually taking out Gaddafi. Those poor, oppressed Lybians.”

“Hey,” The Knifemaster said, “the U.S. Government is involved now; they can certainly handle it. Why should we have to fight all the bad guys and save the world every day? What the hell are we supposed to be, a league of superheroes?”

I was about to answer that last question with a “Yes, we are,” when our four teammates stepped out of the restroom. Mr. Expendable looked from me to The Knifemaster and said jokingly, “Quit talking about me.”

“Sorry,” I said, “we only talk about worthwhile topics,” I replied.

“Like knives, women, Thunder’s abs, and if we could kill Shia Lebuff hard enough, could that murder ripple back in time and prevent the Transformer movies and the last Indiana Jones movie from ever being made.” The Knifemaster added.

“Damn right,” I said as The Knifemaster and I shared a laugh and another exploding fist pound. I looked to the rest of the group and said, “Let’s split up into pairs and look for Pauly D.”

“Get outta heere, ya lousy troll, or I’ll fuckin’ moida ya!” we heard from across the club, “I’m the greatest fucka heere!”

“Nevermind,” We said collectively. I lead the way to where the scream came from: VIP area, of course.  I bypassed the bouncer for the VIP area, ignoring his inquiries about whether or not I was on “The List.”

“I’ll show you where we are on the list,” I heard Damien say.  I then heard a couple of deep thumps when Damien beat the guy up, and followed by the heavy thump of the body falling to the floor. My eyes remained focused on my target. He was sitting in a circular corner booth surrounded by slutty looking guido chicks, and fellow faux alpha male douchebags. I had made it halfway across the room before his eyes locked with mine. I could feel the electricity in the air, which meant one of two things: we were about to fight or about to have sex. Worried, I double checked the look in his eyes. Thank God; we’re going to fight.

“Pauly D,” I said, “We need to have a talk with you.”

He chewed on the stem of the cherry that came in his drink as he eyed us with suspicion.  He nodded to the other people at the table, and they all left without a word. He ushered us into the booth with his hand. I sat down, followed by The Knifemaster, Everett, and Mr. Expendable. Damien and Criss stood at the end of the booth, ready to fight if the case should arise.

Once we were all situated, Pauly D said, “You come in heere, dressed like a bunch’a freaks, oogle my grenades and shit, and then want to talk to me? Oh-ho ho! This betta be the best thing I heard.”

I gave Pauly a friendly smile and replied, “Well, you see, Mr. D, earlier today I was attacked at my house by what turned out to be a guido. This comes a mere week after discovering your plan to take over the music industry and make it even worse than what it is today.”

“Nah,” he replied, “I don’t wanna take it over, I just want to work in the industry is all. It ain’t no thang.”

“Oh, yeah?” The Knifemaster snapped, “Then who the fuck is this?” he dropped a black sack onto the table which made a loud, but wet thump. He then released the rope that was keeping the bag  closed. The sides of the bag fell to reveal the bloody severed head of the man who attacked me earlier this morning. Everyone at the table, including Pauly D and myself jumped back and screamed a little; The Knifemaster had obviously planned this on his own.

“What the fuck, Knifemaster,” I blurted out, “Why would you bring that with you?”

“Tell us your plans, Pauly D,” The Knifemaster stated, completely ignoring me, “Tell us, or you end up like your friend here.” The Knifemaster showed his right hand to Pauly D. He was wearing the scalpels again.

Pauly looked from The Knifemaster’s scalpel hand, to me, and then to the severed head that was staring directly at him. The expression on his face morphed from fear to into sorrow. “Joey Motsarelli? You killed my friend Joey Motsarelli?!?!” The look of sadness turned into hatred, and Pauly D looked at me. “YOU KILLED MY FRIEND! YOU’LL PAY FOR THIS!”

Pauly D began to take quick breaths, as if he was hyperventilating. We watched as the veins on his arms, neck and forehead grew and pulsed with the beating of his heart. His muscles twitched and grew to twice their size. Pauly D stood up and flipped the table out of the way, along with part of the floor that it was attached to. He let out a deafening roar, and swung one of his abnormally muscular arms at us. The Knifemaster, Everett and myself managed to duck and miss the crushing blow from Pauly D’s meat clubs; Mr. Expendable, however wasn’t so lucky. Pauly D’s hand caught the side of Mr. Expendable’s face, and sent him sailing out of the chair, knocking over Damien and Criss in the process.

Looking at the three men on the floor, Pauly dropped his lower jaw and made his eyes bulge almost completely out of their sockets. Knowing what was going to happen next, I jumped onto his back and began to punch him furiously in the back of his head. The bastard barely felt it. Fortunately, Mr. Expendable also knew what was going to happen next, and jumped to his feet, separating Pauly D from Criss and Damien. A white hot laser beam shout out of Pauly’s mouth and straight through Mr. Expendable’s chest. Criss and Damien managed to roll out of the path of the beam right before it hit where they were laying. Pauly D closed his mouth which stopped the laser.  Mr. Expendable looked down to the gaping and bloody hole were his internal organs used to be, and fell to the floor. During that moment between Pauly D’s attacks, Criss telekinetically threw Pauly D out of the VIP area and onto the main dance floor, knocking over many club patrons on the way.

Pauly D got up slowly, but still obviously roid raging and screamed, “Guidos, Attack!”

The music stopped. The dancing stopped. All other sounds other than Pauly D’s heavy breathing stopped. Everyone in the club turned and looked toward us. One of them let out a screech, similar to one that a pterodactyl would have. With that screech, the herd of Guidos came charging at us. I pressed the button on the inside of my sleeve, and my cloak became a cloak again. I put up my hood, took a sip from my Awesomepotion!, pulled out my guns, and got ready to deal with this fucking bullshit.

I fired into the charging crowd, really wishing I had my Justice Stick with me. My group split up far enough to separate the crowd as much as we could. I saw out of the corner of my eye The Knifemaster hacking guido after guido with his machete. Every once in a while, he would manage to throw one of his throwing knives into the oncoming herd, each knife finding its way into the throat or the face of a guido or guidette. Damien had managed to keep a rather large area of space between himself and the group that had formed around him. The guidos attacked him one at a time, so Damien was able to easily defeat many of them. Criss and Everett were standing next to each other fighting off the hoard.  Criss was able to keep an invisible blockade between the two men and the herd of guidos, and Everett would throw stun and flash bombs through the blockade and into the crowd. Criss would then send out a psionic pulse to clear away any of the knocked out guidos. The fully healed Mr. Expendable was standing in the corner booth that we had been sitting in a minute earlier, using the table as a shield and firing his shotgun at the squirming mass of orange bodies.

After several minutes of punches, stabbings and gunshots, I ran out of ammo. I’m still too far away from Pauly D, and all I have left to fight with is my machete and throwing knives. I’m kinda fucked. I pulled my machete from its sheath and spun in a  circle as I held the blade out, effectively slitting the throats of the guidos closest to me. When I stopped, I felt extra weight from inside my cloak. I reached into the secret pocket where I keep My Justice Stick and pulled out two uzis. I smiled. Everett, you wonderful bastard. I looked to where he and Criss were standing, and saw Everett crouched over something while Criss was firing playing cards into the crowd, Gambit- style.  Each card made their mark and was answered with a pained scream. I decided to fight my way over there. I put my uzis away for the moment, and began to treat the guidos like bamboo (I hacked the shit out of them with my machete.)

Once I made it to them, I called over the angry roar of guidos, “I assume the uzis are to take the place of my Justice Stick, Everett? If so, then nice choice.”

“Well,” he replied, looking up from a large, shiny metal tube, “I couldn’t leave you without a backup secret weapon, could I?”

I smiled at him, but he could not tell since my hood was shrouding my face. I looked at the metal tube he was working on (In the middle of a major fight, no less). Upon closer inspection, I found that it wasn’t a tube, but more of a cannon. It had a thick ring of acid green lights situated at the back of it, different colored wires protruding from the side and finding their way to the mouth of the barrel, where three spokes jetted out from the rim and pointed to the center.

“I call it a Deguidofication ray.” Everett yelled over all the noise to me, “It will turn any guido who gets hit by it will turn back into a normal human.”

“What if these people are guidos by choice?” I asked.

Everett gave me a puzzled look for a second or two, and then asked, “Who would ever choose to be a guido?” He then continued, “I am just making some last minute adjustments for this size of a crowd.”

really, who actually thinks this is a good look?

I nodded and brought my watch up to my mouth. I announced into it, “Okay, team, get ready to unleash our secret weapons. Does anyone have a good view of Pauly D?”

“Yes,” The Knifemaster answered, “He is standing at the DJ booth on the other end of the dance floor. He’s just watching like an asshole.”

“Good,” I replied, “Once we get through this crowd, take him out.” I  then screamed our battle cry, “ KAPLAH!!!”

The rest of the team answered my call with their own kaplahs. I pulled my uzis back out and began to fire into the crowd. From The Knifemaster’s direction, I heard a loud buzz which was followed by screams and the image of flying body parts. He had started his chainsaw whip. Criss lifted up his hat, and the white rabbit from earlier hopped down and scurried into the crowd of guidos. After a few seconds, terrified screams came from the center of the hoard as the rabbit began to attack random guidos. I watched as Damien began to flip through the air. Each time he landed, he took out another guido. I then turned to where Mr. Expendable was to see him being torn to pieces by the mob that had finally gotten close enough to do so. As I was wondering if he could heal from something like that, I saw his disembodied limbs begin to punch and kick the closest guido. The limbs were using the objects closest to them as weapons. When they finally were able to fight back the herd of guidos, I was able to see Mr. Expendable’s head perched on top of his (still standing) severed leg, shouting orders to his body parts. I then suddenly realized that I have the strangest crime fighting team ever.

“Thunder,” I heard Everett say from behind me, “I cannot use my Deguidofication ray on the Guidos if you’re blocking them from me. Move!”

As soon as I stepped to the side, an acid green beam of light shot out from the barrel of the Deguidofication ray and into the crowd. Green lightning bolts traveled around each guido that was hit by the ray. Suddenly, the guidos that were hit fell to the floor. Their bodies began to swell and twitch. Each one looked like a hot dog that was being over cooked in the microwave. After a few seconds of this, each infected guido body exploded into a pink dust that smelled like bad cologne and perfume. Everett sweeped the room with the ray, making sure that every last guido got hit by it, and then released the trigger. Within seconds, the last guido club goer was reduced to the thick pink dust that hung in the air. The club now was eerily quiet. Even though the dust was thick, I could tell that Pauly D was pissed off. I made my way to the dance floor to end Pauly D once and for all.

As I walked foreward, I mumbled to Everett, “I thought you said that it was supposed to turn the people into non guidos?”

“It was supposed to,” he replied, “But I didn’t have any guidos to test it out on first. Besides, is being reduced to a pink mist a worse fate than spending your life as a guido?”

“Hmm,” I answered, “I guess not. But next time let me know what you’re working on, then we can plan for those things.

We made it to the dance floor, and finally, the pink mist settled. Pauly D was breating heavily in front of the DJ station, anger and hatred filling his eyes more than those bloodshot veins.

He screamed at us, “You killed all of them?!?! How are you supposed to be the heroes?!”

Everett raised his hand slightly and answered, “Well, that was never planned; it was only supposed to—“

“Shut up!” Pauly interrupted. “I guess I’m gonna have to kill you myself.”  He dropped his jaw and bulged his eyes once again, but this time, he aimed up at the disco ball above the dance floor. The laser from his mouth reflected off the mirrors and landed around us, creating a laser light show of death. We all let out terrified screams as he hid under tables, chairs, or whatever else we could find that could stop the beam from hitting us. I snuck a quick peek at the disco ball, and saw the wire it was hanging from.

I turned to Everett and asked, “Do you think you could throw a knife and hit that wire?”

He looked up to the wire, “Not from here, I would have to stand towards the edge of the dance floor, but we cannot get there with laser mouth trying to kill us.”

“I’ll do it,” Mr. Expendable said. He took one of the throwing knives out of my hand and ducked out from under the table where we were hiding. I watched as the reflected lasers blackened his skin, very much like how it looked earlier today after helping Everett test his flamethrowers. Mr. Expendable ran to the best place to throw the knife, and did just that. The knife soared through the air, and, with a surprising amount of accuracy, cut the wire holding up the disco ball. The ball of mirrors shattered on the floor. Pauly D, realizing that yet another one of his defenses was foiled, charged at  Mr. Expendable. He put his head down, and head butted Mr. Expendable right into the wall next to the restrooms. When the guido pulled away, Mr. Expendable was pinned to the wall by the dislodged spikes from Pauly D’s hair.

“You betta stay there,” Pauly D snapped at Mr. Expendable. He then turned to the rest of us and yelled,  “Who else wants a piece o’me?”

“Not me,” Everett answered while he shot his grappling hooks at the balcony above Pauly, “I hate fake Italian food.” The grappling hooks locked in place and Everett then pulled back on the cables, causing the entire structure to fall right on Pauly D’s fat head.

But Pauly D then burst out from the rubble, virtually unscathed. Everett shot another grappling hook, this time right above Pauly’s head. It lodged itself into the far wall, and Everett launched himself at Pauly with every intention of literally cramming a boot into Pauly’s mouth. Pauly, however, was prepared for this attack;  he grabbed the wire  above his head, and swung it  around so that when Everett finally lost his grip, he went flying into the DJ booth. Pauly then blasted the box with his laser mouth, making it collapse upon itself.

“Two down, bitches,” Pauly taunted, “Four more to go.”

I glanced at the Deguidofication ray; it looked like it might be still intact. I sprinted towards it, hoping, praying that I would know how to fire it once I got there.  Pauly shot a laser at my head, which I dodged by an awesome slide move. But right as I was about to grab hold of the gun, a second laser beam hit the Deguidofication ray, melting it into a pool of metal. I’m fucked. I thought. Rather incorrectly, in fact, because at the exact moment that Pauly was distracted by me and the Deguidofication ray, The Knifemaster was able to whip his chainsaw whip directly at Pauly D. He got him in his side, and the chainsaw was firmly lodged in his side. Pauly roared an rage filled roar, and began to pull the chain whip (With the Knifemaster still holding on) towards him. Before The Knifemaster could let go, Pauly had grabbed him by his shoulders and lifted him to his eye level. I was terrified; I couldn’t lose another second in command. That would mean that I would have lost two of my best friends. I wasn’t about to let that happen.

Damien and I sprinted to Pauly and The Knifemaster. I threw Damien one of my uzis. We both hopped onto his back and began to shoot Pauly in the neck, but the bullets bounced off without even indenting the skin. Pauly attempted to shake us off, but it was no use; Criss was telekinetically keeping us on him. I glanced from behind me and saw Mr. Expendable, who had managed to free himself from Pauly’s hair spikes, holding a mirror from one of the restrooms. I instantly knew his plan. So did Damien, apparently. We both kicked  The Knifemaster’s shoulders out of Pauly D’s grip right as his  jaw began to drop. Mr. Expendable threw the mirror over all of our heads, and Criss made it flip midair and stop falling right inbetween Pauly and The Knifemaster. Pauly, wasn’t as quick to react this time, as he blasted a laser at the mirror, which bounced back and hit him in the chest. Damien and I jumped off right before Pauly D sent himself flying backwards and through the brick wall of the club.

“Everett,” I called after a second or two of silence from the other side of the wall, “Are you alright?”

He climbed out of the smoldering rubble that used to be the DJ box and replied with a weak yet responsive, “Yeah, I’ll be fine.”

“That’s good to hear,” I said back. I then said to everyone left standing (I.E. my team) and said, “Absolutely great teamwork, guys. I’m really proud of all of you. That is how we handle bad guys. Now, Let’s go apprehend this asshole!”

The group followed me out of the club and around to the side that Pauly came out of. It was a dark alley way, but there was enough light to reflect off of the water on the ground.  I looked for the body. Nothing. No blood, no foot prints, absolutely no evidence that anyone came crashing through that wall other than the random chunks of bricks strewn about the alleyway. I then looked for a place that he could have possibly hid himself. Other than the dumpster (that was empty) there was no place for him to hide. He was gone.

“Where is Carmen San Diego’s name did he go?” The Knifemaster asked?

“I dunno,” Criss replied, “I watched him break through that wall, but I couldn’t see anything after that.”

I sighed. “C’mon, gang, Let’s get back to the Awesomeplane! He’s obviously gone.”

We made it back to the junkyard in silence, but once I entered, I felt a searing pain on the right side of my head. I got dizzy. I fell to the ground. I heard screaming all around me, but I couldn’t figure what it was about. Finally, everything came back into focus and I saw Steve holding a 2×4 and yelling at me. He said, “That’s what you get for pretending not to know what I’ve been saying, you racist asshole.”

“What the fuck are you talking about, Steve, I’ve never been able to understand what you say. And don’t call me an asshole.” I stopped, and I stood up. I felt a little shaky from that blow to the head, but I was too pissed to care. “Wait a goddamn minute,” I snapped,  “You’ve been talking in that made up language that doesn’t even sound Japanese, and once you hit me with a 2×4, you start speaking English, and I’m the asshole. Well fuck you, dick.”

Everyone was amazed, even Steve. “Wait,” he said, “You really couldn’t understand me?”

“NO!” I said along with other members of the group.

“Well then,” he replied, “I’m sorry, but it did seem to work, so I guess we’re even.”

“Sure, whatever,” I answered, starting to feel woozy again. “Jessie, take us home. We need to debrief, and I need an icepack.”

The plane ride home consisted of the team telling the story of what happened in the club from their own points of view (which made each of them sound like we all would have died if it wasn’t for them) and Steve questioning me about what the language I heard him speak sounded like.  I continued to repeat that it didn’t sound like Japanese or any other real language. My answer never seemed to satisfy him, though, and eventually he went back and talked with the rest of the group. I gazed out the window, watching as the lights from the cities below disappeared and reappeared from under the thick clouds. I could not get my mind off of Pauly D’s disappearance. It only took us a few seconds to get out there, and he should have been to injured to move let alone run down the alleyway and turn the corner. I decided that it would be best if I had Danica look for him with her douche-smog maps once we get back. Feeling more at ease now knowing that Pauly D didn’t escape us completely, I closed my eyes and drifted off into sleep for the reminder of the trip.

******

Pauly D smashed through the brick wall, sending hunks of brick across the alleyway. He landed flat on his back with a heavy “thunk.” He couldn’t move. He could barely breathe. After about a second or two, his lungs opened back up and the cool New Jersey night air rushed in and gave him new life. Right as he was about to get up, a dark figure came and loomed over him. Pauly couldn’t see anything about the being other than his outline, which was shapeless, but still menacing.

“Hello Pauly D,” a dark voice said, “I see you just had a run in with the Awesomesquad!.”

“Bastards killed my best friend,” Pauly D replied, a little nervous of the figure speaking to him.

“I bet you would love to get revenge on them, wouldn’t you?” The voice asked. “We can make them regret ever hearing of you. Would like that?”

“I’d rather see ‘em all dead.”

The voice let out a small puff of air, which Pauly assumed as a laugh. The voice said, “We’ll make sure that happens too, don’t you worry. But if you want to make sure it happens, you’ll come with me now.”

“But,” Pauly D asked, “Won’t they see us? I mean they gotta be comin’ ‘round heere any second.”

“Don’t you worry about that,” the figure replied, “I have already taken care of that. All you need to do, is grab my hand and we’ll be on our way.”

A white, fragile looking hand appeared out of the black that was the figure looming over Pauly D, and extended itself down to the man on the ground. Pauly hesitated, but the grabbed hold of the hand. It was oddly soft. In an instant, both men were gone, disappeared without any piece of evidence as to where they went. A few seconds later, Thunder and the rest of Team Pugnastics turned the corner to see a Pauly D-less alley way.

 

THE END

Awesomesquad! Assemble! 5.2!

If you have never read any of the previous Awesomesquad Assemble! posts before, you can find them here, there, in this general vicinity, at this location, and way over here. I would definitely read the last one, as this post is a continuation of that one. I’ll wait.

___________________________________________________________________________

The Knifemaster stood in the middle of the darkened room with his back to me; the only beam of light in the room was landing on him, and him alone. His shirt, pants, and hair were caked with guido blood.  Attached to each of his fingers was a medical scalpel, making him look like a Carrie/ Edward Scissorhands love-child that wants to be a doctor. He whipped himself around and stared directly at me. His eyes were wide with crazy. I reached beside me and grabbed my Justice Stick, waiting for him to make the first move. He stood there, eerily still, for about a minute. Just as I was about to let my guard down and ask him what he was doing, he jumped straight up into the air, raised his hands, and screamed, “AWESOMESQUAD, AAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEEMMMMMMM MMMMMBBBBBBBBBBLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!”

I stood there silently for about a second, just processing what I had just seen. Then, I stated, “It’s much easier and efficient if you just use the intercom.”

“Oh,” he replied, “Sorry, I’m still kind of new at this.”

I flipped the switch, and the thick, inky black of the room melted into a warm yellow from the walls. A long executive looking table surrounded by high back leather chairs sat in the middle of the room, and on top was a speakerbox. The Knifemaster strode to the table, held down a button on the speaker box, and calmy said, “Awesomesquad assemble in the conference room, Awesomesquad assemble in the conference room.”

“I was half expecting you to scream it into the intercom,” I noted.

“I can if you want me to,” He replied. He pressed the button once again and began to take a deep breath when I said for him not to.

One at a time, eight of the other nine members of Awesomesquad! assembled in the conference room, each one giving an uncomfortable glance at The Knifemaster before taking a seat at the table. I noticed the empty seat (other than The Knifemaster’s empty seat. He didn’t want to get blood on the leather. What a gentleman!)

“Where in Waldo’s name is Mr. Expendable?” I asked, seriously reconsidering choosing people I know for my Superhero team.

“The last time I saw him,” Everett answered, “He was helping me test out my latest flame throwers.  They worked incredibly well; burned the ever loving fuck out of him.”

“That’s great and all, but we need him in here now,” I replied. I nodded to The Knifemaster, and he bounded back to the speakerbox.

He pressed the button once again and yelled, “Bannon, get your regenerating ass in the conference room! And we don’t want to hear any shit about you being in severe pain or needing skin grafts.”

After about thirty seconds of everyone in the conference room sitting quietly, what appeared to be an oversized, man shaped piece of blackened chicken came crawling through the door. It moved in a similar fashion to a sloth, barely lifting it’s limbs off the ground. It cried out (even though it was more of a raspy gurgle,) “Help me.”

“Mr. Expendable,” The Knifemaster boomed, “When I say ‘Awesomesquad Assemble,’ I don’t mean whenever you goddamn feel like it. YOU WILL PAY FOR YOU INSOLENCE! BRAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!” The Knifemaster once again jumped high in the air and came down upon the unsuspecting Bannon, his scalpel equipped fingers finding Bannon’s torso and digging in extra deep. Bannon let out a pain filled shriek and squirmed around on the floor, which was followed by verbal protest and shocked cries from the rest of the group.The Knifemaster, begrudgingly complying with the team, pulled this scalpel equipped fingers out of the crusty flesh of Bannon, .

Damien Walters raised his hand politely and asked in his British accent if all this violence was necessary. I was amused that our hand-to-hand combat instructor had a problem with that violence, and decided that I had made at least one good choice when it came to putting the team together.

The Knifemaster answered for me with a, “It sure is, so don’t ask questions, you bloody Brit, or I’ll have to go all kinds of Knifemaster on your ass.”

“Wow,” I commented to The Knifemaster, “You’re really taking this second in command thing pretty seriously, Jibbles”

“I know,” he replied sheepishly, “I just want to make you proud.”

“You are. Your batshit insanity, even though it makes me worry about everyone around you’s safety, makes me see how much fear you can put into the rest of the team. I can only imagine what you will do to our enemies.”

“Fo’ realzies?” he asked, tears forming in his eyes.

“Fo’ realizes,” I answered while putting a reassuring hand on his shoulder. I quickly removed it though when I remembered that he was covered in the blood of the guido assassin that he “autopsied” minutes earlier. We then shared an exploding fist bump, not caring what that stupid cracked.com video said, and I turned to address the group.

Realizing that no one was paying attention to him anymore, Bannon jumped to his feet and announced, “It’s OK everybody. I’m alright!”  His burnt flesh began to regrow, starting at his face and moving downward. The sound his healing made was both dry and wet; it was is if crackers were being rubbed together, but the sound was moving mashed jello. When he was done, he was completely nude. “I’ve learned how to control my healing so that I do not heal right away! Isn’t that amazing!”

The group let an a collective disinterested “meh.”

Dissappointed that no one gave a damn about him or his regenerative abilities, Mr. Expendable went to a cabinet, pulled out an extra pair of pants and put them on, and sat in an open chair.

“OK then,” I said, blocking the image of a nude Mr. Expendable from my head, ‘Everyone, we have ourselves a serious problem.”

“You’re damn right we have a problem,” GMZ spouted, “We’re almost all out of Lady Caggiano’s baked goods. HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME TO WORK WITHOUT SOME GODDAMN COOKIES!!!!!”

There was a murmuring of agreement amongst all of those at the table, including The Knifemaster, even though he has never had the wondrous experience of eating Lady Caggiano’s  brownies (I do not mean that in a sexual way because the sexual connotation is really gross.)

“Look gang,” I conceded, “I know that we are all tweeking from a Lady Caggiano cookie fix, but we come together as a team and get through this. I know we can do it because we, WE are Awesomesquad! and WE are strong… Also, I can bake chocolate chip cookies. Will that help?” There was a moment of silence, and then a chair came flying at my face.

I dodged the chair, and yelled, “Damnit GMZ!  Stop being such an unimaginable prick!” Addressing the entire group, and no longer playing nice, I said, “Listen right the fuck up. I was attacked by a masked assailant in my house earlier today, and the attacker turned out to be a guido, and we all know what that means.”

They did. You could see the fear and disgust etched onto each of their faces. It would be the same face someone would make if they watched a kitten explode. The room got deathly quiet as they waited for me to continue. God, I love being the leader.

I took another moment or two to really soak in their anxiousness for my word chocolate, and then I said, “Pauly D, as we all know, came onto our patented douche-dar several weeks ago when footage was leaked of him shooting a laser out of his mouth.”

Honestly, I don’t think I will ever grow tired of this.

“He obviously sent the assassin as a message for us to stay out of his business, but just like America after 911 and Pearl Harbor, We are going to wage war against this asshole, and probably kill a lot of walking stereotypes along the way.”

Famed motorcycle rider and Sandra Bullock heart breaker, Jessie James interjected, “Honestly, Minigan, I am all for killing a bunch of guidos. They make Italian Americans look bad. But If Pauly D is as dangerous that gif says he is, how are we supposed to defeat him? I hope you have some sort of plan.”

“Of course I do” I replied in a confidant tone. “Criss,” I added, “Put up the projection of the map.”

Criss looked around with a confused look on his face, and asked, “With what?”

I stared at him for a second. I was assuming he was being a smartass. He knew damn well what I was talking about. “With magic.”

“Look, everybody,” he said, standing up, “I am not sure what powers you think I have since I’m a magician, but I cannot create money, I cannot project images, and I cannot raise the dead, so please stop asking. Has any of you even watched my television show? It’s still on the air!”

“It is?” I asked half shocked.

Well, I’ll be damned. It is still on the air.

The Knifemaster stood over Criss and said in a threatening voice, “Angel, If you do not magic the shit out of that picture  and put it up on the screen, I am going to Knifemaster you so hard that your knives will be bleeding  knives right out of your knivy knives. You understand?”

“No,” Criss replied, “I have no goddamn clue what you are talking about.”

“PUT UP THE GODDAMN PROJECTION, OR I’LL FUCKING STAB YOU!!!!”

Criss sighed and rolled his eyes. Luckily for him, The Knifemaster didn’t see it. He then sat back down, set his elbow on the table and opened his palm. Out from it shot a white beam of light that spread out into  a map of our destination behind me.

“Goddamn it,” Criss muttered, more shocked at his own abilities than anything else.

“So,” the shirtless Mr. Expendable said, turning to look Criss in the eyes, “you can raise the dead. WHY DID YOU LIE TO ME?!”

“Mr. Expendable, shut up. Criss, I always believed in you.” I said while giving Criss a friendly wink.

Criss then replied, “Please, for the love of God, stop winking at me. It is really starting to weird me out.”

The Knifemaster jumped onto the table and yelled, “DON’T YOU DARE DISRESPECT MINIGAN LIKE THAT!!!!!”

GMZ then yelled, “I WANT SOME GODDAMN COOKIES OR I’M GONNA KILL SOMEBODY!!!!!”

“Knifemaster, sit down, and calm yourself. Criss, sorry about that, but next time try not being such a douche about it. And GMZ, shut the fuck up or we’ll put you into the detox chamber.” I said. I then turned back to the map projection, and began to explain the plan. As I was pointing out the flight path across the barren, nuclear wasteland to Jessie James, I saw a hand behind me rise into the air.

It was Everett, our weapons technician. He said, “Not to interrupt, Minigan, but do you really think it is safe for us to enter Hell this way. We are going to be way outnumbered by all of the different forms of evil monsters that live there. This kind of sounds like a suicide mission to me.”

“I understand you fears, Everett,” I pointed out reassuringly, “But I promise you, that this mission is going to be safer than what you think. First of all, we are not headed to Hell. You weren’t far off, mind you, but we are actually going to New Jersey. This means that we will only encounter one type of horrible beast, and that is the guido.  Now, guidos are notoriously difficult to kill; their thick pelt is impervious to any form of radiation. This includes heat, Everett, so your flame throwers will be of no use to you this time. I also doubt that your lightning shooter will have an effect on them. You may want to try using your gas launcher, or a standard gun or sword. I know that knives will work, because that is how I killed the guido in my house earlier today.” “Knifemaster,” I continued, “Since their pelt is thick and strong, you will need to make sure that all of our knives, including The Justice Stick, have all been properly sharpened. They will probably need to be resharpened afterwards.” “Damien,” I said, looking to the muscular Brit, “the one thing we know best about guidos and douchebags in general is that they love UFC, but they don’t actually participate in it at all. This means that their fighting style will be a combination of moves they’ve seen in UFC matches and kung fu movies. This is good news for you, because it means that despite them being strong and hard to kill, you should still be able to knock them out at least.”

“What about transport?” Jessie asked, “How exactly do you want us to travel through the thick smog of New Jersey?”

“What’s where I come in,” the super sexy Danica McKellar stated, “Using a complex algorithm that none of you would understand so I’m not going to explain it, I have deduced that the smog is entirely made out of steam from nuclear reactors, Axe body spray, spray tanner, and crippling depression. This should be not a problem to fly through as long as the air filters in the jet are new.  However, this smog fluctuates depending on how much douchebag is in the air. Therefore while calculating contents of the Jersey smog, I was also able to pinpoint Pauly D’s exact location down to within a few feet. Criss, can you put the next map up, please?”

Criss sighed, closed his hand, and opened it again. When he did, the map on the projection screen changed from a state map of New Jersey to a smog map of New Jersey.

Danica walked to the head of the room , and began to point at specific locations of the map while commenting, “All the purple you see is the normal smog of New Jersey, I.E. the nuclear reactors, Axe, spray tanner, depression mixture. However, these blotches of hot pink are vents of douchebag.” She pointed to the shoreline that was very bright pink; it was actually glowing. “As you can see, the entire shoreline of New Jersey radiates douchebaggery. But, as you can also see there seems to be two major epicenters of douchebags along the coast.” She pointed to the larger of the two and said, “This larger one, we are certain is where The Situation is, but this one,” motioning to the one in the center of the shoreline, “is where Pauly D and his thugs all reside.”

Jessie then asked, “What can we expect turbulence-wise when we get close to Pauly D?”

“Well,” Danica said, “The turbulence will be pretty bad all the way through Jersey, but you can only expect it to get worse when you go through the patches of douche smog.”

Looking at Jessie, I added, “Due to the size of the Awesomesplane! and to the lack of open areas near the shoreline that isn’t a beach, you are going to stay airborne while the rest of the team takes Pauly out.”

“Why can’t he just land on the beach?” Mr. Expendable asked.

“Because the weight of the jet will cause it to sink in the sand, and even if we were able to land onto the beach, the sand will get ruin the engines,” Jessie replied.

“Not to mention it gets just everywhere and is impossible to get rid of,” The Knifemaster added with a lisp for some reason. Everyone stopped looking at the map and turned to him. Realizing that all eyes were on him, The Knifemaster added, “What, IT DOES!”

The complete silence in the room lingered before I continued without acknowledging The Knifemaster’s outburst, “What you will do, Jessie is first fly high overhead the nightclub and let Series of Japanese Symbols parachute down and stow our bags in the nightclub’s men’s room.

“Series of Japanese Symbols,” I said turning to the lone Asian man of the group.

“For the millionth time, my name is Steve,” Series of Japanese Symbols groaned, “Why must always call me that?”

“I’m sorry, I cannot understand you.”

“But I’m speaking perfect English! Will someone please convince this asshole that my name is Steve.”

The group let out another disinterested “meh,” and Series of Japanese Symbols began to bang his head on the table. Everyone looked shocked, but I assured them that is Japanese custom to bang their heads off of the table in the middle of a conversation, and that Series of Japanese Symbols (Fuck it; I’m naming him Steve… It’s shorter) does it every time he has a conversation with me.

“Anyway, Steve,” I continued once Criss changed the image on the whiteboard from the smog map the a blueprint of the nightclub, “Once you break into the nightclub, you will need to crawl through the rafters to the men’s  restroom where you will hide our four bags in the second stall. Place all four in the third ceiling tile from the wall behind the toilet, and second tile from the right hand side. After that, leave the way you came and go to the rendezvous point here.” I nodded at Criss, and once again he closed his hand and opened it, changing the image from the blueprint of the nightclub to a city map. I pointed to a grey rectangle three blocks away. This area was once a courtyard that had since been reduced into an auto yard.

“The auto yard,” I added, turning to Jessie, “will be where you pick up Steve, and let the rest of the group off. It is fairly dark in that auto yard, so the Awesomeplane! will be impossible to see. The remaining six of us, posing as guidos, will then get into the club, get our stuff, and take Pauly D down. Any questions?”

“Yes, I have a question,” Steve asked, “Did you just call me Steve? That means you can really understand me, and you’re just an inconceivably large dick, or your racism surpasses your common sense so much that you block out everything I’m saying.

Damien leaned over to Steve and mumbled (not very well because I heard it), “Listen mate, I dunno why he cannot understand you, but he can’t. You just need to get over it. We understand what you’re saying, and it isn’t really funny anymore, so I’ll repeat what you say for you. How ‘bout that?”

Steve then  jumped to his feet and shouted in a fit of rage, “That is total bull shit! Who has ever heard of such a horribly retarded excuse. You, Minigan, should be tortured for your douchebaggery!

I looked at him blankly for a second, unsure of what he said, and then begged the group, “Please tell me that one of you can translate what he’s saying from that crazy jibberish. I’m getting nowhere with this guy. It doesn’t even sound like Japanese.”

There was another second or two of awkward silence, and then another chair came hurtling at my face.  The Knifemaster started screaming at Steve, which lead to a group wide screaming match. I just watched as they babbled loudly at one another wondering if starting a new team would be easier than trying to fix the current one. Deciding that it would be too much work for me to kill this group off and put together a new one, I called to them, “We leave at 8:00 tonight . I expect to see Team Pugnastics and Team Prevention/ Protection at the Awesomeplane! launching station by 7:00. I walked out of the room, pinching the bridge of my nose and heard a crash; they were all throwing chairs now. I continued to walk, but their screaming just got louder. Fuck, they’re never going to stop unless I stop them. I turned around and headed back to the conference room; I had already made it halfway down the hallway. As a neared the room once again, I pulled my Bowie spike from its sheath and kept it concealed. I stepped back into the room, but no one noticed my return. I cleared my throat. Still, no attention.

“Everyone, shut the hell up!” I screamed.  I let the handle of my knife flip down so that the blade was no longer against my arm, but pointing to the ground. I raised my throwing arm, and whipped it down, throwing the knife directly at Mr. Expendable. It hit him right between his eyes. As he fell to the floor screaming, I couldn’t help but be impressed by my aim lately. The room went dead quiet in the horror that I would be willing to seriously injure a teammate to get their attention.

The most useful tool a team leader needs.

I said to them, “Listen the hell up. We cannot act like this; how are we supposed to defeat any bad guy if we constantly fight like this. We’ll only end up killing each other. If we all just calm down, then maybe we can solve these problems. First, does anyone know how to make cookies for DMZ?”

“I do,” Emily replied, “I just didn’t want to let anyone know that I could so that I don’t get stuck baking all the time.”

“Well, can you bake some for us this time?” I asked, “I’ll will make some next time.” I then turned to the rest of the group  and asked, “Who else has a problem?”

Mr. Expendable raised his hand and said, “Can someone please remove the knife from my skull; it is making me taste sounds.”

I strode over, put my hand on his forhead and pulled the lodged knife from his head. I then handed it to The Knifemaster and commanded, “Take this back the the weaponry for cleaning and resharpening.  But before you get to that, clean yourself up and that damn autopsy room you bloodied up.” “Who’s next?”

“We still need to  update the flight system in the plane and add on the four silent hover engines, and there is no way we I am going to have that done by 8:00. I’m going to need some help.”

I nodded and then asked, “Damien, Everett, and Mr. Expendable, do you have any problem that needs resolved?”

They all said no.

“Good,” I replied, “then help Jessie get the Awesomeplane! ready. You guys should go ahead and get started now.”

Once they left the room as did DMZ, Emily, and The Knifemaster, I asked the remaining members if they and any problems. They all shook their heads “No,” but Steve was perfectly still. It was as if he was fighting the urge to beat the fear of God out of me with a 2×4.

“Steve,” I asked, “Do you have a problem that needs addressed?” the rest of the team looked towards him. They all shared a look of apprehension of what was going to happen next. Steve was staring down at the table. He absolutely refused to make eyecontact with me, but eventually he did shake his head “No” as well. “Great,” I said in relief, “And at least you can understand me.”

U mad?

Steve exploded with fury and attempted to leap over the table and strangle me. Luckily, Criss and Danica were able to get a hold of him and pin him to the table before he could carry out his plan. As they struggled with him, I called Derren over to where I stood and instructed him to hypnotize Steve into staying calm. As Derren worked his mind magic, I left my room and went to my quarters to lay down. It had been a long day and was still far from over.

To Be Continued…

___________________________________________________________________________

Sorry about that folks, but this is 4,000 words long right now, and everything leading up to and including the fight scene is probably going to be another 4,000 or so words. I promise to have it up within a week or so. But for now, peace.

BRAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

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