|20.20|21|22|22.2|22.22|22.222|23|24|25|Those Extra Four…|1|2|3|4|Back Matter|
Twenty Minutes Of Silence
He slowly hovers down until he can feel the Earth’s electrons being exchanged for his own through his uninsulated business shoes.
‘Well fuck,’ the computer voice says, taking on a southern twang while still holding something of a British accent. ‘This them othah side uh’the tracks.’
Chuck’s never been to this corner of New Manhattan before. Hidden deep inside the conglomorock jungle are warehouses that make every single excuse for a warehouse in the Untied States of America (besides that one weird underground one) look like plastic storage bins an upper middle-class family would use to store pool toys in. Not one they would buy in the summer, of course; no, more like one they would buy in September or October when the local discount dollar store is trying to burn as much big summer inventory off as possible.
This warehouse, like most of the warehouses inside of New Manhattan, is special. Bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside on account of the hundred or so sub-plasti’spa’junk levels, each floor is as large and open as a normal warehouse would be. Each floor is also a self-contained facility owned by a different corporation or organization, and each floor may be used for storing anything and everything from lumber to sex slaves, narcotics labs to Cannabis farms, auto shops to dry docks.
And, so long as Karen was being truthful, of course, one floor should be storing an amphibious motorcycle. Chuck’s amphibious motorcycle to be precise, specifically the one that <Insert A Random Satirical Corporation Name That Will Never Pop Up Again> designed, engineered, and built for him without their knowledge.
All things that happen are meant to happen, you see, as they have been since the day that nothing gave birth to everything. Sometimes humans do things without knowing why they do them, only to figure out their own reasoning the future. In this case, <Insert A Random Satirical Corporation Name That Will Never Pop Up Again> found itself in need of a new owner (and a new name) and, as an obvious offering to the Dollaristic demigod that is Chuck Leary, they built an amphibious motorcycle, the very thing Chuck has been searching for ever since the idea popped back into his head years after he originally started wanting it.
He taps a button on the side of his helmet, bringing up a comms line with Karen.
“Hey boss, find your new toy yet?”
“Almost Karen, almost. Your mom find those briefcases full of hundreds that I had buried underneath her trailer yet?”
He hears two clicks, almost as if his Karen the Secretary pressed the mute button to scream, call her mother, scream again, and then unpress the mute button. “No, she has not. What can I do for you?”
“Well, ya see, funny story. This warehouse? It has tens of floors, and they’re all down from here.”
“As does our company.”
“My company. But, and this is the funny part, there’s no way in Christ’s crispy, crunchy, crab-riddled crotch hair that I’m going to spend the remainder of my afternoon, and likely evening and night, searching through every floor of this structure. Can you do a scan for me, please?”
Karen is silent for a long, long moment. The practically silent static makes Chuck wish he could be eating something crunchy to drown out the lack of noise.
“Uhm, can you just do a scan, boss? You’re the one with your business suit.”
“Yeah I tried, they have some sort of blocker. My shit won’t penetrate the walls,” Chuck quips back, his mind not even so much as entertaining the idea of commanding the hemibots in the suit to create a scanner.
“I see. Well, here, let me try…”
A few seconds of technological whizzing go bye. Chuck’s soul begins to float out of his body while he waits.
“Okay, yeah the scan isn’t working over here either,” Karen says whilst looking at a beautifully rendered three-dimensional image of the amphibious motorcycle sitting unguarded in the middle of the top floor of the warehouse in question. “You know what though, if I was gonna hide an amphibious motorcycle in a sub-plasti’spa’junk warehouse, I would put it on the bottom floor.”
Silence from Chuck.
“You know, to keep it secure…”
More silence, topped off with a lack of speaking.
“…or at least, one of the bottom floors. In case the bottom one flooded. It’s an amphibious motorcycle and all but, ya know, rust is rust.”
Literally twenty minutes of silence pass, Chuck staring blankly at the warehouse. Finally, he says, “Okay then. I’ll start at the bottom and work my way up, I guess. Thank you Karen.”
Chuck shuts off the comms line as the feet of his power armor enlarge and morph into a drill. Chuck tunnels hundreds of feet below the surface and, with the plasma chainsaw that his arm forms into, cuts a hole into the bottom floor of the warehouse. No less than seven Pygmy women wearing nothing but tiny lampshades as bras run out and start climbing up to the surface through the hole their savior has dug for them.
Meanwhile, peeling pecans out back atop a cracking black-with-white-spray-paint milk crate, perches a middle-aged woman with blue hair cut into a look that screams this sassy aunt wants to speak to your manager NOW, young man. Shortly after the drilling noise fades, she cracks the knuckles on her gigantic, swollen, leathery hands and knocks twice on the flimsy back panel of the warehouse, activating a hidden door made of only slightly corroded sheet metal.