|20.20|21|22|22.2|22.22|22.222|23|24|25|Those Extra Four…|1|2|3|4|Back Cover|
“Augusta Petunia, or known internally as Auntie Vigil, is a vigilante of sorts we’ve produced here at Apex.”
Sean hits a button on his remote, the presentation transitioning to the next slide.
“When I found her, she was nothing more than a wonderful aunt to all her nieces and nephews, a woman who wanted nothing more than to help make the world a better place. So, I introduced her to our resident Doctor and she underwent some… physical therapy, of sorts.” click “Then, she got a spectacular haircut and a workout regimen to follow, and she’s been earning a paycheck ever since. At the moment she’s on security detail for a lucrative little side project one of the child companies threw together.” click
Sean takes a deep swig of his coffee, immediately followed by a gratuitous drag of his cigarette that he’s been holding in the corner of his mouth the whole time. As he speaks, small fragments of ash break off and drift down to his chinstrap, the gray soot blending in seamlessly with his salt’n’pepper stands of hair.
“It’s an amphibious motorcycle, a truly ingenious invention. At first, honestly, I thought it would just be a jet ski with wheels, how redundant in this walled-in city where hoverbikes fly higher than the doves that get burnt up in the propulsion engines.” click “But, here’s the kicker: the thing is worth upwards of thirty digits, and we can easily get it shipped to a party outside the city who’s managed to squabble together the appropriate assets.”
Another slurp of coffee, another hit of nicotine. Sean ashes his cigarette into his cup, swirls it all together, and takes a final swig, throwing the cup behind him for the mobile waste basket to catch.
“Wow, all of that is so very impressive and incredible, Mister Hymarc, Sir! What kind of physical therapy do we offer here at Apex? I’m definitely in need, Mister Hymarc, as you probably are more than just aware of yourself!”
Sean turns towards a swollen and battered Alvey Fratto, the poor sap still reeling from being hamslammed into the roof of what was at one point Mister Hymarc’s car this morning.
“All varieties my boy, all varieties. You’ve met Edvard, yes?” drag “The Good Doctor has remedies for all ailments,” exhale “both in the form of physical exercises and liquids you take into your body through one orifice or another. We even have this reflex training program…” he trails off, seemingly lost in thought.
Alvey sits there uncomfortably, more than merely thankful that this morning’s small inferno engulfed the entire office inside that building, including the turd he left on Sir Mister Hymarc Sir’s desk.
Sean snaps back to reality when his arm falls and he singes his leg with the burning butt of his boge. “Where was I? Ah, yes, so now that the internal injuries have begun to heal, we can get you moved on to phase two.” click “This is the part where you go back to looking like you, rather than–”
Sean cuts himself off when the communicator in his pocket starts ringing. He presses a button on his earpiece and, as he listens, seems to grow more and more annoyed, like one of his underlings is trying (and ecstatically failing) to explain that he needs to punch out early because, for some reason, he started feeling like he was tripping on ecstasy.
Or, you know, something like that.
Upon ending the transmission, Hymarc continues. “Where was I? Right, phase two. This is the part where you go back to looking like you rather than looking like the cheapest male hooker one can possibly batter in the Alley district downtown.”
Alvey perks up a bit, loving the Pictureshopped image of him that Mister Hymarc added into the presentation. He immediately perks back down when he hears how the tangent continues.
“Before we get you rolling though, you need to answer some questions.”
“Oh, but of course!” Alvey obediates. “What questions would those be, Sir?”
Hymarc holds a deadpan expression. “The ones you’ve been dodging since noon. The sun’s set, Mister Fratto, and I’d be more than happy to let Gizmo or KingPig or one of the other MERCs ask the questions this time around.”
Alvey’s penis shrinks another two inches, if that’s even possible at this stage of the game. “NOno, no, ah, no that’s okay, I’ll uhm. I’ll answer now.”
“Okay,” Hymarc whims, lighting another cigarette. “Well? I’m waiting.”
Alvey’s face turns as red and hot as a thousand Dorset Nagas. “Well, well you asked, you asked me a lot of, a lot of questions, and I, I, I don’t know where to, where to start, Sir, Mister Hymarc, Sir.”
Sir Hymarc looks over to his side, glancing into empty space for a moment before coming back to Alvey. “All right, let’s just start from the bottom then, shall we? Around what time did you and that mysterious friend of yours arrive this morning?”
Alvey closes his eyes, smiles a little, and holds a hand up, as if he’s about to drop some knowledge on Mister Hymarc’s head that’s going to blow this entire incident out of the water.
“Let me hop on right there, Sir, if you don’t mind, if you would be so kind as to let me hop. That man, he is not my friend. I have actually never met that man in my life, never not once. I don’t even remember why he was in the building with me, maybe he followed me in. He seemed like kind of a douche to be honest, it’s something he would do.”
Hymarc stares at the lump of infected flesh wounds propped up in a chair in front of him. Then, through clouds of smoke, “Well that’s most unfortunate, as the explosion that he presumably caused destroyed all of our security tapes, and the multi-million-dollar one of a kind wooden door that I commissioned a now dead lumberjack to carve for me by hand. The original Brick City facilities, while more culturally sound, are regrettably not quite as up to date as our New Manhattan facilities.”
Next to him, the floor opens up and a freshly brewed cup of coffee is raised into Hymarc’s open hand on a platform. Beneath the cup is a single line of cocaine – the last of the Apex Corporation’s supply, little does Sir Mister Hymarc Sir know – that’s about an inch long. It dissolves itself directly into Hymarc’s olfactory bulb as soon as he snorts it. Alvey watches all this with fear in his eyes; the man’s never been one for drugs, especially not drugs you take into your body. No, the only drug for Alvey is work, hard work; when there’s a job to do, Alvey’s the one to do it. The work puts him on the moon. The pimply, white moon.
“Ah, that’s better,” Hymarc says, very quickly. “Okay. Fine, you didn’t know him. Some street vagrant who happened to have the most advanced war armor that Gizmo’s ever analyzed and failed to overcome just happened to be in the office at the same time as you. And, he dropped your fat ass on my car. Fine, it’s a coincidence, fine. They happen, just another day at the office, right? Not the end of the world. So back to my first question – at roughly what time did you arrive at the office this morning?!”