Sorry about the absence. I hope to be back by
September 15 October 6, with a full explanation. Or, at least, a decent excuse.
It was all going south. Fast. But Chuckie was from Oklahoma. He didn't have the same fear of the South that New Englanders did.
He could handle this.
"Robert, shut everything down here. Sandra, call an ambulance. Everyone get out of the way, you don't want to block anything. I'll stay with Banner."
Robbie turned off the oven. It had probably gotten over 150 degrees in there, and it was still too hot in this small room. Three idiots were still standing, gawking. And more were coming. There was no way he could finish Banner here, but at least the hero seemed out of it, not saying anything, not even really conscious.
It'd be a shame to kill you, anyway, Chuckie thought. Surviving the oven. Smashing your way out. What a gonner you could have been.
"Robert, you stay with Baked Ham, I mean Banner. You," pointing to one of the women staring, "Banner's girlfriend's that little Chinese chick, right? The one who started yesterday with him?" She said yes, Lisa or something, should she get her, and Chuckie said, "No, I'll get her and bring her to the hospital. Excuse me."
Out on the floor Lissa, the "little Chinese chick", carried a heavy box of casings for Karla The Killa pink toy chainsaws. This wasn't fair. She was supposed to be floor supervisor, but she had to work as hard as everybody else.
Pam and June took the box and set it down next to the sticker dispenser. "Boy," said Pam, "Lissa, you really pull your weight here!. It's like you don't even know how to slack off!"
"Yeah," said Lissa. "I wish someone would tell me how, already."
Pam giggled. That girl thought everything was a damn joke! I could beat her to death, Lissa thought, and her last words would be, 'Hey, I can see my own lungs! That's hilarious!'
"Yeah," said June. "You're better than the last supe. Cheryl. You make the effort. Although I shouldn't compare you to Cheryl. I mean, I don't speak ill of the dead. I certainly don't swear at 'em, call 'em a skank and a whore, a lazy money-grubbing back-stabbing slut, and I don't dance around in joy 'cause they're dead. Cause I'm not that kind of a person. But you were friends with her, right, Pam?"
"Right! After all, If I were a sleazy bitch like she was," Pam said brightly, "I'd still want people to be friends with me!" Lissa did not know the phrase 'sleazy bitch' could be said brightly. And now that she knew, she felt vaguely... disturbed.
Hannah walked up to June. "Of course, there's one good thing we could say about her."
In unison, all the girls in the area said, "She's dead!"
After the chuckles died down, Hannah looked at June and said. "Um, you two are related or something, right?"
Lissa seethed. June was a fifty-year-old Korean woman. Lissa had, among other races, Chinese and Filipino ancestors. She was not, to the best of her knowledge, part Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, or any other Asian. Just because she and June both looked Asian, that did not mean they were related!
Pam said, "Yes, I guess we are!" She turned to Lissa. "June's sister's son married my daughter Maggie, five days ago." She put an arm around June. "So we're sort of like sisters!"
Damn! thought Lissa. I hate to waste a good mad!
Chuckie came over to Lissa at a run. "Melissa? Your name's Melissa, yeah? You're Banner's girlfriend? I'm Chuckie. You'd better come with me. Banner's been hurt."
"What?!? What happened?!" But Chuckie was already heading out back.
She followed him, as quickly as possible, her short legs running to match his longer legs' fast jog. She resisted the impulse to drop to all fours and run in cat-form. Chuckie stopped by the oven-room, let Lissa catch up. A crowd was gathering. Down the hall she saw Sandra leading two paramedics, carrying a stretcher, this way. Chuckie grabbed her by the arm, pulled her away.
"Banner's in there. But there's nothing you can do for him in there. Either they'll save him or they won't. And if they do save him, and you want him to live, you'd better come with me."
"Because I'm the one who tried to kill him, and only you can stop me from trying again."
Go to Chapter 13: Lucky Thirteen
Go to Chapter 15: Allow Me To Explain, Mr. Bond...
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