Sorry about the absence. I hope to be back by
September 15 October 6, with a full explanation. Or, at least, a decent excuse.
Lissa followed Chuckie warily into his office, closed the door behind her. All of the factory sounds stopped. Lissa was surprised; Even the manager's office didn't have soundproofing this good. She stood in front of his surprisingly large desk. He walked around behind it, and sat.
"There's a chair there if you want to sit," Chuckie said.
"No, thanks. I'd rather lunge across this desk and rip your head off. So. Tell me. Why haven't I killed you yet?" Lissa asked, making conversation.
"You know, I underestimated Banner. I know some humans are strong, but no human could have punched his way out through solid steel! He's a slave to the Good, right? A Tool Of The Good? Servant of the Essencia? Am I close?" Slowly and deliberately, "A Worthy One?"
"I can't tell you that. And we're not slaves!"
"So you can punch through a foot of solid steel? Survive a thousand degree heat? Hey, can you leap over tall buildings in a single bound?" There was something in Lissa's eyes, a vulnerability of the sort he'd exploited before.
Lissa paced the office like a tiger in a cage, with a hot-plate for a floor. "I know what you are! You're a gonner, and you plan to use this company to make evil toys, and... and... and do bad things with them!"
"No, Wobblin doesn't make marital aids. We make children's toys."
"You deny you're a gonner?"
"You'll know what this means." He took off his t-shirt, rippled his muscles. After a moment he pointed to the gon tattoo on his left shoulder. "Over here. At the gon. Yes, I'm a gonner. No, I'm not Dark Santa, building evil toys for good girls and boys. Not that that's a bad idea, mind you, but I got a sweeter deal going for right now. Uh, my eyes are up here." He put the shirt back on. Lissa shook her head, embarassed.
"Ah... you said a sweeter deal?"
"Yeah. You see, many gonners possess... items, items they need to get rid of. Papers, disks, marked bills, even bodies. I have access to a three-thousand-degree oven, a vat of acid (and barrels of undiluted acid), and assorted manglers, crushers, and reamers. I get rid of things. For a price."
"Is that what you tried to do to Banny? Get rid of him? You're a glorified garbage man!"
"I apologize for what I tried to do to Banner. But as for being a garbage man... I own one-third of this company. I have literally millions of dollars' worth of information on people, human and gonner. In addition to the junker I drive to work, I own a Porsche Cayenne, and a Lamborghini Diablo Roadster. And I mean own. Out-right. Paid in cash. What do you drive?"
"So you're rich and muscular, with a really cool car. Or two. You'd be the perfect man, if it wasn't for that whole evil thing."
"So how much does good pay? Not very well, I bet. And I've seen you lugging boxes. You're not as strong or as powerful as Banner, are you? No, the Good never gives its girls as much power as its boys."
"What!?!" Lissa wasn't even sure what she was reacting to. But something struck a nerve. Or a chord.
"Now, Evil... Evil is an equal opportunity employer. And we get real power. You can get real power."
"Whuh...whuh... wait a minute! Are you... are you offering me.. a chance to... to..."
"I'll be here when you finish that sentence."
"Are you offering me a chance to become a gonner?"
Chuckie smiled. "You and Banner. If he wishes. I'd bet you could persuade him."
"Why in hell would I want to become a gonner?"
"Did I mention the money? The contacts with rich and powerful people? The fact that you'd only be limited by your imagination and ambition? The chance to be your own boss, I mean really your own boss, and not have to take any crap from anyone? The real powers?"
"Some of those you did, some you didn't. What power you got?"
"I won't show you all my powers. But here's a good one. Knowing this won't help in a fight, so..." Chuckie stood up, reached over, and put his hand on Lissa's shoulder. His grip was strong and firm, but not tight. He wasn't trying to hurt her, though he probably could. If he wanted to.
Go to Chapter 14: Going South
Go to Chapter 16: Join Us, Mr. Bond.
Bring your friends into the Gonspiracy! Tell them about
and get their eternal gratitude, and a chance to win $10,000 and a Sony DVD Player, because using your friends for your own personal enrichment, and having them owe you for it, is the gonner way!
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