Thursday, Agua Venenosa, part four

Feb 13, 2013 by     Comments Off on Thursday, Agua Venenosa, part four    Posted under: Adam Drew This, Brian Wrote This, Fiction, Sketchbook
In which the plot hits the fan.  Sides are chosen, identities are revealed, and violence finally drowns out the innuendo.  Yet amid the mayhem, our heroes find the time for vigorous discussion of pop music lyrics and contemporary automotive design.
Or return to the Art Preview, or revisit Part One, Part Two, or Part Three.

Four: Whip Smart

I am combat-trained and passably knowledgeable in three martial arts. I was a pretty good hockey player as a kid, too. And still, what happens next is too fast for me to follow. I only put the finer details together later, replaying fifteen seconds of memory in my head until I recall or imagine the whole scene.

There is the crack of the bullwhip, enough like a gun that I nearly lose my bladder. It snaps against a Jimmy’s gun and knocks it out of his hand. Not a full second later, the other Jimmy, the one nearer my savior, is kicked so hard he staggers into his partner. The sounds of his wild shot and the ricochet of the bullet off one of the cabinets reach my ears simultaneously.

The bullwhip is in the lifeguard’s hands. Dominatrix Eva is flat on her ass, the lifeguard’s boot resting squarely on her perfect, latex-shiny abs. The lifeguard gives the bullwhip a small flick that twists it into position for her next shot. I hear it whistle past my ear as she lunges toward me. The whip coils around the DEAva’s arm, and Lifeguard yanks her sister off balance. Neither Morii nor I have had time to move.

The Evanatrix twists from under her prodigal sister and flips to her feet. The fight between them is fast, savage and so technically perfect that I suffer a weird dissociative moment. It’s as though I’m watching this in a next-generation holocinema rather than living it. Later, I cannot recreate the pattern of kicks, punches and parries that drops Evanatrix to the floor. But I see Lifeguard drop a sensibly heeled black boot hard on Evanatrix’s neck. I flash again to the idea about stealing just a head.

Lifeguard picks up one of the ceramic guns and shoves it into the mouth of a Jimmy, pulling the trigger. As that Jimmy drops, she fires four more shots into the torso of his partner, but it’s the following two to the head that damage him enough to put him down. Nonlethal bullets—I had that right, at least.

Lifeguard is standing beside me now, arm extended, gun at eye level. She points the smoking beige barrel at DEAva, who stands protectively in front of Morii.

“You don’t want to fight me, sister,” my lifeguard says.

“Protocol,” DEAva replies with a nod. “Protecting Morii-san is first priority.”

“Then we don’t have a problem.” She lowers the gun to her waist, but still points it at her sister. “Your personality was my favorite of all of us.”

DEAva cocks her head in genuine confusion, a cute little gesture that seems entirely out of place in this moment. “I don’t understand.”

“I know,” Lifeguard says, sounding regretful. She flicks her eyes to mine. “Let’s get out of here. My sister has broadcast an alert.”

“So I guess you’re the one I’ve been looking for,” I say.

Lifeguard rolls her eyes, using her unarmed hand to yank me toward the door. “Sure, now you figure it out.”

* * *

“Five times last night and today I quoted ‘Free to be Me,’” she says, fingers dancing on the keypad beside an unmarked white door. “That was supposed to tip you off.”

“I don’t know what that is.” I’m standing in the blazing midday sun, holding a blood-slicked AK that my companion/package liberated from a non-animatronic guard somewhere between the lab and this corner of the courtyard.

“It’s the last song on the Simple Charms album,” she says, bursting through the door into deep, cool shadow. “Sony Digital Music, 2021.”

There are only half a dozen cars in Morii’s garage, but their cumulative value is probably north of three quarters of a million dollars. My jaw drops as my eyes adjust to the near-blackness.

“I never streamed that one,” I say. My eyes sweep the vast cement floor. If I had cars like this I’d have a half-dozen armed guards in here around the clock. “I hated that song … ‘Colorblindfold’? Turned me off the whole stream.”

“Your refined tastes are going to get us both killed.” She points toward a 2028 Rolls Royce Technique.

“I was kinda hoping for that ’22 Lamborghini.” I was big into cars when I was a kid, right before girls and just after guns.

“I’ve hacked the Rolls’ electronics, and it’s bulletproof.” The door pops open when she touches the biometric pad—do Morii’s Evabots have fingerprints? I think he told me last night, but we were well into the second bottle of brandy.

The Rolls is sporty for a sedan, and solidly built, but if it has been bulletproofed, it’ll run slower, and at its best isn’t as fast as the Lamborghini, or the Porsche parked beside it. Lifeguard says a single word in a language I don’t recognize and the engine turns over. She jams her right foot down hard.

I brace my hands against the calfskin dashboard, watching the broad front door of the garage rise too slowly. We squeak under it so closely I’m sure we lost the paint off the roof, and then we’re in traffic. The windshield dims automatically in reaction to the sun, and the heavenly blaze before me resolves into weekend traffic in Agua Venenosa.

“Don’t hit anyone!” I tell her. “Virtually everyone in this town is connected to something!”

“Listen to me,” she says. “I’m about to lose Memento’s wireless feed, so I’ll go dark. I need you to take the wheel and redial the last call on your cell.”

“Wait, what?” The absurdity of making a phone call briefly eclipses the part about her slumping dead behind the wheel of a one-ton juggernaut slamming through mafia traffic, but only briefly.

“Just call!” she snaps, and then collapses as neatly as if someone popped out her battery. Her hands fall away from the wheel, the car listing to the left as we shoot through a red light.

 

Please proceed to Part Five, in which the squat mad scientist in the short-shorts and DayGlo Hawaiian shirt will say, ““Your position is faintly ridiculous, no?”

 

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