4. Screw Retirement
Joe stared at the eggs on his plate, they looked terrible, revolting, deadly, and worst of all… healthy. He smiled at his wife who was quietly enjoying the abominable breakfast just fine. He lifted his fork and took a bite of the eggs and had to admit they weren’t as terrible as he had expected but they weren’t loaded with cheese, bacon, and grease. “These are delicious sweetheart, thanks for breakfast.”
His wife Celine smiled coyly at him and said, “You’re full of it you know that? And you’re welcome.” They both chuckled and finished eating breakfast. They had been married for almost fifty years and although little things like this may have escalated into a whiny argument in their youth they had long since given up on fighting one another. Instead they simply took each other’s faults in stride and reminded themselves of why they loved one another.
Just then there was a knock on the door, to which they both yelled “It’s not 9am yet so piss off!”
A couple of voices muttered to one another on the other side of the door as one of the annoying trespassers squawked “But I was told to be here for 8am so we could…”
“PISS OFF!” the couple yelled, then giggled slyly at one another as they silently finished breakfast. It’s not that they didn’t have things to talk about just that they both enjoyed simply being at home alone with their spouse and didn’t need anything more. They cleared the table, stealing small kisses and making silly faces as they finished their morning routine; then made their way to the entrance where they threw open the door to reveal a couple fresh faced lieutenants who had been sent to escort them to work.
The two kids, as the couple saw them, stood at attention as they waited for Joe and Celine Krell to help each other into the waiting vehicle. They sat in the back of the of the car as the two foot soldiers got in the front and they pulled away. The divider was up so they didn’t need to worry about being overheard.
“This is the third time in as many weeks that we’ve been dragged out of retirement to interview some rookies.” Celine complained and pouted slightly as they drove.
Joe chuckled taking her hand as he said, “It’s because none of the kids these days can do what we can. At least not until we’re done with them.”
Celine raised an eyebrow at him with a slight smile, “We retired from this garbage years ago, and that was supposed to include the teaching part too.”
“These three are different from the others though hun.” Joe sighed, “Besides, if things are as bad as we’re being lead to believe then there really isn’t anyone else who could train them.”
“That’s a pile of crap!” spat Celine, “They just never took the time to continue recruiting when things calmed down like I told them to!” She stared angrily out the window as a piano came crashing out of a third story window of a nearby office building and crushed a Maserati that was parked in the manager’s stall below. She smiled villainously as they drove onward as though nothing had happened.
Joe laughed out loud at the site, “You really do miss all this, don’t you?” he asked as he looked at the back window to see the angry owner jumping up and down in a tantrum as his face reddened. It was too far away to be sure, but Joe could have sworn that steam was actually coming out of the man’s ears.
She punched him playfully in the arm as she tried to look upset, “If you mean the field work aspect then yes I do.” The car stopped at a light and she leaned in next to Joe to see what he was looking at out his window. She saw a man on a cellphone walk into traffic without looking and get struck by a semi, rather than meeting his maker for his carelessness he was flattened to the pavement only to pop up and reflated a moment later with a confused and nervous look on his face. “Though apparently, I’m not the only one” she gave him a peck on the cheek as he smiled sheepishly.
“I wasn’t just going to let him die” He protested as the light turned green again and they continued moving again.
Celine looked at him incredulously, “Your arch-nemesis isn’t going to look too kindly on that trick you know?”
Joe sighed and grasped her hand, “I know but it was just kind of a reflex.” He looked into his wife’s eyes pleadingly trying to apologize. “You know I wouldn’t do anything to risk pissing him off so carelessly.”
She wrapped his arm around her as the car wound its way out of the city and down the side road that cleaved the forest in two. A wolf looked up and watched their vehicle pass by, a small patch of red cloth stuck in it’s teeth. “I see Scott is out on patrol this morning.” referring to the wolf “As for Hyde, I’m sure will understand your little faux pas, given the circumstances.”
The divider rolled down, “We need to stop to pick up a third, I hope you don’t mind?” said the soldier in the passenger’s seat as she fidgeted with her uniform nervously.
Joe smiled politely as he replied, “That’s perfectly fine Mademoiselle, I suspect we would have little choice in the matter regardless of your courteousness.” The young soldier blushed as she opened her mouth to speak; but before she could the driver shot her a quick look that made her remember her rank and roll the divider back up.
“La pauvre fille!” cooed Celine sympathetically, “I hate to admit this mon lapin, but I have no clue as to who else they may have called in for this?”
Joe simply shrugged as he pondered, “Only three names come to mind.”
“Only three?” said Celine in faux-shock, “That’s more than came to my mind. Who, pray tell, do you think it could be?”
“Well,” he continued, “firstly there’s always Hyde but I suspect he would rather poke himself in the eye with a rusty spork than sit for even five minutes with me.” Celine barely held back a smile as she nodded in what she hoped was a wise and understanding fashion. “Then of course there is the Sage, but that would require someone to find the strange little bastard first.”
“Not to mention that if he were needed he would probably already be there.” She added and they both nodded in knowing agreement. “So, who is mystery contestant numéro trois?”
He thought long and hard for a moment, “There’s only one thing it could be I think.”
She pushed away from him to look him in the eye directly, “It?” she asked the one word as though it were a volatile substance that needed to be handled with care. “You can’t mean they’d be desperate enough to…”
Just then the vehicle pulled down an entrance road and came to a stop what looked like an old printing warehouse hidden in the trees. They both looked out the window and watched one of their escorts get out of the vehicle and march towards the warehouse. She walked confidently to the door and removed a series of pad locks with her key and then unlatched the door entering the dark warehouse cautiously.
The divider slid down and they saw their other escort glance back at them “I bet you guys five bucks that she gets a pie to the face.”
Celine grinned at the unexpected wager, “You’re on, but make it ten and I’m betting it gives her the Picasso treatment.”
The guard raised an eyebrow curiously, “The Picasso treatment? I haven’t seen that one yet.”
Joe chuckled, “Oh you’ll see, and I’m in for ten too, but my money is on the clown shoe gag.” Both the guard and Celine cringed at the suggestion having seen it before.
They watched the door to the warehouse a few dozen meters away with intent curiosity. Bike horns, slide whistles and rimshots as colourful lights and fireworks shot off inside. An anvil went flying out of a second story willow and imbedded itself into the pavement a few feet from the hood of the car. Then everything went silent and the occupants of the car watched as time seemed to stall with their breathing. Finally, the door was kicked open and the enraged soldier stormed out. Her face was covered in pie filling and everything else was covered with bright and colourful ink at sharp angles. In one hand, she had a large brown envelope that seemed to squirm in her grip. In the other hand, she dragged her shoes which had inflated to unnatural proportions.
She opened the trunk, shoving the envelop in followed by the sounds of chains, locks and mild obscenities. She must have left the shoes in there as well as the now colourfully decorated officer plopped back into the passenger’s seat. She glared at each of them in sequence as she growled through gritted teeth, “NOT…ONE…WORD!” With that she glared forward and spat venomously, “Let’s just go already!”
The driver opened his mouth to laugh but choked on it as his partner shot daggers at him and the vehicle went deadly quiet. Celine sighed happily and smiled at her husband as she said, “They make a cute couple don’t you think sweetheart?” Joe nodded and they both looked at their escorts with a time crafted look of admiration that inspired child like embarrassment in those it was unleashed upon.
“No we’re not…” the two officers blurted in unison, “we’re just partners!” Their gaze jumping from their passengers to one another and back again as they blushed. Well, one of them blushed the other just melted pie filling off her face at a greater rate which was close enough.
Without another word the divider raised again, followed by a torrent of giggles from the Krells. “It’s been a while since we got that reaction.” Smiled Joe, checking his watch as the vehicle lurched back onto forward and back onto the road.
“Too true, but I’m sick of all the waiting.” Celine glanced over her shoulder nervously at the trunk which held an old acquaintance. “I just want to get all this over with, especially with that thing being drafted again, but whatever, screw retirement I guess.” Leaning forward she pressed the divider button and slowly revealed the drama in the front seat.
“It’s not like I like you like that or anything…” blustered the driver, “I mean I do like you, as in like working with you. But I haven’t even considered that you and I were like, you know.”
Looking nervously at her folded hands in her lap she laughed, “Yeah, I know. I mean that would be completely ridiculous, right?” They both kept glancing at one another and laughing intermittently in vain attempts to break the tension.
“You kids, need a moment or can we take a right up ahead and head to the big house?” Joe asked politely as him and Celine enjoyed the awkwardness of youth. The two kids up front blushed even more as the driver quickly took the next right, only to come to a screeching halt before a dead end.
“Um sir?” asked the driver, “I think this is the wrong way we should really head back to the road and finish the last hour stretch so we’re not late.” He went to back up when Celine shot him a ‘how dumb are you’ look.
“What are they teaching you kids these days?” Celine asked with a mix of curiosity and sarcasm. “Watch and learn rookies.” she unbuckled her seatbelt and leaned forward pausing only to look at forgiveness as if to say ‘oops, mind if I?’ he bowed his head slightly and waved a hand permissively. Celine grinned and leaned over the window that housed the divider. She flicked on the radio to a random static station and clapped her hands together.
“I love this part!” chuckled Joe from the backseat as the driver and his painted partner watched in confusion. With slow dramatic movements, Celine separated her hands and the brickwall seemed to shift into an illusionary curtain as the radio sprang to life with a cartoony music and a long colourful ringed tunnel appeared behind the curtain.
“Get a move on,” shouted Celine rolling her eyes, “I can’t do this all bloody day.” The driver remembered which seat he was sitting in and they took off down the newly formed tunnel as the curtain closed behind them.
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Thanks for reading and keeping this random story going,
J. S. Figment