Part TEN?! How much longer is this going to go on?! Wait… I have been informed that THIS IS THE LAST OF THE RABBIT’S LAST STAND SERIES!!!!! If you are still reading, please look under your seat for a potential gift!
The Story So Far…
The damnation of God was invoked many times, but at no time was it invoked with any seriousness (so far as I know.) Angela’s jacket was fatally shot during yet another gun battle, this time at the waterfront. Why the waterfront? Because that is where things happen.
Stuart and Katrina, also pinned down by fire at the waterfront (coincidence? No, because the waterfront is where things happen), bemoaned their fate until a call from Diana interrupted their bullet-chased moping.
Amy’s leg was shot once again, but it was okay. Amy’s leg was encased in metal. During her victory yawp against fate, they received a holla from Katrina, who wanted to relay the facts about her shocking phone call.
The cows are out! Time to close the barn door in the exciting conclusion to THE RABBIT’S LAST STAND!!!!
Disposable Fiction – The Rabbit’s Last Stand: Part Ten – Nous Sommes Une Collection de Connards!
Amy, Angela, and Tam walked forward, guns drawn and held in firing position. They walked carefully around the concrete wall and into the open.
“There,” Angela said. “I see her.”
In the distance, between the forklifts and semi trailers, walked a young, short woman with dark brown hair. She was holding a pistol in aiming position like Angela, Amy, and Tam.
“Katrina?” Amy called out.
“Amy?” Katrina answered. “Good to see you.”
“You’d see me a lot better without holding that gun in front of your face.” Amy said.
They slowly closed the distance between them.
Tam said, “where’s your asshole friend Stuart?”
Katrina smiled, “My asshole friend is still on the roof with his rifle in a case any of you assholes try something shady. He’s on speaker now.”
“Hi, assholes!” Stuart said from Katrina’s pocket.
“This is going flawlessly!” Angela said.
Katrina sighed. “I’m getting tired of holding this stupid gun up. Can I just lower it and assume you’re not going to shoot?” She lowered her weapon.
Amy, Angela, and Tam looked at each other, then slowly lowered their weapons.
Angela sighed. “So… here we are.”
“Yup,” Tam said.
Amy asked, “Are we safe here? Where’s Trisha?”
Katrina looked around. “Who?”
“Trisha,” Angela growled. “The woman you hired to kill us.”
Katrina looked confused. “I didn’t hire anyone to kill you. Why would I do that? I don’t want to kill anyone!”
Amy smiled. “You wanted to stop us from capturing you for your robbery.”
Katrina rolled her eyes. “Here’s where I’d normally say that there’s no chance that you’d ever capture me, but that’s not important. I never hired anyone to kill you. It’s just a waste of money.”
“Why’s that?” Tam asked.
“I don’t want anyone to die.”
“Well, did you hire Trisha to almost…”
“I didn’t hire anyone at all to do anything. But…”
“Yes,” Tam asked.
“Did you hire Lyal the Jackyl to hunt me and Stuart?”
Amy, Angela, and Tam looked at each other. “No,” Tam said. “Why would we do that?”
Katrina nodded. “That’s exactly what my friend Diana told me. It turns out there’s a third party messing things up.”
Amy, Angela, and Tam looked at each other again. “So you didn’t hire Trisha?” Amy asked.
Katrina shook her head. “Not at all. I think someone was trying to get us to kill each other. If the initials ‘H.R.’ mean anything to you, we need to head back to your HQ as soon as possible.”
“Do what now?” Stuart asked from Katrina’s pocket.
They walked into a room that was ready for them.
Katrina, Stuart, Amy, Angela, and Tam burst into the room, guns drawn.
“I think they have more guns than we do,” Amy said.
Ringed around walls in the cubicle farm at the Agency headquarters were employees of all types and sizes, all in business casual wear. They each had the look that only years of boredom can hang on a person. They also were carrying Brugger and Thomet MP9 submachine guns and pointing them at the door that Katrina, Stuart, Amy, Angela, and Tam ran in through.
In the middle sat Moose, Bobo, Robyn, Tru, Chris, Barbara, and Dane. David was standing behind them, grinning. Next to him was a portly woman wearing a fussy blouse.
“Welcome,” David said, “to the denouement. Everyone, please lower your weapons.”
The staff behind David lowered their weapons. He looked pointedly at the group who just burst through the door. “You too. It’s only fair. I don’t want anyone to get hurt here. In fact, that’s the whole point.”
They didn’t lower their weapons.
David shrugged. “Suit yourself. You already know that if you get jumpy and try something stupid, you won’t last ten seconds after your idiotic decision. I personally don’t care if you point at me, but your coworkers here might take it personally.”
They had nothing to say to that.
“Anyway,” David said. I want to introduce you to our co-worker, Debbie. Debbie is the head of Human Resources.”
“H.R.!” Amy said.
Debbie smiled. “Yep! And I’m so pleased you could come for our meeting. We’ve got a lot on the docket for today. First up, I want to propose the complete dissolution of The Agency. Of course this comes with a massive amount of severance pay for everyone here.”
“Dissolution?!” Amy yelled.
“Severance?” Angela yelled.
Debbie nodded. “Yeppers,” she said. “Perhaps David could explain.”
“Well I f*cking wish he would!” Tam yelled.
“Well,” David said, “HR has been collecting its own money for a while. You see, we – your support staff, the ones who DON’T get to travel around the world first class but have to stay here and pay the bills – we’ve been kicking around some notions for some time. Mostly the notion that what we do is terrible.”
The staff against the wall all nodded.
“I mean, we take money from rich people or governments and go out and capture people we are told are bad guys.”
“They ARE bad guys!” Tam yelled.
“Shut up and let him talk,” Stuart said.
“But that’s all on paper,” David said. “What really happens on the ground? What do we really do? Huge amounts of property damage, terrorizing the public, shooting bullets willy nilly all over the place, endangering the police, and generally treating everyone else’s life like our private obstacle course.”
“But we’re pulling high-profile. evil people off of the streets!” Amy said.
“You’re blowing up the streets to do it, which makes you high-profile evil people,” David said. “When you’re done, you get to take the prisoner here. But who has to drive the streets after you blow them up? Who has to pay for the broken windows or abrasions or other property damage? Who has to fix it? Let’s face it: we’re a collection of assholes who are acting like superheroes on the public’s dime. I mean Amy…”
“Yeah?” Amy asked.
“That bionic leg… do you know how much it cost to… hey! There’s a dent in it already?!”
Amy shrugged and pointed at Stuart. “He shot me.”
“I thought it was a gun!” Stuart protested.
“Shut up,” David reasoned. “Anyway, that leg cost around… how much Debbie?”
Debbie looked over at a computer monitor. “Fifty-five thousand, three hundred and fifteen dollars and seventeen cents.”
David nodded. “Who here drives a car that was EVER worth that much?”
No one raised their hands save for Amy, Angela, Tam, Barbara, and Dane.
“You know what would have been cheaper?” David asked. “Not getting shot at all. WAY cheaper. I mean, we have resources to do some real good in this world, and here we are playing pajama police. We could at LEAST rethink how we do things and use a hell of a lot less bullets.”
“Yeah, but how’re we going to keep scum like Katrina off of the streets?” Angela asked.
“Hey!” Katrina protested.
“Why is that our problem?” David asked. “Because the McElroy family paid us to bring back ‘The Rabbit’ dead or alive?”
“Hey!” Katrina protested again.
“Well, er…” Angela explained. “She robbed him!”
Katrina shook her head. “But he was an asshole. The whole family is terrible. Their companies have harmed hundreds of people through layoffs.”
David shrugged. “Undoubtedly, but if we blew up every asshole’s house, all of our homes would be smoking craters – me included.”
“I didn’t blow it up. Those were his countermeasures.”
David nodded. “That our agency set up.” He looked pointedly at Dane. “Overkill, I’d say.”
Dane shrugged. “What can I say. We had a spare tiger.”
“If you’re so worried about mayhem,” Barbara asked, “why did you pay Trisha and Lyal to kill us?”
“Easy,” David said. “I didn’t pay them to kill you.”
“Er… Lyal seriously tried to kill us,” Stuart said.
“Er…” David replied, “You captured and destroyed his daily planner. It got personal at that point.”
Stuart shrugged. “My bad.”
“Whatever, whatever, whatever,” Tam said. “So what did you pay them to do?”
“Harass you, keep you busy and off-kilter, and drop hints that maybe she was paid by The Rabbit to kill you. I wanted to buy time, and I did. Just enough time.”
“For what? How did all this begin?” Dane asked.
“Well, interesting story,” David said. “Wait, I’m wrong. It is actually a very, very dull story.
“I was translating the HR manual into multiple languages for our overseas offices when I noticed the sections that describe how we are to treat our fellow employees. Then I realized that we ONLY treat our fellow employees that way and wouldn’t it be great if we treated EVERYONE according to the HR guidelines. So I talked to Debbie, then to some other people in the office – all support. Talked to the IT guys, for instance. We all came to the conclusion that we have strict guidelines for behaviour within the company, and then encourage our agents to do the exact OPPOSITE to everyone else outside the Agency. That is when we all came to a conclusion.”
“Oh?” Dane asked.
“We work for a very shitty company,” David explained.
“Easily fixed,” Dane said, “You’re fired.”
“Nope, not so easy,” Debbie said. “Any firings have to pass through HR. We are the hub of EVERYTHING. The only control you have over the company is via other people taking your commands. And no one is doing that anymore.”
“What if they held an inter-organizational meeting,” David asked, “and nobody came?”
Debbie nodded. “A waste of time and resources, meetings are. Anywho, David came up with the idea of running things behind the scene via HR. I mean, no one really knows what HR actually DOES. Only HR employees know the scope, and they disagree about it. It turns out you can hide all sorts of shenanigans here! I never knew this until David freed me!”
David nodded and smiled. “Glad to, Debbie! So, we pulled in more and more money into this department, got the accounting people involved…”
The accounting team in the back cheered.
“… Great job, guys… and we formed our own little Agency within the Agency. We kept the name HR, because since no one knows exactly where the limits of HR are we can do anything we want to under that name.”
Debbie nodded. “You smartie you.”
David smiled and said, “And thanks to the accounting department…”
The accounting team in the back cheered.
“…we were able to make a TON of money that was kept under the radar. HR outgrew the Agency by leagues. We were by far the best financed department in the whole organization. At first we used it as a secret fund to pay for the damages you all did without thinking.
“But after we blew through eleven million dollars in two months on property damage alone, we realized that we needed a radical change. We would never be able to make enough money to pay for damages without turning to crime ourselves. Therefore, the whole business model was flawed and it was time to dissolve the organization before things got bad. And here we are. Which leads me to the proposition.”
Dane rolled his eyes. “Finally…”
David ignored Dane. “Either we empty the coffers into private, non taxable secret bank accounts for each employee – and there is enough to ensure that no one here down to the custodial staff ever has to work again…
“I’m in,” Bobo said.
“I haven’t finished,” David said.
“I don’t care. I’m in.”
“Me too,” Chris, Tru, Robyn, and Moose said at the same time.
“…or we give all of the Agents’ names, addresses, and other interesting information to the police and the press, along with all of the evidence of property damage and physical harm they’ve done to passers-by over the years. That and the information of anyone else culpable who didn’t agree to this. Even if you aren’t arrested, you’ll be driven to poverty by the civil suits brought against you. ”
“That sounds fun too,” Bobo said, and high-fived Moose. “Can we do both?”
“Er… wait a minute,” Amy said.
Tam held up a gun. “How about a third option…”
David nodded. “The third option is why the rest of the staff have submachine guns. None of them are good with a weapon, but the weapons they are holding are perfect for ‘spray and pray.’ Keep in mind, you are now the only people who are standing between them and very early retirement. And you are all assholes, so they probably won’t hesitate.”
The accounting team in the back cheered.
Amy, Angela, and Tam looked at each other.
“Yeah, well what about us,” Stuart asked.
“Well of course no pension for you,” David said, “But we CAN give you some hush money and a lengthy head start.”
Katrina gushed, “It’s all a girl could ever want!”
“Mind you,” David added, “We have all the information we’ll ever need on Diana and Sarah, so I can make their lives hellish like I can these Agents here. When we buy your silence, we keep the receipt.”
David turned to the Agents. “So, bloodbath or become extremely rich and never have to work again? Darlene already made her choice months ago.”
“Darlene knew?!” Barbara asked.
David nodded. “Hell yeah, she knew. She saw the virtue of it right away. No asshole, that one. I just had to keep you true believers busy. We hired Trisha to tail you Agents, harass you, and make you think The Rabbit was gunning for you and draw you away from what we were doing. We hired Lyal to harass The Rabbit and make her think that the Agency was coming after her.”
“Why do that,” Katrina asked.
David smiled. “We knew what your plan was after the robbery. The one you very helpfully told our HR liason Angie. We wanted to distract you from that. Keep you too busy. You wanted to ruin the Agency before we could.”
“What plan?” Amy asked.
“Exactly what David is threatening,” Katrina said, “Dox everyone in the Agency. Give up your names to the cops. I was ready to pay a bunch of hackers to get this information.”
“Is Angie okay?” David asked. “She’s the HR liaison to the accounting department.”
The accounting team in the back cheered.
Katrina said, “Yeah, she’s fine. Sarah’s freaked her out a little, but we’re not killers.”
David smiled and said, “I’m glad I was right about you. Anyway, Trisha and Lyal were worth the price. They kept you out of our hair. I get the feeling they’ll be retiring too, considering the amount of money they got. So it’s up to you four. Everyone else has agreed.”
“I’m not everyone else,” Dane protested.
“You wouldn’t BELIEVE what we have on you,” David said. “But you’re also going to get the most money out of all of us.”
The accountants booed while Dane said, “I’m in.”
“So Amy, Barbara, Angela, Tam… what do you say?”
“Do I get to keep the leg?” Amy asked.
“What kind of name is ‘Moose?'” Bobo asked as they left the building and walked to their cars.
“Scandinavian,” Moose said. “What kind of name is ‘Bobo?'”
“Earned,” Bobo said. For some reason that would escape the rest of the world, this made total sense to Moose.
“So what are you going to do with your time?” Bobo asked.
“Play World of Warcraft. Want to join up?”
“Nah,” Bobo said, shaking his head. “WOW is for pussies.”
Moose shrugged. “I just thought you might have wanted to hang out with me since you’re such a stupid dick.”
Bobo laughed and asked, “What server?”
“Please tell me the server too,” Chris said as he walked up. “That way I can avoid it.”
Outside in the parking lot, a group of women stood around an orange BMW.
“I want my leg back,” Robyn said to Amy.
“I want my whip back,” Tam said to Amy.
“I want my time with you two back,” Amy said.
“Double for me,” Tru said. “I won’t say it hasn’t been a little slice of heaven keeping you all from falling apart, but it hasn’t.”
Angela walked up to them in the parking lot. She was poking a finger through one of the bullet holes and frowning. Barbara was following her, looking around and musing.
“Well…,” Angela said, then paused. They looked at her quizzically.
“‘Well’ what?” Tru asked.
Angela shrugged. “I think that’s enough said.”
Barbara sighed. “You are all like a bunch of porcupines.”
“What?” Tru asked.
“Before porcupines can approach each other, they have to piss on each other to soften the quills.”
They laughed. “Fair enough,” Amy said.
In the distance, they heard someone call out “hey!” They turned around. It was David heading to his car. “Hi!” he called out. “Hope to never see you again!”
They all smiled and waved. “You too!” Angela called out.
“Wasn’t such a bad guy after all,” Tru said.
“How do you feel about your decision, Amy?” Barbara asked. “You seemed the most reluctant. You and Dane.”
“Where is Dane?” Robyn asked.
“I saw him fairly skip out and head straight to his car. I think he adjusted very quickly.” Tru said.
“Well, Amy?” Angela asked.
“I’m fine. Technically, we caught The Rabbit and brought her to HQ. That closes a perfect record.” Amy smiled. “Now it’s time to take care of my PTSD.”
The rest nodded and murmured agreement.
“Well,” Stuart said, “we won’t have to worry about them anymore.”
Katrina smiled. “You mean they won’t have to worry about us. We did it. You’re out of jail and I am free to go. Plus, we’re both ridiculously rich.”
“True confession time,” Stuart said. “I don’t want to do this anymore.”
Katrina nodded. “Me too. We’ve got enough to be extremely kind to Diana and Sarah. We can just cut this loose and retire. What are you going to do with the money?”
Stuart shrugged. “Sail, maybe. Just make life up as I go along. You?”
Katrina sighed. “Buy shit. A LOT of shit. Then not share it. Then get bored with it, feel all empty inside, go on a quest of some sort, get bored with the quest, then find something else more difficult than robbery to make me forget the yawning existential void that conspicuous consumerism has highlighted in me.”
Stuart furrowed his brows. “You’ve scoped out all of that?”
Katrina nodded. “I am a strategist. I like to make realistic plans.”
“Ahem,” someone ahemed.
They turned around and saw Lyal. He was looking down at his Samsung phone, typing on the screen. “Hey guys. Not going to kill you today. Besides, the check cleared. I’m done with that contract. So… Stuart. Do you know anything about using a calendar app?”