The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions)
She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
Al Bruno III
Pam, out of uniform and in manacles, rolled down the stairway into the Sallow Sultan's parlor. Mustard got out of the way moments before she collided with his tea table sending scalding water and priceless china flying everywhere. His polythene and rubber dressed whores went scrambling for safety. His six crash helmeted and leather diapered security guards rushed to shield him with their shaven bodies.
“What is ...this?” Mustard shouted at the trussed up girl, “What ...have you done?”
“Mmmmph mmmmph mmmmph!” was her only reply.
The old pimp retrieved his wooden cane from the floor and shouldered past his bodyguards. He pulled the ball gag away from her mouth, stretching its elastic straps out as far as they would go, “Who did this ...to you?”
“Some crazy girl!” Pam said, “She knocked me out!”
“Crazy? Girl? Of ...course!” Mustard’s eyes narrowed, “How did ...she get in here?”
“I think-” Pam paused to catch her breath. “She came in through the bathroom window.”
A scream echoed from upstairs. Then four gunshots. Mustard released the ball gag letting it snap back into the bound woman’s face. She yelped with pain.
The bodyguards surrounded him again as another girl came barreling down the stairs. She was wearing a stolen uniform with no mask.
“Get her!” Mustard ordered.
Two of the guards charged the intruder. She tried to kick them only to have the stiletto heel of her boot break. She slipped to the floor, landing an arm's length from Pam.
“Fucker!” Jack Diamond blundered down to the landing. He was wearing his boxer shorts, the jacket for his seersucker suit and nothing else. His eyes were watering and swollen, his tears smelled like after dinner mints. He was brandishing a huge pistol. Everyone dove for cover at the sight of it.
The Desert Eagle thundered. One of the guards went down, his face reduced to a pulp, his helmet cracking in all directions like a hatching egg.
The gun thundered again, the bullet leaving a crater of gristle where Pam’s chest had been. Her heart was visible and it shivered momentarily like a dying animal.
If the intruder girl noticed the gore that splashed down the left side of her body she didn’t react. Her hands moved like predatory birds cutting the Sign of Vulnavia into the air. A flash of light erupted from her palms knocking Jack Diamond over the balustrade.
Mustard had had enough. He swung his cane like a bat striking the girl on the back of the head. She crumpled.
The empty handgun clicked impotently. Jack Diamond clambered back to his feet, he was screaming and cursing wildly, it sounded like he was speaking in tongues.
“Stop!” the old pimp cried, “I’ve dealt... with her. Please calm down!”
There was a grunt as the intruder girl started to get up. Jack Diamond threw his Desert Eagle catching her on the side of the face, knocking her back out. Knees shaking he sat down on the lowest rung of the carpeted stairs and groaned, “Sweet fucking fuck.”
No one spoke. The odor of blood and gunpowder hung in the air. Everyone that was still alive and conscious felt their ears ringing.
“Who...” Mustard asked, “...who is this person?”
“Lorelei Miller.” Jack Diamond rubbed at his eyes, practically clawing at them, “Daughter of the Grand Pontiff of the Greater Eastern Council of Mystagogues.”
“And she’s a fucking dead woman.”
“Ah,” Mustard looked around, trying to assess the damage; bullet holes, blood stains, a broken mirror, a one hundred year old tea set shattered beyond repair, his autographed picture of Frankie Howerd ruined. This is it. He decided, I quit.
He rounded on his surviving employees, “What are you all ...doing just sitting around? Get to your rooms and start ...packing! You’re ...all fired!”
No one reacted.
“Do you hear me?” His scream was more of a squawk, “Fired!”
The surviving girls ran and after a threatening snarl from Mustard the guards did too. Lorelei Miller stirred again, pulling herself up, trying to crawl. Mustard stamped a foot down on one of her hands and pressed.
“Sonofabitch!” Lorelei shouted.
“No more ...spells for you.” '
“Dead. You're dead,” Jack Diamond stood and started patting his jacket. “Where's my knife?”
“What'samatter Jack?” Lorelei's face was bloodied and bruised but her eyes mocked him, “Can't find your little prick?”
His hands closed around the switchblade and he pulled it free with such force it tore the pocket of his jacket apart. Spare change, a condom and the red phial dropped to the floor. “I'm gonna carve you like a fuckin' turkey! No! Worse than a turkey! They turkey’s are gonna thank their turkey gods they aren’t you!”
“Oh come now Jack,” a familiar voice rang out, “do you really think I’m going to let you do such a thing?”
Jason Magwier was sitting in the club chair beside the fireplace, he was covered with soot and dust. He fiddled with an ugly looking pocket watch.
“By the Monkey King’s ballsack...” Jack Diamond said.
“You must have heard by now,” Magwier put the watch away and flashed his Cheshire grin. The grime coating his face made his dark eyes glitter all the more, “Members of your family are being killed all across the city.”
“And I had nothing to do with it damn you!”
“Well I knew that.”
“Why... Why...” Mustard kept finding his voice and losing it again. He realized he had been set up, maybe they all had been set up by the man sitting in the plush antique chair, “What are you ...doing here?”
Magwier shrugged, “Oh, just waiting for the door to go flying off it's hinges.”
And a heartbeat later the front door of the Sallow Sultan came crashing down.