Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tommy's Tool Town - Chapter 25 - Kitty Get Your Gun

Kitty Richardson paced nervously, as Reeve Stockwell sat twitching from his Oreo-inspired sugar coma.

"I still think I should call someone," Kitty said.

"I'm all right," Stockwell moaned.

"What else have you eaten today?" Kitty asked.

"Two fritters," Stockwell said sheepishly.  "And a Mountain Dew," he added in a whisper.

"I'm calling 911," Kitty shrieked.

"If you do, I will fire you," Stockwell said, his voice sounding stronger.

"And this is supposed to be a deterrant?" Kitty asked.

"Touche," Stockwell mumbled.

"Wait.  I have something," Kitty said, digging in her pocket, and producing a bar in a red wrapper.  "Eat this," she demanded, handing the bar to her boss.

"It says it's a protein bar for women.  I'm not eating this.  I'll end up bitchy with hot flashes," Stockwell complained, mopping at his sweat-covered brow.

"You're already bitchy, and sweating like a pig, and you're probably dying of a sugar coma.  Eat it!" Kitty demanded, and Stockwell laughed.

"Way to take initiative, Kitty," Stockwell said, slurring a bit.  He popped a large piece of the bar into his mouth, chewed a half-dozen times and grimaced.  "What the hell is in this?" he asked, his voice muffled.

"Granola, berries, and something I can't pronounce," Kitty explained.

"It tastes like caulking," Stockwell said, spitting the bar into his hand.  "I'd rather die than eat this," Stockwell complained.

"Your choice," Kitty said.   She resumed her pacing, while Stockwell stared at the floor.

Finally, Kitty spoke again.   "Why?" she whispered, and Reeve looked at her.

"Why what?" he asked.

"Why did you eat them all?  No one in their right mind would eat all those cookies in one sitting.  What happened?" Kitty asked, sitting beside Stockwell, on the floor.

"Did you ever think you'd have a different life, Kitty?" Stockwell asked.

"You've met Helen and Ada, right?"

"Right.  In my mind, I am not living this life.  Does that sound nuts?" Stockwell asked.

"It might be the sugar."

"It's not the sugar, Kitty.  It happens when I'm not eating the sugar," Stockwell clarified.

"Oh.  Maybe it's a wormhole.  Maybe you're like Henry," Kitty mumbled wistfully.

"Who is Henry?"

"The husband in the Time Traveler's Wife."

"What's that?" Stockwell asked.

"A book, and a movie.  Maybe you really are living a different life.  I think I have a different life.  Somewhere, I am living a great life, writing books, with reckless freedom and abandonment.  There is no Helen, no Ada, and forgive me for saying this, but no Reeve Stockwell," Kitty said softly.

"You're not in my alternate reality either," Stockwell said.

"That's okay.  I'm sure I'm off somewhere, accepting a Pulitzer."

"I'm apprehending bad guys," Stockwell explained.  "I carry a gun," Stockwell whispered.

Kitty shot to her feet.  "You do?  Don't let Ada see it!  She'll steal it and shoot our neighbor.  His cats piss on the Buick's tires.  Oh, my hell.  That bakes in the sun for a few hours, and let me tell ya, Reeve, it is like driving Miss Daisy around in a badly neglected litter box with wheels."

Stockwell laughed.

"Kitty, can you keep a secret?" Stockwell asked.

"How long have you known about Ada?" Kitty asked.

"About a week."

"Well, she's older than dirt, so how's that for keeping a secret?"

"That's impressive, Kitty."  Stockwell got to his feet, with a significant amount of effort.  His legs wobbled, and his hands shook.  Kitty held her tongue.  "I found something.  Something weird.  Something bad.  Something that could get us killed."

Kitty gasped.  "Is it Anthrax?"


"Is it Anthrax?" Kitty repeated.

"Why would you ask that?" Stockwell asked.

"Ada effed up the cable box, and I can't control my own channels.  My TV is stuck on Criminal Minds for all eternity.  Last night they aired an episode on bio terrorism.  Follow me, Reeve.  Tommy's is an empire.  Empires have corporate offices.  I have to figure that this store is the biggest thorn in their ass right about now.  They could get rid of all of us with Anthrax."

"A lot of innocent people would die," Stockwell said, sounding shaken.  The sugar was starting to wear off and he felt like he'd been hit by a train. 

"I didn't say it was a good idea."

Stockwell sat on his toolbox and put his head in his hands.  Kitty dragged a dusty box to his side, and prepared to plop down on it.  Stockwell looked up.

"DO NOT SIT ON THAT!" Stockwell roared, and Kitty jumped so hard, she kicked the box, it tipped to its side, and five guns slid out.

Stockwell flew to his feet, wavered, and fell to the ground.  He scrambled to where the guns lay.  "You should take cover," he said to Kitty.

Kitty hid behind the refrigerator, the only witness to the receiving bay shenanigans.  "Why?" Kitty whispered.  "Are you going to shoot me?" she asked.

"Of course not," Stockwell said, carefully replacing the guns in the box.  He crawled across the floor, and pulled the sixth gun from where he had hidden it earlier.  He placed it on top of the others, closed the box, and sealed it with a tape gun he found on a work table.  "We have to get rid of this."

"Where did it come from?" Kitty asked, stepping timidly from behind the behemoth stainless steel appliance.

"I don't know.  It was really dusty, and I'm pretty sure somebody forgot it was even there," Stockwell explained.

"That doesn't tell us how it got there," Kitty surmised.

"I know."

"So, this is your secret?" Kitty asked.

"Part of it," Stockwell replied in a whisper.

"What's the rest?"

"I am going to solve the mystery of how these got here.  I am not the shithead people think I am, Kitty.  In another life, I am James Bond."

"I am Janet Evanovich," Kitty whispered.

"Who?" Stockwell asked.

"Never mind."

"We need to hide these," Stockwell said, carefully picking up the box.  He seemed steadier, and Kitty wondered if it was due to the James Bond revelation.


"Out behind the dumpster there is an old shed.  Behind that is an old dumpster that nobody bothers.  Let's put it in there."

"When?" Kitty asked.

"The sooner the better," Stockwell declared.

"I'll stay here," Kitty said.

"No.  You're my lookout."

"Oh."  Kitty looked around, and smiled.

"What?" Stockwell asked.

"This is kind of exciting," Kitty whispered.

"I know.  It's cool as hell," Reeve Stockwell admitted.

They both giggled. 

"Follow me," Stockwell said.  Kitty did.  She followed him to the enormous bay doors.  "You look."

"Okay.  I feel like I should have a gun," Kitty said, peeking timidly outside the doors.

"We have six, Kitty."

"Oh.  Right.  Pretend guns are safer.  See?" Kitty said, clasping her hands, and forming an imaginary gun.

"That's swell, Kit.  How're we looking?" Stockwell asked.

Kitty poked her head outside the door again.  "The coast is clear."

Kitty stepped out of the door with her hands held in "I have a gun," position, and Stockwell followed.  The two walked soundlessly toward the old shed.

Miles Longworth stepped out from behind the in-use dumpster.  He held a huge wad of cash.  Kitty gasped.

"Longworth?" Stockwell said.

"Stockwell?" Miles replied.

"Busted," Kitty whispered.

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