Miles Longworth and Slick Mitchell stood outside Tommy's Receiving Bay door, awaiting the police. Miles tried to pace, but the numerous bills packed into his trousers made it uncomfortable to move.
Slick Mitchell stared at the ground. He looked seriously ticked off.
"There's a sink hole in the corner of the parking lot," Mitchell said, out of the blue.
"You don't say," Miles replied. He fidgeted, certain a crisp hundred was poking him in the butt. He wasn't sure where the conversation was going, but he wished Mitchell would look away, giving him the opportunity to relocate the Franklin to a more preferable position.
"The strangest ideas go through my head," Mitchell said to the air, as if he'd forgotten Miles was present.
Miles was okay with that.
"Someone is coming from the city to probe this sinkhole, see how deep it goes. You want to know what would make me feel lucky, Miles?" Mitchell asked, looking at Longworth.
"A winning horse, sir?"
"Shut up. I'm trying to be serious here," Mitchell quipped.
"Me, too," Longworth whispered. "What would make you feel lucky?"
A hundred up your butt?
Mitchell fell silent for a moment. When he spoke, he sounded like a different man, a somewhat broken man. It was a tone Miles knew well. He'd used it on his bookie every week for two years running.
"Miles, I'd feel like the luckiest guy in the world if I pulled into the parking lot tomorrow, and this whole damned place had been swallowed up, burned to a crisp down in the core of this cesspool of a planet."
"What about the night crew?" Miles said softly.
"No night crew tonight," Mitchell replied.
"That's good. Wouldn't want to see anyone hurt," Miles said, sounding horrified.
"This is hypothetical, no one is going to be hurt," Mitchell remarked sharply.
The men fell silent again.
Finally Miles spoke. "Say that did happen, boss. Say you came in tomorrow and it was all gone, vanished as if it never existed at all. What would you do?"
"What couldn't I do with a wad of insurance money like that?" Mitchell asked.
"Good point." Miles Longworth stood deep in thought. "What would Tommy think?"
"There you go wrecking my fantasy."
"Sorry," Miles Longworth mumbled.
A siren pierced the night, and both men saw flashing lights approaching. Miles froze. He had a wad of cash in his trousers, cash that wasn't his.
Two men stepped from the police vehicle.
"Gentlemen," the older officer said.
"Thank you for coming," Mitchell said demurely, as if he were hosting a dinner party.
"It's kind of what we do," the younger officer said, and Mitchell leered at him. He introduced himself as Deputy Robber, and Miles fought the urge to laugh.
Cops and robbers?
"What seems to be the problem here?" Robber asked.
"We were in the store, working late, and we heard gun shots," Slick Mitchell explained. He saw no reason for any excessive storyline, so he got right to the point.
"Where were you?" the older officer asked. He introduced himself as Clarke. No one found that funny.
"In there," Miles Longworth said, pointing to the store.
"We gathered that. Where inside the store were you?" Robber man asked. He seemed to be losing his patience, and Miles imagined that somewhere there was an enormous glazed donut with this jerk's name on it.
Mitchell answered the question. "My office is in the back. Miles Longworth here, he was in his office in the front of the store."
"How'd you get the shiner?" Officer Clarke asked.
"We waited it out until we were sure the gunman was gone. I came face to face with him on my way out. He hit me with his gun," Slick Mitchell explained.
"You just happened to leave at the same time?" Robber asked.
"Not exactly," Slick Mitchell replied.
"Then what?" Robber inquired.
"The guy was out here when we exited," Mitchell said.
"Who's 'we'?" Clarke asked.
"Mr. Longworth here, and myself."
"You see anything, Longworth?" Robber asked.
"I did not," Miles replied.
"How come?" Clarke asked.
"Don't know. I was a few paces behind Mr. Mitchell here. I was still inside while he was getting his clock cleaned," Miles said.
"Nice," Mitchell asked. He was getting as frustrated with Miles Longworth as the deputies were, so he decided to have some fun. "I thought you said you saw him."
"Did not," Longworth said.
"Did to," Mitchell quipped.
"Did not!" Longworth repeated.
"Gentlemen, please. You want a basketball, some background music, wanna duke it out like a little High School Musical?" Robber asked, looking enormously pleased by his wit. "Mr. Longworth, did you see this perpetrator, or did you not see him?"
"I did not," Longworth whispered.
"All right. Sir, what's in your pants?" Robber asked.
Miles paled in the lamplight.
"What?" he squeaked.
"You got something in your pants? Looks like you got something stuffed in your pants," Robber said.
Mitchell, Robber, and Clarke all stared at Longworth's pants. Longworth tried to inhale, but found he could no longer breathe. He was up the creek, with nothing more than a bunch of dead guys on green paper.
"I'm incontinent," Miles whispered, alternately embarrassed, and seriously impressed with his ability to think fast on his feet.
"I beg your pardon?" Clarke asked.
"I'm wearing an adult diaper. Would you like to see it?" Miles asked.
"NO!" All three men said in unison.
"All right then," Miles said, exhaling in a rush.
"We're going to search the store. Mr. Mitchell, we'd like you to wait in your vehicle. Lock the doors, please. Mr. Longworth, you are free to go, but I'd suggest you not leave town, and you should seriously think about consulting a urologist. You seem a little young to be hitting the Depends."
"Thanks for the advice," Miles said. He smiled as he waddled away, secretly hoping the Franklins and Grants would stay put.
When Reeve Stockwell opened his eyes, two police officers stood over him.
"That's me," Stockwell squeaked.
"I'm Officer Lowell, this is Deputy Briggs. Where is the truck?"
"I flew out the back," Stockwell said, finding the strength to sit upright.
"How'd that happen?" Briggs asked.
"Burger gunned the thing after it stalled. I flew right out the back."
"You okay?" Lowell asked.
"I don't know. I don't think anything is broken, but I feel like I was in a train wreck, and I'm really cold. Maybe I've got internal injuries or something," Stockwell surmised.
"You've split your pants, sir," Briggs said.
Lowell laughed out loud.
"I did, didn't I?" Stockwell remarked.
"What the hell are you wearing?" Briggs asked.
"Fishing trip," Stockwell said.
"You went to work dressed for a fishing trip? Where were you planning to fish this late at night?" Briggs asked.
"May I change my answer?" Stockwell said softly.
"This isn't Who Wants to be a Millionaire," Lowell said.
"I know. I'm just confused. It's been a really bad night," Stockwell said. "My wife is going to kill me, if you guys don't, or that Burger maniac doesn't get me." Reeve Stockwell whined like a teenage girl.
"Is that Sponge Bob?" Lowell asked. Stockwell hung his head. He'd dressed in the dark that morning, and a lot had happened in fourteen hours. He felt like it had been fourteen years since he'd reached into his dresser and grabbed a pair of clean boxers. How could he have known he'd grab the Sponge Bob underwear?
"It is. My son got them for me. For Christmas. It was a joke," Stockwell said defensively.
"No one actually wears that shit. You do know that, right?" Lowell said. The laughter the officer was clearly fighting broke free, and Reeve Stockwell began to understand why everyone hated cops. These guys were douche bags. "My kid got me some Winnie the Pooh boxers a few years back. I wrapped those things in what had to be about a week's worth of newspapers, and shoved them in a trash can half a town away. You don't keep that stuff. It always comes back to bite ya," Lowell explained.
Reeve Stockwell scowled. He could never have done that. His son rode his bike in sub zero weather to deliver newspapers to old people who griped no matter where he left the paper. He took that money and bought the Sponge Bob drawers. How could Stockwell have thrown them out?
"I really don't care what you think of them," Stockwell barked. "My son is a teenage boy who worked hard for the money he used to buy them. I'm proud of them. You want to know what happened to me or are we gonna hang out here and talk underpants all night?"
Reeve Stockwell struggled to his feet. The waders were split from stem to stern, and had pretty much disintegrated. He stood in his fiercest competitor's parking lot in his Sponge Bob drawers, and the moldy slicker. The night had grown cold and he shook from the chill. This was NOT how Stockwell pictured the life of an FBI agent, and he had to figure he was doing something seriously wrong.
He tried to pull the slicker tighter around him, and his weapon hit the ground with a plunk.
"What's that?" Lowell asked.
"What's what?" Stockwell replied. He wasn't really a praying man, but he found himself sending messages to his maker at the speed of a texting adolescent.
"Is that your weapon, sir?" Briggs asked. Both men took on a very serious tone, and Stockwell figured they'd turned the corner from underpants to things going very, very bad.
"It is my weapon," Stockwell admitted.
"You have a license to carry concealed?" Lowell asked.
"I don't, but I can explain.....," Stockwell said shakily.
Here we go....
"Reeve Stockwell, you have the right to remain silent-" Briggs began.
"Shit," Stockwell whispered.