''ASTRO!" the bird yelled, as everyone, except the parrot, mistook the forklift's backfire for a gunshot.
Mitchell held his gun in shaking hands. He'd only fired it once, and he'd damn near taken his buddy's ear off trying to kill a paper plate.
Stockwell had hit the deck. His chin bled from where it had made contact with the cement. The blood wasn't chocolate.
Daisy stood with her hands on her hips. "You stupid son of a bitch!" she yelled, as Wilton paled.
"Why are you insulting me?" Wilton wailed, as the disco lights began anew.
"I am yelling at my bird," Daisy said. "I've had it with that thing. I'll bet it tastes like chicken!"
"Don't even think about it," Kitty said. As the resident PETA member, Kitty's position wasn't odd, but seeing her hand in hand with a geriatric Wonder Woman lent a bizarre feel to what was already surreal.
"Ease off, Sarah McLaughlin," Daisy hollered, referencing one of the ASPCA's celebrity endorsers. "I'm not going to hurt the bird, I'm just trying to get it under control."
"Apologize to my granddaughter!" Wonder Woman yelled, and Daisy guffawed. She'd just about had it. She'd rather have been at home in a scotch stupor, cuddling a goat in a milk coma.
"EVERYONE SHUT UP!" Miles yelled, and everyone did. When Miles grew a pair and spoke up, everyone listened. "I've had it up to here!" Miles screamed, although no one really knew where "here," was, as they could barely see him in the disco lighting. "I've been arrested for this damn place, and I AM NOT GOING TO JAIL FOR TOMMY'S TOOL TOWN!"
The receiving bay went silent and the lights stopped.
Miles stood in the middle of the bay, surrounded by dumb-struck Tool Towners.
"You've been defiled by our justice system?" Wilton asked, and Miles rolled his eyes.
"Seriously, dude? Just once, one time, on the night when I've disappointed a father long dead by being booked and printed, on this night, could you please speak English????" Miles ranted.
"I've dabbled in law. Perhaps I could be of some assistance," Wilton said defensively.
"You cannot assist me. The best you can do is shut the hell up!" Miles wailed.
In the shadows, Mickey Burger smiled. It was falling apart. With any luck, Mitchell would shut the place down by morning.
"Stop, Miles," Slick Mitchell said, sounding amazingly calm. He held the gun upright, in front of him, although at present, it wasn't pointed at anyone. "I came here tonight to kill Mickey Burger. Burger has kidnapped my sister, a poor woman who couldn't do anything right if life came with instructions, but nonetheless, the screwed up, strung out, Thanksgiving-crashing disaster is the little girl I played with in a baby pool back when the Mitchells drove old cars and ate hot dogs." Mitchell's voice caught on the last sentence, and it was this, this seeing of the humanness of the Tommy Godfather, that brought the crowd to a subdued calm.
"Sir?" Wilton said softly.
"Wilton, I am delighted by your individuality, I truly am, but I cannot deny I've spent hours in my office trying to decipher your emails, and your rantings. Unless you have a firearm directed at Mickey Burger, know Mickey Burger, or can actually use the force to bring this monster down, I need you to be quiet. I need you to be quiet until I give you permission to speak. Please."
Across the bay, two racks began to shake, and everyone froze. Cartons flew from the racks, and Sonny Brooks screamed and went running. The forklift roared to life, and Mitchell didn't hesitate.
He shot the damn thing.
It hissed, and rumbled.
Evil laughter filled the area again, and Bernice threw herself at Kitty's grandmother. Bernice didn't care if she was being embraced by Wonder Woman, she only knew that Kitty's grandmother had lived through ninety-nine years of crazy shit, and that was enough security for Bernice.
The disco lights extinguished, and the bay was pitch black.
"I love rockin' boats," the bird sang, and Daisy had nothing left. She didn't have the energy to roll her eyes.
Kitty screamed when a hand gripped her ankle. She shook it off and stepped on its fingers.
Stockwell wailed like a baby.
Everyone was certain it was Faulkner.
The bay was eerily silent. Someone whimpered. It sounded like Penelope who'd been abandoned in favor of Wonder Woman.
The lights came on after a long, long minute.
Gerald Gutzenheimer stood center stage, in a military uniform, holding a bayonette.
No one knew where he'd gotten it from.
No one cared.
Gutz screamed in German. Only two words were understood by the masses.
Prepared to meet the general, Mickey Burger stepped from the shadows.