The Uprising in Building Three Pt. III.

 By Johnny Apocalypse
Return to Part II

On the ride to work, Beth was noticeably worried.  I held her hand while I drove, telling her that I was working on a plan, and everything would be taken care of.

"I'm going to need your help on this one, babe," I said.  "No sitting on the sidelines this time, you'll have to work with me and Chris."

She took this in for a moment before nodding.  "Just tell me what to do."

I have always wanted a woman to say that to me.  Too bad this wasn't the circumstances I had expected.

"I'll let you know once I have everything written in stone.  Until then, just keep a clear head.  Don't tell anyone at the meeting what caused this, because they won't believe you.  Trust me, I know."  Boy, did I know.

We rode in silence most of the way, listening to the radio.  I parked outside of building two with five minutes to spare.

As Beth and I walked through the lobby, the desk attendant waved a solemn 'hello' from behind her desk.  The security company staffs the lobbies as well.  There was no doubt that she knew what happened to Skip.

We arrived in the designated meeting room a minute later.  Tony sat at the head of the conference table.  Behind him, in the corner, stood his overseeing manager, whom I had met only once before and never saw again.

Extra chairs had been brought it to seat all of the guards.  Beth and I took the last two seats available, planting myself next to Ray, who passed me a spare cup of coffee.  I nodded my thanks as I took a meager sip.

"Okay," Tony began, "Now that everyone's here, let's get started.  There are two problems on campus right now.  The first being rowdy teenagers skateboarding in the parking lot, and the second is whatever scared Skip straight into the hospital last night.

"I'll start with the skateboarders.  Last night and the night before, around midnight, five teenagers came on the property, outside of building three.  Justin encountered them first.  When he told them they have to leave, they became violent and attacked him.  He was able to hold them off until the police arrived, when they ran away.

The boss looked directly at me, "Justin, your suspension is cancelled, we're going to need the man power."

I nodded in agreement.  I would have to be allowed on campus to take care of the fluffy army.

Tony continued, "Last night, Skip found them in the same parking lot.  Ray told him about Justin's scuffle over the radio, so Skip was wise enough to keep his distance when he told them to clear off.  They came after him as well, and luckily, Skip was able to lock himself in the truck before they reached him.  They smacked the doors with their skateboards for a minute, and left before the police could arrive.

"If they come back again, we are not to make any contact with them at all.  Call dispatch, and the police will respond as quickly as they can.  I'm told that they will also be patrolling our grounds several times a night until the issue is taken care of."

Tony cleared his throat before moving on to the next point.  I was anxious to hear what Skip had told him.

"About an hour after the skateboarders left, Skip reported that he was starting a building three check.  Twenty minutes later, the maintenance crew called in, requesting an ambulance.  They found Skip unconscious in a bathroom on the second floor, and thought that he had a heart attack. The paramedics came, and as they were carrying him outside, Skip woke up and began screaming.  They sedated him and took him to the nearest hospital.

"When the drugs wore off, he was making sense but he refused to talk about what happened.  All he says was that he had a nasty scare, but refuses to elaborate.  I thought that he might have had a Vietnam flashback, but the doctors think it was something else.  They believe that he may have suffered a nervous breakdown, but they're not yet certain.  Skip is allowed to have visitors for a short amount of time, so I'm encouraging you all to visit him if you get the chance.  Don't bother asking him what happened, I doubt that he'll say anything.

"We have Robert reviewing all of the security tapes in building three from last night, but so far he hasn't found anything.  We're boosting our patrols in the swing and graveyard shifts to two security officers each.  We're still required to check building three once a shift, but for the next week or two, both guards on those shifts will check it together.

"Are there any questions?"

Nobody raised a hand.  Several of the guards stared at the center of the conference table.  A few of them seemed to be ready to fall asleep.  Beth was gripping my hand so hard it nearly went numb.

"Okay," Tony concluded.  "Justin, Beth, I'll need both of you to work the graveyard shift until Skip gets off of medical leave."

We told the boss that was fine, and everyone started filing out of the room.  As I tried to lead Beth out the door, Tony grabbed my shoulder and asked me to hang back a minute.  I nodded a good-bye to Ray as he passed me.

Once we were alone, Tony gave me a deathly serious stare.  "Justin, Ray told me that you reported a strange noise in building three shortly before you ran into the skateboarders, but that you never told him what was causing it.  Did you find out?"

"Yeah."

Tony took a deep breath before asking his next question.  "If I asked you what caused it, would I believe what you told me?"

I shook my head.  "Probably not."

"Fair enough.  I'm sure that you know I'm not in the mood for any jokes, so I'm taking your word on this.  Do you think that whatever was causing this noise is what got to Skip?"

"I'm sure of it."

"Okay.  What can I do to help?"

I thought about the proposition for a minute.  "Let me bring a friend on campus tonight, around eleven thirty or so.  We'll deal with it."

Tony closed his eyes for a moment.  "Okay," he said.  "Whatever the problem is, I'm guessing that I don't want to know about it.  But if you need something else from me, give me a call."

The boss handed me a slip of paper with his cell phone on it.  I stuffed it into my pocket, and said that I would call him once everything was taken care of.

Beth and I walked hand in hand out to my car.

***

We pulled into the driveway minutes later.  I had almost thirteen hours until I had to go to work and fight the soldiers of the third building.

Beth and I walked into the house, only to find Chris and Frankie sitting in the back yard and smoking grass.  I strolled straight through the kitchen and into the yard.  Chris and Frankie were seated on two lawn chairs, and Beth took a third.

"What's up, bro?" Chris asked.  "More trouble with the teddy bears?"

"Indeed," I said, waiting for everyone to be seated around me.  I raised my arms above my head, taking a strong bravado in my voice.  "Friends, countrymen, lend me your ears.  We live in a time of great peril, a time where toys and dolls are allowed to roam free, to do as they please, and let them scare a great American veteran into the hospital.

"It is time we stand up to these toys.  We must join together to defeat the common enemy.  If we are swift of mind and fleet of foot, we shall garner victory before the next morning sun!  It may not be easy, and it may not be in the name of the land or the lord.  But, my subjects, I promise you this; before the night is over, we shall all remain standing, and the toys will not!"

Chris and Frankie erupted into applause at my speech.  Beth sat back and smiled for me.

"Are we men, or are we mice?" I demanded.

"Men!" Everyone chorused.

"Are we going to await death, or are we going to fight?"

"Fight!"

"Are you with me?"

"Yes!"

"Excellent!  Follow me inside, and we shall begin preparation for our final assault on the army of toy-land!"

Chris and Frankie jumped from their seats, cheering and running into the kitchen.  Beth walked up to me and gave me a hug.

"I never knew my boyfriend was so heroic," she said.

"The motivation of one man can motivate a mass of others," I answered.  I had the distinct feeling that my quote was too intelligent to come from me, but no one else needed to know that.

Beth turned away from me and headed into the kitchen.  Before I joined my diligent followers, I gazed over the back yard.  Pride and honor was flowing through my bones, and one of my neighbors was staring at me over the fence.

"The army of toy-land?" he asked me.

"Damn straight," was my only answer.  I pivoted on my heels and walked into the kitchen, feeling like a five-star General.

Everyone was assembled at the table once I arrived.  Frankie sat back, relaxed.  Beth seemed anxious to hear my plan and understand her part.  Chris was grinning, nearly bouncing in his chair.

"I have an important task for each of you," I said.  "Frankie, has Chris told you the situation?"

"Yeah, man," she answered.  "I want some of whatever you're smoking!"

I shook my head.  "This was no drug-induced hallucination, kid.  This is as real as it gets."

Frankie's smile seemed to dissolve in a precarious mixture of fear and curiosity.  "Oh, dude, I don't know if I can help.  That's pretty freaky."

"You're part is simple.  I just need you to drive Chris over to my work around eleven thirty tonight.  Drop him off at building three, then wait in the parking lot.  If any skateboarders come by, call the police, but don't let them know you're there.  Easy enough?"

She nodded, much calmer.

"I'm going to need both you and Chris to ease up on the marijuana.  You need to be able to drive and not get pulled over, and I need Chris at the top of his abilities."

"Hey brother," Chris said, "the day I can't do my job while I'm high is the day I turn in my badge and gun."

I convinced my friend to lay off of the weed and took the next twenty minutes explaining Beth's, Chris's and my own parts in the plan.  Once everything was agreed to, Chris and I went to the garage to select some weapons.

***

The rest of the day passed smoothly.  Chris and Frankie cut well back on their smoking quota.  Beth and I took a nap so we'd be able to pull the full eight hours at work without crashing a truck.  When the tenth hour of the night rolled around, my lady and I changed into our uniforms and set off for work.

Wasting half an hour at my job is easy.  I took to swigging coffee and driving circles around the buildings.  Beth checked building two after she punched her time clock, and performed a short stakeout in the building three lot, watching for teddy bears and punk-ass kids alike.

While I drove the security truck, I kept the radio loud.  I didn't need time to think.  My plan was as flawless as it would ever get, and I didn't need to start worrying now.  I just had to wait for Chris.

Eleven twenty-five came around when I was passing by the third building for the millionth time.  I saw Frankie driving Chris's car.  She pulled in next to Beth's security truck.

Chris came bouncing out of the car, running up to my truck.

"Dude, I am so hyped.  Let's send these fuckin' dolls to hell, man."

"Good, jump in.  We need to make a stop by the janitor's office, then we'll be ready to go."  I turned to Beth, who was standing outside her truck.  "Move your truck over to building one and meet us back here.  I don't want to scare the skateboarders off if they show up."

Chris climbed into my truck, and we drove over to building two.

***

It was five minutes after eleven thirty when we reconvened outside at our rally point.  I dragged a large wet-dry vacuum out of the flatbed truck and rolled it over to Beth.  Frankie handed me and Chris our weapons.  My friend had chosen my dad's nine iron golf club, while I had taken a weed-whacker with a long extension cord.

Frankie gave Chris a quick kiss before she ran back to the car.  We were armed to the teeth and ready for a grand, majestic ass-kicking.

As we walked to the building, I thought about the changes to the history books.  Twenty years from now, children everywhere would be doing homework on this legendary battle.  We would get a one-line commemorative on the morning news.  "Historically, Colorado hit record high temperatures seven years ago, and we've also reached the anniversary of Justin Taggart's celebrated conflict with the evil toys of building Three."

Or, a bit more likely, the event would be lost among rumor and hearsay.  But I wasn't in this for fame and fortune.

My squad of anti-teddy bear commandos entered the lobby as silently as we could.  Chris and I tried to move like special-forces operatives, weapons held high, stalking along the walls.  Beth dragged the vacuum behind her, staying close to me.

I swiped my magnetic entry card across the scanner, unlocking the door.  Chris reached across, opening the entrance while I dived in.  My weed whacker was poised over my head while I made sure the hallways were clear.

I gave a thumbs-up and my fellow mercenaries came up behind me.  Chris and I walked point, leading the way to the elevator.  We hit the button and the door slid open.  Beth carried the vacuum in, while Chris and I bolted up the stairs.

We hit the second floor like ninjas, silent and ready for action.  As the elevator opened, we stood on each side of it, waiting for Beth to come out.

Once my group was whole again, we started down the hallway.  It wasn't long before I heard the chant.

"Meep!  Meep!  Meep!"

I realized that the noise would cover out movement nicely.  I stayed up front with the pothead, our knees bent in an effort to stay low to the ground.  We tracked the sound for nearly fifty meters, before I realized that it was coming from a large break room, and not another meeting space.  I held up my hand, fingers wide open, letting my companions know to hold up for a moment.

I retreated back to Beth to get my extension cord, plus the tangled cord to her vacuum.  Passing my weed-whacker to Chris, I dropped to the ground, and began to low crawl to the nearest electrical outlet.

Using only my free hand and both legs to push myself along the carpeted floor, it was a slow, steady trek.  I was almost silent, only a slight brushing against the carpeting, masked by the chanting of the toys.  Once both plugs were receiving power, I turned back and crawled over to my comrades.

We were only twenty yards away from the fluffy army.  I whispered to Beth to get five yards closer to the room while Chris and I closed the distance.

"After we make our first attack, turn the vacuum on full blast and come running."

She nodded, and began to follow.  Chris and I were ready for our first swipe at the toys.  We began at a slow walk, moving into a brisk jog before running into the break area.

We spun the corner, Chris taking the closest side.  Time seemed to stand still for a minute.  The universe fell deathly silent.  There were more toys then before, almost doubled in numbers.  Gumby stood at the far end of the break room.  We had caught them by surprise.

Chris took the first swipe, knocking a blue pelican through the air and straight into Gumby.  The leader of the militia was nearly knocked down.

I squeezed the trigger of the weed-whacker, gunning it into life.  It arced through the air, buzzing like a hive of bees.  My aim was perfect.  Before the nearest teddy bear could turn around, the spinning nylon line sliced through it's furry coat.  Chunks of cotton began to spray from the mortal wound.

I heard the vacuum tear into action, Beth running towards the battle.  My weed-whacker began to turn a second toy into confetti while Chris attacked a stuffed Dalmatian.  My woman whipped around the corner and jammed the sucking hose into my first victim, doing away with the remains.

Only a few toys remained to fight, while others ran for their lives through the rear entrance into the break room.  Gumby was nowhere in sight.

I put my mind back to the task at hand.  Chris turned his golf club on a flamingo, while the whacker ate the last chunk of my second target and moved on to a clown doll.  Beth leaned down, avoiding Chris' wild swings while taking out the mess I was making.

"Justin!" she yelled.

I turned behind us to find a group of bears advancing as quickly as their stubby little legs would take them.  I wasn't going to let a bunch of crazed playthings out-flank me without a price.  I took a quick swing at a few toys before turning to the new set of attackers.

"We're out-numbered!" Chris cried.  "Retreat!"

"No," I screamed.  "Hold the line!"

I ran into the posse coming from behind, churning as many bears into scraps of cloth as quickly as I could.  I realized that a lawn mower would have been more effective, but I was stuck with what I had.

Three of my enemies fell before I heard a muffled cry from Chris.  He dropped his club, clawing at a calico cat that had lodged itself onto his face.  In a few minutes, my friend would be out of air.

Beth acted fast while I came running.  She jammed the suction hose onto the cat's back, and managed to snag it off of Chris' face.  He took a grateful breath of air, but the cat managed to avoid the perilous vacuum.

I set the edge of my weed-whacker next to the cat's skin.  Triggering the tool once, a huge gap in the stuffing opened, and the cat disappeared into the tube.

"Meeeeeeep!" it cried as it traveled through the hose.

I heard Beth screaming before I saw her bending over, trying to shake a teddy bear off of her back.  The second regiment had caught up with us.  Several toys grabbed onto my legs and started smacking their paws on my calves.

Chris picked his nine-iron up, swinging back before nimbly clipping the teddy bear off of my girl's back.

"Fore, mother fucker!" he yelled.

I used my weapon to knock the toys from my legs, before churning them into cotton powder.  Chris was back in full swing, knocking bears, birds and other fluffy things around with each swing.  Beth was sucking away the remains as quickly as we could make them.

"They've got reinforcements!" Chris yelled over the racket.

I looked up, and saw a huge group of toys marching down an empty hallway.  They kept a perfect military formation, raising their paws in the air and chanting with each step.  The toys were reorganizing their attack.

"New plan!" I yelled.  "Beth, leave the vacuum, start kicking every toy in sight.  We need to keep them back until they can be chopped up."

Beth responded immediately.  She dropped the tube and began running towards the advancing hoard.  I sprinted next to her, whacker at full blast in front of me.

My lady stopped right at the front line of toys, booting the closest one back down the hall.  I kept running, carving a line of destruction through the ranks.  Once I hit the back, I pivoted took one long swipe at the group of teddy bears turning to face me.  Within seconds, I had cut down twelve bears and I was gunning for more.

Chris kept the back ranks away as best he could.  He started clobbering bears on the back swing as well, doubling his effectiveness.  Toys were sailing through the air as if a bull had been let loose in a kid's store.

With each kick, Beth skillfully managed to knock a stuffed animal into my weed-whacker.  The toys were decreasing in number rapidly.

I smacked the bottom of the whacker on the carpet, prompting the line-release and extending my whirlwind of death.  Two toys became clouds of cotton instantly.  After vaporizing a stuffed parrot, the squad Beth and I had been working over was finished.

Chris stood in the center of a mass of dolls, swinging like crazy.  Beth and I sprinted over to our friend and began chopping the toys apart.

With two people flinging toys into my whacker, the job took half the time.  Within two minutes, the last of the army of toys was nothing more then tatters.  I released the trigger of the tool, and took a deep breath.

"Where's Gumby?" I muttered.

We looked around the cubicles and hallways only to find them empty.  Beth got back to vacuuming the stuffing up, while Chris and I took to patrolling the floor for the green monster.

No dice.  Chris and I solemnly walked back to the battleground, and helped my lady suck the toys into oblivion.  Soon, we had a vacuum cleaner full of chopped cotton and a clean hallway.

We emptied the cotton into a black trash bag.  I was planning on burning the remnants of the toy army once I got home.  But I still had seven hours of a shift left.

My group and I walked downstairs and through the lobby.  Chris was smacking the garbage bag into each desk and wall along the way.  He looked ready for a smoke, and I was definitely in the mood for some strong, black coffee.

Once we left the lobby and walked into the chill night air, I knew that my coffee would have to wait.  The five teens were skateboarding again, doing jumps and other little tricks on their boards.  It was almost a full minute before they noticed me and my friends.

"It's that asshole again," the leader cried.  I saw a small bruise on the side of his face where I had punched him.

The teens all turned towards us.  Chris raised his golf club like a samurai sword.

"You going to call the cops again?" the leader asked.

"They've already been called," I answered.  At least, I hoped that Frankie had remembered to call them.

"Bullshit," he said, starting to skateboard towards me.

His friends followed him.  I was readying myself for the worst possible situation, when they all stopped in their tracks.

"What the fuck is that?" one of the kids yelled.

I spun around, afraid that I was falling for a prank and about to get my ass kicked from behind.  I realized that the teens had probably saved my ass when I saw Gumby running out of the building towards me, the rage of the devil etched into his face.

I reacted fast.  My weed-whacker dropped to the ground, and I took a step forward.  My arms reached out.  I caught Gumby by the shoulders, pulling him into me.  Twisting on my feet, I heaved the doll off the ground and threw him straight towards the skateboarders.

As it turns out, Gumby is a nimble little bastard.  In midair, I could see him twisting, and sticking a leg out, clobbering the leader with a jump kick.  The teen fell off of his skateboard while Gumby landed on his feet.

What ensued can only be described as an act straight from a kung-fu movie.  Gumby was flailing about in wicked spin-kicks and punches, seemingly battering the skateboarders.  Once the teen leader got back on his feet, he grabbed his board and took off screaming.  His friends soon followed.

I was a moment away from grabbing my weed-whacker when I saw Chris hauling ass towards the five-foot doll, his golf club wielded above his head, yelling a fierce battle cry.  He reached Gumby, chopping away, hacking at the doll like it were a tree.  The bladed edge of the nine iron cut through the fabric skin of the creature, and Gumby hit the ground, twitching and spasming.

Revolution cancelled.

Frankie came running out of the car to smother Chris in a flurry of kisses.  Beth and I stuffed the still shuddering remains of Gumby into the trash bag, before tying the sack into a knot.  We passed the trash over to Chris, who dutifully carried it and the weapons over to his car.  I told him to stash the bag in my fireplace, and we'd light it up once I got home.

Watching my friends drive away, Beth planted a sweet peck on my lips, waving at me while she sauntered towards her truck.  I was in dire need of some java, but I wanted to call Tony before I got back to work.

I returned to the lobby of building three and used the phone to ring my boss.  He answered in a groggy confusion.

"Hey boss, it's me," I said.  'Everything's taken care of.  Nothing to worry about now."

Tony muttered his understanding, then hung up.

I turned towards the rest of the building, now safe until the next supernatural attack.  I was on my way to the coffee pot in the sky, preparing myself for a hopefully uneventful night.

***

Two logs and a garbage bag full of cotton was burning in the fireplace, warming the living room.  I had Beth in one arm, Gideon in the other and a steaming cup of coffee spiced up with cheap bourbon sitting on the table.  I would have to take my arm off of one of them to take a drink, but I wasn't eager to do so just yet.

"Well, I guess the boss might just believe me over the supernatural stuff from now on," I said.

Chris took this moment to open his mouth.  "Yeah, just like it's written in Moby Dick, 'A white whale will always lie, but the security guard always tells the truth.'"

While I had never actually read Moby Dick, I was fairly certain that Chris's passage wasn't actually in there.  But I was in too good of a mood to argue the point.

Chris and Frankie were sharing a joint between kisses.  They had spent the night sleeping, and while I envied them, I didn't want to crawl off to bed.  It was time for a little celebration.

"So," I said.  "What should we watch?"

Chris pondered the question for a moment.  "200 Motels?"

"Eh.  How about The Guyver?"

We both realized the perfect movie at the same time.  In unison, we named it.

"Shaft's Big Score!"

Chris raced up to my room to grab the movie.  I reclined my side of the couch, and settled back.  I wasn't sure if I could stay awake for the whole movie, but these were pretty good circumstances to fall asleep in.

I could almost hear a long, final "meeeeeep!" coming from the fireplace.  It might have been my imagination, but maybe not.

 





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