Take Your Witch to Work Day

It was just another manic Monday.  Complete with early morning alarm buzzing, crisp clean outfit freshly pressed and donned,  breakfast with coffee and the morning paper. It was almost normal.  Normal being a relative term of course, considering the business Matthew Halden tended to engage in.   What wasn’t expected was the doorbell suddenly being engaged before he had made it through his first cup of coffee.  Or, indeed the engaging figure that would present herself on the front step.  It was almost startling how out of place she looked.  The snow that covered the front lawn of his residence was a reminder of how bitter cold it was but the hen looked as warm as a sun kissed beach on a summer’s day.  Which was concerning as she was barefoot, had no coat, and was wearing her usual off the shoulder dress, this time a colorful pattern splashed with rich tropical hues. Mambo smiled at him sweetly with a hand on her hip as if she belonged there, despite how jarring a contrast she was to the world around her, and also... that she had never been told the address. 

“Good mornin’, mind if I be borrowin’ a cup a’ sugar?” She flashed an approximation of demure smile although it came across about as shy as a politician during campaigning season.

 

So, not his typical morning routine all of a sudden.

    • Gladstone Gander
      Gladstone Gander

      "I-" panic flashed in her hazel eyes. "I don't know where they come from HONEST!" She  flinched even though no one had threatened her. "I just know that someone drops them off at a storage locker and I'm supposed to glamour them and bring them here. But-" Her eyes darted around as if looking for help.  "-but sometimes I see a guy come in here and take a few boxes out, I'm supposed to make sure no one notices. I... he's coming soon.  Maybe he knows.  Look, I'm sorry! I just-I just moved here and I needed the money, I've got-"

      Mambo rolled her eyes and let go of the girl's wrists.

      "Whad's yer name?"

       

      "Uh..." She looked between them as if weighing her options. "...Delores."

       

      "Delores," Mambo said in a kind tone of voice that was a lot nicer than she was actually feeling right now. "Who hired ya?  Who signs dose paychecks ya so desperately be needin'?"

       

      "I was-approached, by a woman. She told me about this job, she said no one would notice.  She said-" she glanced quickly at Matthew and that rictus of a grin before looking away with a wince. "-that you had enough money Mr. Halden and that you'd never miss the little bit we were skimming. She also warned me of the witches here that might... happen by. I never expected it to be you Madam Mambo.  I... the Market is... I love it there."

       

      "Hrm." Mambo grunted in reply and crossed her arms. "Who doesn't."

       

      She looked to the ibex.  You have the accused Mr. Halden, continue on with your questions.

      • Lilly Teal
        Lilly Teal

        "She warned you of the witches here, that might happen by," he repeated with apparent interest as he folded his arms.

        The ceiling was given a glance of mock-thought. "That's truly fascinating. Because you see," back to the squirrel, eyes locked on hers. "This is the first time my associate here has dropped by. In fact she has never seen this place before."

        So it's it very, very interesting that your story involves you, the poor innocent pawn, being given information that, until today, didn't exist?

        "Young lady," he leaned closer a little, none of his movements sudden. It was like watching a glacier bear down on a ship. If the glacier was filled with fury. Nothing about his tone was kind. There was no reflection of that false smile, which had suddenly disappeared as if flicking a switch. "I feel, since you have been given so much pertinent information, you should also have been informed that the money is not the issue."

        It's the principle of the thing, dear.

        "I do not like being made a fool of." Call me old fashioned. "So I suggest you stop trying, and start giving me some real answers, because I can only be civilised for so long."

        • Gladstone Gander
          Gladstone Gander

          Delores shrank as small as she could under such scrutiny. 

           

          "Okay... okay." She held up her hands in surrender. "I hear you. I do. You got me. I'll tell you Mr. Civilized." An alien look blossomed across her face, a manic grin, little bucked teeth proudly on display. "Right after- THIS."

           

          She clapped her hands and in a flash of light she disappeared, almost.  A tiny little mouse scampered off down the loading ramp toward an opening bay door. Mambo let out an irritated breath and tried to rub the white spots from her eyes.  A lanky weasel in a black t shirt and jeans ducked into the warehouse through the partially opened door and the mouse jumped on him. It squeaked and his eyes darted to Matthew and Mambo before he quickly dashed back out the door and made a mad sprint to a moving van that was parked around the corner.

           

          "I'm gun' have some real harsh words fer dat girl... go on." Mambo gave him a little push. "Go see what dey're drivin' we'll catch up." 

          • Lilly Teal
            Lilly Teal

            A small growl issued from the back of his throat as he started forward. Matthew was not happy. Not in the least. He ran, his long stride eating up the distance, but they had a head start on him. That was fine. All he needed was to see the van.

            Colour, plates, company... that sounded like a rather fake company, good grief, were these amateurs? How embarrassing to be conned by them.

            As the van drove off, he stood there, chest heaving less with exertion than anger as he watched them disappear.

            "This is what happens when you're polite."

            • Gladstone Gander
              Gladstone Gander

              Mambo frowned to herself as she grabbed some of the filler from the decoy boxes.  Maybe she could scry the location from them?  She was rather annoyed herself, this was not how she had anticipated this going.  But they were in this position now, and she was not about to be made a fool of.  The faint aura of Delores’s magic lingered on the scrap of metal in her hand and she weighed it thoughtfully.  She cleared her mind’ s eye and focused on the flicker of the magical signature to trace it and suddenly sucked in a breath as pain shot through her brain. Warded. Who... does she think she is?  She threw the metal back into the box angrily.  That settled that.  She didn’t really want to do this, but desperate times.

              She grabbed a passing worker and ordered him to fork over a pen, paper, and a phone. Somewhere a picture of a demanding looking Rhinoceros  woman appeared in a little book.  When Matthew would return she’d wave him to follow her toward the car, her expression a mirror image of his own, and attempting the call for the fifth time. Her eyes darted to the clock on the wall and she narrowed them sending an astral smack to a certain sleeping figure prompting an answer to the incessantly ringing phone, albeit a grumbled one.

              “-whatizzit.” Gladstone’s voice could barely be heard through the earpiece.

              “Give me an’ address ya lazy sack of bones.” She snapped.

              “For... what?”  Another astral smack. “Ow! Stop it! What are you doing? An address for what Mambo?”

              “It dun’ matter jus’ guess.”  She waited, anticipating more arguements but instead he let out an aggravated sigh before piecing together some numbers and taking a stab at a street name.

              “Happy? Can I go back to sleep now?” He inquired moodily.

              “No. Git up and feed Bristle.” She hung up and handed the address to Matthew. “Let’s go smack dese precious lettle children around for a while whad do ya say?”

               

              Some boring work day.

               

              • Lilly Teal
                Lilly Teal

                Cracking his knuckles, Matthew gave a grin. It still didn't have any humour in it, but it had a level of enthusiasm that was absent before.

                "I knew you being around would make things more exciting." Grabbing the address, he turned on his heel and started to stride towards his car. They were already outside so he couldn't tell Yuki to hold his calls until he came back. But then, he hardly needed to. She always seemed to know.

                ~~~

                The weasel hadn't quite managed to take his eyes off of the vengeful ibex in their rear view mirror, and heaved a sigh of relief once he was out of view, though he didn't lessen the speed of his getaway for safety's sake.

                "What was THAT, Del? Can't leave you alone for ten minutes without you bringing everything down on us? This is just like Singapore!"

                • Gladstone Gander
                  Gladstone Gander

                  Following in a quickened pace to try to keep up with his long strides Mambo took in the humorless smile and somehow inexplicably it cheered her. A smile of her own graced her face.

                  “Darlin’ everytin’ is more excitin’ when I’m around.” She purred as she slipped into the passenger seat.  “Now lets get inta sum trouble whad do ya say?”

                   


                   

                  The mouse popped back into a squirrel that bounced up and down In the passenger seat excitedly.

                  “Singapore!? This is NOTHING like Singapore! More like SingaBORE! Mel, Mel, MEL.  We’re in the big leagues now! AH! They’re probably going to chase us!” She rolled down the window and hung her head out to try to look behind them. “How cool would a car chase be?? Ah! With magical bullets!” She made some finger guns with ‘kapow’ sound effects.  “Did you see how mad they were!?” She laughed and threw herself back into her seat. “This is great. You were right this was a great plan! Too bad we didn’t get that last shipment though…”

                  • Lilly Teal
                    Lilly Teal

                    "Agreed," Matthew grinned, before slamming the car into gear. Just because they knew where they were going didn't mean they should dawdle.

                    How fun would it be if they thought they'd shaken us, and then we beat them there and lay in wait for them?

                    ... that sounds, very, very fun, actually.

                    "Let's take a few shortcuts. See if we can't welcome them when they come home."

                    ~~~

                    "Yeah Mel, I saw how mad they were! I'm also pretty sure that guy can tear the van doors off so don't get so excited!" the weasel snapped, taking a sharp ninety degree turn that temporarily suspended the van on two wheels.

                    Magic bullets, she says. I still have twitches in my leg from that magic shootout you got us both into."

                    Spotting a car in his side view mirror, he narrowed his eyes, sticking his own head out of the window to look, and not looking at the road ahead at all. But despite that he kept on steering. Not well, but not any worse than he had already been doing.

                    "That them, you think?"

                    • Gladstone Gander
                      Gladstone Gander

                      Mambo made an excited little squeal as the car accelerated. 

                      "Oh yes let's go make dere day a mite uncomfortable!" She sounded delighted and an amorous hand was suddenly sliding up his arm. "I like ya when yer vengeful." She purred.

                       

                       


                       

                      Delores nonchalantly reached over and straightened out the steering wheel, narrowly avoiding another car before looking in the side mirror.

                      "Hm, I don't think so... Halden drives a nicer car I think. And dude, come on, he's like... big and stuff but it's not like he's Taurus freaking Bulba.  He probably just pumps up in his home gym so that he looks scarier in meetings."  That didn't sound all that convincing. He was pretty terrifying back on the loading docks. They both were.  But the adrenaline was pumping and she was confident in their skills. 

                      "Where's your sense of adventure! You're not the one who had to work a lame ass honest gig for two months! ...well... 'honest'..." heavy air quotes clapped around the word. "And the guy is normally pleasant as pie.  All bark... probably. Now her! Can you believe it!! I know I read up on what witches were here, I was sure it was going to be the one with the Bride of Frankensteer hair. But it's the Belle of the Underground! Ah! She's so cool!" She flailed. "This is turning out to be THE BEST Monday."  

                      • Lilly Teal
                        Lilly Teal

                        His eyebrows raised just slightly as he shot her a sideways look, a grin blossoming across his face as he smoothly took another turn. What  happened to miss 'keep giving chances'?

                        "My my, Mambo, I thought you wanted me to be a good boy." Isn't my entry into the Market contingent on my goodness?

                        ~~~

                        Mel pulled his head back into the van, only to throw it back for loud, raucous laughter. "HONEST."

                        Eyes on the road, Mel.

                        "Man, I can't believe you said that with a straight face." Delores's enthusiasm seemed to be having a positive effect on him, and he grinned toothily. "You've got a point. Looks scary but he probably hasn't hit more than the books."

                        Get it, get it?

                        Her news about Mister Pleasant's partner garnered more interest, and he turned to look at her EYES ON THE ROAD MEL. "Whaaaat, her? That's amazing, what is she doing up here?"

                        Do you think she does autographs?! ... maybe this isn't the time.

                        • Gladstone Gander
                          Gladstone Gander

                          "'A good boy'.." She sent him a smoldering glance  through her eyelashes. "-only sometimes. An' I can tink of a few more.. productive ways t' channel dat anger of yers than smashin' dese children's heads together. Doesn't mean I dun like intense men." And honey was he intense. "If it comes down t' it... I tink I know a few ways i kin talk ya down." which was also the direction her hand was headed. 

                          Oh boy. Eyes on the road.


                           

                          "HA! HIT THE BOOKS!" She slapped his arm and shifted in her seat to sit cross legged instead of a normal person. "SHE WAS TOTALLY SUCKING FACE WITH HALDEN!" Smack smack smack on the arm. "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?! NO! I'm seriously asking!  You think she'd need a friggin step ladder!"  

                           

                          Okay, calm down. Settle.  Think.

                           

                          "Alright alright, so yeah they're probably going to chase us so what should we do?  We still have the last batch of parts to ship out to Rocco-" was there always a Rocco in shady business deals? Cosmic law? "-tonight so we do NOT want Halden to get his hooves on 'em.  I have big plans for this payout!  I was gunna get that white Nada Bag. The one I showed you?  Remember?" Probably not, she'd shown him about eighty over the course of the last twenty four hours changing her mind as to which one she wanted more every five seconds. "What were you going to use your cut for again?"

                          • Lilly Teal
                            Lilly Teal

                            "You know... I think I'll be quite worked up after all this. I will need talking down. A lot of it."

                            How the man managed to keep his eyes on the road and his steering controlled, even as he glanced at her again and pitched his voice low, was a mystery for the ages. Not something that would be resolved any time soon.

                            Speaking of things that weren't going to be resolved any time soon.

                            "Ah." They'd reached the address. His shortcuts were clearly more effective than he'd hoped.

                            ~~~

                            His brow furrowed a little, one hand coming off of the wheel to gesture at rough height estimates as he tried to work out the logistics of this.

                            "But isn't she- and he looked-"

                            Huh. He shook his head. Better not to try think too hard about it. Instead, he shot his partner another grin. "I knew you couldn't hear me over screaming about your own bags. I'm going to get that car we saw in the showroom. You know, the one I even saved some for. The last job will put me over the top. Genuine leather seats, smoothest ride you ever saw..."

                            His eyes glazed over slightly at the mere thought, only to snap back to reality as the car they nearly collided with swerved out the way, honking angrily.

                            • Gladstone Gander
                              Gladstone Gander

                              ”Ah, you poor ting.”  Sympathy dripped  from her deep alto voice. “Lucky fer ya I’ve got a way wid words.”

                              Yes.  Words.  She looked away from him when they parked to the eye the building they’d stopped in front of, leaning over him slightly to get the full scope of it.

                              “Looks like ya beat ‘em t’ the finish line.”   A sidelong glance locked on his eyes. “Whad are ya tinkin? If dey see us, dey’re probably gun’ take off wid out slowin’ down.“

                               


                               

                              Ah yes.  A brand new shiny car for him to drive into a ditch within the first five seconds of ownership.

                              “I wasn’t screaming. I was proclaiming undying love to pretty printed lining. Unclog your ears.  So yeah we have too much ... RIDING on this to let the odd couple mess it up.  So, most of the goods are in the storage locker. We just scoot back to the hideout load up the last batch and head over there to make the last drop complete. “ She sucked on her teeth loudly, a cloud of disappointment settling over her. “Man, I don’t want this to be over. This was such a good gig. And the moooooney.” She threw back her head and pummeled the seat, and Mel, in frustration. “THE MONEY WAS SOOO GOOOOOD. Wah~! it's not faaaaaaaaaaaaair!"

                              • Lilly Teal
                                Lilly Teal

                                "We find a nice, out of the way place to park, walk up and see if we can find a way inside without disabling any security they might have on the front door," he said with a winning smile, giving her a peck on the lips as she leaned over. "If we can do that, we make ourselves comfortable. If we can't, we find a nice place to hole up until they're walking back out the door."

                                Either way, let's give them a nice big scare.

                                ~~~

                                Have you considered, Del, that Mel's bad driving might have to do with the fact that you keep hitting him while he's trying to do it? Steering one-handed again, he tried to fend her off, slipping in between her pummels to pummel her right back every now and again.

                                "They money'd be better if you didn't keep buying bags you ruin inside of a day. But we can get another gig. We always find something else, don't we?" He was trying to sound reasonable, but being hit and hitting her back wasn't helping with the measured tone he was attempting to use.

                                • Gladstone Gander
                                  Gladstone Gander

                                  Mambo made a pleased little hum at the plan. 

                                  “Let’s go be da boogey man den.” She patted his chest before putting self properly back in her seat. “Aren’t cha glad ya have such a formidable partner in dis lettle mess? I had a feelin’ dat bein’ wid ya today would be fun but we gun be doin’ a public service. We should get medals fer stoppin’ such over anxious amateurs. So Mr. Business Man… let’s get t’ parkin.”

                                   - - 

                                  Have you considered, Mel, that Del’s bad habit of smacking Mel while he was driving might have to do with the fact that he never remembered to look at the road.  After a while smacking became a self preservation tactic.  That this was not currently the case was irrelevant.  And the pummeling dereased to more light swatting.

                                   

                                  “Of course we will! We always do! But now maybe we’ll get our names out there! Oooh we need a better company name! I know you liked the last one but I still think that ‘Fortune’s Favorites’ has a nice ring to it!”  Maybe for a tchotchke store in a retirement community, not for a super serious criminal endeavor for infiltrating and skimming from unsuspecting businesses. “Come on can’t you go faster? I think they must be caught behind that garbage truck back there.  I really don’t want to be stuck staring down those flaring nostrils again. Halden could pick me up with two fingers and flick me-“ she made the mentioned action against his arm. “-and send me flying like a pea in a food fight.  Oh who KNOWS what he could do to you!” She sounded nearly ecstatic at the idea of thinking up bizarre punishments for Mel. 

                                   

                                  Theirs was an odd friendship.

                                  • Lilly Teal
                                    Lilly Teal

                                    "As the lady commands."

                                    It really was a terrible place to have a hideout, he mused after they'd parked a little walk away and come back to the building. He'd already identified three places they could hide and see the door without being seen.

                                    But the front door wasn't the priority right now.

                                    "Any magical security on the back door or windows?" 

                                    ~~~

                                    "I thought you said he was all bark and no bite." Stop changing the script, Del! "Just pumps up to look scary. He could toss us around but I guarantee you no businessman knows how to fight dirty."

                                    He can bark. I do the biting. He sniggered at his own internal joke.

                                    "And please, if we're going to be a big deal we can't be Fortune's Favourites. It's gotta be hard hitting. Intense. A real big deal name."

                                    Like... like...

                                    "The Deadly Duo. Oh yeah, I like that."

                                    What was that about going faster? Well hold into your hat sis-

                                    ... wait, was that a jam at an intersection?

                                    "Are you kidding me?!"

                                    • Gladstone Gander
                                      Gladstone Gander

                                      The witch swished her hand in the air and squinted into the middle distance. She shook her head with a sigh and made a slashing motion, there was a sound like ripping paper and she put her hands on her hips.

                                      "Dere was a few, but weak ones. Ya know I almost feel bad for dem after seein dis. Not bad enough t' let 'em carry on but, dey certainly tink they're more clever den dey are. So,  tink yer gunna sneak in de back door do ya?" Suggestive eyebrow wiggle.

                                       

                                      ---

                                      "Look, muscles are muscles. It's not like he stuffs his arms and pecs and whatevers with marshmallows man." She looked at the traffic jam ahead. "Oh for pete's sake. And no, you do realize that in order to be 'The Deadly Duo' we'd actually have to had killed somebody. And Mel, dude, we have a classy and sophisticated organization going on here. You really wanna muck it up with murder? How about 'Crimes R Us?' Or 'Grifters Anonymous?'"

                                      She started digging through the glove compartment. 

                                       

                                      "These are good, I should be writing these down." But of course no sooner had she said this than she smacked his arm again. "Oh oh! If I can find the change under the seat we can swing around the toll road and get around this mess! Turn left!"

                                      She slid onto the garbage strewn floor and started digging for coins.

                                      • Lilly Teal
                                        Lilly Teal

                                        "Maybe this lesson will help them improve." He was all about encouraging improvement in the younger generation.

                                        Giving her a rather mischievous grin, he walked up to the back door, keeping an eye out of cameras and gave it a careful inspection.

                                        Hm. Hm. Well, at least they had thought to wire it up to an alarm. Good kids. And of course, that couldn't be disabled from this side.

                                        Now, about this window.

                                        Raising his eyebrows in mock surprise, he tutted. "This window isn't wired." It was firmly bolted on the inside and probably never opened which might explain things. But this was a very specific bolt he'd seen before.

                                        You see, the trouble with this sort of bolt is, if you hit the window-frame with the heel of your hand just here.

                                        "Good thing it's lock- oh dear," he said innocently. "I don't know how that happened. I just touched it."

                                        Mister innocent 'I only just touched it' then proceeded to smoothly haul himself through, before turning around and holding out his arms in a gentlemanly manner to help Mambo through, a twinkle in his eye.

                                        "Madam?"

                                        ~~~

                                        "Grifter's Anonymous," he mused, turning left. "Not bad, I suppose." It would have been a better idea if I'd thought of it, but I'll give credit where it's due. Grudgingly.

                                        Pouring on a little bit of speed, he then looked away from the road again. In fact, he looked towards and passenger seat and leaned right over to see her progress.

                                        "Nearly there, find any coins yet?"

                                        • Gladstone Gander
                                          Gladstone Gander

                                          Rather than be in his way the hen just hung back watching his little act with a wide smile. He seemed to be enjoying himself, and clearly she was as well. She laughed as she walked  toward his open arms, such a gentlemanly way to break and enter.  She took his hands and was grateful for the help, as she would hate to have tried to scramble up the wall into the window on her own.  Not that Matthew would do that to her of course, he was a treasure this one. 

                                          "My goodness, isn't it a shame dat we jus' so happened t' fall in dat suddenly open window? It's a good ting it wasn't someone dangerous. Dey really should have dat looked at."

                                          She looked around the relatively small space, it looked like a repurposed garage, and pointed to a pile of familiar looking boxes. 

                                          "Ah dere are yer missin' friends. Wan' go say hello?"


                                           

                                          "Only found three pennies so far."

                                          Del was nearly underneath the seat but a hand did pop up, accidentally bopping him on the snout. "I did find a bag of strawberry licorice though. Think it's still good?"

                                          As it was spotted with fuzzy little green things the normal answer was 'no' but who knows with these two.

                                          "Aha~!" The bag was dropped and she pounded the seat slightly. "Aha! Got it!" She removed herself from her prone position to shove a sticky wad of gum and coins at him. "Here ya go Mel my boy, don't say I never gave ya anything!" She smiled brightly despite the three french fries in her short hair and one gum drop that was smashed against her cheek.

                                          • Lilly Teal
                                            Lilly Teal

                                            Matthew's eyes lit up, striding quickly over to the boxes to open the top one. Machinery, honest to goodness proper machinery winked dully back at him in the light, and he gave a little internal sigh of relief.

                                            "It looks like its all there."

                                            But calm. Calm. Steady. We can't move anything yet. Don't want to tip them off. Folding the flaps back into place, he took a quick glance around and found a heavy length of wood in a shadowed corner. Another smile fluttered across his face as he picked it up one-handed and gave it a few test swings, eyes flicking around to find the perfect spot near the door to wait.

                                            "Don't worry, I won't hit anything. Just give them a shock."

                                            ~~~

                                            "Perfect."

                                            Del had an... interesting way of paying tolls. Grabbing the gummy mess with one hand, he gunned the accelerator and let go of the wheel entirely as he rolled down the window. The van barrelled uncontrollably towards the barrier and smashed through it, but not before he'd managed to pitch the gum, with perfect aim, out of his window and into the startled hands of the man in the booth.

                                            "Ten points!" He threw his hands up as the van continued to speed violently down the way, before an incoming turn reminded him to grab the steering wheel and turn again.

                                            "I can see the hideout from here!"

                                            • Gladstone Gander
                                              Gladstone Gander

                                              Ah yes, boring metal things. That must be it. But he seemed pleased so... chalk one up for the 'good guys'. 

                                              "Do I look worried?" She didn't, she was actually still smiling.  "But I suppose I shouldn' be standin' out here in da open if yer gun' be sneaky about dis." There was a stack of empty pizza boxes against the wall that looked like it had been collecting for months, and it just so happened to be the perfect height for her to step behind and disappear. After a split second she leaned back into sight with a concerned look on her face. "...I really tink I need t' talk to dese children about proper nutrition an' cleanin' up after demselves. After-" she pointed at him as if anticipating his response. "After de shock an' whadever else ya got planned fer dem. Cuz dis..." She eyed the pizza boxes and instead of finishing the sentence just sighed sinking back out of sight.

                                               

                                              Ten points. Is that how many are going to be added to your drivers licence after doing this again? Del was glad to see the hideout as it meant that there was going to be a time in her near future where she wouldn't be in a car with Mel. 

                                              "Ah! No sign of em! Ha! Take that Mr. Muscle All Bark Halden!" She punched the air in celebration. "We're nearly scott free, let's shake a leg!" She didn't wait for the van to stop before she opened the door her foot hovering out of it until the sidewalk slowed down enough to step on. 

                                              • Lilly Teal
                                                Lilly Teal

                                                Hey, that's dangerous!

                                                "You didn't even buckle your seatbelt!" Mel complained, slamming the brakes abruptly an inch before the wall as he watched her walk towards the door. "Safety first!"

                                                Unbuckling himself, see he was responsible, he followed her, glancing over his shoulder as he dug in his pocket for the keys.

                                                "So weird that they haven't caught up with us. Were we too fast?"

                                                On the one hand, that's good. On the other hand... would have been cool to have a high speed chase.

                                                The door was unlocked, pushed open, and then Del was nudged in as he followed. Somewhere a half second after closing it behind him and flicking on the light-switch, a heavy beam of wood slammed down into the ground a hairs' breadth in front of their snouts, so hard the end actually splintered on the concrete floor, and his life flashed in front of his eyes.

                                                "Morning, children," a voice boomed cheerfully.

                                                • Gladstone Gander
                                                  Gladstone Gander

                                                  "Of course we're too fast!" She supplied enthusiastically as Mel unlocked the door. No signs of forced entry niiiiiiiiiiiiiice. "We're just too awe-EEK!" Her life flashed before her eyes, as did a beam. 

                                                  And the door slammed shut and locked itself behind them. Every follicle of fur on her body was standing upright, her tail puffed up like a jumbo sized feather duster. She instinctively slid behind Mel. 

                                                  "Gloob...gerb... morgnan'." She attempted.

                                                   

                                                  Mambo emerged from her cover to watch the scene unfold with an amused smile.

                                                  • Lilly Teal
                                                    Lilly Teal

                                                    "You really must take more care of your security," Matthew tutted. "I worry for you two, with a setup like this."

                                                    And Mambo here is worried about your eating habits.

                                                    "Now I do hope you're not going to keep running, because I have been trying very hard to be polite and civil about all this. I usually just start breaking bones immediately." His voice had lost its cheer now, and it was the kind of 'friendly' voice that called you 'pal' in a dark alley before sliding a knife into your ribs. "You can thank my associate for the fact that you are not both a gibbering mess on the floor."

                                                    Go on. Thank the lady.

                                                    "Now. What do you suggest I do with you?"

                                                    • Gladstone Gander
                                                      Gladstone Gander

                                                      "'nk..oo." Close enough.

                                                      Delores swallowed thickly, it seemed as if this sudden shock had made her forget her magical tenancies which was a brilliant move on her behalf. 

                                                      "I don't suppose... letting us... get along with... what we were doing... is an option?"

                                                      "Not likely." Mambo tutted. "Like t' try again?"

                                                      "Uh, Mr. Halden... Madam.. uh.. would you believe that we're trying to... uh... raise money to pay off a ransom for our dear old... " She shot a desperate glance to the paralyzed Mel. "...mother?"

                                                       

                                                      The gumdrop took this moment to fall off her face.

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