Errand's Fool

The yellow Jaguar slid easily into the parallel parking space in front of the small hardware store.  He was hoping to get a few items for a couple of the cars he was fixing up as well as things for his home.  A few Piper-related things for his home.

He waited for it to beep, knowing the security system was armed, and strode inside.  It was a place he visited many a time, and he gave an amicable nod toward the cashier as he moved down one of the small aisles.

    • Lilly Teal
      Lilly Teal

      A nice, quiet shopping trip was a luxury people like Jacob could not afford often. No doubt he intended to enjoy it to the fullest extent. Have a nice, quiet browse, pick up his car tools, maybe get a good deal on some items, and jaguar his way home.

      If only it was that easy. The aisle he has started down seemed normal enough but, on closer inspection, if you picked one up and shook it, it would become apparent that the boxes of nails and screws were completely empty. Someone's been lazy with the stocking. Perhaps he needed to call the manager.

      Rounding the corner at the end of the aisle was complicated by the fact that a cunning trip-wire had been laid across the shelves. Exactly where nobody would suspect it. Because who suspects trip wires in a hardware store?!

      With a small twang, a wooden plan that was being held back against the other shelf came around for his head like a lever, bringing the missing nails and screws with it.

      • DarkwingPsycho
        DarkwingPsycho

        Jacob moved easily, leisurely down the aisles, taking his time to see what was available and what items he could grab that he never knew he needed.  Strange that when he picked up a container it was empty.  That had never been the case before during other visits, and it wasn't just one container - it was multiple.  Striding around the corner to find a clerk, he knelt to tie his shoe, not noticing until after the fact that he'd barely missed being clocked by a plank.  It immediately imbedded itself into the shelving on the opposite side, thanks to all of the screws and nails protruding from its face.

        Glancing up, he blinked and stood up slowly, looking over the piece curiously.  Such a dangerous hazard in a store...perhaps left there precariously by mistake.  He'd have to alert someone in case there were more...

        • Lilly Teal
          Lilly Teal

          There were indeed more, so it was worth alerting the nearest clerk. Unfortunately, on the way to finding a clerk, Jacob met a fancy set of knives that just 'happened' to fall out of their packaging near his head, a blowtorch that turned itself on as he passed, and...

          was that an honest to goodness bear trap?!

          • DarkwingPsycho
            DarkwingPsycho

            Okay.  Something was up.  Jacob's luck was generally nowhere near this bad.  At least, it hadn't been for a very long while...  Luckily despite his age his reflexes were on point, and he narrowly evaded each trap, even if his suit didn't.

            He frowned, looking pained.  "Morty..." he muttered.  "Come on out!" he called.  "I know it's you, so you might as well-!"

            He nearly ran headlong into the clerk he had nodded to earlier.  "M-me sir?" he questioned, scratching his head.  "Do you need help finding something?"  He glanced behind Jacob and noticed the closed bear trap with a bit of pant leg in it followed by a pile of knives.

            "It seems your store is a bit hazardous today," Jacob responded breezily.  "I believe I'll come back another time."

            He nodded in farewell to the clerk, then headed out, not realizing the entire back of his pants were missing along with the bit of leg.

            • Lilly Teal
              Lilly Teal

              On another side on St. Canard entirely, Matthew settled back into his chair comfortably and took a long sip of his tea, fully intending to enjoy his day off.

              • DarkwingPsycho
                DarkwingPsycho

                It wouldn't be long before Matthew's cell phone would buzz, and a familiar number would pop up.

                "You would not believe the day I'm having," Jacob said with a mixture of amusement and annoyance in his tone.  "Up for a little rendezvous?"

                • Lilly Teal
                  Lilly Teal

                  For heaven's SAKE. He was tempted, very briefly, not to pick up, the comfortable seat and the warm tea's call were too strong, too seductive.

                  "Tell me," he said with half-weary amusement at Jacob's invitation. "Should I wear something I don't mind being ruined?"

                  • DarkwingPsycho
                    DarkwingPsycho

                    "Well, it is me, Matthew," Jacob replied, the grin apparent in his voice.  "So...yes."

                    He gave some vague details about his morning, and they agreed to meet up at a tailor shop to replace Jacob's ruined suit.

                    The Mallard's Warehouse stood on the corner of Peacock and Curassow, and Jacob was already inside browsing when his friend showed up.  The duck smiled widely and moved toward him, holding out his hand for a handshake.  "I'd say good morning, but it hasn't been."

                    • Lilly Teal
                      Lilly Teal

                      Matthew snorted, taking shaking his hand before turning to admire a beautiful tie in a very dark green. "I gathered. You have such a way with people, Jacob. They're lining up around the block to kill you, aren't they?"

                      Apparently so, especially if any of their past meetings were anything to go by, but that wasn't entirely fair. Plenty of people were lining up around the block to kill Matthew too. But that didn't mean he couldn't find it funny. "Or have you just run into an incredibly bad run of luck?"

                      The details had been so vague it was hard to tell if the 'accidents' had had any intent behind them but... well, it was Jacob. It was most likely he'd annoyed someone who wanted to kill him rather than it being a series of random and dangerous coincidences.

                      • DarkwingPsycho
                        DarkwingPsycho

                        Jacob grinned.  "After more than three decades of pissing people off, I'd expect nothing less.  Keeps me on my toes, although I'd hate to keep going through suits.  As for luck...I don't believe in it."  Just don't tell a certain green-clad gander that.

                        "What have you been up to, my friend?"  This said casually as though he hadn't been endangered throughout the morning.  He motioned for an employee to come over and start taking his measurements.

                        • Lilly Teal
                          Lilly Teal

                          "Enjoying a tolerably slow existence. Nobody's tried to kill or blackmail me in almost a whole month now," he said, as if this was some miraculous achievement. It... actually was, for people like them. Though one could argue that Matthew had been staying very effectively off the radar before he'd made friends with one Jacob Mallard, creator of trouble, agitator of people, firer of guns.

                          An employee swept forward, tape measure at the ready, and began measuring the client with the quiet efficiency that was the hallmark of The Mallard's Warehouse. Everything here was always at its most precise, perfect to the last crease. Even the displays lined up impeccably, the lights catching the cloth at just the right angle to-

                          A light fixture flickered slightly, and the faint smell of burning curled around a far back corner of the shop as its wiring began to spark, unnoticed by anyone.

                          • DarkwingPsycho
                            DarkwingPsycho

                            "I'm sorry to hear that, old boy," Jacob commented lightly.  "You must be bored out of your skull."  He shifted, glancing down at the tailor who was measuring a rather sensitive area.  "Careful there, Richard."

                            "Sorry, Mr. Mallard."

                            As "Richard" stood up, he looped the measuring tape around Jacob's neck and pulled taut.  "Ha HA!" he guffawed in triumph.

                            • Lilly Teal
                              Lilly Teal

                              Ha HA!

                              HA... ha? 'Richard' suddenly found a strong hand clamping around his throat, making it a little hard to focus on gloating and tightening. This had, perhaps, been ill-planned. Clearly an attempted murder of opportunity. A smarter man would have gauged the situation, the people around him, and realised a direct assault was a foolhardy one. He should have, rather, set up a disaster and distracted the two men until it was a little too late to stop the disaster from spreading.

                              The spark in the corner of the room had already set the fabrics on that side well alight.

                              "Friend of yours, Jacob?"

                              "FOOLS," the man chortled, whipping the measuring tape at Matthew's face and kicking out at the same time. In the distraction, he ran for the security panel, lowering the steel shutters over the doors and windows with more triumphant cackling as the heat and smoke slowly began to overtake the whole shop.

                              • DarkwingPsycho
                                DarkwingPsycho

                                Jacob acked in surprise, then took in a rattling breath when his assailant was quickly otherwise engaged.  "You could say that," he wheezed.

                                When the wily nuisance had sealed off the exits and the much-needed ventilation, the SHUSH agent recovered, briefly rubbing his throat before glancing toward Matthew.

                                "Looks like they're having a fire sale," he quipped with a crooked grin.  "Now, to extinguish this troublesome headache."

                                "AAARGH!" the would-be tailor screamed.  "Those puns!  You're killing me!"

                                "Hardly, Morty, but this game of 'ambush the agent' is growing tiresome.  What say you find a new outlet for that unfortunate temper.  Like finger painting or weed-pulling."

                                "It's MUERTE!" the man cried, stomping his feet angrily.  This caused his feeble disguise to start peeling off of his face.  "And this time you'll pay for what you did to me!  You're trapped, Agent Mallard!"

                                "...You're in here, too, Morty."

                                "HA!  But I have a clever...escape..."  He paled, then frantically pressed a few buttons on the panel.  There was a loud buzzing noise as the metal panes tried to lift, then the sound of gears grinding and sticking.  The controls sparked and sputtered, also catching fire like the clearance section.

                                • Lilly Teal
                                  Lilly Teal

                                  "Is this the standard of your mortal enemies now, Jacob?" Said in the same completely calm tone as his friend as if they weren't currently TRAPPED IN A BURNING BUILDING. "I'm a little disappointed I must say."

                                  I mean, who locks themselves into a death trap and forgets to leave an exit? He grinned, but raised his eyebrows as 'Muerte' somehow managed to kill the controls rather than his intended target.

                                  "Ah well now that's just bad luck." Can't blame the poor man for that. "Shall we all head for the back and see if we can't find an unshuttered window to break open?

                                  "STOP HELPING HIM, HE NEEDS TO DIE," Morty shouted over his shoulder, flapping frantically at the controls.

                                  "Well you can't exactly enjoy that if you're dead too. Come over here and help."

                                  "BUT-"

                                  • DarkwingPsycho
                                    DarkwingPsycho

                                    "You and me both," Jacob replied to Matthew's observation.  "Come along, Morty, make yourself useful."  He waved him toward the back room...where it seemed there were no windows.  It was warehouse-like, with back stock and a tiny breakroom and staff bathroom.  The only exit out of the back was chained shut with a giant lock.

                                    Jacob glanced toward his friend.  "I am terribly sorry to inquire, old boy, but I don't suppose your horns could break open those bothersome chains?"

                                    "I'll show you bothersome!" Muerte snapped, taking a pair of sewing scissors and leaping for the SHUSH agent.

                                    The store was beginning to fill with smoke.

                                    • Lilly Teal
                                      Lilly Teal

                                      "I can certainly try." Matthew shrugged, stepping out of the way as Muerte leaped into the fray. "You'll have to deal with him in the meantime."

                                      Livid with rage, the villain of the hour started swinging the scissors at Jacob, attempting to get in one good stab, every swing punctuated by another word in a very angry sentence. "Stop! Ignoring! The! Threat! I! Pose!"

                                      "If you could kindly keep him from posing too close to me while I work," the ibex added sardonically, getting a little tired of the theatrics. The giant lock was examined, weighed in one hand, before he held it fast and bent his head to allow his horns to slide under the chain. The lock was heavy, but the chain was comparatively light, probably a cheaper replacement after the original was damaged or misplaced. Just one quick, sharp shock should do-

                                      Snap.

                                      "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo."

                                      • DarkwingPsycho
                                        DarkwingPsycho

                                        Jacob sighed  "I'm afraid it's an ongoing job, old boy."

                                        The SHUSH agent easily dodged Muerte's clumsy swings.  "The most threat you could be to me would be a papercut," he quipped.  "Don't quit your day job, Morty.  Or whatever it is you do when you're not pestering me."

                                        "It's MUERTE!!"

                                        He lunged and lost his balance, and Jacob snatched the other man's arm and reeled him backward.  Jacob forced Muerte's arm behind his back and wrestled the knife away.  When the man threatened to escape, he tightened his grip and the angle.

                                        "MY SHOULDER!" he howled.  "YOU BROKE IT!"

                                        "It's merely dislocated," Jacob said calmly.  Then he glanced toward Matthew.  "Progress?"