“Open up, chicken-shits.”
Faa was standing outside the door with David. More specifically, Faa was standing outside the door, and David was standing a good ten feet away from the armed guards who flanked the heavy blast door into the Rift Manipulation room. Johnny rolled his eyes as the guards fingered their rifles.
“C’mon, you know the guards ain’t gonna scare me. I’m what you wanted, and I’m here, so open up. Don’t get cold feet on me, now, when I’m so close to making you all look like a bunch of fuckin’ morons.”
There was the sound of grinding and clicking and, with a final massive thunk, the door was unlocked. Johnny almost skipped back to where David stood, seemingly overjoyed.
“Well, whad’ya say partner?” he whispered, “Gonna go have a punch-up with Cheesedicks United. Wanna come with me?”
“Err…” David looked at the guards again, “I’m gonna pass. Lots of guns.”
“Yeah,” Faa sighed, “we really should look into making you bulletproof. Well, all right. You still pretty much got things secure out here, right?”
David thought of General Tate, and smiled.
“Yeah. We got this. Now you go in there and take care of them.”
“10-4,” Johnny said with a sarcastic salute. He’d gotten halfway back to the door when David stopped him, slightly panicked.
“Wait!” he called, “What’s your plan, anyway?”
The Immortal King of the Gypsies only smiled, shrugged, and disappeared through the blast door. On the other side was another massive room made of featureless metal and other nonreactive surfaces. On the far end was the Rift Manipulator and blast shields, set up much like they had been in Johnny’s room before. On the other end, nearer the door, a group of five angry young scientists stood next to a frankly embarrassing amount of explosive ordnance, with at least two guns apiece aimed directly at the Gypsy’s head.
“Oh, really,” Johnny said with a smile upon seeing them, “After all the fun we’ve shared, must we still be hostile?”
They didn’t respond, so Johnny took it as an invitation to continue and began to walk around the room.
“I see your room in smaller… that’s good. I deserved a bigger one than you guys. I mean, hell, all you lot have done since you got here was piggyback on the shoulders of anyone around here with genuine talent or drive in order to make sure your parents’ money was well spent in getting you this job. I’ve asked around, even read a few of your things myself: nothing new, nothing interesting or groundbreaking. A lot of the same old shit reheated like some kind of gas station burrito… filled with dookie, of course.”
He looked back quickly to see if they were paying attention. The guns were still trained on him, and their jaws were still to a person set in a nasty scowl. They were indeeed paying attention.
“And then there’s the way you all dress… sheesh, do you guys do anything that’s original, really? I got news for you: recycling the hip from two decades back isn’t working for you anymore than the two decade old hip replacement is doing in your Gramma’s casket. I mean, when you look at it, your entire existence is just a joke. You’re all the ultimate argument against recycling: ideologies, fashion, music, entertainment… it never quite comes back 100% pure, does it? Always some flaws, and boy can I see ’em in this bunch. If my old newspapers only spat out news about Ronald Reagan mixed in with Monica Lewinsky or some other nostalgic mishmash… I’d just burn ’em all.”
He thought he heard one of the guns cock the hammer back. It was working, now it was time to go for the kill.
“Of course, from what I’ve heard, you guys have been doing a pretty good job of burning through your pals, lately. You really can’t expect someone like you, someone who’s seen and experienced so little to understand what’s happening in the Rift… but I’m sure you all thought you were just special enough to handle it, right? How did that work out for you? For your friends, drooling into a Dixie cup and filling their adult diapers? At what point are you just supposed to throw up your hands and say your entire existence has just been wasted?”
One of them finally spoke. Johnny turned to face the group and saw that it was Adorra who was the red-faced culprit, her bottle-blonde hair a mess, hanging down over $400 horn-rim glasses.
“JUST SHUT UP!”
“OR WHAT?!” Johnny hollered back, “you’ll shoot me? Ha! You all know that even if one of you Breakfast Club rejects managed to hit me (and I highly doubt it) I’ll just be back on my feet and giving you the business in a few minutes. And also, if you’re thinking of knocking me out with a few hundred rounds and tossing me in the rift, let me assure you: I’ll find your parents, your grandparents, your favorite grade school teacher, the one who told you you could be anything you wanted to be an other assorted horseshit… and I’ll get ’em. Real good.”
There was silence except for the labored breathing now coming from the group. Johnny smiled and continued.
“Of course, that’s the tricky part,” he continued, “you need me here, bright eyed and bushy tailed, to complete what you want to do. You can’t make good on your threats without me… ooh, that must burn you all up. All this time, you’ve been told you’re amazing and you’ve believed it… and now here I am, gruff and grumpy me who just wants to grab a beer and watch some porn tonight… I’m the one who gets everything. That’s what this is all about, isn’t it? Your collective tiny dicks on a celestial, cosmological scale, right? I mean, you’ve got to be SOMETHING, you’ve got to amount to SOMETHING… but are you really that sure about that particular path in the universe… when I’m standing right in front of you?”
“You have to do it.”
Adorra, seemingly the ringleader, spoke again, her voice quivering a little but a certain smugness hiding beneath the surface.
“I don’t gotta do nothing, honey, but stay black and die,” Johnny shot back, crossing his arms.
“Oh, yes you do,” she replied, her smugness coming to the surface, “You see, we’ve got more people in our camp than you think. You’ve managed to piss off almost everyone in this building at one point or another, and we’ve pretty much all agreed that you’ve got to go, whatever the price. So yes, Gypsy, you do have to do it… or we’ll put two bullets in your best friend’s head.”
She gestured to a screen showing outside the room, where both of the guards had their rifles put to David’s forehead. Johnny looked up at the monitor relay and grunted.
“Fair enough,” he said.
“You see, Johnny,” Adorra’s voice dripped with contempt, “You’re the villain here. We’re the heroes. You’re arrogant, brutal, callous, disrespectful, violent, ghoulish, and in all other ways wrong. When we came here, we all wanted to help you. We all wanted to make you better. But you were a spoiled child and you refused our help. You made our lives a living hell and turned us into toys for your amusement, and that is wrong. We consider it an honor to be the ones who finally punish you for all your crimes against humanity. We’re removing something evil and wrong from the world by forcing you to permanently be stuck between dimensions. Yes, it will destroy life as we know it, but it will be worth it to ensure such a wicked, spiteful man like you never darkens our doorways again.”
“Ooooh, you spent a long time working on the speech, didn’t you, dearie?” Johnny fired right back. He was about to make another comment when his jaw suddenly went slack in mid thought, his index finger frozen vertically to make a point. He blinked a few times, his brow furrowed in concentration. For the first time in eons, he seemed confused.
“Wait, wait… hold on a second. So… what you’re saying, what you’re all saying… is that you’d willfully unmake existence within this dimension, if that is indeed the cause of what you want me to do… and fundamentally change the order of the very fabric of reality… just because I wasn’t nice to you?”
There was no response from the group. Johnny took that to mean “Yes.” He shrugged and blew out a loud breath, completely flabbergasted.
“Well… shit. I’ve got to admit, that’s a new one on me.”
“Open up, chicken-shits.”