This weekend’s prompt was;
“ “to/too/two.” Use one, use them all.”
Two to Little, too late.
Jimmy “Big Jim” Little was starting to go an alarming shade of apoplectic red, which was complemented nicely by the deathly and terrified pallor of his left-hand man, Travis, (Big Jim had lost his right arm in a nasty revolving door accident some years before) who was cowering under the ferocity of his master’s furious stare.
“What d’you mean there are only two? There were supposed to be four in here!”
“I know, Boss, but when we picked it up the box was sealed and the weight felt right. How were we to know..?”
“You mean you didn’t check!?” bellowed Jim, a vein beginning to throb at his temple now, “Didn’t I tell you it was important? DIDN’T I TELL YOU!!!?”
“B-B-But Boss, you always told me not to ask any questions about the boxes we pick up for you, and you said if I ever opened any of them, you’d cut off my…”
“I don’t care what you think I said, you fucking imbecile, I want someone I can trust to drive a couple of miles, pick up a package for me and bring home what l fucking asked for!”
Travis wisely remained silent, guessing (correctly, for a change) that any response he gave would only serve to further inflame Big Jim’s already incandescent fury.
“Well you’re just going to have to go back and get the other two,” said Jim, “and if you know what’s good for you, you won’t come back without them.”
Travis scuttled across Jim’s “office”; an empty warehouse with a desk and two chairs, surrounded by boxes and filing cabinets in the middle of the open expanse of concrete floor, to where Neville waited by door. (In what passed for Neville’s mind, discretion was most certainly the better part of valour and he’d decided to let the senior partner in the henchman hierarchy do the talking)
“What d’you tell ‘im Travis?” he asked, as his visibly shaken mugger-superior approached.
“Shut up you bloody fool,” said Travis, glancing back over his shoulder at Big Jim Little, (who was sitting at his desk with his head in his hands, massaging his throbbing temples, cursing the ineptitude of his staff and bemoaning the low intelligence of the goons you got these days) “he’ll hear you, then we’re both in deep shit.”
“I only asked…,” began Neville, with a surly look on, for want of a more descriptive turn of phrase, we shall have to call his face.
“Well don’t, ok? Just don’t.”
They walked to the car, Travis muttering under his breath and rapidly smoking a foul-smelling handmade cigarette, Neville dragging his feet and sulking like the world’s least convincing, most terrifying schoolboy; hands thrust deep in his pockets, head down, bottom lip stuck out like a bunion in a lorry tyre and his low, protruding forehead knitted in a ferocious scowl that dared the brave, unwitting or suicidal to say something to provoke him.
“We’ll have to go back and see Boris the Frog, find out what happened to the other two in the box before he delivered it to the drop,” said Travis, once they were back in the dilapidated green Range Rover that they’d stolen that morning for the sole purpose of collecting Jim’s package, “maybe inflict a bit of gentle persuasion, just to jog his memory.”
The prospect of physical violence always seemed to cheer Neville up and this occasion was no exception. He immediately brightened up, fastened his seatbelt and pushed a tape into the ancient cassette player on the Rover’s dashboard.
He turned to Travis, idiot grin fully restored, said, “Oooh! I love this one!” and twisted the volume knob to maximum.
With a grinding of gears and clouds of black, oily smoke, the pair of criminal masterminds headed for Boris the Frog’s secure storage facility, barely two miles up the bypass, with Brittney Spears’ “Oops I Did It Again” blaring from the broken sunroof, accompanied by two part harmonies in the key of Duh!
While the dysfunctional duo were heading for his main competitor’s lockup, Jimmy Little was sitting at his desk, carefully inspecting the contents of the package Travis had given him.
If anyone ever finds out, thought Big Jim, I’ll never live it down. I’d be laughed out of town. He winced at the thought.
“But they’re so beautiful.” he said under his breath, as he stroked the smooth, silky mane of the blue My Little Pony figurine he cradled in his hand.
He placed it gently back in the tissue-lined box, next to the purple pony that nestled there already and replaced the lid.
He had expected this delivery to have been the final addition to his huge private collection, he just needed Fluttershy and Applejack to complete the whole set of first edition ponies.
And now that fucking Russian wannabe mobster had screwed him out of what was rightfully his.
Well he’d bloody show Boris the bloody Frog, Travis and Neville would sort him out and bring home his beautiful, silky little playmates and he could reunite them with all their friends.
Boris “The Frog” Ribbitri heard the gravel-in-a-washing-machine sound of the Range Rover pulling up outside and gingerly took the box from his small floor safe. He closed the heavy door and slid the rug back into place, hurrying for the door before those two morons came in and started poking around.
He met Travis just as he was climbing out of the driving seat and while offering one hand in friendly greeting, he held out the box in the other, all the time talking and grinning.
“Oh I’m so glad you came back, there was nearly an awful mistake. You were supposed to take both boxes but they were delivered separately and one had been temporarily misplaced. But you’re here now and everything is where it is supposed to be, thank goodness.”
Boris looked from Travis to Neville and back again, both hands still held out in front of him, “You will take to Big Jim, yes? With Boris’ apologies for the mix-up and my best wishes, naturally.”
Neville just growled, but Travis patted his partner on the arm in a conciliatory manner and said, “Now, now Nev, Mr Ribbitri is being respectful,” he looked up at the glowering giant of a man, “remember what we said about respect?”
Neville wrinkled a brow that already looked like a badly-ploughed field and said, as if reading off some internal autocue, “Yes Travis. We must show respect. We must be polite. We must…”
“Yes, yes, ok Neville, you got the idea,” said Travis and turned back to Boris, who was watching the exchange with some amusement and took the package from him “Thank you Mr Ribbitri, I’ll be sure Big Jim gets this right away. Come on Nev, let’s get moving before rush hour kicks in.”
Travis nodded a goodbye to Boris, who was already on his way back to his office, climbed into the Range Rover and turned the ignition.
He looked around for Boris, thinking he could ask the Russian for a jump start, but he’d vanished into the maze of storage units.
Boris the Frog closed his office door and leant back against it, suddenly out of breath and sweating.
This was it. This was the moment he’d been planning for months.
He went to his desk and opened the bottom drawer, taking out a small black plastic box with a stubby antenna on the top and a single red button on the front.
Boris looked at his watch, placed the detonator on his desk blotter and went to the small drinks trolley in the corner. He poured himself a generous measure of vodka, returned to the desk and sat sipping his drink for a few minutes whilst humming a happy tune.
Outside in the car park, Travis had spent nearly fifteen minutes trying to get the piece of shit car running, while Neville knelt in the passenger seat and sang along to Britney’s greatest hits in an enthusiastic but tuneless bellow, with his head poking out the sunroof.
“Right, fuck this for a game of soldiers, let’s go and find Boris, he’ll have to loan us some wheels.” Travis set off in the direction he’d seen the Russian heading earlier, carrying Jim’s precious package.
Grumbling, Neville turned off the music and ambled across the tarmac in the wake of his partner in crime.
Boris Ribbitri, small-time gangster and occasional hitman for the Russian mob, placed his empty glass on the blotter, picked up the small black box, pulled up the antenna and, with a triumphant laugh, said “Fuck you Little Jim!” and pushed the red button.
At the exact same moment, he heard a knock at the door and just had time to look up in horror as Travis and Neville walked in carrying Jim’s package.