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July 1, 2013

I Hraet You (70)

Beat 70: The Shiv Quota Has Not Been Met

Well, now.  This day has turned out to be particularly terrible.

A part of Lloyd -- the part currently allowing him to let his face stay planted in the grass -- wanted to just go to sleep and pretend everything that had happened thus far was just the stuff of some stalker’s deepest fantasy.  But another part of him realized that this WAS the stuff of some stalker’s deepest fantasy.  A fantasy that had gone horribly wrong given the nature of reality, but a fantasy all the same.  And now that he had a moment to reflect, it was a fantasy he didn’t much care for.

I think it would be best if I made a tactical retreat, Lloyd thought, hoping that a worm hadn’t crawled into his mouth.  I made the grave mistake of engaging with Miss O’Leary in her home -- giving her an advantage that she likely didn’t need.  Once I’ve my bearings, I’ll be certain to resume quickly enough.  He sniffled.  As soon as I get my stomach pumped, that is.

If Lloyd’s explosive escape had given him anything (besides more property damage to his name), it was restored control over his arms.  He pushed himself up off the lawn, and with a bit of leaning he managed to stand on his feet.  Not exactly grounds for celebration, of course; he stood, but he did so while remaining strapped to a chair.  His ankles started to ache from the strain of keeping him balanced, and at best he looked less like a human and more like a squatting hunchback.  For the moment, “walking” came to a mix of waddles, hops, and scorching calves.  A clumsy effort, but one that could work.

He sure hoped it did.  The alternative was spending more time with a machete-slinging psychopath.

And now to make my less-than-daring escape!  Lloyd’s eyes darted about.  Now then.  The quickest way back home would be…this way?  Or perhaps that way?  Well, whatever the case, getting a move on is in my best interest; I only hope that my state of duress attracts no probing gazes.  Or harmful judgments.

His eyes shifted to the left.  And sure enough, someone DID gaze probingly at him.  A girl -- and a tall one at that.  A girl with pale skin, garnet-brown hair, and dark eyes.  And ragged clothes.  And of course, he couldn’t ignore her --

“It’s you!” Lloyd said with a gasp.  “You’re the one from the student council meeting!”  He waddled towards her, failing to register her clear shock; she’d fallen backwards, and looked about ready to scuttle away like a crab.  She didn’t yet; she just scooted her butt across the lawn.

“No, wait!  I just want to --!”  Lloyd glanced down at his body.  “Er, forgive my state of disarray.  You see, I’ve had quite a time today, and as you can likely imagine, I --”

The girl just stared at him.  She stood up, dusted herself off, and then broke into a full-on run.

“Wait!  Wait, I just want to -- I said wait, blast it!”  Lloyd tried to follow behind her, but even if he had free reign over his limbs he’d never match her speed.  By the time he’d even entered the backyard, she’d vaulted well over the fence…and several more soon after.

Such stunning athleticism!  Could she be some manner of warrior?!  Lloyd could only stand in the backyard gaping, but once the novelty wore off he shook his head rapidly.  No, no, no.  I’m missing the point here.  Just who was that young lady, and why on earth was she watching me?  And how did she find me in the first place?  But he shook his head again a half-second later.  No, no, no -- right now, that’s not a priority either.  I need to escape before Miss O’Leary’s inevitable second wind.  My flesh is weak and easily-rent by the common machete!  To leave this place behind is to ensure my…

He waddled to the left.  And he noted that once again, he wasn’t alone.  Jane sat in a rocking chair on the patio, nodding and smiling wistfully to herself as she stared at the night sky.  “Ah, Madam O’Leary!  It’s such a relief to see you here in person!” Lloyd said as he waddled her way.  “Perhaps now, this night will have some semblance of safety woven into its starlit happenstance.”

Jane kept on nodding, giving Lloyd little more than a sidelong glance. “Mmmm.  It’s nice, isn’t it?”

“Er…you mean the night?  Well, yes, I suppose so -- but I’d prefer it if…”  Lloyd stopped.  It had been a few hours since he’d fully eaten one of Sheila’s “meals”, but for some reason he felt like throwing up all over again.  “A-are you all right?”

Jane nodded a bit more. “Why wouldn’t I be, baby?”

“Baby?”

“Oh ho yeah.  Momma’s feelin’ good tonight.”  She stumbled out of her chair and turned to Lloyd -- smiling, but redder than the ace of hearts, and with limbs and lips a-wobbling.  “You and me?  We should…let’s, like, totally dance the night away or something.  You -hic- you know the Charleston, don’t you, kid?”

Under normal circumstances Lloyd would have proudly told her that he wouldn’t be a man if he didn’t -- but somehow, the timing seemed less than ideal.  “M-Madam, are you --?”

“Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey!  No good!  That’s no good!  Didn’t I -hic- didn’t I tell ya to call me Jane?”

“Well, yes, but it seems so inappropriate that I --”

“CALL ME JANE, YOU BONY SON OF A BITCH!  AND GET DOWN ON YOUR KNEES!”

“Yes, Jane!  As you wish, Jane!  Please don’t hurt me, Jane!  My body can’t take any more, Jane!”  Lloyd tumbled onto his knees, but kept his hands clasped in prayer.  Hopefully she’d make no objections to that.

“That’s better.”  Her eyes widened.  “Aw, I’m real sorry about that, Lloyd.  I -hic- I know you’re just tryin’ to be a nice guy and all.  I just can’t help myself sometimes, you know?  I just get so lonely sometimes, what with my husband gone and all…I know he’ll be -hic- he’ll be back someday, but…but it’s just so hard, you know?”

“I can’t say I know the exact circumstances, but you have my sympathy, ma’am.”

“Hey, SHUT UP!  Nobody asked you!”

“But you just said --!”

“Don’t listen to me!  I’m drunk!”  Jane reached past her chair and showed off a bottle.  A big, empty bottle, the nature of which he could quickly guess.  But the label said it all:

BASHER KONG BEER.  IT’LL KNOCK YOU ON YOUR ASS.

“Hey, Lloyd.  Listen to me for a sec.”

“But you just said --!”

“WHAT DID I SAY, LLOYD?”

“But you just said --!”

Jane grimaced at him -- and then, she slammed the bottle against the wall, breaking it into two.  One half went spiraling through the air, but not a single drop of alcohol went with it.  The other half remained tucked in her grasp…with its jagged edges now aimed at Lloyd’s face. 

“Is Momma gonna have to slice a bitch?”

Lloyd clasped his hands even tighter.

“Now listen.  I just got myself a great idea here.  My greatest idea ever.”  She swaggered toward Lloyd with a smirk, failing to take a single coherent step but keeping her bottle perfectly aligned with his face at all times.  “I know all about you, kiddo -- how you’re this -hic- agent of love of whatever.  It’s cute, really.  And you’re cute, too.  So -hic- so I was thinking…hey, what if you and I did something really special tonight?”

Lloyd clasped his hands so tightly he thought his arms would shatter.  

Jane ran an eye over Lloyd.  “Huuuuuuuuuuh.  You know, you’d be perfect if you put on a few hundred pounds, but I -hic- I guess desperate, lonely, badass housewives can’t be choosers.  If you’re good enough for my daughter, you’re good enough for me. Besides, it’s the perfect way to show her up for good!  So let’s do some real dancing!  I’ll lead, you follow!  Whatever the hell that means!  Heeheehee, I am sooooooooooo getting sued for this.  Oh well!  Wooooooooooorth it!”

“Ma’am -- Jane -- let’s be rational about this.  This is not the most decorous action to take; I’m almost certain there are several dozen laws against this!  And beyond that, what of your relationship with your daughter?  Isn’t this the one act that will fracture your bond?”  Lloyd shook his head -- or at least dragged his chin through the ground.  “I’ve no intention of sullying either of our names, but I would gladly do what I can to support you otherwise!”

“And who said you could do that?”

Lloyd couldn’t have turned around even if he wanted to, but he certainly didn’t need to.  He heard the voice.  He saw the shadow.  He knew that before him stood a woman with a knife-edged bottle -- and behind him stood a girl with a giant-sized knife.

“I thought I told you to only think of me,” Sheila growled, with a grip that nearly broke the handle of her machete.  “And then you go and start thinking of my mom?  It’s like you WANT me to stab you!”

“It’s like I -hic- haven’t taught you anything,” Jane said, her speech slurring more than ever.  “We DON’T stab our guests!  That’s rule number one!”

“Then what are you doing with that bottle?”

“Huh?  Oh, right, I forgot I had this.”  She stared at it like a monkey with a banana -- and then she thrust it towards Sheila’s face.  “I’m gonna stab YOU instead!”

“Not if I stab you first!  Lloyd is mine!”

“Lloyd is MINE!”

“MINE!”

“MINE!”

“MINE!”

“MINE!”

“YOURS!”  Jane tilted her head.  “Wait…I mean, MINE!  Heh heh, man, I’m so drunk.”

No!  They can’t fight now -- they’ll ruin their cushy lawn with all that blood!  Lloyd thought.  I need to diffuse the situation somehow!  But the most I have right now are my arms, and I suspect those are particularly useless at the moment.  There has to be something, though…come on, Lloyd.  Think!  Think!  Think!

He clamped his eyes shut.  And as he did, something formed in his mind.  The image -- the answer he needed that could spare him and the O’Leary ladies from any more carnage.

Said image just turned out to be Sheila’s breasts.

Oh, damn it all!  That’s of no use to me no-  Lloyd’s eyes shot open.  Wait a minute.  That’s it!  He turned his head as far back as he could (in other words, not very).  “Miss O’Leary!  Such strenuous activity is Ill-advised at the moment!”

“Yeah?  And why’s that?”

“It’s simple!  It’s obvious!  It’s so clear what disasters may be wrought!” he shouted.  “If you continue this struggle…if you face off with your mother in this, the greatest battle ever fought between kin…then there’s no doubt in my mind that the struggle will rip your brassiere asunder!

“Wh-WHAT?!”

“Yes!  It’s entirely possible, I’d wager!  You are a growing girl, after all, and to engage in a battle such as this would no doubt do immense damage to your --”

“No!  Shut up!  Sh-SHUT UP!  I-I-I don’t believe you!”  After a sudden war cry, Lloyd heard the rapid pattering of footsteps.  And shortly afterward, the sound of something snapping.  He couldn’t see anything for himself, but somehow he could have guessed what he was missing -- and what Sheila was in danger of losing.

Suddenly, that war cry turned into a tear-laden, snot-tossing wail.  And the next thing he knew, Lloyd heard those wails echoing through the night.

“Oh my.  She’s still not wearing her glasses; she might not be able to get back into her room.”  Lloyd heard a few dogs start to yelp.  “This could be problematic, I think.”

But of course, he had his own problems to tend to first.  He’d taken his eyes off Jane, and she’d made a point to remind him of her presence -- namely, by snagging his throat in her grip and shoving the bottle an inch away from his face.  “Is that how a man does things?” she asked with a skeptical (but still-glazed) stare.

“Hrk -- manliness is…not something I’m well versed in,” he squeaked.

Jane crouched down a bit further and looked him right in his bulging eyes.  “You really care about my daughter, don’t you?”

“I care about a lot of people.  The problems start when I try to do something about it.”

Jane raised an eyebrow, and with a snort she let Lloyd’s head fall to the ground.  While he sputtered for air, she walked across the lawn with the bottle slung atop her shoulder.  “Guess you’ve got what it takes,” she muttered.  “Looks like taking care of my daughter is in your hands.”

“Ma’am?”

“It’s in your hands, Lloyd.  ‘Cause it sure as hell isn’t in mine.”  And with those words spoken, she headed towards the neighborhood streets.

Lloyd sighed and massaged his forehead -- but before he could even think of having a moment of peace, Jane came rushing back and seized his neck in a choke hold.  “What the hell are you doing out here?  Not planning on running away, are you?  Are you?”

“I was earlier, yes!”

“Get your ass back in that house or I’ll paint my house with your blood.”  And with those words spoken, she headed back toward the streets with her bottle slung over her shoulder.  “I’d better not catch -hic- you trying to make a break for it, either.  I’ll find my daughter, but you’ll be the one doing the heavy lifting.”

“Ma’am --”

Jane flung her arms into the air.  “I’m DRUNK!” she cheered.  Making it into the streets unharmed -- or even on her feet -- might have counted as a small miracle.

A shame that Lloyd had yet to get his.  Maybe now, I can at least get some sleep, he thought with a weary smile.

TO BE HEARTINUED…

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