For Cliff, Escalator Extraordinaire, a story about some pants.
“I only have one question: where did I get these pants?” Robert scanned the room lazily, taking in the two armed goons standing to either side of the door, the boss man casually seated behind the executive desk, the open windows that were only slightly too high for him to easily survive a normal jump to the ground far below, and finally to his own lower half–the red poofy pants clearly not the ones he had worn in the bar when he had allowed them to capture him.
When no one said anything, Robert gestured to himself, tone mocking as he chuckled, “Seriously? Did you raid MC Hammer’s wardrobe for these things?” He caught the ghost of a smile on one of the guard’s faces, gone before he could really register it as an expression, but he knew it had been there. He still spoke to the room, but directing his words slightly more specifically to the man at the door. “Come on, guys. If this is really my last moment alive, I’d hate to die wearing ridiculous pants. What happened to my clothes?” He grinned, then added, “And which one of you guys undressed me?” He eyed the guard, who was now actively trying to stifle an expression. “Was it you, tough guy?” He turned his attention to the boss man still sitting behind the desk. “I know you’ve been trying to get me naked for years.” He pulled at the pants, the material stretching in his fingers. The pants definitely had a lot of room in them to move. That was good. He would need that soon. “Are these your pants?” he asked, stepping forward to lean against the desk. He saw the boss man’s eyes flicker away from his face to his waist as Robert pressed himself against the worn wood, the most response he had seen from the man since he had been brought to this room.
“Wait,” Robert said, nodding as if he had suddenly figured it all out. “I remember now.” He leaned down to peer into the boss man’s face. “It was your daughter. She has been trying to get me naked almost as long as you have.”
The boss man’s eyes narrowed at the insult, and Robert grinned, knowing he had finally found the right spot. “Did she tell you about it?” he jeered. “Did she like what she saw?” He looked around the room, nodding at the guards. “I don’t mind, you know.” He sat up straighter, sure to flex the muscles in his chest. “I like to give every now and then, charity, of course. Poor girl can’t get laid without drugging men in bars and dragging them back to her father’s place–”
Robert didn’t see the exact signal the boss man gave to his goons, but the two soldiers at the door moved as one, swinging automatic weapons into practiced hands. Robert hadn’t spent the last ten years training for no reason–he dove to the side of the desk, feet coming under him in a perfect crouch as bullets sprayed the wall and the window, glass shattering and shards of wood sprinkling his head and shoulders. With barely a pause, he redirected to scoot behind the desk, crashing into the boss man’s legs just as the barely trained goons continued their barrage to follow Robert, canvassing the back of the room with gunfire.
Robert felt the jerk as the boss man took a few bullets before he fell, but not enough to end him. He landed with a heavy thump on the floor behind the desk, and Robert ignored him, reaching under the desk to find the handgun he knew was secured just underneath. The cold feel of steel was reassuring, even though he knew it would be there–he’d seen the glint of metal the first time the boss man’s daughter had dragged him into this room to have her way with him on her father’s desk. He’d been undercover then, scoping out his future target, and she had been a lovely bonus, moreso since he used the unexpected encounter to plan his final strategy. The rest had been so very easy.
The two goons stopped firing when they realized they had shot their boss, and Robert wasted no time, jerking up on one knee and popping two deadly shots with the handgun over the desk. The two goons fell without a cry, but the sudden silence echoed in Robert’s ears. A grunt from behind him caught his attention, and he turned to look at the boss man, who now lay clutching his wounded thigh with both hands.
Robert considered the red stain spreading across the khaki from beneath his fingers and looked down at his own ridiculous pants. There was nothing for it then. He finished the job with a quick final shot, then shoved the handgun into his roomy waistband.
He moved to the window, calculating the distance to the ground. Perhaps the pants would soften the impact a little bit; after all, they were called parachute pants.
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