There But By a Candy Bar Go I

“Who? John Woo, that’s who.”

Emily’s first one liner was both trite and generally obscure. She is breaking all sorts of new ground today. As of yesterday she had never dreamed of firing a submachine gun upside down with her pinky finger or prevailing against frothy balaclava clad terrorists but Emily was surprisingly competent at both. She attributes her good fortune to Vitamin E and exercise; that and the submachine gun she was able to slip off a Schwarzenegger clone facing the other direction.

The mess is staggering and most assuredly the janitor has passed from this Earth. The whole second floor of the building is sloppy dead, save Emily. She has no time to clean, she heard the call for reinforcement and army boots are clomping down the hallway. Emily hopes her fifteen minutes of hero lasts her the whole encounter but she’s not optimistic. It’s been ten minutes and adrenalin reserves are running dry. Suddenly she pictures a candy bar in the vending machine downstairs and she knows it to be the best thing man has ever made. Her stick has a new carrot.

“Echo niner dead. Must complete.”

With that squad of five nondescript men in identical uniform enter. They wear all that is black and bulletproof. It’s SWAT chic from hair to big toe nail. If it can’t kill someone they don’t have it on them except the radio. And Emily was sure they could kill her with that if they really tried. This much she had gathered from the dead but she’s intent on gathering more.

From cubicle to cubicle, she darts quietly between scans. The nosy middle managers of the world had been training her all this time. She acquires a new chrome steel L to replace the old blocky pair of rectangles that ran out of ammunition and fills her messenger bag full of grenades like a militant squirrel. It occurs to her that she might want a bulletproof vest but then she remembers the sound of velcro. Offense would have to be enough.

They come quickly, five men through five doors, not a door to spare. The first comes right in her cubicle. She’s crotched next to her computer under the desk. With three too many she plugs him in the head. The second comes barreling in with full auto and she rolls in her office chair propelled by the recoil of five bullets. His radio cord snags on a VGA cable mid-strafe and he meets a CRT monitor in the head. OSHA would have a field day with propping a CRT up on intersecting cubicle walls but Emily blesses the irresponsible dead man. She breathes slightly and wonders if that’s all she has in her.

The third comes behind her with simple arithmetic and an ugly knife. She pulls the trigger and he smirks with time he doesn’t have. She slaps him in the face with the hot gun barrel and proceeds to use the NYPD nutcracker on his head until gray matter leaks on the carpet. The fourth sweeps methodically and remotely from across the room through four cubicles. She is saved by a very well placed refrigerator and an awkwardly placed second magazine that hampers reloading. She serves a grenade that bounce off poor dead Phillip Smith’s cubicle wall, taps Mr. Four on the head and proceeds to decapitate him messily. Number five leaves urgently.

Emily goes to the lobby where a panic stricken receptionist is on the phone with 911. The vending machine stands monolithic next to the utterly destroyed entrance. Emily searches her pockets and her bag but it bears no fruit. Without a dime or a bullet to get her chocolate, she crumbles and cry. The grand sum of the last half hour weighs down on her and yet the unrequited candy bar feels worse. The clock strikes 1 as lunch hour ends.


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