• Jeff South

Cincinnati Chili: Coat

Grover bent over at the waist and attempted to catch his breath. His heart pounded and his hands tingled. The strength in his legs evaporated and he felt as if he could topple over. One of the Herpezoids playing Sorry! flipped the game board in anger in reaction to his loss.

“Aw, come on, Lars,” another said. “You’re gonna clean that up.”

“Quiet, guys!” Legend said. “We got a problem here. What’s up, Grover? You don’t look well.”

Gwen stood and joined them. “What’s going on, Grover?”

“They sent me,” was all he could muster.

“What do you mean?” Legend asked. “Who sent you?”

“Corporate.” Grover began to pace around the room, running his hands through his hair.

“They sent me here to…” He couldn’t finish.

“To do what?” Gwen asked.

“To use this.” Grover produced the P-47 Electro-Photon Multiblaster from inside jacket pocket and waved it around. Everyone in the room ducked and scattered.

“What the hell is that thing?” Legend asked. “What’s going on here?”

Gwen took charge and summoned everyone together. “We need to go. Legend, grab your coat. Everyone, let’s sneak out the back door.”

“I’m sorry. I wasn’t going to do it.” Grover put the gun back in his jacket. “I don’t have what it takes.”

“Grover,” Gwen turned back to her former co-worker. “Just leave. Go out the front. Tell them when you got here, we were gone.”

He nodded, but didn’t move. He watched as Gwen ushered everyone down the hall toward the kitchen where a backdoor provided a means of escape.

A knock on the door froze everyone in their tracks.


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