Jones! Yes, you heard right! C'mon down and see Uncle Rob Jobs to claim
your prize, honey!"
slumped forward in abject defeat. Jake didn't envy him the
confrontation with Lena. Obviously, Tony wasn't anxious to see her
either. As Jake pulled to a stop in front of Tony's house, his partner
looked like one of those wooden marionette dolls with all his strings
"Hey, itíll be all
right," Jake started to say, but over the top of him Uncle Rob Jobs
Merlin Jones! I need YOU to high-tail it down here to the radio
station. Yes, Merlin Jones, YOU!"
The third time the
annoying announcer shouted out the winner's name, Tony bolted upright,
a strangely blank expression on his face. With jerky movements, he
removed his seat belt, opened the car door and got out.
"You okay, buddy?"
He started to take
off his own seat belt when he spotted Lena open the front door and step
over the threshold. Jake wasn't about to wade into the middle of that
one, so he put the car in gear. Just as he did, a call came over the
police radio. He punched Uncle Rob Jobs into silence so he could hear
"All units in the
vicinity of the Netherwood Research Facility, please respond. Assault
So what if he was
technically off duty in five minutes? Netherwood was less than a half
mile away. He picked up the mic and responded. "Unit 122 responding.
"Unit 122 proceed
with caution," the dispatcher replied. "Subject may be armed and
Jake said, and drove off with a squeal of tires.
Yes, you heard right! C'mon down and see Uncle Rob Jobs to claim your
Merlin stared at
Wally's boom box in disbelief. This had to be a mistake. Wally was
right, she was probably the only person in town who had not bought a
ticket. No way could she be the winner.
Wally stammered, her eyes round as saucers.
Her dust mop fell out
of her hand and clattered to the floor as Uncle Rob Jobs continued to
carry on. Suddenly, her eyes took on a glazed appearance and she
staggered toward Merlin making a strange wheezing sound.
whatís wrong?" Merlin gasped, and then her friend's outstretched
hands wrapped around her neck.
instinctively, Merlin pried at Wally's fingers while she kicked her
hard and swift in her chubby kneecap. Wally let go and crumpled to the
floor with a grunt of pain.
All the while, Uncle
Rob Jobs' voice kept screeching out of the boom box, "C'mon down,
Merlin Jones! You know you want to! I'm talkiní to YOU, Merlin Jones!"
Merlin yanked her
cell phone out of her pocket, but there was no signal down here in the
basement. With a curse, she dashed around a work table full of beakers,
test tubes and petrie dishes to the nearest phone, which happened to be
mounted on the wall. Punching up an outside line, she hit 9-1-1.
Meanwhile, Wally was
back on her feet. Still glassy eyed, she limped toward Merlin, her dust
mop clenched in both hands like a medieval pike.
"I need the police!"
Merlin cried to the emergency operator. "I'm at the Netherwood
Research Facility and my co-worker just attacked me!"
She dropped the
receiver and leapt out of the way as Wally lunged for her with the
wooden shaft of the dust mop.
Keeping the table
between them, Merlin tried to reason with her suddenly homicidal
friend. "It's a mistake Wally! You know I didn't buy a ticket."
"I mean YOU,
Merlin Jones!" Uncle Rob Jobs chanted. "Get down here now!"
Wally thrust the dust
mop handle across the table top, sending test tubes and petrie dishes
flying to the floor.
"Stop it, Wally! I
mean it!" Merlin commanded, but she couldn't control the note of
hysteria from leaking into her voice.
As she backed away
from the menacing handle, she stepped on a petrie dish, causing her
foot to skid out from under her. She went down hard on her rear end and
just sat there on the polished tile floor, momentarily stunned.
Jones, I'm talkin to YOU!"
Dust mop poised to
strike, Wally lumbered toward her. Merlin skittered backward like a
crab. Her fingers encountered something hard and plastic. Something
with a handle. Getting a good grip, she sprang up and swung her
make-shift weapon at her adversary.
The end of the boom
box connected with the side of Wally's head. The unfortunate woman
crashed to the floor like a brick building in a seven point five quake,
while the boom box shattered into pieces.
Merlin stared at the
handle still clutched in her fingers. Jagged pieces of plastic and
spaghetti strands of wires dangled from what was left, while blessed
silence reigned for all of thirty seconds. Then she dropped to her
knees next to the fallen woman.
sobbed, noting with relief that her co-worker's chest rose and fell in
a steady rhythm, though a large purple bruise was spreading near her
Wally was out cold.
As Merlin rose
unsteadily to her feet, from somewhere overhead she heard the wail of a
Read more: Act III Act IV