The Green Lizard stretched out his legs in the ample back seat of the limo.
He said the name of the club they were headed to the driver and added loudly, that his name was on the list. It was exclusive and he wanted his entourage to know he was connected.
His good mood spilled over into his limo. Music blasted from the speakers and everyone was partying and trying to get face time with him. Tonight, he would revel in the taste of sweet revenge. Tonight, he would finally show that riffraff once and for all who really ruled the streets. Speaking of which, he now noticed traffic slowing and heard sirens.
He rolled down the window to get a better look at the fire trucks racing by and was just about to snap at the driver about taking this route when his phone rang.
Unidentified Caller flashed on the screen.
He let out a long-drawn sigh, quickly snapped for silence, and tapped the screen on the phone.
“Always mistaking rudeness for power aren’t we? We expect everything is going as planned?” a voice he recognized, with an overly posh accent inquired over the phone.
“Yes, of course” the Lizard replied and then glanced around at all eyes on him. He jutted out his chin, “as I had already informed, your majesties. The Bear is currently on it and we’ll have the data you asked for. No need to check up on me.”
“Sounds like you’re going to be out late, Lizard. Do you need us to check in on your mom again? She’s so lovely…but frail…” Replied a different voice with ominous menace. “Get us what you promised. Your recent sloppy driving has caused enough trouble. Prove yourself useful, Toadie”, muted laughter filled the background.
Seems the whole council was in session, and they always enjoyed a spot of public humiliation. Would they ever live down that race? Who was he kidding… he knew he never would.
“I assure you…” the Lizard tried to reply.
“Yes, that incident was quite the drawback in our plans.” The first voice interrupted, “But, we do hope you understand the importance of tonight’s little errand. Elk’s cohorts seem to believe they can both benefit from our funding and strive for independence.”
A woman’s voice chimed in, “If only they lacked creativity as you do.” More laughter.
“Let me assure you that my team will get you what you’re looking for. It will no longer be a matter of if we’ll be able to take them down, but more how long it will take us. Success will be guaranteed.” He let out confidently.
“Make sure we don’t need to put out any more fires for you.” Another voice from the council added, with others murmuring their agreement in the background.
“Alea iacta est.” An ice cold voice calmly interrupted, commanding immediate silencing from the Lizard and council members alike, “Go.” And the call was over.
The Green Lizard was left stunned and now had a growing feeling of dread. They had to get out of this traffic. The sirens wailed on. Lizard listened to them…they couldn’t be…
“No, no, no…!!!!”
“NO!” Screamed the Lizard as he punched the cushioned interior of the empty limousine. “NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!”
He was giving the limo a good battering, as he let his anger, frustrations and fears unleash.
How could it have all gone so WRONG! – he raged and cursed his own luck.
The Bear had burnt down the entire garage, then basically gone on a kidnapping spree! Now she had been captured… there was no chance of delivering to the financiers…
Lizard looked at his phone waiting for it to blow up with threats from them. He kept checking over his shoulder expecting to find himself looking into the barrel of a gun. Something! But instead there was nothing.
The silence was worse.
They were both as good as dead. He almost felt bad for dragging the Bear into this level of danger. They had been through a lot and of course he blamed her for EVERYTHING…but still…
Faced with certain death, and trained by years of tv stereotypes, his life started flashing before his eyes.
He remembered his own beginnings, getting by through pure wit alone. He remembered being introduced to the Syndicate and meeting Bear for the first time. She had taken a liking to him and showed him the ropes. They once dominated the streets together.
They were truly unstoppable! Any stumbling blocks were just fun challenges to learn from and get stronger.
And then there was that night at the Den. The memory even captured the smells of the place. It would have been another of their regular drinking sessions, but that night was… different. And it had stayed with him for all these years.
The Bear had seemed distant that night, and seemed to just be nursing her drinks instead of slamming them down as usual.
“Seems like you’re driving into the distance, Bear.” The Lizard said, nudging her back into the world.
“Exactly.” he replied sarcastically, as he swiveled his cocktail glass with the palm of his hand. “Care sharing what thoughts are keeping you from the usual Chug’n’spray?”
The Bear still stared into the distance.
“Tell me something,” she asked in a low grave tone. “Do you have a plan B?”
“A Plan B?” the Lizard replied puzzled.
“Exactly. A plan for when it all goes to shit.” the Bear replied in a deadpan matter of fact way.
“What makes you think it will go to shit?”
“It’s inevitable. Do you really think this will last forever? That we’ll keep this gig up until our golden old age? Or one day the bigwigs will give you a seat at the table and a retirement plan?”
The Lizard didn’t reply, making it obvious he did.
The Bear let out a chuckle. “Sorry, kid. But there’s no clean break for us. Look at what happened to Charlie.”
“Oh so that’s what has you rattled? The bastard had it coming, the dirty rat…”
“It’s not Charlie. It’s the whole circumstance. No one ever leaves on their own feet. There’s always a convenient and neat excuse to get rid of people as soon as they know too much or make too much noise.”
The Lizard didn’t like where this conversation was going. He was still on the rise and hadn’t even considered an end game yet. The conversation hit an awkward silence as the Lizard was now the one staring into the distance, and feeling like he was suddenly trapped.
“Promise me something.” the Bear said as she finally took a long swig of her drink.
The Lizard didn’t reply but just snapped back into reality and looked directly at her.
“When our time comes, we’ll fight back together. Our “Plan B” will be the last one.”
The Lizard nodded with determination, as the memory slowly faded away, and a loop of guilt took over.
Maybe he could see how he was partly responsible for this situation. Maybe he was too harsh, or blamed her for his own failings. Maybe he belittled her because he knew she was the rock…
He slumped back in his seats, his breath ragged, and his mind still spiraling. Guilt was so draining…especially when you’re already scared for your life.
He needed to get his head on straight and focus on something that he was good at. Revenge!
No more racing humiliations, no more plans ruined by bumbling ursine lackeys...it was time to whip his crew into shape. He sent off an alert to all of them, feeling good knowing that it was going to wake them up and get their adrenaline pumping. Fear and excitement were cousins, right?
He smiled to himself, already imagining the Financiers begging HIM for mercy. When his phone buzzed with a notice that his contact from the Financiers had checked off the delivery as complete.
What could that mean?? Were they on their way now to end him?
His phone went off again, but this time it was from The Bear.
Just three words. “PLAN B: GO”
His eyes went wide. She was going full Kamikaze. Time to strap in and get ready for the ride.
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