No. 2 - Poisoned
Jerry Rig and Aecca/Decca lounge in the Super-Hero Shared House living room – Rig absently interacting with one of his Furnimicrobots (the Louis XIV chair, in this case), Decca fishing the last of a few stuffed olives out of a small jar, the newspaper open on his lap, chortling and chuckling occasionally. In the kitchen, Mudman stands slack in front of the open refrigerator, hoping that, if he looks long enough, some long-forgotten can of beer will appear from behind the multitude of condiments or sharpie-labelled fast food paper bags:
EL HUMIDOR'S LUNCH!
PROP. OF AECCA/DECCA!
J.RIG SCIENCE EXPERiment – DO NOT EAT!!
"You know," Jerry Rig declares from the other room, "Mudman, in the time you've been standing in front of the fridge, you could have gone to the store, procured a twelver, returned here to the house, and be drinking one of those cans of beer."
Mudman replies, "yeah, you're probably right," and continues to stand in front of the fridge.
Decca laughs again.
Rig extorts "Seriously! Really, now!? Are the obituaries really that funny?!?"
Decca wipes a tear from his eye and begins to respond when the front door is thrown open and El Humidor staggers in, his face ghost-white, his mustache mussed.
"Yeesh," says Rig, "its only 2:00, Humidor!"
El Humidor sways his way into the living room, eyelids fluttering.
"You are SUCH a fucking lightweight! I swear!" says Rig, but is cut short as El Humidor abruptly collapses onto a small dingy sofa.
With grave countenances, El Humidor's three housemates gather about him.
"El Humidor! El Humidor!" cries Aecca/Decca, shaking him by the shoulders.
"Let me try" says Jerry Rig, pushing Decca aside. "Snap out of it, man!" Rig orders, throttling Humidor by the collar.
"No. You're doing it wrong" interjects Mudman, shouldering Rig out of the way. Mudman proceeds to slap the shit out of El Humidor's face.
El Humidor moans. "Just as I thought!" says Rig, "he's been… poisoned!"
"But who would do such a dastardly deed?" queries Decca, clenching his fists.
"Hmm," Rig ponders, "villains with a grudge… against El Humidor…" Rig strikes a thoughtful pose.
The trio stands in concentration.
"I can't think of anyone," Mudman offers, finally tiring of slapping El Humidor silly.
Rig, "me neither."
"Then it must be someone poisoning Rig to get at one, or all, of us!" concludes Aecca Decca, stepping forward and flourishing in a poor attempt at Shakespearean fashion.
"The Pocketeer?" offers Rig.
"Who's that?" Decca retorts.
"The guy who nobody can beat at pool down at the bar," says Rig.
"Oh, god, that asshole? I swear, its like he's not even that good, he just gets lucky every single time at the end of the game. Dick!" rants Aecca Decca.
"How about the Jukeboxer?" posits Rig.
"That chick who can throw a quarter into the jukebox coin slot from across the room? Who fills up the playlist for the entire evening in like 10 seconds? Who plays the same songs over and over over?" asks Aecca.
"The very same!" confirms Rig.
"Hmm. Neither of them seem like the poisoning type," ponders Decca. "Pocketeer's more the bludgeoning type."
"I agree. And Jukeboxer more the ambush-setting tiger-trap type," confers Rig. "But, if not them, then who?"
"The Bureau," says Mudman.
Jerry Rig: "The FBI!?"
Aecca/Decca: "Get out!!"
"No," Mudman says, solemnly, letting Humidor slouch onto the sofa, "Worse. The Water Bureau."
"Gadzooks, man!" exclaims Aecca, slapping his forehead with the palm of his hand. Jerry Rig visibly swoons.
"Oh man, oh man, oh man," Aecca Decca begins to fidget, frantically dart his eyes about the room, "this is big, man, really big. Wayyy outta our league. But jeez, yeah, I mean they're always sending us those threatening letters and spying on us and calling us all the time. The pieces totally fit. And now its time… to pay the piper!!!"
Rig, who's had to sit down, his head in his hands, looks up, "are you crazy!?! Listen to yourself, do you realize WHAT you're saying!?"
An eerie silence falls on the room.
"Yes," Decca mutters, "my friends, I think the time has come… to pay the water bill."
"Guys," says Mudman.
"We’ve been fighting the good fight for a long time," eulogizes Decca, "but let's face it, we were always the underdog: out manned, out gunned, out numbered…"
"Guys!" says Mudman.
"Yeesh, I'm soliloquying here, man!" snaps Decca, "what is it?"
"Look." Mudman holds up an envelope he's pulled from El Humidor's clammy hands. The three gather round to read the ultimatum from their dread nemesis. The envelope's been opened, but lacks addresses of any kind. Mudman opens the flap, and pulls out… fifty dollars and a receipt?
"Where'd Humidor get this kind of dough? He's already sold all but his most valuable and essential possessions," asks Rig.
"Yeah, what's the receipt, say, Mudman!?" inquires Aecca.
Mudman peers at the receipt. Then looks up, looks at Rig, then Aecca, then El Humidor on the dirty sofa, who ceases his moaning, squints through watery eyes, rolls on his side, and vomits violently on the floor.
"He donated blood plasma today."
Words & drawings by D.D. Tinzeroes