Lurk's Workout

“I'm working out and then having drinks, honey! Don't wait up!”

I close the front door behind me, not waiting for an answer. I'm still in my office clothes, and I have my workout bag, which weighs a ton. It can't be helped, with the lead lining and all. Suffice to say I work as an anonymous health care administrator in the city, but I do all right for myself. Especially after hours.

Becky still thinks I go to the gym. I still do most of the time in case anyone checks up on me, but my workouts lately make the toughest cardio class look like a stroll on the beach. I'm never sure I'll even survive.

I swipe my card at the gym and duck out through the locker room. It's a three mile run to the containment facility, and if we're very lucky nobody will ever know we were there.

I change into my workout clothes. It's harder to sneak around wearing a filter mask and lead-lined suit, but tonight I'll need the protection. Liz should be inside already, distracting this week's boyfriend. I can hear Father Cutter singing drunkenly around the corner to keep the guards busy. I pat Bulldog's head on the way by. She nods, starts mouthing the words to the Piña Colada Song, and lowers her eye to the scope, looking for trouble to eliminate with her whisper-quiet rifle.

I jog down the hill and vault the darkest section of the outer containment wall with 2 steps and a pull-up. I still need to thank Walker for his parkour crash course. I mistime the camera sweep and drop to the ground early, so hopefully Liz covers that mistake. I take a breath and time the camera's motion. I hear Cutter continuing his litany of drinking songs outside the wall, so we're all clear on that front.

Both cameras swivel and point away, so I break for the gate in the cyclone fence. Three seconds to pop the lock, then two more to close the gate behind me and duck behind the barrels of toxic waste. No camera caught me this time.

As luck would have it, barrel 486B is right in front of me. Perfect. I check the seal on my gloves and mask, then pop the top. Shit. Nobody said this stuff would glow so brightly. The whole cage lights up a lime green like Tequila night at the Rainbow Club. Gotta rush it now.

I reach into the goo and pull out the coconut-sized crystal from the middle. It glows white and pulses. I can feel it vibrate slightly through the thick gloves. Crap. Now my arm glows. I might as well paint a target on my back.

Cutter starts singing “Amazing Grace” at top volume. We're made. I push through the gate, not caring about the cameras. I cram the crystal into my bag and shake off as much goo as I can. I run and jump for the wall and hear a burst of automatic gunfire right next to me.

I feel a hot poker ramming through my calf. I falter at the top, but I know if I fall inside the wall I'm a dead man. I pull myself up as I see two silent muzzle flashes from the hill outside. Two impacts ripple through the cinder block wall. Below me the chatter of the machine gun falls silent. The moonlight shines through the new hole in the wall and illuminates the fallen guard's face. Bulldog saves my bacon again. First round's on me.

I clear the wall and tumble awkwardly when I hit the ground, pain searing through my leg. I limp over to Bulldog as Cutter breaks into “God Be With You Till We Meet Again”. At least he's out clean. Now to wait for Liz to get out. Bulldog says I've got it tough, but I know Liz is in deepest if something goes sideways.

Bulldog watches through the scope for another minute, then fits an RPG to her rifle. “And you thought this was overkill,” she smirks. She pulls the trigger, a miniature comet streaks through the air, and a ball of flame engulfs the containment wall. “There. No genetic evidence." She starts breaking down her rifle and putting the pieces into a padded briefcase. "Meet you at The Office?”

I nod and start decontaminating my gear so I can seal up the bullet hole in my leg. It feels like a through-and-through, so that's good. I'll pawn it off as another strained calf from the gym. Becky will give me an earful in the morning.

---

Liz comes into the bar and grabs the fourth chair at our table, sitting between the mountain with a collar that is Father Cutter and the whip-thin, wild-eyed Bulldog. The neon sign behind Liz still flickers, so it reads “THE    ICE”. I think I prefer that to “The Office”. That joke gets old in a hurry.

“We were getting worried, Liz.”

She twists her mouth. “Bastards questioned me twice. Guess I'll need to re-bleach my hair so that goes faster next time.” She chews imaginary gum and twirls her hair, slipping into her Bubblehead character. "I was, like, so offended at being questioned that I broke up with Tim right there. Hand to God." We all laugh. She drops the act and orders a beer. She looks at me. “We got it?”

I grab the bag under my chair. “We got it.” I slide it under the table to her chair. She maneuvers it with her feet, looping the strap around her ankle.

“Then we'll get paid the usual way. No bonus for subtlety this time.” Her beer arrives.

I wait for the waiter to walk out of earshot. "Hey, nobody said I'd be opening a can full of rave lighting in there."

Liz puts a hand up. "Relax, Lurk. Not your fault. We're out clean. We'll just lay low for a few weeks before the next gig."

Bulldog clears her throat. “I'll need extra for, uh, supplies." Innuendo isn't her strong suit. "RPGs ain't cheap.”

Liz pats her arm like a mother calming a petulant child for the hundredth time and puts on her Minnesota Mother voice. “You'll get what you need, Dog. We're gonna get paid, don'cha know.”

Bulldog bristles. Liz is the only person on the planet that can survive calling her “Dog”, and nobody knows why. Then again, Liz can talk a preacher out of his immortal soul, like she did with Cutter. And me? I just like a challenge. The money doesn't hurt either. A few more jobs like this and I can retire at 30.

Liz raises her glass. “To old friends and new business!” The four of us drink.

We survived another workout.


Image Credits:
1) Toxic Waste Sign by Enzo Carretta (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
2) Drums with Toxic Waste by Mampato (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
3) Quartz Crystal by Ken Hammond (USDA) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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