Hunger Pangs

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Tinman, the crook who cooks, and twin brother, Peach, are hungry for a new heist. They get an inside tip about a possible caper in a warehouse and decide to move forward. Now they have to wonder, did they bring along enough food for everyone?

Created: March 08,2019

Submitted: December 27, 2018

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Submitted: December 27, 2018

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The job was fingered by a disgruntled employee. Peach had made his acquaintance at Floyd’s Fireside Chat, one of his favorite drinking establishments. A month earlier, the tipster had been fired from his warehouse job over some minor infraction. Now he had it in for the owner, and wanted to make him pay. Peach intimated that he knew some fellas who might be able to help him out, and take care of the dirty work—for 75% of the take. Normally, the “ear” or guy who fingered a job but was not in on it, only made 10 to 20%. But Peach, ever the softy, upped it to 25%. Still, from what the man told him, the haul should make the job well worth the time.

Apparently, the owner of the warehouse was a shady guy himself. In particular, every other Saturday night he operated an illegal cage fighting competition inside his warehouse. The high-stakes wagering was fierce and the undeclared money that rolled in was stored in the owner’s office until Monday when he could safely move it to some undisclosed location.

After Peach gathered all the information he could get out of his tipster, he further studied the layout. The warehouse possessed unusually good security, with a system that would take quite some time to beat. One Saturday night, Peach staked out the place and found that the participants in the competition, male and female, and the gamblers who bet on them, all arrived at 11pm sharp. The security system was then armed, and there was a guard posted at the entrance. The event went on through the night until exactly 4 am, when everyone left but the owner and the guard. At the time of the mass departure, the security system was turned off for a period of fifteen minutes. After which, it was rearmed and the owner remained in the building (often with a newly acquainted lady friend) until early Sunday morning, usually leaving around 7 am, when the system was rearmed. The guard lingered for an hour, then left at 8 am.

Peach discussed his findings with Tinman, who came up with a plausible plan, and a date was set for the heist.

On the chosen Saturday night, Tinman and Peach catnapped until 2 am, then rose and headed for the target. The warehouse was one of many lined up off Longley Lane, near the airport. They parked in the lot of a building two blocks away, and kept to the shadows as they hurried to the warehouse. Both carried small satchels.

Dressed in black from head to toe, they sidled along the building until reaching the roof access ladder welded to the side of the structure. It was an easy climb to the top, where they were faced with a padlocked gate. Peach came prepared and quickly picked the lock. On the roof, they scooted to an emergency hatch. It too was padlocked, and though Peach picked this as well, they knew the hatch was tagged with a sensor, so they sat down to wait.

At 4 am, Tinman slithered to the edge of the roof, overlooking the main entrance. When the door opened and people started filing out, he signaled to Peach, who silently pulled back the hatch and waved his brother over.

A narrow grid led away from the hatch entrance, and the two carefully picked their way across it, balanced some eighty feet above the warehouse floor. The grid ended at another ladder embedded into a far wall. They stopped and watched as the owner walked through the warehouse with his arm around a beefy looking woman covered in tattoos.

“He likes ‘em rough,” whispered Peach. Tinman rolled his eyes.

The owner and the cage fighter climbed a short set of steps to his office perched above the warehouse. It had windows on all sides so he could monitor the activities of his workforce, but after he and the woman stepped inside, curtains were drawn.

Given their cue, Tinman and Peach climbed down the ladder and reached the floor. The warehouse was filled with large metal containers stacked eight to nine high. In between the jumble was a labyrinth of narrow passages just wide enough to allow a fork lift. In a corner farthest from the office, they found a nook and settled in.

Their exertions and the odd schedule had left them sleepy. Within moments, they both dozed off.

 

* * *

 

Until now, Brock had led a pretty cushy life. When he was growing up, he wasn’t required to work, and spent much of the time lazing around the house and yard. But two weeks ago, the hammer dropped and he suddenly found himself part of the workforce for the owner. It was such a drag. Mostly because his job required him to be alone for long periods of time. Each and every night, after everyone had left, he was forced to plod aimlessly around this big building looking—for what?

There was never anyone here! Even if there was, what was he supposed to do about it? What a pointless job. And now, the biggest insult of all! He was stuck in here and it wasn’t even night. There were no windows in this stupid place, but he knew it was day. His stomach told him so.

He’d eaten well the day before, and slept straight through all the fighting going on in the night. After all the people had left, he’d woken once to see the owner and some woman getting it on in the office. But then he’d fallen asleep again. Later, he was awakened by the owner who rudely dragged him down the steps from the office and shoved him across the warehouse floor on his way out the front door. The woman who was with him thought that was quite funny. Brock did not.

An hour after they left, is when his stomach started acting up. His internal clock told him it was time to eat. He trotted up the steps to the office, and found the door was closed. The idiot owner had forgotten to leave his lunch outside! Great. He had never gone a day without eating and it put him in a foul mood. Well, if he was going to be treated in such an inhumane manner, then he sure as hell wasn’t going to do any work. He flopped down on the small landing at the top of the stairs and closed his eyes.

 

* * *

 

It was the rumbling in his stomach that finally woke Peach. He checked his watch and saw it was nearly noon. They were already three hours behind schedule, but he wasn’t worried. They had all day to do what they needed to do. He nudged Tinman who stirred and opened his eyes.

Peach held out his watch and Tinman groaned. “Why didn’t you wake me?”

“I was sleeping too.”

“Well, let’s get going.”

“Hold on. I’m starving.”

“I warned you about that. Didn’t you bring anything, like I told you?”

“Sure,” said Peach. “That’s what I’m saying. Let’s eat first.”

Tinman nodded and unsnapped his satchel. “What do you have?”

“I picked up a sub at 7-11.”

Tinman looked at him and shook his head sadly. “Disgusting.”

“Hey! It’s food.”

“That’s a matter of opinion.”

“So what did you bring?”

Tinman pulled out a large sandwich wrapped in a Ziploc. With a malicious look, he pulled it out and waved it under his nose, savoring the smell.

“That’s not fair,” said Peach, beginning to salivate like one of Pavlov’s dogs. “That’s one of your famous Ahi tuna sandwiches, isn’t it?” Tinman made yummy sounds and Peach asked, “Did you bring one for me?”

“You didn’t ask me to.”

Peach grumbled, peeling the cellophane off his sub.

 

* * *

 

Brock’s nose twitched, stirring him from a dream where he was devouring a large steak dripping in blood. His eyes remained closed as his unusually keen sense of smell determined if the scent was real or imagined. An image of a fish came to mind. Tuna, definitely tuna. And something else he couldn’t place, but it smelled tasty. His tongue lolled, and he suddenly knew. This was no dream. Somewhere near was food. Good food. His empty stomach was in an uproar. His eyes popped open. And that’s when he heard the voices.

His ears perked, locating the approximate location. Slowly, he descended the stairs and started off into the maze, like a giant lab rat in search of the hidden block of cheese. Creeping stealthily, he closed in on the voices. At a corner, he peeked one eye around and saw two men, leaning against a container, food in hand. He tensed his body like a catapult, then shot forward and tore down the passage.

When Peach and Tinman saw the Bullmastiff charging toward them, they both assumed they were soon to become dog food. So it came as no little surprise when Cujo slid to a stop inches from them and swung its head from one to the other, its eyes locked on the food they held, drool dripping from its gigantic jowls.

“Hey puppy,” squeaked Peach.

Brock was in no mood for conversation and merely growled low in his throat, eyes glowing, focusing on the delicious morsels soon to be his.

“I think he’s just hungry,” said Peach from the side of his mouth.

“Then feed him!” blurted Tinman. The dog, obviously impatient with the slowness of humans, let out a stern bark and both brothers flinched and yelped back.

Peach quickly tossed his sub out, and the hellhound lunged for it. As the pasty bread and tasteless processed meat hit his palate, he spit the whole glob out and swung his giant head to face Tinman.

Brock was a fussy eater, and these humans were pawning the garbage off on him. Unacceptable. He leaned his muscular shoulders forward and sniffed at the overstuffed sandwich in the trembling man’s hands.

“Looks like he wants yours,” said Peach. “Smart dog.”

“Yeah,” said Tinman with a quivering voice. He tore off a small corner of the sandwich and flicked it at the dog. It disappeared before it hit the floor, and the gleaming eyes demanded more.

“Okay, so that’s the ticket,” said Peach. “He likes the tuna. So let’s get going.”

“Right,” agreed Tinman, flicking another piece at the dog. “Straight out the front door.”

“No way,” said Peach, ever so carefully rising to his feet. “We finish the job. Just give him little bits at a time.” He took off with nary a side glance from the dog who wasn’t leaving the purveyor of such fine foods.

“What if I run out of sandwich?” cried Tinman.

“Then it’ll serve you right for not making me one,” answered Peach, disappearing around a corner.

Very slowly, Tinman got to his feet, all the while the dog making damn sure there would be no escape. Then, like the witch luring Hansel and Gretyl, Tinman proceeded through the maze of containers, dropping small chunks of his sandwich behind which were immediately snapped up by the ravenous carnivore.

By the time he reached the stairs leading to the office, Peach was already inside. He called down to him, “Looks like the owner left the poor thing’s food locked inside here. There’s a whole bowl of dog food. Bring him up.”

One terrifying stair at a time, Tinman climbed, with the mad-dog nipping at his heels, demanding more deliciousness. When they reached the top, the bowl of food was sitting outside. Tinman toed it toward the beast and it sniffed suspiciously.

Brock had always loved his normal dried chunks of god knows what. But now, for some reason, they paled to the nectar that was coming from the stranger’s hand. He nosed the bowl away, looked up, and let out a thunderous roar.

Tinman leapt. Peach turned from the floor safe, and chuckled. “Better stick with the sandwich. This old clunker will only take a minute.”

It actually took two, and by then, Tinman was down to the last corner of his sandwich. Sweat poured under his ski mask. He hoped the dog couldn’t sense his fear.

Brock was fed up. He wanted that last bit of sandwich and would take no guff. He growled low, and gave his most fearsome look. The man looked nervous. Good. That was his intention. Now fork it over. Ruff.

Peach slipped past the stare-down and called out over his shoulder. “We’re good to go. Get him inside the office, shut the door, and I’ll meet you at the front entrance.”

Tinman half-rose from his crouch and the dog snarled. “It’s okay. I’m going to give you this. Just step in here you mangy cur.”

Brock took no offense to the slur. Where food was concerned, a little insult was inconsequential. He followed the man into the office, where he quickly tossed the remainder of the sandwich into a corner and scurried out, slamming the door behind him. Brock could care less. He circled the little piece of food like it was prey. He leapt upon it and gulped it down. He was in heaven. He wondered why his owner never fed him like the nice stranger. Maybe it was time to teach the jerk a lesson next time he showed up. He eased onto his belly, and shut his eyes. He quickly faded into a deep sleep, with dreams of fishes dancing atop the ocean waves.

Peach disabled the alarm system by the time Tinman reached the main exit. They slipped outside and hustled along the building until they were in the adjoining parking lot. Once safe from the warehouse’s video cameras they removed their ski masks, and—doing their best to look casual— double-timed their way to the car.

As they drove away, Peach said, “Geez I’m hungry. What’s for lunch?”

Tinman was still panting and partially in shock, so the lack of response was understandable.

“Say! It’s Sunday!” said Peach. “How about your famous Sunday Sandwich!”

Through the fog of lingering terror, Tinman heard and a vision formed of said sandwich. It had never looked so good. He nodded, and Peach clapped his hands joyously. Who wouldn’t? After all, nobody makes a sandwich like Tinman.


© Copyright 2019 Marc J. Reilly. All rights reserved.

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