The Junkers Saga - Gone In Stinky Seconds
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<<<ACT 1 ⏪ ⏩ ACT 3>>>


Act 2

Gone In Stinky Seconds

First! Always first. I am… the Fastest One! (rah!) (rah!)

Yeah yeah, okay okay. Did we lose 'em though?

Of course we did! After you put their car outta commission, weren't no way they were gonna match us!

Well how about the loot; is it all good? … Oh yeah buddy! Clear eyes, full load, can't lose!

Jeez, they stuck ya once or twice, didn't they?

Naw, just the dummy. I'm right as rain.

Ya got DUSTER to thank for that then, don't you?

I never said he had bad ideas. That's not the reason he's a pain in the ball hitch.

Here comes DIVA now.

What's the haps, boys? Why'd you need me to meet up so quick here?

We ran into some interference just a minute ago. Weren't nothing we couldn't handle though.

For sure, for sure. We knew that was coming sooner or later.

I dunno, it feels like this could be a real bit of trouble for us.

(cluck cluck cluck!) Don't be a chicken, STAKE!

I'm SPIKE, he's STAKE.

Whatever. Look, if you boys have a load of goods then let's just get it back to base already.

Yeah, I've got enough here to keep BEARD busy. Let's roll out!

Why don't you be a doll and give me a ride, huh SPIKE?

He's SPIKE, I'm STAKE.

What ever! Gosh…


It was Agent Polk who defused the situation - he offered to let the Feds buy the Skippers a cup of coffee, to discuss matters over. The Feds insisted that the Skippers pay for the coffee, so the meeting took place in a corner booth at the nearest Spicy Crust Pizza cafe. In the minds of all parties it was a decided win.

UIU Agents Slate and McCormick sat across from the City Slickers and took full advantage of the free refills. Rodney joined everyone at the table after using the secure phoneline in back to touch base with HQ. Polk ordered a dish of appetizers.

"Now," Rodney began. "What are you guys doing out here in our neck of the woods?"

"More like what are you doing mucking around in our investigation?" McCormick shot back.

"There's something anomalous going on, that's our concern here."

"What are you guys investigating?" Polk interrupted.

"Organized crime," Slate explained. "Somebody's upsetting the apple cart and trying to move in on the labour racket."

Rodney followed along. "So it's got to do with the trash strike? Gangsters wanting to influence the union?"

"Yeah," Agent McCormick scoffed. "It's a lucrative opportunity. Ain't you kids ever heard of Jimmy Hoffa?"

"Well, neither of us are cops so-"

"Federal agents."

"Neither of us," Polk persevered, "need to get into the legalities of the matter."

"Neither of yous needs to get into the matter, period. Some punks think they can scab the job and sway influence on the settlement negotiations."

"It's racketeering," Slate said. "Open-and-shut case; and it's all ours."

"You needs to pack it up and go home," sneered McCormick. "Before I get an anonymous tip about a firearms discharge in the street about half an hour ago."

"Alright, alright now," Polk waved a placating hand. "Don't get your untouchables in a twist."

"Right, look here," Rodney leaned forward over the table. "We did see anomalous activity out there in the street just now. Polk and I, we've seen similar cases before."

"Ok, maybe you think you saw something out there," Slate turned his palms up. "So what? What's that to me?"

"So your gang isn't out there scabbing with just manpower," Rodney reasoned out. "They got these magic trucks-"

"Vehicular anomalies," corrected Polk.

"These trucks that are out hauling on their own. Maybe your perps don't actually have enough numbers to pull this off; maybe they're scared of being pegged by the other gang. But I'm telling you, they are not doing this the mundane way!"

The Feds did not respond to this right away. They exchanged earnest glances with each other before Slate finally conceded, "Alright then, Skipper. Tell me, what else are you telling me?"

"Well, that's about all we got so far," said Polk. "I didn't even think it made sense until you guys brought up the racket thing."

"Well then what's your next move?" McCormick pressed.

"I'd say our best bet is to get out there and make contact with another one of these anomalies. But we gotta wait here for our replacement car, I think." Polk turned to his partner, "Rod, you called in a car for us back there, right?" Agent Rodney had his gaze fixed out the window. "Rod, what are you looking at?"

"I need a second opinion," Rodney pointed out a streetsweeper cruising the curbs down the block. "Who's driving that thing; looks like the guy from that TV show, doesn't it?"

"A goddamn dummy," cried Polk.

"I know you don't think much of celebrities like-"

"I mean it's another fake driver mannequin!"

"Alright everyone," Rodney leapt from his seat. "Let's get going! Follow my lead on this."

Everybody else stood and followed Rodney toward the exit. A shout came from behind the counter, "Order up! Appy platter, Table 1!"

"Oh come on!" whined Polk as he dutifully dashed after the others out the door.


  • One Night Earlier…

Okay guys, how about this one: "The Effluvium Job"!

The … what?

Y'know, because it sounds like "The Italian Job".

Did you run over a dictionary or something? Where would you learn a word like that?

Hey now! I'm an intellectual.

Coming up with jokes while we're here plotting the take? Is that your idea of intellectual?

Lighten up, DUSTER. We know our role, we'll perform on the night-of.

DUSTER is scared of getting busted.

I don't want to see any of us get busted! I'm sick of feeling like the only one here who actually cares about it.

Settle down, all of you. STAKE and SPIKE will be up to the task when the time comes.

See?

And that task will be to follow the course set by DUSTER, exactly as he charts it. Nobody's going to be busted, and it's because we plot the job from the ground up.

Yeah, BEARD. Okay.

And you two have been practicing?

Absolutely, TWO-PAIRS. We can pick up a ton in seconds flat.

We could do it in the dark, with spare tires on.

We could lift a dish of milk from right under a cat's nose;

Have it back here without spilling a drop.

Bet your bottom dollar on it, as you would say.

Alright then. How about you go run another drill now.

Really?

We're putting all chips down on the table tomorrow night. I want it to be a sure thing.

I guess I've got homework that's due tomorrow too, huh?

How are we feeling, DUSTER?

A bit tense if I'm being honest.

Did you find something concerning while you've been casing the job?

No, the street layout works. These communities are just what our plan needs.

Concerns about the cards in our hand, maybe?

No. Well- no, I mean… Alright, you two have always known what you're doing when it comes to this; for as long as I can remember. And our crew - we're like family, all of us. But pulling off something so risky?

Bet big, win big. That's how we've always played; what's the trouble?

I just don't want to see anything bad happen. How long can we keep doing these things before the heat catches up with us?

As a matter of fact, I think this will be our final gig. One last take, and we'll be set for life. But listen… None of us are classic hotrods bound for a collector's garage. We all need this if we're going to make it after tomorrow night. And for us to make it tomorrow night, it's going to take all of us; at our very best. Can I count on you?

Always.


As the four men spilled out onto the sidewalk, Rodney hustled the group forward in a tight huddle. "Alright guys, I think this alleyway must dogleg out onto the next avenue at some point; so if the sweeper turns right at these lights then I'm going to-"

"What the hell are you even talking about?" Agent McCormick cut Rodney off.

"That's a streetsweeper, out on the job during the union strike," said Rodney. "I'll bet it's tied to the other trucks we've seen."

"That's a leap of logic," Slate doubted the connection.

"A leap of faith," said Rodney. "Sometimes that's what it takes to get this job done."

"We can't be seen to go around harassing citizens without probable cause."

"No, never," Polk muttered under his breath.

"You don't have to harass anyone," Rodney said. "Just keep your badges in your pockets and try not to get in our way. Now as I was saying, if it turns right then I'm going to-"

At just that moment, the streetsweeper's flashing signal indicated a right-hand turn. "No time to explain," Rodney determined. "Polk! Statue Of Liberty play! Red on two! Break!" The two partners put their hands together in the centre of the huddle; the play was in motion. Rodney turned away and dashed down the alley.

"And what the hell does that all mean?" McCormick asked.

"Well we're going to split up," Polk began trying to explain. "See, we're gonna go and-" he stammered. "He's gonna- and ya see, in two-" Finally he gave up and shook his head, "It means just try not to get in our way!" Polk jogged up the sidewalk to catch up with the streetsweeper. Agents Slate and McCormick had little choice but to tag along.

"Hey! Hold it right there ya big jerk!" Polk hollered and waved his arms at the streetsweeper. DUSTER wasn't sure what to make of this scene in his rearview mirror. "What are ya, blind? Where'd ya learn to drive, anyway?"

DUSTER switched gears with an audible groan; he was going to have to deal with this. "What's the fuss there, pal?"

"I'm not your pal, buddy! And the fuss is that you scraped up my damn car because you don't know how to drive."

"I know how to drive."

"I parked on the curb not half an hour ago, and when I come back the side's been all mangled up! I know it was you. South of here, just a couple blocks over."

"I didn't touch any cars! I ain't even been south of Main street all night, so I don't know what you're talking about!" DUSTER suddenly realized he may have said too much. It's none of this stranger's business where he's been. "Leave me alone, I'm just trying to do my job."

Agent Slate grabbed Polk by the jacket and whispered, "What the hell are you thinking? Where are you going with this?"

"Well, we're creating the diversion," Polk glanced at his wristwatch. "And any second now…"

Right on cue, Agent Rodney entered the action. Screaming out of the nearest alleyway, he launched himself from atop some construction scaffolding toward the roof of the passing streetsweeper.

"Leap of Faith!" Rodney cried out as he sailed over the sidewalk and impacted DUSTER's rooftop.

"And what in the blue hell is this guy thinking?" Slate screamed out. As happened often, Polk would have liked to know that himself. But time and experience had taught him how to roll with the punches.

Agent Rodney had reached down through the open driver window, and struggled to wrestle the mannequin up out of his way. Agent McCormick aggressively yanked the door open, spilling both Rodney and the dummy down onto street level. By this time, Agent Polk had managed to scramble in from the passenger side and pulled the keys from the ignition. DUSTER's engine spluttered and stalled out.

While Agents Polk and Rodney lay panting for air, McCormick towered over them. "Jesus Christ! What have yous two gots to say for yourselves?"

Polk managed, in between gasps, "Touchdown … City Slickers." Rodney raised an arm from the ground to complete an exhausted fist bump.


***


⏩ ACT 3>>>

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