The Negative Man: Prelude to Chaos (Chapter 9)

Aaaaannnnddd we’re back! Chapter 9 awaits!

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Chapter 9 –

Wednesday Night; The Tidal Bar

“Hahahaha! You, in charge of the Christmas party? Did Wonderton lose his mind?”

And there was Erin, giving me the boost of confidence I needed. “You could be less of an ass and more helpful.” I held up two fingers, signaling to the bartender we needed two more beers. “I don’t know the first thing about Christmas parties or what not.”

We each grabbed the fresh beer on front of us and clinked glasses. “Here’s to doing shit we really don’t wanna.”

“Amen, Jericho. Want to pay the bills? Do stupid stuff for a very rich man.”

We ended up having three more beers together before parting ways. I stupidly drove myself home even though I had a decent buzz going. Alcohol didn’t do as much to me as it did others, yet driving home impaired wasn’t the best decision.

When I got to my apartment, I found my way to my couch and crashed. Being on top of things, I had planned in advance and set my phone alarm to go off at six the next morning.

My phone isn’t what woke me up. Someone grabbed me and restrained me quite quickly. By the time I was out of my beer induced hazed and properly with it, I was tied up on my couch and a man with a gun pointed at me was sitting opposite on a chair.

Seeing as how he had no idea what fire he was playing with, “You’ve gone this far, you might as well introduce yourself.”

He had this gruff, almost smoker like laugh/cough combination going on. “I appreciate a man who doesn’t fold under pressure.” The gun didn’t move. “Someone tells me you’ve been snooping into things you shouldn’t be.”

I knew exactly who this was. “Captain Esposito, I think you have some bad information.”

There was no denying it. He sighed a little bit and pulled back his mask. Yep, I called it. “This makes things a bit easier.” This time he lowered the weapon. “I have a request from the very top. Stop looking into the cash.”

“Why? This just proves you know where the plutonium core is.”

He went right into denial mode. “No we don’t. We were planning on buying it back from the super Valiant and his girlfriend. Someone stole the cash from us and bought it.”

Wow, talk about a black eye just getting bigger. “Not only did you lose the plutonium core, you lost five hundred thousand dollars? For God’s sake man! No wonder no one thinks the government can get shit done.”

“I like you, kid. Stop looking into the money, it’s a false trail.”

Captain Esposito got up and walked towards the exit. When he opened the door, he pulled out a small pocket knife and tossed it over to the couch. “We know where the answer lies. It’s with the super community. Get us that list.”

By the time I undid the restraints (not with the knife, with my powers of course) and run outside, Esposito was gone. Annoyed, I sent a text message to DL, telling him to meet me at the office early.

 

****

 

“We play along with them and make them the list they so very much want.”

“Are you sure?” I was half expecting the barn burning Dark Lion to show his head and go bash a few Army Rangers. “Neither of us believes any of the supers still active in the city are behind this.”

He handed me a pen and paper. “No, but we need them to think we bought their story. Let’s see how this plays out.”

The rest of the morning before the regulars wandered into Wonder-Tech Tower was spent compiling a list of supers. It wasn’t that long of a list anymore, especially after a certain guy named The Negative Man laid most of the city to waste in an effort to rule by force. Either way, I was done and in my cubicle by eight thirty when Erin waltzed in.

He looked like a guy that drank a bit too much. He hadn’t bothered shaving and his eyes were bloodshot. “Look at you getting here early. Damn dude, I could barely get out of bed this morning.”

“Waking up wasn’t the problem. Had an infestation problem when I got home.”

He groggily smiled. “I appreciate that. My old lady was a bit pissed I came home smelling like that much booze, but she eventually caved and let me into our bed.”

I think I’d rather have dealt with Captain Esposito than an angry woman. “Good news buddy, you’ve been drafted to help me with the Christmas party.”

“Ahhh man, you’re messing with me aren’t you?”

He didn’t need to know that I was the one drafting him, not Wonderton. “No dice. Thank of the Brightside, we get to actively avoid our jobs today to get things set up.” Again, that was more me talking than anyone else.

My hungover co-worker looked like he was just saved. “You know what? Helping with the Christmas party doesn’t sound like a bad deal at all.” He pulled out his cellphone. “I’ll call the lady, she knows a few caterers.”

While Erin started handling that, I jumped on my computer real quick. He wasn’t looking, so I used a bit of my own juice to hide my IP address, for a few minutes anyway. I did a quick search on Channel Esposito, seeing if there was anything that could give me a clue about the man who threatened me last night.

His name popped up on a few government websites and was an active Army Ranger. Just when I was about to call this another dead end, I found an article from a number of years ago. The headline read:

“Ranger Wife Maria Esposito Killed by Super”

And here was the link I was looking for. Channel’s wife had been killed by a rogue super after he broke into their home. Whisant might not know this, but I had a very good feeling his two captains were the ones who bought the core, despite what Esposito told me last night.

“Dude,” Erin called out. “Not only did I get us grub, but I got the hook up on an open bar, too!”

I gave one last look at my screen before saying, “That’s awesome.”

Stay in your seat… here comes chapter 10!

-Jeremy

You can find my books at http://boltbookspub.wix.com/home

 

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About Jeremy Croston

I'm a comic loving, soccer playing, devoted husband who has a writing addiction. I can be found at Orlando Solar Bear hockey games, at the local sports bar cheering on my teams from Philly (go Flyers!), and being led astray by my schnauzer, JJ. Check out my Amazon page at www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston to see my collections. Feel free to friend me on Facebook too at www.facebook.com/jcroston2 (there is another one of me out there apparently). Outside of writing, I work in business development and am considered an expert in all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thanks for stopping by and looking forward to talking to you soon!
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