Stinger grunted as Fred punched him yet again. The pain had long since gone numb, but Stinger still hated every time the larger man's fist connected.
"You made a fool out of me, ya dig?" The large man said, punching Stinger in the stomach yet again. Had he not emptied his stomach multiple times already, Stinger would be doing so right now. It was such a lovely thing, really. Attracted tons of lovely ladies. Totally.
"I wasn't aware you needed me to look like a fool, Fred," Stinger said between coughs. The numbness was fading now. Great.
Hank let Stinger go from behind and he fell to the floor of the small tent, barely able to catch himself. He would feel that in the morning... And the morning after that. "At least you guys didn't hit my face. I need that pretty thing for the ladies."
Hank spat on the ground beside him. "You are lucky the Admiral values you, else we would have done worse."
"Values me?" Stinger asked, turning to sit down and clutch his bare stomach, now turning purple from the hours of beating. "Well, I am honored! Never knew I was so valued by his lordship."
As if on cue, the Admiral himself walked in. He was dressed in street clothes and had a large hat that he had probably used to stay hidden from any who passed by. Lovely plan there. Aside from the fact that his face was too ugly to hide well.
"Stinger, my boy," the Admiral said with a large smile, "Why are you all battered and bruised? I don't like it when you hurt yourself you know?"
Stinger laughed a little, or tried to. It came out rather 'cough-y.' "Oh Admiral, you know I would never hurt myself on purpose! Why, these two men just got mad I stole all the women from them. You know, because I look much better than them in every way." Stinger forced himself to smile as the Admiral did.
"Well, I certainly believe that is possible, but even I know you did this to yourself." The Admiral's smile turned into a look of pure hatred and he knelt to look Stinger square in the eye. "By being in that show across town, you have injured your body. And you injured it further by helping that whelp Nyxie get her little kittens back. Tell me how I am wrong?"
Stinger laughed, then. "What are you talking about?" He spread his arms. "You know me, Admiral, and I am always one to mess with people."
The Admiral stood up straight. "What do you mean?"
Stinger stood up and walked over to the main beam of the tent. Dear God, it hurt to walk, though. It felt like a woman had kicked him... well, somewhere unpleasant. "I went to that circus to see how good their stuntman was. Well, since he disappeared before his act, I was disappointed so I thought I could stir up trouble." Stinger looked at Hank and Fred. "These two have halfway beaten me for trying to mess up Merriweather's performance."
The Admiral laughed. "Mess up? You seemed like you were trying to make a show, not mess up!"
Stinger tsked, grunting as he moved a little. His stomach would definitely hate him for a while. And they had gotten along so well before this, too. "I was going to show how lame the cannon was, but then the bastard packed it with even more gunpowder! Honestly, you should be glad your stuntman still lives to prey on the ladies!"
The Admiral looked thoughtful. That was good. Right? "Assuming you are in the right on that whole fiasco, what can you say to defend yourself on the lion subject."
Stinger gave the Admiral a frown. "Well, I THOUGHT you were just leaving the lions at a vet and using replacement ones for now, but Fred here spilled everything and I may have attempted to ask Nyx out by luring her with the info." Stinger scratched his head, remembering the night he spent with Nyx. Or rather, the night he spent on her floor just because she felt so good about the news. "I'll admit, I am not a good drinker, so it might not be going well between me and her."
It was clear the Admiral wasn't going to buy it, but Stinger had tried. Yup, nothing to do now but wait for his severance package. Hopefully, it had a few numbers of the local girls. It was always fun to flirt on the phone...
The Admiral slapped Stinger on the back. "Sorry I ever doubted you, my boy," he said jovially, "Now get some rest. I'll give you time to heal before we get to the next show. Just remember to keep me informed when you try stuff like this again, alright?"
Stinger was stunned. It had worked? No, that face on the Admiral said it all. This was a last chance, then? Well, whatever it was, Stinger took it. He picked up his shirt and put it back on, stomach throbbing at every move, and left Fred, Hank, and the Admiral in the tent.
Now to relax.