“But we are not here to talk of pretty ladies, am I right?” Piggy asked conversationally.
Smarty stayed silent, his eyes wildly searching for something – anything – to save his ass. He futilely hoped for a secret door or a rope ladder or something. His breathing was desperate and labored, the sweat continued to pour down his face.
The large moon face leaned forward in his seat, the girth hovering ever closer to Smarty. His voice lowered menacingly as he enunciated slowly, “We are here to talk about your men, how many of them are with you, and how may I best dispose of them?”
Smarty began trembling. He looked at the man who liked to hit him.
“He's not going to help you,” Piggy said, “but I might.”
A thin thread of hope for Smarty. He was ready to give the fat bastard sitting before him anything he wanted, just as long as he was able to leave that godforsaken island intact.
Piggy nodded to one of the guards, who disappeared through an open door. Smarty stared after him so hard he thought he might burn holes into that door.
“Because I am a helpful guy,” Piggy continued.
“Oh, I get it,” Smarty smiled, “South Africa.”
The smile evaporated from the fat commander's face. His jowls hung limply at his chin as he asked, “What?”
“Your accent. I couldn't figure it out at first, but it just hit me. You're from South Africa.”
Piggy looked at Smarty as if Smarty was Special Needs and missing his helmet. He splayed his hands and asked, “So?”
“No reason. Just interesting is all.”
Piggy stared at him for a long moment, before finally saying, “You might find this interesting.”
Smarty had been patting himself on the back for figuring out what had been bugging him about the fat man's accent, which had temporarily pushed aside his worry about the guard disappearing through the door, but he stood rooted as the guard returned with a body slung over his shoulder. It was a man, around six feet, wearing mostly black nylon. The guard dumped him on the floor, face-up, and Smarty nearly choked on his saliva.
It was Techie. His sightless eyes stared up at the ceiling and a single bullet hole adorned the center of his forehead.
That fetid smile reattached itself to Piggy's face. He said, “Maybe this will jog your memory. Whatever the number is that are keeping from me... subtract one.”
“Oh God,” Smarty mumbled and he threw up all over himself, which, for some reason, Piggy found insanely funny. His laugh was a wheezing snort as he grabbed his roiling belly with each guffaw. At last his laughter faded as if his batteries had died. He got up and straightened his ill-fitting uniform, then walked around the desk and approached Smarty, seemingly savoring the vomit which covered the young man's face and chest.
He leaned in much too close and let that smile of his attain dramatic proportions. He growled, “Let's talk numbers.”