For a moment Smarty thought he had been shot and killed. Lights and colors swirled around the periphery of his lost eyesight, and he wondered aloud if they were angels, “Are you here to guide me home?” And then he reassessed his predicament and figured it was probably just the adrenaline rush of having a gun put to his head that caused his eyes to tweak. He struggled to regain control of his breathing too, while he was at it, and his eyes rolled in search of stimuli but finding nothing but blackness all around.

Suddenly, in the area behind where the fat man had been standing just in front of Smarty, probably written on the wall in glow-in-the-dark paint, were the neon pink words GET DOWN in eight-inch letters. His addled mind searched for meaning in these puzzling words, as if he were trying to decrypt some ancient alien cipher. Somewhere in his internal MP3 player came the song “Get Down Tonight” by KC and the Sunshine band:

Oh, do a little dance, make a little love

Get down tonight, get down tonight

But with a jolt he realized the message was actually pretty straightforward.

He dropped to the floor and covered his head with his arms. He cried, “Oh Sh--” just as a mighty explosion rocked the room. The concussion of which turned the guards nearest the door into jelly. The others were taken out like bowling pins by the catapulted door. Smarty felt the heat from the blast singe his hair and the hot debris pelt his arms. The cacophony rattled around in his head for a moment before he realized he wasn't dead. He carefully opened one eye but still couldn't see anything in the dark, until a single LED beam from a cell phone sliced through the murk and revealed... mostly smoke. Smarty followed the beam back to its source and saw a head poking out from an air duct in the ceiling. It was the face of someone he never thought he would see again.

Hi,” the face said and smiled down to the floor next to Smarty, who was horrified to see Piggy rising from the smoldering debris and clutching for his sidearm, “heard you asking about me. I'm Jay.”

Before the fat man was able to bring his gun to bear, Jay said, “Let me introduce myself,” and shot him. Piggy twisted and fell face-first on to the cold concrete floor. Smarty's shell-shocked brain was flummoxed, and he thought, But that's not how Jabba The Hutt dies, though he was immediately brought back to real life when Jay reached out for him, “Hey, buddy! Need a lift?”

Smarty nodded and shuffled zombie-like toward the hole in the ceiling where Jay hung. He lifted his ziptied hands up and Jay snatched him and lifted him into the duct as easily as lifting a teddy bear.

We are here to steal a girl,” Smarty informed Jay, who only smiled and waved his cell phone light over his shoulder, revealing the startled face of Kumiko.

Uh-huh,” said Jay.

Oh,” said Smarty.

Kumiko took smarty's hands and freed them with a quick flick of a box cutter. Smarty nodded his thanks. His head was awash with concussion, he realized, and was pretty sure his ears were leaking blood. Unconsciousness threatened, but he wanted to tell Jay the bad news before he passed out, “Techie's dead, Jay.”

I know, and someone's gonna pay. But we'll be next if we don't get a move on, so we're gonna hop like quick little bunnies back to the air strip and get the hell outta here, kay?”

Smarty nodded somberly, “Uh-huh.”

They crawled through two hundred feet of ductwork in silence, but when they dropped down Jay informed Smarty and Kumiko in a hushed tone, “I can't verify we're alone. There are possibly three or four more guards on site. Keep your heads down and your eyes peeled. Capiche?”

The End

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