Marty’s eyes go wide as a figure leaps from the darkness and lands on the intruder’s chest with claws extended. The man cries out and falls into a bush, trying desperately to get it off of him. He thrashes in the bush, there is the sound of a fist hitting something, and then Marty sees the guard cat that is mauling the intruder as it lets out a wail, followed by a frightening hiss.
Marty wants to laugh, but he is too busy staring. The mobster is being mauled by a house cat. The mobster is being mauled by a house cat. Marty is suddenly afraid for his life. He runs over the man’s kicking legs, but he is caught in a brilliant glare as the back porch light turns on. He darts for a place to hide and is sealed away tight just as the back door is thrown wide.
Steel-toed, high-heeled, kick-some-ass boots move across the porch with all the arrogance of a prince of rock and roll. And then there is a voice. It is charming and effeminate. But that is because it is directed towards Miss Cuddles. “Aren’t-choo a gooood kitty, aren’t-choo? Yaaa, yaaa, come to master, that’s a good kitty.”
And then the voice goes dark and dramatic. “Name yourself!” it declares.
There is a groan.
“I said fuck you.”
“Oh.” The boots clud down the stairs one at a time, which is really to say that they make a sound halfway between a thud and a click.
And Marty is very taken by this curious detail. It could very well be skewed to determine that the walker is a cross between a male (thud) and a female (click). But Marty will get no further with this shallow yet good-humored interpretation because he suddenly realizes his situation.
He is hiding in a barrel from the dangerous villain. A barrel? Why is there a fucking barrel sitting in the back yard and why is he hiding in it? Of all the stereotypical hiding places. And then he makes a connection between his hiding place and the intense smell of rotting egg shells and banana peel soup. Marty tries not to add to the half-decomposed food with his own half-digested food, but the stench is admirable.
And yet, he is actually rather content to remain in the barrel with the simple satire of a stereotypical hiding place. He knows all too well that a very different sort of comedy could be awaiting him if he was to be dragged into the house by his odd-ball neighbor.
The boots move across the lawn, this time making a squicky sound. Marty tries not to get into the logistics, but he is certain that the sound could be interpreted as a I-want-to-kill-something-but-I-will-continue-to-walk-in-a-lady-like-fashion-and-my-this-lawn-is-wet sound.
The other man scrambles to his feet. “I don’t know you and I don’t want to know you,” he warns the approaching resident. “I was just taking an innocent peek behind your house.”
“My house,” shrieks Marty’s neighbor, “contains millions of dollars of valuable collectibles! And you are no petty thief! I can tell a professional when I see one!” The consonants are pronounced like Shakespeare.
The man is flattered. “Professional? Me? Yo man, I was hired to do this job. And whoever hired me wasn’t even professional.”
“Hired by hwho?” asks Marty’s neighbor, gently pronouncing the first ‘h’.
“I would tell ya if I knew. Some rich-ass guy with a deep throated voice. He only wanted me to take a look in your windows.”
“And hwhat did he hwant you to look for, precisely?”
“Man you talk funny,” spits the thief.
“Answer the question.”
“K, I’ll tell ya what I know. Then you promise to put a leash on that fucking cat.”
Marty winces from within his barrel. He can hear a giant buzzer going off in his mind. Wrong answer!
The footsteps somehow sound like they’re on concrete. They sound like they’re stomping smoking cigarettes into the asphalt just for added effect. But either way, Marty’s neighbor has charged into the thief and grabbed him, likely by the collar. Yes, by the collar.
“Hold off!” cries the thief.
“Hold still so I can slap you,” replies the other.
But there is no sound of slapping as the thief breaks free and makes a run for it. After all, it doesn’t sound like any weapons have been pulled. And then there is a gunshot, a scream, and the sound of a body hitting the ground.
Marty almost falls over as he jumps within the confinement of his barrel. And falling over would likely result in rolling, so he is glad to remain upright. But it seems as if the thief is more pissed than he is dead because he replies rather quickly to the assault.
“Holy fuck!” he cries, likely with his hands pressed over his ears and completely unaware of how loud his voice is. “You just shot at me! And holy fuck! You missed!”
The neighbor laughs, likely twirling the gun like an umbrella. “The real question my dear, is why did you fall down?”
“Because you shot at me!”
“I did not!”
“Yes you did! You’re holding the bloody gun in your hand!”
“This?” asks the other as if mildly surprised to see the gun in his hand. “If you knew anything, you would know that this is not a gun. This is a 22 millimeter 1942 Dilliben-Austin collectors pistol as seen in the Grandé Marquee Spectaculus Production of 1973!”
The thief is incredulous but still pissed. “I don’t give a fuck about the history if it’s going to be firing shrapnel into my ass!”
Marty’s neighbor has another good laugh, wielding the gun like a spoon. “It was used in a production!” he exclaims. “It’s a prop! A collector’s item! Not a real gun!”
The thief has a slight revelation, and he climbs to his feet. “Right. Well if the show is over I’ll be on my way.”
“Not so fast,” says Marty’s neighbor very slowly. “Because here’s the real gun.”
The thief is heard to groan. “My, you have the whole toy collection. Let me guess, it too is a fake. Now I’d love to play creepy house owners and robbers with you another time, but I have to leave.”
Marty hears teeth grinding. It sounds like bones are crunching and eyelids are creaking. His neighbor has become offended. “Toy?” he cries. “A fake? This is a priceless collector’s piece! It was used in four major productions and was even kissed by Lewy Stross himself!”
“I don’t fucking care if Lewy Stross made love to that gun so long as it doesn’t shoot me, you sick, twisted freak! I am leaving so go ahead and shoot me with your toy. I’ll kiss the bullet for you.”
There is another loud gunshot, a scream, and the sound of a body falling. Marty waits with one eye open. Dead? Or further pissed?
“You just shot me!” Pissed and shocked.
The neighbor laughs. “You drama queen! If you knew anything, you would know that this is a—”
“I’m alive! Shit, what luck!” cries the thief. “Terribly sorry to interrupt, but I have an impromptu doctor’s appointment! You’ll have to show me your collector’s edition flame thrower some other time!” The thief’s voice grows distant as he books it back down the side of the house.
Marty’s neighbor cries after him like a boy with no one to play with. “It was only a rubber bullet!” But the thief is gone.
Marty waits for his neighbor and guard cat to go within the house and the light to turn off before he rises from his resting place like a fruity vampire. He jumps the fence in a hurried scramble and runs for his front door. Which he now remembers was left unlocked.