A scream of sirens signals the arrival of the police force, and a man with a brilliant yellow police jacket comes running onto the scene. He sees Marty standing bloody and bruised and snaps into glaring authority mode.
“You!” he cries.
“You!” returns Marty, throwing his arm into the air with a pointing gangster finger. “About time you got here! I nearly got killed by these two lunatics with the masks!”
Marty slides up close to the cop. “I’ve been tracking these guys since their first…ahem…drug deal. They’re in over their heads now.” Marty surveys the crash scene, the burning wreckage, and the black smoke billowing into the sky. “If they’re still alive,” he adds with a hint of sadness.
The cop has back-up now and he responds with some force. “And who the hell are you?” he demands.
Marty gives him a dirty look. “My name is Agent Martlet. I work for the police as a private investigator. And I was led to these two lunatics who…” Marty pauses with wide eyes as the side door of the vehicle is kicked open and two figures crawl from the wreckage.
“Still alive?” asks Marty, getting into the role of the merciless secret agent. He strides forward, and then stops as two grotesque masks look up at him.
A shiver moves across the audience, and the first cop stops in the motion of removing his handcuffs to detain Marty. The first figure rises to his feet. He’s bloodied and angry like a monster rising from the grave, one you just can't kill. He raises his gun. The next one rises up beside him, and also does not seem at all worried by the presence of the police force. At least, the masks do not change expressions.
“Back away slowly and kneel down!” the police officer yells to Marty. “We will handle this!”
Marty turns his back casually to the masked monsters. “Officer,” he says. “I’ve got this under control.” He smiles and turns back to the two lunatics who have their guns trained on him.
“Fantastic!” he says. “Drop your guns before you end up more fucked than a…” Marty looks around at the audience, and says cheerily, “Sorry! Children around.” He gives a friendly laugh and notices one fat boy in the crowd. “Hey Billy, sorry about the lemonade stand.”
The cops all wear expressions of mortal confusion. And that is to say, they are unsure whether they are witnessing a sad and pathetic death scene, a hostage scenario, a clever con man, or an incredibly professional secret agent. This can rattle a few nerves.
Marty turns back to the criminals. “What I really mean is that you are in deep trouble misters. So drop those appalling…” he pauses and says, “weapons,” in a drawn out and snide voice.
The first man shakes his gun angrily. “Get down on your knees!” he screams from behind his mask.
“Yes!” cries the second, “We’ve had enough of your theatrics!”
Marty hears this and throws his head back in laughter. He nearly falls to his knees in this laughter, but realizes that this would be the wrong sort of irony. “Theatrics!” he cries. “You’re the two bloody lunatics with masks on!” Marty begins to walk closer as he speaks.
They both shake their guns.
“Ooo,” moans Marty, “Shake them guns. Because you can’t do anything else with them, can you? Pull the trigger! I dare you!”
The police force recognize this tactic as an act-confident-and-hope-they-don’t-have-the-guts-to-shoot-me technique. They know the statistics on that one, and they wonder if this idiot will stand the odds.
Marty on the other hand, is making one vital assumption based upon one vital detail that he had noticed. Lewy Stross. Oh yes, and one other safety net is that, so far, his life has been a comedy. Although it could be rather comical for him to be shot anyway to some viewers, Marty is rather certain that he will be saved for a much larger joke. He has not yet reached the punch line of his life. So isn’t he practically invincible?
The first man pulls the trigger.
Marty is shocked as an impact slams into his chest with a gunshot. He staggers back with a grunt, and the second gun fires. He is shot again in the chest, pain blooms, and his breath leaves him. He was afraid of this, but not as afraid as one would expect.
He knew there were some sacrifices in this business of comedy. And this was just one of those times. A true actor has to take a few wimpy rubber bullets now and again in order to really get into the scene.
Marty manages to stay on his feet, taking only two steps back. And as soon as he’s retrieved his breath, he lets out a laugh to desperately cling to his previous role as the arrogant secret agent who always has the upper hand.
The entire police force has their guns trained on the two men in the masks, but for some reason they have not yet fired. Perhaps they didn’t care much for the third lunatic who was just shot. Or perhaps they are now far too distracted by the fact that he is laughing.
Marty does a little dance. “Thanks guys! Lovely show! Now drop to the ground.” His voice turns cold, and Marty doesn’t wait for them to even cock their guns. He runs right up to them and grabs for their weapons. They pull their guns against their chests like teddy bears, protecting their ‘priceless’ toys, and Marty gets even closer to them. Then he whispers at them.
“Those police officers are not playing cops and robbers. They will shoot you both dead if you do not surrender. You may have fooled them, but you haven’t fooled me.”
And then Marty hears a familiar voice. “Marty!”
He turns around. It is the cop with the square face. “There you are!” Marty responds. “Come take these men into custody.”
He turns back to the two. “Terribly sorry, but I will have to confiscate your toys before you both get shot. Just think, if you give them to me, there is a chance you can get them back. Because guess what, I’m not a real cop.”
“No shit, you fake,” spits the man from the elevator. “We know who you are. We know where you live. And there are more of us.”
Marty pretends he’s scared while actually being so. “Give me the guns.”
The two men hand their guns to him with perhaps too much ease, and the entire audience lets out a sigh of relief. Marty takes the guns and walks back toward the line of police officers, looking for a way out. And then his cell phone rings.
“Sweet Jesus!" he cries, grabbing the phone from his back pocket, while juggling the guns with the other hand.
A deep-throated voice speaks into his ear from the other side. “Marty. When I could not call the pay phone, I realized something was wrong. Good move disabling the line. But there is one more thing you must disable. The guns. Yes Marty. The guns you are holding in your hands at this very moment. They must be disabled.”
“Disabled?” asks Marty.
“Yes. They only have a certain number of shots before they explode. No time to explain. Just follow my instructions exactly.”
Marty kneels down and opens the sides of the guns. The man tells him to pull the red wire out. It comes out with a black cylinder. He follows the instructions to break open the cylinder, and then he pulls the leads out of the explosives within as directed by the deep-throated voice.
Meanwhile, the police are arresting the two masked men, a whole montage of motion is whipping past him on either side, and one single police officer is watching Marty in awe.
He swiftly and efficiently disables both the explosives, and then the man with the deep-throated voice finishes the conversation.
“Marty. I have helped you. Now you must return the favor. Bring me both of those guns. Be on the corner of Chestnut Lane and Bunny Crescent at 1am tonight. Bring no one.”
The line goes dead and Marty hangs up. The police officer who is watching him gives him a wide eyed look.
“Bombs are disabled. And,” Marty adds with pride, “you'll be happy to know that my grandmother's apple pie turned out delicious.” He flips his cell phone shut and slips it into his pocket.
The police officer blinks and says, “Whoa.”