Calvin, Lauren, Elaine, Simone, Shazam, Enya, Daroon, Angel and Kray’s corpse were back in the canteen, the only place they currently felt safe.The three (remaining) strapping men had tried to prise open one of the vending machines, with the idea of a makeshift coolbox for Kray, but they weren’t strong enough. The manufacturers had obviously taken every precaution to stop hungry, fat-encased food-collectors from gaining access, and some of the more ravenous ones had the strength of 50 people when it came to a free dime bar. After a few futile tugs, Si let go, proclaiming, “I'm not going to bother opening this, it’s too easy.”
Eventually, Calv turned to Lauren, the secret girl of his even more secret dreams, and asked in a quiet embarrassed voice, “Err... maybe you could, err, please could you open it... please?”(*19)
“Go on then, I’ll see what I can do,” she said sweetly and Calv was sure she winked at him. Then again, he was now viewing the world through a pair of shiners, so he dismissed it as imagination. Laur waited for everyone to back away a sufficient distance and then, somewhat anticlimatically, opened the front as if it had been held on with chewing gum.
Shazam started sobbing.
“Aww, no Shaz, you had loosened it for me!” she sang, flashing him a smile that warmed his heart and evaporated his tears.
“Simone!” he cried jubilantly. Simone flexed his biceps. Calv was still lost in a daydream of candyfloss clouds and makeshift rivers.
Enya helped Daroon putting Kray in the makeshift coffin/Cryo-Chamber and then turned away before the tears started rolling again. She had already told herself that she would not shed another tear until The Evil One lay dead and gutted at her feet. ‘No, not dead... within an inch of his life,’ she corrected in her head, imagining dragging him outside and making him rest his teeth on a curb, before bringing her boot sharply down.
“Right,” Elaine began, “I think we should split into two teams; the boys and the girls, and hunt down The Evil One.”
Simone opened his mouth to protest, but she answered him before he could say a word.
“Because quite frankly, lads, I think you’ll slow us down.”
“Is that so?!” Shaz voiced, cracking first his knuckles, then his neck, and finally every vertebrae in his spine.
“This isn’t a game... we wont let you win this one!” Calv roared triumphantly. He and Si high fived.
“And anyway, I wasn’t even going to mention the teams,” Si piped in, “I was just going to say that if anyone wanted to touch the guns...” he flexed his arms again, “...then now is the time. Come one, come all!”
The room went silent.
“I'm sorry, girls, but I want to go with the guys on this one,” Enya broke the silence, walking over to Shaz’s side, trying to keep a set minimum distance from Si, who was now holding out an arm for her to feel. “I sense that we will kick your butts,” she said, holding her fingers to her temples and swaying gently. She wasn’t psychic or anything, she was just a bit barmy.
“Very well,” Elaine surmised, “Come on girls, let’s fly fly, my pretties!”
“I love you!” Simone whispered as Elaine led them out of the door.
“What did you say?” she asked, poking her head back into the room.
“I..uh...love glue. Can’t get enough of the stuff. Prot-Stick, flour glue... err...”
“Hmm...” Elaine disappeared again.
“Right!” Calvin roared, thrusting like a jackhammer, “Let’s doooooOOoooOOOOooooo it!”
‘Oh God’ Enya thought to herself as she joined in the sacred man-ritual. ‘What have I let myself in for?’
*19- He was still in a dream world, because as Lauren had been nutting him earlier (before switching to her trusty fists) he was sure her lips had briefly touched his. Okay, it had resulted in a bust lip, but oh, it was worth it.