He was out again that morning. He had been so caught up with everything else that he forgot to stock up on his snacks again. So Rast hopped inside his car and drove to the nearest convenience store he could find. The rat parked at a gas station not far from his apartment, figuring he may as well kill two birds with one stone. As soon as the rat finished filling up his car with gas, he sighed as he fished through his pockets and pulled out a few dollar bills and some change. He squinted as he looked at the coins, double-checking to make sure he had quarters instead of nickels. Then he walked inside the store and exhaled, noticing all the snacks, refrigerated drinks, and packs of cigarettes packed out within the store. Rast walked up to the cashier and snapped his fingers to divert his attention away from the magazine he was reading.
"Hey. You guys got jars of peanut butter?"
"Hmm? Oh, uh, we have those small on-the-go packs."
"But do you have the jars?"
The cashier shook his head. "Sorry. We don't carry the jars here."
Course you fuckers don't carry it. Now I gotta…fuck it. Remember, Rast, thank him. People like being thanked.
"Okay, thanks anyway."
Rast turned around and headed into one of the aisles, passing by various chips and candy bars, before he snatched one of the on-the-go packs of peanut butter that only pups would use for putting on crackers before he walked over to the refrigerated section and looked inside. He saw all sorts of unhealthy sports drinks, some forms of beer, and even a package of "fresh" sushi that was lined against the wall. Rast shifted over and continued to look at all the food inside, only to frown when he saw no cheese sticks. Of course, Rast thought. They don't have anything I want. Fucking…screw it. I'll just get the cheese and crackers. Rast huffed as he grabbed a package of cheese and crackers from the shelf before he walked over to the cashier. Another person entered the store and started to look for snacks as well. The rodent ignored the man and slammed his snacks down in front of the cashier.
"Find everything you were looking for, sir?"
No, you fucking cunt. Now I gotta drive to another damn store to get my cheese sticks.
"Oh yeah, no problem," the rat lied.
Rast waited as the cashier scanned his items and put his snacks inside of a bag.
"All right, that'll be two dollars and ninety cents."
Rast dug into his pocket and placed three crumpled up dollar bills on the counter. After the cashier took the money, Rast sniffed and rubbed his nose. Smile, Rast. Everybody loves it when you—
The robber raised his handgun and shot the rat in the back of his head. The cashier screamed when blood and brain fragments splattered all over his face, nearly blinding him. The robber watched as the young man shook and started to hold up his hands. The robber didn't care. He shot him in the neck and watched as he gurgled on his blood and slid down to the floor. Just to make sure both creatures were dead, the robber shot the cashier in the forehead, shortly before he shot the rat in the head a second time. Sighing, the robber put his gun into his pocket, reached over the counter, and scrambled to snatch all of the money out of the cash register. Afterwards, he bent down and fished around Rast's pockets so he could take out his wallet. But once the robber looked inside, he found nothing but credit cards he couldn't use and a broken claw. Scoffing, the man tossed the wallet on the floor, stood up, and ran outside the store before anyone tried to stop him.
He got what he came for, and now it was time to leave.
Douglas Kevro wiggled his toes as he looked down at the floor. He rubbed some dried scales off his ironed navy blue dress pants before he cleared his throat and smoothed out his white dress shirt. The shark looked up in the corner of the room and spotted the camera that was aimed down at him, looking like an uncanny eye. He just smiled at the camera before turning around and looking at the barren metal wall behind him. Douglas placed his hands on the table as he listened to the rhythmic ticking of the clock going on and on. The shark exhaled as he continued to sit around in the interrogation room, growing restless. He knew the other officers and agents were observing him through the "mirror," watching him to see when or if he would crack beneath all this "pressure" he was feeling. But despite everything that was going on, the shark seemed very calm with himself.
"So…you guys ready for this or not? Been waiting for hours."
As always, the shark received no answer. He just looked up at the clock and exhaled, folding his arms. It wasn't until three more minutes later before two agents in different suits walked into the room. One of them was carrying a microphone and recorder while the other one was holding a packet of various papers and a pen. Douglas smiled as he looked at the green-scaled iguana stuffed inside of a black suit with a black tie, while the agent standing next to him was a human being with short black hair, dressed in a normal gray suit and blue dress shirt.
"Agent Kinhart and Rysley! Good to see you again!"
The reptile smiled widely as he looked at Douglas and wagged his tail. "Well. Surprised to see you sitting in this room…let alone asking what you're asking."
The other agent flicked her eyes at the reptile before setting the papers and pen down on the table. "I'm assuming Ervo went over the deal with you a half-hour ago?"
Doug nodded. "Yes, Agent Kinhart. I know how this goes. I explain all the heinous deeds I did, and in exchange, I get full immunity."
The agent looked at Douglas and raised her eyebrow. "Aren't you gonna read the contracts?"
The shark reached forward and exhaled as he picked up the pen, twirling it around his fingers. "I know what it says. Don't worry. Go ahead and start recording."
Douglas grinned as he looked at Kinhart and Rysley's bewildered expressions. Agent Kinhart sat down in her chair while the iguana cleared his throat as he moved his hand around the button attached to the recorder. He pressed down, and Douglas heard a faint beep.
"State your full name," the iguana said.
"Douglas Sentiino Kevro."
"Also present are Tero Police Organization agents Ashley Kinhart, Broneg Rysley, and Kyle Ervo. Date is May 29th, 2298. Mr. Kevro has come here on his own free will and has agreed to full immunity in exchange for confessing to his past crimes. If you agree to this statement, please say yes."
"Yes," Douglas stated.
"Good," the iguana said, before he sat down. "You can start now."
Douglas exhaled as he leaned forward in his chair and started to rub his chin. He thought for a moment, listening to the clock ticking in the background. He squinted a few times, and the agents both turned and looked at each other, confused again. Then, after much contemplation, Douglas sighed heavily and rubbed his hands together."
"About seven weeks ago…I, um…I posted a message on the dark web, stating that I would give someone one billion dollars if they…if they went to Universal Gardens, and destroyed the amusement park."
Douglas looked at the agents' faces and struggled not to grin. Kinhart stammered. "You-you were the one behind that attack?"
"Not exactly. See, after I posted that message, multiple people responded. But I ignored all of them…everyone but Seamus Osgranov, one of my former associates. I figured that the pig would see my message. I figured he would immediately agree to my terms. I provided him with uniforms that they were able to use to pose as park security. Everything else, the shooting, the bombings, that was all on Osgranov, not me. Heh…I honestly didn't think that pig would be that stupid, but he was."
"Son of a bitch," Rysley murmured.
Kinhart held her tongue. She closed her eyes and rubbed her hands together, struggling to bottle up all of her rage and profanity. After a brief moment, she swallowed and opened her eyes.
"Where is this person, this Seamus Osgranov?"
Douglas felt his cell phone buzzing. He paused for a moment and looked down at his phone so he could look at a text message someone sent him. After looking at the message, Douglas smirked and exhaled.
"Sorry 'bout that. Anyway, Mr. Osgranov? He's dead. Another one of my associates, Rast Racklyn, found him, drugged him, and tortured him to death. He later chopped up his body into chunks, and delivered it to Osgranov's own butchery company. You won't find his body—not unless you feel like sifting through fecal matter in the sewers."
Rysley gritted his teeth before he shook his head and snorted. "Giving us the names of people who are already dead will not help you, Mr. Kevro."
Douglas ignored him. "I'm not sure if Osgranov was on your radar, but he was responsible for kidnapping all of those humans from metro buses for the past year. Every week, Osgranov and his employees would masquerade as bus drivers from all sorts of cities across the country, drive out of town, and then fill the bus with knockout gas. He and his employees would then gather the unconscious bodies and chop them all into pieces, so he could sell their organs and flesh on the black market. Osgranov, being the incompetent pig he was, constantly asked me for help. I have records and files documenting how much flesh he collected each week. As for his organ harvesting ring? That has also been dismantled. Seems that Osgranov gunned down all of his employees and burned down his primary warehouse where he conducted his activities."
Douglas spread his hands apart. "So, no need for any of you to worry about his operation. That's all over and done with."
Kinhart exhaled. "That does not fill us with comfort. You mentioned another person—Rast Racklyn."
The shark cleared his throat. "Yes, of course! Rast found me through the dark web in my store. Apparently he made some snuff film and wanted to sell it online for money. I did, of course, even though I'm not the biggest fan of those films. So a month goes by, and during said month, I posted roughly twelve, give or take thirteen different videos online. I did not, however, order Rast to rape and kill any of these people depicted in the videos. He committed those crimes completely on his own volition. Anyways, Rast kept all his recordings on flash drives hidden in his apartment. Seamus found out about this and sent some of his thugs to rob him. So Rast came to me for help, and we met with some raccoon on a passenger train, the BR97. Turns out that Seamus' goons were on the train, and they intended on killing us after I gave them the money they were extorting from Rast. Rast and I, we fought off Seamus' men, but we couldn't have any witnesses, so we had to murder everyone else on the train."
Kinhart huffed. "My god, the-the derail…"
Douglas nodded. "After we killed everyone, I noticed that the CV20 freight train was traveling on the same tracks as the BR97. So I put the train in reverse, made both trains collide with each other. The police and news thought it was a terrorist attack, but I was behind it. Anyway…about a week later, Rast and I decided to kill Seamus. So I had Rast lead Osgranov into a trap I set where my men were supposed to gun them all down, make it look like a gang hit. They got away, unfortunately, and we ultimately decided to lay low for a while. That is, until the Universal Gardens Massacre happened."
The shark paused so he could scratch around his gills. "I ordered Rast to murder Osgranov afterwards. He hated the pig as much as I did, especially since during the attack, some of my associates, like the late police commissioner, were killed. Admittedly, the thought of some of my business partners getting killed during the Universal Gardens Massacre never crossed my mind when I sent that message to Seamus. Eh. Collateral damage."
Rysley snorted. "Sounds like this Rast person is heavily involved in your crimes. Where is he?"
Rysley slammed his pen on the table and leaned back in the chair. "Goddamn it."
"Rast was not some mercenary, or some convict or some ex-soldier. He was just some egotistical pup in college who craved attention. So much so that two nights ago, he and Linkard Reid—an ex-convict—broke into someone's house, and raped and murdered a family of five. All of which Rast recorded, without bothering to hide his face. Now normally, this wouldn't bother me at all. But Rast did not dispose of any bodies. He left the corpses of a young child and a teenager lying on the floor, their rectums full of his semen. And I'm sure there's rat fur all over the floor too; I'm sure your forensics team can verify that with ease. Rast killed Reid shortly after they finished. Guess he thought you cops would suspect he was the rapist, and then someone came along and abruptly killed him too."
"That doesn't make any sense. We very easily would've figured out that there was a second suspect," Kinhart pointed out.
Douglas scoffed. "Which is what I told him! But Rast and his precious ego…hmph. He wanted to get caught. Wanted to satisfy his narcissism, and he ended up negating his pragmatism in the process. Stupid pup even stuck me with a needle, threatened to drug and kill me the same way he killed all of his victims." Douglas sighed as he shook his head and snorted. "He was too much of a liability. So I had him killed. He was shot at a gas station this morning, not too long ago actually. Clerk got it too. Made it look like a simple mugging gone wrong."
Rysley huffed and ran his hand against his back, brushing his scaly hand against his spines. "Well. Sounds like you've been busy. Unfortunately, we can't help you. All the information you gave us just implicates you. Your two coconspirators have been killed—both on your orders, I might add. So I'm not sure—"
Douglas leaned back in his chair and let out a deep, growling laugh, showing all of his teeth. As he leaned, he moved his legs and placed his giant feet on the table before he reached behind and placed his hands on the back of his head.
"Did you seriously think I was done? Everything I've told you was just a list of the crimes I've committed these past four months."
The shark grinned widely as he looked at the agents. "I'm just getting started."
Douglas drank the rest of the coffee from the foam cup that the TPO agents offered to him. He set the cup down and swallowed, while Kinhart and Rysley—no longer wearing their suit jackets and had their sleeves rolled up—were busy rubbing their eyes and waiting for the shark to finish with his confessions.
"So," Douglas cleared his throat. "I went ahead and changed my mind. You can have Lenchyn Tumley. He called me before I entered the station, wanted to make sure I wouldn't give up his name. But given how close he is in the Tero Committee, I figured you would want to expose his corruption too. There's quite a few shady individuals within the Committee, and I'm sure that Tumley will be more than happy to give them all up if you make him your informant."
Kinhart sighed as she wiped some sweat from her forehead. "Is there anything else?"
Douglas picked up the pen left on the desk and twirled it around in his fingers a few times. He shook his head.
"No. I believe that's it."
Rysley slammed his hands down on the desk and huffed. "Fucking finally. Here's how this is gonna go down: we need to find, apprehend, or kill every single person you've implicated in your confession. If a single person slips through our grasp, or we do not catch them in the span of the next few weeks, everything in these documents will be voided. Do you understand?"
Douglas nodded. "Absolutely."
The shark chuckled as he clicked the pen twice. "There is one last bit of information I need to mention."
The iguana nodded. "Go ahead."
"I'm currently involved in a deal with Commander Maynard. He's a prominent figure of the Apis Empire, and he comes down to Tero each week to collect meat from me, human flesh in particular. Like I said, I was assisting Osgranov with this before his death, but now that he is dead, I've decided to take over his human harvesting business. Before you protest, let me calm your nerves by saying that I am using bodies from people who are already deceased. Y'know, collecting bodies from various morgues and funeral homes. This way, Commander Maynard gets what he wants, no humans have to suffer, and I still get paid. I do strongly implore you that you allow me to continue collecting flesh for the commander, as he has threatened all of Tero if his demands are not met."
Rysley exhaled. "Okay then. I believe we're done here."
The iguana pressed the button on the recorder and stopped taping the conversation. As soon as he stopped, Douglas grinned.
"Now then, I suggest you help us take out this colonel from across the ocean. We can have a plane—"
"I'm not doing a fucking thing for you people," the shark growled.
Kinhart smirked herself as she pointed down to the various sheets of paper. "Then you violate your deal. And we will immediately throw you into prison for the rest of your life. Given the sheer amount of enemies you've made over the years, I doubt you'd last long."
"Hmm. Yes. I suppose you have me. But nothing is in writing, so…where's the confirmation?"
The shark watched and held in his laughter as both of the TPO agents flipped through the packet of the immunity deal. Both of them snorted and exhaled as they examined the papers and noticed that Douglas didn't sign his name on any of them.
"I don't understand. You agreed—"
"What I agreed to, Agent Rysley, was that I would come here and confess to my crimes for immunity. And I have done that."
"So sign the papers," the iguana snarled.
Douglas shook his head. "Nah. What's immunity in your terms? Being secluded to a house in the middle of nowhere, while a bunch of agents monitor where I shop for food, where I buy my clothes? Is immunity working for you agents in a giant skyscraper, writing endless documents day in and day out, and spending the rest of my life filing papers in cabinets while I wear an uncomfortable suit? Hmph, I don't think so."
Kinhart rubbed her head. "Then what do you want?"
"Simple. I'm gonna get up from this chair, walk out of this room, and leave this building. Then I'm gonna go home and take a nap, since I've been up for over twenty-four hours now."
Rysley shook his head. "Sign the contract. That's the best deal you're getting."
Douglas raised his left eyebrow. "Did you already forget about the recording in front of you? Have the list of names magically disappeared from your minds? I gave you one hundred and fifty names. One hundred and fifty. Drug dealers, gun dealers, human traffickers, anthro traffickers, human and anthro traffickers, corrupt politicians and government officials, dirty cops, loan sharks—I can go on. Two of the names I gave you have been on the TPO's Most Wanted List for over a decade. One's a terrorist, and the other's a hitman who specializes in kidnapping and torturing TPO agents to death. How many victims has he claimed, Agent Kinhart?"
"Thirty-seven! Wow! Now, wouldn't your employers be thrilled to know that you apprehended him, or even sent him to an early grave? I sure as hell know I would. And it would all be thanks to me willingly giving him up to you!"
Kinhart chuckled. "Mr. Kevro, you've implicated yourself in so many murders and so much crime that you're currently facing the death penalty. The only way you will avoid jail time is if you sign these papers."
Douglas exhaled and placed his hands on the table. "Agent Kinhart. Agent Rysley. I need you two to think very carefully about your decisions. It's…it's simple. I'm a shark, agents—literally and metaphorically—and this world we live in is a giant ocean. The problem is that there are other sharks around me that are hassling me, trying to invade my territory, trying to kill me. You two are flounder, minnows, tilapia—little, tiny, baby fish. A shark is coming to you itty-bitty fish and telling you, 'hey, I know how to kill all these other sharks.' Don't you get it? A bunch of minnows are about to take down several sharks, and it's all because one shark willingly came to you and offered his assistance! You should be happy!"
Kinhart shook her head and laughed. "No, Mr. Kevro. I know exactly what you're doing. You're a shark, yes. And you're helping us, yes. But you don't really want us tiny fish to kill other sharks. And you're not doing this out the kindness of your heart. What you're really saying is, 'hey, I know I ate a lot of your friends, and I'm sorry, but not really! In order to show you small fish how sorry I am, I'm gonna tell you how to kill these other sharks—who are also a thorn in my side—so I don't have to worry about facing the wrath from you small fish in the future! But as soon as you small fish take care of these other sharks, I'm gonna go back to eating you all up! And if any of you complain about it, I'll kindly remind you all how helpful I was in the past.' That's what you're telling us, Mr. Kevro."
Douglas grinned. "See? You understand then!"
Rysley huffed as he lowered his head and rubbed the back of his neck. "Just sign these papers, Mr. Kevro. This really isn't hard."
"Did you two also seemingly forget about my deal with Commander Maynard? I'm the only one who engages in these deals with him. And if I don't get that human flesh for him, he has promised to send his entire armada of Apis soldiers to burn Tero to the ground."
Kinhart scrunched up her face. "You can't burn a planet to the ground."
Douglas groaned. "THANK YOU!" After groaning, the shark shook his head and rubbed his snout. "All that aside, the commander said that he'll come to Tero and destroy the planet. And we all know that that's the last thing we want. All my business is conducted on Tero, and I've no intention to start everything over on some backwater planet."
Rysley sucked on his teeth. "Nah. Sounds to me that you're bluffing. This whole situation is too ludicrously complex for you to have planned all this out."
"See, that's the funny thing. I didn't plan for any of this. I planned to have multiple plans in case my initial plans failed. My initial plans failed, so now I'm here."
Kinhart let out a frustrated breath as she looked at the sheets of paper. "It's been over four hours. We've made our demands clear. Either sign these papers, or you go to prison. It's that simple."
Douglas leaned forward on the table, licking his teeth. "Agents. I requested to see you three specifically for a reason. Think about that. Very. Carefully. Is that your final demand? Do you really wanna go this route, in spite of everything I just said?"
"If you were being serious about the threat of the Apis Empire, you would've said so on tape. Sounds to us like you're just bluffing," said Rysley.
Douglas nodded, and then he scooted his chair backwards and stood up in front of the table. "Got it. Let me make a phone call then. I mean, you allow prisoners one phone call, right?"
Rysley nodded. "Fine. But just one call."
Douglas moved away from the agents as he quickly dialed someone's number and held the phone up to his earhole. "Yeah, it's me. Green light."
The person on the other end of the phone exhaled with relief. "Finally."
Doug hung up his phone and slid the cellular device into his pocket. Kinhart glared at the shark and blinked.
"What did you just do?"
Ignoring Kinhart, Douglas faced Rysley instead. "Agent Rysley, your wife and six-year-old daughter still live out in the countryside, right? They're in a small neighborhood, live in a house that you still haven't finished painting blue yet?"
The iguana's eyes widened. "How did—who was on that phone? What the fuck did you just do?!"
Douglas looked at Kinhart and noticed she was waving Ervo to come into the room. Rysley panted frantically as he stood from his chair and paced around in the room holding his cell phone. The shark exhaled.
"Agent Rysley, I suggest you start creating funeral arrangements. Because by the time you get home, your wife and daughter will be dead."
"WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO?!"
Ervo, a white man who was losing his hair and gaining weight around his midsection, stepped into the interrogation room and stood behind Rysley.
"Right now there's a very burly man breaking into your house. I instructed him to rape your wife and daughter, and to cut off their heads and leave them on the fireplace for you to find."
Ervo swore as he pulled out his radio and called for two guards. Rysley whimpered as he listened to his cell phone ringing, but his wife never picked up. The iguana shouted with frustration as he tossed his cell phone at the wall.
"Call it off," the lizard snarled.
"It's too late—"
"CALL IT OFF RIGHT NOW!"
Douglas leaned against the wall and smirked. "I did warn you. All you had to do—"
Ervo, instinctively, grabbed Rysley from behind as he swore at him and pulled out his gun. Kinhart rushed over to the iguana and restrained him as well, holding him back as he thrashed around and tried to throttle the shark. Douglas just continued to smirk, staring at the reptile as he screamed, spittle flying from his mouth as tears formed in his eyes. Two other police officers stormed inside the room and saw the kerfuffle, and they promptly restrained the hysterical iguana, removing his weapon from his hands. As they escorted him out of the room, Kinhart grabbed her head while Ervo took out a pair of handcuffs.
"Put him in holding! We'll call for a prison van to come and—"
"No, you won't," Douglas snarled.
"You just violated your deal! You didn't sign the immunity papers and on top of that, now we have you for ordering the deaths of a TPO agent's family!"
"But Agent Kinhart," Douglas said softly. "Don't you wanna see your elderly mother again?"
The agent's eyes grew wide, and she backed away. Ervo already sensed where the giant fish was going with this, and he swallowed hard.
"And Ervo, don't you want your adorable son to enter high school this autumn? I know that your wife was kidnapped and you failed to save her all those years ago. But you still have your son left, your precious, vulnerable son."
Kinhart scoffed. "My-my mother will be dead within two years. I don't—"
"If you didn't care, you wouldn't be visiting twice every week at the retirement home. And you wouldn't be paying them so much money to ensure she is as comfortable as possible there. As for you, Ervo, don't even bother bluffing that you don't care about your son. So!"
Douglas clapped his hands together. "Let's try this again! I'm going to walk out of this room. I'm going to leave this building. And then I shall return home, and go to sleep. While I'm doing all of this, you agents will use all this glorious information that I provided for you to make all of your employers happy. And if you see me again in the future, you will remember what happened here today, and you will remain oblivious to any illegal activities you may or may not see me engaged in. Are we clear?"
Ervo gritted his teeth and stomped over to the shark. "You can't…" The man huffed. "You…you can't do this," he whimpered.
"As soon as I walk out of this building, I will inform the other two people I have watching your families to stand down. Otherwise, the man who is currently murdering Rysley's family has instructions to let my two hitmen know that they are clear to kill your families. And just to be clear, if you still are obsessed with incarcerating or killing me, remember what I said about Commander Maynard. If you're fine with dooming all of Tero because you couldn't let one criminal get away, then by all means," Douglas held his hands out in front of Ervo and grinned. "Slap the cuffs on me."
He knew they wouldn't do it. They couldn't. They would have to swallow their pride to ensure the safety of their families. And if not for them, then they'd have to do it in order to keep Tero intact. Neither of them wanted to be responsible for the extermination of an entire planet because they couldn't get past a grudge against the shark. Still grinning, Douglas lowered his hands and walked over to the door. He grabbed the handle, pressed down on it, and opened the door. As he entered the corridor, Douglas adjusted his cuffs and started to walk towards the elevator, moments before he heard someone sprinting behind him.
Douglas huffed and turned around. "Agent Kinhart, did you forget—"
"Call off the other two hitmen now."
"Do it right now," she said, taking out her handgun. "Or I will kill you."
"But, Agent Kinhart," he said, sounding innocent again. "You can't do that! Killing an unarmed anthro? That's illegal!"
"I don't fucking care," she said, her voice cracking. "If it means I go to prison just to make sure someone like you won't continue ruining this planet, then fine. Just…call them off."
Douglas exhaled. "Well, I certainly don't feel like dying today, so fine."
True to his word, the shark took out his cell phone and dialed two different numbers. He quickly told his hitmen to stand down, and then sniffled as he hung up his phone and nodded.
"Happy? Now put your gun away."
His eyes moved down as the shark stared at Kinhart's hand gradually moving backwards until she placed her gun back into its holster. Before Douglas decided to turn back around so he could head to the elevator, he looked at Kinhart's face and snorted.
"You know of Detective Glendale?"
"What about him?"
"I asked him why he keeps doing what he does when he knows it'll end up driving him crazy. And he…heh, he said he does it, so that he can wipe the smug grins off criminals' faces. He said that makes it all worth it. And…see, now that I'm here, in this position, I understand what he means. You just-you look so pitiful right now, Agent Kinhart. And honestly, getting shot, giving up many of my contacts, having to deal with Rast and Seamus' incompetence—it was all worth it! It was all worth it, just to see this beautiful, beautiful face you're making right now."
Douglas kept staring at the woman's sullen face before he sniffled and nodded gently. "Have a nice day."
After talking to the agent, Douglas turned around and headed for the elevator. He relaxed himself as he got inside, headed down to the ground floor, and stepped out into the bottom section of the station. Then he nonchalantly maneuvered his way past the police officers, opened up the front door, and walked outside.
It floated down slowly in front of his snout before landing on the counter. Douglas blinked before he flicked the spider web away and observed it falling to the floor, not far from a pair of shoes. He leaned back in his chair as he observed the news report on the television set hanging from the ceiling. For once this time, the news was reporting something positive, and going on about the multiple arrests that took place over the past week. At least thirty of the people Doug named when he was being interrogated had been apprehended or killed, and a dozen different criminal organizations were permanently put to rest. The TPO agents also released to the public that Seamus Osgranov, the "mastermind" behind the Universal Gardens Massacre, had also been killed. Doug was a bit surprised that Rast's name was mostly kept out of the news, but he assumed that was for the sake of not upsetting Rast's next of kin. It didn't matter. Both he and Seamus were dead and gone, and he could finally run all his operations in peace again. Douglas exhaled as he got off his stool and started to close down the Big Piggies store. It was already past ten, and it had been a very slow day today. The shark was just about to lock the front door when a young Rottweiler shoved the door open, nearly knocking Douglas down.
"Whoa—hey, sir! Calm down, calm down. The store hasn't closed just yet," the shark said.
Douglas shut the door and exhaled as he looked at the Rottweiler. He was wearing a pair of red basketball shorts and a red jersey that went down past his waist. He looked a bit skinny for his species, and his face was bruised. When the canine spoke, Douglas could see that four of his teeth were missing.
"Th-thank you. Um…friend of mine told me he wanted some new sneakers, but I'm not sure what to get him."
Fuck me, Douglas thought. "Oh? Does your friend have a preference?"
"Something from Earth. I hear the-the Nike and Adidas brands were popular over there."
Douglas frowned. He blinked twice. "Well. We got plenty of choices to choose from over there. Any color preference?"
The dog nodded. "Yeah, yeah, he-he likes warm col—"
"Yellow I'm assuming."
The Rottweiler's eyes widened. "…How did you know I would say that?"
"Oh, fuck this," Douglas snarled.
The shark walked over to the store's front door and flipped the sign over. He shut off the main light, grabbed the dog by the back of his neck, and dragged him across the floor like he was a ragdoll. The dog whimpered and tried to break free, but Douglas was far too strong. He dragged him into the back rooms before he shut and locked the door. Then he slammed the dog against his desk, knocking over various shoe boxes in the process.
"I've no time for this bullshit again!"
Douglas walked over to the dog and thoroughly searched his body for any kind of bugs or microphones. When he realized the dog was clean, he exhaled and walked back over to his desk again. Just as the canine got to his footpaws, Douglas put on black gloves and removed a silver handgun with a suppressor from his desk. He pointed it at the dog.
"Wait—WAIT! I CAME HERE TO MAKE A DEAL! I CAN MAKE—"
Doug shot the canine through his forehead. Blood splattered against the walls, and the dog's body landed on the floor with a hard thud. The shark exhaled as he lowered his handgun and shook his head.
"Not this time," he murmured.
Douglas stared at the corpse on the floor and exhaled as he set his pistol back inside his desk. He looked at the canine's body and rubbed his head, realizing that he would probably have to spend all night cleaning up the mess he made.
"Damn it," he murmured. "Well, least you didn't piss on my floor like that rat did."
The shark grunted as he reached down and started to move the body. Suddenly, he heard a subtle crackling noise, followed by what sounded like someone passing gas. Douglas looked at the dog and gagged as he let go of the body and promptly backed away. He sniffed the air again, and clearly detected the distinct odor of fecal matter.
"Are you fucking kidding me?!"
The funeral wasn't profound or anything special. The gecko showed up, as did Rast's family, Amy, and a small group of other friends. Lamson wasn't sure how to feel after the funeral ended, especially when he saw Rast's sister break down hysterically before the coffin was lowered into the ground. He'd be lying if he said he hadn't shed any tears that day, but now? He wasn't sure how he felt. So many people had died in the past four months, and after the Universal Gardens Massacre, Lamson began to drift away from the rat. Now he was dead, and he didn't know what else to do with his life. As Lamson sat down in his psychology class listening to Mr. Kenchum lecturing him again, he slowly rested his chin down on his notebook. Soon enough, he'd graduate college. And then what? Move out the city? Get a better job? Become a police officer? Lamson didn't know. The gecko looked around the classroom, and everyone seemed to be acting as casually as ever. It was almost like what occurred in the past few months never happened. If anything, it felt like all was forgotten about.
But Lamson couldn't do it. He couldn't forget about the train derailment, about the various massacres, and he especially couldn't forget about how Rast was murdered at a gas station by some random thug whom the police haven't caught yet. It all seemed so pointless…it was pointless.
The gecko looked to his right and saw Amy looking at him with the same apathetic, depressed look in her eyes.
"You…I was gonna head to the bar tonight. I'm…I just haven't—"
"That won't make you feel better."
Amy chuckled softly and nodded. "It does when I have company."
Lamson slowly shook his head. "No…I just need to be alone for a little while longer."
Amy paused for a moment, and then turned away and looked down at her notebooks. "Okay. I understand," she said softly.
Maybe it would be better if he left. Lamson was always fond of Stercullo, but now it seemed like the city he grew up in was no longer there. All he saw were piles of feces littered around every corner, and everyone in the city was too lazy to clean it up, too in denial that all the excrement was stinking up the city. It was all commonplace now, and Lamson was finally fed up with it. The gecko placed his chin down on his desk again and shut his eyes, trying to reminisce about the city before it was rife with crime and people complacent about said crime. And then Jessie nudged him in his ribs.
"Hey…you see the news?" the lemur asked.
Lamson exhaled. "No," the gecko growled.
"Check your phone! My god, I can't believe something like this happened!"
Lamson grunted as he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and brought up the Internet. He saw a breaking news story about how a crazy madman had shot and killed a rising pop star celebrity while she was signing autographs for her fans, moments before turning the gun on himself. Lamson looked at the news story and blinked. He shut off his phone and put his head down on his desk again.
"Did you see it, Lam?"
"Geez…this world, eh?"
Lamson paused. And then he felt his eyes watering.