Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chapter 13: Playing Games

Magnolia grows up and becomes awesome-looking.

And Altin has surprising success with his "bribe them with food" technique. Turns out, Maggie's aggressive nature was all bluster (he hopes).

But one night later that week, he comes home to find an old friend waiting for him.

Uneasily, Altin went inside, taking extra care to double-lock the door behind him. He took three steps towards the bedroom...and stopped, sighed, and went back to the door as the door buzzer from downstairs sounded. He had a bad feeling about this.

Lovely. The feds.

"Mr. Snickerson?" the nearest of the duo asked. "I'm Agent Ryans, with the SimCentral Intelligence Agency -- and my partner here is Agent Jenning," he added, gesturing towards the woman standing behind him. "May we come inside?"

Craaaaap. "I...I don't think that's a good idea, no..."

In unison, the agents laughed in his face. Bad sign. Agent Ryans was the first to control himself, and turned back to Altin, still grinning ear to ear.

"Mr. Snickerson, I don't think you really have a choice in the matter."

Once inside, the agents did a bit of...roaming.

"Nice farmhouse," Ryans said, glancing around. "I suppose you can take the man out of Appaloosa, but you can't take Appaloosa out of the man. Have you filed your SR2-78s forms to claim proper ownership of inherited property from the death of a family member yet?"

Altin didn't know what an SR2-78 was, so figured he'd better plead the fifth. Ryans looked back when he didn't answer. "Yeah, I didn't think so."

Through the exchange, Agent Jenning was watching something behind him. Altin turned in time to see Elsie put down her toothbrush and exit the bathroom.

Jenning started forward. "Well, hello there--"

"Bedtime. Now," he interrupted. Elsie muttered and wandered off into her bedroom.

"So..." He turned back to the agents. "How can I help Grey Meadow's finest this evening?"

"No need to play games. You don't want us here, and I assure you, we aren't thrilled about having to spend all night outside some random farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, either. This time last year I was stationed on the beaches of Barnacle Bay, checking boats for customs violations. Now I'm sitting in an ice cream truck outside your house. 

Let's not waste any more time, shall we? We know who you are, of course. We know they've been looking for you in Verona, and in Appaloosa Plains now, too. We know you're active again."

"More relevantly," Jenning interceded, with a glance at her partner, "we don't care."

"Excuse me?"

"You aren't important. A petty thief? Do you really think you warrant a full operation across three towns? No, Mr. Snickerson. We want someone a little higher up the food chain."

"Kanzler. You want the boss."

"Oh good, we understand each other." Ryans again. They were taking turns with him. 

Altin frowned. "No, I really don't think we do. I'm not going to turn on anyone."

"Yes you will. You're an escaped felon and we could hand you over to the mercies of the Verona County justice system any time we wanted to. You wouldn't want your daughter to grow up without any parents, would you?"

"...what do you want me to do?"