(If you want, buy their previous rampages for $2 by clicking on the covers below.)
Lloyd remains sitting on the roof, his legs straddling the bulletproof dome that he is trying to remove from the jeep. Screaming the name of a random kitchen appliance, the serial killer wrenches the attachment free and promptly curses as he drops it into the grass. Hooking his leg on one of the mounted machineguns inside the car and swinging himself over the edge, he breathes a sigh of relief that the piece is undamaged. Lloyd grabs the blue panel that is leaning against the jeep, the cover easily clipping onto the roof and blocking the sun. He slides off the back, but stops when he notices two women staring. The topless man attempts to move as sexily as possible and purposely spills a little water on his chest, but he fails to get the glistening effect that he expected. He grunts when he tries to sit on the spare tire, the treads feeling uncomfortable against his groin. The women wave to him and he does the same, the movement causing him to fall off his perch and land with a thud. Erupting in a chorus of laughter, his audience walks into the lodge and leaves Lloyd to struggle with the floodlight in silence. Leaning into the jeep, he tests the remote control that moves the solitary light from side to side. The device makes a loud whir until the serial killer reaches up to smack it a few times.
“It’s probably a loose rotor or whatever,” Cassidy says as she gives her partner a bottle of water. Hopping onto the side rail, she holds her hand out for a screwdriver. “Thanks. Bart taught me enough electrical stuff to get by, but I’ll put the dome back once we get through Colorado and Kansas. The locals said that the sun is worst in those states this time of year, which explains why we’ve been cooking for the last two hours. It’ll be nice to have some shade. Put up these air fresheners because the smell is getting bad in there.”
“Vanilla and cherry, huh? Think we’re a cigarette smell away from being mistaken for a moving strip club,” Lloyd states as he puts the air fresheners around the jeep. Coming out the other side, he grabs their map and takes a seat on the ground. “Looks like we don’t have any targets in Colorado. Means we can make a straight shot into Kansas. Kind of a shame since I like the mountains. This state is so peaceful that you might forget the entire country is a festering hole of ruthless chaos. By the way, are you getting a strange vibe from this whole thing? I feel more like an assassin than a freedom fighter.”
“Probably because we’re practically assassins this time,” the mercenary replies, her teeth clamped on the screwdriver. Prying the casing open, she sees that a few screws have come loose and swiftly tightens them. “It isn’t like it’s the first time we were hired to kill someone, so I don’t know why you’re concerned. There’s no reason to worry. Worst case scenario, we get fed up with the map and go back to put a bullet in Custer’s face. Honestly, I’m getting rather curious to see what’s ahead of us. Not enough to let my guard down, but I plan on having some fun with whoever is stupid enough to get in our way.”
Lloyd tosses the map into the jeep and gets comfortable in the passenger seat. “I see how that can be a problem. We take out one group that wants to rule the world, but it clears the path for another. Unless we find a way to take out the potential replacements too. That seems like too much work for what we’re possibly being paid. On the other hand, this sounds like classic politics, but with no attempt to hide the bullets and stabbings. Might be an improvement on the original cesspool if you think about it. Threat of death could keep the more ambitious bastards in line or away. Are you listening to me, kid? What’s got your attention?”
“Nothing,” his friend blurts out before going back to her work. She swings her leg at the protective dome, urging the serial killer to put it in the jeep. “We have to be careful around here considering the borders. One wrong turn could put us in Wyoming with the cannibals or Nebraska with the maniacs. Kansas isn’t stable with its own roving gangs, but I’d take it over the other two any day. For now, we’ll enjoy the scenery. The large mountains and curving roads that make you fall into a trance because of their beauty. Just want to enjoy them for as long as they’ll let you. Totally worth the sweat and . . . what were we talking about?”
Following Cassidy’s gaze, Lloyd takes out the binoculars, which are immediately snatched by his friend. Shielding his eyes from the sun, he stares at the front of the lodge and scans the balconies until he spots a voluptuous woman. The black-haired partier is dancing in a bikini that leaves a little to the imagination thanks to a floral wrap. She holds two mugs over her head while she shakes her hips and revels in the attention. A funnel is placed in the woman’s mouth to help her finish the beer, some of which sloshes over her face and body. With a twirl and a cheer, she throws the mugs over the railing and dances back into the crowd. Five barely clothed men follow her inside, each one trying to be the next to buy her drinks. They can still see the woman through the window until she finally vanishes into the mob of bodies, all of them covered in sweat, alcohol, and colorful swimsuits.
“I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that,” Lloyd says after his partner finishes the repairs and gets off the roof. He grunts when the binoculars are slammed into his stomach, the blow leaving a welt above the koi-shaped scar. “I didn’t mean it like that. Play for any team you want, kid, because it doesn’t concern me. All I’m saying is that you’ve changed a lot since we first met. Back when you broke me out of Rikers, you were very uptight and focused only on honoring your mom. Don’t get me wrong. Totally commendable and a classic way for a hero’s journey to start. I’m not only talking about the women either. You drink more and really get into the more exciting side of our adventures. Still big into planning and addicted to adrenaline more than-”
“Shut the fuck up, Lloyd!” Cassidy snaps as she gets behind the wheel. Waiting for the serial killer to take his seat, she starts the engine and turns on the air conditioner. “Feel free to take some credit, but I did some thinking after putting my mom to rest. Every day could be my last, so I want to feel alive. Drink what I want. Eat what I want. Do what I want. Indulge in whoever catches and shares my interest. Call me whatever name you want, but I’d rather die knowing that I lived instead of fearing my final breath.”
“You’ve been holding onto that one for a while.”
“For longer than we’ve known each other.”
“Feel good to get it off your chest?”
“Yeah . . . sure.”
“You were thinking about that woman again.”
“Can you blame me?”
The partners chuckle as they enjoy the cool air and take a few sips of their water, the heat steadily vanishing from the vehicle. Lloyd rummages through their CD collection while Cassidy does a final test of the floodlights, the beams blinding a few of the partiers. With beer cans and barstools flying into the parking lot, the jeep backs away from the lodge and pulls onto the heavily cracked highway. Checking the map to make sure they know the route, Cassidy and Lloyd drive east. They can still see the parking lot in the rearview mirror when an armored truck slams into the passenger side and sends the jeep tumbling off the road. After a few violent rolls, the vehicle stops with all four tires spinning in the air and sparks flying from the destroyed floodlight. Held in place by their seatbelts and dazed from hitting the airbags, both passengers are unable to avoid the tranquilizer darts that fly through the broken window. They mutter a flood of curses as their vision goes dark, the last thing they hear being a pair of footsteps and dragging chains.