As usual, here is your warning that this story has cursing, sex (not graphic), innuendo, and violence. It’s my Rated-R action adventure called Derailing Bedlam. This is the fourth outing (third official) for Cassidy and Lloyd, so feel free to click on one of the two covers to see how it started. Each one is 99 cents!
Standing on the long dais, Lloyd and Cassidy patiently wait for Judge Lady Bishop to finish her aromatic coffee. Thin strands of blonde hair peek out from under her strange hat, which looks like an upside down onion bulb. Her robes resemble a chessboard of black and white, the bottom raised enough to reveal shoes topped with turrets. The woman bangs her pawn-shaped gavel to get the gardeners to move faster and finish trimming the perfectly square lawn. When they are done, two women approach the judge and hold out a laminated display of colorful swatches. She points at two of them and snaps her fingers, which sends the pair running to a shed. They grunt in unison as they lift metal canisters that are attached to creaky paint sprayers. They go about turning grass into a white and blue chessboard, which is promptly dried by a drone carrying a portable heater.
“We sure have a lot of minor infractions here,” Judge Bishop mentions while putting on crystal earrings. The horse-shaped jewelry glints in the sunlight and sends colorful beams onto the prisoners’ faces. “Nothing that would require an execution, which is good for you. The worst on the list are the U-turn and speeding, so I’m going to go with ten years. You can choose if you want to stay in jail or attempt community service. We’ve had a few people get out early thanks to good behavior and putting in seven days of work a week. Do either of you have a question before I proceed?”
“Is Judge or Lady your first name?” Lloyd asks with a smirk. He lunges forward to put his head in the way of the falling gavel, the blow making his ears ring. “Can’t end in the trial if you don’t hit that block of wood. I can do this all day too, your honor. My skull is strong enough to break coconuts. Can somebody silence that ostrich? I don’t care what it’s selling. By the way, why don’t we have a jury or lawyers? After all, there’s a perfectly good reason for everything we did.”
“Yes, I was told about the Nebraskans taking the Holly Sage Express and you attempting to save it. That’s still no excuse for breaking the law,” the hazel-eyed woman casually replies. She gets up to let some workers check a pair of podiums that light up and buzz. “I will concede the fact that it is a shame that the train was taken because Minot was depending on the flow of guests for an economic boost. Yet, the Nebraskans did not break any rules until the attack and they fled before we could arrest them. You two were not as lucky. Since my jurisdiction does not go beyond our borders, the train is no longer my concern. As far as a jury, the citizens are too busy for such a thing, so they gladly trust my impeccable judgement. Now, have either of you decided on your fate?”
Cassidy wanders over to one of the podiums and taps at the chessboard on top, her finger causing one of the squares to light up. “I might be jumping to conclusions here, but I think you’re a fan of chess. Let me guess. We can also choose to challenge you to a game for our freedom. If that’s the case then I’ll take you on. Never really played chess before, but I know the basic idea.”
“I’d much rather go against someone who would test my skills,” Lady admits while casually spinning her gavel. Walking to the other podium, she runs her finger along the edge to make sure there is no dirt on the polished wood. “You are correct, but have the situation all wrong. I am the one who decides on if a chess challenge is an option. So far, I feel that I would defeat both of you with ease. Such a victory would feel empty and ruin my day. Perhaps if you study and practice, I can accept your offer in a few years. Ah, here come the pieces now. I think a pawn is retiring on Friday if either of you would like to take his place. Being part of my set has a higher chance of early release.”
Before either prisoner can answer, two lines of people dressed as chess pieces come marching down the road. The felt costumes look ungainly and the collection of sweat-covered faces reveal that they are hot. Only the kings and queens are comfortable, their store-bought costumes nothing more than fancy robes, plastic scepters, and paper crowns. As the lines proceed towards the board, problems begin to splinter their neat ranks and threaten to throw the display into chaos. Knights have trouble keeping their giant heads from slumping and bulky rooks try their best not to slow the procession down. Officers march next to the line to make sure nobody tries to escape, but the inmates are too humiliated to bring any more attention to themselves. As the white pieces take their positions on the far side, the black ones continue walking and line up a few feet from the dais. Within a few minutes, everyone is ready except for a black knight, who is turned the wrong way.
“Is that you, Cass? It’s me! Dick Knopf!” the brown-eyed man shouts with a laugh. He scratches at his scarred face and waves away an approaching officer. “It’s okay because we know each other. We used to fuck until her mom shot me. Then, she went all lesbian to make me feel bad or something. Hey, I’m hoping to rebuild the harem once I get out of here, Cass. Would you be okay with being a wandering member instead of getting a state name?”
“Oh, not you again,” Lloyd groans as he catches Cassidy by the arm. He pulls her back only to find that she has already slipped her cuffs and put on a pair of brass knuckles. “You really move quickly when motivated, kid. Hey, can you make that knight nothing more than a horse’s ass, Judge Bishop? It would be a lot more accurate.”
“Don’t bother because I’m going down there to beat him until he shits his own teeth,” the mercenary declares before getting free. She is about to jump off the dais when a line of armed guards get in her way and aim their guns. “This doesn’t concern you. My history with that asshole is personal. Do I have to beat you into pulp again, Dick? I’ll do it since Bart isn’t here to make us behave.”
“Actually, he’s at the trading fields,” her ex-boyfriend states as he is forcefully turned around. Not done speaking, the bounty hunter easily throws the smaller man away before facing the dais again. “I was doing a supply run for him because my plane needs some repairs. Seems I jaywalked and am not as good at chess as I thought.”
“Surprised you can spell it,” Cassidy retorts, her eyes narrowing into slits. She is on the verge of leaping onto the board when a sickening idea comes to her mind. “Let’s make a deal, maggot kisser. I get you out of here and then you take us to Bart. We need him to either drive a train or lead us to someone who can. Not sure if this is in his area of expertise, but that man has surprised me before. We need to move quickly too, Dick.”
“Sleep with me again and you have a deal.”
“I’ll add not killing you to what we already have if you never ask for that again.”
“How do you feel about castration?”
“Fine, you have a deal, you psychotic bitch.”
Cracking her knuckles, Cassidy steps behind the podium that controls the white pieces and smiles at Judge Bishop. “Let’s not go for challenge. What if I was to simply entertain you with my attempt at playing? If I make you smile or laugh during this game then you set all three of us free. Nothing I say can count, so it has to be entirely through my actions on the board. I know this is rather unconventional, but I have friends on the Holly Sage Express who need me to return as soon as possible. Possibly with a driver and mechanic, which is why I need that brain-damaged donkey to bring me to Bart the Best.”
“You certainly have me intrigued,” Lady whispers as she takes her place at the other podium. She hits a button with her gavel, which causes screens to rise out of boxes to the left and right sides of the board. “Know that the only time I have truly smiled during a match is when my predecessor attempted to beat me. The foolish man got confused and attempted to move a rook diagonally. I shall go first.”
Touching the space of her intended piece, Lady waits for the correct one to light up on the screens before sending the pawn two spaces ahead. She sighs when Cassidy does the same after a few seconds of scratching her head. The judge is tempted to go easy on the mercenary, but the thought of losing three criminals to such a simple challenge makes her queasy. Moving a bishop into position, Lady rolls her eyes at how her opponent’s moves are random and occasionally bring her one step away from losing one of her stronger pieces. A white bishop is the first to fall to a black pawn, the inmate following the rules and tackling the larger piece to the ground. The judge is confused by the wicked grin playing across Cassidy’s face and quickly looks at the board to see if she has missed something. All that happens is a rook trampling the victorious pawn and immediately falling to the black queen. The elegant woman’s scepter cracks over the white piece’s head, so an officer hurries out to give her a fresh prop.
The game swiftly shifts further into Lady’s favor as the veteran chess player takes advantage of Cassidy’s inexperience. It is when there are only seven white pieces left that she realizes her opponent has been protecting her queen. Running the game through her head, the judge finally picks up on an odd pattern that she is embarrassed to have missed. Every time she has come close to taking the most dangerous weapon left on the board, another piece is sacrificed to let the elegant woman escape. Coming up with a new plan, she carefully positions a rook and her remaining bishop to take the white queen. Lady nearly curses when she spots one way that her opponent can get out of the trap and patiently waits for her plan to fail.
To her surprise, Cassidy does not move her piece to safety or put another in the path of one of the threats. Instead, she shouts for her own queen go after Dick and clock him in the head with her scepter. They can barely hear the man mutter something, which enrages the female piece to the point where she continues beating him. Tearing off the top of his costume, the queen straddles his chest and smacks him around until he grins. A look of disgust on her face, the woman gets off the man and delivers a kick to the groin that makes her shudder. When Dick grabs her leg, she screams and bends down to punch him in the eye. Two officers finally come out to drag the enraged inmate away and handcuff her to a bench until she calms down. Everyone freezes when Lady breaks out into restrained laughter, her hand pressed against her lips in a feeble attempt to hide her loss.
“That was your plan all along,” the judge says while finally giving in to her body. Feeling dizzy from laughing so hard, she takes a seat and wipes a few tears from her eyes. “Get your own queen to pummel your ex-boyfriend. I will admit defeat since that was both unexpected and funny. Better than the embarrassing loss I thought you were going to create for yourself. How did you know she would be so violent towards him?”
“You’ve met Dick, right?” Cassidy asks with a chuckle. Noticing that Lloyd is sleeping in a chair, she walks over and holds his nose until he jolts awake. “You missed Dick getting his ass . . . and dick kicked. Are we free to go? No need to give him medical attention unless he can’t walk.”
“I’ll give you a wheelchair with a very uncomfortable seat,” Lady casually states. She pulls three pardons out of her sleeve and quickly fills them out before handing them to an officer with a stamp. “The man asked if I was naked under my robes and proceeded to offer the best sex of my life. My husband was ready to kill him, but I didn’t want to have my love arrested for walking across the grass. Feel free to take Mr. Knopf with you when you leave Minot. Not that I wish him on you, but I don’t want him to set foot within my court again.”
Lloyd looks from one laughing woman to the other before pouting, “I always miss the good stuff when I take a nap.”