By Monica Marier
This is based off a comic I started in 1999. It was called "Tomorrow the World" and was basically chronicling the personal lives of employees working for a Bond-ian villain with aspirations of global domination. I put the comic on the back-burner for now, but I plan to pick it up again later. (MUCH later.)
Stone Fox, AKA Jonny Fawkes, secret agent, pulled the diving mask off and climbed out of the shark tank. Floating in the tank were the mutilated remains of the two henchmen who had tried to jump him, and the sated sharks were docilely sleeping off their heavy dinner.
Fox kicked aside the fins and oxygen tank as he unzipped his diving suit to reveal his flawless tuxedo. Shaking the water droplets out of his luxurious hair, he looked around the secret underwater lair. On a platform was a large computer console — a jungle of screens, dials, and keyboards. And at the centerpiece, the computer mainframe… was a beat up DELL with a cracked screen. The screensaver was cycling through pictures of Christina Hendricks in provocative poses.
Stone Fox rolled his eyes as he logged in (using the password he’d gotten in his fortune cookie) and accessed Agent W’s desktop. He dragged the folder from the Dell to W’s drop box and watched the progress bar count down.
“I was wondering when you would arrive, Stone Fox,” came a sonorous voice from the far corner of the lair.
Drawing his Walther PPK from his tailcoat, Fox spun around to face... THE SCHMITZ.
The Schmitz stepped into the light, flanked by his two right-hand men, Erik Sigurd and Osamu Hidekei. Schmitz was trimly dressed in a caramel-colored jacket with a mandarin collar, his face still carefully in shadow. He wasn’t stroking a white Persian cat, but that was simply due to allergies.
“You’re finished Schmitz,” said Fox, eying the beat-up laptop — 41% completed. “We’ve got all the evidence and schematics we need to shut you down!”
“However did you get past the whirling knives?” asked Schmitz, impressed.
“You should have gone with Ginsu, Schmitz. I found the knives to be rather… dull,” Fox quipped.
“And the laser net?” asked Schmitz.
“I discovered the pattern immediately,” bragged Fox. “Nothing like a little hopscotch game.”
Schmitz nodded . “And poor Gregory. He couldn’t stop you?”
“Gregory? I found him rather ‘armless,” quipped Fox.
Shmitz and Fox stood in mutual silence.
“Sigurd? Hidekei?” said Schmitz. His two male-model cronies stepped forward.
“Sir?” they said in unison.
“Shoot,” said Schmitz.
Both men raised their glocks and fired. Sigurd hit Fox in the head. Hidekei shot the Dell.
The last thing Fox said as the world went red was, “That’s… cheating….”
“DUDE! I found another one!” shouted August. He yanked open the gym locker as far as he could. His quarter jangled in the key-slot. Keeping the spring-loaded door ajar with his shoulder, August reached in and pulled out a soft bundle wrapped in shrink wrap.
“Another tuxedo?” asked Rosario (called Zari).
“Yeah! This is like the third one, Zari!” shouted August, trying to peel off the sticky tape seal.
“Where do they all come from?” asked Zari peering in the locker with suspicion. It was like every other locker in the Employee Fitness Center. It was just a coin-operated metal locker with razor-sharp corners. No secret panels, no gateways to Narnia, just petrified gum and an old Band-Aid.
“Maybe some guy keeps leaving his dry cleaning in here,” suggested Zari.
“Then why is the key back in the lock?” asked August. He was now trying to bite through the cellophane.
“Maybe he didn’t want it anymore,” said Zari.
“Hope not, cause this is mine,” said August finally freeing the clothing from the bag and shaking it out “Ooh! Armani! Ver’ nice!” It smelled freshly laundered and the rich fabric shimmered under the florescent lighting. He examined the tag on the trousers.
“Aw MAN! 32 waistband,” he moaned.
“I wonder who it belonged to,” mused Zari.
“Whoever he was, he didn’t eat Lil’ Debbie’s Oatmeal Cream Pies for breakfast every day,” sighed August.
“Well crap, I’m never going to find a 36.” sighed August. “You want it?”
“I’m a 34,” said Zari. “You can at least keep the jacket.”
“What the hell am I gonna do with a jacket and no pants?” said August in annoyance.
“You could wear a kilt with it.”
“Yeah, like Sean Connery.”
August snorted. “My family’s Dutch/German. We don’t do kilts. Well I already paid my quarter for this locker, so let’s cram our stuff in and hit the pool.”
August shoved his spare clothes into tight space and tried to cram his shoes in the upper shelf with no luck. “There’s something up there.”
Zari stood on a bench to peer in. “Oh, I see what’s doing that,” he said reaching in. “This was in the way.”
August glanced up as Zari pulled out something off-white and round. Zari proffered it to August to examine.
It was a human skull.
“Oh. That explains it,” said August nodding. “Is it clear now?” he asked, indicating the upper shelf.
“No, there’s a bunch of other bones. Femurs and junk.”
August sighed in frustration. “Forget it. I’m not cleaning all that crap out.” He tossed his shoes in and slammed the locker door shut before they tumbled out. Wrenching out the key, he shoved the elastic band over his bulky wrist.
“Come on,” said Zari. “We’re wasting valuable pool time.”
“That reminds me. Did you finish collating those mailing fliers for Monday?” asked August.
“I’ll do it Monday morning,” grumbled Zari.
“You better. Riggs will have my ass if they don’t go out before the new insurance packages take effect.”
“Aw come ON! Like SchmitzCo really hinges on the insurance benefits briefings.”
“I dunno. This company has a LOT of employees. We’re going global next week.”
“Big deal,” said Zari. “Do you even know what the hell this company does?”
August pondered this for a moment. “Bonds?” he looked at Zari questioningly.
Zari only shrugged. “Don’t look at me. I dunno either.”
August shrugged. “In the grand scheme of things, it probably has nothing to do with two cubicle monkeys like us.”
“Yeah. Remind me to steal some more pens when we get back on Monday.”
“Will do — Hey, Erik! Hey, Ossy!” August waved to Hidekei and Sigurd as they came in from the lobby, gym bags on their shoulders.“Hey,” said Erik with a slight smile.
“Sup!” said Ossy, grinning.
August and Zari walked across the slick tiles to the pool.
“I like them. They’re so nice,” said August in admiration.
He tossed the skull in the wastebasket.