Being a freelance villain is a boom and bust business, and Freddy has seen a lot of banks go boom since he survived Red Rhino's drive-by. Now known as "Mr. Big Stuff," Freddy is finally making a name for himself. But all is not well in Old Polly's underworld. If Freddy wants to survive, he's going to have to make nice with the bloodthirsty bosozoku and outsmart a monster that can read his mind.
~~~~~ Excerpt ~~~~~
Howard opened the backpack. What he pulled out resembled a clear plastic blow dryer. The handle was oversized and his fingers slid into rubbery grooves that made his hand flush with the edges. Inside the blow dryer were all sorts of plastic gears and compartments, most of the chamber filled with a dull yellow liquid. Hung from the handle was a glossy maroon bag, and by the way the bag sloshed Freddy could tell it was also full of liquid.
“What is that?”
Howard stroked the plastic. “You know how your farts are bad, but bearable, but other people’s farts are just terrible?”
Freddy eyed the plastic gun warily. “Yeah?”
“It has a lot to do with biology.” Howard squeezed the bag. “With enough base enzymes and raw proteins you can produce all sorts of effects. Take for instance this gun. I made it as a way to relax after all the scramblers we’ve been through this month. They’re not as easy to make as you think they are.”
“I got a demand and I’m filling it,” said Freddy. “It was your bright idea.”
“I made this to unwind,” said Howard. He pulled the gun and bag all the way out of the backpack and trailed a black cord from the back of the round chamber. “It can’t run on its own power yet so it plugs into the wall. But what it does...” He wrapped his fingers around the rubber chutes. “Is scan your DNA. When it gets something it can work with, you pull the trigger.” Howard tapped the thick purple button at the apex of the handle. “And it converts the chemicals inside the bag to a gas that is relatively inoffensive to the user.”
“You made a fart gun,” said Freddy.
Howard grinned madly.
“That’s not possible.”
“I’m a genius,” said Howard. His sincerity was always touching.
They studied the thick plastic in Howard’s hand as he turned it over and the water and casing caught the sparse lights of the apartment. The glossy bag shined. “So are you having a good time?” he asked.
“I’m having a perfectly reasonable good time,” said Freddy. He studied the gun with refreshed curiosity.
“Cool,” said Howard. He took the black cord and plugged it into the wall. He passed the gun over to Freddy. Freddy put his beer down and took the gun by the handle. His fingers slid into the rubber grooves and he felt the plastic vibrate pleasantly in his palm.
“Pardon me!” said Freddy. The crowded room turned with expectation. The ones wedged into the kitchen nook and outside on the patio leaned in to get a look at him.
“Point it at the ceiling,” whispered Howard. He pulled a gas mask out of his backpack and quickly strapped it over his head.
“Um,” said Freddy. “Oh, hell.” He thrust the gun aloft and depressed the trigger. A thick, olive fog pounded the ceiling with the hiss of a bagpipe full of cottage cheese. It chased the partygoers like a phantom, filling the apartment, flowing, gushing its way into the kitchen nook and every other human cranny it could fill. Women shrieked. Men clambered over each other to escape. Thick fraternity brothers who might have tackled Freddy otherwise tore in the opposite direction from the pervading odor they would remember as worse than a skunk, worse than an outhouse after a week of Finals and fast food. It sank to the floor, it inhabited their clothes.
Howard was at Freddy’s side, laughing into the gas mask like a hysterical mosquito.