Monday, October 27, 2003
Cream Filling & Nougat: World's Finest (Chapter VII)
Cream looked up at Nougat as he bandaged the Pi's head with a torn piece of cloth from the unconscious man's shirt.
"Alright old man, so what do you propose?" Nougat hooked his arms back under the limp arms stained with blood.
"Alright," he said, "first off, you go find a bar or some other sort of lever. Then, you meet me at that manhole in the sidestreet." Cream winced.
"Oh hell no . . ."
"Just get it!"
Half a minute later, both were next to the manhole cover; Nougat with a beaten thug, Cream with a tire iron."
"Nice find," Nougat said.
"From the only part of that car that wasn't burning. Go fig, huh?" A quick exchange of smiles passed before Cream pried the cover off to the side. Cream looked Nougat dead in the eye again. "Your idea, you first," he said bluntly.
"Fine, fine," Nougat conceded apathetically, "you just be ready to pass our friend to me once I'm down there." With that, Nougat climbed down the metal bars built into the hole. Cream passed the Pi down the manhole quickly; he got himself into the manhole less quickly. Taking a regretful breath of air, he stepped in, slid the cover back into place, and went down.
"I can't believe you've got me down here," Cream muttered as he breathed in the raw essence of city sewage. Nougat chuckled quietly to himself.
"Ya know, you'd be surprised at how many things you could probably stuff yourself into." Cream just shook his head again.
"So tell me about this club . . ." Nougat readjusted his grasp on the cargo and started.
"'The Decimal Place' is . . . well, was . . . a popular place in the early century. Lotsa well-ups went there for drinks and such. Well, at some point later in the decade, the club came on hard times and was said to have gotten itself involved in the mob . . ." Nougat paused to crack another smile when he saw Cream wretching from some invisible substance. "In any case, the place shut down just before the first war. After that, lots . . . and I mean lots, of people have tried to reopen or renovate it. Anyways, they've all failed . . ."
"All of them?" Cream asked, intrigued by the bit of civic history.
"Yup . . . all four hundred and sixty-one of them . . . . ."
"Okay," Cream said, looking skeptical, "now I know you're full of it . . ."
"Hey, you're the fluffy one, but believe me or don't, I dont care, but that's the truth."
"Okay, I'll bite . . . so how did so many people fail in such a short amount of time?"
"Damned if I know," Nougat said, straining as the sewer slightly climbed uphill, "war, prohibition, gangs . . . in any case, it's like a local legend. People just try to make it work to throw it in the faces of the others . . . I mean, they always fail for one reason or another . . . . . maybe idiots should just stop trying to revive the place?" Cream shrugged.
"Whatever . . . . . we there yet?"
After hiking the five blocks of underground tunneling, Nougat pushed the manhole cover above him out of the way and climbed out. After much toil and effort, Cream followed with the Pi draped over his shoulder until he was able to flop half of the man out of the hole and onto the street.
"Thanks for helping," Cream said to Nougat.
"Hey, I had to scout out the area. Who knows what kind of people could be in there . . . door's open, by the way." Nougat took the worse-off Pi by the arms again, and together with Cream they carried the Pi out from the sewer to the remains of the 461st 'Decimal Place.'
"Ohhh . . ." said Cream, "after making us carry his sorry ass all that way through all that crap . . ." Nougat smirked.
"And you said I was nuts . . ."