FIVE: A MILITANT GROUP BY ANY OTHER NAME…




TRISHA STOOD, SIDE BY side, with her fellow Prawn in the lobby of the hospital, assault rifle at the ready. The people around them cried and moaned, cowed under the threat of violence from a superior force. She stole a glance at Rick. Their eyes met and they shared a smile before they each fired another round into the air, not caring who might be on the floors above.

Their leader, King Crab, moved into the center of the room, commanding attention by his very presence. He pulled authoritatively on his mustache.

“Attention ladies and gentleman,” King Crab called out. All eyes turned to him. “Please control yourselves. As long as you remain calm and do as we say, no one will get hurt.”

Trisha pointed her rifle here and there, sweeping the crowd. She could see Rick doing the same.

“We are the Crustacean Conglomerate,” shouted King Crab. “And we have full control of this hospital.”

There was a small commotion at the other end of the lobby as a doctor entered. He was tall, balding, and he wore the air of authority like a cape. Trisha smiled. King Crab would put the man in his place soon enough.

“What is the meaning of this?” The doctor demanded.

“We are the Crustacean Conglomerate, we are in control now,” said King Crab. “It would be a futile gesture on your part to resist.”

“The Crustacean Conglomerate?” The doctor, who Trisha thought looked more than a little haughty, asked. “What do you want?”

“I don’t like your tone, doctor. Do not force me to regulate it for you.”

Trisha felt goosebumps form all over her arms. King Crab was amazing.

“Who else is in this conglomerate of yours, who exactly are we dealing with here?” The doctor asked.

Trisha frowned. The man’s tone hadn’t changed in any way.

“What do you mean?” King Crab asked, more than a little taken aback.

“A conglomerate is a number of different groups or organizations that are put, or grouped together, to form a whole. Yet each of these groups within the whole remain distinct entities. Right?”

“Okay, sure,” said King Crab. “I suppose.”

“So,” said the doctor. “What other organizations belong to this conglomerate of yours?”

King Crab did not respond. Instead, he stared the doctor down.

This only added to Trisha’s excitement. Though she hadn’t been working with King Crab long, she could tell that he was a man who got things done. Nothing stood in his way. Nothing brought him down. There was no challenge he could not overcome, no objective he could not meet. The man inspired respect from all who served under him. He was a genius on many levels. He dripped charisma and oozed confidence.

King Crab was the be all end all of leadership. She’d heard him speaking on campus and had signed up on the spot. He saw the world in a way that she’d never even imagined. His politics lined up perfectly with hers. King Crab showed her that there was a better way and how to take it. He was the reason she’d become a member of the Crustacean Conglomerate. Well, him and the roller skating.

And now she would finally see him in action. An obstruction had been placed in front of him, the doctor, and she was here to bear witness to the great King Crab as he knocked it to the ground.

Would he show the doctor his obvious mental superiority and talk the man down? She’d never seen a man mentally taken apart before. Would he cry? Would he fall to his knees before King Crab and beg his forgiveness? Would he evacuate his bowls in front of everyone? She hoped not on the latter.

King Crab, however, continued to stare down his opponent.

Maybe he would do nothing. After all, this doctor was below him. He wasn’t worth the effort. Maybe King Crab would let one of the Prawn deal with the man. Maybe he’d choose her. She stole another quick glance at Rick. He had been watching her, their eyes met once again and he blew her a kiss. She felt the heat rise in her cheeks. He was so silly.

“I warned you about your tone, doctor. Consider this your last,” said King Crab.

He was building to something, she could sense it. Her whole body tensed.

“Are you even using conglomerate correctly?” Asked the doctor.

King Crab pulled his side arm and shot the doctor through the leg. The sound of the gunshot bounced around the high ceilings of the lobby followed by the screams of the hostages.

King Crab fired the pistol three more times into the air. The screams died down.

“We are the Crustacean Consortium and we have full control of this hospital!” He shouted into the silence. “Prawns, get these people to the cafeteria.”

  • Will the Crustacean Consortium win the day?
  • Will the haughty doctor get gangrene?
  • What's a consortium?

Find out the answers to none of these questions in the next exciting installment of: The Mighty Piñata!






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