THE MAN WHO DRESSED as a piñata, otherwise known as the Mighty Piñata, relaxed in his hospital bed, idly flipping through channels on the television, and doing his best to ignore the screams and the sounds of gunshots coming from somewhere outside the room.
He chewed at his lip as the TV cycled through channel after channel, landing on none longer than a second.
After the third rotation through the channels, he sighed and turned to the only other person to occupy the room. In the bed next to him was some sort of unidentifiable humanoid wrapped head to toe in a cast.
“The sounds of battle have me curious, invalid,” said the Mighty Piñata. “Do I investigate?”
The body cast did not respond.
“Every fiber of my being cries out to see justice done, to protect the innocent, but what can I do?” He dropped the remote onto the bed. “The doctor told me to stay. How can I fly in the face of such authority?”
But luck was with the Mighty Piñata this day, excepting for the matter of being shot. He had survived, of course, so luck was with him then as well. But would his luck hold? For now, as previously mentioned, yes. As the Mighty Piñata struggled with himself, made war with his conscience, his choice was made for him when two men in red jumpsuits entered the room. Both of them bearing an assault rifle.
“Well would you look at that, Roy,” said one of the men, gesturing toward the man who dressed as a piñata. “Some kinda rainbow horse.”
“Dang, Buck,” said the other man in red. “That has to be the dumbest thing I ever seen.”
Both of the men in red laughed.
“You’ve obviously never used a mirror,” said the Piñata. He picked up the remote and returned to flipping through the channels.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Roy said.
“You must be the hired help,” said the Piñata, still looking at the television.
“Shut it, Rainbow,” said Buck. “Time to go.”
The Mighty Piñata took his eyes off the television for just a moment and flicked them over the two men in red before directing them back to the flashing screen. It was only a moment, a fraction of a second, but in that moment, he was able to take in all that he needed. Roy was the taller of the two. Buck had a thick, handlebar mustache. They both had some sort of crab insignia on their chests.
Guns. Uniforms. Chest Logos. Obviously paramilitary. Add in the insults and the commanding tone, these were the bad guys. He could almost smile.
“Where to, crustacean?” Asked the Piñata.
“All patients are to go to the cafeteria,” said Buck. “By order of King Crab.”
“Please pass on my apologies to this king of the crabs,” said the Piñata. He’d stopped running through the channels and had landed on a classic show. “I wish to remain. Gilligan’s Island just started.” He nodded to the TV.
Though he was staring at the screen, the Piñata could feel the two men share a look.
Then, with a rush of fury, Roy stepped close to the bed and stuck the rifle in the Piñata’s face.
“All patients to the cafeteria,” said Roy in a voice that the Piñata assumed was meant to be menacing.
It wasn’t. Far from it.
“Cease your prattle,” said the Piñata, still watching the TV. “This may be their only chance to get off the island.”
Roy leaned in, pressing the barrel of the rifle into the Piñata’s cheek.
“It’s the cafeteria or the morgue,” said Roy. “You choose.”
The Mighty Piñata sighed. It was the sort of sigh you could saddle and ride around the room. The kind of sigh that governments line up to weaponize. It was a mega sigh.
“As you wish, crustacean,” the Piñata said, tossing the remote back onto the bed. “Though I don’t know how you plan to get the mummy downstairs.” He nodded to the body cast.
“You let us worry about that, Rainbow,” Buck said.
The Mighty Piñata rose, the two red-clad soldiers towered above him.
“That’s the second time you called me ‘Rainbow’,” the Piñata looked up into Buck’s face. “There will not be a third.”
“Did you hear that, Roy?” Buck said and then laughed.
“I did, Buck,” said Roy. “The little horse thinks he’s gonna jump.”
“Is that right?” Buck said. “You gonna jump, Rain-”
The Mighty Piñata didn’t let him finish. Instead, before Buck could finish his jibe, the Piñata had his bat in his hands and had slammed it into the man’s face.
Buck fell to the floor like someone hit in the face with a bat wielded by a piñata.
“I am the Mighty Piñata, villain,” he stood over his fallen opponent, facing Roy. “Know my name and tremble.”
“You’re gonna die for that, freak,” Roy said. Then raising the rifle, he fired.
But the Piñata was too fast; he swung the bat with his left hand and cracked Roy in the arms, causing the shot to go wild. Following the bat was the Piñata’s right fist which connected with Roy’s nose.
Roy staggered back, shuffling his feet in that drunken way a boxer does after he’s just had his bell rung. The Piñata swung the bat once more, knocking the rifle from Roy’s hands. Then, before the soldier could recover, the Piñata reached out and took hold of a clump of hair on the top of Roy’s head, pulling the soldier’s face within inches of his own.
“Hear my name,” the Piñata whispered. “And tremble.”
Roy’s eyes went wide as the Piñata slammed his forehead down onto the bridge of the soldier’s nose. Roy fell to join his companion on the floor.
There was silence, but for only a moment as a double hiss of static burst from a pair of walkie talkies. One clipped to Roy’s belt, the other clipped to Buck’s.
“Roy, Buck, you two okay up there,” said the voice from the walkie talkies. “I heard a gunshot. Over.”
The Piñata took up Roy’s walkie talkie.
“Roy, Buck? I say again, are you okay? Over.”
The Piñata looked over to the body cast and shrugged his shoulders. The body cast, true to form, did not respond.
“Hold tight, boys,” said the voice from the walkie talkie. “I’m coming up. Over.”
There was no time to lose. The Piñata dropped the bat and moved to the door, closing it. There was no lock on the door, so he used his bed as a blockade. The bed was on wheels, and once he’d figured out how to unlock them, moving it proved effortless.
Bed in place, he turned his mind to the next task at hand. How was he to escape?
A plan eluded him. The Mighty Piñata, despite his keen intellect and razor sharp focus, couldn’t keep his thoughts aligned with his need for freedom. Something about the bed tugged at him. He looked it over. The door opened into the room so the bed should do nicely at keeping the criminal element out. Yet he couldn’t dismiss his nagging feeling.
But then, finally, he pushed the thoughts aside. Now was not the time for such idle nonsense. The bed was monstrosity; heavy and wide. Unless the door it held shut was attacked by axes, saws, or some sort of explosive device, the terrorists should find the bed difficult to move.
Now that that was settled, he moved on to finding a way out. The window was the obvious choice.
But the window would not open because it wasn’t made to. It wouldn’t do for people to go jumping out of hospital windows. He took up the wooden rocking chair that had been placed between the two beds and threw it at the glass. It only bounced away making an awful clatter.
“Excreta!” The Piñata shouted.
Thinking fast he took up one of the rifles and fired at the window. Six shots grouped closely together. The window did not shatter, regardless of the six holes. He hadn’t expected it to, however, and took up the chair once again. He smashed it against the glass. It gave slightly, but did not break. Two more times and the glass crumbled, showering the floor and the ground two stories below in pointy shards.
“Huzzah!” The Piñata shouted. Then, snatching up his bat, he climbed into the window, standing in the space where the glass had once been. Taking once last glance into the room, the Piñata threw a quick salute to the biped in the body cast and climbed up and out of sight.
It was only then that he realized that he’d neglected to lock the wheels on the bed after he’d moved it to block the door. But it was too late. He could hear them coming into the room now as he climbed upward toward the roof.
- Will the Piñata fall to a grizzly death?
- Will we ever know the identity of the biped in the body cast?
- Where's my lunch?
Find out the answers to one of these questions in the next exciting installment of: The Mighty Piñata!
Enjoying the Mighty Piñata? Join my mailing list to stay up to date on everything I am working on and all I have to offer. You're going to get a weekly newsletter, from me, pointing you towards anything I updated during the week. Be it a web comic that I'm writing, or one of my prose web serials, I'll let you know each week what's available online to read, from me, for free.
I'll also let you know whenever a publish a new book.
And you can cancel any time. You just, can't, loose!
Just click here to sign up.