ONE QUICK SCAN TOLD him all he needed to know.
The patient room was unoccupied, and there were two, unopened puddings on the tray table next to the bed. However, the Mighty Piñata was not one to rush in. Not after the incident with the halibut last week.
So, believing that nothing in life is more valuable than the element of surprise, that and two free puddings, the Piñata threw open the door and dove into the room.
He turned the dive into a roll and sprang to his feet in the middle of the room, bat at the ready.
Feeling a slight sense of disappointment at not having to fight his way through an angry horde of ninjas to earn the puddings, he stepped forward. A click sounded behind him.
He spun, swinging the bat. Nothing was there.
Some sort of cloaking device, he thought. I’ll have to play this just right if I am to draw out my hidden opponent.
“I guess that there is no one there,” he said in a loud, clear voice. “I now feel confident enough to relax and let down my guard.”
He lowered the bat and turned his back on the door. He even let his shoulders droop. No longer did they stand at attention, poised and ready to strike like a coiled spring.
Now I will have you, invisible villain, he thought. I’ll just reach out as if I am going to partake in a cup of pudding, and then—
The seemingly relaxed figure of the Mighty Piñata leaped into action. He spun, swinging his bat, connecting with nothing but air. That did not stop him, however, oh no. He became a whirlwind of violence, moving methodically around the room so that nothing remained that did not feel the sting of his bat.
Thirty seconds later the Piñata stood in the middle of the room, breathing heavily. All about him was chaos. The room looked as if a bull had been let loose, and yet it had been all for naught.
“Where are you, camouflaged demon?”
There was no response.
“I will find you, know that. And when I do, you will feel the tender, yet brutally violent and totally crippling, sting of retribution!”
Yet, he had to admit to himself, if there was someone here, sharing the room with him, they were the absolute bees knees at keeping their presence unknown.
He turned a full circle, scrutinizing every inch of the room. The overturned chair, the fallen tray table, the scattered pudding, the rumpled bed, and the closed door. Everything was normal.
The closed door.
Something about that gave him pause.
He had left the door open when he’d entered the room. And now it was closed.
The pudding! He thought
“The pudding!” He said aloud.
The Mighty Piñata flung the bat aside and rushed to the overturned tray table. He found the two puddings on the floor. They had not been damaged.
He gave a mighty sigh of relief before peeling back the plastic of the first pudding and sucking it down his mighty gullet.
“Ah,” he said. “Tapioca. The sweet, chunky nectar of fair-play.”
In moments the second pudding was as empty as the first.
Now, thought the Mighty Piñata. To get back to finding the invisible villain who dared enter the room behind me.
He retrieved his bat and made another circuit of the room.
It is rather odd that my hidden assailant has yet to make his move. Or her move. Or it’s move. It could be a robot. That would be cool. An invisible robot. I’ve never fought a robot, much less an invisible one. These certainly are exciting times.
His third time around the room he glanced once again at the closed door. He ran his hand along its wooden surface, hoping to find a clue. At the top of the door his hand could go no further due to the door closer attached near the upper right corner.
Such amazing inventions, these door closers, he thought. Never again shall anyone be forced to close a door on their own. Astounding.
This gave him an idea.
It was obvious that whoever was hiding themselves in this room didn’t want to fight. Or if they had, they’d changed their mind once seeing him in action. So maybe now he just needed to give the fiend a chance to escape.
“I better check to see that the hallway is clear,” he said in his loud, clear voice. “I sure hope that someone, or something, doesn’t slip through.”
He opened the door about an inch and pressed his eyeball to the gap. His view of the hallway wasn’t great.
He widened the gap.
Soon he was able to stick his head through and verify that the hallway still stood empty. So he opened the door the rest of the way.
This made him happy. Not only would he be allowing an inferior and cowardly foe a way out to crawl off somewhere to die in shame, he’d be able to watch the door closer do its thing. He hadn’t been able to see the door closer at work previously. He’d had his back to the door when it had closed behind him. Then he’d had that pesky invisible robot to find. But now, well, he decided to take the chance.
He let go of the door.
It swung silently on well-oiled hinges, the arm of the door closer doing its job.
The door shut with an audible click.
The Mighty Piñata frowned. The click of the door and the click of his invisible foe were the exact same sound.
Clever, he thought. Not only invisible but mimics the sound of a closing door. Too bad he, her, or it turned out to be so craven. I was looking forward engaging in a bit of fisticuffs with an invisible robot. I wonder if it had the head of a snake? That would have been so cool.
His regret didn’t have long to take hold, however. The sudden sound of gunfire from outside pulled him from thoughts of how he might disable an invisible robot with the head of a snake.
He rushed to the window. Out on the street below, a police officer traded shots with someone inside the building. Or up against the building. From his vantage point, he couldn’t make out much from directly in front of the building.
This room was two floors above the main entrance. The officer below must have responded to his cry for help. But now it appeared that it was she that needed the help. He watched as she spoke to someone through her squad car’s radio.
Probably calling for backup, he thought. What she doesn’t yet realize is that backup is right here.
He slapped the bat against the palm of his hand.
I need to find a way to communicate with her.
Then he thought of the two crab soldiers he had taken out earlier.
Which led him to remember the walkie-talkies that the two crab soldiers had worn back in his room. If he had two of those, and a way to get one out to her, then they could talk. He could let her know that he was here and that together the two could round up these criminal crustaceans and serve them all a big steaming mug of justice followed by a thick bowl of comeuppance.
It was then that the plan began to take shape.
- Will the Mighty Piñata ever realize his dream and do battle with an invisible snake-head robot?
- Just what is the Piñata planning?
- Who else likes tapioca?
Find out the answers to one of these questions in the next exciting installment of: The Mighty Piñata!
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