Beaux & Aero - Chapter 3: When Friends Become Enemies Become Friends

Chapter 4: When Friends Become Enemies Become Friends

I always found the evolution of Cole and Aaron's friendship to be incredibly interesting.  The two didn't begin their careers together until they were in their twenties but before that, they had encountered each other twice.  The first time had been when they were children, prior to reaching the double digits.  Beaux had spent the majority of his life in St. Hermione's Orphanage, which was located in a busy portion of Caleidos.  It was one of the first integrated orphanages in the country and because of this, the prejudices were still ever present, especially among the children.  Mythlore children were targets for bullying and because many of the staff were apathetic, indifferent, or just as prejudice as the human children, not much was done about it.  But if it weren't for this very fact, Cole and Aaron probably wouldn't be the "Beaux and Aero" archetypes they later became famous for.  Aaron, suffering from harsh family problems, spent approximately a year at St. Hermione's Orphanage and was almost immediately exposed to the harsh realities of societal intolerance for the first time in his life.  It was through a mutual understanding and appreciation for what it was like to be an outcast that Cole and Aaron bonded and began a friendship that defied the very fabric of non-human oppression through their constant striving to be there for each other and provide support when the rest of the world turned their backs on them.  They were very young, but the two were full of so much ambition, they could have taken on the world.

Then, in a heartbeat, they were separated from each other.  Aaron's family issues were resolved and he was taken out of the orphanage to be reunited with his family.  Aaron returned to his life of luxury under his wealthy family and Cole was left to face the bigotry of St. Hermione's Orphanage alone.

Years passed.  The two didn't see each other again until an era in their lives when things were more complicated.  Hell, it was complicated for all of us.  High School.  Caleidos Mythlore School of the Arts.  Not exactly the prestigious integrated or exclusively human schools that were all throughout Allsborough but good enough to get a decent education.  Now, I don't know all of the details behind how things went down and I never did get to find out, but I remember there was a distinct difference in what I had been told unfolded at the orphanage.  Once again, it was a result of circumstances.  At the orphange, there were only two factions, one of which was more prevalent than the other.  There were more humans, despite them having the highest adoption rate to the ever low mythlore adoption rate, and the two were often back into a corner.  So due to this, Cole and Aaron stuck together during the hard times.

High School was different.  It was a dog eat dog world.  Alliances were formed.  Betrayals were a daily occurence.  It wasn't as black and white; there wasn't one side opposing the other.  It was every side opposing every other side, but pretending to live in harmony.  That was when I met Cole and Aaron.  The big thing with this first encounter is that it happened separately.  I met Aaron first.  Then I met Cole.  I was friends with them both.  Unfortunately, they were not friends with each other.  More like the opposite.  They were bitter enemies.  Like I said, I never did discover the details of why they'd fallen out, but the two butted heads more than any two rivals I'd ever met.  You had Aaron, who was the star Quarterback of the football team.  He got all A's.  He was the most popular and most handsome kid, a stud with the ladies and the party animal of the guys.  Then there was Cole.  He was overweight with thick glasses, played Tuba for the Marching Band, and never had a girlfriend in the time I knew him.  I had been very good friends with both of them but in all the time I'd spent with the two, I had never seen them together in the same place at the same time.  Until our Senior Year, where all of the action went down.

Whenever I hung out with either of them, their "enemy's" name would never be brought up, so for all intents and purposes, my separate relationship with them turned out to be more separate than you would imagine.  What I mean to say is, the two were so far on the opposite side of each other's spectrum, I honestly never thought of the two together in any possible way.  It was like Cole was on one side of my life.  Aaron was on another.  And with me having so many other friends in High School including them, they were lost in the cluster of individuals I encountered during my time in school.  In short, the two interacting together was the equivalent of seeing a sci-fi movie starring Mr. Spock and Boba Fett.

I remember Cole had always had a crush on a girl named Stella, who turned out to be Aaron's high school sweetheart.  I mistakenly played wingman to Cole a few times, just for the hell of it, but it turned out Cole had begun to spend more time with Stella, as the two were apart of the Yearbook Club in our Senior Year.  The two were cute together but in an unconventional sort of way, like seeing a majestic stallion spending time with a handicapped mule.  As much as I wanted to tell Cole that it was obvious that Stella saw their relationship as strictly platonic, I didn't want to crush his dreams.  He didn't want much.  All he wanted to do was get to second base.  Aaron didn't even try to say anything about it, even when there were obvious signs that Cole was hitting on his girl.  He knew that Cole was so far out of her league, he didn't have a chance with her.  Sooner or later though, he made a move on Stella.  He was over her house where they were working on something together, when he had been caught sniffing her undergarments from the drawer in her room with his pants and underwear around his thighs while she had taken a trip to the bathroom.  As she proceeded to kick him out, he tried to explain himself and in the heat of the moment, thinking he would never get the chance again, reached out and touched her breast.  He'd done it.  He had gotten to second base, just like he wanted.

Unfortunately, he had also technically broken the law.  He got suspended for sexual harassment and had to go through daily counciling for the rest of the year, along with getting kicked out of Yearbook.  Cole's high school life had been hard, even before that.  Not like Aaron's, who breezed through with nothing but good times, rarely having to struggle to achieve anything.  Because of this he was spoiled, but never really elitist about his coveted position in the school's heirarchy.  He never picked on kids less fortunate.  Just Cole.  The large difference between them in terms of how they were treated might have been due to the fact that Aaron never went through an awkward phase, whereas Cole practically rolled around in it.  So Aaron was more accepted.  But it was when Aaron retaliated against him for the sexual harassment incident and then Cole's subsequent backlash that I stayed out of the situation and forfeited my friendship between them for good.

After the final homecoming game of our high school years, Aaron celebrated at a party that Cole had grown the balls to attend.  Stella was at this party and this was all everyone was talking about when he had arrived.  That was when Aaron had a brilliant but horrifyingly atrocious and unforgiveable idea.  It was an idea that, personally, I thought was so heinous, I couldn't even come up with a proper reaction to what I would do if I were in Cole's place.  Aaron had one of his boys slip something into Cole's drink while he wasn't looking that caused him to lose consciousness in the middle of one of the crowds.  Cole woke up to find himself tied to a chair with his hands and legs bound and tape stuck to his mouth.  He was in the corner of the bedroom to the house where the party was taking place.  The only person in the room was Aaron, who gave him the run down of what was about to happen.  Then he was accompanied by Stella, who was in on everything.  Its important to mention that during this time, Cole still had an undying "love" for Stella and still held on to the possibility of one day being with her, while at the same time harboring a deep jealousy and hatred for Aaron.  So what happened next had to hurt.  He watched Stella undress.  Then Aaron undressed.  Then they kissed.  Then she went down on him, keeping her eyes on Cole at the same time.  Then Aaron began to taunt him.  As the night went on, the two proceeded to do the nastiest things in front of Cole, from continuous oral sex to the most offensive positions, all the while taunting him with things like "You'll never get any of this" and "I only like it from a pro."  As if it couldn't get any worst, Aaron, once he was almost finished, proceeded to....how should I say this for those of you that might be sensitive....clean the pipes - all over Cole's shirt.  With Stella's help of course.  Then they left him there for the night, tied to a chair with a blazer covered in white stains and tape over his mouth until the owner of the house found him and let him go.  I know.  Ouch.

Cole was a changed man next time I saw him.  And to say Aaron got his just deserts was an understatement.  Cole got him back twice as hard, believe it or not.  When word had gotten out of what had happened to Cole, most of his friends stopped spending time with him, so out of guilt, I hung out with him more often.  Through this, I found out his plan.  He'd bought what they call a "Garlic Pill Bomb" out of this prank line in the phonebook.  When he showed it to me, it looked like an average capsule pill but at lunch the next day, he slipped it into Aaron's drink while he wasn't looking (neither of them eever seemed to pay enough attention to their drinks).  I thought I would see the effects of it immediately, but Cole told me to wait until the game that was going to be held that night.  Later that day, our team won thanks to Aaron scoring the winning touchdown.  As he ran in to kiss his girl triumphantly, I watched as Cole, who sat next to me on the bleachers, turn in my direction and smirk.  He pulled out a small pouch and put pressure on it.  All of a sudden, I saw Aaron's neck stretch out from his shoulder pads and he regurgitated all over Stella's mouth.  He then bent over and almost literally exploded.  And I mean out of every orifice.  If it were ever possible to make a vampire vomit violently, piss his pants, and have explosive diarrhea all over a himself and everyone around him, the Garlic Pill Bomb would do the trick.  I know.  Gross.

After he was taken to the emergency room, Cole went to visit him and gave Aaron an ultimatum.  He threatened to blackmail him with a report he'd obtained from Aaron's psychologist written only a few days earlier.  Don't ask how he got it.  Creepy?  Yes, but it wasn't an isolated incident.  For as long as I've known Cole, he had always been a crafty motherfucker.  The report revealed that Aaron had an interest in paraphilistic, transvestic, and transophilic fetishism.  In short, he had an sexual attraction to certain inanimate objects, liked to cross-dress from time to time, and also had an acute attraction to transsexuals.  In exchange for making sure the information wouldn't see the light of day, Cole ordered Aaron to do whatever he asked of him for the rest of their senior year.  Aaron complied reluctantly and for the next three months or so, Aaron was Cole's bitch.  Eventually, Aaron could no longer take it and proceeded to piss Cole off to the point where Cole replaced the school's morning news cue cards with information from the report and the stupid news anchor chick proceeded to read it out loud for everyone.  In addition to his fetishes, it also revealed that Aaron's relationship with his girlfriend stemmed from a longtime attraction to a transsexual porn model whom she resembled.  Essentially, Aaron, who had still been trying to allow his reputation to recover from the "explosion," was now watching it crumble before his eyes.  Stella finally broke up with him, accusing him of being with her just because she "looked like a transsexual," as she so boldly put it.

So by prom, Cole and Aaron had knocked each other down so many pegs with their increasingly persistent gross-out oneupsmanship, that they'd nearly lost any type of support they had from most of their comrads, myself included.  Still, people tuned in to their rivalry and talked about it like it was the next big thing on television.  It wasn't long before Mr. Spock and Boba Fett turned into an all-day viewing of Spy Vs. Spy.  It all came down to the last day of school, when an argument in the parking lot escalated into a full-fledged fight, lasting about thirty minutes.  I watched it from up-close.  It was the only other time I'd seen a wolfman go into a wolf-like state and a vampire become predatory.  Neither went full-on beast mode like they did that morning in front of my bar, but it still looked as though the two were actually trying to kill each other.  They'd spent a year of their lives trying to defeat one another and it was about to culminate with an old-fashioned beast fight.

Long story short (or rather with a shorter ending), both Cole and Aaron were suspended and held back that year.  I graduated with the rest of my class, so I never did find out what happened to them, but I knew that out of the entirety of my boring time at Caleidos Mythlore School of the Arts, tuning in on the fued between these two clashing forces was more entertaining than any primetime television show.  So you can imagine the confused look on my face and what might have been going through my mind as I watched these two previously warring factions now working together, hauling the bloody and unconscious human body into the storage room at the back of my bar.  It was incredible.  Because of the memories of their feud that came flooding back into my head, I had nearly forgotten that they'd almost completely demolished my establishment.  They had both changed so much.  When I saw them, I could tell who they were by their faces only and even then, I was only half-sure that it was actually them.  I was beyond amazed.

I walked over to the broken bar and poured myself a glass from what was left of the inventory.  I could already tell this was going to be a long day.  Beaux had went back into his man-wolf state and tossed the broken Corvette out of the bar so they could get access to the back of the bar and I could make my way to the drinks.  When I walked back into the storage room, I could see that the two had bound Santana to a chair, his head slumped over in dreamland.

"So uh," I started, motioning at the unconscious mobster with my full glass of whiskey.  "You want to explain to me what's going on right now?  And what you're about to do?"

The duo exchanged looks with each other and Beaux shrugged.  "You want to tell him or should I?" Beaux asked.

"You can do it if you want."

"I'd rather you do it, you know how I go on and on about the useless stuff."

Aero sighed and turned to me.  "My father is dead."

They waited for my reaction.  I shook my head.  "Oh yeah, that totally answers my question."

"You remember my father, don't you?" Aero asked with a beckoning demeanor, trying to jog my memory.  "You came over my house enough times."

"Yeah, I do," I said as the memories came back to me.  "Vincenzo Paratelli.  Didn't find out until later that he was a kingpin.  So someone finally got to him?"

"Basically, yeah."

"I'm sorry to hear that.  Did you inherit anything?"

"Let me answer your question with a name.  Niccolo Ambrossini."

"Ah," I said, nodding my head with understanding.  "Your father's old friend.  I remember you telling me about how much you hated him."

"And how much he hated me.  After my father died, he forged his Will to write me out of any of his fortune, then proceeded to put a hit on my head.  Almost didn't come out of that one."

As he said this, Aero gave Beaux a quick glance and I caught on.  "So let me guess.  Beaux saved you."

Beaux nodded.  "Before the vultures picked him clean, I saved his ass and took him in."

"Took me in," Aero repeated, rolling his eyes.  "You know how to take people in don't you, Beaux-"

"I told you to stop mentioning that!" Beaux said accusingly, pointing at Aero.

"I didn't mention anything!" Aero smiled, holding up his hands in defense.  "You're the one that's getting high-strung about it."

Beaux glared back at him while I tried to move things forward again.  "So where did the capturing of mobsters and crashing cars into bars thing come from?" I continued.

"I've been making my living for the last few years in the gun-for-hire business," Beaux answered.

"Gun for hire?  I never took you for the violent type, Cole.  Let alone the type to get paid to be among some Mafia crusade."

"Its not like that.  'Gun for hire' covers a lot of things; mercenary work, bounty collecting, hit contracts, shipment and/or personel supervision, whatever they offer the most money for and that we're dignified enough to do.  Hell, we'll even be so inclined as to babysit if they pay us enough.  Its very good money.  We don't compromise business partnerships for cash though.  We have more class than that."


"Yeah, he got me into the underworld after I'd been cut out of the family business, since I had no other means of getting money," Aero responded.  "I'd been given most of what I had all my life, didn't really work for a dime of it.  I was spoiled but once I got into the Hired Gun business, I picked up on it pretty quickly.  We were just recently hired by the Trujillo Family.  They're the"-

"Vampire Mafia, I know them," I replied, lounging back on a box of supplies and trying to relax.  "They run two quarters of West Allsborough and used to work with the Paratellis back in the day."

"Right," Aero continued.  "Anyway, we were hired to take out old Freddy here, Underboss to the Murphy's, the crumbling human Irish Family.  We planted a car bomb under his Porsche as he came from a meeting but he used one of those fancy car engine starting buttons to get the thing going before he reached it.  Made the bomb explode prematurely.  A clear metaphor for Beaux's sex life."

Beaux snorted with laughter.  "You wish.  Don't start insulting my sex life just because someone told you your dick looks like a Cheeto dipped in fruit punch."

"Guys, can we stay on topic here?" I said.  Getting these guys on track was like getting a drunk person to do hopscotch.  "I need to know what to tell the Insurance handler, you know....about the car and hole in the middle of my bar, plus the blown up gas tanks and dead humans outside."

"Sorry," Beaux said, continuing.  "So we had to zoom out of there but Santana caught our liscense plate, rounded up his guys, and caught us down the road later.  They chased us out of town then proceeded to shoot out our tires.  We managed to actually get pretty far ahead of them before we lost control and crashed into your bar.  If we had made it out a little farther, I'm convinced we would have gotten away.  But its cool, because we got the job done anyway.  Don't have to go back to the Trujillos empty handed."

I didn't show it much, but I was still amazed by these two, particularly how much they'd changed and how the old beef they had was squashed as if nothing had happened.  When I last saw Beaux, he was a self-conscious semi-loner with such low self-esteem, the pessimism almost seemed to ooze from him.  All of his friends were with him solely to make sure he had enough support in his life so that he wouldn't kill himself.  Now he had truly blossomed from the ugly duckling stage; he had lost all of his weight and was now incredibly fit.  He was also unbelievably handsome; he could probably pick up any chick he wanted from any race he wanted, even the most prejudice human woman on the planet.  Aero hadn't made too much of a change in appearance, with the exception of his long hair and distinct eye scar, but his change was even more evident in his personality.  When I knew him, he was like every other arrogant jock and while he was usually friendly to most people who's names weren't Colombus Beauregarde, he used a highly subtle means of making sure everyone stayed in their place and that he remained "top dog" for as long as possible.  Now he was....still the arrogant jock who wanted to remain top dog, but he was at least much quicker to admit his faults.  I remember when making that leap was like climbing a mountain with his bare hands for him - which he could probably do as well if he hadn't been so lazy.

"So where'd the nicknames come from?" I asked curiously.  "When did you guys start doing the 'Beaux and Aero' thing?  Sounds like a pop duo from the 80's to me."

"Its for marketing," Beaux smirked.  "Nicknames sell when it comes to getting people to hire us.  Plus, it gets harder and harder to use your real name in this business, so we came up with the aliases for the sake of work."

"Good, because it kind of sounds stupid.  I wouldn't be surprised if you guys lose out on girls from mentioning that outside of work."

"Actually, you'd be suprised how much it actually helps," Aero said with a wink.  "Remember the quads, Beaux?"

"I shall never forget," Beaux answered, losing himself in what could only be discribed as the greatest memory a man could experience.  At least that's what I got from the look on his face.  "Quadruplets.  Two for each of us."

"And six chest eyes staring at us all at the same time," Aero said, shaking his head with a broad smile.  "What a wild night."

"Dude, you seriously still call breasts 'chest eyes'?" I asked, laughing.  "You sure haven't changed."

"I'd hate to break up this little reunion," muttered the now awake Santana, who's croaking exhausted voice caught our attention.  We turned to him.  "But I think it'd be best that you know you've made your last grave mistake.  I hope you all are ready for a hell storm like you've never"-

Aero launched forward and cracked a mean hook across Santana's jaw as he grunted and spat a bloody loogie out on the floor beside him.  I could see that the man still had his toothpick and refused to let go of it, even after all of the excitement outside.

"SHUT THE FUCK UP!" He screamed after delivering the blow.  "DID I TELL YOU YOU COULD SPEAK, YOU DUMB TWAT!?"

Beaux leaned forward and placed a hand on Aero's shoulder but made no real effort to calm him down.  "I think its apparent that you haven't heard of us or heard enough about us, so since you're new to this, we'll do it the simple way.  My name is Beaux.  This is Aero.  And we've got you by the balls.  So none of your threats or other bullshit is going to scare us a bit.  We've heard it all before from much more threating guys than you, okay?  By the way a 'grave mistake' should be the 'last mistake'; the 'grave' part implies that after making the mistake, you end up in the grave.  Idiot.  Now.  Let's play game of good cop, bad cop.  I'll be the good cop and Aero will be the bad cop."

"But you're not cops-"

"SHUT THE FUCK UP!" Beaux shouted, striking Santana in the nose, causing him to throw his head back and blood to trip from his nostrils.  "See you've got me acting out of character already.  You obviously don't know how to play this game."

"Look," Aero stepped up.  "We can make this incredibly easy on all of us.  All we want is for the next words that come out of your mouth to be the pin number to Elias Murphy's bank account.  After that, we'll be happy to let you go."

"You think I'm stupid?" Santana exclaimed through his swollen lips and the plastic toothpick he flipped in his mouth with his tongue.

"You said it, not me."

"What makes you think I know the pin number?"

"Because we know you're the only person Elias trusts with that information.  You're the only person he knows that wouldn't steal from him.  Give it up and you're free."

"Bullshit.  You're going to kill me right as soon as you find out.  I'm not telling you a damn thing.  I'll take it to the grave."

"Now that's a 'grave' mistake," Aero joked, elbowing Beaux with a goofy smile that made Beaux chuckle pathetically.

"I'm serious."

"I'm sure, I'm sure," Beaux said, shaking his head.  "Nobility, after all, resides in the blood of every human being, or so I've heard.  But here's the thing.  We weren't planning to kill you."

"We weren't?" Aero asked, turning to him.

"Well we were, but I'm pretty sure Quentin wants a piece of the action too.  You know who hired us.  The Trujillo Family.  And Quentin is a fucked up guy.  So I think its pretty safe to say, if you don't give us the info we need, we'll go ahead and pass you on to him and they can ring it out of you.  I'm pretty sure you know of his reputation.  I mean, I have some ideas of my own, but that guy....he has quite the imagination."

"Sure does," Aero agreed, as Santana looked off with hesitation.  It seemed as if he was taking the threat into consideration.  He continued to flex his jaw as he flipped the toothpick over and over in his mouth, an obvious habitual trait.

"Alright.  I'll tell you."

"Good boy.  What is it?"

"The pin number is....0000."

"What?" Beaux said with a confused look.

"Yeah, he chose it based on the amount of balls you two have put together."  With that, Santana let out a hoarse laugh that seemed to contagiously rub off on the two of them.  Beaux and Aero began to chuckle and eventually started holding their sides in hysterics, although I could tell as I looked at them that it was all passive-aggressive.  Aero looked over at Beaux and mouthed something through his laughter and Beaux nodded, still smiling and cracking up.  I watched Santana's laughter die down but with a smile still present on his face, he once again flipped the toothpick with his tongue.  This time, just as it went vertical, one end scraping the roof of his mouth and the other balanced on top of his tongue, Aero lifted his leg and struck Santana in the jaw.  Everyone stopped laughing immediately.  He threw back his head and then looked forward with his mouth closed tight and a look of utter shock on his face.  Suddenly, he let out a muffled and guttural scream, almost as if he were in the process of vomitting, but instead a small wave of blood dripped from his partially open lips and spilled out onto the floor.  He then leaned forward and began to flex his throat muscles as if he were choking but I could see by looking closer that he had actually been trying to open his mouth.  As he began to, I could see the plastic toothpick impaled in the center of his tongue and probably in the roof and bottom of his mouth as well.  When he opened it fully, blood and saliva sliding down his chin, the toothpick finally fell out and onto the floor.  Santana let out a vicious sigh of relief followed by cries of anguish as more blood leaked from his mouth and onto his white dress shirt.

"See its moments like this that make me realize that Albert Einstein was completely right," Aero responded, shaking his head.  "The only two things in life that are infinite are the universe and human stupidity."

"You bastard," Santana muttered without fully pronouncing his words.  "I ripped a hole in my tongue."

"I can see that," Beaux said with zero sympathy.

"I probably won't be able to talk right ever again," he mumbled.

"Cry me a river."

I was stunned.  Mostly because I had a wounded guy bleeding in my bar who these two criminals were probably about to murder, but partially because these old friends of mine were now ruthless and remorseless.  They were mangling this guy around like this was apart of their daily routine.  I wasn't too pressed about the fact that they were now criminals; this wasn't the first time I had interacted with New Devon's underworld of organized crime and violence, and to be honest I had always figured from Aero's connivingly clever ways and family line that he was the most likely to go this kind of route.  But I had never been this close to the raw backbone of the business.  I knew it got more gruesome than this, but it didn't stop the moment from having an effect on me.

Aero sighed, pulled his dusty suit jacket off, and layed it over the side of one of the boxes.  Reaching down, he picked up the bloody toothpick and slid it between his lips, licking off the blood.

"You sick fuck," Santana muttered angrily.

"How's it taste?" Beaux asked, holding back his laughter.

"Its all right," Aero said, staring at the toothpick, his fangs beginning to protrude and his pupils lighting up slightly as he absorbed the taste.  "Its got kind of a gonorrhea-like after-taste though.  But it gives me a craving for a Marilyn Monroe Shake at the Enzyme Shop.  Can we take a trip over there later after we finish this up?"

"Yeah, no problem.  I could use a Diet Clone Expresso right about now."

"You ugly Folks," Santana said, shaking his head with disgust.  "You all are a bunch of repulsive abominations to nature"-

"Yeah, yeah, we heard you the first time, Van Helsing."  Aero rolled up his sleeves to the same point as Beaux's and grabbed another chair by the door, sitting in it backwards facing Santana.

"Listen," Aero said lazily, pushing up his cheek with his palm as he lounged his elbow on the top of the chair.  "The Crystal Odom Show comes on at 4.  If you make me miss it, I will kill you something fierce.  Now give up the pin number and save us the trouble."

"Crystal Odom?  You actually watch that trash?"

"Hey!" Aero exclaimed angrily.  "Crystal Odom provides quality television programming.  She actually talks about interesting and relevant shit.  You wouldn't know anything about that."

"You only watch it because she's a damn monster.  All she talks about is a bunch of Folk bullshit."

Folk.  Another derogatory term against us.  He was getting pretty frequent and comfortable with the terms and I could see that it was angering the two.  It was definitely getting me pissed off.  As much as I didn't want them to continue fucking this guy up since it would make it even more difficult to explain to my insurance handlers, as well as the cops whenever they finally decided to show the hell up, I wanted them to at least get in on a little of the torture.  A simple pre-show without it getting too messy wouldn't hurt.  Us.

"Beaux, do you remember that toothpick idea I mentioned the other day in the car?" Aero asked, looking up at him.

"Yeah, I know what you're talking about.  You want to go for it?"

"Let's go for it," Aero said, getting up from the chair.  He slid it out of his way and I started to get worried as Beaux reached down and untied Santana's right leg from the bottom of the chair.  As it came off, he slid Santana's dress shoe off of his feet and pulled off his black sock, then proceeded to bound his leg once again to the leg of the chair with his bare foot out.  Aero took the toothpick out of his mouth and leaned down with it.

"What are you doing?" Santana said with a tad bit of worry in his voice.  Aero didn't answer but instead grabbed Santana's foot and lightly stuck the toothpick under the toenail of his big toe.

"All right, we're making this caveman simple," Aero said.  "Give up the pin number now."

"Are you out of your mind?" Santana replied in confusion.  Aero slowly began to apply pressure on the top of the toothpick, inching it farther under his toe nail.  "Ow, ow ow ow OW OW OW, STOP IT!!"  When Aero didn't stop, Santana threw back his head in pain.  "Okay okay, I'll give you the pin number!!!"

"It better be the real thing this time," Beaux warned.  "Or I will personally peel off the cuticle of every nail on your fucking feet.  And your hands.  I'm not in the mood for this bullshit."

"Okay," Santana stuttered, gasping for breath as beads of sweat began to fall from his forehead.  "The pin number is....1209.  Its Elias' dead son's birthdate, day and month respectfully."

Aero let go of Santana's foot, leaving the toothpick under his toenail, and stood up, turning to Beaux.  Beaux reached into his pocket and pulled out his mobile phone, hitting the speed dial and waiting for someone to answer on the other line.

"Hey, Jaguar, you by the ATM," he said when the phone was answered on the other line.

"Yes, The Jaguar is by the ATM, did the jabronee cough up the Pin number?" Jaguar, a large impressively built Native American fellow howled over the phone with unnecessary force.

"Yeah, its 1209."

"The Jaguar is typing in the code now."  There was silence over the phone and Beaux waited.  After a while his voice returned.  "The Jaguar has confirmation that the pin number was indeed correct."

"Good," Beaux said with a smile, nodding to Aero, who smiled back.  "Thanks Jag, you can take out some of the sum for yourself if you like.  Make sure you don't go running off with all of it, you know what'll happen."

"The Jaguar isn't stupid, Mr. Beauregarde.  Where should we meet?"

"Meet us at the Enzyme Shop in 45 minutes.  We'll need to make a quick 'deposit' of our cargo in the Messiah.  We crashed the Corvette on the way to him.  Its about time we got out and about in some real beauty."

"Wait, the Jaguar is confused....what is this Cargo you're speaking of?"

"Freddy Santana, the guy we were su"-

"IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR CARGO IS!" the Jaguar screamed over the phone.

Beaux pinched the bridge of his nose and shut his eyes in annoyance.  Jaguar had the tendency to do that.  "Alright, we'll see you in a few."

When Beaux hung up, Aero smiled.  "He did that thing he does, didn't he?"

"I hate it when he does that," Beaux sighed.  "All right, let's wrap up.  I've got to say, you break easier than a piggy bank, Santana."

"Fuck you," he shouted but with a loss of real energy and motivation.  "Go ahead and kill me.  Get it over with."

"Nah," Beaux said with a shrug, as he walked over to Santana.  With a quick move, Beaux reared his foot back and smashed the end of his dress shoe into the toothpick hanging out from under Santana's toenail.  Suddenly, the toenail shot up by the force of the toothpick, which jammed into the back of his toe and into his cuticle.  I was forced to cringe.  It was grisly.  Santana screamed at the top of his lungs in agony.  "Aero, shut him up for me, please."

"No prob," Aero said, picking up one of the boxes and cracking it across Santana's head.  He stopped screaming and slumped over, unconscious.  Beaux moved in to untie him from his restraints.

"This is a little short notice," Beaux started, obviously addressing me now.  "And I know you've got other stuff to do and all.  But we would really like it if you come with us to the Enzyme Shop and get a drink.  Catch up with us.  We can reminice over old times."

"I don't drink blood though," I responded.

"They have regular coffee.  You don't have to get anything, we just want to enjoy your company for old time's sake."

"Yeah, man," Aero agreed as they began to haul him up.  "Seeing you brought back a flood of memories.  We have to hang out."

"You guys think I'm stupid?" I asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Why do people keep asking us that?" Beaux said, turning to Aero.  "Its like they want to get offended."

"Very funny.  Where are you going to put the mobster, huh?"

The duo exchanged worried looks with each other.  "Yeah, about that"-

"You want to put him in the trunk of my car"-

"Just until we get to the Enzyme Shop and then we'll make the transfer.  Come on, man.  You know we go way back."

I sighed and shook my head.  I was about to play a dangerous game of russian roullette with my life by going with these guys.  I should have been more cautious.  I should have said "no" and then proceeded to clean things up, call my insurance handler, or do something other than not go get a drink with these guys.  It was a trap and part of me knew it.  But I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt.  It was probably the whiskey.  No decision made under the buzz of whiskey was ever good.  And I was about to make one of the biggest mistakes of my life by trusting these two.  If I had known where it would lead me....well you'll understand soon enough.

"If we get caught, you better turn your gun on me and make it look like you're holding me hostage and forcing me along with you."

"Yeah, no problem," Aero said as the two of them flashed me broad smiles that echoed a history long past.  "Let's get going."

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