8FOLD/ACRA: Jolt City # 6, To Tango with the Trapper!

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 1 06:37:06 PST 2007


   The Green Knight is suspended in the air, forever
falling towards a gigantic steel-jawed trap.  Gigantic
gloved hands keep the spring-loaded trap pried open--
gigantic hands that belong to the strange, menacing,
bearded figure in the black-and-red plaid jacket and
knit-cap: the Trapper!
   "How eezilee ze 'ero 'as fallen into ze trap, eh? 
No one escapes ze Trapper!"
   We suggest you read this with your legs
outstretched and pointing away from any life-form; the
second part of this titanic three-issue tale is
guaranteed to knock your socks off, and we don't want
anyone getting hurt!

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   # 6 FEBRUARY 2007
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   When last we left our verdant vigilante, there was
only three inches (and counting) between he and
certain death!  Twelve mechanical arms surround him
from all directions, twelve arms inching ever closer
with terrifying speed, each with twelve razor-sharp
digits eager to tear his flesh!
   Thinking that this nefarious death-trap had been
disarmed, he leapt inside to rescue its intended
victim-- steel-shackled financer Roger Costello-- when
the trap started back up anew!  And that about catches
you up to speed on the situation; but in the time it's
taken to recap, we're sorry to say that Martin Rock
(the Green Knight) is now less than two inches away
from being sliced, diced, poked, shredded, lacerated
and otherwise, dead!
   He leaps off the little platform upon which
Costello is shackled at the ankles and outstretched
arms, throwing his weight towards one of the
mechanical rods and placing his feet on the thin metal
frame that supports them.  "Try to... budge it... move
it away from us...!"
   But no dice, it's not moving.  With Martin off the
platform, there's eight inches between the blades and
   "I'm not going to leave you," Martin promises the
sweating man.  "Maybe I can jam up the knives..."
   He reaches into his belt and pulls out some of his
fire-extinguishing pellets.  Maybe the foam can jam up
the works...?
   No.  It cuts right through it.  Six inches.
   He turns back to the platform, ducking under the
blades aimed for Costello's waist.  Five more inches
and he won't have to worry about being blackmailed for
cheating again...
   Martin looks at the steel shackles.  He can't think
of anything that could cut through them.  Maybe the
blades, but that would necessitate moving the blades
towards the shackles.  And the blades won't budge.
   Something slices, tears through his shoulder,
spinning and digging
   His body shakes (too old for this) and
   He falls towards the platform.  It lurches back and
up, like a pendulum, taking Costello away from some of
the blades and far too close to the ones perched above
his head.
   And, like a pendulum, the platform swings back,
catching Martin in the jaw.  He braces himself against
the metal frame and then leaps towards the platform.
   "Of course!" he says, pushing it upwards.  The
blades narrowly miss Costello's groin.  Martin
carefully balances himself on the bottom ridges of the
metal frame, trying to avoid the whirling blades
working their way up from below.
   "This was only designed with one person in mind. 
You wouldn't be able to move the platform yourself,
but I can.  Let's see if these blades can cut through
the platform!"
   The answer, in short, is no!  The blades dent up
and stop whirling.  One by one, and with speed that
belies the searing pain in his bleeding shoulder,
Martin takes them out, always mindful of the blades
above Costello, until only those ones remain.
   "What are you going to about those?" Costello
   "Luckily, those are placed higher than the rest,"
says Martin.  "It will buy us a little time..."
   He leaps onto the platform, pressing all his weight
down on the base.  It starts to shake and quiver. 
Good.  He's putting enough pressure on it that he
should be able to move it just my shifting his weight.
   He grabs onto Costello's legs and lets his own legs
dangle over the edge.  "Keep your head down if you
want to live!"
   Costello puts his chin on his chest, as the sound
of the blades gets louder and louder...
   Martin kicks his legs out for all he's worth,
propelling himself forwards.  The platform swings
back, and he draws his legs in.  He pushes off the
metal frame and kicks again, gaining altitude and
   Again and again, until his legs actually kick out
of the perimeter of the death trap.
   "Almost there," says Martin as they swing back
   "What are you doing?" says Costello as he sees the
blades bearing down overhead and in front of him.
   "You ever swing all the way around a swing set?"
says Martin.
   "That's impossible," says Costello.
   "It is when the structure's safe and sturdy.  But
this was never intended to be a swing.  We're coming
back down, be careful of the blades...!"
   Costello throws his head back.  The blades are
inches away from his face, like a deadly limbo bar...
   They kick forward again, and this time, they go
over the top, the titanium wires that connect
Costello's shackles to the structure twisting around
the top and coming clean off!
   Martin and Costello rockets backwards and down.
   "Okay," Martin warns.  "This part's going to hurt a
   Martin twists in the air, throwing his weight so
that he will land first and take the brunt of the
crash.  It hurts, like it always does.  After a while,
you get used to it.
   Costello's fat body lands on top of Martin's, the
platform digging into the back of Martin's knees. 
Martin rolls him off.
   "Are you okay?"
   "No," says the sweaty, red-faced man.
   Oh, shit, Martin thinks.  That's the tone of voice
people use when they're going to sic lawyers on you. 
Well, that's gratitude for
   "But I'm alive," Costello adds.  "Thank you."
   Martin groans as he gets back up to his feet.  "I'm
going to see if I can find your phone down in the
water below," he says.  "Hopefully, the police can get
a fix on the signal and come get us."
   Suddenly, the sound of splintering wood comes from
behind them.  Martin whirls around to see a hatchet
breaking down a door.  The dusk-light pours in.
   "Never mind about your phone, then," says Martin to
Costello.  "I'm sure you can get a new one."  He turns
to the shambles of the door.  "Hello, Dani."
   "Hiya, hero," says Danielle.  "Looks like you've
had a busy day."
   "You could say that," says Martin.  "Mr. Costello
seems to be okay, but you should get him an ambulance
just to be safe.  And get someone to get him out of
those shackles."

   "Looks like you need an ambulance as well," says
Danielle after they've taken Costello away.  "Your
shoulder's pretty torn up."
   "Small trade-off for my life," muses Martin. 
"It'll be okay."
   "Don't give me a problem," says Danielle.  "You're
going to a hospital."
   "No, I'll lose too much time that way," says
Martin.  "There are clues to look for, a psychopath to
find... oh, do you have Marita Costello in custody? 
She was the one who wanted her husband dead in the
first place."
   "She broke down and confessed about ten minutes
ago," says Danielle.  "That's why I paged you."
   "Oh," says Martin, a little crossly.
   "Nothing."  The bleeping of his pager had caused
the death-trap to reactivate while he was inside it. 
But she didn't need to know anything about that.  "Did
she give you any contact information we can follow up
   "I dunno, we're still gathering up all the details.
 But she named Samson Snapp."
   "She's going to give us Snapp?" says Martin.
   "If it checks out," says Danielle.  "But let's not
get ahead of ourselves.  First, you're going to a
   "I said no," says Martin.  "I'll be fine."
   Danielle snaps her fingers and hollers out the
door.  "Get me a medic!"  She turns back to Martin. 
"If you're not going to go to the hospital, we're
going to have them look at you and treat the wound. 
   "Understood," says Martin.  He tries to shrug, but
it hurts.

The Knight's Den.
   Roy Riddle enters with ramen noodles just as Martin
is removing his shirt.
   "Lot of bandages," notes the pastor.
   "No time to eat," says Martin.  "Just a quick
change to a spare costume and then it's back to see
   "Uh, Martin, there's a situation that's come up..."
   "What is it?"
   "Um, okay.  We got a letter in the mail today.  For
the Green Knight.  No return address.  No post-mark."
   "I suppose next you'll be telling me who's on the
stamp," says Martin.  "Just out with it, Roy."
   Roy hands Martin a letter.  "Somebody knows,
   "Somebody knows who you are."
   Martin feels a twinge, and it's not just in his
shoulder.  He opens the letter.  It's handwritten.
   "Dear Green Knight.  I know that you are Martin
Rock.  I will not go public with this information. 
Will contact you when the time is right.  I am a
   "Do you recognize it?"
   "No," says Martin.
   "Who knows besides me and Anders?"
   "Nobody," says Martin.  "Nobody who's alive."
   "Are they dead, or do you just think they're dead?"
   "They're dead," says Martin.  "Anders's parents
knew.  And that was it.  And Melvin Tightly never
found out who I was.  I wasn't mentioned in Ree's
file." [*-- see GREEN KNIGHT ANNUAL # 1.]
   "And that's it?"
   "That's it," says Martin.
   "So what do we do?"
   "What can we do?" says Martin.  "Just wait for this
'friend' to make his move.  Until then, I have work to
   He pulls on his other costume and heads out the

   He had been worried about this.  He was sloppy with
his dual identities, and when Martin Rock was thrust
into the public spotlight, he ran the risk of someone
putting two-and-two together. [*-- see JOLT CITY #
   "Here's hoping he or she really is a friend," says

   "How's the shoulder, hero?" says Danielle.
   "Hurts," admits Martin.  "But it'll be fine."
   "I know it will," says Danielle.  "That's because I
had it treated, dumbass."
   "I kinda like it better when you call me hero,"
says Martin.  "So, what's the score?"
   "Marita had met Samson Snapp some years before,
when his father was still running the drug trade,"
says Danielle.  "They weren't friends, and they
weren't an item, but they knew of each other.  Social
functions, so forth.
   "Flash-forward and she's working on the
vibra-jacket over at JCU, married to Roger Costello. 
Larry Strode steals the vibra-jacket, he's caught,
jacket's recovered.  Then she gets a phone call from
Samson Snapp.
   "He wants to pay Strode's bail, but doesn't want
his name attached.  So he tells Marita Costello that
he'll send her the money, plus a little extra, if she
pays his bail.  And he figures that'll look good for
Strode, because the victim is forgiving the criminal. 
But she's not biting.  She wants more."
   "She wants her husband dead," says Martin.
   "Exactly," says Danielle.  "If Snapp can give her
the money for the bail, and a little extra, and if he
can put her in touch with a hitman, she'll do it. 
Snapp asks how she wants it done, and she says she
wants Roger to suffer."
   "Lovely," says Martin.
   "And so Snapp puts her in touch with this Trapper."
   "Okay, so where does that leave us?" says Martin.
   "Phone records corroborate her account," says
Danielle.  "Foster says she'll plead guilty to
conspiracy to commit murder and serve five years, in
exchange for testifying against Snapp."
   "Foster has a case, but he doesn't think it's
strong enough," says Danielle.  "And none of us want
to get Snapp in a court room only to watch him waltz
right out again."
   "What does he need?"
   "He needs the Trapper," says Danielle.  "If we can
get him to cop a plea and testify against Snapp, it'd
go a long way towards solidifying the case."
   "Alright, then," says Martin.  "Let's go get him."

   Danielle steps over the crime scene tape before
helping Martin to do the same.  "Mr. Costello's lucky
you found that secret passageway in," she says.  "By
the time his wife let us know which warehouse the
Trapper was using... it would have been too late."
   "Did she meet him in person?  Any description?"
   "None.  If you'll follow me over here..."
   They walk across the room, giving the death trap
and the broken glass floor besides it a wide berth. 
At the other end, there is a large hole in the wall. 
Several police officers stand around it, pretending to
look busy.
   "I see you've been redecorating," says Martin
cheerfully.  "This must be the way to the room where
he kept the tape recorder...?"
   Most of the police are happy to see him.  One of
them does not return Martin's cheer.  He's a big man
with a big face and a big mop of white hair.  His
hands and neck seem to ooze out of his tight little
brown suit.
   "Handler," he says with a nod that excludes Martin.
   "This is Detective Bryant," says Danielle. 
"Homicide detective."
   "That's right," says Bryant.  "And this is a
homicide matter.  We haven't found any drugs on the
premises.  So, I'd thank you to be on your way..."
   "Snapp's involved," says Danielle.  "Which makes it
our business."  She starts towards the hole in the
   "Just hold on a minute," says Bryant.  His men
close in, blocking the hole.  "We're conducting this
investigation.  We don't need his help."
   "Detective Bryant," says Martin, stepping forward. 
"I'm sure you're a very capable man.  But I'm not sure
if you know who you're dealing with, here.  From what
I've seen, this Trapper could be very dangerous."
   "This ain't your business," says Bryant.  "Go jump
off a roof, the both of you."
   "Bryant, I'll go to the chief, and he'll just tell
you to let us in."
   "Then go to the chief."

   Danielle drives.  Martin slouches in the passenger
seat.  He would put the seat back, but the glass
between the front and back of the police car prevents
him from doing so.
   "Are all detectives quite so...?"
   "I was going to say ridiculous."
   "Just a select few," says Danielle.  "He's like
that anyway, but I think some people are kinda resent
you.  I mean, if you need to exist, what does that say
about them?"
   "I guess," says Martin.  "Never had that problem
   "Or maybe you just don't remember it," says
Danielle.  "You must have been young when you
   Martin recalls Danielle's recent questions about
his age and his insides starts to sweat.  He doesn't
give an answer, and Danielle tries to ease the
conversation into a different direction.
   "Of course, this is a change for you, anyway."
   "How do you mean?"
   "Up until the past couple years, all you went after
was the four-colour crowd.  Crooks with powers, or
gadgets.  That really is beyond most police."
   "So there was no overlap," says Martin.  "And
   "Now, there's overlap," says Danielle.
   "You don't resent me, do you?"
   "That's a stupid question," says Danielle.  "I've
made more progress working with you this last year
than I had before."
   "Same goes here," says Martin.
   "Do I wish there wasn't a need for you?  I guess. 
But there is a need, hero.  When someone's beyond the
law, you need to go outside of the law to get him. 
Sometimes you gotta screw the rules to do what's
   "It's a fine line, though," says Martin.
   "Yeah, I guess.  But you haven't crossed it, not
   "So, how long are we going to wait before we head
   Danielle looks at the clock-radio.  "Bryant'll
probably be gone in another ten minutes.  Joke is that
he keeps his time-card and time-clock in the car, so
he can punch out on the way home."

   "Bryant's gone," whispers Danielle, peering in from
the hatcheted-down door, "but he's left two men to
guard the hole in the wall."
   Martin tugs on her arm.  "Get away before they spot
   "Halt!  Who goes there?"  The officer starts
running towards the entrance.
   Danielle suppresses a giggle.  "Did he just say,
who goes there?"
   "I think so.  Stay to the side."  Martin steps out
into view.  "Oops," says Martin.  "I thought I left my
utility belt in there.  But, look, here it is around
my waist.  Funny how that works out.  Sorry to
   "That's alright," says the officer, lowering his
pistol.  "Uh, Mr. Knight, before you go.  I just want
to say thank you for all you've done for Jolt City."
   "Not a problem," says Martin.  "Uh.  You're
   "Jeremy!" calls the other officer, still standing
guard at the hole.  "Who is it?"
   "It's the Green Knight," Jeremy calls back.
   "Really," says Martin.
   "Could I get your autograph?" The second officer
runs towards him.
   "Sure," says Martin.  "But it's a little dark out
here, fellas.  Could I step inside for a moment...?"
   "Sure, sure!"
   Martin twitches his head towards the unseen
Danielle before entering the room.  He steps to the
side of the entrance.  The police close in around him.
   Martin takes the paper and the pen and begins to
sign the autograph.  Danielle sneaks inside.
   "Can I have one, too?" says Jeremy.
   "Sure," says Martin.
   "And one for my boy," says the second officer.
   "Sure, sure."
   "So, uh, that was pretty cool today, saving that
guy's life," says Jeremy.  "How did you...?"
   "Oh, that's a long story," says Martin as Danielle
slips into the hole.  "But, if you really want to hear

   About twenty minutes later, a loud bleeping noise
emanates from the water underneath the glass.  "That's
my pager," says Martin with a shock of recognition. 
"One of you have a phone I could borrow?"
   "Sure, sure," says the second officer, eagerly
handing the great Green Knight his cell phone.  Martin
dials Danielle's cell number.
   "How do you know who it is?" says Jeremy.  "Some
kinda cybernetic hook-up in your helmet?"
   "Nah," says Martin.  "Only one person has the pager
   Danielle answers.  "I'm out."
   "You're out?"
   "Around the back.  There was a secret way out."
   "You're in the car?"
   "Okay.  Be right there."  He hangs up the phone and
hands it back to the officer.  "Sorry, gents.  But I
have some work to do."
   The officers understand and he makes his exit.

   Danielle's clothes are torn and smudged with dirt.
   "What happened to you?"
   "I said I found a secret way out," says Danielle. 
"Didn't say it was comfortable or clean."
   "Is there a way we can get back in?"
   "No, I don't think so," says Danielle.  "Homicide
boys did a pretty good job with the evidence."
   "How can you tell?"
   "There wasn't much there.  Except this."  She holds
up a business card.
   "Oh, you gotta be shitting me."

Godiva Gentleman's Club.
   "Oh, look," says Danielle as she pulls the car into
the lot.  "It's couples night."
   A valet approaches the car.  Martin tries to hide.
   "That's okay," say Danielle.  "I'll park it
   "No can do, little lady," says the valet.  "It's
   Danielle flashes her badge.
   "Or not," offers the valet, backing away from the
car.  As Danielle speeds towards a parking spot, the
valet rushes towards the building, no doubt to alert
the manager.
   "So," says Martin. "How do we do this?"
   "We just go in and do it," says Danielle.
   "I might attract too much attention," says Martin. 
"Maybe it'd be best if I stayed in the car...?"
   "Since you're without a pager or a phone, I
wouldn't have any way to contact you," says Danielle.
   "And you wouldn't be worried about attracting
attention if it was any other kind of business.  Maybe
it's more because you think it could reflect badly on
   "There is that," says Martin.
   "If you think I'm going in there by myself..."
   "Okay, okay," says Martin, opening his door. 
"Don't push me."
   They walk towards the building.
   "Don't be lagging behind," says Danielle.
   "I'm not lagging."
   "If you say so."
   "I'm just being cautious."
   "You be cautious without lagging."
   They reach the door.  The bouncer is bemused by
their novelty, a woman and a four-colour coming into a
strip joint.  "Cover charge is ten a piece," says the
   "Twenty dollars?"
   "Unless you're a couple," says the bouncer.  "It's
ten for couples tonight.  Couples night."
   "Yeah, we noticed the sign," says Danielle.  She
flashes her badge.  "Official business, step aside."
   He is not impressed.  "Unless you got a warrant,
you got to pay the cover charge.  And I should warn
you that once inside you got to buy a drink."
   "I don't drink," says Martin.
   "You don't need to drink it," says the bouncer. 
"You just need to buy it."
   A man appears besides the bouncer.  Hairy, Italian,
lots of chest hair and gold chains.  "What's the
   "You the manager?" says Danielle.
   "Yes," says the manager, his eyes fixated on
   The bouncer speaks up.  "Won't pay the cover
   "Irving, you schmuck," says the manager to the
bouncer.  "Don't you know what that is?  That's the
Green Knight."
   "You told me that whoever they are, they got to pay
the cover charge."
   "Yeah, but not the Green Knight," says the manager.
 "I mean, use your judgment, man.  Word gets out that
of all the titty bars in Jolt City, the..."
   "Gentleman's clubs," corrects Irving.
   "Right.  Of all the gentleman's clubs, the Green
Knight comes to mine...?  That's money in the bank,
Irving.  Both of ya, come on in.  Irving, apologize to
the nice people."
   "I'm sorry," says Irving gruffly.
   The manager leads Martin and Danielle in.  As they
clear the corridor and enter the main floor, the
manager snaps his fingers.  A couple of pretty
attendants cozy up to him.
   "I want you to put the two best lap dancers in
rooms three and four.  These two," he points at
Danielle and Martin, "on the house.  The special." 
The attendants depart.
   "No thank you," says Danielle briskly.
   "We're here on official business," says Martin. 
"If we can just ask you a few questions..."
   "I know," says the manager, squeaking the words
quietly out of the side of his mouth.  "Just keeping
up appearances.  I don't want to upset any of the
dancers or the patrons.  Come back to my office."
   He leads them across the floor.  Martin tries to
stick to the shadows as much as possible.
   "Wow," says Danielle, throwing a glimpse to the
stage.  "I didn't know the human body was capable of
doing that."
   Martin steals a quick glance.  "Well, you learn
something new every day..."

   The office is small but full of petty luxuries: a
rich oak desk, state-of-the-art stereo, sleazy movie
posters, black leather seats and sofas.
   The manager doesn't speak until he eases his way
behind the desk.  "So, you're here about the Trapper,
   "Yes," says Martin.
   "How'd you know?" Danielle blurts out.
   "What do you mean, how do I know?  It's one of my
best girls that he's kidnapped."
   "You better start from the beginning," says
   "One of my girls, Trish, she doesn't come into
work," he explains.  "I call to see what's up, don't
get an answer.  Hour later, I get a call from this
freak, the Trapper.  Says he's got her.  No ransom or
anything.  He just has her.  Says he's going to kill
her.  At midnight."  It's eleven o'clock now.
   "He calls you?" says Martin.  "What about her
   "I called them, they said they don't know anything
about it," says the manager.  "They were very upset,
and they said they'd call the police."
   "Did they?" says Danielle.
   "Far as I know," says the manager.  "I mean, you're
here, aren't you?"
   "Right," Martin breaks in.  "What time was the
   "Little after eight, maybe?  I got caller ID, I can
   "It wasn't unlisted?" says Martin.
   "No," says the manager.  He gives them the number.
   "And an address for the girl, last name?"
   "Sure, here's her file," says the manager.
   "Here's my number," says Danielle, handing him a
business card.  "In case you need to contact us."
   "Thank you," says the manager.  Suddenly, his
expression drops.  "Please, save Trish.  She's a real
   "I'll save her," says Martin.
   "And, uh, afterwards, free lap-dances on the house,
whenever you want, for both of ya," says the manager.
   Danielle just nods.  "We'll keep that in mind."

   "So what was that all about?" says Martin as
Danielle clicks off her phone.
   "Phone number belongs to Brighton All-Night Books."
   "I got that much."
   "Family never called the police.  Nobody at the
station knows what I'm talking about."
   "That sounds fishy.  It should be looked into,"
says Martin.  "But we're running out of time."
   "I know," says Danielle.  She pushes a button.  Her
trunk pops open.  She gets out of the car, and Martin
follows suit.
   Danielle pulls a unicycle out of the trunk.  "Been
trying to learn how to ride it."
   "How're you doing with it?"
   "My ass hurts," she says.  "It's not some custom
job, but can you ride it?"
   "Like the wind," says Martin, hopping on.  "I'll
take the bookstore.  You check the family and the
girl's house.  Call in some back-up."
   "Take my cell phone," says Danielle.  "I'll use the
family's phone if I need to get in touch with you."
   "Be careful," says Martin.
   "You too, hero."

   The girl at the desk is made of curls: tiny brown
curls for hair, big white ones for eyes, dull pink
ones for lips.  She does remember a gentleman using
the phone just after eight o' clock, and was quite
startled by his declaration that he was going to kill
a young striptease artist at midnight.
   "Did you call the police?"
   "He said it was a joke," says the girl.  "Some kind
of prank.  I believed him.  He didn't seem the type."
   "Could you describe him?"
   "Big, imposing," says the girl breathlessly.  "Like
a monster carved of stone.  His beard was deep and
black, and scratchy, like it was made of mesh wire. 
His eyes were cruel and sharp, beady little
   "I thought you said he didn't seem the type," says
Martin wearily.
   "I'm sorry," says the girl.  "I'm writing a novel,"
she adds, as if that explains it.  "But I think the
description is apt."
   "Anything else you can tell me about him?" says
Martin.  He looks at the clock.  Forty minutes to
twelve.  "And let's keep it a little less literary
this time around."
   "He had a rather eclectic taste," says the girl. 
She swivels in her chair, reaching for a stack of
books.  "Didn't buy anything, but this was what he was
looking at."
   Old Yeller.  Atlas Shrugged.  Wealth of Nations. 
Building an Affordable House.  Astounding Acrostic
   "Could have just picked these at random," Martin
muses aloud.
   "No, he was very particular about those titles,"
says the girl.  "Particularly the acrostic book.  And
then he left."
   "Acrostics, those are those poems where the first
letter of every line helps to spell out a word?"
   "Yes," says the girl disdainfully.  "Too much of a
game, if you ask me.  Lacks the depth of free-form
poetry, of real..."
   "Old Atlas-Wealth Building," says Martin, ignoring
   "That's over on the Avenue, near City Hall," says
the girl.  "I don't know why... where are you

Old Atlas-Wealth Building.  Been abandoned for years.
   Martin dismounts Danielle's unicycle and places it
up against a wall.  Something vibrates in his belt. 
Her phone.
   "It's a trap," says Danielle breathlessly.  "The
girl's fine."
   "He gave her money to stay home from work.  She
called her parents and told her it was part of a joke
they were playing on the manager.  Trapper said he was
an old friend."
   "I figured as much," says Martin.  "He left me a
clue at the book store.  Deliberate.  He wants me
   "Where's here?"
   "Old Atlas-Wealth."
   "Don't go in yet.  I'm on my way."
   "I'll be fine, Dani," says Martin.  "This is too
dangerous for you.  I'll call you back at this number
if I need any help."
   "Hero... be careful..."
   "Don't worry," says Martin.  "There's always a way
out."  He hangs up the phone.  The door's open.
   He heads inside.
   He takes three steps forwards before he falls. 
Water's cold and disorienting and dark.  He hits
something at the bottom.  Glass.
   He kicks off, tries to swim up.  There's a sound. 
Loud, mechanical, final.  His arms fly up against
heavy steel.
   Lights flicker on.
   He's in a tank.  Filled with water.  Secret
basement.  Can't breath.
   There's the Trapper, on the other side.  Plaid
shirt, hunter's cap, beard.  Beady eyes, ghastly
smile.  The Trapper waves and walks away.  Disappears
into the dark.
   Can't breath.  Martin looks up at the heavy steel
lid on the glass tank.  There are gears.  Mechanized
   God.  This is just... this is just like that first
trap.  Ray in a tank full of water.  Steel top that
won't budge.  How did he get out...?
   Oh yeah.  His sidekick broke the glass from the
   Maybe he should have waited for Dani.  But no. 
Then they'd both be in the glass.  They'd both drown.
   No!  He's not going to drown.  Gotta think, gotta
pull it together and focus...
   There's always a way out.  Always a weakness. 
Built into the trap, so that he can get out.
   Martin beats against the glass.  No dice.
   Maybe some way to drain the water out?  No, that
can't be it.  Thing is airtight.  There's an inch
between the water level and the steel plate, and
there's hardly any air there to breathe.
   Might as well grab it though.  Need air to make the
brain work.  To keep it alive.  To think.
   He takes a shallow breath and holds it as deeply as
he can.  Gotta be a way out of this.  Some way to get
the steel to move.
   He pushes against it, looking for a trigger.  His
hands fly out into the exposed gears.  No.  They're
too strong.  He can't budge them.  Can't tear the
   He reaches into his belt and grabs a knife.  He
starts to saw at one of the wires.  It's too thick. 
By the time he cuts through it, he'll be dead.
   Call Dani.  Call her and hold your breath, where's
the phone...?
   It's at the bottom of the tank.  It won't turn on. 
It's shorted out.  Wouldn't be able to talk anyway,
not under water.  Not enough air up top...
   Shorted out.
   He swims back up to the top, his shoulder's killing
him, his legs are tired, he still swims up.  Cupping
water in his hands, he tosses it up into the exposed
gears and wires.  A little spark of electricity.
   Maybe he can short it out.  But he'll need a whole
lot more water...
   It'll take too much time.  Out of air.  Out of
breath.  Body's so tired...
   If he had taken Fay up on her offer, if he had
borrowed a vibra-jacket, he could vibrate right out of
this mess.  If he had a sidekick, the sidekick could
break the glass.  Remote control unicycle with a
missile launcher...
   Maybe I shouldn't have kept things so simple...
   No.  There's a way out.  There has to be...
   Need to get more water up there.  Short out the
wires.  Stop the mechanized pressure.  (Unless it
remains the same.)
   But it's a chance and he has to take it.
   Oh, no.  He's floating.  Floating to the bottom...
   Wake up, Martin, wake up...
   Got to get the water up there.  Got to displace the
water.  Something... solid... if only he had a whole
bunch of ice cubes...
   The foam!
   He reaches into his belt and pulls out his last six
fire-extinguishing foam capsules.  He had hoped that
he would get ahold of a lab, get them to tease out
Ray's secret and make some more.  He probably had the
chance in the past, but he didn't take the time.
   Oh well.  Too late now.  Gotta make this count...
   He tosses the capsules.  They float through the
water like particles of dust, moving slowly through
the shimmering clear liquid.  They touch the glass and
explode, the foam filling up the tank, sending the
water upwards...
   It's not very solid, but it's solid enough.  The
steel top erupts in a dazzling display of electricity.
 Martin feels shocks running through his body.  Tiny
burns all over his body.  Painful and sharp but
strangely invigorating.
   Waking him up just enough.
   He swims up to the top and finds that the steel lid
is easily moved aside.  He climbs over the glass and
falls into a wet heap on the floor some fifteen feet
   Of course, he lands on his bad shoulder.




"The Last Trapper Story!"


.         __________
         /          \
        |    TOM     |
         \ RUSSELL  /
          \___   __/
              | /
         /  ..\    *
         \____/  * | *
- turtleneckfilms.blogspot.com ------
-------fun sites to visit------------
----- www.wilsego.com/racc ----------
----- www.monitorduty.com -----------
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_LNH -------

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