A hand on the back of Flo's smock arrested her headlong dash, pulling her to a stop. She let out a sharp “Eek!” before she realized that it was only Mayhem that had grabbed her.
“What are you doing? We've got to go. After what happened to Jake--this is no time to stop for an iced tea!”
Mayhem ignored her urging, instead sizing up the vending machine and giving it a sharp kick. A bottle dropped into the tray and he reached in to collect it. A second kick resulted in another bottle. “Jake who?” Mayhem asked, as he assaulted the machine for a third time.
“Jake, from State Farm. It was awful, he....” Somehow, Mayhem had slept through it, snoring away, and Flo couldn't quite bring herself to describe what had happened to the nice kid in the khakis. “It was awful,” she repeated, as Mayhem continued to pillage bottles of Snapple.
He grunted noncommittally, then handed her two of the bottles. “Bring these.” He grabbed the rest himself, shoving a couple into pockets and cradling the others. “Head for the parking garage.”
She would have argued about the tea, but at least he was moving again, and they were headed away from that thing that had crashed through the ceiling of the assembly. She vowed that if they survived this, it would definitely be her last insurance convention. The free comprehensive coverage was a nice perk, but even with it, Progressive wasn't paying her enough for this.
They made it through the halls and out into the basement garage without encountering anyone--or anything--else.
“Now where the hell did I park?” Mayhem muttered under his breath.
“Would that be your SUV, by any chance?” Flo gestured with one of the bottles.
“Yeah, how'd you know?” He led the way towards the vehicle.
All four corners were dented, the rear wiper was hanging from its mounting, and it was parked diagonally, nearly blocking access to the elevator. She rolled her eyes. “Lucky guess. Maybe we should take my car?”
“Nah, this is good. I've got tools.” Mayhem lifted the rear hatch and propped it open with a stick, the hydraulics obviously long since failed. Unloading the armload of bottles into the back, he retrieved a lug wrench from somewhere behind the seat.
It was one of those that had a wrench at one end, and a pointed pry bar at the other. “That's not much of a weapon,” Flo complained. It might suffice against a mugger or a car thief, but against that—alien? Monster? Demon? Not a chance.
“Who said anything about using it as a weapon?” He set the wrench down and twisted open one of the bottles of tea. Raising it to his mouth, he took a deep swallow then grimaced. “Too sweet and not enough lemon.” He poured the rest of the bottle on the floor of the garage.
“Hey, after you stopped to steal it, you could at least drink it. We might have been eaten while you were beating on that machine!”
Mayhem shrugged. “I was out of quarters.” He opened another bottle and emptied it, as well. “Don't care about the tea. Need the bottles. Pour out the rest of those for me.” He set the empty bottle he was holding in the back of the SUV and retrieved the lug wrench, then stepped back, surveying the line of cars.
“Want to bet they run high-test in that BMW?” Mayhem asked, walking toward the luxury sports car parked several spots over.
“I think that belongs to Professor Burke, if so, I'm sure he does.” Does, or perhaps the operative word was did. She had lost sight of the Professor in the melee and wasn't sure what had happened to him. It had been pure luck that she and Mayhem had managed to escape through the employee entrance.
Mayhem ducked down between the vehicles. “Bring those bottles over here.”
Gathering them up to comply, she heard scrape of metal on metal, a muttered “Shit, ouch!” and then the metallic sound again.
As she joined him, Flo noticed that Mayhem was now sporting a bloody knuckle, and there was a strong odor of gasoline in the air. “Did you just make a hole in the Professor's gas tank?” she demanded. Of all people, how had she managed to end up escaping with Mayhem? That man had absolutely no respect for—well—anything.
“Yeah. Give me.” He took the first bottle from her and held it under the BMW, pulling it out a minute later and handing it back to her, filled with gas. He took another. “Keep them coming.”
“What do you think you're doing?” Despite her reservations, she shuffled the bottles to him until they were all filled.
He helped her carry them to his SUV, away from the stream of gasoline that was running across the garage floor, luckily in the other direction. He rummaged through the pile of junk in the back of the vehicle, eventually finding a quart container of oil, some rags and a jackknife. He handed her the knife and rags, then started topping off each bottle with the oil. “Molotov cocktails. Not an ideal recipe, but better than nothing. Rip those rags up into strips.”
She hesitated. “Are you sure this is a good idea?” Mayhem and fire really didn't sound like a good combination.
“You want to fend off that thing with your pricing gun?” He gestured toward the tool that still hung from her belt.
“It's a pricing tool, not a pricing gun. Unfortunately.” Scowling, she started ripping up the rags and handing him the strips.
He shoved each part way into a bottle, then pulled an empty box from the back of the SUV, set it on the floor behind the driver's seat and started packing the bottles into it. “Notice anything?” he asked as he worked.
“What do you mean?”
He cocked a thumb, pointing vaguely upward. “Hear the sirens?”
She'd been to distracted to notice. Now that he mentioned it, she did hear them. While being underground muted the sound considerably, it was obvious that there were sirens and alarms blaring topside. Lots of them. “Good, help is coming.”
He shook his head. “If help was coming, it would be here by now. My guess is that our buddy back there has friends.”
Flo knew that he was right. Most likely the creatures were all over the city. Maybe all over the.... She didn't want to think about that possibility. “So what do we do?”
Mayhem grinned. “Well, I've got a box of bombs and and an SUV that just might fit through those doors leading back into the hotel. I know what I'm going to do. Hey, they don't call me Mayhem for nothing.” He walked around to the passenger side of the vehicle and opened the door. “Want to join me?”
It was the last thing that she wanted to do. But, there were people she knew back there. Friends. The Professor. The little green gecko. Even that stupid, hairy caveman. Some of them might still be alive. No doubt her reasons were far different than Mayhem's, but.... “I'm in.” Suiting actions to words, she climbed into the seat before she could change her mind.
Closing the door behind her, Mayhem circled around and got it, starting the engine. He pulled a cigarette lighter from a pocket and handed it to her, then shifted into gear, ignoring the loud grinding coming from the transmission. Wheeling around, he lined the SUV up with the glass doors to the hotel.
As he stomped on the gas, Mayhem grinned. “So.... How's your throwing arm?”