Pool, anyone?

"Okay fellows, let's get cleaned up. Mark, see if there are some clothes we can change into while this stuff is in the wash."

"There's a couple white shirts and some slacks in the backpacks." He produces them.

"Alright, everybody, give me your bloody clothes." Doc orders. He's got a big red splotch on his shirt and a spot or two on his jeans. As he takes his marine jacket off, he notices a small stain on the breast of the leather garment. Shit.

Mark's linen undershirt is a disaster. At least he had the foresight to remove his flannel jacket. Dr. Ritenrong throws his labcoat back to the middle seats. It has a few red speckles on it, but more noticeably it's almost grey with grease splotches, chemical burns, and unidentified filth. It's no wonder, Doc has never seen him out of it. He's wearing an ornate, Japanese styled silk t-shirt underneath it.

Thunderhorse is another story entirely. While it's nearly impossible to identify the new stains from the old on his greasy leather armor, almost all of his exposed flesh is smeared red. It's clear he's been rubbing it in, reveling in some kind of viking bloodlust.

"Thunderhorse, we're going to have to hose you off." Doc says. He grabs a canteen from one of the backpacks. He wets his own dirty shirt and hands it to the messy bastard. "Here, wipe down as good as you can. We'll just have to find you a shower."

Thunderhorse grumbles. He's been getting grumpier as the day has gone on. He hasn't had a drink since this morning, and he's really starting to get cranky about it. Thunderhorse reluctantly grabs shirt and cleans his face, arms, and legs. He throws the shirt back at Doc.

Doc changes into the MiBs' slacks and shirt. He hands the other set to Thunderhorse, telling him to put them on. There's a ripping noise as Thunderhorse forces his huge form into the tiny slacks, armor and all. He tears the arms off the shirt before putting it on, leaving it unbuttoned.

"Okay, weapons. Mark, take a pistol and a stun baton."

"Fuck that baton crap. I'll keep my sword, thank you very much. But a pistol sounds just dandy," Mark replies, taking the gun from Doc.

"Steve, can you show Mark how to use that pistol?"

"Shit, son, I'll show you how to use it," Mark says, indignantly. He clicks off the safety. It whirs slightly as power coarses through it from it's battery. He shuts it back off, twirls it on his finger, and puts it in his belt.

Doc hands the baton to Thunderhorse, who straps it to his side. Doc takes the other pistols. He decides to leave the assault rifles behind for now. It doesn't fit into his satchel and is impossible to conceal, and besides, this is a Milwaukee laundromat. If he were still in DC he'd take both, no question.

Doc and Thunderhorse step out of the ship into the rooftop laundromat parking lot. The fog below the building stinks to high heaven. It smells like Swamp Thing took a gigantic shit and then killed himself a month ago. These are just the occasional wafts that are swept up from the depths by the cool breeze.

"Ugh, it smells like a bag of rotting assholes," Thunderhorse remarks, holding his arm to his nose as they cross the parking lot swiftly.

Inside Suds is everything advertised outside. Pool tables divide the room between bar and laundromat. The bulk of the patrons, middle aged, middle class, middle weight women sit at the bar drinking while the machines whir along with their chores. A couple of butch, leather clad women, the Harley owners judging by the insignia and iron crosses all over their jackets, bandannas, and chaps, are playing pool and enjoying a pitcher of beer apiece.

Everyone turns to Doc and Thunderhorse as they walk in. Thunderhorse goes straight to a bar stool. Doc goes over to an empty washing machine and starts loading it up. The washing machines are all combination washer dryers with a few automatic dry cleaning options, and they all inject their own cleaning solutions, fabric softeners, bleach, and everything. Just throw in the clothes (still have to separate them), select the appropriate options, and hit go. Doc can even clean his leather jacket. He loads up the machines and swipes his ID card. It works. The machines spring to life.

Doc joins Thunderhorse at the bar. The bartender, a heavyset blond guy. is having trouble understanding the Tutonic monster. There is a translator, but it doesn't work as well as Doc's Thunderhorse is getting irate, and the bartender is getting scared.

"[Stout! I said a pitcher of stout!]"

"Impudently! I said an impudent water jug!" the translator echoes.

"I... I'm sorry. I don't, uh..." the bartender stammers. The bar is becoming interested in the scene.

Fortunately Doc arrives in time to settle things. "Just bring us a pitcher. Whatever's on tap," he tells the bartender. The bartender nods, relieved.

It's not long before Mark and Steve decide to join them. Mark is wearing his blue jacket, unbuttoned with no undershirt. He's not carrying his sword.

"Whoo-ee. There sure are some fine fillies in here," he exclaims as he enters the place. He strides confidently towards the two ladies playing pool. "Howdy, ladies. I ain't never seen no woman play billiards before."

The two butch lesbians look at each other, confused at Mark's behavior.

"You ladies think you can handle those sticks?" Mark continues.

Their confusion turns to anger. "You want to take us on you little prick?" one says.

"Heh. You women think you can beat me at a man's game? I'll take that wager."

The speaker has to restrain her partner firmly with a stiff palm as she nearly leaps at him. She shoves her back down on the stool. "What's the bet?"

"Well, I ain't had a warm bed for a spell. I reckon I could use one for a night."

The other, angrier one speaks. "How about if you win, we won't kill him. If we win, I get to gut him right fucking here."

"Oooh, feisty. I like that." Mark continues, oblivious to the grave misunderstanding he's just blundered into.

"No, Kelley," says the first. "If he wins, we'll show him the night of his life." There's something between the lines that Mark doesn't catch, but is totally obvious to everyone else. "If we win, then you can kill him."

"Haha, whatever you say, sweetheart. So we playin' doubles or what?" He turns to Doc.


Doc said...


"You go right on ahead. I've got a beer to drink."


Doc said...


Let him get his ass kicked. Maybe it will settle him down a bit. Don't step in unless things get very, very ugly.

Mmmm, this beer tastes good.