The League of Unimpressive People

The League of Unimpressive People

The League of Unimpressive People

Prologue: New Year’s Eve

“Do we have a visual?” Rachel Dolezal asked into her walkie-talkie. It wasn’t as good as using her trusty smart phone, but it would have to do in a pinch. The cell network was too congested thanks to the humongous party at Times Square. Besides, the man she was talking to wasn’t allowed any device that could get him onto the internet.

“Not yet,” Jared Fogle, Rachel’s tech expert, said. He ran along side Kim Davis, the team’s demolition expert. They were in a buisness park plaza, only a few miles from Times Square. If there was a bomb (which they were sure there was), then she would be needed.

“Will our actions save any homosexuals?” Kim asked.

“Dammit, Kim,” Jared said. “This will save the entire City!”

“I’m not doing it if it saves any homosexuals,” Kim said. “So you better find out.”

“Rachel,” Jared said into his walkie-talkie. “Kim wants to know if she’ll accidentally save any…”

They stopped as they approached a cage. The door opened, and a lion stepped out, roaring as it began to circle. “Jared…” Kim said timidly.

“Rachel,” Jared whispered into the walkie-talkie. “We have a lion here. What do we do?”

“I got this,” a man said, walking between Jared and Kim. It was Walter Palmer, and he was dressed in his safari gear complete with hat. He was the marksman of the team, and he carried his trusty crossbow with him. “This ain’t my first lion hunt.”

Walter took aim and fired an arrow into the Lion’s neck. The lion took off and ran away, trailing blood on the plaza floor as it left.

“Dammit,” Walter spat. “Every fucking time!” He ran off in the direction of the lion to finish it off.

“How are we looking?” Rachel asked on her end.

“Almost there,” Jared said as he and Kim started to move again. “How are you doing on your end?”

“No word of where Clockboy is hiding,” Rachel said. “But we’re closing in on him. Just find that damn bomb and disarm it.”

Kim snatched the walkie-talkie from Jared’s hands as they ran passed the empty lion’s cage. “Dammit, Rachel,” she said. “Why can’t anyone tell me if disarming this bomb will save any homosexuals?!”

There was silence on the other end for a moment. Finally, Rachel answered. “Sorry,” she said. “I was waiting on confirmation. There are no homosexuals in the blast radius. You can go ahead and disarm it, saving only heterosexuals.”

“Thank you!” Kim said, nearly throwing the walkie-talkie at Jared. “Was that so fucking hard to do?!”

Jared and Kim didn’t have to go any further. They were stopped by a figure in a black cape with wires coming from all over his body. A large, digital clock was mounted on his chest. His name was formerly Ahmed Mohamed, but now the teenage villain only went by the name: “Clockboy”.

“Cancel your search,” Jared said into the walkie-talkie. “We found Clockboy.”

“It’s almost time for the ball to drop,” Clockboy said with an evil grin. “I’m so glad you can make it to my party.”

“Sorry I’m late,” Walter said, coming from behind. He was aiming a fresh bolt from his crossbow directly at Clockboy. “It’s half past time to shut this thing down, Clockboy.”

“So I guess you didn’t like your gift, Palmer,” Clockboy said. “It’s no matter that you weren’t eaten as I had hoped. You think the three of you can stop what the Crimson Syndicate has already started?!”

“I’ll put a bolt through your eye, Clockboy,” Walter said.

“The clock-bomb on my chest will detonate as soon as it senses my pulse stopping,” Clockboy said. “I have it wired to my Fitbit.”

“Stop this!” Jared called out. “It’s not too late!”

“Is it not too late?!” Clockboy shouted mockingly. “I was on a good path until I was arrested for nothing more than building a clock!”

“Then you turned out to be a huge asshole anyway!” Walter exclaimed.

“Not this again,” Kim groaned. “Shut up and tell us where the bomb is, kid!”

“It’s not going to be that easy,” Clockboy said, grinning menacingly. “Not one bit. You and your silly league, along with everyone ringing in the new year within my clock-bomb’s blast radius, are done for after tonight. Next year will be the year of Clockboy!”

****

Chapter 1: Six Months Earlier

George Zimmerman looked through the crowd of people. He was light-brown skinned and only a little chubby with black hair. “Do you see him?” the voice of Casey Anthony said in his earpiece. She was working surveillance, but whomever they were supposed to be tracking had slipped by. A potential terrorist was now running about with no net to catch him other than George and his trusty 9mm.

George had become a member of The League of Unimpressive People following the public’s disgust and exile of him after he defended himself from a suspiscious-looking hooligan. The League approached him and asked him if he’d join their team, giving him a chance to redeem himself. He told them he needed no redeeming (seeing as a Florida court decided that he was right in picking a fight with a suspicious looking teenager he saw walking down the street and killing him). The League had been new and different, unlike anything George had ever experienced. Amy Fisher had just retired, and they needed to fill positions.

“I got nothing,” George said into his cuff. He looked around when something caught his eye. “Wait.” A black man in a hoodie over his head walked through his line of sight. He looked suspicious, so George pulled his gun from his back and fired once. The man went down.

“You shot him?!” Casey blared in his ear.

“Calm down,” George said, walking to the body of the man he just shot. “You know my suspicions are never wrong.”

“Dammit, George,” Casey said, coming up next to him. She was thin with long, reddish-brown hair. “If you blow this operation…”

“I won’t!” George exclaimed. He knelt next to the lying body and flipped it over. “I’ll call you when our suspect is a baby.”

“How dare you!” Casey snapped. “We never did find out what happened to little….”

“Save it for Howard Stern,” George said. “Something ain’t right here.”

Casey leaned in closer to the body. She had been an agent with the League since 2011. They had convinced her to do something good with her life, even though she, like George, was found innocent of her alleged crime of baby-killing. She had over a year of service on George, but he still acted as her superior in every way. “What’s that on his chest?” Casey asked.

“I don’t know,” George said, unzipping the hoodie. There was a round emblem of a red falcon on a black background.

“Holy shit,” Casey said. “The Crimson Syndicate.”

“I told you my suspicions are never wrong,” George said. “I could tell from a mile away that he was Crimson.”

“Sure,” Casey said. “But why was a Crimson Syndicate member not only running around in broad daylight, but wearing their emblem just under the hoodie.”

“That’s easy,” George said. “They’re -“

There was an explosion from the body lying on the ground, instantly killing George Zimmerman and Casey Anthony. Their bodies, blackened from intense flame that painfully killed them, fell backwards, lying next to each other. Sirens blared as the police and ambulance came onto the scene, but it was too late.

The League of Unimpressive People just lost two more members.

***

Chapter 2: Rachel Dolezal

Rachel Dolezal sat in the chair outside her new boss’ office in the Washington DC office building. She got the call from something called the League of Unimpressive People around two weeks ago, looking for someone to take over supervisory duties. She dismissed it at first, thinking it was a prank from some radio shock jock to prank her after she had been in the news this last year when her parents outed her for being what the media had tagged as “transracial”.

Her superiors at the NAACP urged her to take the job. They had stood beside her after the fiasco that followed her outing, but she was again skeptical. It wasn’t until she was told she would be fired if she didn’t leave on good terms that she finally returned the call from the League. They offered her a job with a substantial raise, and she accepted.

The door opened and a man stepped out. “Miss Dolezal,” he said, extending his hand. He was an older man with white hair and a black suit. “My name is Mr. White. Welcome to the League of Unimpressive People.”

“Thank you,” Rachel said, extending her hand. She had dark tan skin and a poofed-up mess of a makeshift afro. “I have to admit: I’m a little mystified by this whole experience. I never even heard of your organization until you reached out to me.”

“You were worried we were a joke,” Mr. White said with no question in his tone. “You thought that this was some elaborate prank due your social media attention you had earlier this year. It’s understandable. It’s also why we wanted you to lead our new team.”

“But why?” Rachel asked. “I’m not trying to talk you out of hiring me, but I don’t understand what you are or what you do.”

“We combat a special kind of terrorism,” Mr. White said, walking down the hall as Rachel followed. “The kind that’s so trivial and taken away from the mainstream, it’s hard to spot with normal conventions. Bill Clinton secretly founded us in the nineties to combat this kind of terrorism that frightened him, and we have been fighting it in the shadows ever since.

“You see, Rachel, our teams are very special. The are composed of people like yourself. People who have been in the media’s spotlight, but are soon forgotten. We don’t know why President Clinton’s League of Unimpressive People works; we just know it does work. We lost some members in an attack some months back, but the league must stay strong.

“Are you ready to meet your team?”

“Sure,” Rachel said, still trying to put the pieces together in her head. Mr. White opened a door and led her in to a dark room with a one-way mirror. She was able to see the three people on the opposite side, but they couldn’t see her. They sat at a rectangular table, unspeaking to each other.

“Here’s your team,” Mr. White said. “The man on the left is Walter Palmer AKA The Dentist. He’ll be your marksman.”

Rachel looked at Walter. He was mostly bald, and the hair he had left was quickly turning gray. He wore a pair of round spectacles.

“Walter inadvertently became famous when he killed the now famous Cecil the Lion,” Mr. White said.

“That was him?!” Rachel said. “He doesn’t look like much of a marksman. The man next to him… Is that the Subway guy?!”

“Jared Fogle,” Mr. White said. Jared was thin, had dark brown hair, and glasses. “He’s your tech expert. You’ll have to keep an eye on him. He’s been banned from using any computer with an internet connection because of his troubles with child pornography. The FBI will be all over him if he does.”

“Then how is he our tech expert?” Rachel asked.

“Finally,” Mr. White said, motioning to the woman all the way to the right, who was chubby, bespectacled, and had messy dark hair. “She is your demolition expert: Kim Davis.”

“Kim Davis?!” Rachel exclaimed. “The woman that refused to permit gays to get married? How is she a demolition expert?”

“You’d be surprised,” Mr. White said. “We were.”

Rachel sighed. “OK,” she said. “Let’s go meet my team.”

****

Chapter 3: The Team

Rachel walked in the room to meet the three that would make up her team. When she entered, Kim was having a lovely conversation with Jared, and Walter was sitting by himself. “Hi,” Rachel said, trying not to sound nervous. “My name is Rachel, and I’ll be leading this team.”

“I’m telling you right now,” Kim said, turning from Jared. “I won’t do anything if it benefits any homosexuals in any way. It’s against my religion to do my job in that scenario.”

“OK,” Rachel said, calculating how she intended to pass any hurdle that would cause. “I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

“I ain’t crossing any bridge if there’s homos on it,” Kim said.

“Hi,” Jared said, reaching his hand out. “I’m Jared Fogle.”

Rachel shrank back from Jared’s hand and immediately felt bad about it.

“It’s alright,” Jared said, pulling his hand back. “I’m getting used to that.”

“It’ll follow you forever,” Walter said with his arms crossed. “Some stenches don’t wash off.”

“You watch your mouth!” Kim snapped as Jared looked downward. “He’s been through enough.”

“How are you and Jared best friends between your super religious heroism and his child banging?” Walter asked.

“He wasn’t meeting up with boys,” Kim said, giving Walter the stink eye.

“So it’s alright in the bible for Jared to hook up with teenagers if they’re female?” Walter asked.

“It’s alright in my bible,” Kim replied, not breaking her glare.

Rachel’s head was spinning. She didn’t know how she was going to deal with these three when Mr. White came in with another. “I hope you guys are getting along,” he said.

“Who’s this with you?” Rachel asked, glad for the distraction. “Another team member?”

“Not yet,” Mr. White said, beaming at the brown-skinned boy. He was tall, had black hair, and glasses. “After high school maybe. This is Ahmed Mohamed.”

“The clock kid?” Rachel asked.

“Yes,” Ahmed said with a sneer. “The clock kid.”

“I’m sorry,” Rachel said. “This is just so unreal.”

“What I went through was no joke, black-white lady,” Ahmed said.

It was Rachel’s turn to be offended, but she held her tongue. Ahmed was only a teenager, and she called him clock kid first. “Ahmed will be interning for us,” Mr. White said. “I’ll be showing him around. We hope to have him here when he’s old enough.”

“I’m getting out of here,” Walter said, getting up from his chair. “We done?”

“We’ll call if we need you,” Mr. White said. “Don’t stray too far from the compound.”

Walter gave Mr. White a nod as he exited. He passed Rachel, not even giving her an acknowledgement. Rachel watched as he passed.

“You going by Subway?” Jared called. “Can you bring me back a sub? I’m not allowed inside, and I’m dying for a cold cut combo.”

“I’m not bringing you a sub,” Walter said. “Damn pervert.”

“Nobody ever brings me Subway,” Jared said, sulking.

Kim left next, shoulder-checking Rachel on the way out. “Sorry,” she mumbled, walking down the hall. Jared just sat at the table, staring at Rachel.

“They’re your team,” Mr. White said. “Better start whipping them into shape before they’re needed. Come on, Ahmed. Let me show you our labs.”

****

Chapter 4: Coffee

Rachel checked her emails in her quiet office. She had been leading the team of three for the last few weeks with little to no luck. They wouldn’t function as a team no matter what they did. Walter was snobbish, Jared was timid, and Kim was a straight up bitch. Not one of them respected Rachel as a leader.

“Wow,” Rachel said, reading a news alert. “The pope just came out as gay.”

“Knock knock,” Mr. White said. Rachel looked up from her computer, expecting Mr. White to fire her for failing as a team leader. “I heard you’ve had problems with your team.”

“The three of them are just so different,” Rachel said. “They clash in every way.”

“Coffee,” Mr. White said.

“Coffee?” Rachel asked, genuinely confused.

“Coffee,” Mr. White repeated. “You’ve kept them cooped up in this compound since you became their leader. Take them out and treat them to some coffee. They’ll respond.”

“You think so?” Rachel asked.

“Helped with Octomom and Ray Rice,” Mr. White said. “Until her uterus exploded and he quit to train because he though the Dallas Cowboys were going to sign him.”

“Coffee,” Rachel said, thinking.

***

“I don’t want to go to Starbucks if a gay works behind the counter,” Kim said.

“How am I supposed to know that?” Rachel asked with a sigh, driving the truck around a corner.

“You should have called ahead and asked,” Kim said, disgusted. “Those places are crawling with them.”

“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Rachel said, pulling into the Starbucks parking lot with the League’s van. She got out of the car and walked into Starbucks, followed by the others. 

“What does everyone want?” Rachel asked. “It’s on me.”

“Nothing for me,” Walter said. “Everything here is terrible for your teeth.”

“I’ll take an Italian BMT from the Subway across the street,” Jared said.

“That guy making the coffee has a rainbow pin,” Kim said, giving a long-distance stink eye to the barrister (who wasn’t paying the slightest bit of attention to her).

“Four coffees it is,” Rachel said, putting her laptop on a clear table and turning towards the counter.

“I’ll be by the van,” Kim said with a grunt. “I’m not staying in this gay-mongering gay hole. Don’t bother bringing me anything. That gay boy probably had his gay hands all over everything.”

“I’m leaving too,” Walter said. “I saw a sporting goods store in the plaza next door. Pick me up there when you’re done here.”

Kim and Walter both left, leaving a bewildered Rachel to watch them. “You going to head over to Subway?” she asked Jared.

“Nope,” he said, sitting down. “Not allowed inside. Remember?”

“Oh yeah,” Rachel said. “Wait here. I’ll get us some coffees.”

“Thank you,” Jared said with smile.

“Hello, sweetheart,” a tall, black man said as he fumbled passed Rachel.

“Hello yourself,” Rachel said with a wide smile.

“Oh, sorry,” the man said. “I was lookin’ at’cho home-girl.” Rachel turned to see Kim in his line of sight, standing just outside the window. “She ’bout my size, if you know what I mean.”

“Coffee,” Kim mumbled as she left to go put in her order. “I’m going to strangle Mr. White.”

Jared looked at Rachel’s laptop on the table. She must have brought it in case any work emails came through. He then noticed a sign in the window for free wifi. “What the heck,” Jared said with a shrug. “It’s been forever since I’ve seen any cat vids on the YouTube.”

****

Chapter 4: Cat Vids

“You still hanging around?” Kim asked Walter as he walked by in front of Starbucks.

“The sporting goods store didn’t sell any crossbow accessories,” Walter said. “So I’m back. They about done in there?”

“No idea,” Kim said with a nasty look. “I won’t even look through the window into that zest pool.”

“What’s your problem with gay people anyway?” Walter asked.

“What’s your problem with lions?” Kim retorted.

“They aren’t bothering you,” Walter said.

“Neither are lions,” Kim retorted.

Walter sighed. “This whole thing again,” he said. “I don’t know why I bother trying to figure you out.”

“I’m a married woman,” Kim said. “At least I think I am. Not sure if the last one was completely legal.”

Walter had a comment about the irony of her statements regarding marriage, but he bit his tongue. The last thing he needed to hear was about how Kim’s bible said multiple marriages and random pregnancies were OK in her bible, but two men she didn’t know getting married wasn’t.

Four black sedans with tinted windows raced into the parking lot, screeched their tires, and stopped. Two men came out of each one, carrying a rifle and wearing dark blue windbreakers with FBI on the back in big, yellow letters.

“What’s going on?” Kim asked. “Are they here to arrest that gay for touching straight people’s coffee?”

“Oh shit,” Walter said, looking through the window. “Jared got onto the internet again.”

***

Rachel turned from the Starbucks counter holding two coffees after thanking the very nice barista that Kim wanted nothing to do with (she even dropped a ten in his tip jar out of guilt, even though he never heard any of Kim’s homophobic comments). She dropped the coffees out of shock when the FBI agents charged in, guns aimed at Jared as he put his hands on his head.

“Jared!” Rachel snapped, walking through her puddle of coffee and back to the table. “What the hell are you doing on my laptop?!”

“I just signed into the YouTube to see cat vids,” Jared said in tears. “That’s all, I swear!”

Rachel stood with her mouth agape. “Jared, you mother…”

“Step away, ma’am,” an FBI agent said, ushering Rachel backwards. “We have to take him in.”

“I just wanted to see cat vids!” Jared pleaded as his face was pressed against the table and the barrel of a rifle was pressed against the back of his skull. Another agent cuffed him.

“Is this really necessary?!” Rachel shouted as the other customers of Starbucks hid under tables or behind counters.

“He was looking at a video called ‘playing with my little kitty’,” the FBI agent cuffing him said.

“It’s a cat vid!” Jared shouted as the agents picked up him to lead him to a cruiser outside.

“It’s literally a video of a kitten,” Rachel said. “I can see the screen from here!”

An agent closed the computer and put it in a black bag. “Hey,” Rachel said, walking towards them. “That’s my…”

A rifle was aimed at Rachel’s head. “One more step or word and you’ll be taken in as an accomplice,” the agent holding the rifle said. Rachel stopped moving and closed her mouth.

“Good idea,” the agent said. “Move it out, people!” The FBI agents left with haste as they nearly dragged Jared outside, roughly putting him in the back of a cruiser as he sobbed about how he was too soft to go back to prison.

Rachel’s cellphone rang, and she answered immediately when she saw Mr. White’s name. She thought he had already heard about Jared’s arrest. “You got Dolezal,” she said.

“Get your team to the Sycamore Pines Mall ASAP,” Mr. White said. “There’s been a bomb threat, and your team is the closest.”

“But…”

“No buts,” Mr. White said. “Just go. Find the bomb, disarm it, and get back here for debriefing.” He hung up.

“Well shit,” Rachel said, putting her phone into her pocket. “This day just keeps getting better.” She turned towards the barista as he stood back up from his hiding place behind the counter. “I’m going to need my coffee to go.”

The barista stared at her. “You’re going to need to get the fuck out.”

****

Chapter 4: The Sycamore Pines Mall

Rachel raced in her van towards the Sycamore Pines Mall. “Are we going without Jared?” Kim asked from the back seat.

“We’re going to have to,” Rachel said. “Let’s just pray that we don’t need our tech expert on our very first mission.”

“I’m ready,” Walter said, pulling back the string of his crossbow and inserting a bolt as he sat in the passenger seat.

“Jesus!” Rachel said. “Don’t load that thing in the van. Why’d you bring that to Starbucks anyway?”

“I never leave it behind,” Walter said, lovingly looking at his crossbow.

“I don’t know if you’re going to need it,” Rachel said. “I want to do this as cleanly as possible. Kim, you’ll be going into the mall to find the bomb and disarm it. Walter, you go with her and back her up in case any bad guys are lurking about. I’m going to make sure the mall gets evacuated.”

“Roger,” Walter said, looking out the window as Rachel sped into the mall parking lot towards the police barricade.

“Will disarming the bomb save any homosexuals?” Kim asked.

“For fuck’s sake, Kim!” Rachel snapped. “I have no fucking idea!”

***

Rachel left her car and showed her badge to the officer in charge of the scene. “Rachel Dolezal,” she said. “League of Unimpressive People.”

“Knew you were coming,” the police lieutenant with the name “Masters” on his tag said. “You going to tell me what a bomb is doing in this mall?”

“I’m hoping to get everyone out and the bomb disarmed first,” Rachel replied. “Kim. Walter. Get in there.”

“Roger,” Walter said, jogging behind Kim with the tip of his crossbow pointing skyward.

“Is that a crossbow?!” Lieutenant Masters asked, watching the two enter the mall flanked by police.

“Yeah,” Rachel said with a sigh. “He’s worried the bad guys will send lions after us.”

***

“Where’s this bomb of yours,” Kim said with a sneer as they were led through the mall. He head of security had joined their small escort.

“We found it while you guys were en route,” the head of security said. His tag said his name was Collier. “Looks like a time bomb to us.”

“How can you be sure?” Walter asked, looking at the tiers above him through the sight on his crossbow.

“Because of the clock on it,” Collier replied.

Kim and Walter were led into a watch shop. The door to the back room was open, and they were led inside. Kim slowly approached the large bomb that sat on the floor. It had a large digital display, and it showed the correct time.

“This is definitely Crimson Syndicate,” Kim said, putting on white gloves. She pulled a kit with little tools our of her pocket. “Except for the clock. That’s new.”

“They don’t put those on time bombs?” Walter asked.

“No,” Kim replied. “The countdowns are done with digital timers. Clocks are only put on bombs in movies.”

“Can you disarm it?” Collier asked.

“Depends,” Kim asked. “Are there any homosexuals in the mall?”

“What?” Collier asked. “Why does it matter?”

“Will disarming this bomb save any homosexuals?” Kim asked.

“I guess,” Collier said. “There has to be at least a few in here after all.”

“Shit,” Walter said under his breath, looking downwards and shaking his head.

Kim sighed, zipping her tool pouch back up.

***

“Can they disarm the bomb?” Lieutenant Masters asked.

“I don’t know,” Rachel said, starting at the mall and waiting for it to explode. She knew she should sound more confident in her team, but she didn’t feel it. She could betray Kim and and Walter, but she couldn’t betray herself. “Has it been evacuated?”

“It has,” Lieutenant Masters replied.

“Good,” Rachel said.

After a few silent moments passed, Kim and Walter walked towards her from the mall. Rachel couldn’t believe her eyes. They did it. The defused…

An explosion rocked the air, sending waves of heat at everyone still in the mall parking lot. Kim and Walter were thrown forward, and a plume of smoke and fire filled the sky. Walter and Kim got themselves up and walked towards Rachel as the police scrambled the fire department to get in and put out the flames.

“What the fuck happened?!” Rachel exclaimed as cut up and dirty Kim and Walter finally got to her.

“Next time,” Walter said, staring daggers into Rachel’s eyes. “Just fucking tell Kim that there’s no gays within in the fucking blast radius for Christ’s sake!”

****

Chapter 5: The Aftermath

“WHAT THE HOLY FUCK HAPPENED?!” Mr. White shouted into Rachel’s face as she sat in his office.

“It’s this team…”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT THE TEAM!” Mr. White exclaimed.

“What do you want from me?!” Rachel shouted in return. “Jared got arrested for logging onto YouTube to download cat vids, Walter was running around with that fucking crossbow, and Kim refused to even try to defuse a bomb because mall security told her they might be a homosexual in the building. This is what you gave me to work with!”

“Look,” Mr. White said, calming down. He pulled a bottle of scotch from the his desk drawer along with a glass. He poured himself a small amount and poured it down his throat. “You have to take responsibility for your team. You left your computer in front of Jared in an establishment with free wifi. You didn’t tell Walter not to bring the crossbow, and he accidentally shot a mall security guard in the leg. You couldn’t lie to Kim about whether or not her actions would save any homosexuals, and she refused to do her job. This was all on you.”

“When did Walter shoot a mall security guard?” Rachel asked.

“Do you know why we chose you to lead?” Mr. White asked. “You’re one of them, Rachel. I know you don’t see it, but you are. You all had your moment of being vilified by both social media and real media. They’ll look to you to lead them. They’ll look for you to mold them into what they need to be.”

“And what do they need to be?” Rachel asked.

“They need to be heroes,” Mr. White replied.

“You want to make a lion killer, a pedophile, and a hardcore homophobic self-martyr into heroes?” Rachel said.

“No,” Mr. White replied. “We want you to do it.”

***

“I bet they fire her,” Kim said, cutting her baloney sandwich in two. “I wouldn’t blame them.”

“It was your fault,” Walter said, cutting his apple with a pocket knife like he was some kind of bad ass. “I’ve seen you and Jared defuse bombs twice that size in training.”

“What kind of bomb?” Jared asked. He was recently brought back by the FBI after Mr. White made a few very heated phone calls.

“Crimson Syndicate special,” Kim said. “Except that damn clock on the top.”

“Like a countdown clock?” Jared asked.

“No,” Kim replied. “Just displayed the time. Wasn’t even wired into the bomb.”

“What’s it mean?” Jared asked.

“I don’t know,” Kim replied.

“You could have found out if you disarmed it and had it analyzed,” Walter said.

“Hey,” Kim said. “I don’t tell you how to shoot lions, so don’t tell me how to do my job.”

Rachel walked in and took a seat at the break room table. “Hi guys,” she said, looking frazzled. Even her fake afro seemed to be drooping. “I’m sorry I dropped the ball today. I let you guys down.”

“Apology accepted,” Kim said, taking a bite from her sandwich.

“No,” Walter said. “Rachel, don’t apologize for their screw-ups. Jared knows he’s banned from the internet, and Kim had one job to do. Hell, even the Pope is gay now!”

“He’s not my pope,” Kim mumbled.

“Speaking of screw-ups,” Rachel said. “When were you going to tell me that you shot a mall security guard in the leg with your crossbow?”

Walter coughed and turned away.

“Did you come here to chastise us?” Kim asked. “Because I could get that exercising my right to not let gays marry at my old job.”

“I came here to do my job,” Rachel said. “I’m lucky they didn’t fire me for what happened at the Sycamore Pines Mall, and I’m not going to let you three put my career in jeopardy again. From now on, you three will work as a well-oiled machine, or I’ll throw you back to the social media wolves myself.”

Walter rolled his eyes.

“Is that right, hashtag: Cecil the lion?” Rachel asked.

Walter glared. “You dirty b…”

“Say that last word and I’ll have suspended without pay,” Rachel said. “The fuck-ups end here. Go home. Tomorrow we work on being the team they hired us to be. Dolezal out.”

Rachel left, letting her chair fall to the floor. The others watched in shock as she left.

“You think she’s mad?” Walter asked.

“Sure is,” Jared said.

“Shit,” Kim said. “Once again; I’m being persecuted for my religious beliefs.”

****

Chapter 6: A Well-Oiled Machine

The League of Unimpressive people held their annual Christmas party on December twenty-third, but it wasn’t a happy night. The League and its employees had a lot to be nervous about. Ever since the Crimson Syndicate had succeeded in blowing up the Sycamore Pines Mall, the bigger agencies had started looking into them (even though nobody was killed). This meant that The League was becoming a joke on the lips of the high-ups in Washington DC. The rumor was that there could be a shut down and layoffs coming any day now.

“Merry Christmas,” Jared said to a sour-faced Rachel. She had been harsh with them ever since the Sycamore Pines incident. She had driven them to the Christmas party, but she hadn’t made much conversation. Most of what the others got from her were now orders.

“Look,” Jared said. “Nobody blames…”

“Everyone blames me!” Rachel snapped. “This place is going under, and they all think it’s my fault.”

“Can I speak with you?” Mr. White said, coming up behind Rachel. She turned around and looked into his face. “Chances are we’re going to be absorbed by Homeland Security, Rachel.”

“What does that mean?” Rachel asked. “Absorbed?”

“It means they’ll take our assets and as many people they see as valuble,” Mr. White replied.

“What about my team?” Rachel asked.

“They don’t find your team valuable,” Mr. White said.

“Merry fuckin’ Christmas,” Rachel said, holding up her rum and coke and taking a sip.

“Do you know why President Clinton started the League?” Mr. White asked.

“I think I could guess,” Rachel replied. “Seeing as the first person who ever held my job was Monica Lewinsky.”

“You’d be only half right,” Mr. White said. “Clinton had a dream. This dream included those who had been ostracized by the media. Yes, Monica Lewinsky was a team leader, and OJ Simpson worked for us until he went crazy tried to get his memorabilia back with force. John Bobbit, The Menendez Brothers, Tonya Harding…. The list goes on and on. They all played their parts in our missions against the Crimson Syndicate.”

“You’re not telling me a reason why he started the League,” Rachel said.

“Because he believed that these people were the ones meant to save us!” Mr. White said. “Can’t you see that? He thought people were at their best when they were coming up from their lowest. Hell, we almost got Tom Brady on your team until the NFL lifted his suspension.”

“I think those days are over,” Rachel said, looking at her team of three.

“Maybe,” Mr. White said with a shrug. “Everything ends I guess. It was a good run while it lasted. I’m heading back to the compound. This party is a bust. Also, don’t let me find out that Walter had something to do with the lion that went missing from the Bronx Zoo.” He chuckled to himself as he left.

Rachel spent more time at the party, mingling with people who saw her as the enemy. Finally, it was time to leave, and she drove her team back to the compound in the League’s van. Most of the drive was awkwardly silent until Kim broke it.

“I’m leaving the team,” Kim blurted. “I’m going to have my brother-in-law’s baby.”

“You’re pregnant?!” Rachel exclaimed.

“I didn’t say I was pregnant!” Kim snapped. “I just said I was going to have my brother-in-law’s baby. I haven’t even started making it yet. Geez you’re uptight.”

“I’m leaving too,” Walter added. “This wasn’t what I signed on for, and I’m going to reopen my dental practice. Enough people have forgotten about that whole Cecil the Lion business. It’s time for me to move on as well.”

“What about you, Jared?” Rachel asked. “You going back to Subway?”

“I can’t,” Jared said. “They banned me. Can’t even get a tuna sub on wheat with american cheese, lettuce, and tomato any more.”

“You just said eating all that Subway is what made you into a child molester,” Walter said. “Why would you still eat it?”

“That was my lawyer’s idea,” Jared said. “Something about getting a measure of revenge against for the way they dropped me. I just went with it.”

Rachel sighed as she pulled down the long driveway that led to the compound of the League of Unimpressive people. That was it for her. The League was going to be dismantled, and her team was leaving her before it even happened. It was a cluster-fuck of epic proportions. She figured she could spend the rest of her holiday time updating her resume so she could have a new career in 2016.

Rachel stepped out of the van when the compound exploded, sending her backwards with a blast of hot hair. Shrapnel fell around her and her team as the League’s headquarters was engulfed in flames. She looked, and saw a figure in black walking towards them. The only thing she could see through her squinted eyes was the red display of the clock on his chest.

“Good evening,” the figure said.

“Who the fuck is that?” Walter asked, fumbling with his crossbow.

“I know him,” Rachel said, recognizing Ahmed Mohammed from when she met him while he was interning with Mr. White. She could clearly see the wires that came in and out of his costume, and his black cape nearly touched the ground. “That’s Ahmed.”

“I am Ahmed no longer,” Ahmed said. “You can call me…”

****

Chapter 8: Clockboy

“…Clockboy.”

“Clockboy?” Kim asked. “You’re the one the bombed the Sycamore Pines Mall! That’s why the clock was on the bomb.”

“Correct!” Clockboy said. “You may have also guessed that I have joined the Crimson Syndicate, finally giving them the recognition they deserve.”

“Didn’t you move to Qatar?” Jared asked.

“That’s just what I wanted you fools to think!” Clockboy replied.

“But you’re not one of the bad guys,” Rachel said. “I read your story. It wasn’t fair what happened to you, but you’re no terrorist!”

“I wasn’t,” Clockboy said. “But they did this to me. I became what society wanted, didn’t I? I’m good with electronics and have dark skin, so I must be a terrorist, right? Why should I hide what the people want me to be? This is who I am now. I am terror. I am Clockboy.

“They arrested and humiliated me for nothing more than making a clock. Who is the real villain here? I didn’t make Clockboy. They did! I saw it was on the news for a day or two when it happened, but they have no idea the amount of pain I went through over that stupid viral campaign. I saw the arguing back and forth about my predicament. Was it racial? Did the school act appropriately? Is he a home-grown terrorist?”

“Your clock looked like a bomb,” Walter said. “They would have tackled a white kid.”

“Would they have?!” Clockboy exclaimed.

“Probably,” Walter said with a shrug. “We’re not living in Sweden. We’re in constant danger from stuff like this.”

“I may just feed you to a lion some day,” Clockboy said. “Anyone else have any commentary for me?”

“Do you have any sisters?” Jared asked.

“Enough!” Clockboy shouted. “I have destroyed your League of Unimpressive people. I built a clock bomb right under the noses while posing as an intern. Your building is gone, your bosses are dead, and you have nowhere to go. What will you do now?”

“We’ll endure!” Kim shouted, walking forward. “I did six days in prison for my beliefs, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to stand by and let you get away with blowing up a building.”

“Didn’t you just let one blow up?” Rachel asked.

“Let her go,” Jared whispered. “She’s on a roll.”

“Fuck this kid,” Walter said. “Not literally, Jared.” He fired a bolt from his crossbow at Clockboy. It hit the digital clock in the upper right corner and sparks shot out.

“You bastard!” Clockboy shouted. “You know how long it took to make that clock?!”

“The next one’s going through your brain,” Walter said, reloading his crossbow.

“I think not,” Clockboy said, tossing an alarm clock under the van.

“DUCK!” Jared shouted, hiding behind a car. The others did the same. They heard laughter as Clockboy made his escape. There was no explosion.

After a minute or two, the team got up and looked around. What was left of the building was crumbling to bits. “They’re going to blame us,” Rachel said. “Just like Sycamore Pines.”

“What do we do?” Jared asked.

“Go underground,” Walter replied. “I’m taking this Clockboy fuck down, but I can’t do it with social media putting me through hell again.”

“We’re done anyway,” Kim added. “Let’s take this kid out and get knocked up by my brother in law.”

“Rachel?” Jared asked.

“Fuck it,” Rachel said. “You’re right. Get back in the van. We’ll find a place to hide while we figure this one out.”

****

Chapter 9: Safehouse

Rachel took the back entrance into the basement apartment she had rented with cash. It wasn’t much, but they’d have to keep in hiding while they tried to track Clockboy. They were right about the media as well. They were being blamed for the bombing of their own compound along with the mall.

Rachel put the bag with their fast food dinner on the table. “No Subway?” Jared asked.

“Can it,” Rachel said. “How much closer are we to finding Clockboy?”

“Not by much,” Jared replied. “I’ve been telling Walter and Kim how to search for him on the web, but it’s tough without being able to do it myself.”

“Can’t you go on without signing in as Jared Fogle?” Rachel asked.

Jared just looked at Rachel.

“I guess that’s why you got caught,” Rachel said.

“I can do this better without the attitude,” Jared said.

“Uh-oh,” Walter said, looking up from his laptop. “Look who just grew a pair.”


“He’s right,” Kim said. “Even after we took this to the underground, she’s been demeaning and insulting us. You’ve said it too when she’s not here.”

“Stop it!” Rachel shouted. “All of you! Look at you three. You’re all completely flawed. A lion killer, a homophobe, and a child molester. Why did I even bother taking you under my wing?”

“You’re us,” Walter said, standing up in anger. “Call us what you want, but you’re just a white bimbo, posing as black to work in the upper echelon of the NAACP. You used the guise of being transracial to make your nut. You got a tan, dyed your blonde hair black, and made it into an afro. You might be the worst of the four of us except for Jared.”

“Hey!” Jared said.

“I am not transracial,” Rachel said through gritted teeth. “Not once have I used that term to describe myself. I am a black woman that happened to be born from two of the whitest, cracker-ass people on earth. I’m a proud black woman trapped in a white woman’s body.”

“Then what are we, Rachel?” Walter asked.

“Oh my God,” Rachel said, moving her hand to her mouth. “I can’t believe what I’ve been doing. I’ve been talking down to you for who you are like I have been since I was outed for being born white.

“Walter, you’re a big game hunter trapped in the body of a skinny jewish dentist.”

“You’re Jewish?” Kim asked.

“And Kim,” Rachel continued. “You’re a gay basher trapped in the body of a…”

“What?” Kim asked.

“Never mind,” Rachel said. “This analogy doesn’t work for everyone.”

“Wait,” Jared said. “You didn’t even try to do me.”

“I got this one,” Walter said. “You’re a pedophile trapped in the body of a sandwich mascot. Either that, or a sandwich mascot trapped in the body of a pedophile.”

“Neither one of those are good,” Rachel added. “That’s why I didn’t say it.”

Jared looked down. “I’ll never live that down,” he said.

“We will take down Clockboy,” Rachel said. “We just have to find him.”

“I got something!” Kim exclaimed. “Come here, Jared.”

Jared rushed over to Kim and looked over her shoulder. “What’s that?” he asked. “Is that a Facebook invite?”

“Yeah,” Kim said. “He posted it a week ago.”

“You’ve been down here this whole time looking for Clockboy, and you didn’t start with his Facebook page?” Rachel asked.

“We figured it’d be the last place he’d post something,” Jared said.

Rachel sighed. “What’s the invite say?” she asked.

“He said there’s going to be a blast of a bash on New Year’s Eve,” Jared said, continuing to read over Kim’s shoulder. “Right after the clock counts down to the new year.”

“He needs a new pun,” Walter muttered.

“Where?” Rachel asked. “Can you triangulate the address from the IP address he used to make this posting?”

Kim scrolled down while Jared read from the screen. “Just off Times Square by a few blocks,” he said. “Address is right under the header.”

“Shit,” Rachel said. “Finding him is still going to be like finding a fucked up needle in a haystack. I’m sure we’ll find the bomb at that address, but not Clockboy.”

“I’ll bring my crossbow,” Walter said, smirking.

****

Chapter 10: New Year’s Eve (again)

“Watch it, nigga!” some large, white guy in a hoodie said, bumping into Rachel with his shoulder as he passed her on the cold New York City street.

“Thank you!” Rachel said, smiling and blushing at the sentiment. It was just after eight PM on New Year’s Eve. She went back into the lobby of the over-crowded hotel. Jared had someone talk the manager into letting them set up in the basement. Some words were exchanged about him using it in the past, but she didn’t even want to know what Jared was doing in a New York hotel’s basement. She was met outside by her team.

“What are you doing out here?!” Rachel exclaimed. “If the Crimson Syndicate sees you…”

“They already have,” Walter said. “This place is crawling with them. They aren’t exactly hiding either. Look around for the black hoodies with the red falcon logos.”

Rachel looked around, and noticed that Walter was right. They were all branded as if they didn’t care.

“They’re hiding in plain sight,” Walter said. “Steven Seagal always preached about that before he died. It’s genius.”

“There’s too many of them,” Rachel said, looking around. “And we have nobody to call for back up.”

“Leave that to me,” Jared said, walking across the street. Rachel followed his trajectory with her eyes, spotting his destination.

“An Internet cafe?” Rachel asked rhetorically. “Oh, Jared.”

“There he goes,” Kim said. “Sacrificing himself for the greater good like me and Jesus Christ.”

“We could’ve tried calling 911,” Walter said, rolling his eyes.

***

Jared knelt in the ground with his hands behind his head as an FBI agent held the barrel of a rifle inches from his face. “Give me an excuse to pull this trigger, child toucher,” Agent Stern said.

“Stop it,” Rachel said, stepping behind Jared. “We needed you here, and this was the quickest way. You’d respond quicker to stop Jared from looking at cat vids than answering a terrorist threat on New Year’s Eve.”

“Make more sense, or I’m dragging your ass in too,” Agent Stern said.

“The Crimson Syndicate!” Rachel snapped. “They’re everywhere. Black hoodies with red logos on the chests. Clockboy, the bomber of the Sycamore Pines Mall, has a bomb in the area. We need to find it, but I need you to let Jared go and round these fuckers up.”

“And who are you?” Agent Stern asked.

Kim and Walter stood behind Rachel. “We’re the League of Unimpressive People,” Rachel said. “Bitch.”

“Let me call my supervisor,” Agent Stern said, lowering his rifle and walking towards his black cruiser.

“Be quick about it,” Rachel said. “You’re wasting precious time, and Clockboy is as unhinged as they come.”

“Holy shit,” Kim said.

“That’s how you fuckin do it,” Walter added.

***

“You win,” Agent Stern said, cutting the zip ties around Jared’s wrist. “Your Clockboy threat is credible, and I’ve been instructed to act on your tips.”

“Ain’t that a bitch,” Rachel said. “Proud white FBI agent taking orders from a black chick.”

“Don’t push your luck,” Agent Stern said. “You said black hoodies with red logos?”

“I did,” Rachel said. “Crimson Syndicate. Round them up and take them In. Feel free to use excessive force.”

“And Clockboy and his bomb?” Agent Stern asked.

Walter, Kim, and Jared stood behind Rachel. “You leave Clockboy to us,” she said. “Bitch.”

****

Chapter 11: Rachel’s Play

Rachel ran across the road as people kept pouring towards Times Square. Her team was blocks away, but they had found Clockboy by accident (she heard pieces of their conversation on the walkie-talkie). He hadn’t led them to the bomb like they thought. He had led them straight to him. He wanted to see their reaction when the bomb went off. She understood where the bomb was and hoped she could catch up with Clockboy and ask him to disarm it before everyone in Times Square was killed.

***

“I’m going to put a bolt in this prick’s head,” Walter said, taking aim at the smiling Clockboy. 

“Don’t!” Jared snapped. “We don’t know where the bomb is yet!”

“You haven’t figured it out?” Clockboy asked. “I put it in the biggest clock in New York City.”

“Big Ben?” Kim asked.

“No, you moron!” Clockboy exclaimed. “The clock that counts down to the new year. It’s set to go off one second into the new year.”

“That’s not a clock,” Jared said. “It’s a timer at best. All it does is show numbers counting down from twenty.”

“Yeah,” Walter said. “It pains me to agree with Jared about anything, but it’s just display of numbers any four-year-old knows and a glowing ball. It doesn’t even display the time.”

“There’s a clock in the mechanism!” Clockboy shouted.

“Probably not,” Walter said. “I’m betting there’s a fat teamster that hits a button when his supervisor tells him it’s time to drop the ball.”

“I’ve had enough of your wit!” Clockboy said, pressing a button near his hand. The red and black display on his chest changed from the current time to a countdown until the new year began.

“Your fancy electronics are the devil’s work!” Kim exclaimed.

“What’s your status?” Rachel huffed through the walkie-talkie.

“We’re stalling Clockboy,” Jared replied.

“You fuckin idiot,” Walter sighed.

“Stalling me?!” Clockboy said, laughing. “It’s a countdown! How are you going to stall a countdown?”

“Like this,” Walter said, firing his bolt. It hit Clockboy’s display, causing it to turn completely black.

“Do you really think that’s going to stop the new year and my bomb from exploding?” Clockboy asked.

“You’ll stop your bomb,” Rachel said, entering the scene and aiming her gun at Clockboy’s head. “No more of this nonsense. You’re not a criminal, and you know it, Ahmed.”

“DO NOT CALL ME AHMED!” Clockboy shouted.

“We didn’t make you like this,” Rachel said. “I understand more now than when we first met. You’re a super villain trapped in the body of a skinny Muslim nerd.”

“What are you talking about?” Clockboy asked.

“Disarm your bomb,” Rachel said, approaching Clockboy. “I know it’s too late to evacuate Times Square, but I don’t think you want this. I can help. We can help.”

“You don’t know me,” Clockboy said, taking a step back from Rachel.

“I know you, Ahmed,” Rachel said. “You’re so much like us. We are all just trying to find ourselves in this fucked up world after our dirty laundry was aired out on social media. My blackness, Walter’s lion-killing, Kim’s gay-bashing, and Jared’s love of having sex with little girls and eating subs.”

“Hey!” Jared exclaimed.

“I am not like you!” Clockboy said, tears now streaming down his cheeks. “I am not!”

“You are!” Rachel said, not lowering her gun. “If you plan on killing all of those people in Times Square, I am going to pull this trigger. You’ll die with them. You invited us here for a reason, Ahmed. You wanted us to talk you into stopping this. Deactivate your bomb and come with us. Otherwise, I’m blowing your brains out and giving your corpse a wedgie.”

Clockboy looked into the furious eyes of Rachel, and he knew that she wasn’t joking. “OK,” he said. “I’ll do it.”

“Thank you,” Rachel said, putting her gun down.

Clockboy pressed a code into a keypad on his left wrist and a voice spoke from a speaker near his shoulder. “No coverage available,” the voice said. “Have a great day, Clockboy.”

“There’s too many people on their cellphones,” Jared said. “The wireless networks are too congested.”

“There’s another way,” Clockboy said. “There’s still time to…”

A lion with a bolt jutting from its neck came out of nowhere, pouncing on Clockboy. It pinned him to the ground, tearing his jugular with its huge teeth. Walter fired his bolt into the lion’s left ear. The tip came out of its right eye.

“I was wondering where that fucker ran off to,” Walter said as the team looked at Clockboy’s corpse with the dead lion on top of it. “I bet I come out looking like the asshole on this one.”

“I thought you killed that thing!” Kim said, turning on Walter.

“Fuck no,” Walter said. “I can’t run after a lion on foot. Do you have any idea how fast they are?!”

Clockboy’s clock-bomb exploded on his chest, sending pieces of the lion everywhere. The entire team was covered in red.

“Shit,” Walter said. “I forgot he said he’d explode if he died.”

****

Chapter 12: The Dropping Ball

“What the holy hell happened here?!” Agent Stern asked, looking at the team covered in lion guts. “Was this you, Palmer?!”

“I’m here for a reason,” Walter said, resting his crossbow on his shoulder. “Blame the nut who set a lion loose on us. Oh wait. You can’t. He’s dead!”

“Is that Clockboy?” Agent Stern asked. “You got the bastard.”

“But we’re not done yet,” Rachel said. “There’s still a matter of the bomb. All we got out of him was the location before his own lion killed him.”

“Where is it?” Agent Stern asked.

“It’s under the ball,” Rachel said, looking towards Times Square. “It’ll go off when the countdown reaches the new year.”

“There’s too many people around and not much time,” Agent Stern said. “Which one of you is the bomb disarmer?”

“That’ll be me,” Kim said, stepping forward. “Get me up there, and I’ll disarm that bomb. I can’t let all of these heterosexual people die.”

“I’ll make some calls,” Agent Stern said, taking his phone from his pocket.

***

“Chopper is en route,” Agent Stern said, putting his phone back into his pocket. “There’s only one snag.”

“What is it?” Rachel asked.

“All that was available on this short of notice is a Coast Guard rescue chopper,” Agent Stern said. “We’ll basically have to carry Miss Davis over Times Square with a rope.”

“Do it,” Walter said, smiling.

“Don’t!” Jared said. “It’s dangerous!”

“There’s no time to argue!” Rachel interjected.

“This is the only way,” Kim said. “Hoist me up like the Lord above.”

***

Kim dangled from the rope of the helicopter as she was hoisted over Times Square and towards the ball (which was set to drop in mere minutes). “There sure are a lot of people down there,” Kim said as they screamed and cheered, thinking she was part of some show or another. “Are you absolutely sure that none of them are homosexuals?”

“What the fuck did she just say?” the agent sitting next to Rachel asked. They were still near the business park where the FBI were cordoning off Clockboy and the lion’s corpses. Rachel was set up in an FBI van, so she could communicate with Kim. Walter was busy asking if he could keep the lion’s head and skin, and Jared was cuffed after he got caught trying to buy a meatball sub from a nearby Subway.

“We’re sure,” Rachel said into her own headset. “We used the FBI’s database and scanners to confirm just now. You are clear to disarm the bomb.”

“You guys are fucked up,” the agent said. “You know that right?”

“I’m approaching the bomb,” Kim said as she was lowered to the side of the large display atop the roof. She unhooked the rope from her safety harness as the helicopter flew off. “I see it. He put that damn clock on top of this one too. Holy shit. Is it really eleven fifty-three?!”

“It is,” Rachel replied into Kim’s headset. “The quicker you get this thing disarmed the better.”

“I’m going to work,” Kim said, taking her tools from her fanny pack and laying them out on top of the bomb’s casing. “May God guide my hand and let them cut the right wires.”

Kim unscrewed the top portion of the bomb, revealing the menagerie of wires beneath. “Typical Syndicate bomb,” she said. “Wait… Only it’s not. Clockboy changed up the circuits. He knew what I’d be looking for!”

“You have to try,” Rachel said. “That bomb is going to rain fire and debris onto the crowd in four minutes!”

“Shit,” Kim muttered as she started tracing wires with her fingers. “There’s clock parts all over this damn thing. This kid was twisted. I don’t know what any of these damn clocks are for.”

“Three minutes,” Rachel said.

Kim took her pliers, and forced the face off a digital alarm clock. She looked inside with her mini-flashlight to see what was inside. “Nothing,” she said to herself, letting it drop back into place. She pulled an alarm clock up, finding that the the wires went to the side and into the bomb. “What is all this mess?!”

“Two minutes,” Rachel said.

Kim saw something near a heat sink. The wires were soldered sloppily, and the insulation was bare on a few of them. There was no clock wired to this part. She knew from her theory lessons what components they were attached to. “I’m going to shock the system,” she said, taking a screwdriver out of her kit. “It will short out the bomb’s mechanisms and only cause damage up here.”

“One minute,” Rachel said. “Don’t! You’ll die!”

Kim breathed in and closed her eyes. “I’ll sacrifice myself for the greater good,” she said. “There’s no time to try and disarm this thing the right way.”

“Kim!” Rachel snapped.

“I know what I am now, and you were wrong before,” Kim said. “I’m a martyr trapped in the body of a municipal employee. It’s time I broke free from my chrysalis and do what God put me on the planet to do.”

The crowd below started shouting their countdown from the number twenty, and Kim knew it was time. She put her hand deeper into the bomb’s mechanics, closing in on the heat sink and wires.

“FIFTEEN!”

“Don’t cry for me,” Kim said. “I’ll be dining in the halls of our Lord tomorrow evening.”

“TEN!”

Kim moved her screwdriver closer to the bare wires, slowly. “Please tell my brother in law…”

“Just short it out already!” Rachel exclaimed.

“FIVE!”

Kim braced herself and pushed the screwdriver against the bare conductors.

“ONE!”

A small puff a smoke came up from the heat sink along with the acrid smell of burning plastic. The bomb was shut down, and the crowd roared as the new year began.

“Looks like I didn’t die after all,” Kim said. “Can someone get me down from here?”

****

Epilogue: Valentines Day

Rachel walked past her coworkers of the newly reformed League of Unimpressive People at their Valentines Day party, carrying her rum and coke. The government shut them down despite their disarming of Clockboy’s bomb on New Year’s Eve, but a private funder stepped in and brought them back from the ashes.

“I’m glad to see things are moving along,” Walter said to Rachel as she stopped near him and Jared. “I’m almost sorry I won’t be around to see how the new team does.”

“You have your dental practice now,” Rachel said. “Besides, there’s going to be an entire new team coming up this year. That lady who sued her twelve year old nephew and the deputy that dragged the black girl out of her desk both start on Monday.”

“I’ll be around to help with the transition,” Jared said. “I have nowhere else to go.”

“Hi, Jared,” Kim said, approaching the others. “I got you a little something for Valentines Day.”

Jared took the box from Kim and opened it. He looked inside. “Is that what I think it is?” he asked.

“It is,” Kim said, smiling.

“A foot-long cold cut combo from Subway!” Jared said, close to tears. “With lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, and mayonnaise! You nearly sacrificed yourself to save all those people, and you still brought me a sub.”

“It’s amazing that you’re still with us at all, Kim,” Walter added.

“What can I say?” Rachel asked, rhetorically. “God loves me.”

“And how goes your quest to have your brother in law’s baby?” Rachel asked. “Will you be having a little martyr soon?”

“Turns out my insides rotted,” Kim said. “So…”

“Oh,” Rachel said. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright,” Kim said. “Probably would have been a homosexual. That’s why God took away my uterus and ovaries, and I’m grateful.”

“For God’s sake!” Walter exclaimed. “Thanks for reminding me how much I’ll miss you.”

“Thanks for killing our Lord!” Kim retorted before walking away in anger.

“How long do you think she’s been sitting on that gem?” Walter asked, rolling his eyes and walking away.

Rachel laughed. 

“What’s funny?” Jared asked.

“We’ll probably actually all miss each other,” Rachel said. “Even Kim and Walter will wonder what each other are up to from time to time. We did an amazing thing on New Year’s Eve, Jared. We couldn’t have done it without each other.”

“We did,” Jared said smiling.

“Look,” Rachel said. “Our new boss is here. I better introduce myself since I’m the only one who took a permanent job.” She walked towards the front door, through the security detail to meet her new boss.

“Mr. Trump,” Rachel said, extending her hand. “I’m Rachel Dolezal. I’m your head recruiter slash trainer.”

“Make no mistake, sweetheart,” Donald Trump said without shaking Rachel’s extended hand. He had on an expensive suit and his best hairpiece. “There’s going to be some major changes around here now that I’m in charge. You did well on New Years, but I want you to start doing better. Now be a dear and get me a dirty martini.”

Trump walked away, continuing to rudely greet part guests.

“Get your own damn martini,” Rachel muttered under her breath to Trump’s back. “You honky-ass mutha fucker. Dolezal out.”

 

THE END

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