11 May 2010 – 1 July 2012
(This is kind of a remake of the original Godzilla movie, with a Quentin Tarantino twist.)
The Japanese have a quirk where they combine two names to create a nickname. At Toho Studios, the film company who brought us the big green monster, there worked a stagehand – a fat, hairy guy. He was described by his co-workers as a cross between a gorilla and a whale. The Japanese word for gorilla is ‘gorira’, and whale was ‘fujira’. Combined, it became ‘gojira’: ‘Gorilla-whale’. When the writers were casting around for a name for a big radiation-mutated dinosaur that they just made, ‘Gojira’ seemed the perfect fit. (Little did they know, huh?) In Japanese, pronunciation is ‘goh-JEE-rra’ – rolling the R a bit. It was difficult for Western ears and tongues to get it right, and as a result, it came out sounding like ‘Godzilla’.
This is the story of a gang of inept criminals who make the biggest score of their lives – with the unknowing help of the big green guy. They are not clumsy, but they have never had a lot of money before. They just seem to make enough to pay for rent, clothes, or gas money and not much else. This is a band of characters, who just have no luck.
There are bad criminals, and then there are bad criminals. One group is just plain evil, and the other is unlucky. We deal with the second group here.
Tokyo is a nice town if you know the culture and language, and stay on well-lit streets. While the local travel agencies don't talk about it much, tourists do get hassled by the many varieties of hustlers, junkies, and muggers. If, however, you are quite familiar with the Japanese Mob – known as the Yakuza – you know how to get along wonderfully in Tokyo.
Tupelo knows the Yakuza, and he knows what will happen to him if he jumps the line again. He has to do the jobs they send his way, no matter how humiliating, in order to regain the Mob's trust and get the choice assignments once more. The reason they just don't chop him up and serve him at a sushi bar is because the boss to which his life belongs is a big Elvis fan, and Tupelo is Elvis. Kind of.
This guy walks and talks like the King; he dresses like a hit man, because that's what he once was, but he lives and breathes like the leader of the Memphis Mafia. The dude even has a black Desert Eagle .44 Magnum that he named The King: on the right handgrip is a picture of Elvis in his gold lame suit, and on the left is his personal emblem – the letters T C B over a lightning bolt...”Taking Care of Business in a Flash!”
They just love to give him crappy jobs so they can hear him say, “Thankyuh. Thankyuh ver' much.”
Man, those crappy assignments. He used to be one helluva hit man, for Christ's sake! Now they got him working the homeless sector! What did they ever do to the crime bosses? Baseball bat some toothless guy's knees; torch a cardboard city in a park – what's the point? Oh, and of course, take their loose change and hand it in to the bosses! Yeah, that'll teach those bums!
Our boy tried to move up on his own a couple times...even in the homeless shanty towns there was competition from other gangs. Bash some punk in the brain pan with the The King's barrel, or maybe let The King loose and tear off a wanna-be's arm or leg – you know, do a little extra work even if the higher-ups didn't tell him to; they know how tough it is on the streets. But no, they got all upset (and it's that quiet, stoic upset that they do) and beat him and make him sing a song like “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” through a bloody mouth, and then they tell him to take the jobs he's given. 'Don't do more, don't do less, don't make us soil our hands on your dirty face any more! We let you keep your King; show us some respect and courtesy. Step out of line again, and you and The King will be melted in the steel mill. Maybe we'll kill you before we drop you.”
Yeah, they own some mills. They got control of a bunch of real estate, and construction firms, and even weapons manufacturers. They even got scientists keeping tabs on new stuff that might be exploited. Like when Gojira lumbers into town for fun. You know why all those buildings collapse when the big guy looks at them? The Yakuza bids the lowest, uses the cheapest material, bribes the safety inspectors, and when the building crashes down cleans up the rubble and starts all over again! All that's left is dust, debris, and more homeless shanty towns. And more crummy work for Tupelo and a few others.
Tupelo hangs out in a sleazy bar & grill noodle shop with other down and out crooks. There's the three thugs, Grease, Elbow, and Grease's woman, Doll, and they do pretty much what Tupelo does, except they're trying to climb up the ladder, and Tupelo just dropped down some rungs. Then there's Ham the Pimp. Nobody knows if he's called Ham because he's Jewish, or if his name is actually Hamilton, or something that starts with “Ham”. He claims he was a hot shit playa back in Sydney, Australia, about ten years ago, but after getting pinched by undercover cops one too many times he “relocated” to Japan. His story has way too many holes in it to be true, and anyway each time he tells it something changes. What is true is he now has two plain-Janes in his harem: Golda, the heavy but big titted girl, and Silva, the morbidly skinny one who gives impressive head. Still, beggars can't be choosers and neither can the horny homeless guys. The girls don't make much – cheap clothes, cheap food, and a cheap room with cheap furniture, and when they're not turning tricks they share the room with Ham, who sometimes has to rent a shanty from some poor bum because the girls are a little too busy making loose change.
Grease doesn't talk much, so it's not known if he's just quiet in general or is indescribably stupid. He might be stupid, what with all the piercings he has. He even has a big steel nose ring; how the Hell does he eat with that thing covering his upper lip?! He is obviously the heavy hitter of the trio, and Elbow does the delicate work, with a crowbar. Doll, by default, is the brains. She talks to the bosses, handles the money, and explains to the victims why the bosses are very upset with them.
So this is the lineup: Grease, Elbow, and Doll, and possibly Golda and Silva want to be big. Tupelo and Ham want to be big again.
According to the charts, Migration Season will be starting in about two weeks. Normally, this information wouldn't warrant such widespread but weary dread, as if it has happened so many times before that now there is no panic, there is only this kind of feeling you get around tax time combined with hurricane season. This is because it's not just any migration, it's when GOJIRA decides to take a stroll towards, inevitably, the Mainland, particularly Tokyo. The trouble is, it was supposed to start in two months, not two weeks! He's a little early this year.
Of course, everybody blamed everybody else. The scientists said the government never gives them enough money to get the real James Bond high tech tracking gear, and anyway they won't let them use the spy satellites because of “national security”. The government said the media poke and prod so much into budgets, looking for corruption and scandal that they can't concentrate on anything, much less what monsters do when they're bored. The Media said the citizens don't take a lot of personal responsibility for what their elected officials are doing with their taxes. The citizens asked the scientists why didn't you warn us earlier?
All of them blamed global warming. And the USA.
In one of the many labs devoted to biology and chemistry, and how to kill with elements of both, is a nameless, unassuming, brilliant scientist whom from now on will only be called “Doc”. And Doc just found a way to kill Gojira. It might also help him clear his vast gambling debts that he owes the Yakuza. They keep him alive because he works in a very secure facility dedicated to killing all types of life found on this planet, and that might be useful to the Mob one fine day.
If Grease, Elbow, and Doll knew of Doc they would be more than happy to deliver a 'message' about what he must do to make good on his debts. And if Doc couldn't, then, if he knew this, Tupelo would love to get the assignment. Ham would like to provide Doc with a 'last wish'. Golda and Silva would take care of him, after they douche and brush their teeth, respectively. Fate has other ideas for this bunch.
Doc knows his place, so the first call he makes is to Fujita (FOO-jee-tah), his contact in the Yakuza. He says, “I have something that will kill Gojira! All the tests say it will work! I will give you all the data you need to believe me!”
Fujita, who knows quite a bit about biological weapons, and knows what Doc was working on, purrs, “Relax. We've been watching you. We know what you have. What we don't know is...what you want?”
Doc's a little edgy because of Fujita's smooth talk, but thinking fast he says, “I want all my debts wiped away, and I want one million Yen in 100-Yen bills, in a duffel bag. We will meet at an address I choose, and I will give you all the data AND some samples!”
Fujita, doing a little quick thinking of his own, says, “My, that is a tall order. I will have to consult my superiors on this one. Stay by the phone.”
While Doc waits by the phone in an ever-growing pool of sweat, Fujita, surprised Doc asked for so little a price – they would have given him a lot more, right before they killed him – already knew this was sufficient. He did call his boss just to tell him the good news, and the cheap price, and then listened to some classical music for about 20 minutes. Only then did he call Doc and agree to the deal.
Dammit, another night busting heads and scaring worthless dregs! Shit's getting annoying, thinks Tupelo, what I wouldn't give for some real work! Uh, or, maybe, what I would give for good work?
Perhaps the down-and-out hitman is a little too much like the King...
But Tupelo's thoughts are occurring in the minds of the others – it is somewhat boring trying to inflict fear and pain in people who are already living in fear and pain, and squalor.
Grease, Elbow, and Doll are a little bit wealthier tonight: a pack of tourists, lost and confused, had wandered too far away from the bright lights of the main drag, and before the trio sent them hurrying back there (with good directions, mind you), they relieved them of all their paper money. They let them have their coins for the buses and their ATM and credit cards because, while the three are very tough and intimidating, they are also recognizable to the cops...tattoos and piercings are very chic right now, but somewhat identifying to people who notice such things, like the authorities.
In any case, the trio know the rest of the gang well, and since they all kind of look out for each other, they shared some of their windfall with the hitman, the pimp, and the girls by buying them some watery fish noodles and limp veggies...and they were still hot.
Shanty town as far as the eye could see, with tall buildings about a mile away, rising up in the haze, and slightly closer, the main Drag – kind of like Vegas, Sunset Boulevard, and Mardi Gras thrown in a blender and pureed. And all of this within walking distance (then again, everything is, if you have the time) to where the homeless and the hopeless live in their cardboard castles. The grimy noodle bar is situated between vagabond-ville and a wasteland of dead vegetation, and about a mile away is the Drag.
It makes sense: the city is where real people work and the suburbs is where they sleep; the Drag is where the worthless beg, borrow, and/or steal and the shantytown is where they live, sort-of. If you want to call that living; a better word for it is surviving. And the noodle bar serves all, taking their handfuls of change, and greasy yen, dollars, francs, etc, and quite often takes whatever valuables they 'borrowed' from real people. In turn, the bar sells food that the owners find in dumpsters – well, not really, it's just that – have you ever tried to pay for something in another country's currency? It's like that.
Ah, but I can hear you thinking, Tupelo's got the King, and Grease & Elbow can hit hard enough, and they have nothing to lose, what's wrong with just more bad behavior? Well...
For one thing, that's just three guys and they haven't been fed too well for a time, and there's no accurate count of all the other bums in the town, but it's probably enough to lynch them if even crappy food is removed from the equation. And, the bar is kind of a neutral zone – no one bothers anyone else, because everyone knows how desperate everyone else is; it's all about respect, even in Hell.
Finally, the owners also know the bite of the Yakuza – they owe too, and some day, they were promised, there will be a new noodle bar opening right on the Drag. So shut up and keep feeding cheap garbage to these animals. Just like everyone else in this armpit there is protection, at a price.
The gang is sitting at tables outside of the bar, listening to the radio – something about Gojira spotted off the shore; it doesn't concern shantytown, they live in debris anyhow...and that lizard only loves to tear down tall buildings, not flat areas like here. They're relaxed, day's over, dinner is almost tasty, but boy, who cares about Gojira? Put the tunes back on; nobody gives a damn any more about what the monsters do – they just rebuild with that resigned attitude...
From the Drag, comes four big, black vans, and a couple of big, black cars. The vans disappear into shantytown, but not before a bunch of black-clad guys with big, black guns take up hidden positions on either side of the street. The cars park near the noodle bar, but no one gets out.
Each of the gang thinks, Oh, no, more stupid jobs, or...maybe...a real job? My 'Get Out of Hell' job? The noodle bar owners, who lived in the bar, also had this thought, but they weren't too excited. What's with the soldiers?
Whoever saw the vans, most of them saw those guys disappear. Tupelo, who knew of these things, could still pick out about half of them – they may be killers, but they didn't know the first thing about being inconspicuous, or maybe they didn't care. Tupelo laid his right hand on the King, but that was all.
Again from the Drag, here comes an old, cheap, generic Japanese minivan – looks like every other cheap, generic Japanese minivan. It needs a new muffler, and it could use a wash, and also there's a funny sound emanating from the engine compartment. All in all, your basic shitbox.
It rattles across the street from the black cars, and a small man nervously emerges from the drivers' side door. He is holding a briefcase, and looking intently at the cars.
There is a tremor felt in the ground, and a deep slow thudding can be heard. Great, they all think, not just Gojira, but also an earthquake...this is gonna be a bumpy ride.
As if there was no urgency, just another day at the beach, the big black cars discharge their passengers. It takes one look, but anyone with eyes know these dudes – Yakuza. One of them has a large duffel, and he's smiling, like a shark. The nervous guy and the Yakuza goon walk to the center of the street. They reach the middle, and stop, staring at each other.
Ham is looking all around – at the bar, at the cars, at where he thinks the guns are, at the Drag – hey, hang on, is that Gojira near the Drag? He in a nightclubbing mood? He tugs on Doll's shirt, but is shrugged off. Who wants to hear what this pig has to say; we got some action going on!
Mr. Nervous and Mr. Goon set their luggage down next to their feet. They then use their toes to nudge the bags towards the one across from themselves. Nervous unzips the bag, and sees hundreds of wrapped packets of Japanese currency. He has some trouble picking up the heavy bag, but Goon picks up the briefcase, and smiles like a shark again.
Goon says, “Well. Is everything here? The formula, the samples, the notes?”
Nervous mumbles, “Yes. Plus some other equipment that I thought useful. Now...is there a million Yen in here, and are all my debts cleared?”
Goon purrs, “Why, yes. But this is probably the biggest gamble you've ever taken. What do you think the odds are on you leaving here alive, and with all that beautiful money?”
Goon waves, and there is the sound of metal on metal – as if bolts were being slid back and rounds automatically being inserted in rifle chambers. Goon casually walks back to the cars, which have been started; their passengers back inside. Before closing the door, Goon says, to nobody in particular, “Don't shoot the money. Kill everyone you can see. Bring the money back to us.”
The cars roll smoothly away, leaving some rather surprised people behind.
Mr. Nervous screams, “We had a deal! You bastards! WE HAD A DEAL!”
Tupelo is the first to react. The King is free from his holster, and swinging towards where Tupelo knows are some guns close by. Tupelo yells to the gang, “I'll shoot some hombres, y'all git their guns, and start blasting where y'all thank they are!”
Nervous is stumbling around, not sure what to do. Tupelo fires at the shadows and three men fall. Silva, Ham, and Doll grab all the weapons from the dead thugs: three rifles, three pistols, and all the ammunition they can find. Ham also knows his way around guns, so while he lays down covering fire with an M16A2, the other two hand out what they have to Golda, Elbow, and Grease. Doll throws one of the handguns to Tupelo, who must save the last two rounds in the King. He re-holsters the cannon, and looks at the new firearm. “Shee-it, a damn Nine! Y'ain't nuthin' but a hound dog...”
Nonetheless, he does start running for Nervous to get him – and the money – to cover.
They hear the sound of brakes screeching to a halt, guns firing in the air at Gojira, who just stepped on both cars, and now is heading towards shantytown!
The reaction is immediate. Anyone in range of the big green monster starts to scatter, running anywhere away from him.
He's still about 150 yards away, thinks Doll, maybe...? She calls to the panicked gang, “Get in the minivan! We can make a run for it! Grease, you're a good driver! You – Mister – give the keys to the guy with the ring in his nose! Everyone else, get in!”
Grease jumps in the drivers' seat, Doll gets in the passenger side seat. The other five cram into the back seats. Ham and Tupelo, with guns, get in the rear seats, Golda, Silva, and Nervous hustle into the middle seats, as the engine coughs to life and jerks down the road as fast as it can go.
Meanwhile, the thugs, knowing their place, and having just witnessed their masters get crushed, seek revenge on Gojira by shooting up at his head and body. He responds by stomping them back to their ancestors, and destroying shantytown. And then he loses interest, and starts lumbering back to Tokyo Bay.
Heading no place in particular, the crummy minivan continues to go along the road, with its passengers in a near-panic, thinking any second now Gojira is going to stomp them just like he did those criminals. But after a while, they realize that nothing is behind them, not even the mobsters' gunmen seeking retribution. At the far outskirts of Shantytown, the van pulls to the side of the road, and stops, and everyone is silent, unmoving.
Doll speaks first. “Okay,” she turns to the nervous man, “who are you, and what was that about?”
“My name is no longer important, now that the Yakuza has condemned me to death. If you like, you may call me 'Doc.' That's what everyone called me at the lab,” Doc says, rather calmly, “They didn't really care who I was, anyway...”
“Well – 'Doc' – what happened back there, that started a mini-war?” Doll wanted to know.
Doc looked around at the people who had just extended his life a little more. They were wearing dirty clothes, the women had cheap makeup, the men were ugly, and they all smelled like they hadn't bathed for a week.
He sighed. “I...I really don't know where to start. It seemed like my good fortune to discover what I had created, and the deal that was made, and then to see it all fall apart so suddenly...”
“Yakuza, eh?” said Ham, his Australian accent thick, “Whadda they want with a little wog like you?”
“I know something of probability, and sometimes lay bets on various games, both legal and illegal. Occasionally I win, but mostly I lose. Big,” stated Doc, head hung down.
“Heh – what're the odds, eh?” chuckled Ham.
Grease opens the driver's-side door, and climbs out. He is a big man, and it is cramped in the vehicle. The others take that as a cue to remove themselves from the van as well. Ham and Tupelo are the last to leave, and Doc must climb over the heavy duffel bag to get out.
“So...you owe the Mob a bunch of money?” It's hard for Elbow to think, so words come out slowly.
“But I had it solved!” exclaims Doc, “Finally I had something to show for all my years of research, and I could start anew with all debts settled! They tricked me!”
“Hey y'all, simmer down,” Tupelo mumbles, “Why don'tcha tell us what y'all're talkin' 'bout?”
My life is over, thinks Doc, I might as well tell them everything...
“We were looking into powerful toxins that could possibly eliminate any radioactive mutations among various reptilian creatures.”
“Oh, I get it,” squeaked Silva, “You were looking for a way to kill Gojira!”
All eyes turned to her. She squirmed, said, “What? I read a lot, okay?”
Irritated, Ham growls, “When the bleedin' 'ell do you have time to read?”
“Gotta do somethin' in the daytime, don't I?” Silva shot back, defiantly.
“Uh...getting back to the subject...” Doll coaxes.
“Er, yes, well,” Doc admits, clearing his throat, “the skinny girl is right, as a matter of fact. We were attempting to find a strong enough poison to somehow inject into Gojira in order to slay him. And after extensive tests on mutated lizards and other reptiles, I discovered an oxidizing molecule that looked quite promising. So I called my contact in the Yakuza to tell him the good news, and to make a deal with them to wipe clean my debts. And then they betrayed me. But I showed them...”
Curious, Doll asks, “Meaning?”
“There was a probability that they would renege on our deal, so in addition to my notes and samples, I also soaked the inside of the briefcase with pheromones that would attract reptiles like moths to flame. Reptiles like Gojira.”
“Fair-wha'?” Ham is having trouble keeping up with the conversation.
“Pheromones. Chemicals that are released out of the skin of animals – humans, too – that can trigger certain responses in anything that absorbs them. In this case, I used a pheromone that creates aggression in males in heat. Uh, reptile males who desperately want to reproduce with the females. Uh, want sex, that is...”
Doll, thinking, says slowly, “So...Gojira sensed that the guys in the limo were opposing males for the ladies?”
“...And that's why he crushed the car into scrap metal, yes.”
“All raht, fine, now whut do yew git out of the deal?” Tupelo wants to know, “Clean slate? Ah mean, 'fore yew found out they had them other plans.”
“Well, no, not just all bills paid. I also made them give me...this,” Doc hauls out the duffel bag, opens it, spreading the flaps wide to show its contents.
“Hey, now...” breathes Tupelo.
Inside, there are several wrapped bundles of hundred-yen banknotes.
The crooks gathered around the duffel bag, marveling at all the money in it.
“H-how much is there?” stammers Ham.
Doc looks steadily at him. “One million Yen.”
“Whut were ya gonna do with it?” asks Tupelo.
“I...wasn't sure,” replies Doc, “I didn't think that far into the future. And, anyway, it's worthless to me, now. They're going to kill me...and for rescuing me, they're going to kill all of you, too.”
“Great,” snarls Ham, “We're rich, and we're dead. Now what?”
Doll, thinking, says, “Hell...let's spend it. What've we got to lose?”
“Stupid skirt,” Ham remarks, “This belongs to the Mob, remember? If we just give it back, maybe -”
“We can't 'just give it back', idiot,” Doll snaps, “Thanks to us, Gojira stomped those big bosses to death – we're marked! If we give it back, asking for forgiveness, they'll kill us! If we run, they'll kill us! If we fight, they'll kill us! Face it; it's over for us!”
“Shit, let's spend it anyways,” Silva grumbles, “What more can they do to us if we're already dead?”
“Almost a good idea, girl, except it ain't the dyin' I mind, it's the gettin' there that's a problem,” acknowledges Tupelo.
“Aw, what the hell...,” Silva doesn't want to let it go, “If we spend it, they can't get it back. C'mon, let's live a little before we die!”
Grease speaks up for the first time. “She got a point.”
Doc and the criminals look at each other. All are thinking the same thing: Not a bad idea, come to think of it...
It's been a while for the whole bunch, but they relax, and smile.
“No offense, but I think you all need a bath,” Doc suggests meekly.
“And a shave,” Doll adds.
“Some nice clothes?” Golda asks Ham timidly.
Ham smiles. “I believe we can all get nice clothes.”
“Gold piercings,” Grease grunts.
“...And some tattoos,” Elbow puts in.
Tupelo grins. “I'm gonna get me some more ammo for The King! Maybe I can get Sonny 'n' Red outta hock!”
Ham looks at the hitman. “The hell for? And who the 'ell are Sonny and Red?”
“I ain't goin' down without takin' a few with me, ol' son, an' them're a coupla friends of mine – always come through in tight spots...”
Steering the conversation back, Doll says, “ Ham, who cares what he's talking about? Let's go to town!”
Somewhere in a high-rise office building, in Downtown Tokyo, a last-minute meeting is taking place.
The survivors of the shantytown attack have given the details of events. The Big Boss absorbs the information calmly. He has a reputation for serene contemplation in stressful situations.
Standing to the right of the Big Boss, is his most trusted 'handyman'. This man is very tall for a native Japanese citizen; 6 feet, 7 inches, with a face that looks cut out of solid granite, big hands, and killer's eyes. The street thugs call him 'The Monster' – he knows it, and is pleased to have the nickname, because that is also his reputation.
The Big Boss inclines his head towards The Monster. “Do you know their location?”
“No,” deep voice, too, “...But they have a lot of our money. Eventually, they will reappear, and do something foolish.”
“They have already done something foolish, my friend: They have killed our people, and stolen our money. Find them, and punish them, and use your vast imagination, please.”
The Monster, smiles evilly, nods, and walks out of the room.
After bathing, shaving, buying brand-new expensive clothes and some jewelry – either around their necks, or wrists, or fingers, or in their ears and noses – the gang arrives at a nondescript warehouse near the docks.
Tupelo exchanges words with a suspicious dockworker, who then walks into the facility. A few moments later, a door opens to show a short, fat man with curly red hair. “Tupelo! Never thought I'd ever see you again! Come in, Come in! You're famous, you know that?”
Cautiously stepping in, Tupelo is puzzled. “Whatta you mean, I'm famous? Didja already hear whut happened last night?”
“Hell, yeah! Word on the street is The Monster is gunning for you! Apparently you made the big time!”
Tensing, Tupelo growls, “And you're gonna collect on the reward now? Go on, try somethin'...”
The little man smiles sadly. “Guess you didn't hear that news...there is no reward. And there's no reprisal for anyone that helps you. The Monster wants you all to himself. Like I said, you and your buddies made the big time.”
“What are you gonna do now?”
“Since I don't have to worry about getting anything chopped off for helping you, I'm gonna help you. But let's bring those other folks in here, too! It's okay, kids! C'mon in; you won't get hurt in here – me an' Tupelo're old partners!”
The rest of the crew shuffles into the building. Inside, they gawk at many different types of weapons; from guns and explosives, to armored vehicles and rocket launchers. There is enough stuff in this place to take over a small country. Well...maybe in the third world...
Relaxing, Tupelo introduces his friends to his old partner. “Folks, this here hombre has a lotta names, but most of his buyers call him Gears. 'Cause he's always improvin' on the weapons he buys 'n' sells.”
“Pleasure to meet you all,” Gears says, with a slight Irish accent, “We used to be in business together – I would sell the guns, et cetera, and he'd train the locals to use 'em.”
“How'd he get from being an instructor to ending up in Shantytown?” Doll wonders.
Gears explains. “Well...like I said, he'd train the locals, and then fight for a little while alongside of them to get them used to shooting and killing, but then he found out he really liked the killing, and was real good at it, so he became a hitman. So that's what happened: he trained people less and less, and killed individuals more and more, until we dissolved the partnership under amicable circumstances.”
“Shantytown?” urged Doll.
Gears stops smiling. “He was doing good for a while, but then the Yakuza gives him what would've been his last job – because he was gonna retire, and go back to the arms trade with me – but the cops had planted a spy in the Mob, and he ratted everybody out, and then he implied that Tupelo helped him get his information. It was a lie, 'cause by then the Mob caught the spy, tortured him, and later killed him. The Yakuza knew that Tupelo was innocent, but since he was an outsider, they didn't trust him, and they wouldn't let him leave Japan. He's been working for them ever since, if you wanna call it work...”
“Seems like a major coincidence that you're here now...” said Ham.
“Yeah...I got some bad news for you, Tupe. The Yakuza were about to let you go home with me, and resume your old job.”
Tupelo, stunned, whispers, “You're kiddin', man. That cain't be true...”
“It's the God's honest,” sighs Gears, “You were free; all was forgiven. Sorry, pal. I'm so sorry...”
Tupelo hangs his head in sorrow, walks to a dark corner, and slumps down on the floor. The rest of the crooks shuffle their feet; don't look into each other's eyes.
Gears quietly approaches them, saying, “Let's give him some time. Come up to my office, and I'll order food.”
Top-notch chicken, steak, rice, and vegetables, saki, French wine, Colombian coffee, both hot and iced tea, cover the huge table in Gears' conference room. Even though they just heard some crushing news, the crooks – minus Tupelo – dig in as if they were starving, which isn't too far from the truth. After ten minutes, in walks Tupelo, who sits down at the table, and starts to half-heartedly eat the feast. He ignores the uncomfortable stares around him.
Finally they have had their fill. It's so depressing in the room, you'd think it's the Last Supper.
And it might just be...
Tupelo, Doc, Ham, Golda, Silva, Doll, Grease, Elbow, and Gears sit slumped in silence, the weight of the world on their shoulders.
“Tellwittem, “ mumbles Tupelo.
The others look at him. “What was that?” queries Gears.
“Ah said, 'To hell with 'em,'” repeats Tupelo, “Let's go out with a bang!”
Ham wonders, “How do we do that?”
“Easy-peasy,” states Tupelo, “They's lookin' fer us, raht? Let's go where they are, make a ruckus, kill them until we run outta bullets, or get killed ourselves!”
“Huh,” muses Doll, “not a bad idea...”
“I have a better one,” Doc pipes up, “Let's really go out with a bang – let's kill Gojira.”
“...And how will we do that, pray tell?” sneers Ham, “OD him, and take all his money?”
Doc explains. “In my lab, remember, I discovered a way to oxidize Gojira's blood, giving it acidic properties. If we inject Gojira with it, his blood will become like acid, melting his insides and killing him in no time! All we have to do is figure a way to inject him with the chemical!”
“Oh, yeah, sure,” Ham laughs, “We can make a syringe outta a gas tanker and a 20-foot lightning rod, back the tanker right onta his foot, and keep backing the truck until it squeezes the stuff straight into his veins! The perfect plan! I'm a genius!”
“No; you're right,” says Doll glumly, “His skin's too thick everywhere to use something that might punch it into his veins. I mean, look at all the high-tech hardware that the Defense Force keeps throwing at him, and they don't even slow him down – they just make him mad.”
“Still, it ain't right, Ham, you shoving such bad news down our throats,” Silva whines.
Everybody hangs their head in thought, or sadness, or both. And then...
Everybody looks up, looks at each other. Many have gleams of realization in their eyes.
Doc, slowly nodding, “The throat. Of course...”
Ham's lost. “Wha'? Whatta you talkin' about?”
“Idiot,” snaps Doll, “If we can shoot it into his throat, the skin is pretty soft there – it'll go directly into his bloodstream in no time!”
“Okay, smartass,” challenges Ham, “With what? And where are we gonna get this miracle shit?”
“If I can get to my apartment,” says Doc, “I can mix up the Oxidizer with the materials I took home from the lab.”
“As far as putting it in his mouth,” adds Gears, “The RPG-7 is one of the most famous rocket launchers on the market; terrorists and third-world nations swear by it, and their enemies usually swear at it.”
“Gears can disassemble one of the rocket-propelled grenades, rig it somehow to carry the chemical payload instead of explosives and a big needle at the tip, and then all we hafta do is get Gojira to open his mouth,” Tupelo instructs.
Always the doubter, Ham patiently asks, “Fine. How do we do that? Say 'Open wide?'”
Doc sighs. “The only way, the only guaranteed way, is to make Gojira mad enough to spit his radioactive fire breath at us.”
“And after he's done turning us into charcoal briquettes, then we can shoot a vaporized chemical out of a melted launcher, right? This plan just keeps getting better and better...”
“No, we have to time it perfectly – after he opens his mouth, and before he burns us. That's the only way, I'm afraid.” Doc shakes his head sadly.
“So it's all in the timing,” finishes Tupelo, “Gears, we're gonna need some guns...and an RPG-7, and an RPG.”
“They're yours, old friend,” Gears agrees.
“My apartment is close to Shantytown,” reports Doc, “After all, I can't afford anything else, what with low pay, and gambling debts. It's five minutes from here, but how will I get there?”
Gears speaks up, “Take my car and driver. If The Monster is coming for you, there's a good chance he'll have people watching your place, but won't make a move until he knows you're all together. They'll just follow you back here. Hurry!”
Doc runs out, with Gears' driver.
Tupelo raises his voice, gets everybody's attention. “We's gotta be ready for trouble, folks, so grab anything that kills. Gears, gimme ten eight-round Desert Eagle magazines, and eighty rounds of .44 Magnum. And git Sonny 'n' Red for me, too. I'm gonna need 'em.”
Ham takes a Saiga-12, an automatic shotgun version of the AK-47, and several ten-round mags.
Golda gets an M240 7.62NATO machinegun and wraps five belts of ammunition over her shoulders.
Silva and Doll grab FN P90s, plus a bunch of clips.
Grease and Elbow pick up AK-47s, and all the ammo they can carry.
Gears walks from the shadows to Tupelo. He has an M4 carbine with an M203 grenade launcher under the barrel. Painted on the forward handgrip of the carbine, in silver, is the name SONNY. On the barrel of the grenade launcher can be seen, in red, the name RED. Gears gives him two 90-round, double cylinder Beta magazines for the gun, and a vest with twenty pouches filled with 40mm grenades.
Tupelo, wearing black clothes, black boots, a white shirt, and a black tie, removes the coat and slips on the vest. It's olive green. Under the vest is holstered The King, with the opposite side holding all the magazines. Tupelo makes some adjustments, until everything is comfortable and loose. He puts the extra Beta mag in a large side pouch on his belt.
Tupelo curls his lip. “Time to go to work, baby.”
From the door of the warehouse a deep voice is heard, “Excellent choice of words, Mr. Tupelo...”
The Monster, and ten goons stroll into the building, spreading out in a wide line. The gang does the same, across from the goons. Guns are pointed; the safeties are off. There is a tense moment.
He stalks over to where Grease is standing. The Monster chuckles. “Look at you. You look like a freak.”
The Monster is very tall, but so is Grease, who stands about 6'4”. They stare into each other's eyes.
The Monster reaches up, hooks his finger into Grease's nose ring, and taunts, “How's your tolerance for pain?”
The Monster yanks the ring out of Grease's nose, spurting blood. Making no sound, Grease continues to stare hard at the Monster. For a second, The Monster looks frightened, but he recovers quickly.
“Do you really think you can scare my men and I with those toys?” smiles The Monster.
Without removing his eyes from The Monster's grim face, Tupelo responds by saying, “You heard 'em, folks. Aim fer their balls.”
The goons look nervous. The Monster steps back, out of his goons' line of fire. “You don't understand. They know their fates are sealed; they took a vow to lay down their lives for their Masters. Regardless of where you shoot them, they will kill you.”
Before the Monster gives the order to shoot, there is a thump, a whoosh, and a rocket-propelled grenade hits The Monster directly in the stomach, then explodes, ripping him in two burning halves. Surprised, the goons pause; then it's too late, but Tupelo's gang never fires a shot. It's Gears' workers that fire their guns at the mobsters.
“Make sure they're all dead,” instructs Gears, from the upper level, “I got some Napalm that'll turn 'em to dust!”
While the workers drag the corpses to a hole in the floor, in walks Doc, with a suitcase in his hand.
“That was longer than five minutes, Doc,” admonishes Ham.
“As I mixed the chemicals together, I realized that we had no way of luring Gojira to us, so I took a bottle of sex pheromones to the edge of Shantytown, and dribbled a little out of the car window to a skyscraper a few blocks from here. Its roof is about as level with Gojira's mouth as it can be! Is the grenade ready?”
“It will be once you gimme the stuff that's going into it,” says Gears, “The shell is hollowed out, but there's still some room for a bit of C4 to pop open a vein...”
Doll's thinking about something Doc said. “Wait a minute,” she says, “what do you mean, 'sex pheromones'? What about the stuff that made him stomp on the limo?”
Doc explains, “Those pheromones were to anger Gojira. Now we want him to come to us in a hurry. This new stuff is what a female lizard in heat would emit to attract a male.”
“So...” Ham grumbles, “We gotta make a horny Gojira become a pissed-off Gojira? I could laugh until I cry...”
“Leave him alone,” warns Doll, “It's not like you have a better idea.”
Since they disposed of the Yakuza's best go-to guy, everyone is naturally impatient to get going. They hear on the radio that Gojira is again on the move towards Tokyo from Monster Island. It is now time to go.
Luckily, Gears has the weapon ready. Handing the loaded RPG to Doc, he says, “There ya go, ready to roll. Good luck!”
Doc can barely lift it with two hands, and nearly drops it. He nods to the grenade. “Uh, is this the front?”
A groan emanates from everybody.
“You mean, you don't know how to fire this?” Gears asks, stunned.
“Weren't you in the Defense Force?” asks Doll, “I thought it was mandatory for every eighteen-year-old?”
“Well, yes, but,” stammers Doc, “you have to remember: I was eighteen a long time ago, I may have fired a rifle once or twice, but I was mostly cooking all the time.”
Thinking hard, Gears says, “Fine. I'll shoot the damn thing.”
Tupelo shakes his head, “No, just teach one of us the basic points; we'll take care of it. Besides, we been talkin', and you get what's left of the money. Git outta here, and live a good life.”
Now Gears shakes his head. “You don't understand. Now that I killed The Monster, the Yakuza ain't gonna rest 'til I'm dead, too. I got nowheres to go, myself. My workers can scatter far away from this place, so give them the money to divide between themselves. But I'm comin' with you, whether you like it or not.”
“I don't like this, man.”
“Do you think you can talk me out of it?”
Gears holds out his hand. “Whatta you say? Partners one more time?”
Tupelo takes Gears' hand, shakes it firmly. “Tupelo 'n' Gears – together again!”
“Very touching,” Ham peevishly says, “Now can we get this over with?”
Leaving the duffel bag to Gears' henchmen, and piling into two vans, the crooks head out.
Vehicles with loudspeakers mounted to the roofs telling citizens to evacuate, police cars and firetrucks with sirens blaring, people with few belongings on their backs walking resignedly towards the countryside crowd the streets. From military bases are hundreds of armored machinery carrying various high-tech weapons – that they hope can kill Gojira – rumbling into Tokyo. No one notices two large vans park outside a building.
Out of those vans emerge some very unlucky criminals with many guns, and start climbing the stairs inside. Laden with gear, it is a slow journey upward.
“I gotta chunder,” pants Ham, halfway to the roof.
“Nerves, or exhaustion?” smiles Doll, enjoying his misery.
“Don't care,” gulps Ham, leaning over the side rail, puking that delicious dinner down to the first floor.
The gang continues up, breathing hard and sweating.
Finally they open the last door, stepping onto the roof. It's a nice view; they can see the emptying city, the docks, the military taking position in the ruins of Shantytown, the blue sky.
Preparing the RPG-7, Gears muses, “It's a good day to die...”
Ham takes a swig from a canteen, rinses out his mouth, watches the first wave of attack aircraft dive at the bay, and asks, “How we gonna get him to stroll over here?”
“I've been dripping some of the pheremones all the way from the docks to this location,” answers Doc, smashing the rest of a bottle at the edge of the roof, “He'll follow. He won't have a choice.”
Now they see Gojira's head above the skyscrapers of Downtown. Another wave of fighters attack him. He smacks some out of the sky. Even now he is angered.
Apparently soldiers are also in the city, firing everything they can at the big green guy. Gojira retaliates by crushing the structures around him.
“Oh, no,” quotes Grease, “There goes Tokyo...”
Making his way through Downtown, Gojira reaches the open outskirts of the smouldering city. To the military, he becomes a BFT – Big, Fat, Target. They unload all of that high-tech stuff at him, firing with precision.
Rockets, lasers, lightning bolts, missiles explode on his body. He roars in anger and defiance. Before the second salvo is released, he opens his mouth.
There is a pause, a heartbeat, his dorsal fins glow, then radioactive fire spews from his mouth, and melts the armored vehicles like butter.
What's left of the weapons start falling back, still trying to destroy the monster. Gojira ignores them, lumbering towards the gang.
A mile away, Gojira closing the distance rapidly, the little heroes tense, and raise their guns.
“Aim fer the eyes and the nose,” Tupelo says calmly.
The Japanese Defense Force is in a shambles – they're useless now, until reinforcements arrive, whenever that will be.
Gojira is singed and bleeding, but if he feels the wounds he certainly doesn't care.
“Yeah, you smell some good pussy up here, don'tcha?” teases Ham, “We'll give ya a party!”
“One you won't forget,” adds Doll.
From a hundred yards away, the gang open up with their firearms, going for the head. Being somewhat nervous or scared, they do hit the head, but not too many shots find the vital parts. Gears is ready; all he's waiting for is Gojira to yawn.
Gojira doesn't stop until he is staring at them thirty yards from their position. Then he opens his mouth.
There is a pause.
Having short arms, Gojira doesn't brush his teeth much. The breath that emanates from his maw makes the gang's eyes water and stomachs turn. They stare into the back of his throat, and see a small light.
“Wouldja look at that,” thinks Gears, “A pilot light! Who woulda thought he has radioactive butane?”
As the dorsal fins glow, Gears squeezes the RPG's trigger, fires the rocket directly down Gojira's gullet, and they all see the grenade explode.
The monster's head snaps back, and he reels backwards a few feet. Then he recovers, and glares at these insignificant bugs. He draws some breath and tries to roar, but the sound turns into a choking cough. As hard as it is to ascertain what emotions can register on a face that looks permanently pissed-off, Gojira seems confused.
Another pause. The gang, looking stunned at the success of their work, glance at each other.
They've won; now all that's left is to go out with a bang. They smile happily, raise their weapons one last time, and go for the eyes and nose.
Golda had linked all of the belts together, so that she has 500 rounds at her disposal; presses the spade trigger, with Gears now feeding the belt smoothly into the receiver. She's just tearing up meat, not really aiming for anything special.
It's difficult to control an automatic shotgun on full auto, so Ham also aims in the general direction of the head, too, and hopes for the best.
Doll and Silva, with the tiny P90s – which don't have much stopping power, range, or recoil – fire bursts at the nose.
Grease and Elbow with AK-47s, and Tupelo with Sonny and Red, aim for the eyes. Tupelo scores a direct hit of Gojira's left eye with Red's High-Explosive grenades.
Doc, who has no recollection of using a rifle since Basic Training, and not having any weapon now, throws whatever junk from the rooftop at the dying monster. It may not hurt him, but it isn't doing Gojira much good, either...
Reloading Sonny, Tupelo softly sings “By and By,” one of his favorite Elvis Gospel songs.
Gojira, half-blind, raises his arms, takes a step forward, and crashes into the building, collapsing into it and onto it.
The building is reduced to rubble, with a dead monster amidst the debris. Nine bodies are practically liquidated and unrecognizable in the clutter.
Chapter 12: Epilogue
After Gojira's carcass is dissected – right at the site of his demise, since there's not a gurney or morgue that can take him in one piece – they find that his blood was somehow turned to acid, but they never find a trace of the chemicals that did this. Too bad; if they could have salvaged some of it, they could have used it on any other creature from Monster Island who would dare attack them. Oh well...
Deep down in a secret underground bunker, the Big Boss of the Yakuza loses his serene demeanor. “What do you mean: the Monster's dead, you can't find the money, or the bodies?” he growls through gritted teeth at his cowering subordinates, “This is unacceptable! Peform the act of Seppuru right now!”
They immediately remove knives, plunge them into their bellies, and try to drag the blades across their midsections before collasping on their own intestines. Some of the greatest masterminds of the Yakuza die that day. Eventually, the Big Boss's power weakens, and he is sent to his ancestors by assassins paid by his adversaries.
Years from now, the citizens of a rebuilt, thriving Tokyo will tell anyone who will listen about where they were when Gojira died violently at the hands of unknown heroes. The Yakuza made a nice profit from cheaply-made “I SURVIVED GOJIRA'S LAST STAND' T-shirts and sweaters.
“Thankyuh. Thankyuh ver' much.”