The Uprising in Building Three

 By Johnny Apocalypse
BSchin2188@aol.com
          

My name is Justin Taggart, and I am the bitch of a security company.  Whenever someone calls off of a shift or doesn't show up to work, I seem to always get stuck with the extra hours.  As a result, my sleep schedule is never steady but my paychecks are always pretty handsome.

Working security definitely has it's benefits.  I've learned that the supernatural is no longer just the dreams and hallucinations of liars and psychotics.  I have discovered just how much I enjoy coffee, and plan to remain addicted to it until the day I die.  And I met Beth, my girlfriend here.  She works the graveyard shift, and we began our relationship over some light demon fighting.

When I'm not at work, I can usually be found watching cult films with my partner in crime, Chris.  Aside from being the main source of revenue for marijuana merchants in Colorado, he's also the best friend a guy could have.  He's helped me in hand-to-hand combat against a ghost, assisted my effort to banish the demons of hell from my workplace, and also aided me in a dance contest against a disco-loving Boogieman.

My problems always start at the campus where I do my job, a multi-national computer company that hasn't turned a profit in the last three years.  And the dilemmas only seem to come when it's the graveyard shift.  Who says that a full moon doesn't bring out the crazies?

This time around, everything began at work, on a graveyard shift.  I had my normal swing shift off, but when Skip¾ the Vietnam Vet who works the graveyard shift when Beth's not around¾ decided to call off, I got called in.  With a thermos full of hot, hazelnut-flavored coffee and a stomach full of microwave burritos, I had just punched my time card and decided to swing by the dispatch room to harass Ray.

Ray is by all means a great guy.  He does his job well and tries his hardest to keep me out of trouble.  Sadly, the dispatcher also has an uncanny sense of logic and skepticism, refusing to believe any of the supernatural craziness that goes on around here.  Many people claim this to be a virtue, but since it means less help for me I call it a fault.

"Mobile to dispatch," I said as I strolled into the office, "I have arrived at the scene of the accident, one casualty."

"Very funny, Justin," Ray said, scribbling notes on his dispatch log.  "Did you bring any coffee?  My pot's run dry."

The dispatcher and I share a strong caffeine addiction.  I always whip up a fresh pot whenever I decide to pay a visit to Ray, but, thermos in hand, I had neglected to do so this time around.

"No, I forgot," I said, grabbing a Styrofoam cup.  "But you can have some of mine."

I poured him a cup and slid it across the desk to him.  As I sat down, Ray closed his eyes and smelled the steaming java, smiling deeply.

"Damn, that's good," he said after his first taste.  "Hazelnut, right?"

"Yeah."

"Maxwell House?"

"Nope, Foldger's."

Ray got back to his note writing, "So we're stuck together again, huh?"

"So it would seem.  Anything important going on tonight?"

"Not a thing," he said.  "Just driving around and checking buildings.  And I'm assuming that we'll be continuing our argument over your title."

I nodded gravely, not willing to give up on my life-long cause.  Ever since the company's stock had taken it's first plunge many moons ago, we had lost our standard procedure of two mobile officers a shift, leaving us with only one.  For reasons that only God and Satan could possibly conceive, we were still required to call the patrol unit "Mobile One".  But since I'm slightly rebellious and an asshole, I just call the position "Mobile".  Ray is a strict by-the-books man, and still uses the old title.

"Well, now that that's settled, let's get going," Ray said.  "Are you going to drive around first, or do you want to check a building?"

"Drive," I answered immediately.  "No way am I beginning a graveyard shift by walking."

I left the dispatch office, heading straight to my work vehicle.  When we are on patrol, the mobile officers drive a white truck with "Security" emblazoned on the side.  As if this didn't make us obvious enough, the truck was also equipped with a yellow light bar atop the roof.  If an employee needed to find us in the parking lot, all the better, but in my mind I knew that this truck would be the first vehicle finding itself on the business end of a rocket launcher should terrorists decide to attack the campus.

Some time ago, I put in a written request to Tony, the boss, asking to have surface-to-air missiles installed behind the headlights, just so I could feel like James Bond.  The second my boss realized what I was asking for, he lit the request on fire and buried the ashes in the garbage bin.

The chill night air hit me once I stepped outside.  Once I reached it, I wrote down the mileage, checked the gas gauge and made sure that all the lights were working.  Once inside the truck I cranked the radio up and started cruising through the empty parking lots.

Whenever a patrol officer is sailing through the lots, we're supposed to make sure no one is stealing or vandalizing anything.  Since I've never had to deal with either situation, I spend my time making sure there aren't any punk teenagers skateboarding on the property.  Not that I have anything against skateboarders, mind you, but it's a company policy regulated by our insurance carrier.  And a happy insurance company makes for happy managers.

I spent about half an hour circling the buildings before I decided that it was high time to check a building.  I finished a quick cup of coffee before pulling into the parking lot of building three.

Once I had notified Ray of my plans, I got out of the truck and started heading for the building.  Four rows of windows were lit by dim lights, like a beacon in an ocean.  I scanned each window for any signs of movement or demon infestation.

Ever since I had managed to close up a portal to hell in this building with a shit-load of holy water and a brick wall, I was always worried that the creatures from the fiery abyss would break down the barrier and find their way back into the mortal world.

So far, the fortification had withstood the tests of time and the maintenance crews' vigilant eyes.  In order to save the computer company¾ and possibly the world¾ I had to close up a room full of phone lines and communication junctions.  If the repair crew ever had a reason to go in there, they had either never figured out how the room disappeared, or never taken the time to remove my wall.  Either way, the demons have a little more work to do before they can rampage through my campus again.

Before hosing down a horde of evil beasts, I used to check the building from the top floor on down.  But since the portal had appeared on the first floor, I always made sure to check this level first.

I ambled through the halls and offices, poking my head into cubicles and meeting rooms along the way.  Building three was pretty much the most thorough check that I ever did, usually sticking close to the locked server rooms, the only essential part of any inspection.  But after putting a lot of blood, sweat and tears into personally securing the building, I felt it necessary to make sure it stayed that way.

I finished off the first floor at what appeared to be an ordinary section of wall.  Only myself and a small handful of people knew that the paint and drywall covered the remains of a communications room.  I smiled as I ran a hand over the smooth wall, knowing that my handiwork was still incognito for the time being.

It was time to continue on with the building.  Hitting up the elevator, I took a quick vertical trip to the fourth floor.

Building three is the largest building on campus.  The edifice housed the company's legal teams and accountants, and there weren't enough of both to fill four whole floors.  As a result, the top story is composed entirely of conference rooms, open meeting spaces and break areas.  Since there were plenty of these on the first three floors, nobody took the time or energy to walk up a flight of stairs to attend a meeting.  The level smelled clean but desolate.

I kept a leisurely stride as I walked through the barren hallways, checking each conference room along the way.  The only sound was my own footsteps echoing in the corridors.

Once the top floor was clear, I slid down the banister of the stairway to the third.  This floor had a distinct bouquet of life.  The company lawyers owned the eastern wing of this building, while the upper-level accountants endlessly toiled over adding machines on the western half.  Once five o'clock struck, the floor was vacated but the tension could be felt like an aura, emanating from every cubicle and office.

Again, I found nothing.  The night was turning out pretty good.

I hit the second floor at a quicker pace, ready to return to the truck and thermos.  Among more offices and cubicles, this level held a decently sized law library, open to all employees but used exclusively by the legal team.  I had once picked up one of the tomes, thinking that law might be a good career choice.  After flipping through the massive hardback and seeing more Latin then English, I decided to pass on the job.

Half of this floor down, half to go.  I detoured over to a break room long enough to grab more coffee, then hit the hallways.

"Meep!  Meep!  Meep!" a hushed, rhythmic noise echoed down the halls.

While I had never heard this specific noise before, it reminded me of an air conditioning unit that I had broken one night.  I had been walking through the halls, tossing and catching a tennis ball in the air to keep myself amused and alert.  At one inopportune moment, I decided to bounce the ball off of the ceiling, bank it off a wall, and try to catch it again.

My plan went awry just as the ball flew from my hand.  Not only was I aware that I had tossed it too hard, but I suddenly remembered that I was terrible at aiming my throws.  The fuzzy yellow ball arced to the right, like a horrible golfer's slice.  I tried to dive after it, fearing that it might fly into a cubicle and break a computer monitor.  My outstretched arm missed by a few miles, and I could only watch in fear as my haphazard plan came to fruition.

Luckily, the ball missed anything really breakable, but it careened straight into the grill over a ventilation fan.  The end result was a slightly bent wire on the grill, and every time a certain blade passed the crooked bar, it made a squeaky voomp noise.  I called maintenance and reported the problem, like a good security officer, but left out the initial cause of the damage.

"Mobile to dispatch," I spoke into my radio, "Do we have any word about a squeaky air conditioning unit on the second floor?"

"That's negative, mobile one.," Ray answered.  "Do I need to relay the problem to maintenance?"

"Not just yet, I'm still investigating the sound."

"Ten four, just don't break anything."

Ray knows me all to well.

"Meep!  Meep!  Meep!"

I kept walking towards the strange noise.  The sounds was coming from a corridor leading to a bank of cubicles.  The chanting squeak was getting louder.

"Mobile one, this is dispatch," my radio came alive again.

"Send it."

"I contacted maintenance, and they say that the noise can't be the air vents, all of the cooling units have been shut down for the night."

I spoke my acknowledgement, remembering that this was another inane attempt by the company to save expenditures and boost profits.  Now knowing that this could be a possibly creepier situation, I slowed my pace and attempted to walk silently.

Most logical people would say that the noise was being made by a malfunctioning computer.  Others would claim it's an intruder, before realizing that any burglar worth a damn wouldn't be chanting "meep meep" while doing his thing.  That's where I come in.  After my dealings with the strange and improbable, I knew that this had to be a paranormal phenomenon.  Floating specters, crazed leprechauns or maybe a falsetto singing vampire.  I was ready for anything.

My walk slowed to a snail's pace as I neared the source of the noise.  A meeting room's lights were on.  Since the lighting system runs on automatic timers, someone must have turned them on once they went dim.  I made this my likely target, and kept slinking towards the doorway.

I was only five feet away when I made a foolish error in judgment.  Instead of sneaking towards the door and peeking around the corner, I jumped in front of the entrance, my arms raised in a kung-fu pose.

"Security!" I cried, ready to kick ass.

Should anyone else see what I was seeing now, their first instinct would be to run.  This would definitely have the best course of action.  Instead, a single, peculiar thought crossed my mind.

"Why didn't I look into the room before pulling this stupid bullshit?"

And then, in place of hauling ass out of there, another thought came across my mind.

"Why does this always happen to me?"

My worst nightmare had come true.  The entire second floor was usually covered with stuffed animals and teddy bears.  But they weren't lying around on filing cabinets and computer towers like they should be.  They stood in a semi-circle around the long conference table, raising their furry paws into the air to their chant of "meep".  Atop the desk, a five-foot tall, plush green humanoid with a funny shaped head stood, his arms raised to his sides, a devilish grim on his stitched face.

All of the company employee's teddy bears had come to life, preaching revolution and being led by Gumby.

Once my battle cry of "Security!" escaped my lips, they all turned towards me.  Their little wooly brows began to furrow in anger.  Gumby smiled in anticipation as his arm gestured towards me.

"Meep!" he cried.

And finally, I began to run.

There are days when I thank God I have a caffeine addiction.  This was one of those times.  If I hadn't had coffee bursting through my arteries, I would have been a dead man.  The stuffed animals would have easily caught up to me and I would probably be found dead atop some employee's desk with a massive wad of cotton stuffed up my ass..  But, caffeine being the perfect stimulant and a burst of adrenaline kick-starting my heart, I made a good fifteen yard dash before the first teddy bear came running out of the room.

Sprinting like a madman, I looked over my shoulder.  The whole plush army was chasing after me, but I was gaining ground.  Inches at a time, I knew I was going to get away.  I would have allowed myself to laugh a little, if I didn't need to conserve my breath.

Gumby rounded the corner once all of the stuffed animals had escaped into the hallway.  His long legs had him running faster, bounding past his militia in great leaps.  I knew that he would be on me in seconds if I didn't act fast.

I kept running at full blast until he was about two yards behind me.  I stopped in my tracks and spun around.  My fist lashed out into a sharp, fleeting punch.  I caught Gumby in his soft chest.  He bounced back for a split second, but kept coming.

"This is it," I thought.  "I'm going to die at the hands of a toy."

The green bastard leaped into me.  Gumby was surprisingly heavy.  I fell to the ground, crashing onto my back.  The fuzzy bastard collapsed on top of me, swatting his arm into my head.

The punch didn't hurt, but it was damn annoying.  If the other toys managed to catch up of me, they would surely find a way to do me in.

Reacting fast, I brought my knees up under the doll, curling them towards my chest.  Both of my legs shoved out, sweeping Gumby off of me.  He crashed into the first row of bears, thankfully slowing the whole fleet down.

I managed to scramble to my feet, turned tail and ran.

***

I burst through the lobby doors, breathing hard.  My hand scrambled for the keys in my pocket as I crashed into the door of the truck.  As I was twisting the lock, I looked back at the building.

No dolls rushing outside to kill me.  No Gumby, standing in front of a window, shaking his fist at me.  In fact, no movement at all.

With no apparent danger right behind me, I leaned against the truck and caught my breath.  I had just been chased out of the building by a malevolent faction of toy animal revolutionaries.  More then likely, it would be up to me again to stop the forces of paranormal evil and save the world.  Shit.

My heart was finally taking it's normal pace again as I realized that five young men were standing in the parking lot, staring at me.  They all wore black hoodies, black cargo pants and black shoes, trying to blend in with the night by standing right under a street lamp.  They had several skateboards and a beaten up BMX bicycle. 

I snagged my radio and spoke into the microphone.  "Dispatch, I'm done with checking building three, but we have some skateboarders in the parking lot."

"Ten four.  Do you want me to call the police?"

"Not just yet.  If they give me any trouble, I'll let you know."

Finally regaining my composure, I pushed off of the truck and began to approach the teens.

"What the hell happened to you?" one of them asked, a tall, slender kid with a naturally pissed-off look carved into his face.

"Never you mind that," I said.  "You're on private property and I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

The teens all grunted an identical laugh before the same punk spoke up again.  "This is a parking lot, it ain't private property.  We can do whatever we want."

"Actually, this parking lot is on private land.  The border begins on the other side of those bushes."  I pointed towards the edge of my jurisdiction.

They all laughed again.

"Fuck you, we ain't leaving."

I shrugged and keyed my radio.  "Dispatch, you'd better call the cops."

Immediately, all of the skateboarders took on a defensive stance.  They dropped their boards and started to move towards me.  As they advanced they pulled the hoods of their sweatshirts over their heads.

"Fine, asshole," the leader said.  "It's going to take the cops a long time to get here.  We might as well have some fun while we wait."

Each kid began to spread out and shuffle around me.  I took a few steps back, trying to avoid being surrounded.  As I moved, they brought their arms up to chest level, their hands posed to karate-chop perfection.  Being a make-believe ninja my whole life, I knew the act.  They probably didn't know any real kung-fu.  But that didn't stop me from getting a little nervous.

I hit my radio again.  "Hey, uh, dispatch, you might want to tell the police to step on it.  I think these teens are going to get a little violent."

All I got in response was a simple "ten-four."

Even in my best shape and with a mass of energy, there was no way that I could fight off five people.  My only chance would be to keep them at bay, and hope that a patrol car was nearby.

The leader rushed me.  I was ready for him, bouncing to my side and crashing a right hook into his jaw.  He buckled and swayed to his side.  Pivoting on my feet, I caught a second attacker coming in fast.  My leg lashed out, catching him in the crotch.  Fighting fair is out of the question when great bodily harm is at risk.

One of the skateboarders managed to get behind me, kicking in the back of my knee.  I crumpled to the ground, turning over on my side.  I rolled away about a yard before I pushed myself back onto my feet.  The knee was sore, but it wasn't damaged.

The same teen who kicked me came charging like a bull.  His arms reached for my neck.  I ducked under them, and plowed my shoulder into his stomach.  My hands grabbed the back of his legs and yanked him off the ground.  The youth crashed to the ground once I let go.

Flashing lights lit up the parking lot of the building to my left.  The cavalry had arrived.

"Shit, cops!" one of the teens yelled.  They all scrambled back to their boards and the bike, picked them up and started running.  The cop car stopped next to me, and the officer in the passenger side bolted from his chair, running after the kids.  They had a solid head start on him.  Something told me that they would get away.

My breath was running ragged again.  I bent at the waist, braced my hands on my legs and tried to suck some air into my burning lungs.  Too much exercise in one day.

A black police officer in his late thirties approached me.  I knew him from my days fighting the Boogieman.  Officer Henderson put an arm on my shoulder.

"Hey son, you okay?"

I nodded.  "Yeah, only got nailed once."

"Sorry it took us so long to get here, but it looks like you were doing pretty good."

"I was doing my best."

Henderson's partner, Officer Garland, came jogging back.

"They got away, boss."

Henderson nodded.  "Yeah, it happens.  Let this be a lesson to you.  Never run after someone younger then you, unless they might kill someone."

"They might have killed me," I said, still gasping for air.

"Nah, you were doing fine."

I shrugged, and started staggering back to my truck for coffee.  Even if I took down several gallons of caffeine, I wasn't sure I had the energy to finish my shift.

The officers let me snag my thermos before Garland pulled out his notebook, and the laid-back Henderson began asking questions.

***

It was one in the morning before the cops had a full report from me.  I did my best to give them full descriptions of the skateboarders, but I only had one of them in my mind, the one who did the talking.

Once the police left, I meandered down to the dispatch office to write a report on what happened.  Ray played twenty questions with me again while we both drank coffee.  I had to give him the short, medium and long versions of the rumble in the parking lot before he was satisfied.

Any time a security officer gets into any physical scuffle on duty, Tony and our investigator had to be notified immediately.  Company policy dictates that the security guard involved is suspended for two days with pay while an investigation is done over the incident.  If the fight turned out to be security's fault, he would be fired and the two days pay would be revoked.  Knowing that I was in the right, I started looking forward to few days off.  The money would go straight to my beer fund.

When Ray called Tony, he was kind enough to let the boss know that I was pretty worn out.  Normally my suspension would begin once my shift was over, but Tony agreed to come in and take my shift over at three.  If I could last two more hours, I could go home for some blissful sleep.

GO TO PART II





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