It had once been the bunkhouse and communications center adjacent to the lighthouse. Now, long after the lighthouse went dark and the river boats stopped hauling cargo and/or passengers, its weather radar and radio equipment now stood stripped and skeletonized, parts of any real value long gone and sold on some unsavory market.

Now, amongst the dust and debris, a slag of Groogs held sway. Its leader, a tall, thin man, with a pearl white complexion, dark staring eyes, and long dark hair, tinged with a sprinkle of gray, that was pulled into a ponytail.

Timothy Edward Friendly sat in an old leather chair, like some third rate king on a discount throne that was set up on top of a couple of banquet tables pushed together, to form an impromptu platform. A platform that placed him a good five feet above the floor, where some of his Groog subjects lily padded around.

To his left stood a short pudgy guy, wearing two frames of glasses and a Gumby hair style. He was reading a well worn, brown leather bound journal.

“I’m telling you, Master!” pudgy guy addressed Friendly, “there is some radical stuff in here! Formulas for time travel, consciousness transfer, unlimited energy sources. Maybe even the equations for the existence of God and the Devil!!! This is maximus dangerous!!!”

“You better not be lying to me, Braincase!” Friendly replied, “or I’ll have the ‘phibians fry and sauté you! I looked through that book and it doesn’t make any sense to me, but I know you told me it was supposedly written by some supposed genius, but since you’re the closet to a science advisor I’ve got around here, I’ll have to trust your word!”

Braincase had been a high school science teacher years ago, until he had mixed some items in the chemistry lab to make a date rape drug to use on some unsuspecting female students. He had been sentenced to twenty years. Now released, he ended up homeless, until Friendly came along and gave him a job, developing formulas to drug more unsuspecting females and turn them into Joy Girls.

“Yeah,” Braincase continued, “it was written by some Oxford Physics professor named Daniel Faraday! He wrote some heavy shit! But still, this book scares me, man!!!”

Friendly nodded, “So, that’s why we’re going to get paid a lot for its safe delivery and why, just to be on the safe side, I’m having Binary make a copy of it. Now, take it back and wake her from her nap, so she can continue to copy!”

“Okay, Master,“ Braincase answered, “guess all things that are dangerous are worth something, cause it was really locked up tight in that church basement!”

“That is true, Master!!!” two tall muscular guys, who were standing off to the side, replied in stereophonic unison. Both were dressed in a black t-shirts with silver bandanas wrapped around their heads, each with a squirrel carcass attached in back, “we almost got done in by some freakin swinging pendulum over some floor map of the world in that basement, before we found the book in that safe!”

“Yes, Servai. Yes, Demetri, I know!” Friendly boringly replied, “Savo told us it would be there, and so it was!!”

Servai and Demetri Keamy were identical twins and were Friendly’s bodyguards. They usually spoke in unison or finished each others sentences, both tuned in to each other’s mental wavelengths in some sort of double cosmic mocking.

The Keamy twins had been born to a Russian prostitute, nine months after she had a one night stand with some American soldier-of-fortune. They never knew their father and their mother had quickly sold them to an orphanage when they were only several days old.

They, themselves, grew up to become Chethean soldiers of fortune, who had been captured during the Slovanian war of 2024. They eventually escaped from a Russian torture camp and had led an all out rage-a-thon massacre just outside Moscow.

Years later, they ended up as club bouncers in some dive in Neuro ville, where they would not only escort drunk and disorderly patrons out the door but would put a bullet through the patron’s head at the same time. Eventually, they were fired because of an eventual lack of business at that club!

When Friendly caught their act one night, kicking the crap out a dozen Joe Boys just for the fun of it, he knew he had found his bodyguards.

“Well, either way,” Friendly noted, “I’m ready to let Savo know we have successfully retrieved it and make the arrangements for its pick up!”

Friendly then glanced over to his right, towards a stick skinny girl with dark raven like hair, who was sitting on the floor and filing her nails with a bayonet.

“MOD!! DAMITT!!!” Friendly yelled, “don’t do that!!! It irritates the hell out of me!!

Mod looked up and smiled. She had once been a model for all the important Holozines back in the day, until she got hooked on the Haze and, as a result, her skyrocketing career quickly crashed and burned! Now she was Friendly’s main squeeze.

“Quit F****n with your nails,” Friendly ordered, “and come in back with me, I feel like a little squeezin!”

Mod nodded.

However, the skinny slimy guy came into the room. Not surprisingly, he was nicknamed "Frog"!

“Master,” he announced, “me and Toad caught something in our mouse trap!”

“Another rat?!” Friendly irritatingly replied.

“No, Master,” Frog replied, “but its bigger than a bread box!”

Friendly suddenly took out a knife from his pocket and threw it into Frog’s left arm!

“OWWWW!!!” Frog cried out, “why’d ya do that for, Master?!”

“Because,” Friendly replied, “how many times have I told you and the Toad to get to the point! Now, what did you catch in your little mouse trap?!!”

“A girl, Master,” Frog answered, while pulling out the knife imbedded in his arm, “a mousy little girl!”

Friendly nodded, “Yeah, I know. I was expecting her!”

Next: Chap. Twenty-Four “Danger! Will Robinson! Danger!”

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