“Mr. Fredrickson has been considering her request,” said George. His name wasn’t really George, but that’s what Mr. Fredrickson liked to call him, so that’s what he went by. He rolled his shoulders, the quills that sprouted from his scalp, shoulders, and back rattling with the movement. His bare chest was heavily tattooed, mostly geometric designs featuring heavy black line work against his dark skin. There was a little Sonic the Hedgehog scratched into his skin just to the right of his bellybutton, put there by some kitchen wizard while they had both been comfortably high on pot back when George had been in high school.
“Really? I mean, uh.. really?” Hot Sauce scratched his nose. “I thought Zombie was still in Illinois. Or Colorado. Or...wherever it was she was.”
George closed his eyes briefly and shook his head, quills rattling. “She’s been in Southern California for about six months. Try to keep up.”
“Yeah, but sending some of us down there? I wouldn’t think that Mr. Fredrickson would have been into that.”
“You shouldn’t think,” said George. “Just leave that to Mr. Fredrickson.” He leaned out of the doorway, squinting against the late afternoon Portland sun. “Here comes the truck. Get everyone in the holding room.”
“Right boss.” Hot Sauce waved at the driver, and George ducked back into the brick building. Mr. Fredrickson, the leader of the Portland, Oregon cell of the League, resided in the main room in the back of the building. George was the only lieutenant who was allowed come into his presence, and he took the responsibility seriously.
“Mr. Fredrickson.” George folded his arms across his chest.
”I’m tired, George.”
“It’s been a long day.” He looked at the clock on the wall. “Dinner is coming up.”
”Good. While we wait, George, I’d like to finalize the plans for California. She asked for my help.”
“In over her head, I imagine.”
”No doubt, no doubt.” Mr. Fredrickson laughed. ”We will send Zombie the skilled reinforcements she has requested. The situation cannot be allowed to spiral out of her control.”
“Of course.” George paused. “Who were you thinking of…?”
”Mmmm… Thorny. And Hot Sauce. Not required for our operation, and will give Zombie a new offensive edge. If she uses them correctly.”
“Very good. I will let them know.” George turned as there was a knock on the door. “Just a moment.”
Hot Sauce pushed a freshly showered and naked man at George when he opened the door. He tried to look around the quilled mutant, but the room was kept dim out of respect for their boss. George ignored him, pulling the man inside and closing the door on Hot Sauce.
The man’s pupils were blown, and he was staring at nothing as George walked him toward Mr. Fredrickson. As high as he was, the homeless man began to balk when he saw what he was walking toward. “What is this, man? What - I thought this was a shelter…”
The great mound of flesh that was Mr. Fredrickson quivered as George pushed the man closer. ”I am the last shelter you will ever need.” George shoved the man the last few steps, and he stumbled, his hands outstretched to catch himself against the slowly shifting mass.
George kept walking, ignoring the man’s cries of confusion as his hands stuck and were enveloped by the fat, his every struggle drawing him in further and deeper, until there was only silence in the room. Mr. Fredrickson hmmed, his massive bulk heaving. George didn’t even know where the man’s face was, all he knew was the undulating pile of humanity that filled a good portion of the room. Some people called him the Canniblob, but never in his presence.
After making sure Mr. Fredrickson was satisfied with his meal, George took his leave and went to make arrangements for sending Thorny and Hot Sauce down to California