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Friday, February 22, 2008

Fiction Fridays: Hopper's Choice

"So, what you're telling me is that there's no way you're going out there?"

Hopper shifted on his stool. The question made him uncomfortable. MacDonnell was a crafty guy, as crafty as they came, and Hopper never trusted folk like that. Everything they said, every word that MacDonnell spun from his mouth was loaded with layers and meaning -- and every single sound was chosen for a reason. Hopper didn't like that, not one bit. He preferred folks who spoke straight.

"Ah've got mah orders, mister. Ain't no way I'm takin' mah aim off o' you."

To emphasize the point, Hopper raised his rifle a little higher on his shoulder, settling the butt comfortably and flexing this fingers on the stock. He rested his cheek gently against the comb, closing one eye and peering meaningfully at MacDonnell down the length of the barrel.

MacDonnell winked back at the one-eyed stare.

"I suppose that's true. But what if one of your team mates, your friends, gets in trouble. You see as well as me on the screen" -- MacDonnell gestured vaguely in the direction of the closed-circuit display on the wall -- "what's going on out there. Some of my guys are quite well equipped."

Hopper kept his eye locked on target for a few moments more, before glancing briefly at the action on the screen. He was just in time to see a bright streak of light cut through a cluster of MacDonnell's black-clad henchmen, sending them flying.

"Looks t'me like they don't need none o' mah help." Hopper chuckled. "Nope, Ah think Ah'll stay right here, thank ye kindly."

MacDonnell ignored his captor, pressing his lips together as he watched the action. His fingers strayed to the back of his neck, pulling absently at the dark hair that tickled his collar.

"It does look like your super-friends have the upper hand."

Hopper looked over again, encouraged by the villain's resigned tone. He was shocked to see Crusader overcome by a crowd of combatants, dog-piling on the hero to bring him down. In the background, he could see G-Man, normal-sized, slumped over a large crate.

"Ah-" Hopper stuttered, catching his tongue before he gave too much away. These crafty types, they're always looking for an angle, a hook into you, to try and grab you and pull you, gasping and helpless like a fish out of water. Hopper wasn't giving MacDonnell any hooks.

Then he saw Soulfire stumble, gagging and holding her throat, before she collapsed towards the camera, and fell out of view. The crimson sparkle in her eyes was gone, replaced with panic, and a frantic plea for help.

He gasped.

"M-maybe ah should go out and help them."

MacDonnell shook his head slowly.

"Do you think that's a good idea, Hopper? You're supposed to stay here with me."

"Ah... Ah don't know...."

MacDonnell stood up, the leather of his desk chair creaking gently from the release. He raised his hands, keeping them up around his shoulders where Hopper could see them.

"I don't know what you're going to do, Hopper. You could tie me up, but I'd be lying to you if I said that would hold me for long."

Hopper tracked the man carefully, keeping his weapon steady, as MacDonnell slowly walked toward the closed-circuit display.

"And we both know..." MacDonnell paused, sighing, at the sight of Gecko falling in a heap, red blood spreading across the green scales of his shoulder. "We both know your knockout darts are only going to slow me down. That would be enough if you were here to follow up, but you can't leave me on my own. Can you, Hopper?"

Hopper started as MacDonnell turned swiftly on a heel to face him.

"But you're a hero, aren't you, Hopper? You're not going to shoot me outright. It would have to be a killing shot -- a mere disablement won't keep me from making my getaway."

"But again, you are a hero. And heroes have to save people. Like your team mates."

Hopper cleared his throat, not trusting his voice.

"Am I right, Hopper?"

"Yeah, you're right," Hopper drawled, the slow movement of his head from side to side belying his words. "Ah- Ah should go help 'em."

"And leave me to escape? Is that a good idea?"

Hopper slipped off of his stool, rifle still trained on MacDonnell's chest, and walked slowly toward the heavy oak door.

"Ah reckon it is." The words came out slowly, heavy with doubt.

"But I'm an important man, Hopper. I'm a big-time criminal. Surely your friends' lives aren't as important as keeping me from doing any more harm."

MacDonnell gestured with his hands, as if weighing an object back and forth between them.

"Needs of the many, needs of the few. What do you think, Hopper?"

Hopper's shoulders slumped as he reached for the brass doorknob. The barrel of his rifle pointed at the floor.

"Ah think ah gotta go... gotta go help mah friends."

Hopper dragged the door open. MacDonnell smiled.

"You've made the right ch- uh!"

MacDonnell's smug remark was interrupted by the dart that zipped through the air into the side of his neck. The crime boss barely had time to react before Hopper was on him, crossing the dozen feet between them in a single leap. Eyes widened below dark bangs in the instant before the heavy walnut stock of the rifle crashed into the base of his skull.

MacDonnell collapsed in a heap on the floor.

Hopper reached with two fingers for the man's throat. Satisfied by the pulse he felt, he quickly removed MacDonnell's belt, hog-tying him with practiced ease.

"Ah reckon if Ah'm gonna let you git away, Ah might as well make it hard on ya," Hopper chuckled to himself.

With a single bound, he was out the door and halfway down the hall, headed for the thick of the action.




At 10:22 AM, February 26, 2008 , Anonymous Alex B. said...

Great work! I really enjoyed that.

At 9:16 PM, March 24, 2008 , Anonymous Frank Byrns said...

I'm only a month late, but I liked it. MacDonnell especially.

The dialogue written in an "accent" bothered me, though. Personal pet peeve, I guess, but I just don't like it. I always prefer something like

"Blah blah", Hopper said in a thick Southern drawl.

Somewhere near the top of the scene, just to get the voice in my head, then go from there.

Your mileage may vary.


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