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Sunday, December 13

No Pain, No Gain: Part 9 – Domestic Bliss

The lab outside of the pen consisted of a large table, handmade from lumber remnants. It was covered with basic lab equipment, books, and papers. Mounds of household objects and appliances rose in odd corners. Boxes and former living room furniture were stacked in disarray. Table lamps, track lighting, and desk lamps illuminated the cavern.

Archive had managed to bind most of his wounds and, through his healing trance, mend his broken bones. Hammer was badly bruised but otherwise okay.

The first day after she captured the agents, Armbruster busily tidied up the caverns. She arranged old bed sheets into relatively modest clothing for herself. She swept up and organized her deep dwelling into one more appropriate for family life. She appears content and determined as she transformed her haphazard environment into one of newly ordered boxes, carefully placed lamps, and scrubbed tables: everything was cleaned and put in proper place.

Finally, Armbruster stopped to address them through the bars. "Well, here we are. Look, I'm sorry to pen you up like this, but you kind of barged in on me, you know? I think you can understand my need for privacy." She laughed grotesquely, every tooth gleaming in the cavern of her mouth. "I know you're going to take this hard, but you're going to have to stay here. Hey--don't worry, Really, I'm not going to hurt you. I'm not. I'm not one of those dangerous types who chop people up." She blushed, flustered. "Oh, that's the wrong thing to say. Sorry." Armbruster cleared her throat. ''It's pretty clear you guys know a lot about me, and how—y'know, how I got like this. We'll talk. But not now."

"Jenny, we're agents of the federal government," said Jim-Bean. "People will come looking for us."

Armbruster changed the subject. "So, what do you guys want for dinner? My friends always tell me I'm a pretty good cook."

"Uh…we don't really plan to stay here long," said Hammer.

"Microwave dinners and soup it is!" exclaimed Armbruster. She left the room and bustled back in with microwave dinners, canned soups, and two-liter bottles of soft drinks. Along with the hot meal, she passed in a latrine bucket.

"All the comforts of home," muttered Archive. more

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posted by Michael Tresca at 7:49 AM


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