“In the battle of Love versus Loot what side would you choose?”
Lake Side Showdown
“Ugh! Aaron, I’m going to need a hand, man.” Nick planted his feet against the hull of the little aluminium dinghy and pulled on his fishing line.
“Wow! Did you catch a whale?” Aaron remarked.
“Maybe. I can’t pull the line in – aargh!” He gave a hard tug setting the boat rocking in the scenic lake water.
“Whoa! Easy — you’ll have both in the drink in a minute!” Aaron dropped his rod into the boat and grabbed on to steady it.
“Come on, muscle man. You can do it! You can pull in that great big fish for us!” called a feminine voice from shore.
Nick looked across the blue-green waters and smiled upon the beautiful bikini-clad forms of his girlfriend Lauren and Aaron’s girlfriend Charlotte. Both lay, sizzling in the sun, on a picnic blanket beneath a pretty leaning tree. “Anything for you beautiful ladies!” He called as he made symbols with his hands before returning to hauling on his rod.
This time Aaron uses gloves to pull on the line as well. “That’s something heavy down there. Feels like you hooked a concrete block.”
“I hope not. That’ll never barbecue well.” Nick felt beads of sweat rolling down his face as he flexed his muscles against the weight of the line.
“Ha! Well, at least it’s coming up now.” Aaron eased up, allowing Nick to reel in the loose line. “Keep it steady so we can get it up without breaking your rod or line.”
Ten minutes past to the boys hauling up the catch. What burst free of the water came as a great surprise to Aaron seeing and grabbing the handle first. “Err, Nick. You hooked a bloody toolbox!”
“No wonder it’s heavy.” It must have half-a-ton of spanners and screwdrivers in —”
The sound of a shotgun slide ratcheting and the girls screaming split the tranquil air. Several ducks took flight across the lake as pigeons exploded from the trees and flapped away. “I have these girls covered by two guns. You will bring that toolbox aboard your boat and row it back to shore. Do not open it and do not try anything stupid. We will kill the girls and that is no threat!” yelled a man appearing onshore. Dressed all in black down to his sunglasses and slick hair, he held an imposing figure.
“Shit! Now, what do we do?” Aaron whispered as he strained against the weight of the old metal toolbox and hauled it aboard with Nick’s help.
Nick felt bad watching the girls cling to each other. Lauren made a discreet hand sign; pointing her thumb and little finger at angles. Then touched her index finger to her temple. She was calmest with Charlotte shaking from the fear of being shot by the two men covering them with shotguns. “I know these situations from my dad being a police officer. Box or no box they’re probably gonna kill us.”
“Then what we do?” Aaron was somewhere between fear and anger seeing Charlotte being threatened.
“We can’t bring you the box without assurances!” Nick yelled. “We want —”
“This is not a bargaining session. You will bring me that box!” The man nodded. One of the men grabbed Charlotte from the picnic blanket and dragged her to her feet.
“Let her go!” Aaron yelled.
Charlotte screamed and fought only to get a slap across the face before the shotgun was placed against a temple.
“Enough!” Nick stood in the boat. “We don’t care about this toolbox. You can have it with our compliments. We’ll never say anything about it will you again. However, we want you to release the girls. Let them get in our car and drive away. Then we’ll paddle to shore, shove this box up your arse and we can all leave unharmed — deal?”
“And if we don’t make that somewhat painful deal?” replied the man drawing a long-barrelled handgun that glinted in the sunlight.
“Nick, do something. He’s got his hands all over Charlotte!” Aaron hissed, his face red with fury.
Nick saw Charlotte’s captor had lowered his shotgun so he could fondle her shapely abdomen. She was fighting to get free but powerless against him. The second man was close to doing the same thing with Lauren too. “Aaron, put the toolbox on the side.”
Aaron nodded and helped Nick lifted the box and hold it on the gunwale. The weight caused the boat to lean.
“What are you doing?” yelled the man in charge.
“Get those creepy bastards of our girls. If they touch them for another second and you don’t let them go. This goes back in the drink!”
“Hammer, Nails, cover them but don’t touch them anymore, got it!” ordered the man.
His henchmen nodded and backed away step.
Aaron took a deep sigh of relief as the girls returned to hugging each other. “Hammer and Nails? What’s your name Bolts?” he said without thinking.
“No, he’s just nuts!” Nick added with a wry smile.
A single gunshot echoed across the lake. The bullet smacked into the bow of the little dinghy. “Don’t play games with me! Bring me the blasted toolbox!” yelled the man.
“They love these girls, boss. Let us have them, that’ll make them move,” said Hammer.
“No, you will leave them alone — for now.”
“Good choice, Nuts. If they even look as if they’ll do anything to our girls, this toolbox goes bye-bye!” Nick yelled asserting what little control over the situation he had.
“Damn it! Stop calling me nuts. I am not some queer, deranged guy. I am the dangerous leader of an organised crime syndicate!”
“Doesn’t seem very organised to me,” Aaron whispered his eyes locked on Charlotte.
“What do we call you then?” Nick asked.
“Stop stalling and bring me that bloody toolbox. I can soon renege on my decision not to let them have the girls.”
“Girls, get up and get in the car. You know where my keys are, Lauren,” Nick moved his hands in controlled symbolism. Stopping with his little finger, index and thumb out as he focussed on her blue eyes. ‘I love you.’
Lauren half smiled as she crossed and clenched her fists. ‘I trust you.’ she reached into her bag for the keys. Then standing with Charlotte she looked between the gunmen.
Neither moved, waiting for their boss to give orders.
“Go on!” Nick urged
Lauren took a couple of steps towards the car.
“Boss?” said Nail’s looking for instructions.
Nick and Aaron had taken up the oars. They paddled two strokes towards shore and stopped.
“Let them go!” ordered the man beckoning the boys to come closer. “Girls, you may get in the car. Do not drive away until we have that box. Go early and your boys will need body bags.”
Lauren and Charlotte ran to the car, unlocked it and climbed in.
Nick heard the car doors lock as he and Aaron began to paddle closer to shore. “Thank you on behalf of our girls. We respect you for taking care of them. Now, we want to love and look after them long into the future. We can only do that if we can reach an accord that allows you to have this toolbox while we go free. Can we make that deal?” he said in his friendly tones.
“I see you mean to do as you say. We’ll make that deal.” The man had a hungry gleam in his eyes as his prize drew ever nearer.
“I hope you know what you’re doing,” Aaron whispered.
“Let’s find out. Follow me,” Nick replied as they beached the boat. “The toolbox is yours,” he said as he climbed from the boat and walked away.
Aaron followed close behind. The two chose a path towards the car and away from the gunmen. They were almost at the car when a shotgun slide ratcheted.
“Freeze!” The man laughed. “Did you honestly think I’d let you go when you saw my face?”
“Never trust a double-crossing bastard!” Nick breathed.
“Precisely. Hammer, Nails, kill them all. Dump them in the car and sink it in the lake,” ordered the man running his hands over the mystery toolbox.
“With pleasure, boss.” Hammer raised his gun siting it on Aaron.
“Question is, who’s double-crossing who.” Nick gave Nails a filthy look.
“Wait! What are you talking about boy?” The man rounded on him. “Answer me!”
Nick lifted his left index finger and rotated the right one around it. ‘You’re surrounded.’
Everyone heard Lauren laugh in the car.
“What’s the running joke?” asked the man sweating a bit now.
“Well, I believe you’re under arrest.” Nick pulled Aaron down as an armed squad of police officers burst out of the bushes all around them. Amazingly no shots were fired as all three men surrendered without a fight.
An hour later the four friends were once again relaxing by the lake.
“You were heroic in the way you protected us, Nick,” said Charlotte enjoying being in Aaron’s arms.
“Yes, you were. We love you for that.” Lauren agreed her words sounding slightly thick before she kissed Nick.
“Anything for you, sweetheart. And you, Charlotte being Aaron’s girl and my best friend,” Nick said signing for Lauren’s benefit. She’d become deaf following a car accident when she was seventeen. “One question; when those men came you told me you called my dad. You both had nothing but your bikinis. Where on earth was the phone?”
“Ha! You’d be surprised where a girl can hide a phone in an emergency!” Charlotte answered with a giggle.
“Shh, don’t tell,” Lauren grinned with a finger against her lips.
“We have sneaky, special girls, Nick. I wonder if we’ll ever know what was in the toolbox.” Aaron said also signing for Lauren.
“That we do,” Nick smooched with Lauren. “I reckon my dad will tell me. For now, your guess is as good as mine.”
What do you think was in the box?
Have a great day!