Adonis looked around Gladstone Park. It was the kind of place that shouldn’t exist in central London, but somehow had managed to survive. This was most likely due to the obsessive-compulsive tendencies of the park keeper who seemed to go white with fury whenever someone discarded a coke can on the grass — also he was almost seven feet tall and nearly that much wide. That probably contributed as well. Adonis watched him as he yelled into the face of a tiny Asian couple, flailing his arms around and thrusting a Twix wrapper into the man’s hand. They were obviously tourists but they seemed to understand his angle. It was funny that, a gigantic body must’ve mean the same in any language — even Asian.
“’Ere ya go, man.” Duncan came up beside him and handed him a 99 ice cream smothered in red sauce.
Adonis looked down at it slowly. “No.”
“No…? It’s ice-cream, dude. Everyone loves ice-cream.” He nodded, licking his own. “I even got them to put strawberry syrup on yours instead.”
“Eat the damn ice-cream, man — that cost me a quid.”
“Lactose intolerant…” Adonis muttered, staring down at it constantly.
“It means he can’t eat lactose, you massive idiot,” a voice came from beside Adonis.
Adonis turned and with surprise noticed a figure sat beside him — a tiny Asian boy, his body drowned in a grey hoodie and baggie jeans. He sat with his arms around his knees and was giving Duncan a very long look.
“Oh my God…” He ran his fingers through his dark hair and sighed. “Lactose… you know… milk. There’s milk in cream and guess what — there is cream in ice-cream.”
“Aw, fucking hell.” Duncan snatched the ice cream away from Adonis, who was still staring at the Asian boy with raised eyebrows. “You ‘ave it, Katie.”
The Asian boy shook his head. “I don’t like ice-cream.”
Duncan threw his hands up violently, causing drops of ice-cream to splatter onto his knees. “Who doesn’t like ice-cream?!”
Adonis was still staring. “Katie...”
“Yes?” The Asian kid glanced up at him. “What’s wrong?”
“….Katie…” Adonis said slowly. “Girl’s name…”
Katie’s eyebrows narrowed but before she could say a word a hand reached down and snatched the ice cream from Duncan’s grasp.
“Yes. She is a girl. We’ve been over this a few times, Adonis Wells,” Robyn sighed, adjusting his tie as he spoke. “Sometimes I’m not sure if you’re dull or just plain stupid.” He was dressed similarly to what Adonis imagined golfers to wear — a black blazer over a shirt, tie and sweater vest, along with sharply-creased brown trousers which ended at the calf. Number Two drew up beside him and Robyn took the ice cream from his hand. He licked it thoughtfully. “Well, as long as you haven’t forgotten the plan.”
“Plan…” Adonis looked around the park once more. “How long have I been here?” Robyn ran his hand down his own face.
“How many needles did you put in ‘im?” Duncan snorted.
Robyn placed the sole of his shoe against Duncan’s head and forced it forward. “This, Adonis Wells, is an ambush,” Robyn proclaimed, his foot still firmly placed against Duncan’s head. “The enemy will arrive here shortly and we will attack them directly. I would tell you to do as I say, but you rather lack the luxury to object.” He winked and gestured to his ear with his free hand, he was wearing the same headset he had brought out when Adonis was strapped to the table. “We’ve been having fun with this, haven’t we, Adonis Wells?”
Katie giggled. “You should play nice with your toys. Isn’t that what good little kids do?” She smirked.
“I am not a kid!” Robyn raged, throwing his leg forward with force against Duncan’s head, causing his body to bend double on top of the ice cream.
“Awwww! Dude! Now I got blood all over me!” he moaned, leaping to his feet and examining his stained hoodie. “Ya knew he would do that didn’t ya?” he huffed, pointing at Katie.
She cocked her head and smiled. “What? Me? I would never.”
“Yer? Well you’ll be makin’ up for what was lost,” he snarled and stepped towards her.
“Please. I haven’t had a shot for rabies yet,” she said dryly, rolling her eyes.
“I know that vampires don’t take baths in turnip juice, ya know!” he raged. “Why d’ya tell me that?”
”But they do! Why would I lie to you?” She smiled sweetly.
“Look!” Robyn yelled, clenching his free fist at his side. “We all like to mock the fool—”
“—But now is not the time! This is my master plan! Why do you think I’ve been putting up with you ridiculous imbeciles for this long?”
“Ever since that day,” Robyn spoke low, glaring at the ground. “I have bided my time, perfecting my craft to produce the ultimate team which will bring them to their knees.” The ice-cream now consumed he threw the empty cone to the ground. “This is the long-awaited day! The day where I will finally enact my revenge! They will rue the day they wronged me!” He threw back his head and laughed, several people stopped and stared.
Katie picked at the grass and sighed. “There he goes again,” she muttered, rolling her eyes.
“Hey — Hey — waitta minute waitta minute.” Duncan threw up his hands, his brow furrowed. “Where the hell is Mr. Psycho?”
“I don’t wish to discuss this at present,” Robyn muttered, clearing his throat.
“He skived off again then,” Duncan muttered.
“It doesn’t matter!” Robyn barked. “I no longer require his assistance now that I have Adonis here.” Robyn grinned and crossed his arms. “My ‘human puppet’ — the fool came up with that one, seems like he’s actually good for something, hey, Number Two?”
Number Two stared forward blankly.
“If you don’t like him calling you that then maybe you shouldn’t respond to it, hmmm? Just a thought,” Katie sighed, shifting her position.
“I can’t help it!” Duncan pulled at the drawstrings on his hood. “Dude has got in me head!”
“I know how you feel,” Adonis murmured slowly.
It was only several minutes later when the ‘enemy’ was spotted. Robyn’s body tensed and his fists clenched at his chest.
“There!” he hissed. “You see? Those bastards.” Adonis glanced to where he was pointing. There was a group of people casually sitting on the grass, some holding books, laughing and talking amongst themselves. They looked a little older than Adonis and he recognised the two girls from their encounter in the shop, the other three members of the party were male. “Doesn’t it just make you want to vomit?”
“They look pretty normal to me,” Adonis said, staring. “They all have fantastic tans.” Robyn spun to him and Duncan drew in a sharp breath. “Oh you think so? Well their perfect complexions will do them little good now!” He touched the ear-piece and the soft buzzing began. “You are to engage them first, Adonis. They don’t know you and so it’s the perfect plan to catch them off guard.
“No,” he replied.
Robyn smirked. “Ahhh, isn’t that adorable, Number Two?” He winked then his voice lowered. “Adorably pathetic.”
“You don’t get to choose, Adonis,” Robyn spoke with forced deepness. “Now walk.”
Adonis’ body moved violently. His legs bent and forced him to his feet, then he looked down and realised that he was walking, his knees bending, his legs dragging across the ground as his arms swayed by his sides. He glanced back to see Duncan and Katie staring at him curiously, and Robyn still stood, that smirk tugging at his round, rosy cheeks. When Adonis turned around he was facing a tall, muscular man, or rather his fantastically tanned neck.
“We asked you a couple of times, come on, don’t be a dick.”
Adonis blinked. “American,” he said slowly, recognising the twang in his voice.
“Yeah, I’m American,” the man grinned and nodded, puffing out his formidable chest. “We all are!” He spread his arms wide and his companions whooped and high-fived each other.
“Strange,” Adonis said.
“I’m not sure what you do here, but in AMERICA we don’t step on other guy’s girlfriend’s skirts.” Adonis looked down; his muddied trainer was resting on the edge of the blonde’s skirt.
“Oh, Sorry.” He removed it.
“That’s okay, pal!” The man slapped his back. “Just don’t go doing it again! I have to look out for my little lady!” He shot her a smile and she giggled.
“You’re so thoughtful, Zacky!”
“No problem, babe.” He turned to Adonis. “The name’s Zack.”
“Saved by the Bell.”
“Yeah! Just like that. One of our quality American shows!” He grinned, pointing to Adonis.
“Adonis,” he said suddenly. “That’s my name.”
“That doesn’t sound American at all,” the girl said, her eyes wide.
“Greek. It’s Greek.”
“Well we’re not in Greek now are we?” Zack threw back his head and laughed. Adonis frowned. “Greece—”
“We’ll call you Taylor. That’s much more American.”
“Taylor is American now!” he said with delight. The other members once again whooped and threw each other high-fives. Zack grinned broadly. “Taylor?”
“Do you feel AMERICA within you? Can you feel the essence of all that is just and right and good in the world flowing through your very being?” Zack thumped his fist against his chest. “Can you feel freedom take over your soul? Can you feel her — fair AMERICA?”
Adonis squinted and screwed up his face. “Does she give you a headache?”
Zack opened his mouth but his words were muffled by a faraway yell.
“NUMBER TWO! NOW!” The suited man came crashing into the gathering. He pushed the boys aside roughly and kicked the books out of the girls’ hands.
“Hey! That was Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom!” the brunette cried, leaping to her feet and pointing at him dramatically. “How un-American of you!” But Number Two had stopped moving and was standing, plain-faced as always, in-between the Americans.
“That might leave a bruise,” one of the boys moaned.
“It’s funny,” a voice spoke low and clear. “When I envisioned our fateful encounter, it was far from this.” Robyn came forward, a slight breeze playing in his blonde hair. “But destiny does not always follow the path that one expects. Isn’t that right, Zachary?!” He pointed dramatically to Zack who was looking completely dumbfounded. “At a loss for words are we, hmmm? I would be too, considering how we parted ways!” As his words ended there was further silence. Number Two remained facing forward while the rest of them stared at Robyn.
Zack very slowly leant towards the blonde girl and hissed loudly, “Hey, babe, you know this chick?”
“It’s a girl?” She narrowed her eyebrows. “I thought maybe—”
“No way, babe.” He shook his head, all the while looking at Robyn. “It’s got a ponytail, what respectable dude has a ponytail?”
“Stop trying to play innocent!” Robyn yelled and stamped his foot. “You can never hide from what you’ve done! I used to… I used to…” He clawed at the air and yelled in frustration, “NUMBER TWO!” Number Two turned slowly and kicked Freedom across the park. Everyone stared.
The blonde turned to Zack. “Hey, we’re gonna be late.”
He glanced at his watch. “Right you are, babe.” He clapped his hands together. “Well this has been awesome guys, but we have to be hittin’ the road.” The others muttered in agreement and began to gather their things.
“Wha-What?” Robyn’s body drooped. “What are you doing? You can’t leave! This is my long-awaited revenge!”
“Don’t you know who we are, kid?” one of the other guys said, smirking. “We’re secretly saving the world.”
“Evan,” Zack sighed. “You seriously have to stop telling everyone that.”
“Of course I know that!” Robyn yelled, grabbing tufts of his hair and pulling in frustration. “I’m here to stop you!” At his words the brunette stopped suddenly. She was staring right at him, her face morphing with disgust.
“…You,” she said venomously.
Robyn breathed a sigh of relief and threw his head back, straightening his back. “Yes! It is I!”
“You… Pervert…” she breathed and shuddered. Robyn’s eyebrows narrowed, then he very slowly turned. Behind him, hovering somewhat sheepishly was Duncan. “You’re the guy from the lingerie section the other day!” she gasped.
“You’re right, Ashlee!” The blonde came forward. “You should be ashamed of yourself. Perving is very un-American!”
“Fool?” Robyn muttered.
“Once we return to the lab you and my operating saw are going to get very closely acquainted,” he spoke darkly.
Duncan sighed. “Yes…Boss…”
“Um…” Adonis spoke suddenly. “The foreigners are gone.”
“What?!” Robyn spun around. The Americans had indeed left. In fact there was no trace of them at all, bar the copy of Freedom which the park keeper was cramming into a bin. “Where the hell did they…? They can’t ignore me!”
“It looks like they did,” Katie said, coming up behind him.
“Where the hell did you go?” Robyn raged.
She rolled her eyes. “I had things to do.”
“Nothing went to plan at all!” Robyn yelled, taking out his anger on a nearby tree. He fell backwards with the force, gripping his leg and wincing.
“Ah, don’t be like that, man. We got cha back,” Duncan said, kneeling down and placing a hand on his shoulder. Robyn shot him a venomous glare.
“Remove your hand before I turn it into a hook,” he growled. Duncan considered this for a few seconds, then withdrew it. They all stood and stared as Robyn continued to yell and pound the grass flat with his fists until he was breathless. “N-Number Two, Sustenance!” he gasped, and a carton of milk was thrust forward immediately. After it was drained he cast it to the ground and scrambled to his feet. He inflated his chest and pointed to the sky. “I would like to see them ignore me when I am atop the pyramid! When I hold the dice they will be forced to look into my face!” he yelled with emphasis. “To achieve my revenge we will climb the ladder of darkness! We will work from the bottom up! We will defeat anyone who stands in the way of my ascent!” He grinned hugely, staring upwards to the sky with every word. “Number Two! Female!”
“I have a name,” Katie sighed.
“Find out any information you can about every single team in this organisation! We may be at the bottom of the heap right now, but not for long.” He threw his arms open wide. “I will eliminate them all — One by one!” He threw back his head and laughed dramatically, then spun and marched away, followed closely by Number Two.
“Oh dear, this will be troublesome.” Katie massaged her forehead with her hand. “Well, I suppose we better start on it.” She began to walk and Duncan followed. But Adonis stood still, concentrating firmly on the spot where Robyn had stood only moments ago.
“Come-on, man.” Duncan jogged to him and threw his arm around his neck. “If we’re late boss might get rid of my hand, and I need it... for… y’know… stuff.” He outstretched his hand and scrutinised it.
“I don’t get it,” Adonis said numbly.
“What’s not to get, like?”
“Are we… the bad guys?”
Duncan shifted. “We’re the awesome brigade.”
“We are not the Awesome Brigade!” came Katie’s voice from afar.
“She can hear like a fucking bat,” Duncan scowled. “We’re the Awesome Brigade, Adonis, don’t listen to ‘er.”
“Are we… the bad guys?” Adonis repeated exactly. But this time Duncan replied with laughter.
“Ahahaha… Come on dude!” With effort he dragged Adonis through the park.
“You’re just laughing,” Adonis murmured as their feet met concrete. “That’s not answering my question at all.”