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The ballad of clyde, p.1
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       The Ballad of Clyde, p.1

           Reed Bosgoed
 
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The Ballad of Clyde
The Ballad of Clyde

  by Reed Bosgoed

  Copyright 2013 Reed Bosgoed

  ****

  ****

  The Plan

  Meetings like this always put me on edge. Twenty minutes of circular discussion, a handful of joints are passed about, and the only thing that gets accomplished is deciding what type of food we're going to call out for. When I signed on for this they told me we'd be changing the world, not sitting on our arses getting stoned all bloody day. We're supposed to be an environmental protection group for Christ's sake. So far the only thing we're protecting is me, from chronic insomnia.

  I should have known when they told me the name of the organization that it'd be a huge waste of time. I mean, 'Mother Earth's Avengers'? Ridiculous! Sometimes I think the only reason I joined is because the name reminded me of my favourite comic book.

  There's our fearless leader Travis, waddling his way into the meeting a full hour late as par usual. Probably got held up buying a trunk full of crisps on the way over. Just look at that fat bastard. Honestly, what kind of ponce manages to be a five foot two, three hundred pound vegan? Just how many of those veggie burgers he's always going on about does he eat in a day? Oh, here he comes:

  “Oy there Clyde. Good to see you again. Y'alright?” And once again, he talks right in my face. I'll have to make sure to clean the spittle and crumbs off my jacket after I leave the meeting. Phew! From the smell of it, he's had some onions on his veggie burgers today.

  “I'm just fine Travis old boy. How are you? Anything special on the agenda for today?” Whatever it is, I'm sure it'll be just as much a waste of time as the 'Save the whales' leaflet campaign from last week. Maybe we'll think outside the box and boycott a fast food chain for the umpteenth time. Not that any boycott would keep this porky bugger from stuffing his face with whatever he can find. When I was in college, our student activism group held protests, rattled cages, really got things done. These people just sit around complaining about paltry first world problems.

  “Some big things in the pipeline Clyde. I think you'll approve. We're about to come into our own as a voice for mother nature.” My, my, he did say that with more conviction than usual. Perhaps we're using a fancier letterhead on the leaflets this time.

  Everybody else is here at long last. God, look at them all. To an outsider it must seem like this is some kind of dread lock enthusiast convention. The stink in here is unbelievable. Don't these people realize that slapping on a half gallon of patchulie oil doesn't mask the fact that you haven't bathed in six weeks? If anything, it makes it that much worse, like piling peat moss on top of a stack of burning manure. Oh well, Travis is starting the meeting.

  “Evening everybody. It's a good turnout tonight, I see a number of newcomers in the crowd. Welcome. It's always good to see new faces taking up the cause. Please take one of these so everybody can get better acquainted.” Fuckin hell! He's actually passing out name tags. And look at that, they've got little smiley faces drawn on them too. Just when I thought this group couldn't get any more childish, Travis tops all with smiley face name tags. Lovely.

  “Just an update. We had great feedback on our 'Save the whales' initiative. I talked to a reporter from channel four and they'll be doing a small segment on us in Thursday's broadcast.” How about that? What will the tag line be I wonder? 'Fat nutter passes out poorly photocopied sheets outside local pub'?

  “We've got a number of things to discuss tonight. So let's get started shall we.” And off we go. Just like I thought, time wasters. More leaflets, some kind of charity raffle benefiting the soup kitchen and our resident grandmas are having a bake sale. Come on people, Clyde wants to get crazy. Let's chain ourselves to trees! Let's get in the man's face, I don't even care which man! Just please, no more bake sales. Fuck it, I'm getting too tense. Where are those joints at? Three hours and three extra large pizzas later we're done.

  “Thanks for coming everyone. We'll see you next week.” Good then. I've got another stop to make on the way home, might as well get moving.

  “Could you hold on a second Clyde? There was something specific that I wanted to discuss with you.” What now you prat? I've got better things to do than sit here pissing the night away with you.

  “Sure thing Travis. What can I do for you?”

  “There was another issue that we wanted to bring up at the meeting but there were too many old timers and kiddies about. Come with me.” He's got quite a dire face on, whispering too. Must be something deadly serious.

  Or not. He makes a big deal acting all cloak and dagger, and all he did was lead me out the back door of the community center.

  “Was there a stray cat you wanted me to shoo away for you Travis?”

  “Very funny arsehole. No, I brought you out here so we could meet with someone. He's just pulling up now.” Sure enough, there's a car rounding the corner into the alley. A nice red sedan. I recognize the driver, it's Patrick Macintyre. I haven't seen Patrick in ages. Not since he got sent up for twatting a copper with a whiskey bottle. This is good news, Patrick's always been just like me, a man of action. Even if that action does occasionally take the form of drunken assault. With him involved I may just be interested in whatever Travis has planned.

  “Good, now that both of you are here we can get to the real business at hand. I've recently come into some troubling information. Two weeks ago a subsidiary of the Angelista Corporation opened a pharmaceutical testing facility right here in Cambridge.” That is trouble. Those bastards are the worst of the worst. I think there was at least a half dozen oil spills last year that they were responsible for and they didn't get brought to account for any of it. It pays to have every politician in the country in your back pocket.

  “So I'm guessing they're using animals then?”

  “They most certainly are. A rather rare breed of ape that makes an excellent human analogue as a matter of fact. You two are going to orchestrate a bit of a jailbreak tomorrow night.” Now that's interesting. Never knew that Travis had the stones to plan something ambitious let alone illegal. Taking that into account, I don't imagine the plan is terribly sound.

  “You're joking right?”

  “Nope. We've got the whole thing laid out from start to finish. Already bribed the night watchman and everything. So are you going to do your part or not?” This is insane. This arsehole wants me to break into an Angelista Corp facility with a crazed, alcoholic mick in tow?

  “No fucking way. You're off your chump mate.”

  “Well, well. Listen to you. When did you go limp? I remember you used to do nothin' but prattle on about takin' down the corporations. Now you're given a perfect chance to make good on all your belly achin' and you're turnin' up your nose? You coward.” Fuck you and your whore mother Patrick. You might like sitting in lock up watching your life waste away, but I've got no plans to get arrested at any point in the near future.

  “Patrick has a point Clyde. You're always the one at the meetings who's complaining that we're not getting enough done in material terms for the cause. I saw you rolling your eyes in there tonight. This is your chance to get something real done Clyde. Don't be a hypocrite.” Nice try fatty. Not happening.

  “We thought of you immediately for this because you’re one of our most vocal proponents for animal rights, plus you have previous training in their handling and care. Be a hero Clyde. Think of the animals.” Well, I took Zoology 101 at school. I ended up with a thirty eight percent but Travis doesn’t know that. As I recall, what I told him was I used to be the director of the London Zoo.

  “The kind of action I talk about is the legal kind Travis, protests and the like. The kind of stuff I used to get up to back in university.”

  “Listen to you. Mister colle
giate is it? You only attended for three semesters and you failed nearly every course. You're a phoney Clyde. Just admit it so Travis and I can track down a man with some fuckin' stones.” How the hell does Patrick know that? I never talked to him about when I dropped out of school. I'll show you who's got balls you ignorant pisspot.

  “Well, let's hear your genius plan then Travis.”

  “Like I said we bribed the night watchmen. He's expecting you at half one. He'll let you in the back way and temporarily shut down the security system. From the back door it's just a short ways to where they store the animals. Got a layout of the building for you right here so you don't get lost.” What the fuck did he draw this on? Is this a biscuit wrapper? Real professional Travis, real professional.

  “You sure this 'map' is accurate?”

  “Absolutely. The night watchman was very forthcoming with all kinds of info.”

  “So how many apes are we going in to get? If all we've got is Patrick's sedan and my scooter we're going to have a bit of trouble rescuing more than a couple.” That's quite a sly smile. Looks like Patrick has this part of the plan covered.

  “I rented a caravan.” What. The. Fuck. I knew Patrick was stupid but this is unprecedented.

  “You two mental giants intend to break into a laboratory belonging to one of the most powerful multinational conglomerates on the planet. Based on information learned from a minimum wage security guard. While driving a rented caravan. Do I have all of that right?” Look at those doe eyed expressions. It's like they don't even understand that I'm insulting them. Stupid people are like puppies, cute but utterly useless.

  “Yup, that's pretty much it.” I hate you Travis. I hate you with every single molecule in my body. You fat, goggle eyed gimp.

  “You didn't even tell him the best part Travis.” Jesus, there's more? What's next? Is the entire caper to be done with blindfolds on and hot pokers shoved up the ass? Perhaps we'll cut out the suspense and just invite the police along for the ride. I'm sure we can find room for them in the caravan.

  “We've already got a plane chartered to take the animals to a wildlife preserve in Africa. All you have to do is load them into the caravan at the lab and drop them off at a safe house we've got set up just outside of town.”

  “Just how the hell are you affording all of this Travis? Caravans, chartered flights and safe houses? You work at an organic grocer's and Patrick here hasn't had a job in his entire life.” What the hell is so funny about that question? These morons are guffawing like mad.

  “Since you jumped right to asking about the specifics of the plan we forgot to tell you the most important part Clyde. Our little organization has acquired itself a benefactor of sorts. This whole operation is being bankrolled by our new friend.”

  “A benefactor eh? Who exactly is it?”

  “Just someone who shares our love of mother earth, with mighty deep pockets and an all encompassing distaste for the Angelista Corp.” How vague, but intriguing. Mayhaps I can make some money out of this.

  “Does that mean that our 'new friend' is willing to pay for our help?” Fingers crossed, I do need money. Or at least Tony does. The little prick just can't seem to keep from making bets. If he's truant on paying back what he owes much longer, he'll lose his thumbs. Sometimes I hate having a younger brother.

  “Yup. Twenty thousand quid each for the job and there's more to be done after, with even bigger paychecks.” That will cover Tony's debts and then some. Could be the weed talking but hey, what the hell right? You only live once.

  “Ok then. Provided I'm getting paid, I'm in.” If we get caught I can always roll over on these two idiots. Who knows? Crime could be a laugh. I did a little graffiti some years back that was pretty satisfying. Wrote 'Thatcher is a big twat' on a railway car. To this day I still chuckle to myself a bit every time I ride a train.

  “Good choice mate! Gonna be a good time tomorrow. I'll swing by your place with the caravan around midnight and we'll go from there. We'll be the new Bonnie and Clyde.” Stop slapping me on the back Patrick you spastic arsehole. I already regret this decision.

  “You do know that Bonnie and Clyde died in a hail of gunfire, right Patrick?”

  “Really? Well, hopefully that won't happen tomorrow night.” Staggeringly brilliant insight Patrick. I'm sure this plan is going to go off without a hitch.
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