I took a couple of items out of my backpack, then I put my shoes and socks back on. I stood up, took Jill’s hand again, and we headed for the guards.
We were almost on top of them before they noticed us. I probably could have bashed their skulls in with a Spam Sock mace, and I briefly regretted my change of plan, but there was nothing to do now but bully on.
“Hey, guys!,” I was loud and jovial, and I was glad when the guards almost jumped out of their skins. They whirled around with their weapons at the ready. I saw that they were prepared to rake us to death. Their weapons were rakes. They’d probably taken them from one of the Sheep Meadow groundskeeper huts. Rakes looked silly, but rakes were still dangerous, so I tried to look disarming in addition to looking jovial.
“Guys, relax. We’re on our way home, but we saw you and wondered if you would like some cigarettes. I’ve got a whole carton of cigarettes here that I’d like to sell.”
“I’m more interested in buying your friend, there,” one of them said, and he grinned at me like a hog eating an ear of corn through a fence. I wasn’t especially surprised by his response, but I was surprised by what Jill did. She let go of my hand and landed a haymaker right in his mouth. The guard went down to his knees and blood gushed down his chin before he could get his hands to his mouth. His troubles were just starting, however, because Jill kicked him in his hands. Since his hands had made it to his damaged mouth, the result was yet more damage to his mouth. He fell over, and it seemed a sensible thing for him to do.
His fellow guard ran over to offer support, and this was his great mistake. Jill had the first guard’s rake, and she smacked the second guard in the face with it. The rake tines zinged musically as they gouged furrows in his face. Instead of rescuing his friend, he ended up on the ground with him.
Jill whacked the two men with the vibrating rake several times before she threw it away to twang itself silent on the gound. I quickly looped the handcuffs behind a pole in the ground and slapped one cuff on each guard, since Jill seemed to be finished with them. That had been my original plan. To get close enough to the two of them to handcuff them together. I’d figured it would at least make them clumsy. Beating the shit out of them and THEN handcuffing them together was a refinement to my plan that I owed totally to Jill.
“People don’t BUY other people,” Jill solomnly informed the prone and bleeding men.
“Yeah,” I added, stupidly, and put away my cigarettes.
I turned my attention to Kat and Kate. Their hooded heads were raised quizzically, which proved, at least, that they were still alive. I ran to one of them and started frantically pawing at the ropes that bound her to the pole. The knots were insanely complicated and tight. I wished I had a kitchen knife, like everybody else in Manhattan, but I didn’t. Jill was doing the same with the other captive, I noticed, but she wasn’t making much progress, either.
I jerked open my backpack yet again, and extracted…Spam. Two cans. Spam is tasty. Spam stays edible possibly forever. Spam can be prepared a zillion ways and still taste like Spam. The mercilessly sharp edges of Spam cans have probably cut off more fingers than lawnmower blades. I quickly keyed open a can for me and a can for Jill, and we had two four sided knives on the top of the cans. We could hold onto the bottoms and use the tops to saw.
We both immediately made use of our new tools. We sawed at the ropes where they crossed the poles, so we wouldn’t fillet our rescuees. It wasn’t long before the ropes began to loosen and fall away.
My captive got a hand free and reached up for her hood. I kept sawing, because the damned ropes were tied around and around her. I glanced up to see how my captive was doing, and I immediately noticed that my captive had grown impressive eyebrows and become a man. In fact, my captive wasn’t Kat or Kate at all. My captive was Mike.