When Micro got really mad his pockmarked pointy-chinned face turned bright red; it made his head look like a strawberry with a wet mop on it. Right now, Micro was really mad. His nasally voice echoed in the concrete substructure beneath the abandoned launchpads, out beyond the city walls. “What. The fuck. Is this?”
“It’s Avalon Marns.”
“Oh,” said Micro. His eyes bulged as he yelled at the pulpy corpse on the ground. “Hey! Hey Avalon! Is that you?” Micro nudged the dead man with the toe of his shined oxblood penny loafer. “Speak up, man!” He stomped on Avalon’s head, then again with the other foot, then again and again and again until it caved in like a rotten old jack-o’-lantern. “Hmm,” he said casually between heaving breaths. He wiped the splatter off his face with a handkerchief. “How come he ain’t talkin’, Rocco?”
Rocco looked down at his feet. “He’s dead.”
“But Rocco, I wanted Avalon alive.” Micro was literally half Rocco’s height, but he walked up to the burly hatchet man and got as close to being in his face as his stature would allow.
“Listen, boss, nobody told me—”
“You fucking listen! Don’t ever tell me to listen. Alive, I said. Fucking alive!”
Rocco’s mouth pinched into a big white smile in spite of himself. The little man looked completely insane.
“Is this funny to you?”
Rocco closed his eyes tight and shook his head back and forth, but it was too late. Micro’s enforcers were holding his arms tight and winding a roll of duct tape over his mouth and around his head with a terrible ripping noise as it went. Someone kicked the back of his knee and Rocco went to the ground. They lifted him back up by the arms and held him eye to eye with Micro.
“Avalon Marns had the encryption key locking up 73 million dollars of my money, Rocco. It was a 128 qubit key, and the only place it was stored was in his head.” Micro looked down at the body. “I checked, but I don’t think it’s in there anymore. How am I supposed to get my money now? Hmm? Guess randomly?”
Without warning, Micro slammed his fist into Rocco’s taped-up mouth like a ball peen hammer. The big man groaned and gagged like an animal.
“Swallow them! Swallow those goddamned teeth you useless fuck.”
Rocco swallowed cracked pieces of his incisors and washed them down with his own blood. The enforcers dragged him away as Micro continued to yell after him.
“Every day that goes by that I don’t find that key I’ll break off another piece of you and make you fucking eat it!” He went to work on Avalon’s head again, each thud ricocheting off every surface in the dead gray space.