This was not Rupert's day. Not only had the wife chewed him out when she discovered he had renewed his subscription to Babes, Bazookas and Boobs claiming he promised he wouldn't. You gotta have something to read on the can, women just don't get it. And in the next breathshe also informed him that her sister was coming over. The woman's words were "coming over" but really, he knew that her sister would be staying for a week probably two. If that wasn't perfect enough, Rupert had the double night shift at his dead end job at a liquor store.
Oh yeah and he had a gun in his face. If he lived through the night, Rupert promised to never ever wish to be killed even when his life sucked.
"L-listen buddy, I don't want any trouble…" he stuttered. His eyes were fixed on the barrel of the hand gun, gleaming just inches from his face. Hot sweat trickled down his cheek.
"This is a life or death situation! Answer my question!"
Rupert clenched his eyes shut, he could swear that his bowels were close to exploding. "I-I-I told you! I don't know!"
"Er…P-pip… I really don't think this is necessary…"
Rupert opened his eyes slightly. For the first time he looked at his would be assassin. The guy had one eye—for real. What average person has one eye? He wasn't going to ask that's for sure. The one-eyed man was in some kind of uniform that made Rupert wish he hadn't skimmed over those History Channel specials. Beyond the man with the gun was a blond with a very healthy rack. Rupert had to blink. Naw, she wasn't one of his favorite magazine's models. Looking closer she was just a bit too young.
"Girl, he lied!" Pip growled.
"Are you sure that this was the place?" she said gently, stepping forward.
"Of course it is, dammit! Now gimme my Mint Royale cigs you bastard and we'll call it a night!"
Rupert swallowed with difficulty, "w-we…" he swallowed again, the lump in his throat wasn't getting any smaller. "We had j-j-just sold the-the last carton."
The eye, the only one the man in the hat had widened. "You mother fucking, cunt loving, shit eating, bete noir!" The rest was harsh and endless French.
The girl's face was bright red. She put a gloved hand on her forehead. "Why now?"
Earlier that evening, Pip Bernadette had been a happier man. He rolled out of bed with the haze of sleep still heavy upon him. Seras stepped in, holding a tray. "Captain, what are you doing awake?"
"Work," was the grunted response.
"You have today off."
The police girl set the tray down and nodded. "Well it is your birthday is it not?"
He scratched his head, hair sprung out from his normally kept braid. "Huh? Birthday?"
Seras laughed, "yes. YOURS."
"Huh. I don't recall asking for time off." The one blue eye he possessed drooped and blinked heavy lidded. No more late night snacks to go with vodka and coke, especially Bailey's and Oreos.
"I know. I requested it off for you."
Pip flopped back onto the bed with a yawn. "S'awful… nice of you…" his words slurred.
"You're welcome," she grumbled staring down at his outstretched body that was once again asleep.
It took the captain about forty-five minutes to wake again and to discover that the vampire had left food for him. Seras on the other hand had stepped out, her footsteps and mutterings blocked out by his snoring. With Pip's headache nothing to speak of and stomach once again empty, the captain was ready to greet the day. The smell of cooling French toast was potent in the air. Pip wolfed it down without question—hot or cold a good breakfast is a treat.
Now, with nothing of importance to do, Bernadette stretched and took the longest shower he could before the water ran cold. Towel drying, he thought that perhaps it wasn't the most considerate thing he could have done to the next bather but…it was his birthday. With the luxury of being sufficiently clean now, Pip dressed to a pair of jeans and a French Connection UK shirt.
"I should have a birthday more often," he mused smiling at the possible scenarios. "Maybe I'll try and say it was a leap year…" this smile melted away along with his mood when he found that the pack of cigarette stashed in his thick jacket was empty. So was the pack on the nightstand, by the sink, in his underwear drawer, the shoe box under his bed…all of it was gone.
Seras and three other Geese ran forward at the sound of the loud string of colorful profanity that broke the air. Guns were drawn, all eyes on every corner of the room looking for a threat. But the only being within the small Captain's quarters was the captain.
Larry, a veteran Wild Goose, spoke at last. "Uuuh…Bernadette?"
Pip was twitching in place, shivering. His blue eye was as wide as the moon outside.
"N-n-need….nicotine…." The empty cigarette packs he held in his hands were crushed as his fists balled. The movement was slow, his entire body was tense.
"Oh no… Not again," Larry grumbled. "Lemme get the phone…"
Seras looked to the other Geese. "Well? Don't you guys smoke? Give him something." As much as she disliked the habit, she could tell that Pip was too far gone in his addiction to go back.
Penn, a younger Goose shook his head. "Uh uh. No way, girl. The captain only wants one kind and one kind only."
"But a cancer stick is a cancer stick!"
Larry laughed a bit as he looked up from the phone book, "You haven't ever smoked, have you, Police Girl?"
Red blossomed on her cheeks with indignity. "What does it matter?"
The Wild Geese laughed briefly. At least she lightened the mood. Pip on the other hand was not amused. "Someone get me a smoke or I'll--!"
Larry hung up the phone. "Three Kings Liquor on Saint George street--they got the good stuff, Captain Sir."
"Goddamn right." Already he had grabbed his coat and cowboy hat and was nearly halfway down the hall, "Let's go, girl. I'm drivin'."
As much as Seras disliked the jittery movements as well as the beyond wild look in his eye, she nodded. This was not commonplace Pip she was dealing with. "O-ok," she answered with a large but faltering smile as she caught up with him.
Murphy's Law was universal—anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. And this was just plain wrong. Here was the Captain of the Wild Geese Mercenary Unit and he was stark raving mad.
"C-captain?" Seras tugged on Pip's sleeve. "L-let's go to another place…"
The captain did not budge, his gun was fixed right upon the cashier's face. Victoria looked at the man with pity, hadn't life punished him enough with a job like this?
"B-buddy, M-m-mint Royals are out. H-h-h-have been for d-d-days. I-I d-don't know WHO you t-talked to on the phone but it w-wasn't me, man. I swear to G-god it wasn't me! I-I gotta wife! And-and--"
Outside red and blue lights flickered; the scream of a siren cut the air. "Pip! The police!" Seras shrieked and grabbed his wrist hard. "We've got to get out of here!"
"Goddamn!" In her panic, she was close to breaking his wrist as she held on and ran to the back of the store to the fire exit. Bernadette was fighting her tooth and nail. "I want my cigarettes! You motherfucking liar! I'll be back, you hear me?" Seras held onto him tightly as she threw her weight to balance out the furious Goose, not looking back for fear of seeing something to stop her from saving their skins. Vampire or no, the police girl could see that a man denied of his nicotine was a terrifying thing.
"Pit stop?" Pip yelped as they rounded an aisle of booze.
"Not now, you twit!" She shouted as she shoved open the redlined door, pulling hard on her resisting companion. The store was lit up with bright flashing lights and a blipping alarm. As if she already didn't have a migraine, the florescent illumination was stinging her eyes. With all her might she pulled Pip into an alley. "L-let's go before---"
The alleyway lit up with bright spotlights. "Oh bugger," she whimpered as she dropped hold of the twitching and frantic Pip. Seras slowly stood up straight hands in the air. "I…uh…"
Bernadette stood too, his braid swung from side to side over his shoulder. For a long moment there was silence, save for the alarm from the liquor store back exit. He slowly blinked. "You… you sons of bitches! I oughta kill you all!"
Seras's eyes nearly popped out of her head. "Pip? These are police!"
Pip took out his hand gun and fired a single shot. The spotlight shattered and the only light in the dark alley was from the gaping fire escape exit. Seras blinked several times. Those weren't police cars at all, nor where those police men. She was looking into the face of several barely contained Wild Geese. "Y-you guys?"
Larry managed to calm himself down, still breaking out into laughter. "Yep! Surprise!" He moved aside to show a birthday cake sitting on the Hellsing utility truck hood. Instead of having twenty-three candles, there were twenty three Mint Royale cigarettes.
Pip made his way to the cake, arms crossed. For a bit he stared at it. Then took three and lit them all, each protruding from his mouth like a fang. "Yer all gonna get it come YOUR birthday."
Seras held her hands to her head, "I'm going to just lay in the truck for a while…"